Peace, Love, and Hardly Any Understanding: The Buzzkill of Fighting Siblings

May Long Weekend Guest Editorial

Two kids playing at beach

Peace, Love, and Hardly Any Understanding: The Buzzkill of Fighting Siblings

 

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Not What We Were Expecting

 So, you and your wife want a boy and a girl. It’s the perfect distribution, right? Maybe so, but your dream child combo could turn out to be a nightmare. I don’t have many examples to go by, or any kind of scientific data for that matter. I just have what I have: a boy and a girl who take sibling rivalry to a maddening, curse-inducing level.

KidsHealth has this to say about it: “While many kids are lucky enough to become the best of friends with their siblings, it’s common for brothers and sisters to fight. (It’s also common for them to swing back and forth between adoring and detesting each other!)” This is true of my kids except they spend most of their time on the ‘detesting’ side of the spectrum.

 

Business man standing in the middle of the road. Dramatic sky ab

 

Into the Unknown

 Dealing with two competing children is much like an intense poker game in that one never really knows the danger in all of the cards on the table. You don’t know what those little demons are thinking, and you don’t know what act will set off an explosive incident. Betfair describes this dilemma eloquently in a tips and strategy article: “Poker is full of strange situations where something that appears a great thing to do is actually totally wrong, and something that can appear terrible can actually be right.” I learned this the hard way. As a matter of fact, I keep learning different variations of the premise on a daily basis.

 

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A Failure in Pink

 For example: My work week is coming to an end and I am in a great mood because I had minimal interactions with incredibly stupid people who are mysteriously above me on the company ladder. On the way home, I stop at the store to reward myself with some cool trinket or gadget. While heading towards my department of interest, I spot a baseball glove on the clearance shelf. It would make a great gift for my 10-year-old son, so I grab it realizing that now I also have to pick up another gift for my 5-year-old daughter. After all, I want balance in the universe, and bringing home a surprise for each child is the fair thing to do. I find the first reasonably priced pink item and head home with my iSomething, a baseball glove for my son, and something pink for my daughter.

 

As the aforementioned Betfair article described, this scenario seems great, when in reality, it could go horribly wrong. What I didn’t take into account is that my daughter is so competitive that this is one of those few times that pink turns to gray and is completely unappealing. She just wants what her older brother has—in this case, a damn baseball glove. A warm and thoughtful gesture on my part has transformed into a peace-disrupting, ring of fire.

 

Make Your Own Rules Book Take Charge of LIfe

 

Whatever Gets You Through the Day

 The University of Michigan Health System offers this advice for sibling rivalry: “Make sure each child has enough time and space of their own. Kids need chances to do their own thing, play with their own friends without their sibling, and to have their space and property protected.” You can take this approach even further and enact extreme measures. Implement a ‘No Sharing’ rule in the household. Many experts encourage sharing, but in my house, sharing only leads to fighting. Encouraging it would be foolish and masochistic.

For some reason, my kids are more likely to claw each other’s eyeballs out at bedtime. That’s probably when they are most tired and violence is the only way their little bodies can handle the growing feeling of exhaustion. So, each night at around 9 p.m., the ‘No Talking’ rule commences. I separate my kids like two entangled boxers after the bell and order silence. It’s not the best style of parenting, but in our home, it’s effective. Forget what the experts say, I just want some peace and quiet.

 

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Enter at Your Own Risk

 This article is not intended to dissuade people from their future offspring plans. It is simply a friendly heads up to the innocents that may have a slightly distorted image of reality. And for those who still insist on having the idyllic opposite gender pair… Be careful what you wish for!

Behind The Scenes

Behind-the-Scenes

 

 

It would likely amaze you how many things go on behind the scenes here at The Things I See Up Here.

More often than not it directly and negatively affects the volume of time I can actually spend writing.

So let’s take a peek behind the curtain.

Based on my writing you may have figured out that I own and operate my own business but that’s really just the beginning.

Having two kids that play three different sports each, my intense desire to get to the gym enough to hit my own weight goals, training for an upcoming Spartan run in Toronto (trust me you’re gonna want to hear this story), organizing the local youth softball league (I truly believe far too few people give back to their communities), pounding on my fiction work in my ultimate pursuit of getting published (the results of which can be found at 69 Flavors of Paranoia) truly devour what little passes for my spare time.

However, this week has been consumed by hospital visits.

Pull back the gasps. There is nothing wrong with me.

This week has been devoted to my brother Dart who has welcomed his first child. Three days of waiting and texting and calling and running have led to the birth of another Prince into my kingdom.

Yes, you can “awwwwww” all you want.

Me?

I am just going to stand silently off to the side shaking my head.

Why? Why oh why would he have to be born a Ginger……….

Madness

Stanford v Texas

My heart was beating so hard I could feel it in my throat. Blood pounding in rushes so strong my ears flared red from the pulse. The clock was ticking down and the ball was moving through out stretched hands faster than the eye could follow. Bodies weaving in a dance set in motion by muscle memory and endless hours of practice.

I glanced at the scoreboard. It was going to be close. Up by five with under two minutes to play.

My team defending well but the ball is just moving too fast. Passed back to the outside. A shot goes up. Damn. Three pointer from the corner baseline. Only up by two.

March has always been the beginning of a season of renewal. The shackles of winter cast off by the warmth of a forgotten sun. Renewal of the trees as the leaves burst forth, renewal of the flowers as their buds scent the air, renewal of the taste of lawnmower emissions on steaks left beside the grill for a half a second too long and an over zealous neighbour.

Renewal of old rivalries.

It had started almost as a joke. My son, the Captain has always had a love for basketball. From his very first Fisher-Price plastic basketball net to the Reebok all black street hoop currently buried under a mountain of snow beside the driveway. He loves it in a way that baffles me.

I could have easily been one of those parents that drilled the things they loved into my kids. Instead, I let them find the things they love and just let them run with it. It might explain why my eleven year old daughter’s hair is turquoise after it was almost black with blonde highlights.

Back up the court and a turnover just past half. My team scrambling back to defend but a step too slow and inches behind as the easy lay up drops. Tie game.

The Captain and I were in the driveway shooting baskets for what felt like hours as he laid out the entire March Madness bracket system. I was really only half paying attention. I was much more focused on the fact I think I had dropped two of the three thousand shots it felt like I had taken through the mesh hoop.

“Who do you think will win?” The Captain asked as he rebounded yet another shot I had missed.

“Who is projected to go first overall in the NBA draft?” I asked as I watched him lay the ball up easily and catch his own rebound.

“Kemba Walker from the university of Connecticut.” The Captain answered in the same matter of fact tone he usually reserves for sports statistics. His knowledge of them baffles me at times. He can tell me the name of the kicker that kicked the winning field goal in the 1996 Grey Cup but can’t remember to put deodorant on after gym class.

“That’s my pick to win the whole thing.” I said with a half a smile. My knowledge of college basketball was limited to the sports highlights I watched over the top of a coffee mug walking out the door on the way to work in the morning.

“Wanna bet?” The Captain asked.

Inbound ball slips through the point guards hands and is shuttled to a streaking power forward who rockets into the air and slams the ball through the hoop. My team looks at each other in search of support and finds it lacking. Thirty-five seconds to play and down by a basket.

“Absolutely,” I answered “What are the stakes?”

“You picked a team so I will do the same. Whoever’s team makes it the farthest wins.” The Captain replied as he drained another long shot. The ball skipped out of my reach and rolled into the street. I stepped toward the ball but the Captain had already picked it up and was launching it toward the rim. It slipped through the hoop and whispered through the mesh.

“What are we playing for?” I asked.

“If I win, you have to clean my room,” The Captain replied with a sardonic smile “If you win, I will clean any room you want.”

“Deal,” I laughed as I plucked the ball from him and lofted it toward the net. It missed by a mile.

The clock ticks can be heard over the hushed crowd. Bodies fly up the court. Open hands are outstretched. Less than twenty seconds now. The defence seems impenetrable. The point guard dribbles hard to his left around a pick and sees the open lane. He drives his foot forward but glances at the time. He pulls back outside the three-point line. Pulls up. Shoots.

It was a tense few days of watching box scores and the non stop barrage of basketball on the television. I could have cared less who won.

The truth is, it was nice to bond with my son over something. As parents , we spend so much time working or doing laundry or getting groceries or worrying over bills that we forget that our kids see us doing everything but paying attention to them. The time they are kids is so fleeting that it slips by in a half a heartbeat. For those couple of weeks in March it was a constant conversation about who and what was happening in the tournament. A barrage of insults and jibes at each other that parents often forget bond you to your kids in ways we long for when they move on in their lives.

The Captain’s team, Duke University lost in the Final Four negating the chance of our teams playing each other in the final game but by that point neither of us cared. We watched the final game together as Kemba Walker led UConn to a national title on his path to being picked first overall in the draft.

Nothing but net.

I can’t say I am proud of it but I sat outside on the step laughing the entire time my son cleaned my truck. It’s always referred to as my office so I figured it was as good a room as any. I wasn’t laughing because he was cleaning out rancid coffee cups or sweaty clothes.

I was laughing because I had already cleaned his room.

Ordinary Heroes

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The small face pressed up against the glass greeted me with a wan smile before vanishing.

I knocked on the door and was almost taken by surprise as the door almost imploded inward. A young woman held the door open and I could tell by the pallor of her skin and the blush on her cheeks that the temperature was dropping rapidly in her house. The same ghostly little face appeared from behind her and smiled a little before bolting to a low couch across the room and submerging in an ocean of blankets. The slow creeping frost on the interiors of the windows was as thick as the frost on the outside.

” I guess I don’t need to ask if its cold in here,” I started jovially but instantly regretted it as the woman pushed a strand of her hair back behind her ear. The almost imperceptible flash of indignation that crossed her chilled skin told me that my usual humorous banter was unnecessary.

” The wind last night knocked our chimney over and the wood stove is our only source of heat,” She said ” I called a chimney company but they said if I needed any new parts to fix it that it would take over two weeks for them to get them and get here.”

” That seems a bit long to go without heat ,” I answered her unspoken question ” Let me see what I can do.”

The strong wind gusts and a mountain of falling snow had ripped the steel chimney out of its housing and crushed the top of it. I sighed and rubbed my scalp as I looked at it. I wasn’t confident it would go back together but as I stood there looking at the crumpled remain I felt a gaze falling on me. I looked at the window again and saw the same pallor and flushed cheeks on the boy whose image greeted me. He waved quickly and disappeared in a whoosh of blankets not unlike a cape unfurling.

I stared at the chimney and felt the cold wind blow around me fluffing the fine dusting of snow that was falling into my eyelashes. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t really have a choice.

I ask myself every day ” What makes someone a hero?”

I look at the men and women who rush into burning buildings to rescue something as relatively trivial as a set of glasses for an elderly woman or the people brave enough to take up arms for our freedom when others just as easily turn a blind eye. These are the people we know to be heroes.

But what about the ordinary heroes?

The moms who work a double shift at a factory then finds time to make a Halloween costume the morning of the a theme party.

A dad who sits on a frozen bench in a sub-zero arena watching his daughter fall over and over trying to figure skate.

The people who volunteer their time at no kill pet shelters cleaning up dog poop.

To me, a hero is anyone who goes out of their way to make a difference to even a single person and asks for nothing in return.

It took four trips to the hardware store and a second ladder borrowed from a neighbouring farm-house over the course of four hours in arctic level winds but I fixed the chimney. After putting all my gear away and trying in vain to shake the cold from my limbs I knocked on the door.

” Can I use the stove now ?’ the woman said as soon as the door opened. I could hear her teeth clicking as she turned and looked over her shoulder at the blanket wrapped boy. I nodded and smiled. She practically ran across the room and started stuffing huge hunks of wood in the black monster as fast as her hands could move. I stood with the bill I had written out in my hand watching her and I cleared my throat as the first sparks caught fire to the kindling she had laid across the logs.

” My son thinks you’re like Superman,” she said with a warming smile as she turned and reached out for the invoice I had in my hand. I burst out laughing. I think I actually had my Superman underwear on underneath my Superman thermal pants. I saw a wide smile peek out from beneath the pile of blankets and I laughed even harder. The little boy popped up from the couch and put his hands on his hips to proudly show me his Superman t-shirt. I handed the young woman the bill and told her she could just drop the money in the mail. Warmth had already started to spread through the room as I stepped outside into the cold.

I would have loved to have seen her face when she opened a bill that read ” No Charge”.

 

 

 

It’s The End of The World As We Know It ( And I Feel Fine)

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I almost punched an elderly woman in the face while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Normally, I don’t pay attention to a lot of the boring blathering babble most people are streaming as I stand in line with my basket full of kale, green apples and almond milk covering the box of cinnamon rolls I say are for my kids but her statement caught me so off guard I clenched up.

” It’s nice to see us having a good old-fashioned winter again,” She spouted with a smile on her weathered face and my hand immediately curled into a fist I knew would likely shatter any hopes she had of being in the seniors edition of “Modern Bride” magazine and me in jail with a small Latino cell mate named “Pepe” who continually offers me his pudding in exchange for protection from the skin heads.

The fact its been a brutal winter has so many people on edge that I think it’s really only a matter of time before someone snaps. More than likely that person will be me. So I figure if I am going to unleash months of pent-up cabin fever and aggression on the unsuspecting masses I should likely have a plan.

Jack Chaser’s Fool Proof Plan For Destroying the Planet

Step 1

Ok, first we have to prepare. Know some yoga, or relaxation techniques? Use them. Calm yourself down. Inhale scented incense. Deep breaths, now. Ok. Ready? Are you calm? Really? Good. Now we begin.

Now that we’ve prepared, we will think up a plan. We need a good plan, now, otherwise a super hero or someone like James Bond will stop us. Or even worse, your mom will find you in her basement and send you to your room without dinner right before she checks your browser history.

We’re most likely to blow it up, but there are many more possible ways to destroy our planet. Below we have described in detail some of the most popular ones. Once you have chosen your particular method, proceed to step 2.

There are a few basic safety guidelines we need to follow though to ensure
  • DON’T tell any governments, organizations or ANYONE AT ALL about your plan. It’s a surprise after all.
  • DO use your weapons of mass destruction safely and always read the instruction manual. NO ONE is above reading the instruction manual. There are not always extra screws when you put something together no matter how many times your dad tells you there are
  • DO carefully plan your alliances. After they have completed their end of the deal make sure you kill them. Even your best friend because we both know he will say it was his idea all along
  • DO make sure you have a suitable  or mothership to live in after you’ve destroyed your home.
  • DON’T put your elbows on the table when eating dinner. Youre destroying the planet not basic civility
  • Remember to chew each mouthful 20 full times during dinner as it helps strengthen your jaws for all the military rations you are going to have to gnaw through when all the real food is burned to ash or mutates into weird animal/fruit hybrids like in “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”

Simple Strategies That Will Almost Always Fail But We Can Try Anyway

The Dr. Evil Bomb

Although this seems obvious, dull and unoriginal, there’s more to blowing up and entire planet then you think. First you must collect the suitable explosives or super-weapons, and then deviously detonate them below the surface of the planet . This will make the earth explode, sending pieces spinning wildly in all directions. Everyone will die, whether from being disintegrated from the explosion, or, if they are not killed, their section of earth will either spin towards the sun, where they we will melt slowly, or plummet into the outer rim of our Solar System, killing them from the cold.

As you see this is a very effective way to destroy the world, and is a recommended strategy.

Magic

African Witch Doctors are a great help in a world destruction. Simply make a cotton model of Earth and let the Witch Doctor blow it up with dynamite. If they insist to stabbing it with pins instead, do not argue. You may suggest they takeout all the Gingers first but they may give you that weird stink eye that freezes mens hearts in their chests. Witch Doctors are creepy. However, if you would like one, feel free to kidnap one from Africa or purchase one on Craigslist. I hear they go for a few hundred bucks.

Apocalypse

Creating the next Day After Tomorrow is a fun and easy way to destroy the earth. Simply find your nearest wizard and make them unleash a fury of hurricanes, hailstorms, maelstroms and other natural disaster. Be creative! Mix different disasters at different places to create a unique blend of destruction and death! This method is not only effective and impossible to be stopped by mere human powers, but it’s fun too! Personally, I am hoping for a Sharknado cause that was just too great a movie to not wish it was real.

Ask God for a Favour

I mean, seriously! God IS just sitting up all the time in the clouds, why should He care about the earth? Just ask Him to destroy it for you. If He doesn’t, He will probably destroy you instead for interrupting His peace, so this method can be risky, but if you succeed you will have very satisfactory results! You can also bet God that he can’t blow up the world.

Befriend an Alien Army

If science fiction has taught us nothing its the fact that all aliens races have two goals. One is to probe our rectal cavities and the second is to destroy the planet.

Unleash a Plague

This is a particularly nasty but relatively effective way to destroy the world and everything in it. Simply hire a scientist to create some super bacteria and then unleash it into the water systems of all the cities in the world, just like in ‘Batman Begins’. The people with suffer horrible deaths as the only thing left to drink will be beer leading to some drunken politician finally pushing “the button” as his frat buddies egg him on.

Send all the rubbish on earth to space

If you are tired of recycling and composting, this is the best one. Create billions of 510-ton missiles filled with shit and launch them into space, on low earth orbit. Wait for several decades and its orbit will decay, therefore creating a storm of raining refuse. Once the earth is completely covered with soda cans and used condoms I doubt anyone would be able to live in this planet.

Invent cars that are powered by rocks

Yeah, that’s right. Rock-powered cars. Once the earth is depleted of rocks there will be no more land, no more ground, no more Green Peace hipsters in their tweed jackets and shoulder satchels carrying manuscripts no one will ever read, no more annoying kids taking a dump on your lawn, no more anything! Since rocks are the most fundamental part of life existing on Earth, separating life from rocks would lead to the destruction of the world.

Step 2

So, you’ve picked your strategy? Now it’s time to apply it to your situation. Destroying the earth can be an enjoyable experience, you just have to know how to do it properly.

There are many things that may stop you from completing your task. Budget, governments and super heroes in spandex are the three biggest problems the earth-destroying newbie will encounter, and even experienced evil-doers will have to fight hard to destroy these problems.

  • Budget: Compared to destroying the world, robbing a bank is a simple activity and can easily be achieved. Mowing the lawn for your parents and neighbours could help too. If you’re really desperate, and have a thin or athletic build but have an irrational phobia of guns and mowers, try prostitution. If you have a heavy build, try sumo wrestling or stand-up comedy.
  • Governments: If you have solved the budget problem, taking care of governments should be no problem. Bribe them to leave you alone, or hire spies and infiltration agents to keep everything quiet. Better yet,use your prostitution skills and take selfies of you and government officials in group sex with midgets, farm animals and clown. No one like clowns.
  • Superheroes: The hardest problem. Seemingly the easiest way to solve them is to hire a super villain. However, no villain has ever beaten a superhero, so you may have to resort to fighting these pesky guys (or hot chicks) yourself.

Step 3

You may be tempted to flee as the world is being destroyed but make sure you give yourself enough time to watch the inevitable CNN special report as they find the dumbest backwoods rednecks to put on television as all the rational people are spending time with their wives or girlfriends or trying to convince their wives to have a three-way with their girlfriend.

Saying goodbye to all the things you will never have again is an important step but a better thing is doing all the stuff you will never get the chance to do again like throwing eggs at crying Goth teenagers or eating a box of Hostess pies.

Last but not least I highly recommend finding that elderly lady that started this whole process and punching her as hard as possible. When she stares bewildered up at you and asks why, you simply answer ” You know why”.

The Bump in the Night Story

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” Dad, there’s a monster in the garage !”

Every parent at some point in time has dealt with the monster in the closet, hiding in the shadows or under the bed scenario more than once. Personally, I wanted to scream ” DON’T TELL HIM I AM IN MY ROOM!!!” but eventually you man up and deal with it. I think I slept in a chair outside my daughter’s room for a couple of months straight at one point just to be ready for whatever scared her in the night but I had thought those days were long behind me.

We had just gotten home from a late evening gym visit and as usual the front yard was littered with bicycles, sidewalk chalk and busted water balloons. Garage door wide open and the contents of the recycle bins looking like Godzilla had just anal raped a Chef Boyardee factory.

” For God’s sake, you guys,” I groaned ” Have I not ran over enough crap in the yard already?”

” I just had my bike,” my nine-year old daughter, Fred, replied with the rising pitch in her voice that immediately indicated she was being less than honest. It was the same tone she had in her voice when I drove over the bicycle she left laying down in front of my truck that was pulling about three tons of waste from a previous job.

” She had my bike out too,” my teenage son, The Captain, continued with a finger-pointing at his sister as we exited the truck. Never mind the fact I had run over a dozen golf balls he had chipped in the front yard with the lawn mower the previous week, all that mattered was blaming his sister for anything that got him out of four seconds of work.

” Please just put the bikes away,” I said with a sigh as I opened the front door and dumped my gym bag on the floor just as I heard Fred scream. I bolted back out the door to see her and The Captain standing near the edge of what little light was cast from the flickering orange street light on the corner.

” Dad, there’s a monster in the garage !” I heard Fred cry as I heard the first hissing shuffle of something from behind a couple of sheets of plywood leaning up against the inside wall of the garage. I actually jumped back as whatever it was scuttled quickly from one end of the short span and back towards me.

” Go grab me a flashlight, Fred,” I said in a voice I hoped conveyed parental strength rather than the actual truth that I think I actually pooped a little when the scuttling stopped and the hissing started all over again.

Fred bolted across the driveway and into the house leaving The Captain and I to face whatever beast had taken up residence in the sports equipment strewn bowels of my garage. The scuttling increased in speed as the monster shot from one end of the garage to the other in a few hissing seconds that left me fearful of what we were up against but also a bit confused as to what exactly it might be. I heard the front door slam and saw Fred emerge from the house.

Click.

BADOOPADOOPBADOOOOOO!!!!

I turned to see her holding a small cow flashlight she had been given a few years ago the made a ridiculous sing-song noise every time you turned it on. It also shut off after about three seconds. The pale yellow glow only illuminated a small circle of the ground but it was going to have to do. I grabbed a baseball bat from just inside the door and handed it to The Captain. He clutched it like Arthur wielding Excalibur and nodded that he was, if nothing else, ready to defend himself.

” Just smash whatever the hell it is when I flush it out,” I said as I grabbed the cowlight from Fred. The scuttling grew louder and the hissing had increased in intensity as I stepped into the garage. The strange cacophony of sounds was like the background music of the dumbest slasher movie ever conceived.

HISS, HISS, HISS. Click. BADOOPADOOPBADOOOOOO!!!!

I reached for the sheet of plywood that seemed to be the only place that a beast this monstrous could hide behind. I smashed my foot against the end of it and the hissing and scuttling only increased but nothing emerged. I jammed the end of the sheet against the wall as the light clicked off leaving me in the dark with a plastic cowlight in one hand and some form of monster inched from me. I clicked the light back on and heard that cheerful tune that only further irritated me. The Captain had crept in close to the open end of the tunnel I had created for the creature and stood poised to rain aluminum death down.

The hissing ceased and with a rush of frantically pumping feet, the beast emerged from the dark. The three of us stood in disbelief as the biggest painted turtle I had ever seen scurried forward and peered at us. Fred laughed and clapped her hands to her chest and The Captain looked mildly dismayed that his wrath had been subverted. I reached down and picked the “monster” up and took him out in the light for a better look. I really had no idea how he had gotten into the garage but it was better than finding the Chupacabra I thought he actually was.

” We should keep him,” Fred said gleefully.

” Why exactly would we do that?” I asked as I turned the turtle over in my hands.

” Well, for protection I think,” Fred replied in a very serious tone.

” A guard turtle?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

” It would certainly keep people away,” Fred countered ” You’re a big guy Dad and he scared the shit out of you.”

A Legacy of Heroes

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I don’t remember the last conversation I had with my father.

I remember the last place I saw him and the expression on his face but not the content of what we talked about. I am fairly sure it was something about work or his grand kids but I left him sitting in his spot on the couch watching television and sipping a beer when I left my parents house that night.

It was the last time I saw him alive.

Every kid grows up think their dad is invincible. That he is literally super human. When you are raised on a steady diet of comic books and action movies, it’s even more prevalent in your life. My dad was a closet comic book geek for years after he had reached that grown up stage in his life where it was no longer socially acceptable to be a man of a certain age and still buy them. Luckily enough for him, I picked up where he left off and amassed a massive collection of comics. When comic books were twenty-five or fifty cents a piece, you could buy a boat load of them with a five dollar allowance every week. I never really noticed his subtle influence he had on my buying habits until he would ask about a certain book and then look a bit wistful when I told him I hadn’t bought it that month.

He would have categorically denied it but he read my comics but the truth was he liked them. He liked heroes.

His favorite was always Thor, God of Thunder. I think the fact the guy solved most of the problems he faced with a massive hammer was pretty appealing. For a roofing contractor, it kind of made sense. Every day of his adult life he swung that hammer to make life better but I think the entire mythology surrounding it resonated with him. His father created a legacy that he strived to uphold. When his brothers basically forced him out of a family business that he ran for years after my grandfather’s death he did the only thing he could. He struck out on his own. Picked up his hammer and set out to be worthy of wielding it.

Who so ever holds this hammer, if he be worthy….

After he died suddenly of a massive heart attack, I was lost. In one tragic moment I lost my father, best friend and mentor. I did the typical thing most people do when they lose a parent. I got drunk. I cried. I lashed out. I cried more. What I didn’t do was grieve.

The day after his funeral, I became a business owner with a legacy and reputation I had no clue if could ever be worthy of. So I took things to the extreme. I took on jobs I had no clue how to complete hoping things would just fall into place. I had a massive chip on my shoulder and a sense of entitlement to match. If I was going to pick up that hammer and be worthy of it, I had to meet or exceed the level at which my father did things.

I took a job on a massive water front condo complex that was as intricate as it was titanic. From the very first day, nothing went right. It was early spring and the morning frost on the roof was proving to be just as treacherous as the freezing rain that seemed to fall at the whim of which ever passing cloud decided to drift over us. After what seemed like an eternity, we reached the last day of the job. The weather started out cold and clear but the horizon hung heavy with dark clouds that approached like lions out on the open plains. The wind steadily picked up all day to the point where the gusts were almost dangerously strong. We finished the last few pieces of trim work as the wind became a howling beast and icy drops of rain splashed off our exposed skin like needles.

The building owner came around then and we laughed in that uncomfortable way people do when they are standing in miserable weather together. Just as we finished, a damaging blast of wind tore at the edge of the building and ripped shingles from the top capping we had just installed. I watched the look on the owners face go from one of pleased admiration to an eyebrow raised in speculation. All the emotion I had poured into finishing this job bubbled up in a barely contained scream caught in my chest. I threw my tool belt back on and climbed back up the ladder slipping on the rapidly freezing rungs. Inch by sliding inch I dragged myself up to where the damage was and steadily put things back together. Ice crusted on my hammer every time I sat it down and froze it to my hand every time I picked it up.

As I finished and looked back over the now once again completed work the wind died for a minute as a huge cloud bank boiled up from the edge of the water. A rumble of thunder hammered through the air and I knew I had to get off the roof soon. I pulled myself up to the ridge and tried to get my feet underneath me on the slick slope. Panic began to set in when the air literally hummed around me. The scent of ozone tingled my skin and I could feel the lightning the instant it slammed through the sky. I planted my feet on the ridge and stood up to face the storm as it raged in front of me. I reached down and wrapped my fist around my ice encrusted hammer as a second flash of lightning lit the sky in that negatively polarized way it does. For that brief moment I could feel my dad as the heavens touched the earth. The words echoed in the back of my head and I stood completely still in the hellish weather.

Who so ever holds this hammer, if he be worthy….

I knew my father better in that instant than I ever had when he was alive. How he must have felt facing the storms on his own. How scared he must have been to fail. How hard he must have fought to prove himself. All the rage and pain and fear I kept bottled up inside me over losing him boiled up in my chest and as the thunder growled in the clouds above me I tilted my head back and screamed. I knew I had proved myself and raged against the fact he would never see it.

Today is his birthday and that moment has been very present for me.

It gets both easier and harder every year that passes and I lose a little bit more of him. My kids know they had a grandfather but as my son was five and my daughter barely a year old when he died, they will never feel the loss. For that I am grateful but also regretfully pained. So I think the only way to deal with it is to take them to his favorite spot, the boat launch at the Landing, sit with our feet in the cold fall water, stick a Coors Light between my knees, listen to ” Bat Outta Hell” by Meatloaf and tell them a story of heroes and the legacy they leave behind.

The Moby Dick Story

In the majority of my posts at this point I have talked about the weather being the worst thing that we endure at work and for the most part it is. The cold sucks but at least you can wear enough layers to make it bearable but there is no escaping the heat.

Or so I thought.

It was the kind of day where the instant the sun crested the horizon, the heat started. The air literally stagnated in your lungs as you inhaled. We had been starting our days earlier to beat the worst of the heat and I knew it was going to be a ” Start early, home early” kind of day.  The entire team was wilting in the heat as we stood in the drive way before we even left for the day.  Armed with several coolers full of water and ice we headed reluctantly out to the job site.

The only saving grace we had on the project was its location. Nestled in between two stands of trees and basically right on the water, the breeze was enough to push some of the humidity away. It was one of those days that we basically exited the trucks and stripped right there in the driveway. Down to basically just pants or shorts and boots we got to work.

I always joke about our job being hotter than anything else because we are closer to the sun but on this day it felt like we were standing on the surface of the sun. You couldn’t take fluids in fast enough to replace the buckets of sweat pouring out of us.  All of us looked like freshly glazed donuts.

By noon that day, the temperature and humidity had made it dangerous to even be outside let alone be doing any form of physical labor. I had to make the decision to close in what we had been working on before someone got seriously sick or even worse had heat stroke on the roof and took a tumble off. Working as quickly as we could, we cleaned up the job site and packed away our gear.

I explained to the homeowner what was happening and that we would be back the next day to finish. With an understanding and motherly nod of her head, the lady of the house shooed us off towards the trucks with her best wishes.

” Every body ready?” I asked , looking over my half melted team. It’s always disheartening to watch guys that in the morning were ready and raring to go seem so defeated and deflated. I noticed we were missing a guy and told the team to go find him assuming he was off peeing in the bushes or something. After a few minutes of searching we simply couldn’t find him. That’s when we heard splashing from the river.

I walked casually down towards the river and the splashing got louder. The closer I got the more I noticed waves lapping at the dock that could only be made by something large flopping in the water. Then I saw a large white shape surface and then quickly flash back under the water.

” What the fuck?” I thought and I stepped closer as the blindingly white object bobbed up and down in the water.

Now here’s a little piece of construction worker knowledge that you might not think a whole lot about. In the summer we wear very little clothing but we are generally covered up from the waist down giving us an incredible tan…… from the waist up. As our lower halves don’t see sun the are generally white. Blindingly white. Like we are wearing white pants white. What I was seeing in the water bobbing to the surface every so often was one of my employees very white, very naked ass cheeks.

There in the water right in front of me was a very naked, half brown, half white contractor frolicking in the water. What else was I to do? I hid behind a tree and threw nails at him. Every time his white ass bobbed to the surface I would fire a nail at it as hard as I possibly could. His hairy, white cheeks would breach the surface and like Ahab I would stab at it. From hell’s heart I stab at thee.

” Everything ok?” I heard from over my shoulder. I turned slightly and saw the female homeowner walking towards me. She noticed the small pile of clothes and gave me a questioning look.

” Perfectly fine,” I answered ” Just doing a little fishing.”

The Kite Flying Story

If you make your living working outside you will eventually learn one immutable truth.

Mother Nature is a heartless bitch.

Her fickle nature has seen days start out with teeming rains only to turn bright and sunny as soon as I send my team home or begin dazzlingly perfect only to turn into a body pelting hail storm so damaging we have actually worked under a tarp to finish the job. I have walked across open ground carrying lengths of steel during a lightning storm and shoveled feet of snow simply to uncover a single broken shingle.

You could say her and I are not on the best of terms.

The simple truth is however that when emergencies happen not that many people are brave enough or crazy enough to stand toe-to-toe with that thankless hag. When people see their roofs in their neighbor three house downs back yard they call us. Fire up the flashing pink light and off we go.

I only make light of it now having been through enough late night emergency calls to laugh at how stupidly lucky I have been sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I have had accidents. If you saw an x-ray of my right leg you would ask how an orthopedic surgeon could put me back together with Lego bricks and wood screws but I still dive into each call with abandon.

Hero complex. You’ll get it but there has only been one time I was truly scared.

As has become the fashion in our climate the last decade or so, late every winter we get a hellacious windstorm that causes massive damage. I mean its great for business but a complete nightmare. Last year alone from one such storm we had 168 service calls in 48 hours. Most of them were your basic ” lost a few shingles” to the ” tree limb through the roof and laying on the couch beside my husband who refused to move his carcass because his show was on” ( you laugh? That actually happened) but every once in a while a call comes in that challenges even the laws of physics.

It was late in the evening and unseasonably warm for early March. The wind had been roaring all day with gust up over one hundred kilometres an hour ( Yes, I am Canadian. Deal with it.). Tree limbs were scattered across roads everywhere like pick up sticks and the calls were beginning to pile up. The phone rang and it was my mom telling me that a roof had blown off an apartment building and with the coming volume of rain, the owners were frantic at the concept of how much damage could be caused. With a deep sigh, I packed up our longest ladder, Picked up my brother Dart and we rode out into the storm.

The drive alone was a nightmare and the wind pushed the truck around like a dog with a tennis ball. More than once Dart and I exchanged fearful glances at each other in the dim light of the dashboard. As we got closer we noticed what looked like a dark shape hanging down the side of the building covering the white block walls. The realization hit us both at the same time that about four hundred pounds of rubber were now dangling precariously over the parking lot.

We stood the ladder up and grabbed our cordless impact drills. The only solution was to literally heave this thing back into place and screw some wide plates trough the roof deck to hold it in place until we could come up with a more permanent fix.  The wind lashed at us and the rain started to come down in sheets. We had to scream at each other just to be heard over the impact of the rain on the exposed roof deck.

Grabbing handfuls of rubber and straining we pulled it back up onto the roof.  The damaged insulation smashed into each of us as it peeled away from the roof. We screamed at each other to be careful as we tried to arrange the pieces into something of a semblance  of covering the exposed area. You have to understand, this is an area around fifty feet long and forty feet wide we are working on over forty feet off the ground in the pouring rain with the wind hammering into us.

I grabbed my drill and wiped the water from my eyes. As I reached to put the first bolt and washer in place the wind gusted well over any speed we had seen at that point and picked Dart up and tossed him into the air. I threw my drill aside and tackled him out of midair before he was tossed over the edge. We lay face down in the ice-cold water panting in fear and praying for the wind to die.

” Don’t move,” I yelled at Dart as I inched my way over to the edge of the rubber. Still laying prone, I drilled bolt after bolt into the roof deck. The wind was beginning to subside and we both began to work furiously. What seemed like an eternity later, we were done and with a nod at each other we descended the ladder. The adrenaline shock of fear was beginning to wear off and we were exhausted.

You might be scratching your head and thinking ” Dude, your stuff is usually funny.” and you would be right.

The building owner met us on the ground and he was less than impressed.

” You could have got here sooner,” He griped, ” There is already damage inside.”

Before Dart could murder him in cold blood, I eased him towards the truck.

” Sir, I feel for you but it’s not really our fault the wind damaged your property,” I placated.

With a growl of angst, he stomped away. I shook my head and walked toward my truck. Dart sat with a self-effacing smile and I had to wonder what he had done. About halfway home, I had to ask.

” Alright,” I started ” What did you do?”

” Nothing,” Dart replied ” I mean if the wind happened to throw a half a box of screws behind the guys tires, that’s just Mother Nature.”

” She is a heartless bitch,” I answered.

The Balcony Window Story

I love urban legends. Like completely and totally love them. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Bloody Mary, all of them. I love the idea that there is something strange and weird going on all the time somewhere that not anyone sees or hears and because it’s so rare people scoff at it.

Its even more rare for you to be the one telling the story.

Don’t get me wrong. I think most of those backwoods hicks they show on the news reporting that the Chupakabra ate their garbage are trying to cover up the fact they got drunk on moonshine and rooted through the trash looking for that half a steak sub with extra mayonnaise they didn’t think the could finish.  But for every thousand hung over rednecks seeing their wife who hasn’t shaved her legs since “Friends” went off the air running through the back yard and yelling ” SASQUATCH!!!”, there has got to be a bit of truth in some stories.

We had been on the job most of the day and had worked our way from the back of the house towards a long porch on the front. It covered the entire front of the house and was eye level with the second storey windows. They were shuttered against the early afternoon heat and the white backing seemed to only reflect the light bouncing off them.

As we started taking the porch apart a cab pulled up and several young ladies in fairly casual attire exited.  They smiled and waved and we, as is only naturally, sucked in our stomachs and tried not to look so dirty.  Minutes passed and it was like deja vu. Another cab pulled up and an almost carbon copy set of girls exited now totalling nine girls now in the house being worked on by six construction workers.

We all had a laugh and got back to work but just as we were starting back to work we could hear the sound of running water and then the very distinct hiss of a shower. A shower directly behind the window we were working beside. A window that had very recently had the shade drawn up and the window opened.

My brother Dart was just a teen then and it was all I could do to stop him from not only pressing his face against the glass but from crawling into the window.

” Theres a girl in there,” Dart said with a breathless whisper.

” We saw them come in,” I answered.

” No,” Dart continued” I don’t think she was alone.”

” So ?,” I replied.

” Dude, I think there are two girls in the shower in there. Right now,” Dart said as he moved back towards the window.

I grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back. As interesting as this development was, I didn’t want to get fired off the job because one of my team was peeking in the window.  The hissing sound continued for quite sometime punctuated by the odd giggle which only served to further darken the look I was now getting from Dart.

An hour later we watched as cabs began to arrive again and the girls streamed back into them. The glare I was getting from Dart now was enough to make me wilt a little bit from its pure animosity.  After some time, two young girls exited the building and skipped down the steps side by side. Clad now in light sun dresses, they laughed and looked back over their shoulders and catching his eye, waved lightly at Dart.

The burgeoning thunderstorm hanging over him broke and he threw his hammer at the roof and stomped down the ladder.

‘ I fucking knew it,” Dart muttered as he refused to meet my eye.

As we were finishing the job, the building owner showed up. He looked over our work and with a huge smile pulled out a huge pile of cash. My eyes bulged a little knowing that less than a third of what he was holding would cover our day.

” Were the girls any trouble,” he asked with sly smile.

” No,” I answered quickly with a definitive shake of my head ” We barely saw them.”

” That’s for fucking sure,” Dart yelled from the other side of the property and the owners smile only broadened.

” It’s no wonder,” the owner said,” They don’t speak much English.”

Realization dawned on me and I laughed. I couldn’t keep it in.

” French strippers,” I laughed ” A house full of french strippers.”

” Its cheaper than paying for hotels,” the owner said as he handed me the cash. He left shortly there after and complimented me a job well done.

I continued to laugh until I saw Dart. He was staring at me coldly despite the heat.

” You could have looked too you know,” Dart said.

” I might better have told everyone we saw the Easter Bunny getting it on with the Tooth Fairy,” I replied,” Cause no one would believe us.”

To this day, I can still show you where the house is and its pretty unremarkable to look at. I think that’s what makes an urban legend so appealing. At some point, someone likely actually saw something they had no answer for in a place most people would pass by a thousand times.

You can keep your haunted houses and strange creatures. The story I will tell around a campfire is one about strippers in the shower.

The Gayest Day Ever Story

As any one that has ever worked on an all male job site will attest, jokes about each others sexual orientation is open for attack . At any given moment, you will be asked the size and shape of your boyfriends penis. As well as the frequency with which you allow him to put it in literally every opening of your body. Its nothing personal but it is going to happen.

Please don’t misunderstand. I have no issue of any kind with anyone homosexual, it’s just not really for me. I have had gay men hit on me, buy me drinks at bars, offer me bags of candy to get into strange-looking panel vans…… wait. I don’t know if that guy was gay but I sure did enjoy those Tootsie rolls he had.

It can get especially worse the longer you know someone. So when you have a team of guys that work together for as long as my team has or even longer like my brothers and I have you get to know the particular jokes and things that bother people.

It was a brutally hot, summer day. The kind of day of day that takes your breath away the second you step out the door. A haze hung in the air like a blanket wrapped around the world.  The kind of day that you sweat out more fluids than you can take in and you literally end up with a salt crust on your body.

We had been working on a large textile factory for a few days and just had the detail work left to do. Metal work, flashings and the worst piece of the building we had encountered. Someone would have to crawl underneath a large metal fabric collector and not only clean out underneath it but also figure out how to waterproof it.

The jokes had been flying all day. It always get especially bad when its hot and guys are wearing as few clothes as possible to avoid the heat. usually stemming from ripped clothing and pantsing that generally leads to yet more penis jokes.

We had been pushing hard to get the job done and the heat continued to ramp up.  Sweat was running off all of us in rivers and mingling with the dirt from the job leaving tracks looking like we had been painted in vertical stripes of different colors.  I had been avoiding the flashings under the fibre collection unit and it had been a mistake. The heat underneath was much more concentrated and intense but this was the last piece and it had to get finished.

Crawling underneath the unit on my stomach I position the widest of the pieces and began to adhere it but nothing was working. I couldn’t hold the piece and do the work at the same time. I simple didn’t have enough hands.

” Hey, can one of you homos give me a hand with this!,” I yelled out to anyone within earshot. My brother, Matt came over and peered under the outside edge and gave a laugh.

” Not much room,” Matt said as he crouched down.

” Go around the back and see if you can hold this edge,” I barked. The heat was getting to me and I just wanted out.

” Not gonna work,” Matt quickly replied,” No room to get in there.”

” Shit. Well get under here,” I called out and he came around the edge and knelt down beside it.  I felt a hand on the back of my calf and then another hand on its mate and I wondered what he was trying to accomplish. Steadying himself maybe but I was focused on completing the task so I went back to work.

Seconds later I felt his sweat slimed body slide up my back as he literally crawled in on top of me.  I could hear his breath in my ear and his hands slid over mine.  I was pinned under a nearly two hundred pound, sweating, dirty construction worker whose breath smelt like a combination of cheeseburger and Mountain Dew.

” WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!!,” I yelled at him as he reached over top of me to grab the edge of the flashing and hold it in place.

” You needed another hand and it’s too narrow to get in here beside you,” Matt replied calmly. A drip of his sweat glided off his nose and hit my shoulder.  I was faced with the same option countless prisoners are faced with on a daily basis.  Fight back and make the job worse or suck it up and reap the rewards of being a prison bitch. I own my own business. There was only one choice.

” Take the knife out of your pocket,” I said looking back at him,” It’s really not comfortable between my ass cheeks.”  I now had a perfect understanding of the ” Oops, didn’t mean to stick it in there” moment so many women have faced.  Sorry to all the girls I ever tried it on, it really sucked.

The flashing complete, matt slid out first and I clambered out as quickly as I could. I grabbed my shirt and wiped down the combination of my sweat and whatever fluids he had left on me.

” We will never speak of this again,”  I glared at him.

” No, we wont,” Matt replied with a stupid grin.

If ever there was a chance I entertained any notion I might have ever been gay, that cemented my heterosexuality in one slimy, sweaty moment.

The Bumblebee Swarm Story

The biggest concern for anyone that works in construction is good old Mother Nature. The summers can get blazing hot and the winters bitter cold.  The wind can howl and the freezing rain can tear through your layers of clothes like knives of glass.  It’s never pleasant trying to get a job done when even the Earth itself seems to be set against you but the one thing that takes the prize as far as being a pain in the ass are the bugs.

I have lost count over the number of wasp nests I have encountered and subsequently destroyed. We must go through a case of wasp and hornet spray every season and there are times I think the things actually get stronger and meaner when you spray them.

The biggest threat as far as actual pain and long-lasting after effects is the bumblebee.  It’s a pretty rare occurrence to see more than one at a time but when they do get a hold of you it’s excruciating.  I actually saw a fellow team member get stung in the upper lip by a bumblebee once and his entire mouth swelled up to the point he looked like someone had hit him with a baseball bat.

This was almost ten years ago at this point and we had been working on an old farm-house set back way off the main road and it was run amok with weeds and flowers. There were wasps, mosquitoes and spiders on every surface we could see.  As the temperature began to rise you could almost sense the aggression level in the insect world rising and becoming focused directly on us.

The job was a bad one to begin with and to make matters worse we had to remove most of the sheathing from the roof. As we began to rip boards from the building we began to notice a very audible humming that seemed to be coming from inside the building.  My dad was on the opposite side of the building and my brother Dart and I were trying to get the demolition done as quickly as we could. Neither of us noticed the soccer ball sized mass of paper in the area under the boards above the eaves until we tore into them.

As soon as we touched this cocoon, it literally exploded with bumblebees. A cloud of massive, pissed off, yellow and black missiles surrounded us and began to dive at us with bad intentions.  One bumblebee could hurt, this army of insects could easily be deadly.

Dart and I screamed as they began to land on our clothes. We swatted at each other and in hindsight I think we may have hurt each other more from slapping at each other than the bees would have. We had red, hand shaped slap marks all over our arms and chests from hammering at each other.  Having heard our screams, our dad came to investigate. He too began to slap at us and swing his arms wildly at the swarming mass.

My dad bent down and grabbed a shovel and tossed it to me. He too grabbed one and began to swat at the bees as they attacked from every direction.  I made a few attempts to keep them away from my head before I noticed one making a direct shot at my face.

Now, I pride myself on my strength but I took the wussiest swing ever at this thing. I mean I could feel my ovaries cramp up and my penis invert itself and turn into a vagina I was so pitiful. The bee actually laughed at me as the breeze coming off the shovel directed him directly into the back of my dad’s head where it proceeded to sting him mercilessly.  I watched helplessly like a damsel in distress while my dad killed the nightmare creature and we all ran for the ladder to get the hell out of there.

On the ground, the back of my dad’s head began to swell from the sting and we got some ice to try to stem off the worst of it.

” Did you even try to hit that thing?,” Dad asked with an accusatory eyebrow raise and questioning tone.

” Absolutely,” I answered,” I hit him as hard as I could.”

Dart busted out laughing.

” The only thing that hit that bee was the wind,” he giggled, imitating my pathetic swing and throwing in a gay sounding grunt of effort.

” You could have tried harder,” my dad said as he walked away shaking his head.

” Thanks,” I shot at Dart as he continued to laugh almost uncontrollably at me.

There is something new to be learned every day.  That day I learned that Mother Nature is a fickle, vindictive bitch.  That killing hundreds of insects with bug spray eventually leads to her balancing the books so to speak. I guess the most mportant thing I learned that day was no matter what kind of relationship you have with a sibling, no matter if you love them and protect then, no matter if would go to the ends of the earth for them, those fuckers will jam your head under the bus tires as fast as they can.

The Love Truck Story

One of the biggest detriments to owning a truck is that anyone who doesn’t own one will constantly feel the need to borrow it. It’s always something fairly mundane like moving their sister-in-law or pulling a trailer to the dump but at this point there are times I wonder if my truck will even be in the driveway when I get home.

A couple of years ago both my brothers decided to race four wheelers competitively which meant my truck was travelling to the middle of nowhere most weekend from spring to fall.  It’s not like it’s the cleanest vehicle to begin with and the weekend travel simply added to the piles of Tim Horton’s coffee cups and wrappers that accumulated in every nook and crannie of the seats.

I had purchased a portable DVD player for my kids and it had made its way into my truck for a trip we had taken. As I basically live in my truck, it was still in there when my brothers asked if they could borrow my truck to travel quite a distance up north for a race weekend.

” Look, I just bought the damn thing, ” I started as Dart and Matt smiled gleefully when they noticed it strapped to the seat backs.

” It will be just fine,” Dart countered ” It will actually be nice to be able to watch a movie at night .”

I had reservations but it seemed like they would be fairly bored hanging out all weekend so I just shook my head and walked away. Shortly there after , they left for parts unknown and I stared wistfully after my truck not knowing if I would ever see her again.

The weekend passed uneventfully and late Sunday night I watched with a half-smile as my truck pulled into the driveway. She was dirty inside and out but she seemed to be in relatively the same shape she was when she left.

” Decent weekend?,” I asked as I gave my truck a once over, walk around inspection.

” Really good,” Dart answered. He had the road weary look of not enough sleep and too many hours on the road.

” Slept like a baby,” Matt chimed in ” Backseat in here is pretty comfy.”

” You slept in the truck? All weekend?,” I asked puzzled. I was under the impression that they had at least taken tents with them.  Having never slept in my truck and Matt and I being of very similar size I wasnt sure how he even laid in it curled up.

“He spent every second he could with that DVD player in there,” Dart laughed.

“Seems like a waste of a weekend to spend it in the truck,” I commented as I noticed a smile gradually spreading across Darts face. With a snicker he started pulling his gear bags out of the back of the truck.  That was when I noticed the small case Matt was clutching and trying in vain to stuff into the lower pocket of the cargo shorts he was wearing.

It dawned on me instantly what he was hiding or at least trying to hide.  I am far from a prude but knew exactly where this was headed.

” Is that entire case full of porn?”, I asked with the timbre of my voice rising slightly.  His instantly reddening face and the way he looked slightly away from me confirmed it without him having to say anything.

” Oh, you didn’t….,” I stammered as I looked at my clearly defiled truck.

” Yeah,” Matt answered with a laugh” But only a couple times”.

” A couple?,” I heard Dart call out over the back of the truck.

” Well, maybe more than a couple,” Matt continued.

” Holy fuck!,” I exclaimed ” HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU JERK OFF IN MY TRUCK?”.

” I think like… five, no, wait, six,” Matt offered.

” Please tell me you at least cleaned up after yourself?,” I asked. He nodded furiously.

” Well, I didnt really want to get any on me as that would have been hard to explain so I just let it fly and cleaned up after,” Matt replied gesturing towards the back of my truck.

” YOU BLEW JIZZ ALL OVER MY BACKSEAT!!! MY FUCKIN KIDS SIT BACK THERE!!,” I roared at him, instantly furious. I wasnt sure what I was more mad about. The fact he splashed semen all over my truck or the fact that I as the truck owner hadn’t even had sex in the damn thing let alone anything else.

” I made sure I got it all,” he said trying to be dismissive, ” Even the load that went up the back of your seat.”

” How the fuck did you launch one out on the back of the seat?'” I questioned.

” Well, the battery started to die in the DVD player so I stood up to plug it into the power supply and well it’s not like I was going to stop what I was dong,” Matt countered.

In that instant I saw it all. My brother , bare assed in the back of my truck with one hand on his dick bent over the front seat still pounding away as he tried with the other hand to reach the cigarette lighter to plug-in the power cord. I lost it. I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. I couldn’t catch my breath.

” I may have got some in the cup holder too but it’s so dirty back there I couldn’t really be sure,” Matt said trying to change the course of the conversation. I was practically rolling on the ground at this point.

” I will pay to have it cleaned,” He offered by way of apology.

” Cleaned?,” I replied,” I want you take it to the clinic for an STD check.”

The Two For One Burger Story

One of the hardest things about working on the road is finding a decent place to eat.  I pretty much hate the burger chain places and as much as I love the place there is only so much Subway a guy can eat.

We had been working over an hour away from home on a building that would ironically end up being a restaurant and it was our last day on the job.  We had eaten at every little place we could find trying to find a decent but cheap burger shack.  We hadn’t noticed before but a small place had a huge sign offering two for one burgers.

We had been working our asses off trying to finish the job so we wouldn’t have to make the over hour-long drive yet again tomorrow.  We had skipped our morning break and by now my stomach was growling like a bear cub.  It was literally eating itself telling me to get some food in now.

It didn’t help that the smell of grilling burgers from this place was wafting towards us like a stripper wearing too much perfume.  I swear if they ever came out with a womans perfume that smelled like grilled steak it would replace Chanel number 5 as the most purchased scent ever.  My brother Dart and I looked at each other and basically raced for the ladder to see who would get there first.

The closer we got to the restaurant the more intense the smell became.  I was practically drooling by the time we entered the door. We both placed our orders for the two for one burger specials and waited impatiently.  I took a second to look around the place and noticed that with the exception of the staff we were the only people in there.  I was too hungry to notice this obvious red flag and it seemed like seconds later our orders were ready.

I tore open the wax paper wrapper and dove into the first bite.  I think the first burger was gone within five bites.  I smashed into the second one and noticed the meat was a little under done but for a guy that’s eaten steak that I think was still quivering when I cut it, it wasnt too bad.

Dart looked over at me as he was just getting into his second burger and he had a puzzled look on his face.

” Dude, are you done already?” he asked incredulously.

” Fuck to the yeah I am,” I laughed back ” I was starving.”

” I don’t think they were any good,” Dart said as he shook his head.

” They were better than good,” I said.

” No, I don’t think the meat was any good,” he countered.

” Youre just too fuckin picky,” I said as I headed back to work.

Now normally, I don’t eat much at lunch, especially when its hot and for good reason.  Food has a tendency to hit bottom hard and drag me down with it.  I noticed not long after that my stomach was slightly knotted and I burped and the stench was horrible. I looked over at Dart who had turned a colour that seemed like a mix between lime green and snot yellow.

Dart stood up and walked over towards me, one hand rubbing his stomach. I stood up and noticed my stomach was rolling hard.

” I told ….,” was all Dart managed to get out before he puked all down my right arm.  The smell hit me like a fist and while I have a very strong stomach the fact that I was covered in burger slime was all it took. I tried to keep it down as long as I could, hoping to at least make it to the edge of the building but there was no chance. I let fly with a shotgun blast of puke that covered a fairly large area of our job site. My team looked at us both like we had puked on them instead.

” I will clean that up when I get back,” I managed to get out as I headed for the ladder. I was pissed off and in severe intestinal pain. I headed back across the street to the burger place and I noticed the building locked up. I ran around the back of the building to see if any one was there only to find the parking lot empty. My stomach clenched and I literally exploded. No, it did not come out my mouth.

I stripped of my pants and underwear and cleaned myself up as best I could with my t-shirt. I was not about to subject anyone of my team to the stench of me so I balled up my utterly destroyed underwear and pulled my pants back on. Astonishingly, they had come up pretty much unscathed. I say pretty much, lets leave it at that.

I walked back to the front of the building now even more pissed off and I hung my underwear on the door handle of the building. I am one of those people who believe that we eat with all our senses. The smell of food is usually the first thing anyone notices before they eat a meal. I figure that if the food these people were gonna serve was shit then people should be able to smell it before they tried it.

The Last Day of School Story

If you have read any of my previous posts it would appear that over my years as a contractor I have grown into some of the embarrassment that has seemed to assail my career. Not so. At all.

From a very early age, I was truly destined for greatness. In the most embarrassing ways possible.

It was the first day of summer vacation in between graduating grade and entering high school and while all of my other friends were basking in the summer sun by cold pools while their parents made plans to get away to the cottage or some trendy vacation spot, I was awoken very early to head to work with my dad.

Being self-employed has very little upside as far as getting time off goes. Working six or seven days a week does not lead itself to many family vacations and as soon as you are of recruitable age in my family you usually find yourself sweating your ass off somewhere you know you don’t want to be.

All I needed to do that day was help my dad measure up buildings for a massive school board contract. All fairly simple stuff except the schools were almost an hour away from where we lived and it felt like it was a million degrees out.  After the first couple of buildings, I had resigned myself to the day being as miserable as possible. To counteract the heat, I was chugging as many bottles of soda as I could convince my dad to buy me ( Yes, that shows my age, wow, I miss glass bottles). I believe in literary terms that’s called foreshadowing.

The day was wearing on and as we neared the last of the schools we would measure, the need to pee was becoming overwhelming.  As we began to size the last few roofs we had to look at, I was nearly busting a kidney.  as my dad was checking the last few details on the paperwork, I bolted for the ground to find somewhere to pee.

As I bolted for the truck, I knew I couldn’t hold it any longer. I unzipped and instantly began peeing a stream that would have put out the Great Fire of Chicago. A shudder of relief flooded through me and I momentarily closed my eyes in bliss. As I blinked my eyes open in the sparkling sunlight, I realized that the sun was reflecting off the multiple panes of glass of a large auditorium whose curtains where rapidly opening.

There was no way I could stop peeing and I stood there, penis in hand as the entire student body and faculty of the school watched me pee beside my dads truck.

With a loud banging of the doors, the principal of the school barged out and instantly began to harass my dad about the fact that in their school board today, not yesterday, was the last day of school. My dad, to his great professionalism, took it all in stride and calmed the situation down. At least until we got into the truck upon which time I believe he called me everything but his son. I was so embarrassed, I literally had no words. embarrassed for me, embarrassed for him, embarrassed my penis wasnt bigger.

The drive towards home was silent for a while before my dad looked over and let out a laugh. ” Don’t worry,” He said, ” Next time, I will take a huge dump in the parking lot and let them all watch”.

He passed away almost eight years ago and of all the great things we did together this is the dumb shit I choose to write about. You never get over the loss a father, a mentor and a friend. Maybe someday I’ll get the chance to take that dump for you Dad.