I Have Returned…Wearing A Suit and Tie!!

It’s been a while…hasn’t it?
I think I have probably missed you more than you have missed me.
It’s ok. I understand. My blog is easily forgettable. In the blogsphere, there are hundreds of thousands of us writing feverishly each and every day in order to find an audience. I am but a pimple on the ass of all bloggers worldwide.
So, the biggest reason I have been absent from writing is because I started a new job. It began back in late April and has involved considerable training sessions and periods of time away from home (the longest being two weeks).
I work for a publicly traded, big-ass company now. This is completely new territory for me. I am the guy who worked for small companies – boutique-sized firms…even working for myself way back when.
I am not used to this shit. I am not used to shaving every day and wearing a suit and tie. I am a “schvitzer” and summer is here!!
The biggest change I had to deal with I experienced at the beginning of this new journey. My routine completely changed. No more morning spinning class after getting the kids off to school. Now, I am out the door before they leave and am usually the last one to get home at the end of the day.
Meal planning with my wife is a bigger discussion these days because much of the prep work is done on the weekend and we have placed faith in our children to do some of the grunt work before we get home – including setting the table, boiling water…turning on the oven – stuff they weren’t used to doing (I know, I know…they are lazy and should be stepping up more – agreed).
Work is interesting. Working for a big company is even more interesting. Having to complete onerous expense reports is nuts…having to get my blood and urine taken for benefits coverage is a pain in the ass…but worth the hassle because of the payback. Learning all the internal protocols has been a struggle and trying to figure out the sheer stupidity of some of the things the company does – I just don’t get. They spend money hand-over-fist on silly things. I say…pay me more money instead.
I am getting into my groove concerning my new job. I am learning the vocabulary of the business, the cast of characters in our company and who our competitors are – all the usual stuff. The instructors who led the training in Washington said that learning all of this stuff is like trying to drink from a fire hose. I could not agree more!
I continue to be scared shitless. Can I do this? Can I learn something new and succeed? Can I learn to play the game of corporate politics? Can I learn to get along with my immediate colleagues? Can I schmooze my boss?
Can I deal with working for a big American company with their American ways of doing business and the notion that every action I take is constantly being scrutinized and watched by the powers that be?
If you asked me this question about 2 months ago, I would have said…I don’t think so. Now…I am getting used to it.
“Just put your head down and do your job”, is what I keep telling myself. “Yes, of course you can do this. It isn’t rocket science”, I remind myself.
My wife, my biggest fan and supporter constantly nurtures me and reminds me about my capabilities and that I can do anything I want.
Moving into a new work space can make you feel really small and child-like. All of those doubts and worries that swirled around in my head when I was little, came right back up to the surface.
The difference is, I am 48. I am more mellow now then when I was 26 and have improved my social skills…not taking everything so seriously. For those people that I come across (especially in my company) whose assholes are puckered up tighter than a drum…I say, “laugh and chill out”. In the grander scheme of things, all of this nonsense is just that….nonsense.
I am trying to have fun and I promise to the three people who read my blog that I will do my darndest to get back on the horse again and pick up blogging.
I really didn’t realize how much I missed it until just now.
750 words just came right out of me…how easy was that?

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Two Teenagers Versus Two Exhausted Parents

In this corner, with a combined weight of about 260 pounds of tall, gorgeous, intelligence and beauty, hailing from Toronto, Canada, the sixteen year old and her newly minted 13 year old sister.

In this corner, the two tired, worn out parents whose combined weight is…well, that part is none of your business! Lets just call them the 48 year old parents who have been happily married for almost 23 years…Mom and Dad (me!)

The rules…no hitting below the belt (I say this mostly for my own benefit) and always be respectful of your opponents (in this case, the two teenagers being respectful of their parents).

May the best team win.

Best team? Hell no…may the parents win…in fact they should always win..shouldn’t they?

I write this on the eve of my 12 year old daughter becoming a teenager joining her slightly older big sister who joined the club about three years ago.

I have been dreading this day for years.

When I held both of my gorgeous daughters in my arms as newborns, I always had dreams of what life would be like when my girls became teenagers. While I loved having them in my arms, wiping their butts, feeding them, burping them, staying up half the night with them and lugging around their diaper bags and various accoutrements with us wherever we went, I thought about a time when life would be easier…when they could feed themselves, wash themselves, be out of diapers and use words to explain to us what was bothering them if they weren’t feeling well or were sad or angry.

Little did I know that the older my kids get, the harder our jobs are, as parents, in taking care of them.

While our kids were never really prone to having temper-tantrums or “meltdowns”, we would have the occasional flare-up..which was quickly dealt with and if one of them didn’t get their way, a good night’s sleep would help them get over whatever was making them “crusty”, usually waking up the next morning completely forgetting what had gone on the day before.

Bad moods tend to stay around a little longer these days. When someone doesn’t get what she wants, that someone will storm up the stairs to their room and slam the door shut. Usually this is where they stay until they are hungry, they want something from my wife and I, or its time for bed. Big sister introduced this to the family dynamic when she first became a teenager and her younger sister has learned all the tricks of the trade from her older sister.

Back in the early days, bad moods were easy to see coming. They were usually the result of someone not getting what they wanted. These days, bad moods can come from nowhere and for no particular reason. You can be sitting having a reasonably pleasant dinner and the older teenager will all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, turn from Jekyll to Hyde (or is it the other way around?). You ask yourself what you did or said to trigger this radical personality shift but more times than not, you come up wondering “what happened”?

Ahhh, then of course, the issues of “female stuff”. One of the few advantages of being a dad in a house filled with women, is that when it comes to the “monthly visitor”, I am excluded from the dialog and the whole process. To be honest, I am perfectly fine with this. However, because I don’t own female body parts, I am treated like a moron because I “don’t understand”. Thankfully, my lovely wife comes equipped with all the necessary female body parts to help the kids out. I keep to myself and wait until the worst of it is over.

Life definitely gets harder being the parent of two teenage girls. Its all about the drama – who did what to who, who said something to somebody, how “rude” or “mean” someone was to someone else…how cute a particular boy is and “what should I say in my text back to him”?

While I don’t have sons, I was once a young teenaged boy and I don’t recall giving my parents the same kind of grief that our daughters give us. I think boys simply clam up…they don’t say much or if they get really angry, simply beat the shit out of the person that is pissing them off and then its over. I don’t encourage this behaviour…I am a lover not a fighter. But, it certainly seems like an easier and faster solution to a problem. I am sure parents of teenaged boys will disagree with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the hell out of my daughters. They aggravate me, but in the same breath, make me incredibly proud to be their father. I am still amazed that I was instrumental in their creation. Neither of them have an evil bone in their bodies…they are pure, decent, empathic and loving young ladies. My wife and I have done a good job so far. It just so happens that every so often, they drive us both round the bend!

But, fuck…two teenaged girls? In the same house?

Fun and games.

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Twirp, Twirp! Tweet, Tweet?

Firstly, let me say how sorry I am for taking so long to submit a post. I apologize to all of my three or four diehard readers (you know who you are and thanks for the continued support!) To be truthful, I have not felt really inspired to write about anything in particular.

For many of us, this has been a really long, cold, brutal, bleak and generally shitty winter. The days have been dark and miserable and it has been very hard to stay positive and optimistic during this long, drawn-out period of time.

It seems like an eternity ago that we lost power for three and a half days because of the horrible ice storm and moved into my father-in-law’s condo that fortunately had wi-fi!! It was much appreciated and certainly could have been alot worse. So many others were more affected then we were and had very few options to stay warm.

Just recently returned from a warm and sunny weather getaway, I feel renewed and invigorated. The winds of change are upon me with some great new opportunities coming my way.

But the best part is, as I sit here in my office, banging out this blog…I can hear, on this very first day of Spring, the sounds of birds twirping (or is it tweeting…no, that’s a Twitter verb!)

Yes, a very familiar sound that I have missed for quite some time. Last Spring, my wife and I would bitch about the sounds of these birds. Like clockwork at precisely four o’clock in the morning, they would rise from slumber and let the world know that they were awake. Well, maybe not the whole entire world…but certainly my wife and I. We like to sleep with our windows open whenever possible, to enjoy the fresh air and to hear sounds like birds. However, four o’clock in the morning is a bit too early for my liking.

But now, as I sit here listening to them have conversations with each other, I get excited about the possibility that while today doesn’t feel like the first day of Spring…that maybe, just maybe…Spring is right around the corner and that soon Mother Earth will wake up from almost 6 months of sleep and say, “lets give these people a break from Old Man Winter!”

Last Spring, my schedule/routine was very different to the schedule I am about to undertake. In fact, it will be a very hectic schedule…but a good schedule because it will keep me busy with something that I hope I will love and enjoy.

However, evenings and weekends are open. I hope that my wife and I will be able to enjoy these times to reconnect with each other and with Mother Nature and enjoy the beauty of our neighborhood as it comes back to life and is restored to its beauty…ridding itself of all the debris from the harsh winter.

Soon, the buds on our trees will start to emerge, the tulip bulbs will start to grow and emerge and our petrified looking patch of grass at the front of our house, will regain its beautiful green lustre.

I did BBQ during the winter…foolishly freezing my ass off all for the pure enjoyment giving my family a little taste of summer. I would bundle up – hat, coat, boots and gloves and huddle next to the BBQ as it cooked our dinner and warmed me up. Having a nice glass of red wine also helped.

But now, we get to enjoy the BBQ anytime we want…I won’t have to shovel a pathway to get to the BBQ.

As I had the brief opportunity to enjoy wearing t-shirts, shorts and flip flops while I was on vacation, I cannot wait to stop wearing layers. I cannot wait to put away my winter coat, boots and all of the hats, gloves and scarves that occupy my hall closet. I cannot wait to put away the humidifier that has attempted to keep our dry skin as moist as possible. I cannot wait to permanently remove all the salt stains in our front hallway and to put away for another year, the shovel and container of rock salt that has adorned our front porch. Snow tires will soon be removed and I can maybe even attempt to get my car washed and keep it clean for more than one day!

Spring is coming…I can feel it in my bones. I can sense it.

I can’t wait.

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“Relax”

“Relax” is such a nice word, isn’t it?

I have images in my mind’s eye when I think of the word “relax”….a beach with the sound of gentle waves soothing me as I lie in a beach chair, chaise lounge or hammock. Or, I imagine sitting by a roaring fire in a comfortable chair, listening to some mellow music, maybe hanging with my honey and just enjoying the moment.

“Relax” is a word that we use when we want to kick-back, take a load-off, chill, unwind, de-stress, mellow-out, hang…take it easy.

It’s a word we don’t live by enough, as far as I am concerned. In my little world, while weekends are supposed to be the time to relax, often they are not.

Long weekends tend to work a bit better for the word “relax”…holidays are where the word is best used.

However, it seems over the past little while, the word “relax” has been used a lot in my household but for all the wrong reasons.

The champion of the new definition of this word and its use in our family, is courtesy of my 16 year old daughter.

As you can imagine without me saying anything further, when she uses the word “relax” with either my wife or myself, we do anything but relax.

Ms. !6 is a typical teenager. She is our first born, we love her to bits and by and large, she is a great kid who wouldn’t harm a fly. That being said, she is, by all accounts, a lazy-ass and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

No I don’t!

Don’t you hate having to repeat yourself when asking someone – a friend, a workmate, a spouse or in this case, a child, to do something. It could be as simple as putting away clean laundry, emptying the dishwasher, clearing dishes after a meal, making a bed…all very basic and simple tasks that we all must do on a daily basis. These tasks are mundane and boring as hell but are extremely necessary.

But when you ask that person (in this case, our child) to do it, over and over and over…only to be told to “relax”, I don’t know about you but the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I cringe with anger.

“Relax” in this context is translated to mean, “Mom, Dad, don’t freak out…you have asked me a million times to do this…I will, I promise, at some point. But, stop bugging me – your pissing me off!!”

This is not the definition of the word, “relax” that I have come to know and understand. Plus, when Ms. 16 year old says it to us, she doesn’t say it in a mellow way, like when you go for a massage and in a whisper as the new age music comes on, you are told to “reeeee-laxxxx”. No…when she uses the word, she has reached a fever pitch with us as we have already lost our patience with her because she has failed to do what we have asked her to do a million times over.

“RELAX!!!!!”

Damn, I hate that word. I loathe it!

In recent days, we call Ms. 16 out before she uses that word. She knows that we are incensed whenever she uses it and knows that the best way to make us happy and to prevent her from using it in the first place is to simply do what we ask her to do the first time it is requested. We tell her it will save us all alot of grief and yelling. It means, “get off your lazy ass, do what we ask and be done with it, goddamn it!!”

So now, she has all but eliminated that word from her 16 year old teenage vernacular.

Unfortunately, she has replaced it with another equally annoying word – “FINE!!!!”

Teenagers…yuck!!

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“F**k and S**t”

I might sound a little old and a bit crusty but, “what has gotten into kids today?”

So, I was walking home from my more spinning class. It was around 10:15 in the morning and as I was walking past the local elementary school, the same school where I sent both of my daughters. Outdoor recess was in full swing.

I remember those recesses as a kid. No matter the weather, our teachers would insist we either bundle up or wear a hat and go outside and get some fresh air. The playground, for me, was an intimating place. Not overly athletic, my so-called friends would goad me into doing things on the jungle-jim that I knew I couldn’t do and in doing so, would make fun of me. See…we all have our nasty memories of childhood…but that is a whole separate story.

This particular morning, I was in earshot of some of the boys who were hanging out near the fence that barricades the school yard from “the outside”. A bunch of boys were huddled together, yelling at each other..not because they were mad but because thats what young kids do to be heard amongst their friends. From what I could see, these boys were probably in grade 4 or grade 5.

While it was hard to hear exactly what they were talking about, it was really easy to hear the expletives that peppered the conversation. Not the occasional f-bomb…but more like every second word was “f**k that” and “eat s**t, you motherf**ker”. There were other words and expressions used that, while I have heard them before, I don’t think is necessary to repeat in this blog because by now, you get the point.

Not that I was a perfect child and not that I ever swore, but clearly far too many years have gone by for me to remember how much we swore at each other in the playground at this age.

The question always is, “where do these kids pick up such language from?” More importantly, is it acceptable and have we become so accustomed to expletives everywhere we turn these days that we have become desensitized to their use?

I remember when my two daughters began periodically using these words in sentences at home with my wife and I. I must admit that hearing a little 5 or 6 year old girl utter one of these words is absolutely adorable. Their sweet little innocent voice uttering a swear word is really cute…the first few times. I remember my youngest daughter stubbed her toe and actually swore as the pain of the injury washed over her. While it kind of took me aback when she first said it, mostly because she used it in proper context, I was then shocked by the fact that my little sweet and angelic child knew of such a word in the first place.

A comedian once said that fellow comedians who swear too much do not have a strong command of the english language and have to default to using expletives to help them communicate more effectively. In other words, its easy to say, “f**k” or “s**t” instead of other less profane words to get the point across.

Do I swear? Yes…of course I do. Do I sometimes use this kind of language around my kids? Regretably, yes I do. However, I do not go out of my way to swear in front of them and I limit my repertoire to only a few words. Do I swear when some doofus cuts me off while driving? Yes…I do and yes, my kids are sometimes in the car listening to me.

I know people who don’t think swearing in front of their kids is a big deal. They figure they are going to hear these words in the school yard…so why not incorporate them into the dialog at home?

Do you agree with this? I don’t. My reasons go back to the comedian who made the comment about using these words as a default for when they cannot express themselves in any other way.

Are we becoming dumb or lazy in the way we communicate with each other or the way we use language? Perhaps. Maybe reducing the amount of times I swear will be my one New Year’s Resolution for 2014.

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I Am Here!

When I started writing this blog back in 2010, I had a lot on my mind and was so excited about the possibility of getting it off my chest and into the universe, that I wrote and wrote and wrote.

For those one or two of you who read my blogs back in the early days of the “Enlightened Male”, you will know that I had blogger’s diarrhea…it just kept pouring out of me.

However, the daily blogs became weekly, then…they became monthly. While it would appear that I have become “constipated” in my blogging activity, the reality is that I have so much stuff swirling around in my brain that I cannot seem to extract it and express it in a way that might be of relevance or interest to you followers.

Recognizing that this is the last day of 2013, I could easilty write a reflection-style posting about the past 12 months; what has happened to me, how it has affected me and what the future looks like for me. Or I could write a summary of what has happened in the world this year and put my own little spin on it. But, I won’t. Everyone seems to be doing that and it feels predictable and unoriginal.

Instead, I am simply going to wish those of you who have been reading my blog all the very best for a terrific 2014. May it be filled with only good things…good health, happiness, positive experiences and lots of peace and love.

I still have lots to share with you and plan on doing so in the coming year.

I am optimistic about 2014…not simply because I am just that kind of guy who believes very much in the notion that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade or other cliches like that.

No, I have a feeling that good things are in store for me in my universe. I feel it in my bones. I have much to offer and much to receive. I have much to look forward to and much to celebrate…mostly because, simply put, I am worth it and I am entitled to it. I hope you all feel the same way as well.

I cannot wait to share the next twelve months with you.

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Got A Taste For It?

My first exposure to alcohol must have been at my bris. For those who don’t know, a bris is a Jewish ceremony where a newborn jewish baby boy is circumsized. A procedure is done, usually in front of family and friends and the baby boy has his foreskin removed by a “mohel”, a jewish person trained in the practice of this bris. Babies are given a piece of clean gauze, doused in sweet kosher wine, to suck on as a way of getting drunk so that they don’t feel the pain.

Yah, right…no pain.

It hurts a lot and while I don’t have any memory of the ceremony or the wine, I have been to enough of these events to sympathize with the baby boy. All I can say is, maybe the baby boy should be given something stronger than sweet wine!!

So beyond my bris, my memories of alcohol and my exposure to it are quite limited. You could say that I came to the game quite late…never really developing a taste or a desire to embibe when I was a teenager. I would have one or two beers at parties…but never drank hard liquor or got drunk to the point of passing out or projectile vomiting. I never had to go for greasy food at two in the morning to soak up all the alcohol in my system. I have never been so drunk where I have no memory of the night before the day after. The only hangovers I have had took place in my later years when I drank for the taste of it and didn’t drink enough water…not because of peer pressure.

Alcohol was around the house but was never really a big deal. My mom and dad would sometimes have wine at a meal (usually Friday night dinner) or when company came over. Dad would occasionally pour himself something out of the liquor cabinet (I assume now it was scotch) after a particularly hard day. I was one of the lucky ones because alcohol was never a problem in my family and I can’t imagine what its like for those families that have a history of alcoholism.

My own little family doesn’t have any problems with it either. Sure, my wife and I like to have wine on Friday nights, as a way to celebrate the end of the work week. In the summertime, we love to sit out on our porch on a hot day and sip gin and tonics or vodka and soda or beer or wine….because its relaxing. I do get occasionally buzzed but I never ever let it get out of hand and I am highly responsible.

So, when does a kid become aware of alcohol and what possesses them to try it? My teenage daughter is at that stage in her development. Fortunately, she has been forthcoming with her admission of consuming alcohol (her alcohol of choice is vodka, mixed with something sweet). She has been out with friends…either at someone’s house or while out on the town with a group. She claims she has never been “shit-faced” and I believe her. I think the notion that becoming extremely drunk can make you puke scares her…which is a good thing.

My wife and I obviously do not condone drinking at the age of 15 or 16. Do we tell our daughter NO when she asks if we can buy her a mickey of vodka for when her friends come over? DUH!! As we tell her…often, it is against the law to drink under the age of 19. It is even worse if we, as responsible parents, serve alcohol to our daughter and her friends in our house? What happens if something horrible should happen to one of her friends because we served booze to them?

On the other side, who am I to say to my daughter to not drink. It would be extremely hypocritical of me to tell her not to when I drank at the exact same age she is now.

I don’t get the big deal of drinking? Hard liquor doesn’t taste particularly good (although I do have an appreciation for certain kinds of Irish Whiskey, red wine and good beer…but that came with age). When we are young, sneaking a drink here and there allows us to flex our independence and rebellious tendencies. Drinking can be bad for you and yet, make you feel good (at least initially), so maybe that is why our kids like to try it? Maybe they like to test their boundaries because they feel invincible at that age.

We recently confiscated a half consumed bottle of vodka that our daughter turned over to us when we were doing some cleaning in her room. Although she wants it back (which we will not return to her), I do appreciate her coming clean and handing it over to us with an explanation.

We have told our daughter that its much better for her to tell us about her drinking then for her to hide it from us or lie about it. We warn her of what might happen if she overdoes it, how much she will puke and how crappy she will feel the next day and how its really not worth it. We tell her that if she is out socially and doesn’t feel well for whatever reason (alcohol or drugs), to call us and that I will come to get her from wherever…whenever – no questions asked. We have told her not to let someone get her a drink and to never leave her drink unattended for fear someone might try to lace it. We have told her to stand strong and not to be influenced by her friends – I know how hard peer pressure can be…especially at this age.

She is going to drink. She is probably going to try some mild drugs like marijuana, if she hasn’t already. Experimentation is a part of growing up. Our role is to keep her safe, informed and to keep the channels of communication wide open.

Teenage years are exciting and scary.

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What Do They Think We Do?

My older daughter was out the door, catching a ride with my wife as she has been doing since the beginning of grade 11. My wife and I promised each other it would be different this year…no car rides unless the weather was brutal. The bus stop is seconds from our front door and its a single bus ride up the street and then another 3 minute walk to school and the little bit of exercise would do her good.

My younger one started at middle school this year. Up to this point, she has had it pretty good. Our backyard fronts onto the school yard of the elementary school in the neighborhood, so we have been very blessed that the walk to school has been so short. Now, she meets a buddy half way along the walk to her new school but still…its no more than 15 minutes. Again, the exercise would do her good!

So, today, like I do every morning since I have been working from home, I locked the front door as my younger daughter made her way to school and began my own work day.

As I started into my own routine, I began asking myself what our children think my wife and I do during the day when they are off at school?

When I was a kid, I rarely saw my dad in the morning since he left for the gym and then off to work at an ungodly hour. In those days, he worked out by the airport and from where we were living at the time, it was probably a 30 minute commute….nowadays you have to at least double it…depending on how early you are prepared to get up to go to work.

So, it was mom who got me up..moved me along to get dressed, ensure that I brushed my teeth and eat my breakfast as I ventured to the school a short walk from home.

I never gave much thought to how she spent her day after I headed off to school. I knew she would be home at lunch because in those days, I came home for lunch. The Flintstones from noon to 12:30 and Touché Turtle until I had to walk back or school. But, between noon and one o’clock, I knew exactly where my mom was and what she was doing.

Nowadays, with many husbands and wives/mothers and fathers working, most kids are shuffled off to daycare where they spend their time before school starts and after school ends until they get picked up by their parents.

So what happens to us parents in between? I wonder if my kids even know what we do during the day. While it is true that my kids are not little ones anymore – 16 and 12, they are also at the stage where the world revolves around themselves. They don’t really care where we are or what we are doing while they are occupied at school. They probably think that as long as we are home when they are home and so long as all that is needed to keep them satisfied and reasonably content (food) is maintained, I don’t think they really give a shit.

But I guess it is unreasonable for my kids to think about how my wife and I spend our days while they are at school. Afterall, while they are at school, they should be focused on school…right? They really shouldn’t be worried about what meeting mommy or daddy has to go to, or what report is due to the boss, or when I have to head on a road trip…out of town for the day or overnight. They don’t care about cash-flow and payday or bonuses and commissions. They don’t know anything about benefits or annual reviews or horrible things like downsizing.

My 12 year old had no clue back when she was 7-8 months old that her dad was downsized out of a job. I don’t think if I told her know she would know what that meant or really be curious to know more about what happened.

I don’t hold this against my kids. When I was young, there were some events in my dad’s professional life that my mom and dad told my sister and I about…but they were mostly positioned as “good things”…like, “Daddy is starting a new job at a new company. He is really excited about it and we thought we would share the good news with you and your sister!”. Translated…”dad got the heave-ho and fortunately found a new gig!”.

Children of parents who both work have very long days away from home. Those that are unable to get home on their own (better known as “latch-key” kids), must start their day very early and must usually stay at daycare until closer to 6 o’clock. Those who are old enough to get home on their own, must be independent enough to come into an empty house, lock the door and grab a snack and be trusted to start into their homework as soon as possible. Those who have a stay-at-home parent or a nanny are not included in this blog!

Working parents have even longer days than their children. They get up before the kids wake…get their own selves ready, get lunches prepared and then must get the kids going (dressed and fed…and out the door) and be able to get to work in time without the boss saying, “late again??”. Then they have to get the kids home, settled (a little snack to get them through), make dinner and get them into the homework routine before showering and getting them off to bed. Only then can the parents truly relax.

Whatever parents do when their kids are at school, children need to appreciate….that much I know! Parents work very hard to provide for their children. Even basic things like making sure they eat, wear clean clothes and live in a safe, warm home…are things that children should not take for granted for one second!

Despite some of the glowing news reports, we are still living in difficult times. None of us are assured or guaranteed anything.

So, if your children ever ask you what you do during the day, hold your head high and say, “I take care of you!”

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Welcome to “Beige”

We all have to do it, at one time or another.
It’s not a fun place to be. Sometimes it is for maintenance, other times it’s to hear good news and more often, it’s to hear bad news.

I visited my doctor yesterday. I had an issue I needed him to look into and the outcome was positive (just in case any of you are concerned…don’t be….I am good!)

I got to the office in the late afternoon since they could only squeeze me in at that time. Normally I am a “first appointment of the day” kind of guy. I hate having to wait if I can possibly avoid it.

Three “heavy-set” front desk receptionists were busy pounding away on their computers or on the phone, not even acknowledging me as I stepped up to the counter. I found it ironic that here I was, in a medical office, with three front desk receptionists who clearly needed to go for a power-walk at lunch. Not to be mean or anything but….

Finally, when I got the attention of one of them, I gave them my name, who I was there to see and was asked to take a seat.

The waiting room was pretty busy. I found a seat as far a way from everyone else as I could. Hell, its a doctor’s office..I have to assume that many of the people who were waiting are sick and I really didn’t feel like breathing in their sick fumes!!

Checked my Blackberry…no messages. Damn, I had nothing to do but sit, wait and look around.

The carpeted floor was stained absolutely everywhere. Lord knows what those stains were but I really didn’t want to let my mind wander that far off to start thinking about the puke, pee, snot and poo that might have landed on the carpet at some point, right there in front of me.

The chairs were uncomfortable and the magazines were from 2011. The thought of touching one of those heavily used magazines also kind of nauseated me. The germs that must have been on the hands of those people who read those magazines before me kind of grossed me out.

NO, I am not OCD nor am I a germophobe. If I can possibly avoid germs, its worth it to me.

No art on the walls. A good idea. The walls were just beige. What would be the point of putting art on the walls? Have you ever been to a doctor’s office just to look at the art? Its really not the kind of place to get your daily dose of culture.

Then, I started looking around at the table. Every walk of life, every age and every sex (well, there are only two!!).

I could see a young couple looking at a shared Blackberry screen…I bet they just found out they are expecting and are going to meet their pediatrician for the first time! Exciting. I remember those days fondly.

I saw a few older men and women, using walkers and accompanied by non-family members…probably care-givers. They had a greyish hue to their complexion and just sat looking ahead, not really saying anything to their care-givers or emoting in any way.

Then of course, the comedy relief. The little girl playing with the toys provided by the doctors office in the corner. She was saying hello to people when they walked in and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. The mother, busy on the cell phone blabbing to a friend about plans for a play date later on, was oblivious to what her daughter was up to and how incredibly adorable she was.

Then a couple with matching snowmobiling jackets walked in. He was incredibly frail and moving very slowly. He had just had surgery and had just returned home a day earlier. He had to tell all of the receptionists of how much he was hurting and did so for the whole waiting room to hear.

Thirty minutes went by (no, I didn’t arrive early, my doctor was late…again!). Finally, he came out, called me into Exam Room 2 where I sat and waited for another 15 minutes. No art in their either…but at least, there was window…and a scale (I had to check in!! Dropped 2 pounds!!)

We finally had our talk and our appointment. Got my flu shot, gave in my urine sample and was on my way.

I can’t quite decide which I hate more: the whole vibe of a doctors office or what is often talked about in a doctors office? I have been sitting in waiting rooms in the past and could hear conversations taking place in the neighboring examination room. One time I heard someone receiving what was obviously some pretty horrific news about their own health. I heard tears and it made me squirm. Here’s an idea…..insulate the walls between exam rooms!!

Fortunately, while I do have some issues….I only go to my doctor for quarterly visits. Blood is taken, I am weighed, scripts are refilled and all is good.

I know our doctors are overwhelmed and as the population grows older, there will be greater demands on the medical profession. Waiting rooms will become more cramped and probably more disgusting to sit in while waiting.

I am not certain there is anything we can do to make these places more comfortable and inviting to those people who visit them. They are what they are!

I guess the best advice is to try and not get sick.

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The Enlightened Male Enters A New Chapter?

So I have been blogging under the “Enlightened Male” name for a few years and I think I need to make a change.

When I first came up with the name back in 2010, I was in the midst of doing a review of myself and seeking help in figuring out what was happening “under the hood”.

The word “enlightened” was often used in conversation when I was with my Spiritual Psychotherapist and it resonated with me.

She always told me that I was light years ahead of the majority of the population because I gave a shit about what was important to me and focused alot on prioritizing my life instead of progressing through my life like a zombie, unaware of and unable to affect any kind of positive change for myself.

“Enlightened” to me meant that I knew something others didn’t. I had a perspective on things that others could learn from.

But am I really “enlightened” and does the blog name really reflect what it is that I write about in here? I am over 160 posts in and I am now wondering, is it time to change the name?

Besides, when I Google the name “Enlightened Male”, other things come up in the search that have nothing to do with “enlightenment”.

Sexual performance enhancers, sexual aids, condoms…that kind of thing.

Not the kinds of things I write about – not that there is anything wrong with any of those things!

I write about my family and observations about life around me. I write about things that I encounter and how they affect me. I comment on things that not everyone will agree with or believe in things that might sometimes go against the grain, but as I keep on saying, this is MY blog and I can write anything I want. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to agree with it. All you have to do is consider it.

So, I am now at this point where I need a blog makeover. However, it isn’t just about changing the header, the background image, adding new widgets or inserting an updated picture of me or my kids.

It’s all about the brand, or so I am told. While I would like to think that my name is pretty solid and once you get the nail down pronunciation, its pretty memorable. But lets face facts, it just won’t cut it.

I am reaching out to the microscopic portion of the population who read my blog with regularity. You know who you are are and you know what I am saying, you know how I am feeling…some of you even know me pretty intimately.

Help!

Once you get all the goofy and stupid name ideas out of your system, reach out to me and let me know. My wife already came up with a few doozies….but no, I am not going to use them.

Its the next chapter in my role as a blogger.

I would like to see my stats improve and I am hoping that an blog image makeover, complete with a new name, will do the trick.

I am putty in your hands.

Help!

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