Friday, November 19, 2010

My dad loved big cars. Thunderbird, Buick Riviera, Mercury Cougar.
He owned a couple of these monsters and we also had a plymouth caravelle (diplomat). I loved looking through the little back window and sticking my head out either of the windows. Remember... No seatbelts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My father worked as a building superindendent for a few years and owned a  cleaning company for several more. Due to these jobs he spent an lot of time in them, using them, moving heavy equipment in them, understanding how they work and with all that time in them... getting stuck as well. It's this experience that he passed along to me. I remember him telling me that whenever he got stuck in an elevator he would pry the doors open and climb out to the closest floor.

It's due to this advice that I've been able to not have to wait for building security to open the elevator doors for me. I've been stuck 3 times so far and each time I've been able to open the doors and get out. Twice I was alone and the third time I asked the group if it was OK to do so. For some reason they didn't seem to mind. The trickiest part is to get a good grip on the door which can sometimes be difficult, especially with those shiny stainless steel doors. Pressing hard enough while pulling the door open with your fingertips just enough to slip your fingers into the opening and from there you can pull the door open.

Thanks for the advice dad

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's not KFC

Had the double down a couple of days ago. Not bad. Great chicken breast but a bit salty for my taste and not sure I'd pay $8 for it again. Besides... Nothing beats the original recipe and format.

Also... We're talking Kentucky Fried Chicken, not KFC. Taking the direct reference to fried in the title doesn't make it healthy. Loved the 3 piece meal which used to be accompanied by the standard fries. They got rid of these and replaced them with ones that had a weird crispy batter around it. I didn't think they could make fries less healthy but I guess it holds the grease better. Then I always had the nuclear green coleslaw with it and even though I love it, you can't convince me that that is a naturally occuring colour. There was also the garlic bread. I always enjoyed this part of it. Simple and good. It's something I really miss that I wish they would bring back.

It was really all part of the packaging. From the red/orange, white and black colours on the box to the lemon scented wet wipes they included with the cutlery, pack which also had a fork, knife, spoon, salt, pepper and napkin. Now you're lucky to get a fork and the wet wipe. I'm sure it gives shareholders an extra $0.01/dividend by taking all those things out of the pack.

One of the reasons I think this is etched so deep into my memory is because it was part of a family tradition. On sunny Sundays we used to go and pick up a bucket from the KFC on the corner, which is still there, and go to the park to have a picnic. It was a time where we would invite relatives along to enjoy the day and soak up the sun.

It's strange how something like Kentucky Fried Chicken can be associated with a family tradition but I'm sure this is something that most companies would kill to achieve

Here's a piggy bank my grandfather had that I found a picture of on ebay. I always thought it was neat. Looking at a sanpshot of it now though, it looks kinda creepy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seat Belts?

We don't need no stinkin' seat belts. When I was young the province of Ontario in Canada didn't have any seat belt requirements for kids, let alone the use of booster seats. What the heck was a booster seat. When I was growing up the seat of choice wasn't a seat. It was standing up behind the driver, typically my dad, grabbing onto the headrest like it was a second steering wheel. Man that was nuts, but did we ever have fun as kids in the back of the car. 

My best friend's dad had a station wagon which took the fun to a whole other level. We would pile into the trunk area of the station wagon and basically have a party back there. His parents didn't mind too much since there was an extra row of seats between them and the chaos.

Was it dangerous? I guess. But we really weren't as paranoid about safety as we are today. I thought my dad was fairly lax when it came to seat belts. I'm thinking this family's safety wasn't top of mind either.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pressure Points

It seems that my dad had a knack of finding which points on my body would lead directly to a nerve. Pinching the nape of your neck if me or my cousin were acting up was one of his favorites. He was very strong and had powerful hands but he knew how to use his strength and never abused it with us.

That's how you get respect. You have the power but you choose not to use it.

Another one he liked to have fun with was the hand shake grind. With my little hand in his he would place his thumb on my index finger knuckle and his third finger (his hand was a lot bigger than my 6 year old hand) on the knuckle of my pinkie finger. He would then proceed to move his fingers back and forth causing my knuckles to grind against each other. Man, that was painful but he was definitely holding back. The bizarre thing was that while I was looking for information regarding this for the blog I found quite a number of websites dedicated to discussing this. I even found a counter technique... Point your index finger toward the other persons wrist and it's supposed to prevent the knuckles from rubbing over each other. Ah, where was the internet when I was young?

Then there's the one we both enjoyed. He'd grab the muscles on either side just above my knee and squeeze, REPEATEDLY. It really tickled. I begged him to stop and he would, eventually. Sometimes he tickled me till I cried because I was laughing so hard. I think that, because of this, I now have an immunity to being tickled.

Now that I'm a parent I can somewhat understand the twisted pleasure of doing the tickling thing. Not only that but I will pass down the wisdom of the ages to the next generation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Risky Business

This was the Finn Leonhardt. It had it's own built in crane system so it could unload containers in the ports that were less equiped and didn't have the facilities to unload regular ships. This allowed them to go to the more out of the way, exotic ports. This was also the last ship dad worked on before he went back to school. Why did he decide to go back to school... Not for the main reasons you might think.

They had been at sea for some time and were trying to avoid a fairly rough storm by trying to steer around it. On the radar, the captain could see that the storm was growing bigger and gaining speed. Realizing that they couldn't out run the storm he needed to prepare the boat for the big waves and he sent a few men down to the cargo hold to make sure all the cargo was firmly tied down. "Batten down the hatches".

My father was one of the men that went down there and as he was securing the containers the waves had begun to pick up. The storm was gaining on them and they didn't have much time before they were right in the middle of it. The waves started getting bigger and bigger. Then finally a huge wave hit the ship. The containers, these are 20 foot long, 10 feet wide and 10 feet high containers, ended up flying around like cardboard boxes and almost came crashing down on my dad.

It was at this point, this near death experience, that made my father rethink his priorities. Having been recently married and with a child on the way he thought it might be best to stay close to home.

Even though there was phenomenal money to be made at the time and he truly enjoyed his life on the ship, he decided that his family needed him more.