Saturday, May 28, 2011

Surprise Brithday for the Wife

This month the wife turned 40.

I decided to throw a surprise party for her. Actually, I have been planning it for over a year and was going to do it last year.

The wife is very suspicious. Any change in routine sets off her spider sense. Once that is going, she starts paying attention to other things and builds up to figuring what you are up to. As an example, if she is on the couch watching TV I might ask her if she wants something to drink. Her reply will most often be, "Yes, but you are not getting any tonight." I, of course, reply with righteous indignation. However, she would be correct as to my motives.

Suffice it to say, for a variety of reasons, she is very attuned to any changes in behaviour or activity. You can see that presented real challenges to pulling off a surprise party.

I thought about doing the surprise for her 39th, but that seemed sort of lame. So I started the planning last year. The party itself was very easy, BBQ in the backyard and invite all her friends. The hard part was keeping it secret.

To pull off the surprise I used a combination of secrecy and misdirection.

The first part was to say nothing to K. I forbid those who were helping me from saying the P word (party) in her presence. We had a family only party before the surprise party, and K gave away some of that. The wife even asked K some questions, trying to get information out of her. Luckily, K did not know anything and 4 year-olds have a problem with linear time. The wife told me later that when she hit up K for info, she said something about a party, but started giving her info about the family party, as if it was still to happen.

To help keep the surprise, all communication was done by email. I forbid anyone from calling me on the phone. Our phone saves all received calls, so I started deleting those on a regular basis, a few months prior, to build up a pattern. During the day as I surf the web, I usually keep my browser open and she often uses my login to surf when she comes home. I was sure I would forget and she would see my hotmail open with "Re: Surprise 40th birthday party" on an email header. I had to password protect my login. I thought this might be enough to set her on the trail, but I had a few things going for me. I had kept a password on my login before, and, just before I was going to put up the password, K got onto the laptop and closed all my tabs on a bunch of stuff I was reading. I made a big deal about this and then put on the password.

The misdirection was the most important part of the plan. She put on a surprise for my 40th, so no matter what, she was going to expect me to do the same. My plan was twofold. Have a family, low key party and rely on my reputation as a lazy, insensitive husband.

Her actual birthday was a week before the surprise. She had asked me to go to a dance with her the night before. She is always appreciative when I attend these functions, so that, plus a spa day I gave her (the thing to get her out of the house on the day) should be enough as a present. I got a friend of hers to go with her (to keep her under control), but even that raised suspicion. I had to coordinate with her to ensure we had our story straight, as the wife was sure to ask her. The story was I happened to bump into this friend and had mentioned to her that I had got the wife a spa day. The friend had then said that she had been wanting to go to a spa and would go with her. Again, as luck would have it, I actually bumped into her friend before this was to happen (although the story was already coordinated by email). One cannot just mention this to the wife. If you just start to tell her stuff, she will get suspicious as to why you are giving out this information. Luckily, I had K with me. One of my routines is to have K tell mommy what we did today. This was a great opportunity to get the information out that we had seen this friend and set up the plausible reason as to why she was going with the wife.

A funny bit to this saga, the friend who was to take her to the spa invited her for one of these Tupperware type parties (but it is not Tupperware, its something else that I cannot remember). The wife thought that this might be the surprise. She must have been so disappointed going into the party.

In conclusion, the surprise was a success. I think the wife is a bit upset that she was not able to figure it out. She prides herself on detecting these things. When I asked her if she was surprised, she played it down a bit, but I know I got her. She just doesn't want to admit it.

Future surprise notes: One may not wish to use a spa day where they get a deep tissue massage, to keep the surprisee away from the party. They tend to look tired and underwhelmed. Not the best way to act when you have 20+ people at your house.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not A Good Dad

I don't like the kind of father I am turning out to be.

K asks a lot of questions, makes a lot of demands and statements, as any four year old will do. I seem to get exasperated with her very easily. When I am doing something I tend to focus on it to the exclusion of everything else and any disruption or interruption is unwelcome. It forces me to change my focus. It is never a problem with adults, but K will fire off a constant stream of statements, usually when I am having difficulty dealing with her sister. I cannot keep the exasperation out of my voice when I answer " Yes, K".

I find that adults tends to think kids understand less than they do. K is smart, I think she already knows that her dad's answer really means that he does not want to talk to her right now. That is not how I want my relationship with my daughter to be.

J is sick, she has a viral infection. Infections and colds are dangerous for her. Because she cannot move around, the usual was of clearing ones lungs are difficult. Most children in her situation die of pneumonia or something related to it.

When she is sick I get worried and stressed. Last night I was holding her for 30 minutes while her body spasmed with coughing, as we tried to get the stuff out of her lungs. During these times, my worry is at its peak, as I deal with the feelings of helplessness, guilt for not doing enough and the what ifs. Of course, it is during this time that K will come up to me and demand juice or tell me that Santa's elves are very talented. Wrapped up in my own worry and doubt, I cannot keep the exasperation out of my voice.

I am pushing her away with my tone. Someday soon she will realize it, if she has not already.

How can I change these feelings? Will I lose both of my children, one to early death, the other to her father's rudeness?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Introducing the Fire Sharks

We signed up K, who is now 4 years old, for soccer this year with the local association. I got wrangled into being the coach. I played soccer up until University and am familiar with the game. take anyone's job I signed up to be an assistant coach. soon after they called me up desprately asking me to be the head coach. At the U6 level, the coach is really the guy who brings the equipment and collects the jersey security cheques from the parents.

However, one of the key things you have to do is pick a team name. The association sets your team name like NASCAR, so everyone is Team (last name of the coach). It's not like I paid for the team, so I don't think naming it after me is appropriate. I decided we would let the kids decide, so before our second game we had a vote.

Due to me being the last one to pick up our jerseys, we got silver as our colour. I liked the name the Silverbacks, but another good suggestion from one of the players was the sharks. Unfortunately, by the second game he had entirely forgotten about his suggestion and wanted to be called the fire hawks.

We put it up to a vote, and, of course, my attempt to dodge any responsibility for the name failed as three voted for fire hawks and three for sharks.

Coaches command decision: Fire Sharks.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Adventures in Beekeeping - Prelude

We have decided to take up Beekeeping as a hobby.

When we moved out of the city, part of our reasoning was to have a bit of a hobby farm. We wanted to have a dog but I don't beleive in having one unless you have lots of room. Also, being more independent, living off the grid, all those things appealed to me. So anything that helps prepare for the Zombie Apocalyse is of interest to me.

Why Bees? Unfortunately, the left wing wife is a bit squemish when it comes to the harvesting part of farming. I am no expert (we both grew up in the suburbs), but the point rasing your own food is to eat it. The wife wants to have all kinds of animals but she refuses to eat them. I am not having a herd of cows or sheep just to watch them die of old age. That is a pretty expensive (and tasty) herd of pets. We are not so rich that we can afford to feed all these animals and not get anything back. We already have two children, I am not adding more unproductive animals to the mix.

So why bees? They are a compromise. They are relativley cheap (I spent less than $500 for everything needed to get started) and it is not such a big deal if I screw up and kill them all. They need some care, but not as much as many animals, and if you neglect them the most likely result is no honey, as opposed to a stinking cow carcass.

And if we get our place designated as a hobby farm, I can cut my property taxes by half.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Posting Again

I am going to start posting again. Things have been busy around here. With the kids growing up and various new hobbies we are pursuing, there might be stuff worth posting.

This blog will focus on the following (in no particular order):

Deal with the left wing wife
Dealing with the kids
Taking care of a severely handicapped child
Country life around our 20 acres
Beekeeping (just started it yesterday)

So expect a wide variety of stuff with a focus on the lighter side.

If anything I post interests or informs you, great. If not, too bad.

It really is more about me, not you.