Month: June 2015

What A Creepy Old Dude Taught Me About Fatherhood

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Since it is that time of the year where we celebrate dads, I’ve seen lots of stuff written online, about fatherhood. I figured I’d chip in with my two cents. An encounter happened a couple of weeks ago, which reinforced some valuable dad lessons.  Lemme tell you the story.

See, it started off innocent enough.  J was invited to a birthday party, for one of the girls in her dance class, along with the other kids in the class.  Because J’s only three years old, it wasn’t one of those parties where we could drop her off and come back later to pick her up. We had to stick around for it.  As such, K agreed to take her. This was all good, on my end, too. The idea of spending an afternoon mingling with strangers and dance moms who I barely knew wasn’t super appealing to me. #sociallyawkward

So, of course you know what happened.

Because of something which came up last minute, K could no longer make it to the  party. J was really stoked to go, however. Not wanting to let her down,  I agreed to go, instead.

The girl’s parents were having the party at their house, so I plugged the address that was on the invitation into my GPS, and off we went.  Here’s the thing, though, which I discovered after the fact – in Hamilton, there is more than one of that address. For the sake of protecting the innocent, let’s say the address was 123 Sesame Street. In Hamilton, there’s 123 Sesame Street East, 123 Sesame Street West, 123 Old Sesame Street, and 123 Sesame Street in a town near Hamilton that isn’t Hamilton, but is considered Hamilton on maps.

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Makes sense, don’t it?

We eventually arrived at our destination, per the GPS.  I immediately thought something didn’t seem right, but stupidly ignored all of the warning signs.  First, there were no cars in the driveway. I brushed that off, though, as people parking in the strip mall lot, across the street. Second, I didn’t see a bouncy castle in the backyard, and there was supposed to have been one. I brushed this off, too, as the weather being iffy, so maybe they moved everything indoors. Thirdly, the house was dark. In another moment of brilliance, I blew this off as the party probably being held in the basement.  Despite these red flags, I parked across the street, got J out of her car seat, grabbed the present that we bought, and strolled up to the house.

The walkway had a bunch of weathered looking plants along it. The whole place was eerily silent and had a Bates Motel vibe. When we got to the door, I scooped J up in one arm, and rang the doorbell with my other hand.  After a few seconds (which felt like 10 minutes), an older hobbled man emerged, and opened the door slightly. He must have been in his 70s. He kind of resembled Paul Newman.  He glared out at me, so I said in a meek voice “Hi! We are here for the party?”

Upon hearing this, his demeanour immediately changed. He straightened up, smiled, and pushed the door open. “Come on in”, he said. He started to wave his arms, to invite us in.

Woohoo!  Guess I was in the right place after all. What a relief!

Before entering, I asked him if anyone else was there. He shook his head. I then asked if he knew who Ellie (the birthday girl) was.  “No”, he calmly replied.

Aw, snap!

This was not the right place! Even worse, we were about to be the guests of honour at this guy’s impromptu party! I quickly told him that we had the wrong address and scurried off.  As we ran, I turned around, to see if had gone back inside. He was still in his doorway, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Or Hannibal Lecter. Maybe he was thinking about what else he could have with his fava beans and chianti. I don’t know. I don’t ever want to know.

I hear these are good with liver.

I hear these are good with liver.

Anyway, it turned out that my GPS was incorrect (it didn’t tell me how to get to Sesame Street).  I made a quick call to the birthday girl’s parents, to get the real directions to their house. We made it there not long after. To top if off, J and I both had a good time at the party.

Looking back on that day, I realize now that there are some lessons to take from it, as it pertains to fatherhood.  For one, even though we won’t always like the things that our kids do, we still need to suck it up, and support them, regardless.  Also, when it comes navigating anything (directions, your kids through their lives etc), sometimes you’re going to make some wrong turns. Don’t sweat it; what you do after you make those wrong turns is really all that matters.  Most importantly, we owe it to our lil ones to always protect them. When a creepy old dude tells you and your kid/kids to come on in, never come on in.

Happy Father’s Day, y’all!

 

 

 

Giveaway/Review – Medieval Times Toronto!

Recently,  Medieval Times Toronto hooked me up with some tickets, to come check out their castle with my family. Here’s my  honest review of the experience.

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Now, I’m not going to front, I had heard of Medieval Times before, and I had seen commercials for it, but I honestly had no idea what it was all about. I kind of thought that it would be like The Princess Bride, with people saying ‘inconceivable’ a lot. Despite my poor attempts to explain it, my kids were pretty stoked to go, though. B wanted to see some knights kick some bad guys’ butts, and J wanted to stuff her face and watch the horsies.

We were advised to arrive early, so we showed up an hour before our showtime. The first thing you notice, when you step through the doors, is that all of the staff are in character. It was pretty cool being called ‘my lord’ by everyone that I talked to. A guy could get used to that, in everyday life.  Anyway, the other thing you notice is that this really was a kid-friendly place. There were tons small children running around, who looked to be five years old or younger, like B and J.

Because we were so early, we had some time to check out the castle.

K and I bought some light-up swords for the kids, from the gift shop!

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B saw a falcon up close!

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While B and J didn’t really appreciate it, K and I got a kick out of the dungeon, with all of the old torture devices on display!

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And we even posed for a family picture, with the princess!

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Note: The actual family picture came out pretty ghastly, despite everyone’s best efforts. You don’t want to see it. Imagine one happy princess surrounded by one disinterested kid, one miserable kid, and two fake smiling parents who look like extras in Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video. Just terrible. Don’t worry.  I’m sure you’d have better luck getting a nice shot than we did.

Eventually, it was showtime, and we made our way to our seats. Front row center, in the red and yellow section. Upon arrival, we were greeted by our server, err, I mean, serf. Throughout the evening, he did an awesome job in keeping the drinks and food flowing. The four course dinner consisted of garlic bread, tomato bisque, roasted potato, cob of corn, a big piece of oven-roasted chicken (or, as the serf told B, much to his disgust, dragon meat), and a butter tart for dessert. All of  this was eaten like in medieval times – with your bare hands (if those hands happen to be little, though, like B and J’s, cutlery is available!). The food was tasty and filling.  Both kids ate a decent amount, and I was happy to see our serf come by, unsolicted, with takeout containers at the end of the meal, for leftovers.

Now the show itself. Without getting into all of the details, let’s just say that it is pretty entertaining. The arena is broken up by colours, and each colour has a knight to represent them. As an added touch, on the way in, all of us peasants were given a paper crown to rock, with the colour of it corresponding to the section we were in.

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Our knight, holding things down for our section.

Throughout the evening, the knights engaged in different competitions. Many were on horseback, but the final fights were on foot. B and had a blast cheering on the knight reppin’ our section, red and yellow. J, as expected, had a blast watching the horsies.

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With all of the cheering, music and flashing lights, the atmosphere was crazy. Just a lively, raucous environment, especially during the final battles.

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FINISH HIM!

In between the competitions, there were other aspects of the show, too, like a story involving some bad dude who wanted to capture the princess, as well as a performance from the Royal Falconer (the breeze of the falcon whizzing past my head knocked my crown off!).  Because of how well the show was paced, B and J were riveted the whole time. This kept the usual bickering/complaining/silliness to a minimum, which was rare and awesome. Much to their delight, too, our knight was the overall winner!

All in all, the evening was a success. Before the show was even over,  B and J were both asking  us when we were coming back! The four of us had a lot of fun, and the time flew by. For not knowing much about Medieval Times going into it, I was very impressed. For what it’s worth, I recommend it as something for families of all ages to check out sometime, if you’ve never been before.

One other highlight of the evening was when the red and yellow knight was throwing flowers into the audience. You know when you go to a sporting event, and during a break, they do a t-shirt toss giveaway? Everyone in the crowd jump ups and yells for a t-shirt, but it never actually gets tossed to you? It was like that…….except B and J actually got tossed a flower! They agreed to share it, of course.

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Flower power!

Speaking of giveaways, one lucky reader is going to get hooked up, too. Medieval Times Toronto is going to give one of you four general admission tickets! Enter below.

DATES –  Giveaway closes at 11:00PM on June 30, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY – Open to all residents of Canada, except for Quebec. Tickets are valid until September 1, 2015.

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