Tag: anna

PART 2: That Time When I Tried To Go To Disney World For Free By Being On A TV Game Show

Welcome back to part two of my epic Just Like Mom And Dad tale!

At the end of part one, my Disney dreams had been crushed like Anna’s spirit when Elsa told her to go away while she sang “Do You Want To Build a Snowman”.  My plan of getting onto Just Like Mom And Dad, winning it, then spinning the prize wheel and landing on a trip to Disney was kiboshed, as we didn’t get picked to be on the show. At the end of the crushing call from the casting director, though, a Tinkerbell-sized glimmer of hope emerged.  B and  I were given the opportunity to be back-up contestants at a taping!

This was apparently standard procedure in the biz. They would film two episodes, so six teams of contestants. If, for whatever reason, one person got sick, or chickened out, or whatever, B and I would be on the show.

All we had to do was come “camera ready” and watch both tapings from the audience.   They’d also give us a small stipend, and feed us lunch, since we were part of the “crew.” B was disappointed, but relieved (because of his newfound flying over water fear) with not being picked. Being a back-up was fine with him, though, so we agreed to do it.

Not wanting to be caught off-guard if we got selected, B and I spent quite a bit of time grilling each other beforehand.  If the new show’s format was like the old one, then we had to know each other well. We were definitely sixth man worthy, in the chance that we had to be called in off of the bench.

 

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On the big day, we were told to arrive early, and hang out “backstage”, seperate from the contestants. Eventually, the audience members also arrived. Soon after, one of the crew let me know that the contestants were good to go for the first episode being taped. Oh well. Studio audience it was, for us.

When we entered into the studio, I was impressed. I pictured the set being 80s vintage-style, but it was actually very fancy, modern and bright.

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We weren’t allowed to take pix, but this gives you an idea of my vantage point. Photo credit: Just Like Mom And Dad

My eyes drifted towards the prize wheel, where I immediately noticed a problem.  While full of amazing prizes……one of them wasn’t a trip to Disney! There was only a Sunwing vacation listed. Since it didn’t specify where to, I just assumed Disney most likely was a destination option. #keepthedreamalive

The taping itself was surprisingly long. There were lots of gaps and re-takes, to get things looking and sounding right. The contestants were great, though. They were mostly charismatic, with outgoing personalities. I understood why my sarcastic, mumble-rapping without the rapping self didn’t get picked.

B was digging it, and told me later that he really wanted to be on the show now. I did, too, after seeing it. It looked fun. We had one more chance, for us to have a moment in the spotlight.

When the first taping was over, B and I grabbed lunch with the crew, then played the waiting game again. After the audience arrived for the next taping, I crossed my fingers that one of the contestants might bail.

No dice. Everyone was good to go.

Back to the audience for us.

Half-way through, the proceedings came to a grinding stop. One of the little girl contestants was quickly taken away! Was she sick? Did she bail? We didn’t know. All I knew was that it might happen. We might have to go on the show!

 

 

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The girl just had to go to the washroom. B and I watched from the audience when she returned, somewhat dejectedly.

When the Just Like Mom and Dad taping was over, we had to hang backstage before we could bounce, to receive our stipend. The casting director eventually brought it to us, and walked us out. She thanked us for our time. Word to Boyz II Men, because that was the end of the road for us. A free trip to Disney was not in our future.

OR WAS IT?!

 

Be sure to check out the grand finale, part three!

 

 

My Imaginary Friend Named Fingers

Today, I’d like to introduce you my imaginary friend.  This is an individual who, against all reasonable explanation, seems to be really admired by my children.

Are you ready?

OK, here he is!

 

 

 

 

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A picture of a hand?! #anticlimatic

To most people, that is just my hand. But to B and J?

It’s Fingers!

You see, one day, when B was three years old, we were watching Sesame Street. Well, B was watching, anyway. I was bored, to the point that I began to stare at my hand. I then started to think about how funny it would be if, instead of a puppet, a character was just a plain hand who talked.  And from that idiotic idea, Fingers was born.

Fingers is literally just my fingers. His voice is my normal speaking voice. He’s just a goofball.  B immediately got a kick out of it, and Fingers has come in handy (no pun intended) ever since. B would come up with all sorts of crazy, imaginative scenarios for them to do together.  He would confide in Fingers stuff that he didn’t even tell me.  Man, if B hurt himself, sometimes “Dr. Fingers” was there, to cheer him up with a silly diagnosis, or prescribe a dose of tickling (laughter really can be the best medicine!).

I assumed Fingers would only be a thing for a few weeks, and then he’d be ghosted.  However, B’s six now, and he still likes to play Fingers on car rides, when it’s just the two of us. On top of that, J’s picked up on it now, too.  Any drive that I take with her isn’t complete unless Fingers is present.

J  also doesn’t treat Fingers the same way as B does.  Whereas she still sees him as a friend, B’s evolves him to the point that he is a friendly rival.  They both come up with really far out situations, though, which require my imagination going into overdrive.

Let me give you a couple of recent, seperate examples, both occurring on drives home:

J, WITH FINGERS:

  • J asked Fingers to help build a treehouse. They decorated it, in specific detail.
  • J invited their friends over to a party. The friends were Curious George, John Cena, Princess Elsa, Princess Anna, and Swiper The Fox from Dora The Explorer (note: I had to play the roles of all of these characters, complete with ringing the doorbell, so J could ask who was there, to let them in).
  • An evil witch pretending to be a pizza delivery girl arrived (note: I was the witch).
  • Despite everyone individually warning him not to, Fingers went to get the pizza.
  • The witch turned Fingers into a pizza.
  • J used her superpowers to throw the witch into the ocean. The crocodile from Peter Pan with the ticking clock (note: yes, this was also yours truly, tick tocking away), arrived, to scare the witch off.
  • J turned Fingers back to normal.
  • Everyone watched a movie.

B, WITH FINGERS

  • B wanted to play “Basketball Fingers”.
  • They took turns picking 10 players each, to their NBA teams. B was the Golden State Warriors; Fingers was the Phoenix Suns (note: 19 of the 20 players were voiced by me. The other player was B).
  • Without listing them all,  the notable picks by B were Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, me (note: I’m not a baller!) and Will Smith, because he was the best player for Bel Air Acadamy on The Fresh Prince.
Sorry, Carlton.

Sorry, Carlton.

  • His last selection was a little boy named Ben.
  • Fingers coached, but did not play. His notable picks were Lebron James and Kevin Durant. His last pick was someone of equal skill to a little boy, in B’s mind……”the worst player on the Philadelphia 76ers”.
  • Before tip-off, B and I ran back to the locker room, to put on our magic shoes (if you’ve seen the movie Like Mike, you’d understand).
  • Fingers mocked Ben, and laughed as he missed shots before the game. Ben then went to get his ball autographed by Kevin Durant. While doing this, Durant and Ben accidentally switched basketball talents (if you’ve seen the movie Thunderstruck, you’d understand).
  • Ben was now amazing, while Durant sucked, much to Fingers’ disbelief. Fingers kicked Durant off the team. B signed him. Ben gave Durant his skills back, making him amazing again, much to Fingers’ disbelief.
  • B and I kept doing high-flying, highlight reel plays of the day.
  • B – “Pretend Fingers gets mad that we’re good, so he tells Kawhi Leonard to hurt me and he gets technical fouls, but the referee (note: a ref? Nice. Another person for me to be!) heard Fingers tell him, so he kicks Fingers out.”
  • After getting kicked out, B called Fingers’ mom (note: keep the people coming). She told him that he was in big trouble for his naughty behaviour. B and Steph Curry took Fingers home.
  • Fingers had all of his toys taken away, except for his radio. He sadly listened to B hit the game winning, buzzer-beater three point shot.

While your car rides with your kids probably involve conversations about politics or world affairs, mine involve me doing more impersonations than the cast of Saturday Night Live.

Combined.

I’m not complaining, don’t get it twisted.  Hey, I know that all weird good things come to an end. One day soon, my fingers will stop being so interesting to my kids. Then they’ll go back to being just a boring part of my hand.

Until that day comes, Fingers lives on. And all things considered, that’s pretty cool. Right, Fingers?

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Right!

 

 

 

 

Feelin’ Blue

 

 

Like a lot of people in Canada, my family has gotten sick this year. We have a bad case of…..

Toronto Blue Jays fever!

For the first time in forever (word to Elsa and Anna), the Jays are a playoff team, And, for the first time ever, my kids (B especially)  are actually into the games.  For longtime fans like K and myself, it’s been real cool getting caught up in the excitement this year.

With all the excitement comes a lot of reminiscing. Not gonna lie,  it’s got me feelin’ a bit nostalgic, too, right now. Some of my favorite memories with my family have occurred at Jays games………

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Me, B and my pimpin’ G-Unit shirt, at B’s first game.

At the very first game that we took B, too, when he was a baby, I caught my first and only foul ball!

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Well……

Caught is a bit of an exaggeration. Aaron Hill ripped a ball towards our section. It looked like it was coming straight for our heads, but it ended up  ricocheting off the seats in the empty row behind us. I immediately hopped out of my seat, to run after it. I snatched the ball up right before an older lady with a cane could get to it. Yes, that moment looked as lame as you’re probably picturing it. BUT, before the other fans could boo me, I gave it to B.

Yay me?!

Nevermind, let’s move on.

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One lazy weekend, when B was three years old, I scored a couple of primo seats to a game. They were like 10 rows up from first base. It was quite the adrenaline rush, walking down and down the steps, snacks in hand, to our seats. I imagined people in the rows farther back staring at us jealously, as we sauntered by.

The first two innings were great. We crammed our faces with food, while cheering on Toronto. By the third inning, we had run out of food/money, and B was super whiny about wanting to leave.

So, we left.

I imagined the jealous people before were now snickering, as I carried B with my head down up and up the never-ending steps. It was my first and only walk of shame. On the plus side, we did spend the remainder of the game exploring the Rogers Centre and the stuff around it so it wasn’t a total waste of a trip.

 

I decided a sequel was in order, about a year later.

Once again, I got a couple of seats last minute to a game, for B and I. Luckily for us, it was Fan Appreciation Day as well. Merchandise was heavily discounted, so I was able to get B his first real Jays jersey! I also got something for myself.

jerseys

Rickey Romero? Josh Johnson? If you’re such a big fan, why did you only hit up the clearance rack, eh, Mike?

 

 

 

 

Oh, shut up!

Anyway, during the game, they had a bunch of giveaways. You know the deal. Some random 90s dance music starts blaring, and the cheerleaders or whatever come out, with swag. Hats or shirts, typically. They tease tossing it for a bit, while you jump up and down, hoping that they’ll give it to you, before they finally end up throwing it to someone not named you. Usually a little kid. During the sixth inning,  B had been pretty good to that point, but he wanted to leave. Before we were going to go, though, it was giveaway time. One of the cheerleaders actually came down right beside us. She did the whole teasing thing for a bit while the crowd went bonkers…..and then tossed a hat to B! Our first and only swag snag! Unfortunately, it was an adult sized hat, so he couldn’t wear it. Don’t worry, I’ve put it somewhere safe.

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What? My head is safe.

 

 

 

One more for you – during our road trip to Philadelphia, it turned out that Blue Jays happened to be playing the Phillies while we were there. So, of course we got some cheap seats and went to a game!

Our view from the cheap seats

Our view from the cheap seats

For real, I was a bit nervous before going. The fam was all rocking Jays paraphernalia, you see, and I had heard some horror stories about disrespectful Philadelphia fans. Fortunately, everyone there was cool. We didn’t get pelted with beer or anything like that.

About halfway through,  B and J started to get restless. I was worried that they might start making the people around us upset, if they kept acting up. Since we would probably never go to Citizen’s Bank Park again, we decided to walk around. Randomly, K ran into one of her friends, while waiting in line for food. Her friend had also made the trip down from Hamilton, to Philly. While they chatted, I noticed a bunch of big dudes were posing for pictures on the concourse. They were all decked out in Temple University gear. I asked one of the attendants what was up. She told me they were Temple’s football team, and they had a section reserved for them. Neat!

The line for food/K’s convo were both pretty long. As B and J ran around creating general chaos we waited, I noticed all of the big dudes were gone.  The attendant came over to me again, to chit chat. I casually mentioned how we were up in the bleachers before, but the kids were stir crazy there. She then told me that Temple’s team had left, and asked if I wanted to sit in their section. No one else would be there. Uh, our own private section? Heck yeah! So off we went, which is where we watched the rest of the game!

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A view from our better seats

 

There’s more examples, but I’ve gone on about this for long enough. I think you get my point though. It just seems like, whenever we go to a Toronto Blue Jays game, there’s always something memorable about them (besides the fact that they always seem to lose when I’m in attendance. Sorry, T-Dot).

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Oh, hey there, NHL superstar Steven Stamkos.

It’s funny how some things can really bring a family together. In our case, it’s cheering on the Jays. Man, even their playoff run this season has been must-watch TV in our house!

 

Unless it's a late game, and you can't stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

Unless it’s a late game, and you can’t stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

 

It’s all good.

 

Go Jays go!

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