That seems to be happening with greater frequency the older I get. Gone are the days when to-do items were stored between my ears, and I would never forget things. Maybe it’s the information and responsibility overload that we all have to deal with, which ultimately impacts my ability to remember things. For example, it appears that I have to write down to remind myself to write a blog. Alex, I’ll take Irony for $200, please.
Over the last few months my life has been chaotic. The majority of the chaos is self-imposed, and it does leave me wondering why I do this this to myself. There’s a part of me that believes that I might be suffering from Real Estate Attention Deficit Disorder. I won’t bore you the details but suffice to say that real estate matters are all-encompassing for me today, and I’m convinced that it’s contributing to my memory issues; that and getting older.
Next to my memory issue, I’ve just realized there are plenty of other signs I’m getting older. Like certain product manufactures and entertainment providers not caring about my age demographic. Clearly Apple cares little about 53 year old males. If they did they wouldn’t make the damn font so small and the letters on the keyboard so close together. And exactly like you would treat a 15 year old Apple always want to correct my spelling when I’m writing emails. No Apple, that’s not the word I was trying to spell. For all things holy, stop torturing me and reserve that functionality for kids with acne problems.
Here’s a sign of an entertainment provider who doesn’t want my money, MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. One of the sports properties they own, the NBA Toronto Raptors, just announced recently that Drake has been hired to be their global ambassador. Question – Who the hell Is Drake? Thank you Google- it appears this Drake fellow is a hip-hop artist, and he only has one name – just like Cher, and Moses. Does MLSE believe that a 53 year old male like me, who makes a modest living, will be enticed to buy a Raptors ticket because a rap artist is their global ambassador? Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t like wearing a wide rimmed cap that looks like you should be driving a John Deer lawn mower, and baggy jeans that covers only half your ass, but enough to buy a ticket to a basketball game? To MLSE I say…word up.
Back to my memory issues, I will make a note in my calendar that a blog post is due every Friday. And I’ll get to that as soon as I find my iPhone I threw out the window.
Until next time
CheersRead More Add a Comment
It’s amazing how many thoughts can race through your mind in a matter of seconds. The images are vivid, yet vanish in seconds.
I had such an experience earlier this week. There I was, about to start a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty and my mind went racing down memory lane. For a split second, I found myself recalling the very first mortgage application I ever filled out. This was twenty five years ago. I met my first customers on a Saturday morning, but as it was my first deal as a mortgage broker, I would have gladly have met them at 3:00am. Oh, the knowledge I had back then. For example, I was aware that mortgage’s was spelled with two “g’s”. I was so wet behind the ears that I had to keep a drawer open in my desk so I could refer to an old Statement of Mortgage. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything, so I kept taking a peek at a completed Statement of Mortgage. I had to resist the urge to laugh at the memory.
In a couple of nanoseconds I also thought about the first time a fledgling national association called CIMBL made their way to British Columbia to pitch brokers on why they should become members. I was in attendance at the pitch. I remembered standing at the back of the room listening to CIMBL’s talking head, saying without embarrassment, “if you do not become members of this association lenders will not pay you a finder’s fee.” I couldn’t help but think, “you fool, you just set this new association back by three years in British Columbia”. I was wrong, it was five years. There were many other thoughts that kept running through my head, especially about CAAMP, and how far we’ve come as an association.
But I had to clear my mind and prepare for the meeting with Mr. Flaherty. Jim Murphy, CAAMP President, Daryl Harris, CAAMP Chair, and myself were given the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Finance this week. The purpose of the meeting was to share our thoughts and concerns for the mortgage broker market. Both Jim and Daryl did an outstanding job, laying out the facts in a balanced and measured way. It was our hope that the Minister of Finance would view our positioning points through the lens of consumer choice and the important contribution the mortgage broker channel makes to the Canadian economy. Jim Murphy has done yeomen’s work on behalf of our industry in Ottawa and this most recent meeting added another layer to the relationship foundation between CAAMP and the Finance Department. Kudos to both Jim and Daryl.
As for my role at the meeting? I spoke briefly about the important role that mono-line lenders, like MERIX, play in the mortgage broker channel. Most importantly, the choice we provide for Canadian borrowers. I also spoke briefly about the contribution that mono-lines make to Canadian tax role. Mono-lines provide greater choice for borrowers but they’re also job creators. I made it very clear that we ask for no favour. The mono-lines are prepared to compete but the nuances and difference between mono-lines and banks should be factored when making decisions which impacts funding for the mortgage broker channel. The Minister of Finance stated that his office would consult with our industry about all the recent changes and what our needs might be going into 2014.
One of the things I am most proud about during my time on the CAAMP Board is the relationship which has been built with Ottawa and the regulators. I wasn’t too long ago when it was difficult to get a phone call returned from the powers that be. Today, the calls are being returned and we have an opportunity to sit at the adult table. Influence cannot happen without dialogue. I believe CAAMP’s efforts are being noticed. It’s why we don’t hear the “cash grab” argument with the frequency we once did. Today, even the haters have some difficulty arguing that the nominal cost to be a member is not worth trying to protect our collective wallets.
Until next time,
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Well, not really. I think I would rather watch eight hours of Degrassi reruns in a row than go fishing. My family, friends and acquaintances who enjoy fishing are rolling their eyes right now and thinking: “this coming from a guy who spends hour after hour trying to get a little white ball to fall into a ridiculously small hole. And all the while offering profanity-laced commentary.” To that I say, whatever! My aversion to fishing is that it’s too exhausting. You’ve got to cast the line, open a beer and take a seat. Whew! I’m fatigued just thinking about it.
All kidding aside, I’m off for a family vacation for the next couple of weeks and I actually might go deep sea fishing. We’ll see. Therefore, blog posts may come sporadically or not at all over the next couple of weeks. It will all depend on whether something funny as hell happens while we’re on vacation. Which usually happens in our family.
I thought a fitting way to end the week was to comment on a recent phenomenon happening here in Ontario. Not sure if it’s making its way to other parts of the country but I hope it does. It’s about random acts of kindness and by all accounts, it appears to have started in Ottawa. For some reason it all centers around coffee. Last week a man walks into a Tim Horton’s coffee shop in Toronto and asks the cashier how much would it cost to buy 500 medium cups of coffee. The response was $825. He pulls out his wallet, plunks down $825 and says “I’m buying the next 500 cups of coffee.” He then walks out of the coffee shop without giving his name and he didn’t bother to wait for the people standing in line behind him to say thank you.
More of these stories are coming to light and I think it’s so cool. Not many can afford to drop $825 worth of coffee on total strangers but one cup of coffee every now and then? I think so. But what is really cool is how these random acts of kindness generate stories. The recipients of the free coffee will tell at least one person about what happened to them that day. How many of us can say that we did something so selfless and kind that at least 1000 people are talking about it? So I tried it this morning, on a very small scale. Every street in downtown Toronto is being dug up, resulting in brutal traffic congestion. I work at the corner of Bay and Richmond and a portion of Richmond is closed due to road work. There are two police officers monitoring the intersection and as I walked by them today I said, “gent’s, I’m just on my way to Tim’s, can I get you a coffee?” The police officers were most gracious but declined. And I walked away feeling a little better because I made the gesture and I also know that I just created 4 new stories about simple kindness.
Until next time,
CheersRead More Add a Comment
I’ve been a little tardy with my posts recently. No earth shattering reason why other than life events and other priorities taking precedent. For example, last week I spent a fair bit of time contemplating the Canadian Health Care system. I did all this “deep” thinking while visiting the hospital and spending countless hours in an emergency room. I wasn’t the patient, my brother Tom was. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version.
My brother started experiencing sharp stomach pains early last week. My brother has a high threshold for pain so when he mentioned that he was experiencing pain my radar went off immediately. The next day the pain persisted and became more pronounced. I told him to go to emergency but he said: “I’m going to give it another day because I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I’m sure it will be better tomorrow.” Tomorrow came and so did more pain. Off to the doctor he went. His family physician ordered an ultrasound, and upon review of the results, the doctor’s diagnosis was that the pain was probably caused by gas. He prescribed what amounts to nothing more than antacids. A few hours later I called my brother to see how he’s doing and he answered “not well.” I told him I didn’t give a damn what his doctor said, we had to get him to emergency immediately. He agreed and his wife took him to the hospital.
My brother got to emergency at 5:30pm and after a few hours the doctor treating him ordered another ultrasound. At midnight the doctor notified my brother that he wasn’t going anywhere. His appendix had ruptured and surgery would be required. We’re still not sure how his family physician mistook gas for a ruptured appendix, but needless to say my brother will not require his services ever again.
I couldn’t make it to the emergency room until 9:30pm that evening. To see my brother sitting there, I.V. attached to him, resting his head on the wall in an attempt to get relief, just killed me. I’m wired to fix things and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do. I was sitting next to my brother when the doctor came at midnight to tell him he wasn’t going anywhere because his appendix would have to be removed. He apologized and said he might have to sit in the waiting room until the morning because there weren’t any beds available. My mind started to race and I thought I would go home, get a reclining lawn chair from my backyard and set up a makeshift bed so he could get some comfort. To everyone’s relief a nurse came forward and said that she had a solution, bless her heart. She found a gurney for him to lay down on in one of the examination rooms.
Once my brother was comfortable, due in large part to the morphine drip, I could retreat to my own thoughts. Of all the voices in my head, the loudest one was saying, “how can a country with a standard of living such as ours, reduce health care to this?” To be absolutely clear, our doctors, nurses, technicians, support staff etc., do an amazing job. It’s the strain and the weight of the system that leaves medical practitioners no choice but to keep patients waiting hours for treatment and in some cases, left sitting in hallways to wait for a bed to become available. The responsibility for the state of our health care system today falls squarely on the shoulder of our policy makers. Politicians in our country do not have the courage to confront the sacred cow, better known as universal health care.
For the record (in the event I decide to enter into politics one day and someone claims that I once said that the sick should be left to die on the sidewalk because they couldn’t afford health care) I believe every Canadian has a fundamental right to health care, irrespective of economic standing. But I also believe it is irresponsible to continue on a path that will ultimately lead to a poorer standard of health care and ultimately bankrupt the system. It’s time for us to have an honest dialogue and dismiss those who always invoke the class warfare argument when this subject is broached.
Allowing for a multi-tiered health care system does not mean that the poor and indigent would not have free access to health care. It would mean that there would be different ways to distribute health care, thus relieving some of the pressure on government funded health care. A user pay system or some form of privatization will have to be a part of the solution. By the way, it’s creeping into our system already. For example, there are two private health care facilities within walking distance of my office. I know this because I’m a member of one. I pay an annual fee and that accords me the right to access a doctor, nutritionist, physiotherapist etc. I had to join because when I moved back to Toronto from Vancouver, I had a hard time finding a family doctor. Why? Offices were not taking new patients. So much for universal health care.
I’ll gladly pay, on top of what I already pay through taxes, for the ability to see a doctor. Being a member of a private health care facility does not mean I get bumped up in the queue for tests. In the last two years I needed to have an MRI and C-SCAN and in both cases the wait time was between 4 to 6 weeks. At my request the private facility arranged for the tests to be done in Buffalo, New York, at a cost of approximately $250 per test. I had the tests done within 48 hours. I would have gladly paid that sum for the ability to have the test done in my own country. Maybe I’m missing something but I think private clinics would lessen the burden on the government system, thus increasing the efficiency of care.
Our multi-tiered system is also made obvious when we look at how athletes receive treatment. Why is it the case that if I’m a professional hockey player in this country and I hurt my knee on a Saturday night, an MRI is done on Sunday, and the surgery is on Monday? Could the teams be paying for it directly? I wonder. Should we believe that MP’s, Cabinet Ministers, and the PM himself would wait 4 to 6 weeks for an MRI, or wait in the emergency room for 8 hours? Once again, just wondering.
The only way the system will change is if we, the majority of Canadians, force the politicians into doing something. A politician has two primary goals: getting elected and then getting re-elected. Up until now, doing nothing about the health care systems hasn’t cost them votes. There will be no change unless that changes.
Back to my brother, he’s recovering and doing well. Not back to normal but getting close. One thing about this ordeal is we learned about our father’s brush with appendicitis. It happened back in 1966. One night my dad was in excruciating pain. My mom called their family physician, in the evening no less, and the doctor did what doctors did at that time. The doctor made a house-call, took one look at the condition my dad was in and proceeded to escort him to his own car and he drove my dad to the hospital. My dad was operated on within an hour of arrival.
Until next time
CheersRead More Add a Comment
This week I experienced a momentous occasion. A birth of a child? Extraordinary company results? The solution for peace in the Middle East? No, something far more significant. The event occurred at my home golf course, Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club. I was on the seventh hole – par 3; it’s a beast of a hole. From the Gold’s it plays 207 yards. The hole is slightly elevated, the green slopes left to right, and it’s fast, bikini waxed fast. To make the hole more challenging, the greens keeper decided to place the pin front left, which meant the hole was well protected by a front side green bunker. Just evil. The wind was blowing slightly into me from left to right, which would pose a challenge for my natural ball flight of right to left, a draw in golfing vernacular. I had to choose my weapon and I decided to pull out my Adams 3 iron hybrid. The club was a Christmas gift from my little brother Tom, he’s eight years younger than me but he’ll always be my little brother. Truth of the matter is I’ve been struggling with that club. Just can’t seem to get my natural ball flight when I use that club. I wasn’t feeling overly confident when I pulled the club out of my bag. I know what you’re thinking, “so this was when one of the old codgers you were playing with suffered a massive heart attack, and there was no time to get the defibrillator, and that’s when you sprang into action, administered CPR and breathed life into the golfer who was on the verge of walking towards the bright lights of the hereafter?” Patience, grasshopper. I walked slowly to the gold tee blocks, my playing partners (one of which who’s been a member of the course for 50 years) were playing the blue tees, some fifty yards in front of the tee blocks I was playing. Therefore, I had to take the lonely walk by myself to the tee block, just me and my thoughts. Knowing full well that three sets of eyes were on me, willing me to get on with my shot so they could get on with their game. You’re probably thinking, “so this is when the momentous occasion occurred? A wild animal emerged from the woods, charged one of your playing partners and you gallantly, and bravely, interceded and fended off the wild beast?” Forbearance, dear reader. I took a deep breath and reminded myself not to over swing. I pulled the trigger and made contact with ball, and watched it make its journey towards the green. My playing partner, the 50 year member who knew every subtly of the course, says out loud ‘’this is gonna be good”. That was sweet of the older gent to be so kind. I watched the ball hit the front slope of the green, it took one hop and rolled forward about 10 feet. And then it happened, I heard the noise of the ball hitting the flag first, and then the ball disappeared. I just jarred my first ace, a hole- in-one!
There was a delayed reaction by me and my playing partners. That’s probably because you think your eyes have deceived you, and that the golf gods were playing a cruel hoax on me. But then reality sets in, and my emotional outburst was based on playing this stupid game for over 30 years, and all the frustration that comes with it. I think everyone in Southern Ontario heard me yell, ” IT’S IN”! A 207 yard par 3 hole-in-one, a manly man’s hole. My playing partners congratulated me, and the 50 year member told me that after the 9th hole I’m to go to the administration office, report my hole-in-one so that they can prepare the 50 free drink tickets the course provides for any member making an ace. I had no idea the course did this, and if the truth be told I would have gladly bought 50 drinks to celebrate. Needless to say I was pretty popular after the round. Free alcohol increases popularity levels. Everyone was very gracious and congratulated me, and some even shared with me their hole-in-one experience. I smiled and listened patiently, all the while thinking, “SILENCE, THIS IS ABOUT ME”.
I love the game of golf but alas she does not love me back. She continuously seduces me with her majestic beauty, and at times she lets me believe that I can have my way with her. The quick study I am, I’ve been falling for this for over 30 years. What made her decide to give me this one moment is beyond me. Maybe it was a reward for my faithfulness. But I fully anticipate that she’s already made plans to keep me in line. By the way, if you would like to hear more about my hole-in-one, feel free to call me. I’ll provide background music (to help set the mood) and put on my best radio voice while regaling you with every detail.
Until next time,
Cheers.Read More Add a Comment
One of the byproducts of getting older is perspective. Gone are the days of being emotionally invested in a professional sports franchise. What happens on the ice, the court, the diamond or football field will not alter my life one iota. Irrespective of what happens during a game the same responsibilities await me the next morning. I don’t get worked up over million dollar athletes who get to extend their childhoods by playing a game for a living. But I must confess that the historical meltdown by the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night brought back memories for me. It’s been a long time since I yelled at the TV, wondering if my flat screen TV was going to be functional by the end of the game.
Alas, sanity prevailed. As soon as the game came to an end I went back to being my dispassionate self as it relates to the local hockey “heroes”. I’ve long since stopped being an apologist for the Leafs. Don’t get me wrong, I go to games but I go more so for the experience. So now when people, usually those who reside in other parts of the country say to me, “Leaf suck”, my answer is, “agreed”. That usually stops the conversation. Now, there was no stopping the conversation about the Leafs colossal collapse Monday night. Leaf nation is stunned, numb and frankly I worry about some being suicidal. Everyone in Toronto is talking about the Leafs blowing a three goal lead with only ten minutes to play in the seventh and deciding game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. The analysis by the sports media is, and will continue to be, unrelenting. This is way too much fun for them. One radio station found a creative way torture Leafs fan by interviewing a statistician who calculated the probability of the Leafs winning that game from a historical context. Kid you not, the stat’s geek looked at every game seven played in the NHL since 1918 to determine the probability of the Leafs winning the game. For example, when the Leafs made it 3-1, based on history the probability of the Leafs winning was 95%, when the score was 4-1 it was 98%. I laughed out loud in the car when I heard this. This exercise was nothing more than plunging the knife a little deeper. Poor Leaf fans, maybe the team should change the saying The Passion That Unites Us All to The Therapy That Unites Us All.
The only impressive thing about the game was the press conference with Leaf coach Randy Carlyle following the game. To have to face the media and answer questions why he and his team failed so spectacularly cannot be easy. Like in business a leader’s character is measured by how they deal with adversity. A hockey coach is the leader of the team. Most teams take on the coach’s personality, and if that holds true for the Leafs it will serve the players well. Carlyle made no excuses. Someone in the media asked if the officiating worked against his team and he refused to be drawn into that debate, he simply said his team ran out of gas. He was calm, leveled headed and waited until there were no more questions to be answered. I couldn’t help but admire the dignity and accountability he exhibited under the most trying of circumstances.
So now that the Leafs have gone down in the hockey chocking history, I’ll have to change my TV viewing habits. Maybe I should start watching Dr. Phil. I suspect some Leaf fans might be making an appearance on the show.
Until next time
CheersRead More Add a Comment
And how was your weekend? Surely it wasn’t so long ago that you’ve forgotten? I heard the weather across the country was nice so I suspect some of you may have spent time outdoors getting some fresh air. That’s exactly what I would have been doing if I didn’t have to be indoors for most of the weekend. Our lad’s house league teamed played in in the GTHL Canadian Tire Hockey Tournament, which officially marked the end of his house league season. How many games he would play, (meaning how many times I would have to drive back and forth to the arena?) would depend on how many games won, and points earned during the preliminary round. Three trips…pardon me – three games guaranteed. Including a 7:00 am start on Sunday morning; which meant we had to be at the arena by 6:15am. There are only two reasons to be anywhere at that ungodly hour on a Sunday morning, catching a flight or making your tee time. Adding to the fact of the less than optimal game time, was the fact that the result of the game was irrelevant – they already qualified for the semi-final. Yeah, this was a glorified practice. Making it to the semi-final was a surprise to many of the parents, and the coaches. You can only imagine our shock and disbelief when the boys made it to the final.
Watching Mack develop as hockey player has been a real joy; this is only his third year of playing organized hockey, and he got his fill this year by playing on two teams. One is house league team and he also made the select team. That’s a lot of hockey, for the parents. The kids playing? Put them on as many teams as you want and they’ll be fine with it; Mack loves playing. Unlike some other parents, Kathy and I do not live vicariously through Mack, with the hopes that he’ll make it to the pro’s one day. His mom is his biggest cheerleader, and she lets him know, sometimes rather loudly, that she’s pulling from him. It’s funny to watch him get set for the face off, look up into the crowd, and wave to his mom. At that age being cool doesn’t supersede acknowledging your biggest fan. The boy has a wonderful sense of humour, and he’s really grounded when it comes to the game. He knows who the stars are on the team, and the role he plays. He takes the game seriously but not himself. Example, last year I tried to bribe him by saying “Mack, if you score a goal tonight I’ll take you to Tim’s and you can load up on sugar”. Upon reflection he looks at me and says, “Make it ribs”. Done! “If you score a goal tonight we’ll stop at Swiss Chalet and I’ll get you ribs, a full rack”. I kid you not ten seconds into the game he ends up on a breakaway, roofs it into the top corner. After high-fiving teammates he skates to center ice for the face-off, looks up at me into the crowd, and starts rubbing his stomach (the way you would when saying, mmmm…good). I just finished wiping the tears away from laughing so hard when he scores his second goal. Back to center ice for the face-off. He looks for me in the crowd, and when he sees me, he drops his stick and gloves and imitates someone eating ribs. I thought I was going to have to buy Depends because I couldn’t stop laughing.
Beyond the laughs I’m thankful for all the lessons Mack learned this year from hockey. The importance of working as a team, and embracing structure and discipline to achieve the ultimate goal, winning. He’s fortunate to play on teams with great head coaches. Improving skills and hockey I.Q. is important. But the life lessons learned are equally as important. It’s was disappointing to see two teams refuse to shake hands after losing to Mack and his mates. I can’t blame 11 year old’s for that. That responsibility is in the coaches hands. They should be embarrassed for what they’re teaching young and impressionable boys. Mack was fortunate to be led by men who taught them to win with grace and lose with dignity. Like the dignity they showed when the lost the championship game. They stood on blue line together and watched the other boys celebrate as they were presented the championship trophy. Not an easy thing for an 11 year old to go through but that’s life; he’ll be all the better for it.
Until next time,
Cheers.Read More Add a Comment
Heading out for March break which means a good dose of patience is required. There’s a fairly long line-up to get through U.S. customs; due in part because of the time of year and cutbacks of U.S. customers officers working at the airport. It appears the budget squabble between Democrats and Republicans will have a direct impact on Canadians traveling to the U.S. Oh goodie! An increased work load will do wonders for their overall disposition.
I write this blog just after going through the check-in and security process. Remember when traveling use to be fun? Not so much anymore. Then again there was a time when you could never conceive that a group of madmen would fly planes into buildings. Traveling changed forever after 9/11, and understandably we were all going to be impacted by the changes. Don’t know about you but I don’t get all that fussed about the added security. My only question is how effective the “added security” really is. The only thing I can hang my hat on is that no other crazy ass bastards have successfully flown a plane into other buildings. So I guess officials can make the argument that it’s not all just optics.
So if you’re flying this week you should find ways to amuse yourself as you go through checking in and clearing security. There’s plenty of people to observe and if you’re so inclined, eavesdropping. You’ll need to find ways to entertain yourself because the line up to get through security compares to the line up to get on Space Mountain, at Disney, on a good day.
Until next time,
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It’s almost over! I suspect most hockey parents share same sentiment. I’m sure the kids who play organized hockey could go on and on; their parents? Not sure how much they will miss the cold arenas and scheduling three to four nights a week to be at an arena. This was really my first year as a hockey “parent/guardian”. Our 11 year shocked us by making the select team. Combine that with his house league team, well, that’s a lot of hockey. As an example he played in tournament this weekend, and as of 7:30pm last night he played 5 games over the weekend. Yes, that’s 5 trips to arenas, lacing up and taking off skates, and listening to 11 year old dressing room chatter. A wide range of topics are discussed in the dressing rooms, from the cute girl at school to boogers. And what makes the conversation even more engrossing for me is the decibel level. My ritual, and that’s what it is at his games, is to ensure he puts on his cup the right way and then lace up his skates. Once done I grab for the Advil and look for something to wash it down with.
To be clear, no one in our household is under the illusion that our 11 year old is going to earn a hockey scholarship or make it to the pros. Our desire for him to play the game is for the camaraderie, and the life lessons the sport teaches kids. The most important lesson is that there are winners and there a losers. Defeat and failure in sports prepare kids for the “real world”. Not everyone one can win, that’s life. It was tough to walk into the dressing room this weekend and see bunch of 11 year olds in tears because they lost a heartbreaker in sudden death overtime. That game effectively ended their tournament, and they knew it. As bad as I felt for the kids I was glad they were learning a lesson. There was no” poor you” by the other dads in the dressing room. My only comment to Mack was, “don’t ever forget what this feels like, and do the best you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again”. Of course it will happen again but an 11 year old can only take so much reality.
I must confess that this hockey year taught me a few things as well. It annoyed me that Mack, our 11 year old, doesn’t love the game. Oh, he loves to play. If there’s a practice at an outdoor rink and it happens to be minus 20 outside, no problem. But he’s not consumed by the game. There are no hockey player posters on his wall. It’s a struggle to get him to watch a period of a game with me on TV. He would rather be doing other things. I just didn’t get that. When I was his age I was sports junkie, I idolized athletes. If I close my eyes I can still remember the day when my mom called me into the house and she handed me an envelope which came by mail. I was around 10 or 11 years old, and there was an envelope for me from Maple Leaf Gardens. My hero, former Toronto Maple Leaf -Dave Keon, responded to my letter and sent me an autograph picture. I raced out of the house and showed every kid on the street the picture that Dave Keon sent me, and the kids on the street were all memorized by the photo. It was a big deal. I really wanted Mack to experience the same thing. But the lesson I’ve learned its okay if he doesn’t worship athletes. As a matter of fact by not hero worshiping he’s probably saving himself some grief. Thankfully Mack never worshiped athletes like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Marlon Jones, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick, Oscar Pistorious, and sadly too many other professional athletes to mention. Athletes are human beings with frailties, and that can be difficult to explain to an 11 year old. Idolizing and hero-worshiping should be dedicated to those who truly deserve it – for example, his mom. If that’s all he gets out of playing hockey then the countless hours spent in a cold arenas will be worth it.
Until next time,
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I would like to extend a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you and your family. This is the time of year to reflect on how fortunate we are, and to spend time with family. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing over the next few weeks. It’s been an extraordinarily busy year and in some ways I wish I could invent a few extra months and add it to 2012 so I can milk it for all I can. Alas, not possible so it’s time to focus on 2013, and that’s when I’ll start blogging again.
To all of you who take the time to read my blog, I can’t tell you how humbled I am that you would do so. I hope in some small way I was able to inform, possibly entertain but more importantly connect. Thank you so much, and here’s to a great 2013.
I leave you with what I believe are two classic Christmas songs. I never get tired listening to them.Read More Add a Comment
December is upon us. It’s the time of year when all men head to the mall to get an early start on Christmas shopping (usually around December 23rd). Ah, the joys of going to Sherway Mall or Yorkadale Plaza in Toronto. Looking for a parking space, fighting the crowds in the mall and not knowing what to buy just screams peace on earth to all. It’s the time of year when stress levels rise and you say to yourself, “$%@! %$”. But I’ve decided that this year is going to be a little different.
It’s been a hell of a year for all of us. Changes to the mortgage rules and the economy contributed to a stressful year. Every time we turned around our industry was taking it on the chin from the media. But ultimately we’re responsible for our own state of mind. I’ve decided to try to something different for the rest of the year and search high and low for positive things to blog about. It may mean there will be very few blogs about the mortgage industry but so be it.
With the positive things in mind, the Paradigm/Merix Children’s Christmas party was held this past weekend. The staff who organized the party wondered if my “friend” would be willing to play the part of Santa. I said I would have to think…I mean…I would ask my “friend” if he would be interested in doing it. My “friend” has never done something like this before and I think he was a little concerned that some of the kids might have to go for therapy after the event. “Santa, why are you drinking Grey Goose vodka, and does Santa always wear Hugo Boss cologne, and Santa do you think you’re setting a bad example having an unlit cigar in your mouth”? Out of the mouth of babes.
My “friend” decided to do it and he sent me some photographs. Mrs. Clause has a striking resemblance to Kathy Gregory, and the elf looks eerily like her son Mackenzie. Sheer coincidence? My “friend’ said he had an amazing time, and the smiles on the children’s faces were worth sweating like a pig in that costume. This time of year is truly what we make of it.
Until next time,
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I think we’re all guilty of making things out to be a lot worse than they really are. It’s easy to become overwhelmed just thinking about all the responsibilities we all have in our personal and professional lives. A good dose of perspective can always shake you back to reality and remind you of what’s truly a problem and what’s nothing more than melodrama. I received a good dose perspective over the last 10 days.
It was 10 days ago when I started not to feel very well, I started experiencing chest pains. I didn’t think it was heart attack, why would a 52 year old, slightly overweight man with high cholesterol think that? To be on the safe side I went to the doctor and he put me through a battery of tests. I was right, no heart attack. The doctor wanted me to be thorough so they sent me off to get x-rays done on my chest. The next day the doctor called me and said, “Your x-ray indicated that you have a small nebular density on your lung. We believe it’s benign but we cannot rule out cancer. We’re going to arrange a CT scan on chest to get a better look, and from there we can determine what the next steps will be.”
Funny how everything changed from the moment I heard those words. (more…)Read More Add a Comment