This is as philospophical as I get on a Sunday.

The words you are about to read were originally written for my second book but since a lack of cohesion was one of the major downfalls of my first tome, I’ve decided to share them here.

Truthfully, I don’t think the public wants to read about my family history, although I will be including the events of this summer. My summer on the sidelines has proven more challenging than I could ever have imagined; hopefully the world will share my fascination with my identity crisis. I’ll guess we’ll see – assuming I ever finish Book Two, that is.

But enough about me. As you’re about to see, my personal crisis is nothing compared to the challenges my forebears had to endure…

What’s Past is Present

 The creator of my creator left this world long ago. I still see her face in fevered dreams and deep  meditative slumber. She calls to me. I cannot make sense of the words, but I pay my failure little mind. After all, her greatest lessons have already been imparted.

“We came to Canada for a new start. We weren’t alone.” – Grandma Dzieyzk.

How many real conversations have you had with your grandmother?

To clarify, I’m not referring to discussions about whether or not her eggs were runny or if that sweater she bought you for Christmas itches. I’m talking about conversations that touch on life’s BIG moments, the events that shape a person’s life irrevocably.

I’m going to guess the answer, for most of us at least, is a resounding “no”, and that’s a shame, it really is. For most of us grandma and grandpa are people we visit against our will after our parents have either bribed us or tranquilized us and dragged us to the car on Sundays and holidays when we’re children, and in nursing homes or hospitals when we’re older. Our most powerful memories most often stem from the events surrounding their passing.

For me, though, the most significant memory of my grandparents, the one that has defined their role in my adult life, is one that doesn’t involve a special day or an expensive gift. No, when I think of my grandparents, I think of the courage they displayed one fateful summer day in Brantford, Ontario.

The broad strokes were all that my grandmother chose to share with me one particular afternoon as we drove across the city streets of Niagara Falls following one of our many shopping trips together. We had an unspoken agreement: I’d walk into her apartment and before my coat left my frame she’d turn on a burner or two and before  I knew it, a plate of food sat on a TV tray before me. We’d watch The Price is Right or some other program in silence – grandma only spoke when she had something worth saying, a quality in short supply these days – and then we’d grab our coats and head out to a grocery store or ten. Grandma would cook. I’d eat. Then we’d shop. That was the deal.

As she spoke that day, the writer in me itched to press her for details, but the young man she helped raise knew better. Revisiting those days was comparable to slicing one’s wrist and being unable to stop the bleeding. And so she spoke in a quiet measured tone and I listened. That was another of our unspoken agreements.

******************

It was shortly after the war ended and my grandparents settled in Brantford, a city in southern Ontario, which is connected to Woodstock in the west and Hamilton in the east. Or so the official description reads. The truth is, the entire country of Germany represented heart-wrenching loss and this quiet little Canadian city represented victory. And so Ellie and Boleslaw joined many of their countrymen and women in the search for a new life in Canada.

But the past followed them.

It was a beautiful summer day. The Good Guys had won the war and the Bad Guys had all been pushed back behind their borders, imprisoned or blown to bits on the battlefield.

The Second World War was over and sun shone upon clean, unclogged streets that were free of noisy, noxious chemical-spewing-automobiles. The skies were virtually pollution-free. Citizens, who were immaculately dressed in suits and dresses regardless of their vocations, warmly greeted one another on the street. 

No one had heard of twerking, tweeting, or the paparazzi. In many ways, it was a golden age of humanity.

A small group of Eastern European citizens had gathered in a bar in an area of town populated largely by their own kind. They stuck together to ensure a sense of continuity. The men shot pool and chatted about whatever Eastern European men chatted about back then (I know it wasn’t sports, and so I’m guessing it involved oxen), as the women discussed the latest technological advancements in kitchen appliances.

I know the feminists reading this are seething with rage right now, but please don’t judge me too harshly; I know my grandmother well enough to know she wasn’t discussing the post-war socioeconomic climate of Canadian society. She had just survived a world war that unleashed horrors she could never had imagined in her darkest nightmares. Trust me, she was embracing the mundane.

After enduring untold horrors born of the dark minds of men. Normalcy was a precious commodity to these people. 

They fought for it. They bled for it. Millions of their countrymen died for it. Many of them risked their sanity, their very humanity to ensure they would live to see a day when they could return to the everyday business of life in a free, sane society.

But everything they had fought for was jeopardized when a lone figure strode into that tavern with all the flourish of a king. To the untrained eye he was a gentleman; his suit was tailored, his hair was perfectly styled, his manner and demeanor reflected that of a member of a civilized society. As he gazed across the crowded room, his eyes met with each occupant.

And the world froze.

Any and all laughter and conversation ceased. The street din outside faded. The music died in the air. The mechanical whir of ceiling fans paused. He had total control of the room and the complete attention of everyone in it.

And he relished every moment.

A short time earlier, a lifetime to some, he was a high-ranking SS officer who many in the room knew far too well. He used fear to command a false sense of respect from any and all who encountered him. Much has been written about the Holocaust and the near-extinction of the Jews to maintain the “purity and strength” of the Aryan race, but as the grandson of a German immigrant I feel a responsibility to never forget that the first race the Nazis conquered was their own.

“He was the kind of man you never forget,” was all the insight to his nature that my grandmother offered, “but he wasn’t a man at all.”

Improbably, he had evaded capture and made his way into Canada. Now he was standing in what he should have considered the lions’ den. Inconceivably, he was deluded enough to believe the old rules applied, that he could walk amongst the still-frightened sheep unmolested and untouched.

And that was just what he did. Several of the men rose up, prepared to launch savage attacks against him, but the presence of their wives kept them in check, or so my grandmother said. Unchallenged, he circled the room as every pair of eyes traced his movements.

No words escaped his venomous lips.

They would have been unnecessary.

His presence alone spoke volumes. The message was as clear as the morning sky:

“I survived. I’m here. And there is nothing you can do about it.”

His message delivered, he moved for the doors and as they parted he delivered a stinging valediction, “See you tomorrow.”

This is where family lore is cleaved asunder, spinning off into two distinct directions. According to my mother, the keeper of the family faith, “Your grandfather made some calls and an investigation was started. The authorities took over and that was that.”

And so ends her version.

My grandmother, however, related a vastly different ending as we rounded a corner that day.

“But there was no tomorrow,” she said, her head dipping slightly as she stared out the window, her gaze fixed directly into the past, “at least not for him.”

As much I loved my grandmother, her ambiguity nullified our agreement in my eyes, and so I pressed her for details. After a few moments of tense silence, she delivered.

“The men, your grandfather and a few others, went out after super. They found him that night.” she recounted. 

“And they killed him.”

Her words hung in the air for a moment, before surrendering to their own weight. The sounds of the road and the quiet drone of my cheap car stereo dominated; if there were words that fit this situation, they eluded me.

At the beginning of my tale I alluded to my grandparents courage, this is where it comes into play. I realize murder is not considered a courageous act to most, but try, as I did that day, to imagine yourself in the following scenario:

**************

You’ve survived a global conflict that played itself out in the very city streets and countryside you played in as a child. It began, as these things often do, with a series of small, unassuming events. Local elections, rallies and parades that stirred the hearts and minds of a tired, desperate population looking for someone to blame for their troubles.

But those events sparked moments of blinding hate and rage in virtually everyone around you and before you know it, you’ve been told it is the God-given right of your people to rule the world.

And then your world explodes into violence and mayhem. You watch in quiet horror as an entire race of people are herded into the streets and asked a single question, upon which their very lives hang in the balance, “Are you a Jew?” For some the answer led to a bullet in the foot. Or the head. 

Those that survived this initial culling were herded into boxcars and taken away, their fate unknown to you. But you push such thoughts aside, allowing racial resentment and jealousy to rule the day.

You and your friends become rebels, a ragtag group of armed soldiers who answer to no one. This freedom inspires false bravado and so you become reckless and irresponsible. Time loses all meaning as the days bleed together and before you know it, your friends are lying dead in the streets, their bodies aflame, as soldiers laugh and people silently sob.

You watch your sister as she is beaten and raped by Russian soldiers. Her cries for help from a seemingly-heartless God echo in your mind every single day of your life. This is only one of several mental and physical scars that will haunt you for the remainder of your days. Indeed, your greatest secret is that ghosts exist and are present in every crowd, around every corner.

Finally, reason prevails and peace returns, but chaos reigns and you’re thrown behind barb wire like an animal. The people who slam the gates shut are haled as “liberators” and “heroes”. Somehow you manage to find a kindred spirit in a foreign soul and love blooms like a lone flower on a blood stained battlefield.

You leave everything you’ve ever known behind and settle in a country whose people still view you as the enemy. But a community of your fellow displaced countrymen is quickly formed and hope rises from the ashes.

Then a man walks into a place where you all come together, a place that represents the few precious memories that remain of the past. He mocks the freedom you fought so hard to regain. And he promises to do so the very next day. And every day after that.

What would you do next?

Would you trust the authorities of a land that is still very much unknown to you to dispense justice? Or would you take matters into your own hands, risking your newfound freedom in the process? Writing this chapter has reignited several nagging questions that have scratched away at my subconscious for years now.

“How exactly did it all play out? Was there a savage struggle between a group of victims turned executioners, or did the hunter, after seeing the fear, desperation and crimson rage in his former prey’s eyes, surrender to his fate? What does the act of murder actually require of a human being; does one have to summon darkness from deep within or is it always simmering just below the surface, ready to be released in an instant?

My grandfather and his friends had just emerged from a world war where death was commonplace. But the war was over and this wasn’t a battlefield. Nevertheless, they took a life. And that act is at the heart of my final question: After embracing the darkness fully, how does someone step back into the light?

In my grandfather’s case it simply wasn’t possible.

I refuse to judge my grandparents’ actions that day. The world they were living in at that time was a different place. People took words like “truth” and “justice” to heart. Today we look the other way all to often when it comes to injustice. We need laws to keep our society from spiraling into anarchy but without justice we truly are lost.

Sometimes you can’t look away, because wherever you look, the truth is staring back at you. My grandparents’ lives, dark days and all, serve as the moral compass that guides me through my life as a husband, father and a bellman. (When faced with a particularly  challenging guest, I always think “Grandpa wouldn’t hesitate to put this guy in his place, why should I?”)

So there you have it, the past dies and is resurrected as the present. The present dies and is resurrected as the future. The future dies and is reborn as the past. That’s symmetry, kids. I hate symmetry.

But I loved my grandparents and all they stood for.

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Family Time: My Daughter Is A Genius.

Of course, many geniuses become mad scientists…

A Living Room Conversation Between Father And Daughter

My 15-year-old:  Hey, Skippy?

Skippy (That’d be me.):  (Sighing.)  If you need money, you’ve picked the wrong summer.

Sarah:  No kidding! I have more money than you do this year – and I don’t even have a job! I have a question.

Me:  In that case, what can I do for you, kid?

Sarah:  The word “extraordinary”, what exactly does it mean?

Me:  Let’s put it this way, your mother never uses it when she speaks of me.

Sarah:  So it means above average?

Me:  Yep.

Sarah:  But when you break it down, it actually means “extra ordinary”. So shouldn’t it actually mean twice as ordinary?

Me:  (Pondering just where the kid’s genius sprang from.)  Well, when you put it that way… yes. But according to every teacher you’ll ever deal with… it doesn’t.

Sarah:  How do you like that? For once I didn’t have to leave the room to find Mom while you sat there with a strange look on your face. Good going, Skippy!

Me:  You do realize I’ll be mobile again someday, don’t you?

Sarah:  You don’t scare me, Skippy.

Me:  I know where you sleep and I stay up later, kid.

Sarah:  Good luck. By the way, I read your book again last night.

Me:  Oh yeah?

Sarah:  Yeah. It was extraordinary.

In that moment I realized how razor thin the line between pride and revulsion is…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

I’m On The Mend, But I Still Suck At Titles.

A collection of magazines and puzzle books. Tasty confections. Toy cars. A kazoo. Jumbo playing cards. (They maybe mutant playing cards, which would be super cool.) Pencil crayons and modelling clay. Trail mix. Assorted goodies. And lest I forget, a harmonica which I’m expected to master this summer. (Lord knows I’ll have the time.)

They arrived by courier early this morning as I sat on my front porch, my fractured form weighed down by self-doubt and depression. It had been a morning ruled by contradictions: I saw no reason to leave my bed and yet, a senses of pride poured into my consciousness as I tackled household chores. Granted, my circumstances dictated my actions; soiled laundry was delivered to the machine on my lap as I slid across the floor. The bathroom was cleaned in stages – on one leg, of course.

As I slumped on a deck chair, however, my mood began to spiral downward once more.

Then, salvation arrived in the form of the squeaky brakes of a delivery truck and a jovial delivery woman. Christmas in July unfolded on my porch as I tore the cardboard apart with my superhuman Canadian hands. A card, dressed with simple sentiment but oozing with friendship and coolness, told the tale.

The bonds of friendship in its purest form, are limitless. My patron and I have never laid eyes on one another and yet, her selfless act has touched me beyond words.

Ann St. Vincent has a heart of gold imbedded in what is apparently a chest designed by Stradivarius. She is a woman of unquenchable passion. A mother who loves and guards her offspring with equal fervor. She is a friend, although that words feels woefully inadequate when applied to souls such as Ann’s, Ned Hickson’s or Robyn Lawson’s.

But getting back to my personal Mrs. Santa, her gift has been the catalyst for a wonderful day for my little family unit:

  • My wife scarfed the trail mix with athletic zeal.
  • Sarah and VampireLover fought to the near-death over the chocolate goodies.
  • My father-in-law has lost himself in the various magazines.
  • My daughter has been giving me coloring tips. (She’s the Scooby-Doo expert, after all.)
  • I’ve got my mojo back.

I could go on about Ann’s many fine qualities – inside and out – but here it is in a nutshell: With the exception of my family, no one has stepped up to elevate my spirit like Ann St. Vincent. If you ever need an organ, Ann (quit giggling), I’m your guy.

(It won’t be one of my organs, of course, but as a bellman, I know a guy.)

You have a special day coming up this summer, Ann; I hope it brings you all the happiness and passion in the world.

As for the rest of you, be well, my friends. You rock.

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

I Suppose You’re Wondering Why I’ve Called You All Here…

I’ve always wanted to say that…

Moving on…. I hate to disappoint anyone – outside of the bedroom, that is – but my blogging generator is still chugging along at half-power.

Our buddy, Ned Hickson is setting the world on fire with 4,000 followers and I can barely hobble together a post. The good news is, I’ve been able to start another writing project, but the bad news appears when I try to transfer the chicken scratched contents of a Hilroy notebook to my computer. I’m able to set my thoughts to paper but when it comes to transcription I ‘d rather give Kris Jenner her hourly bikini wax than sit in front of my laptop.

But I shouldn’t complain… then again, I’m so good at it, how can I resist?

THINGS I HATE AT THE MOMENT…

1)  Not being able to walk to the bathroom.  These days, it takes at least ten minutes to relieve myself. That may not seem like an extraordinary amount of time but when you’re crawling across the floor on your ass and self-doubt is weighing you down, it’s a fuckin’ eternity.

2)  Not being able to earn.  I am… no, scratch that, I was the breadwinner at home. Now I can’t even provide crumbs. We’re getting by – hot dogs on bread and baloney sandwiches as a steady diet isn’t so bad – but my sense of self is keyed into my ability to provide for my family and I miss being able to do so.

3)  Going without comic books.  I miss my weekly visits to the comic store with my daughter. The day when she has better things to do than hang out with her old man is just around the corner – damn it – and this mess is cutting into what remains of our father/daughter time. I miss being the cool dad. Yes, a comic book nerd can actually be the cool dad. Shut up.

4)  Having a reason to get up in the morning.  My family is still the light of my life. They accept me for the dumbass I am. They’re not exactly pleased about it, but they accept it. However, every day is the same:

  • Get up, crawl downstairs.
  • Get cleaned up – on one leg.
  • Sit on the couch – for hours.
  • Switch to the porch.
  • Come in and eat.
  • Sit on the couch.
  • Crawl upstairs.
  • Go to bed.
  • Pray for a bolt of lightning to penetrate my bedroom window.

5)  Not being able to finish a post.  Seriously, I’m done.

Not to worry, folks, I’ll be The Hook again soon, I’m sure. This is Robert, signing off.

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

This is a Post.

To be honest, friends, I have a new writing project that deserves my attention but my creativity is as fractured as my mind and body are at the moment.

So here’s hoping blogging is as therapeutic as the non-licensed therapists claim it is…

Things I’ve Been Taking For Granted

The Incident, as it’s come to be referred to in my house, has opened my eyes to all the little things in my life that I’ve never considered valuable/important – until I could no longer accomplish them easily.

Getting in and out of a car:  The front seat of an automobile was designed for someone who can bend both of their legs. I’m spending the summer in a leg brace. I’ve been spending more time in the back of a van than a wannabe actress during her first summer in Los Angeles. And I’m pretty sure the actress is having more fun.

Climbing stairs:  Actually, that term is misleading. Most of you walk up and down stairs. I’ve been climbing them – on my ass. Staircases with sturdy railings that can easily support my 225-plus pounds of girth aren’t too bad but I look like a human pogo stick while navigating them.

Being able to change seats:  In the last several weeks my world has shrunk faster than Bruce Jenner’s manhood. Now that my mobility has been severely limited my days are spent in one of three places:

  1. Bed. I’ve done many thing in my bed: Devoured snacks while enjoying my favorite mind-numbing shows, contemplated a plan of attack for the day ahead, apologized – Lord, have I apologized – but I’ve never been a prisoner. Until now, that is. (Actually, I have been a prisoner before, but “Sexy Librarian Disciplines The College Student With Overdue Books” doesn’t count, right?)
  2. The living room couch:  Daytime television is a vast wasteland populated by bar rescues, repo games, retro game shows, something called The Chew (I was praying a jet engine would fall through my roof after the first five minutes), and other programs too banal to mention. And summertime prime time is no picnic either. Thank God – and Stephen King – for Under The Dome. But the couch is comfy – though not after ten hours – so there I sit, day after day, after day…
  3. My front porch:  Someone put me some kids in my yard so I can shake my fist at ‘em, please. Seriously, my father-in-law and I have spent hours on my porch this summer. We’ll engage in stimulating conversations that involve the following phrases:

“Looks like rain today. They said it was going to be sunny, but they appear to be wrong.”

“Whatever happened to (insert name of an old family friend here)?”

“The damn government!”

“Looks like the foul-mouthed, randy divorcée across the street snagged another one. Poor bastard.”

Yep, welcome to my world. By the way, these days the answer to whatever happened to most of our old family friends is the same: they died.

Bow chicka wow wow:  Want an extended break from the ole “in and out”, fellas? Break a fuckin’ leg and you’ll be in sexual limbo before you know it.

Going to the bathroom:  This is the Big One, kids. When all is said and done and my leg heals fully (hopefully), I’ll never forget my summertime trips to the bathroom while in a leg brace. Urinating can be a chore on a good day – if you’re drunk, tired or sick – but when you can only bend one leg? Well, then it becomes an energy-sapping exercise worthy of a Navy SEAL.

During the day I can use my crutches, although they’re pretty much useless when it comes to actually sitting on the throne and doing your business. In the middle of the night, however, all bets are off.

Our 2nd floor bathroom is right across from my daughter’s room and it’s about 3, 000 miles – give or take – from my room, so in the interest of maintaining the evening stillness… I crawl on my butt… every… single… night. Half of my knuckles resemble uncooked pork chops, my home’s floors have been polished to a nice sheen but only in a very specific path, and my dignity is deader than Lindsay Lohan’s career.

And sine we’re down the Rabbit Hole anyway… Have you ever tried to wipe your behind while perched on one leg? My hands are far too large to fit in-between my legs which I’m unable to spread far apart, so I have to hover – again, on one leg – while cleaning myself.

Bathing sucks too. At least we have a bath chair. I refuse to imagine a scenario where I’d have to rely on someone else to clean me that doesn’t involve me as a 103-year-old man.

No matter how strange your life is at the moment, I’m guessing I have you beat.

Feeding myself – at the kitchen table:  The healing process dictates I keep my leg elevated, so I eat my meals – which I cannot risk preparing on one leg – on the couch. Having a sexy butler/nurse sounds great on paper but I die every time I see the exhaustion in my wife’s eyes. And so there I sit, day after day, munching away in front of the tube.

And speaking of my wife, and for that matter, the rest of my clan and my friends, both in-person and virtual…

Thank you, everyone who has reached out to me these last few weeks. Your support, love, jokes, good wishes and other acts of kindness have touched me. And after a few weeks of celibacy, I really appreciate being touched…

See you around, folks…

 

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

The Only Birthday Gift I Can Afford On My Current Salary…

On the surface this has appears to have been an ordinary day; The Biebs has escaped true justice once more, my all-too fragile form remains broken, Ned Hickson is still a putz, Ann St. Vincent is still steaming up computer screens everywhere and Robyn Lawson and The Bloggess are still making people wet themselves with laughter.

But the truth is, this is a special day. Five years ago, as we humans mark the passing of time, my fractured (in more ways than one), clan was blessed with an addition that would change us beyond measure.

IMG_0521

(I was fully prepared to follow “blessed” with “cursed” but a certain fifteen-year-old member of my family would have my Canadian, comic book readin’, guts for garters. And her progenitor would have a field day with the rest of me.)

Growing up, I never felt that special bond that exists between man and domesticated beast. As a father I have had the privilege of witnessing what happens when you introduce a canine companion to the life of a quiet, introverted young lass. My daughter, Sarah, has spent most of her life thus far a victim of relentless bullying and an educational system run by incompetent blowhards.

But Chelsea and her sister-from-another-bitch, Tiffany, changed all that. Tiffany is chasing squirrels and humping legs in Heaven now, but her sibling has kept the faith in her place. Chelsea remains dedicated to the fulfillment of a singular mission: To enrich our lives with her special brand of crazy.

(I remain convinced, however, that her true mission is to usurp me as the head of the household, but no one around these parts cares what Dad has to say, so disregard this statement.)

 And yes, Sarah, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now:

“You were never the head of the household, Skippy, so give it up.”

Let’s return to that special link between a sassy. modern-day girl and her dog, shall we?

Chelsea is no mere Shih Tzu, my tailless amigos, she is a human whisperer. Sarah’s sidekick knows people better than they know themselves. When Sarah is ailing Doctor Chelsea is there to sniff her weakened form and prescribe a custom treatment. Of course, it’s always the same treatment: An extensive round of face-licking followed by sleep therapy. By that, I mean Chelsea falls asleep on the patient until her heart melts, thus distracting her from her ailment.

When any of us return home after an extended absence we’re greeted by a panting, drooling animal with an offering of a stuffed toy in its heaving mouth. This is, of course, the ultimate symbol of reverence in canine culture and is guaranteed to result in a “Aww, how cute!”, every single time.

However, when I greet my wife while panting and drooling, the results are quite different, to say the least…

And if a fight breaks out? Well, Chelsea becomes a canine version of the United Nations – except that, in her case, she has the bite to back up her bark. And Dog help any prowler who ever decides to cross our threshold.

Truth be told, Chelsea has many gifts but her greatest talent leaves any of The Dog Whisperer’s furry charges in the dust. I’ve never discussed this publicly (I have no desire to spend the rest of my days in a hospital ward wearing a jacket with pockets in the back), but we share our little homestead with… shall we call them, the living-challenged? 

I know what you’re thinking: Yes, my doctor provided me with some kick-ass painkillers, but no, I haven’t been chasing them with paint thinner.

Every member of my family has heard the playful meow or our long-departed cat, Felix. We’ve caught glimpses of forms and shadows that don’t belong to the living. But these incidents are rare and fleeting – and have never been influenced by fever, drugs or alcohol.

Chelsea sees spirits every day. And she quit drinking years ago. She’ll spend hours staring at various points on different ceilings in our home. I’ll join her and I won’t even spot a cobweb, much less a ghostie.

Our little four-legged Ghostbuster is currently enjoying a well-deserved spa day. I can just picture her now: Her neatly trimmed fur glistening under the fluorescent lights as she regales her brethren with updates on her family’s shenanigans.

“You’ll never believe what that two-legged dumbass did this time! I woke up the other night, looked down from the bed and there he was, crawling along the floor on the way to the inside bathroom they use. We don’t even crawl! It’s bad enough he has two extra strange-looking legs these days, but now he’s doing things that cats would find strange!”

And there you have it. kids, my tribute (?) to the greatest compact doggie in all the land. To be honest, Chelsea and I have had our moments; I’ll never forget the night I returned home after a twelve-hour shift to find my wife preparing a delicious repast of chicken and rice – for Chelsea.

My grill-cheese sandwich was a feast for the taste buds, by the way.

Happy Birthday, Chelsea. You’re a steadfast companion, a credit to your race and a worthy adversary. Enjoy your day, furball.

And on a personal note, thank you for drawing me out of my tibial-plateau-fracture-induced funk. I’m not back, but I’m on the right track, at last.

Posted in Hotel Life | 33 Comments

I Am A Dumbass. Here’s Why.

Where to begin?

It is a question, no, it is the question that has plagued everyone who has ever tried to communicate, from the most brilliant writer to the first caveman who scratched up a perfectly good cave wall with messages that appeared to be insane ramblings to the rest of the tribe.

Speaking of that original set of markings, can you imagine all the information the first writer/artist wanted to convey?

  • “Females are soft and warm. After you bang them over the head with a club? Not so much.”
  • “Fire… good for making dead animal taste better.”
  • “Fire… HOT!”
  • “Beware the Kardashian tribe. Me get bad vibe from them.”

But enough about the distant past, let’s talk about recent events and how they have impacted my present… and the damage they’re going to do to my future.

First of all, I am still currently employed as a bellman. My write-up and the events that led to it are irrelevant in light of… well, you’ll soon see. Let’s just say that a really bad day effects everyone, no matter how professional they normally act, and that sometimes you run into vindictive, frigid tour guides who feel compelled to make your life a living hell even though they receive exemplary service. Long story short, I lost my temper in front of, not with, a tour guide who complained to the front desk. I was written up. My career will continue. End of story.

That story, at least.

 If you’d like to read about another story, well then, you’re in the right place, friends.

You see, there was once a young man named Robert who always felt he didn’t measure up in the home improvement department… probably because he didn’t. And so, his lovely vampire-lovin’ wife, who was raised in  a home of home improvement masters, did most of the heavy lifting when it came to the handyman role.

Long story short – again – Jackie has always been the one to handle the home improvements but she’s grown tired of her role and so last Thursday, while attempting to up my handyman game, I did something ridiculously stupid that I’ll be paying for, well, for the rest of my life.

Two rotten fascia boards needed to be removed from the front and side of our garage. Sounds simple enough, right? Not for me, kids. Despite the areas of rot, these suckers were nailed in tight and so, in an attempt to gain more leverage, I climbed onto a wooden sawhorse and began to bang away with a hammer.

And that’s where everything began to spiral out of control.

My hammer bounced back. I did the same. My left knee twisted and emitted a crack that filled the air. I fell to the ground, but even though I landed in a standing position, I continued to fall.

The fall wasn’t the problem, though. That crack I mentioned earlier? That was part of my left knee impacting the other with enough force to cause it to fracture.

I didn’t know any of this until the next day, when my x-rays and a CT scan revealed the truth: While the damage wasn’t serious enough to warrant surgery – but just barely – it was serious enough to force me to wear a brace for two to three months. If I place more than a feather’s weight on my left leg, I’ll be placing my health in jeopardy.

Speaking of jeopardy, do you have any idea, my friends, what happens to a bellman who cannot work in the summertime? He can’t feed himself. He can’t shower properly. And worst of all, he can’t support his family.

I had a ladder readily available, but since the boards were a mere foot above my head, I felt confident the sawhorse would do the trick.

Clearly, I am a dumbass.

Now everything has changed. Jackie has had enough to deal with over the course of the last few years but my actions have compounded her misery immeasurably. For the Niagara region’s hospitality industry, summer is the most profitable time of the year. But not for me.

Right now, as I’m sitting in bed typing away, my wife, daughter, and father-in-law are hard at work cleaning his house next door, in preparation for an imminent sale – maybe. The truth is, my family’s future is uncertain, I’ve seen to that.

There is so much I want to say, so much I want to convey, but my mind is a maelstrom of regret, anger, failure and a million other emotions. I’ve said enough for now. In spite of my physical inactivity, I won’t be blogging for the foreseeable future.

I need time to heal. I’ll be returning to the orthopedic surgeon on July 9 with my super-hot, live-in, vampire-lovin’ nurse and hopefully, my patented brand of luck will bring good news. If my body heals quickly, I’ll be able to return to work sooner than expected. If not, well, I’ll survive but my leg will never be the same. For that matter, neither will my spirit.

The truth is, I feel like a complete and utter failure. Not only have I let down my family financially, I may have ruined my daughter’s summer. Sarah can’t even enjoy a good night’s sleep without the sound of her old man hobbling his way to the bathroom. The seemingly-simple act of urinating has become a major operation.

I can either crawl across the floor or I can bounce along on crutches, shattering the night’s silence with a series of metallic clicks. Either way, once I reach the toilet, the real fun begins. Pulling one’s shorts down with a brace in the way is not fun at all, kids. Once the deed is finally done, I have to pull myself up, putting further strain on my good leg, and repeat my pathetic shuffle back to bed.

But enough wallowing, my family has returned and so I must take my leave of you, for how long, I cannot say. In the meantime, thank you for your time and friendship.

Be well, and stay off those sawhorses, they’re killers.

 

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