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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Friday, September 30, 2005

News Bulletins From The Land of Stupid

So yesterday the vacationing Christine and I went to a movie and did some shopping while the lad was in daycare. We bought socks and other silly things, looked in stores and had lunch before the movie.

We were both in a "I dunno, what do you wanna eat" mood, so we wound up having Burger King veggie burgers. While in line to order we saw/heard teh following: an older couple got their change back. They looked at the Canadian money in shock and near disgust and asked "what's this?" The nice cashier lady said "your change". They asked if they could have change in USD. Now, if I asked this in the US, even in Burlington or one of the other cities near the Canadian border they would laugh their asses off at the mere idea that I would ask this. Frankly, the idea would never even occur to me, but their attitude and body language suggested "Imagine the gall, a soverign nation thinking that it can give us change in the monetary devices of their choosing!!!" Anyway, the manager comes along, and in the manner of polite managers everywhere, gets them some change. It was 11 something in Canadian, so they got $10 back. I'm not sure of the exact exchange rate, but that seems about right to me. The woman of the couple asked "what's this?" again. The manager said, "umm.. your change? It takes more Canadian to get less American because American is worth more."

When I got to the cash I asked for my change in Euros.

Oh, the movie was good, I highly recomend Just Like Heaven. It won't win awards, but it was nice and entertaining.

On the way home we were walking up a street near ours and heard crying. If you are a parent you have built in radar for little kid crying, so we looked around and there was a stroller sitting just off the sidewalk on the front path of a house with a sub-2 year old kid in it. We went over to see if the kid was ok and were both looking around for a parent. At this point a guy opened the front door of the house and came out, carrying a tool box. We asked him it the child was his, he said no. We asked him if there was a parent inside, and he said that mb in the upstair appartment. At this point a woman stuck her head over the upstairs balcony and said "oh, is she crying?". WHICH WAS NOT AT ALL THE FUCKING POINT.

She came down and we left. As we walked away I asked Christine "why didn't I just call the police?" And I mean this seriously, in what way is that not reasonable? If you abandon your kid in a car the police come, if you put your little kid out the front door the police will pick them up, how was this situation any different? I regret that I'm so passive agressive that I didn't even tell the woman off, but I was so shocked and confused as to what to do that I didn't do anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Traveling Man

Among the many things Lucas is quite good about is travel. We don't go on trips very often, but the three times we've been anywhere since he's been born (plane, train and bus) he's been pretty good. I wish, dearly that the same could be said for the adults around us.

We went to Middlebury Vermont recently and stayed at the
Middlebury Inn, a place we've been to four times now. It is everything I like about Vermont and the Vermontish in one place. Good food, friendly people, not over the top fancy for no reason, just nice and homey feeling. We had to reschedule this trip twice, once for time/life reasons and once because my Mom had just died. Each time we rescheduled there was no problem, they got us the room we'd stayed in before etc etc.

Anyway the Inn and Middlebury were wonderful as always.
Lucas loved all the stairs in the Inn, but mostly he loved the church clock that rang on the hour. We had to time our visits to places and meals to being outside for the bell. He was confused by the lack of city buses and Metro, but was very happy otherwise. All of this sounds great right? Bucolic even. It's just that you have to get there.

And, because we don't drive, you have to get there while relying on other humans to not be total prats. Which, after a careful study of humans, seems to be an impossibility.

Here's a hint. If you are someone traveling to the USA from Canada but under another passport, let's say umm.. Chinese, and have a limited understanding of English, almost no luggage (a book bag type backpack that seemed to contain a cellphone, a book and mb a change of underwear) it behooves you to know at least the street name of the person you are visiting in Boston. Oh, and it would be nice if you had checked to see what kind of documents besides your passport you might need to get into the country. Yes. That would be nice.

Because if you did all those things the rest of the people on the bus who managed to get through customs (this is 20 or so of us, all under various passports–I saw EU,Haitian and couple of others I couldn't identify) in about 30 minutes, wouldn't have had to wait for you for an hour and a half. Also, this would have avoided you being told by one of your fellowpassengerss "next time, take the fucking plane" (not me, I swear to god).
Same thing goes to the nice lady on the bus home traveling under the EU passport.

Additionally I'd like to send a big FUCK YOU out to the nice people at the Burlington bus station (not the young blonde guy who handles luggage, he's very nice and has dealt with my huge hiking backpacks on a number ofoccasionss) and the fun people from Vermont Transit Lines.

VTL decided to stop servicing a number of smaller towns as of early September. No one really seems to have been told. They just stopped. I get that they are a private company, not in the charity transport business, but their "tough shit" attitude kind of sucks.

One of the places they no longer service is Middlebury, so we had to hire a private mini-bus company to take us there (the best bit of the whole travel–more on this in a moment).

Besides cutting service to these places they no longer have baggage checking capabilities (or the willingness to check bags). I found this out when we arrived at the station and wanted to go to downtown Burlington for a couple of hours. I politely asked the mindless automaton behind the counter if I could check my bags. She looked at me with a blank, dull stare like I was mad and said "no". Then she went back to her magazine.

A hint: I'M THE CLIENT YOU BRAIN ADDLED PRAT. At a bare minimum the answer was "No sir, I'm sorry we no longer offer that service here." My guess is that if I'd pressed I would be told of security concerns. My thinking on this is that terrorists have bigger fish to fry than a shack in a gravel parking lot, but I'm not an expert. I've noticed that post 9/11 many US transport companies have cut services and blamed the cuts on terrorism. I note that the same services are available in Europe, where people have been blowing shit up for years. I note further that the services that have been cut in the US are those that are not profit centers. I'm guessing that I'm onto some kind ocorrelationon here.

Do you know who would hold our bags for us for a bit? The nice people at the
Gear Exchange in Burlington, specifically Josh. Apparently they recognize that: A) no one is going to blow up a small establishment in Burlington B) Customer service, even for a customer who might not buy something today (I have in the past, I sure as hell well in the future) is a good idea.

Another bright light in all of this stupidity were William & Cheryl, owners and operators of Jessica's Vital Transit. On time, quick, polite, friendly, chatty at the right level, helpful, reasonably priced, sweet to Lucas (they provide a car seat)... they were everything travel and customer service should be.

Ok, enough bitching, the trip was nice. We all chilled out (the knots in my shoulders went away !!!) but I think this was the straw that broke the camels back. We're going to break down and get a drivers licence...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Daycare and SAHD thoughts

So Lucas is adapting nicely to the daycare. He plays a lot with a cool, tough little girl named Agath, helps put away toys, sleeps well etc etc. All the other little kids know who he is, and he seems very pleased with the whole thing.

All of this has left me wondering: Am I still a stay at home dad? I mean, I don't go anywhere out of the house any more than I did before he went to the daycare. I've bowed to reality/life and got a cell phone (my first) so I'm still the primary contact point (the daycare is 5-7 minutes away by foot, so in an emergency they will call me). 90% of the time I'm at home anyway...

But I'm really not sure of my role.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My only thoughts on Katrina and the aftermath

I'm enraged.

Humans should not be treated this way. Ever. Not your enemies. Not your friends. Certainly not your citizens.

Anyone who wants to tell me that it's ok that a U-SAR team from Vancouver got to one town 5 days before FEMA or the National Guard did should probably come with a helmet. Because I'm going to have to readjust your skull. With a wall.

The whole "rescue" was totally fucked up from the begining. The levie system is buggered. The fact that there was no system in place to get people out who couldn't leave on their own was insane. The focus on looting by the tv news people was idiotic.

About the only good thing that has come out of this is that the current US administration's bold face lying has been exposed for all to see. Also the media seems to have located it's spine.

On the media front, I would like to say that Anderson Cooper is my hero. Consistantly the best reporting from the muck that I've seen. And when he went off on the governor on live TV? I wept. And cheered. And wept some more. It was lovely.

A week of changes

Pardon. I've been busy.

Lucas turned two this week, yesterday actually, but even more amazing is that he is now in daycare.

We got a call last week and he started on Tuesday.

He loves it. They describe him as "rigolo" (roughly funny or amusing). He already speaks more after 4 days with other kids, eats a bit better and generally loves the whole thing.

We're very happy that he stayed at home with us. Now he is really his own little person, but at daycare. Some of the kids who've been there since they were very little have this sort of inmate kind of docility about them. I'm not saying there is a "gonna shiv you with my action figure's sword" thing going on, but a level of "the daycare says so so I must comply" that is a bit odd.

He's even adapting to sleeping on a little mat in a room with other little kids.

The first day I stayed for the half day and then took him home for his nap and the rest of the day. Since then he has been full time. It's scary and fun.

But it has thrown me for a loop. I have no idea how to structure my days any more.... oh well.