Monday, February 28, 2011

Eye doctors rock

It's kind of a Pavlov thing I suppose.
You know who Pavlov was, right?
He was the guy who got a dog to salivate every time he rang a bell because he taught the hound to equate food with the tinkle of the bell.
Kind of like Brian Mulroney every time he hears the work kickback.
The Big BM - as I like to call him - looked like a St. Bernard he had so much drool dribbling down his freakishly large chin.
I know, that's not nice. So I would just like to apologize to all of the St. Bernards out there.
Anyway, Pavlov deduced the dog associated the sound with the reward of food ñ making a mental connection with an auditory stimulant (oooh, fancy words.)
The same thing happens to me every time I walk into a dentist's office.
No, I don't start barking and dragging my butt across the carpet, but as soon as I open the door of doom I am hurtled back in time to when I was a kid and went to a dentist we had nick named The Butcher.
He was a rather rough dental specialist and I quickly grew to dislike seeing the man. And of course every dentist office in the free world smells exactly the same, so even as an adult when I walk into the office I am gripped with the same feeling of dread I had when I was a youngster.
Mind you, I am all grown up now so I can face my fears like a man, which means not whimpering and tearing up at the mere sight of the dentist chair.
I still do it, but I manage to stifle it so no one can tell.
But it is this Pavlov thing with a dentist that makes going to the optometrist so enjoyable.
You see, The Butcher had an office right next door to our family eye doctor, so the dentist smell would flood the entire floor, but on this occasion I got to walk past the door of doom and go directly to the eye guy.
The relief was noticable and eye doctors have always been OK in my books, even when they put that goop in your eye that freezes it for the next hour.
Small price to pay to avoid The Butcher.
The eye doc was also cool because of all the neat instruments he had in his office ñ none of which hurt.
You got to put you chin on that little strap thingy and look through the other thingy and read the eye chart.
ìOK, now can you read the first line for me.î
ìNo problem doc, that E is so big Stevie Wonder could read it.î
I would then work my way down the line of letters until you got the microscopic letters at the very bottom line that nobody could read and was put there just so the optometrist could keep flipping those things in the eye machine.
Every time I went, I had 20/20 vision and I left his office without a frozen face, sore jaw or bad attitude.
As I mutate into an older gentleman, my eye sight is no longer 20/20. It would seem Father Time has a thing against being able to read the fine print, so I am now the proud owner of reading glasses.
I must admit, I am not too crazy about having to wear reading glasses, mainly because they are kind of a pain to have to always have nearby just to read a set of instructions, or whatever that is not printed in a giant font.
I have long arms so I do not need to carry the glasses every where I go, but I do have to smile as I read a menu at arms length because I can remember watching 'old' people doing that when I was a young people.
Life is a funny thing, isn't it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Did you hear that? I didn't

Selective hearing is an interesting condition, and not something I did on purpose.
You see, when my children were little I never heard them at night.
Honest, I did not do it on purpose, I just didn't hear them.
They could squawk in the black of night and I would be blissfully asleep, dreaming about not hearing any noise so I would not have to get up at some unholy hour.
My wife, on the other hand, would hear just about every little sound they made.
If they rolled over and rustled their sheets a little too loudly, the Missus was wide awake. Meanwhile, they could be playing the drums and I would be sleeping away without a care in the world.
To put it mildly, this used to drive my wife nuts.
"Didn't you hear Junior crying for juice last night at 3 a.m?"
"Really? You didn't hear a thing?"
"Sorry dear, but the only thing I was aware of last night was the dream I had where I was wearing a purple spandex uni-tard while juggling two squirrels and a chihuahua. What do you think that means?"
She would then tell me the tale of her dragging herself out of bed at an hour no one should have to, to take the little one a cup of juice.
When the youngsters were babies and I did not have the ability to feed them, it was not that much of an issue.
I did not have the necessary equipment to make the situation better, so the Missus would take care of things while I snoozed away – a situation I felt guilty about. Honest, I did, really.
The problems really began when they got older and I still did not hear them.
I suspect right about now there are many mothers out there wishing me some sort of annoying rash as pay back for all those extra hours of sleep I was able to get.
Sorry ladies, but that darned selective hearing selected not to hear the little ones in the dead of night - that is unless my wife was not around.
One weekend, she went out of town for a work thing (or so she claimed anyway) which left me alone with two small kids and a dog.
Being the only parent in the house, an amazing thing happened ñ I could hear every noise the offspring made.
In fact, my hearing became so in tune with the household, the dog would fart and I would sit bolt upright.
One of the kids would rustle in his bed and I was suddenly more awake than a caffeine addict after getting a Starbucks fix. It sucked.
I survived the weekend, expanded my appreciation for my wife and her mothering abilities, and found the whole thing rather odd.
When the Missus returned, I told her about how a bug belch would wake me up and I could tell she was enjoying this new-found hearing ability.
Her eyes got a dreamy, far-away, glazed-over look as she anticipated more sleep-filled nights while we shared the late-night duties of raising our spawn.
My new super sonic hearing did not last however, and the first night the little woman was home I could have slept through a thermal-nuclear strike.
I heard nothing, not a peep, not a rustle, not a single blessed sound.
But every time my wife had to go out of town, I would tune in to the sounds coming from the kid's rooms like an old mother hen ñ a flabby, bald mother hen, but a mother hen nonetheless.
So why does this happen? Beats me (something my wife felt like doing on more than one occasion I am sure), but that's the way it was.
Now that my kids are teenagers they have selective hearing.
ìClean up your roomî somehow translates into ìI have nothing for you to do today, so play video games and talk to your friends online.î
The only time they truly hear what I have to say is if the words ìmoneyî and ìfoodî are involved.
Darn that selective hearing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

United we stand...

One day, when my children were little, they wanted to do something they were not allowed to do and I informed them of this.
ìBut why can't we? Why? Why? Why?î
OK, now husbands please pay attention to this next bit, because the answer I gave is so far from the correct answer it is not even on the same continent.
With my young children questioning why a certain rule is in place, I responded, ìLook, I don't make the rules around here, alright. Your mom does.î
Warning! Warning! You have just foolishly stepped into the how-to-make-your-wife-madder-than-a-fat-guy-at-a-salad-bar zone.
Upon hearing my answer ñ which was said before I really thought about it - the Missus turned an interesting shade of red. The vein in her forehead was not only pulsing, it was taking on Incredible Hulk-like proportions.
For a brief moment I was mesmerized by what was happening, but that fascination quickly turned to a sense of 'I think I just screwed up.'
I was right, I did screw up.
I knew I had made a mistake of epic proportions and quickly filed the information under the don't-ever-do-that-again category ñ with a big read sticker on it, flashing lights and siren should those words ever attempt to escape from my vocal chords again.
I have been known to be a little on the sarcastic, smart ass side of life and this is one of those times it did not bode well for me.
It was an attempt at humour, but it was an attempt that failed, resulting in a closed-door 'discussion' with my better half.
The Missus was not impressed that I would make her the bad guy, er, gal, and blame her for being such a stick in the mud and creating all those rules that were repressing our little ones.
She failed to see the humour for some reason. Needless to say, the Missus was not too thrilled with the man she chose to be her lawfully wedded spouse until death do us part.
And if looks could kill, the parting would have happened and the young 'uns would likely have a new daddy right now because the original daddy didn't know when to shut the hell up.
You see, kids will believe pretty much everything you tell them ñ when they are young anyway ñ so the Missus did not want the sproggs blaming her for all the silly rules in our home, like brush your teeth before going to bed, no chocolate before breakfast or no setting things on fire.
It is very important for a parental unit to be united when it comes to setting rules and enforcing those rules and apparently I broke that iron-clad bond when I blamed mom for all those rules I was talking about.
ìParenting is a partnership. We are in this together. We must be united, and if you say that again you will find out how comfortable it is to sleep in the shed in January,î was sort of how my wife explained the situation.
Of course, now that my children have reached their teen years it does not matter what I tell them because they know everything there has ever been, or ever will be worth knowing.
When the children are young, parents must be united on matters of discipline so the children grow into fine adults. When they are teens, parents my be united as a survival tactic more than anything else.
United we stand, divided we end up debating our teens about why they cannot leave their room in a state that most civilized nations would declare a disaster zone.
And the Missus was absolutely right in building a united front when they were younger, because that united front will get tested when the kids are older.