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Friday, February 28, 2014

Hang on Tight (cartoon)

Hang on Tight

Hang on Tight

"Grandpa your fingers are so cold" squeals his two yr. old granddaughter.
"Hang on tight! I don't want to let you go." He laughed, as she pulled her right foot in his left shoe ahead of her other mismatched foot and shoe combination. Together as one his legs straddled around her body, while she wearing his shoes, march down the grassy flowered wedding isle. The brave prince was going to marry his beautiful princess, in the most beautiful wedding ceremony ever imagined by a grandpa and his granddaughter Chip.
"Slow down!" She demanded, as princesses sometimes do, "My legs are too short and my toe-zzies are too small for your shoes! And Grandpa,..I mean my prince have the bunnies throw more rose pedals on the grass and make the Blue Birds sing louder too,....please."
It was to be the most beautiful wedding ceremony the Lost Forest had ever seen. Cinnamon the bear married the two royals at the Wishing Tree in the center of the forest. Cotton ball tea was served on an assortment of fashionable mismatched plastic cups and plates. And the royal reception was attended by a large assortment of stuffed animals, dolls, McDonald Happy Meal toys and a stick with a horses head on it.
The wedding ended when the princess turned into a unicorn and galloped off to save her baby being attacked by mean giant in the living room.
Great memories were had that morning by the only one in the room who had the ability of long term memory. So many beautiful memories of imagined events, shared by two, but in the long run only remembered by one. And as a grandpas memory fades of precious moments shared, so will the time spent in the future battling fiery dragons, imprisoning mean giants and marrying magical princesses.
For grandpas, just like Puff the Dragon their little Jackie Paper stops coming around too. Long before young feet can easily maneuver oversized shoes, wedding marches end, and the kingdom of the Lost Forest falls silent.
Other things now take up the princesses life. Oh she's still a princess and will always be in his life but he's no longer her brave prince. For princesses grow up and have no need of an imagined prince. They put away fairy tale fantasy with all it's backpacks, pajamas and clothing that goes with it. It's now TV and movie stars that are in boy bands with a No. 1 hit song that interest her.
Life gets very busy for his little princess with little time for grandpas. School starts and new friends fill her time with a common love for everything she loves and how she feels. So many things happen to your young princess as you sit further and further back on the sidelines trying to keep up with her events. Soon your just that guy on the end of the table that gives thanks for the food at Christmas.
By now she has long forgotten playtime with her once brave, dragon fighting, giant killing prince. And he, now weak in flesh and hit and miss with memory lay fighting for every breath in a real hospital. He can't remember what he had for lunch, and thinks everyday is Sunday but he remembers their beautiful weddings in the Lost Forest, and the precious times they shared.
High heels clicking and car keys jingling announce princess has come to see grandpa. Room 703 finds Grandma in a chair by his bed. A potted plant and three cards make it his room. Her Grandpa is now not her grandpa for a evil cancer has distorted what was. It was easier to accept the inevitable if you pretended it was not him. Her brave prince. For she remembers a flicker of a special moment they shared so long ago in an imaginary hidden forest. She had gotten so busy with life and Grandpa had got older weaker and slower in mind and body. It just got to hard to try and communicate with him. Chip was sure he had long forgotten the wedding march. But there seemed a glimmer of recognition of his princess in his tired fading eyes.
"He knows it's you Chip." Grandma says as she gets up so Chip can sit beside him. "He's been asking about you. He thinks it's Sunday. When you were young you came over every Sunday. You and him had the best of times! Remember? Look, he's reaching out his hand for you."
"Grandpa your fingers are so cold." Chip states gingerly taking his hand almost in fear.
"See how he's holding on so tight." Grandma whispers. "It's like he doesn't want to let you go."

Bob Niles

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Big John. (cartoon)

Big John

Big John
And flush..........
And flush again........, ah there's nothing like a low flush toilet. And this is nothing like a low flush toilet! It takes me two flushes to say good-bye to last nights meatloaf. Oh I didn't eat it, I'm just saying good-bye to it. Oh I know I'm not suppose to flush food down the toilet. But the 'Green Cart Guys' won't take it anymore. It jammed their grinder down at the processing plant......Twice!
So what I do with the wife's meatloaf is hammer and chisel it down to flushable pieces and say good-bye to it via la commode. But I used the wrong commode.
I have three toilets at my disposal, or is it three toilets handle my disposal? However the osal, I have three different toilets that have been installed or replaced in renovations throughout the house over the years. And I have found that all toilets are not created equal.
Now when I say all my commodes are different I don't mean in colour. It's not the Harvest Gold versus the Avocado Green against the Fawn Beige of our youth. But toilets that differ in age, function and water consumption.
Some years back the wife, creator of all weekend jobs, wanted to update the main bathroom. We (me) took out a perfectly good toilet to replace it with one of the early low-flow models. Can't remember it's name or model, but we've knighted it as the ring-a-round toilet. It will, after two low-flow flushes, do what's required of it. Without getting too graphic it just barely works as long as you don't try to flush toilet paper by itself. Toilet paper alone in its bowl just spins around and around and would stay there for eternity if nothing else was offered to the ring-a-round toilet.
It should be replaced with the newer models of today but I keep it as a 'Well look what happened last time we renovated!' reminder to the creator of weekend jobs.
Last year we (I) replaced the ensuite toilet because it had become such an energy user. My energy! I had tried to save her by spending hours trying to get the float valve from sticking to the sides of the tank. The flapper to sit right and the chain from flipping off every time I flushed it. It got to be quite the routine with every use. One I was willing to live with! After every flush I would take the fake flowers and doily off the tank, lift lid and place on floor. Put the chain back on the leaver, fiddle with the flapper and stop the float from sticking to the side of the tank. Replace lid, doily and fake flowers....TA DA! Who needs a new toilet! We (I) do, the wife said.
So it was off to the Homehandymanhardware super store in search of a new throne. And after much looking and no trying we bought a low flush elongated white one. This new one has a toilet tank a little bigger than a bread box. Ya right what's a bread box? How about two old VCRs taped together. Remember them?
So its back home and off with the old and on with the new. Thank-you super home reno store! You gave me the tools to do it myself and now I'm back buying a new floor for the bathroom because the old toilet base was much bigger than the new one, and now there's a gaping hole in the carpet in front of the new toilet that the old toilet had covered. On the bright side the carpet was getting a bit funky anyway, but on the other side, it is hard trying to find a shag the same colour.
This toilet flushes on two tablespoons of water! And its noisy! It creates a sucking sound when flushed that can be re-created by your tongue on the roof of you mouth and breathing in. It sounds like someone is having some sort of medical problem that deserves a 911 call. I have never seen a toilet flush with so little water. And, it came with a plunger!
Our (my) best toilet and friend in time of need, is the one that commands the most respect, and is also the oldest. It has to be 50 yrs. old! It's down in the basement in a small, built in the 60s, add on bathroom. You have to take a step up to get to it as the plumbing had to be raised because we were on septic tank at the time. And this monster deserves the step up. This thing could flush a whole roll of paper towels! I bet it could flush a two and a half foot 2 by 4 down its chasmic gaping throat. It flushes with such strength that it sucks the bowls dry of the other two toilets. With the water meter it probably costs me a buck and a half to flush the thing each time. But it's a one flush job master. When you start this thing in motion, by using both hands to flip the leaver, the whole house knows of its roar. It announces its awakening to the completely deaf by the lights going dim and then start to flicker off and on in fear. This remover of waste or as its known to us as Big John, was designed when the buffalo was cooked in 40 pound roasts, not fried on wings. It was created for bunkhouses of cowboys that came off the prairie from herding cattle to enjoy cookies harmonica playing and his 5 alarm chili. Working men eating hungry man meals not the low flush tofu eaters of today. With Big John, if you don't come into the bathroom with your hat off, it'll take it off for you!
I said all that to say this...why is it that when I buy a toilet I can't test flush a toilet? You can go to a show room and look at lovely toilets but if you want to flush one you have to go in the staff washroom. They have samples of lighting lit up for all to see. And we all know a lamp turned on is just a little bit brighter than a lamp turned off. It's pretty much the same. That pretty white toilet installed in your new renovation looks just like the one on the show room floor, but it's not until you light it up.......that you realize the nature of the beast.
And flush....


Bob Niles
604-761-2466

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Send in the Clowns. (cartoon)

Send in the Clowns

Send in the Clowns


"You do know you're talking to yourself, ...right?"
"I'm talking to the guy in front of me!" I counter, justifying my sanity. "He's poking along at 50 in a 50km zone' I annoyingly state, with one hand on the wheel and the other tapping the horn. "Come on grandpa lets move it!"
"Good job grandpa (says the wife, as she reminds me that I have reproducing children) thats telling him. But if you really want him to hear you, you should turn off the radio, roll down the window, drive up alongside, stick your your head out and mention to the, and here I use your definition , circus performing Bozo, that you would like him to break the law by speeding so that you can get home to watch the news. Otherwise, you're just talking to yourself old man!
As much as I'd like to disagree with her she absolutely right. I do a lot of talking to the unhearing forces that determine traffic. Cars, and the Clowns who are suppose to be driving them. I talks to all makes of cars and trucks, imports and domestic, black or white, luxury or compact, If they happen to be on either side of me, in front of me or behind me, I strike up a one sided conversation. I guide them along in the tone of an annoyed parent of a four yr. old. I use words of direction like 'Come on let's get moving!' or 'Get off your brake and try the gas pedal!' 'Turn! Turn! Don't wait for the light to turn red before you go!' And with every direction I interject 'Ya Clown!' as they are the co-recipient of my timely advice. Male or female, black or white, tall or short everyone I submit my heated direction to is a circus adventurer of humour.
Its verbal direction in an annoyed (not mad, mad people do things. We who are annoyed just go home and bore the family with yet again another tirade) way that has kept the family from committing me to a home of the socially insane. People seem to accept people such as myself being annoyed, or upset with inanimate objects. I don't like the toaster reminding me its electric when I use my jam knife to free the toast. If they cause problems, we're going to let them know about it. There's more than just me out there raising my fist to the sky, screaming at the heavens a 'Thank you very much!' as your cars broken down at the side of the road or the jam knife's welded to the inside of the toaster.
If you ever talked lovingly to a car or toaster about how good they are and you're so proud of them for what there doing, then its off to the home with you. If your car's running great, I say treat it like an upset spouse and keep your mouth shut. If traffic is moving along and all the Clowns are right with the universe...whistle. Don't say encouraging things to the Clowns beside you, what ever you do. Cause that's when authorities start visiting the family and doctors appointments happen. Seems we can't be happy in traffic.
Old guys didn't get old by driving along distracted. We figured out long ago what all the traffic around us was doing and how we could do it better.
You should try it. Take my one week challenge and talk to the cars around you. If your worried people might think you're nuts, stuff a black piece of Play-dough in your ear and let them think it's part of your iPhone thingy (it's what i do). Tell that car in front of you when to turn. The one behind you to get off your bumper. Warn the Clown in front there's a pedestrian in the cross walk. You'll be a better driver. You'll be annoyed, but you'll be a better driver.
And you'd better get use to being annoyed because its a free gift that comes with age. Driving is just one way it manifests itself. How? Well let's start with, everything hurts! We've long past doing shoulder checks, and sitting in some crappy 25 yr. old Buick for more than five minutes produces squeaking and leaking from both parties.
It's annoying. About as annoying as Richmond giving out more tickets for Clowns illegally parking in the handicapped space than any other city in the lower mainland! "When did the handicap symbol become the very expensive parking near the door symbol?"
"Are you talking to me?" the wife questions as she sticks her head from the kitchen.
"No, I'm talking to the TV! I can't believe the story on the news about all the parking tickets. Clowns parking illegally!"
"You do know you're talking to yourself, ....right?"

Bob Niles