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Monday, June 30, 2014

my Business is your Business. (cartoon)

This is how my future business can eliminate delivery costs

My Business is you Business

This is a letter I sent to our local paper in regards to our sewage rates.

My Business is your Business

Dear Mr. Sewage Plant Operator,
As I'm sure you know by now, there has been some change ups in the way we do our business with you. Let me assure you that we in no way are unsatisfied in how you've handled our business in the past. And that we wish to continue sending our business your way, but, we have had to cut down on deliveries.
We at our end have never charged for shipment sent in the past. And with the rising gas costs we have still managed to keep our gas at a constant. What's causing the change in deliveries is the rising cost of the H2O.
As you know H2O is a requirement in the delivery of the business we've built up here. And up until last year, for us, we were paying a flat rate on water. But this year we were set up with a water meter to accurately gauge the amount of deliveries we were sending your way. The numbers (1and 2) sent your way are staggering!
Judging by our deliveries you'd figure we have a booming business here. And some were. But our product shipped were in bits at a time, or sometimes not at all! Sometimes we'd just ship the paperwork and no goods!
Well no more. From now on any delivery you receive from us will be all quality. No more half filled orders or paperwork with no product. We will still keep gas at our regular rate and you will never more get a late night delivery from us.
Now for the bad news.
The deal you have with our business is management. We send our business your way and you decide how or how not to handle it. All fine. And for doing this you are paid an comfortable annual fee. But, now we have to pay for every drop of water it takes to ship it to you. What we here (we being the people at the high end of the pipe) would suggest is a delivery rebate of some kind. Because if we're just giving you the business minus the H2O, well,......your business is going to slow down. Stop.
You need us to buy water to deliver our product your way. My business is your business and your business is my business delivered to your door. Well maybe not to your door unless you had you son-in-law help you with the plumbing too.
The way I see it is you eventually place the water I ship your way back in the ocean, then from that ocean form clouds which produce rain which I buy back to ship you my business. Do you see where I'm going?
It's that whole vicious circle thing. I keep buying back the same product that I give you to manage so that I can again buy it back again. I buy your rainbows and liquid sunshine to ship my raw product to you. You then turn all the water I use to ship my product back to you to rainbows and liquid sunshine again.
It's criminal I tell you! I'd go to the police but they're dealing with their own crimes. Someone broke in to the police station last week and stole every toilet! Now here it is a week later and they still have nothing to go on. (sorry)
Please advise me if you are willing and able to give any on your end in this matter, because up until now it's my end that's been doing all the giving.

Bob Niles

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What to to About Dale? (cartoon)

What to do About Dale

What to do About Dale

Of my younger brothers, of which I have two
one found by the road, one bought from the zoo
It's the one that Mom bought, that I'd like to mention
he lives in my room, and creates lots of tension.

I'm older than him, by almost two years.
And a lot taller side by side in the mirror,
I can run faster and climb higher in trees,
I want to be different, he wants to be me.

"I need my own room!" I say to my Mom.
"Sharing with Dale is lacking in fun!"
She pats my head and says back with a smile
"Fat chance of that one, my dear funny child."

So I phone up the zoo "Do you take things back?
You see it's my Mother, it's judgement she lacks."
So they look through their books for just such a sale,
they look and they looked, but they couldn't find Dale.

I think of plan "B", involving shovel and sack,
as I lay on my bed of which Dale has half.
I'm thinking it over, this plan should work fine,
then down from the stairs my Mom yells...."Bath-time!"

Of all things shared, this ones the worst!
Someone doesn't like me,....I really feel cursed!
I share my bath water with my little brother.
"It saves on the gas bill," or so says my Mother.

So it starts with a fight, deep end or not,
the deep end has taps, a plug and a spout.
But the plug rules the depth, and the taps control heat,
so it's the best end for the eldest to seat.

I put on my pajamas, and climb in the bath,
my shallow end brother he giggles and laughs.
My pajamas you see have long ears and big feet
bright pink, real fuzzy with a tear in the seat.

With my back to the taps I now face my Brother,
we're both in the tub, but not is the water.
"Hey floppy ears!" he says "Lets get this bath started!"
I stood up, turned round, bent over, and............put in the plug.

Now the same thing happens every bath night
we start having contests,we start having fights.
"I held my breath longer!" "I spit water further!"
"Bobby made me eat soap! I want him for murder!"

"Don't tell Mom! Don't tell Mom! I'll give you a quarter
she'll hear us fooling around and kick us out of the water.
Besides it's big wave time, the time you like best,
we'll ride the soapy wave that curls and crests."

Big wave time is started with a back-n-forth motion,
each brother at an end of this bubbling soapy ocean.
I slide toward Dale with water in tow
which pushes him backwards, up the bath wall he goes.

Dale and the water then re-enter the tub
which pushes me back, full speed at the plug!
I slide to the left, clear plug spout and taps,
so high up the bath wall Dale stands up and claps.

"Get ready!" I shout "Here come a big wave!
Up the back wall it'll shoot you our positions will trade."
Down past the taps and the spout, scratch my face on the plug,
in less than a second........I'm alone in the tub.

No water. No Dale. They,re up the back wall,
he's over the shower bar........"Hey Moms in the hall!"
He says something about mad as he squirts back down
but I'm high up the bath wall, then.....face to face with a frown.

My Mother, it seems is upset with her boys.
"The bathroom is flooded! No bathing, just noise!
Get out of the tub! Get ready for bed!
I've had it to here!" her hand over her head.

My mother turned-round, and left the bathroom
our laughter and play time had now turned to gloom.
So Dale climbed out, down the hall to our room,
you'd think he'd dry off.....but Mom just assumes.

I remove my pajamas, cause they weigh eighty pounds,
from the back of the door I put on Moms gown.
It's smooth and it's silky, it fits me just right,
I'm now Super-Hero, I'll fight crime and save lives.

The first evil I'll right is that arch-villain in my room.
I run down the hall, burst the door open........KABOOM!
And there's my little Brother, crying in our bed
"Mommy's like you! She doesn't like me either!" he said.

It was there at that moment my thoughts changed of my brother,
he cared what I thought, and the feelings of Mother.
His little heart was broken, his feelings torn apart
and I felt so sorry for him that I planned a new start.

He's my little Brother and he's part of me,
united together, we're stronger than three.
He's now my best friend, and we'll always stick together,
and Mom loves us both, but........she loves me way better!

Bob Niles

bobby did this

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, But Back in a Week

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, But Back in a Week

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, But Back in a Week

I am a firm believer that ignorance is the key to happiness. My wife, when the children were teenagers, went to great lengths to keep my levels of knowledge about them at a bare minimum. Her spending habits and an accurate count of her pairs of shoes are to me like my knowledge about quantum physics. In short I'm a happy man.
Ignorance is bliss.
Then one dark fateful day (it was actually sunny) everything changed. I stood in front of the wife's makeup mirror with my reading glasses on. It's the mirror that has one side normal and the other side is life altering depressing. It makes that face, the one I cover in shave cream then scratch all the white off then go about my day without a care, look like my dads face. But, also has the ability to make us look like the witch that lives far back in the woods, under a large fallen tree with hair growing out of spots that aren't suppose to have hair.
What the heck happened to my youth? And,...Oh, that's where all the hair that left my head wound up! And why am I questioning and yelling at my inflated image in a little mirror!? Like I could change the course of time by yelling at an image of my Dad. But it's not my Dad, it's me!
I was happy before I combined my reading glasses and this awful makeup mirror. I was hot! Oh No....did I leave the house looking like this? Hair out,of, my, nose. Even on my nose. These hairs were not there yesterday! They couldn't of been!
These odd mutant hair growths only happen to....well, mutants. Mutants are the ones with abundant hair growth from their ears and nose. We're my Mom and Dad brother and sister? Something's not right here.
And what makes my totally unnatural hair placement bad is that it's white. You people with dark to black hair can see immediately when a rouge hair appears. More often than not its darker than your skin and looks like a black felt pen line has appeared on your, or from your nose, ear, eyebrow or just randomly any odd spot on your face. But to have hair that's pretty much invisible until sunlight reflects back a linear beacon that advertises to all that a follicle abnormality is on the lose, it's just not fair. I have to wait till the sun is shining into the bathroom to properly remove these invisible indoor hairs that go outdoors of my nose and ears.
And then there's the procedure itself, do you cut, pull or wax them?
The only thing I wax is my car. And up until now I've only removed hair by razor and scissors. The whole pulling idea seems very painful but I'm thinking permanent. And since my razor can't fit in my nose, pulling it is.
I have to wait for a sunny day when the light is streaming in able to light up the offending follicles. Then I check off the list. Glasses? Check. Maximized inflated image looking back at me in make up mirror, ...check. Tweezers found in and among wife's brushes, powders, nail clippers and things I have no idea what they do,...check. Locate and remove first nasal hair....yank!
That's all I can remember for at least five minutes.
I got my (the wife's) tweezers on that rascal of a hair and yanked and my eyes immediately teared up, I let out some sort of Tarzan scream and fell to my knees on the bathroom floor. It was at least five minutes before before I could check the damage I did ripping half my nose off. What? My nose is still on. The offending hair? It's still there! Only now it has a curl to it!
I pick myself off the floor, bite on the handle of a toothbrush (not mine) locate the now curly hair, brace myself and pull. Again time passes but I'm unaware of it as I come about in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. Check magnifying mirror..gone, the hair is gone! ONE. Now on to two.
By three and four my nose is now numb to pain and I've managed to pull the last one without putting a curl on it first. In between 10 and 20 somewhere I pulled on a nose hair that I swear was connected to an eyebrow. How is this happening to my body?
After,.. who nose (get it?) how long I figure my twin nasal cavities are fairly follicle free. Here I assumed as my eyes were full of tears and unable to see the horrid magnifying mirror. I was going on the fact that when I insert the tweezers to their full length and squeeze and every other depth the tweezers could attain it returned empty. Thank The Good Lord that that's done. Now on to eyebrows and ears.
I was happy (?) I had done the nose first as eyebrows and ears were not half as painful. I did find it hard in making the decision of where to stop plucking my eyebrows and trying to maintain continuity between the two. It ended with one eye looking surprised and the other angry. Kind of like I was angry at being surprised or surprised about being angry.
With my ears I could never really see inside to pluck and pull but went by sound. Wiggling the tweezers in my ear hole would catch a hair and make a sound that would cause me to blindly search and pluck to stop the sound. After I couldn't hear anymore I convinced myself I was hair free or I had gone too deep into my ear with the tweezers and caused permanent hearing loss.
I must say I was surprise to find half a Q-Tip in my left ear. This would explain why my Mother ended every tirade about the state of my bedroom as a kid with a 'What are you deaf?'
Having finished nose, eyebrows and ears I was now at ease knowing, because I had plucked, that hair would never grow again, and an afternoon like I just had would never happen again.
Oh, and the tweezers I found that my wife uses to remove hair from the bathtub drain, (I didn't know that then) they created infections in my nose painful enough as to make me cry every time I breathed in through my nose. I couldn't touch my nose and prayed I wouldn't sneeze or have to blow it. It was a week before I could, to the best of ones ability, enjoy my young looking, hair free nose. Why I even have enough self confidence to stand in front of that horrible mirror with my reading glasses on ....No! Is that hair! I plucked! That means its gone forever, right?! What's happening! I'm a Mutant!

Bob Niles

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Family Vacation

Family Vacation

By my fathers definition the term family vacation is like military intelligence or jumbo shrimp. The first word is not relevant to the second word. You can have a military, but not with any intelligence. You can have shrimp, but they won't be jumbo. And you can have a family, or you could have a vacation, but you can't have a family vacation.
Still, every July for many years my dad loaded the old Volkswagen with enough food, water and clothing for six people on a two week trek into the vast Canadian Prairie. He then shoehorned in the aforementioned six that ate and wore all that cargo, put the car in drive, and the house in the rear view mirror.
Now had we been traveling a few hundred kilometers hip to hip, elbow to elbow in our red German body suit it would have been not a bad little trip. Had my mom and dad packed the bare essentials, realizing the interior of a Volkswagen is smaller than our split-level home and that water can be found in other parts of Canada, it would have been not a bad little trip. And had my dad had a keen sense of direction and not needed my mom to play navigator, who got car sick every time she looked at a map in a moving car, it might not have been a bad little trip. But we lived in Vancouver, they packed everything we owned, and mom threw-up every time dad asked for directions.
Yes we were quite a sight. Maybe you remember seeing us? We were always in the slow lane making sure the long-haul semi-trailers were doing no more than 50 Km. an hour, or broken down by the side of the road. Or you might remember seeing a crazed man chasing kids around a German Import with a flat tire, swinging a belt. Caring through on a threat he had made some miles back. You know the threat "If I have to stop this car!" But my dad, once the car was in gear in a forward motion didn't want to stop, so he would have mom write down the appropriate childs name because his memory was so bad, and then when he needed gas or a roadside repair he'd check the list, beat the required amount of children, tend to the car, and then back on the road. Most of our stops were for beatings and repairs, not beatings and gas because of the Volkswagens great gas mileage.
Eating, bathroom breaks and the viewing of majestic panoramic vistas were all done with the car in third gear, which was fine for us kids as we preferred to go as long as possibles between stop-n-spanks. All our home movies of this countries majestic mountains to it's wide open prairie all have a rear view mirror in them. In grade school when asked to draw a picture of our Summer Vacation, in the top center of every picture of all the memories I had that summer was a rear view mirror.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner had a common theme. Two pieces of white bread encasing some sort of warm mystery filling, might of been meat, but it shouldn't have been green. This was all chased down with a tartan thermos of instant coffee, so thick that you couldn't drink it through a straw. And for the children, a red drink served above body temperature that had a ratio of three parts sugar to one part water. There was no flavour to our red drink, just the taste of pure white sugar, turned into a syrup that we became dependent on. Like some drug dealer my mom injected a glass at a time to her four sugar junkies. We all shared from the same glass. Sometimes using a dirty glass, no care was taken, we just needed another fix.
After injecting her four boys with the red syrup the car now took on an almost church like atmosphere as we all sat quietly as the sugar started to corse through our veins. Then the smallest one would start to vibrate, and one by one from the smallest to the biggest the sugar took hold.. Four boys jammed into the back of a Volkswagen, leg to leg vibrating in unison with enough lateral motion that the car would fish tail from side to side on the road. This erratic driving caused my dad to be pulled over several times for drunk driving on our quest East.
With Dads no stop policy, bathroom breaks of the No. 1 kind were also done on the go. A glass jar with a leak-proof lid (very important) was the latrine of choice. A latrine that went up and down, side to side and back and forth with every bump and pothole and twist and turn. Made all the more complicated by my dads heavy foot on the gas and brake pedal. A skill that one would soon have to master or the next flat tire or gas station stop, not only dad had a swing at you, you also had a brother with a wet pant leg going at you.
So in the interest of family unity I practiced my moving latrine skills before we left home, while jumping on my bed becoming one with the Rodgers Syrup bottle. But when mom walked in my room to yell at me for jumping on the bed and caught me in my practice hindsight, it would have been better to have my older brother with a wet leg go at me.
On our mid-country trek many layers of clothing were worn to save space for packing important things like the bath mat. The first layer was at least one tee-shirt and then as many underwear as was possible. Then swim trunks, church clothes for Sunday, ("God doesn't go on vacation") two pairs of shorts, one short sleeve shirt, one long sleeve shirt and one pair of dress pants in case we went out for dinner. Convicts in prison for life had a better chance going out for dinner than we did.
We would sweat so much that the windows would steam up. In July! Here my mom was of no help, she didn't want to open the windows because it would mess her hair. A mis-aligned hair-doo, my brothers and I thought, would be the least of the visual curiosities a stranger would bestow on our family at the next gas and beatings stop. Four boys, thick with clothing, three with wet legs (remember I practiced), all having a good measure of discipline laid up on their back-sides by a somewhat crazed man, who by this point in the trip took a strange delight (a cackle or almost crazed laugh) in completing his threat.
As well as the heat issue we had to deal with, Dad also added nicotine smoke to our living hell sauna. To try to get breathable air we would pull our many shirts over our nose and mouth to filter out the blue atmosphere. My older brother once cut the ends off dads used cigarette butts for the filter, thinking he could purify his air that way. One in each nostril and two in his mouth. When the air got clear enough for my mom to see us in the back seat, she just shook her head and wrote his name down for the next stop.
Spending as many hours as we did in the car, in tight quarters, you get to know your family. Back at home I never knew my brother bit his toenails, or that dad snored when he drove. The later part of that last sentence is why I think my mom was so religious. On our car trips we didn't play a license plate game or I Spy With my Little Eye or 20 Questions, we had church (we had the clothes on,..somewhere).
We would sing gospel songs and read the Bible, then dad would pass the collection plate to raise money for gas, for a poor family heading to Manitoba
"If I have to" Dad would start, "stop the car" we in unison would finish, was a phrase we heard all to often. And rightly so, we were little terrors in the back of that car. But in our defense, it was because we were bored out of our minds crammed in the back of that Volkswagen for two days. Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, hour after hour moving as one up and down side to side with every bump and twist in the road. It's then when ones mind starts to invent ways to somehow sanely perverse the tedium to stay mentally strong. At your apex of brilliance you realize what's needed is a lively game of tag. Each in turn you'd tag the brother on the left, then the one on the end would reach across the car and tag his brother on the opposite side. Harder and harder we'd tag until it became a slug-fest, then some sissy would start to cry. "If I have to" Dad shouted "stop the car!" we'd finish.
Some of our games we played just weren't practical. Hide-and-seek proved to be a little dangerous. My younger brother curled up in a fetal position at dads feet to try and hide from us in the back. He got in the way of the brake pedal while leaning on the gas pedal. We almost met an Ontario family on their way to the West Coast. In my brothers defense, Dad should have noticed that Trevor had squeezed between the front seats then across his legs and hidden at his feet. Here again is why my Mother was always in prayer. But with Dads foot stomping on Trevors head, and Trevors head on the brake pedal they brought the car to a screeching halt just a breath away from an insurance claim, had we of had insurance. That was the first and only time one of us stopped the car for his own beating.
Night was a welcome relief as darkness brought on time consuming sleep. Sleep that ate away hours of tedious travel. Sleep that transported you magically across hundreds of miles of wide open prairie. Sleep that eased the grip on the steering wheel all the while adding foot pressure to the gas pedal that raced the engine that woke my Mom that made her scream which jolted my Dad awake to save us all from a fiery crash. Ah yes restful sleep. Mom made Dad pull over to the side of the road and grab a few hours of sleep after that. It seemed strange to us kids to stop the car and not get a beating. Maybe after he rested he'd check the list. Now in fear we couldn't sleep so to pass the time we started a quiet game of night tag. In hindsight we should have tried harder to sleep.
After one more sunrise and one more sunset, two car repairs and three beatings (we just never learned) we reached our destination. Our Uncle Alberts farm. The same farm my dad had grown up on. A world away, it seemed from our life in the city. A world of strange farm machines, cows, pigs, horses and chickens, all accompanied with their own unique smells. A wide open expanse of sky and land that held an ever present danger of stepping into some kind of poo. A place where the future came a little slower. A place where you got to go to the bathroom outside, down a deep hole dug in a tiny shed. A place where the water had to be earned by physical force on the end of a pump handle. A place where a child risks a digit to collect eggs for breakfast. A place where there was no one to play with but my crazy brothers. But it was the best of times. It was a place where my Dad knew everything. A place where my Dads face changed, where the corners of his mouth didn't turn down quite as much. A place where his body posture seemed less rigid and he laughed with Mom and us kids. It was a place, and time, where my Dad was king. The perfect place for a family vacation.

Bob Niles

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When we Played Tag,...Dad Drove! (cartoon)

When we a played Tag,...Dad Drove!

When we Played Tag,...Dad Drove!

Fathers Day has to be the easiest celebration to plan for of the year. A celebration, that if left up to dad, would not have to go ahead at all. Cause really all dads want is just to be left alone.
Fathers Day was brought about to complement Mothers Day as Wikipedia would have us believe. And it wasn't a guy who brought it about, but a woman. A daughter that wanted to honor her dad. I mean what's he going to say after she had gone to all this work? "No thanks honey. If you really want to do something special just leave me alone." (the guy had raised 6 kids by himself! Of course he wants to be alone)
My Dad never wanted a fuss, heck he didn't want kids! Us boys, he had four, would ask dear old Dad what he would like from us for Fathers Day and each year he would respond 'Get adopted by another family!' Ah what a kidder.
His idea of a perfect Fathers Day would be after watching an afternoon of golf he get off the couch to find a perfect outline of himself in potato chips. A day that I myself would like to achieve. But every year we would try to do something special for him because that's what moms like. So why not dads? Moms like to get dressed up and stand in line with a lot of other dressed up moms and wait for their name to be called in a restaurant on their special day. Why wouldn't dad like something special like that?
I guess we missed the subtle clues through the year that Dad had wanted just to be left alone on his special day. Like when we played tag and he drove. Our first tubby toy was a plug in radio. And Dads favorite game with us was 'Hide-n-go.....'. No,... it was just Hide-n-go. He never came looking for us.
Little things he'd say like 'I made three just like you. I can take you out and make another and no one would miss you. Your Mothers the only one stopping me'. What a kidder.
It's not that he didn't do things with us he just had his own style of doing things. Like when it snowed he'd take us out bumper hitching. To you who might not know its grabbing hold of the rear bumper of dads car while squatting on your feet and he pulls you along behind in the family Pontiac on the snowy road. Big in the 60s, but now nosey neighbors would probably phone the cops on such a parent. And especially my Dad, cause he made us hold the front bumper! 'Keep your arms real stiff!' he'd yell. What a kidder.
We were never a huggy-feely family that shared a lot of emotions to let old Dad know we loved him. I remember once hugging my Dad, which greatly surprised him. Had I waited till he was out of the shower...?
My Dad was a kidder, he loved to laugh. And that one of the things I really enjoyed growing up was his laughter. A house is so much better with laughter. My happiest childhood memories revolve around my Dad when he was happy. And he wasn't happy that much. It's not like he raised us in fear of punishment, but he carried the world on his shoulders and did more worrying than one human should possibly do. So laughter was a welcome change.
If there was ever a time that I had the chance to show my Dad how much I appreciated him it wasn't on a Fathers Day, but was when he and I drove up to Fort St. John in northern British Columbia together. I was doing a plumbing job there and he came along for a two day drive and then I flew him back home. The scenery and one on one time spent together for the two days was a time he more than once thanked me for and I was lucky he gave me the chance to do it before he passed away
I've been blessed with several days in my life that I would describe as a day that I'm so proud to be a father to each one of my kids. It hasn't been with cards, gifts or dinners bought. But something that each one of them has done within their own lives, that made me proud and made me think this dad thing is all worth while. It's alright.
I wasn't the best son a dad could have, and deserved the threat of being taken out and another one made just like me. Thank you Mom! And my kids at times came close to that same threat. But they like me came around before it was too late.
So this Fathers Day phone dad, buy him a dinner, play a round of golf, take him fishing or just tell him you understand and leave him alone. That's what my kids do for me. For Fathers Day is not found in days paid for and expected.....but in days that they, the kids, have worked for and made sacrifices within themselves to achieve their desired goal. And then, hopefully once from each child during your lifetime they make you so proud that you get the chance to stick out your chest and say 'THAT'S MY KID! Do you know what they just did?"
All the work, prayers, hopes and dreams a dad puts into a kid suddenly sprouts. That's Fathers Day.

Bob Niles