Mad Michaels and Lilly’s Italian in Midland

Went to Mad Michaels for lunch on the way to penetang today. The place is a really unique experience with eclectic branch based furniture some of which was for sale. The server was a pleasant guy and seemed pretty on the ball. Personally I wasn’t expecting much given the location and the bizarre decor but I was pleasantly surprised.
The ribs I had were well smoked but I was expecting a “rack” like you would in a rib place. What I got was more like pork steak and I’m not entirely sure what part of the ribs it was. Anyway the taste was good, but the highlight was Nicole’s bison burger which was tender and fall apart delicious with super creamy cheese.

Valet shmalet

I’m just not sure what it is about people who valet park but I hate them all without exception – so far

This Blog Has Moved (again!!)

Newly located here:

http://BLOG.SIMONKAY.CA

Please drop by and say hi!

Ketchup

It’s been a wild few months, so much is happening all around that I am clinging onto the one thing in which I find stability and that is my other blog. It’s easy to write, doesn’t really take that much effort and as an added bonus, helps me to stay on track with my workouts. It’s located here: P90X and it has caused me to rethink much of what I write online, not only content wise, but also location wise. You see, many many years ago when I worked in the food industry I had the idea of opening an English Pub. It was going to be called The Happy Bastard. I am not sure where the name originally came from but I liked it and it stuck. Unfortunately, I decided to use it for my first website name and ever since it has been like dog poop on your running shoe. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get rid of it. I have, over the years, moved some of my writing to different places. I have renamed my blogs a couple of times and finally, after 12 years of blogging I am about to move my personal blog onto another site. An unwanted side effect of this move is the paralysis of my contributions. In addition, we now have our Kay Family blog where Nicole and I try to add posts and update the family on our news. I wanted to maintain my own site for several reasons, not least of which is the more candid and honest writing I do here. However, for those of you who are counting that means I now have 3 sites which require my updates on a near daily basis. Now, despite my own aspirations or mental leanings, I am not a writer and spending time each day creating posts for these blogs is not practical. Add to that my gymnastics coaching blog, my photo site and trying to develop an idea for an IT security site I am spread way too thin.

So my grand scheme is to move everything to one place. Have everything under one domain so that I can find it all and keep it all straight. However, moving content is not as easy as it may sound and frankly it is driving me up the wall. An oblique issue is also that the more I maintain my P90X / insanity site the worse I feel about my personal site which is supposed to be the epoch of personal blogging achievement.  You can tell how all this is starting to slide sideways like a BMW in the snow.

Just for fun, let’s add coaching twice a week, a pregnant wife who wants me to write about my future responsibilities, my own desire to create a dad-to-be checklist of sorts for those just as lost as I am and a laundry list of things that need to be done in the real world before the baby gets here and you can see that the few hours I have away from work are stuffed like a German Sausage and frankly close to splitting.

So a major reorganization is in order. I have all but abandoned my coaching blog which is a terrible disappointment to me but I am committed to keeping both my workout blog (as long as I am doing Beachbody workouts) and my personal blog, wherever it may eventually reside.

I can’t believe that the whole Winter Olympics in Vancouver has gone by without my writing a single word. Sure, the hockey game was exciting, seeing the women’s curling team choke on the last rock was a disappointment and overall Canada did pretty well but not having written about it is a shocker. Maybe it is due to the fact that I have been working hard at home, fixing the mountain of odds and ends that have to be done. I still haven’t finished the trim for the floor, and unfortunately I think I may need to purchase another air compressor to do so. It’s not a huge job, but time consuming and hard on the back. I also have a major decision to make about trim around the fire place. The last thing I need is to make a mess of that area and have it look amateurish. So far we have built furniture for the baby room, I have installed desks, dimmer switches, TV stands, disposed of well over 200lbs of electronics, made multiple trips to the dump (my Dad would be so proud!) and ordered, filled and had removed a 1 square metre garbage box full of random house waste. This past weekend I put up more sturdy shelving in the garage in preparation for creating a workout space and repurposing the basement storage area into a workshop. It’s been a non stop workfest since the pregnancy began and it is only picking up speed as the belly gets bigger.

For those of you men whose partners are recently pregnant let me tell you that you should prepare for the avalanche of to do lists that “the baby room” will generate. Somehow our baby room required the whole house to be redecorated. I have a feeling from the hundreds of web pages Nicole visits that this is not the exception and that in some way the “nesting” thing pregnant women do is as much to do with you going to Home Depot as it does her going to babies-r-us.

CISSP – I has it

I passed my exam.

It wasn’t easy, I thought I had failed and it was a huge hit on my ego. Passing however has restored my faith in my occasionally questionable memory and my long distant past as an academic achiever.

CISSP – It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want to pass.

So, this baby thing…

We have waded neck deep into a festering gorgefest of greed for our money. Based only on the presumed love and undying adoration that we will have for our bundle of joy I am beseiged daily with websites and products and quotes and commercials some of which admittedly are so cute I want to barf rainbows but still…

I mean really... The worlds cutest thing... bleargghhhhhh

I mean really... The worlds cutest thing... bleargghhhhhh

I thought it was bad that people wanted to screw me out of loving my girlfriend, then fiance and now my wife a week before my birthday every year by forcing me to participate in the shameless capitalistic orgy that is Valentine’s Day. That was quickly overshadowed by the volcanic eruption of greed that enveloped us during the planning of our wedding. Vendors, shameless whores of low class, low quality dross would bombard us with ridiculous theme weddings, matching outfits, outlandish thousand dollar wedding cakes and inane pointless and unnecessarily expensive “keepsakes”. I just was not prepared, regardless of the fact that I had glimpsed behind the curtain of piggery when we had visited the Toronto Wedding Show, for the sheer pressure that is placed on happy couples to part with their money in the name of “love”.

Frankly, it makes me angry just thinking about it.

This is different. I am sure at the time our wedding was… well, no it wasn’t. I couldn’t stand the stench of rapacity during the countdown to our big day and thank the stars for my wonderful wife without whom I would no doubt have the heads of several Wedding Planners on my wall. But this is different since really when it comes down to it nothing, and I mean NOTHING changes your life like becoming a parent does. So although I feel suffocated by avarice for my hard earned money, I can’t help but understand why. Let’s be honest, aside from Anne Geddes the Demon Goddess of Baby Cruelty there is nothing cuter than certain kinds of baby pictures. Especially when it’s yours.

Oh, and don’t bother commenting about Ms. Geddes. I place her in the same category as people who enter their children in beauty pageants, putting ball gowns and makeup on 4 to 8 year olds. It’s child abuse, you know it, I know it and people like that should be forced to go to work naked for a year to taste the kind of emotional scarring they are subjecting their kids to. On that happy note… Happy Birthday to me!

Pray Silence For The Father To Be…

Time for me to wade into the baby updates…

Yes, I realize that this is the first time since the cryptic entry from last time that I am actually writing about the enormous changed that have come about in our lives. We learned a few weeks ago that Nicole is pregnant and therefore by deduction that I am going to be a father.

 

 

*moment of silence for sink-inage*

 

I am still in shock, or disbelief, or denial, I am not sure which but it certainly doesn’t seem real yet. However, as Nicole expands with each passing day and our attention turns away from us and onto the baby-* (everything in our life now starts with baby). Baby-room, baby-clothes, baby-changing table, baby-crib and it goes on and on. I swear I am not going to realize what is going on until the baby is actually crying and for that reason alone I am petrified.

But I have a plan, at least for the easy things like furniture, rooms, garbage, diapers etc,

What I don’t have a plan for yet and what I will be developing here is how to be a Dad. Unlike most other things in life that really don’t matter, being a parent is something that really deserves planning and attention on an ongoing basis. My feeling is that most men just don’t put enough thought into what happens once the baby comes other than the mechanics. Why not spend the last 3 or 6 months of the pregnancy when you are spending your time being obedient and not angering the earth mother as she gradually metamorphoses from your wife into your child’s mother paying attention to the person you will need to be once the child arrives. For example, being too fat to lift up your child is something that will require attention before the trip to the hospital. Same goes for quitting smoking, stopping biting your nails, procrastinating, time management, assessing your morals and priorities, improving your hygiene etc etc.

So I will try over the next few months before baby Kay arrives to get my shit together which will include, by the way, losing the profanities. Wish me luck!

No Excuses...

So what else is new? Well, I seem to have done the same thing I always do when I get too much on my plate and that is fail to do much of anything! I recently went on a CISSP Boot Camp course in Toronto to help prepare me for the CISSP exam in January. I have been running the Biggest Loser at work and of course coaching while trying to keep up with home stuff that needs to happen. This has meant that after my success with P90X that I have not been back to the gym. It seems that G90X didn’t really take off like I had hoped. I now am in a position with an upcoming exam, upcoming trip to Switzerland and a ton of work and a big pile of frustration with my poor eating habits and lack of exercise. So I need to get organized. The problem isn’t my inability to cope, it is my unwillingness to plan appropriately and get my time organized. I need to study every day, exercise every day and figure out a way to stop eating crap all the time. It can’t be that hard, I am a full grown man for Gods sake.

So here I go. Today, Christmas Eve 2009 I will go home and do Plyometrics with my P90X buddy Tony and have a health supper. I will study at least 2 hours and start making notes on the Information Security and Risk Management Domain.

What I need in order to do that I think is a better working area. Although we have a desk downstairs with the computer it is really not appropriate. We have discussed moving the desk up to the reading nook which would be an ideal study spot. That means moving the existing couch into the front baby-room to be. That would require moving the existing couch in that room out and also the bed… You can see how it all snowballs into one big overwhelmfest.

Tonight… you!

Red Eyes and Harry Balzac

Harry Balzac - Wordplay or Starbucks' Newest Creation

Harry Balzac - Wordplay or Starbucks' Newest Creation

Having taken 3 months away from this blog to do the P90X writeup I now find myself having to juggle the two systems as I attempt to merge the workouts into my daily life. I want to keep up with the P90X updates however with the myriad of things going on in my personal life I need to ha ve a place to record what is going on. For the longest time things were pretty stable, I was doing P90X every day, working, had plenty of time to write and even to do home renovation projects. Nicole and I would get to work around 7, grab a Red Eye and a Harry Balzac from Starbucks and life was simple. Then coaching happened. I was shorted 2 days a week, on Fridays I was too tired to workout so I lost 3 days a week to the shakeup. P90X started to drag as the last rest week became more of a burden than a pleasure. We rolled out the antivirus at work (www.kaspersky.com) which presented a great deal of cycles to be worked through. As coaching progressed, the usual problems occurred, now we are picking floor music and the vortex of life has sucked all the spare time from my schedule. I am working on taking P90X into the gym, trying to get my money’s worth from my gym membership while creating a new interesting workout schedule for myself. The days of heavy bench and bodyweight shoulder presses are behind me now and although I refuse to say that they will never return, for now they are retired.

There are so many other things going on that I haven’t had time to write about so here goes.

My seed finally came through for me!! Although the Romaine Lettuce turned into a thistle the leeks started to sprout as did some of the carrots. I guess they are both really sensitive to not having enough water. I will pick some of the (admittedly still small) carrots this week and see if it was all worth the effort.

We are getting more children!! Both Nicole and I are swamped with kids this year, both of our recreational gymnastics groups are up to 9 kids each. Although I have only 5 competitive kids this year compared to her 8 they are still a handful and I am slowly being forced into the role of Party Coach since they are frowning on discipline and hard work nowadays.

Nicole is getting bigger!! Her reputation as a world class motivator and Fit Kids organizer is spreading quickly through the community. This past weekend we did the 30th Annual Howl On The Hill 5K race with some of the Fit Kids children. Although some of them complained through the whole thing they all finished the race! I found myself repeating things I had heard my Dad say to me on so many occasions as a child as I whined about climbing mountains and traversing heather covered moors with a pack on my back. These kids however only had to walk for 40 minutes on the sidewalk. Kids nowadays, they don’t know how easy they have it. Speaking of my parents they are about to become the bionic couple as Mum goes in for her hip replacement in December.

Catch up – The 3 month calendar

Here is what I have been up to since July, other than the P90X program that I am updating every day here: http://p90x.iamcanadian.org

P90X started week of June 22nd.
Jun 30 – Biggest Loser 3 started
July 8 – 261.3
July 15 – 258.2
July 20 – Phase 2 P90X starts. Dr Alex Appt. Tires rotated.
July 21 8am and 4pm blood tests for Dr Alex
July 26 – Cristina Birthday – Not in calendar
July 31 – Sysadmin Day – DAY OFF
August 3 – Stef Birthday
August 8 – Hastings
August 15 – Penetang for the play and Melissa O’Neil
August 17th – P90X Phase 3 starts
August 20 – Nicole got her eyes fixed
August 22 – Niagara Falls for Anniversary
August 25 – Wedding Anniversary
August 26 – Biggest Loser 3 Finale
Sept 3 – 8 – Hardwood Floor install
Sept 7 – Labour Day
Sept 8 – Coaching Starts
Sept 10 – Fluke demo
Sept 11 – Gerry’s Tea
Sept 14 – late to work – Nicole Sick
Sept 17 – Off Work – Nicole Sick
Sept 18 – Gerry’s Cruise  – Nicole too sick to attend
Sept 23 – Biggest Loser 4 Start
Sept 29 (TODAY) – Liverpool Vs. Fiorentina / Fluke Demo 2
Oct 1 – Antivirus Rollout starts

STILL NEED TO HAND IN OUR NUTRITION EXAMS!!!!!

2nd Anniversary Weekend

It is weird to read what someone else’s experience is about an event that you share. It really depends on what you contribute to it and how that colours how you enjoy it. For example, according to Nicole I seem to have napped most of the time this past weekend and her overriding memory seems to be of the casino. For me, the poor sod who has to drive the car, the experience is completely different. Mostly I like driving, but when it comes to having to drive in torrential downpours and endless traffic jams my enjoyment is diminished significantly. My overriding memory of the weekend then is not the casino, which was a lot of fun, especially since I didn’t really lose any money. It is not the room, which was amazing, a pass through window to the bedroom from the jacuzzi bathroom and a view of the falls and the Casino. It is not our discovery of a brand new shopping and restaurant area in Amherst (I guess this would be like driving from Etobicoke into Mississauga and discovering all the different stores there) including the same ring store where we can now take Nicole’s engagement ring to get cleaned. It is not even the enormous pile of nachos that I had at the British Pub style restaurant at the casino as outlined below:

Their description:
After a busy day in Niagara, come meet friends or simply relax in the warm and inviting pub atmosphere of The Falls & Firkin. Enjoy a wide selection of domestic and imported draught beer, as well as wines and cocktails, while you seek refuge in a variety of comfortable seating overlooking the Falls. Their extensive menu includes traditional pub fare and delicious daily specials, covering lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and weekend brunch.

My description:

After a busy day in the Casino losing all your money and getting bumped from your machine by grumpy senior citizens with menace in their eyes even though you only stood up to stretch your legs, come and relax in the comfortable but oddly low booth seating in the Falls & Firkin. Enjoy watching us eject unruly Asian people as they attempt to eat their own food on our patio and marvel at the inappropriately tight Lululemon pants on our (obviously oblivious) slightly portly waitress. Enjoy a wide selection of food as long as it is fish and chips, nachos or beans and mash since our understanding of British Pub cuisine obviously comes from The Simpsons or Family Guy. You can have a myriad of different beers but in order to do so you have to catch the waiter with the weird hair or try and track down the bartender who is occupied chatting up some pierced face weirdo who looks more like a pincushion than a fashion statement. But take our advice, have the nachos, it will make all the rest of the experience go away.

My overriding memory of the weekend then was none of the above, and no, it was not even the traffic. My overrriding memory of the weekend was how amazing it was to me (if not to her) that Nicole was able to read tiny street signs, to see wonderful cloud formations and to see the beauty of the falls from our room without her glasses or contacts. It took me right back to when I had my eyes done and the marvel it was finally to be without contact lenses for the first time in 20 years. I know exactly how she feels, something which for men and women is rare. I even know how she will feel as the days and weeks pass which is even more strange. But most of all I know that she is happy which to me is the best Anniversary present of all.

The hotel was nice, well appointed, comfortable and clean. The service was good, although we did not use any of the amenities. I would recommend the hotel but only of you can get a good deal on a room. There is no way I would pay $250 a night for it, but then again, there are very few places I would pay that kind of money for. The place is well built, pleasant to walk through which is nice, the lobby area is large and welcoming and the halls to the rooms are equally appealing and clean. The room itself as noted was very nice and interestingly laid out. However, the shower door seal leaked and the door did not close properly meaning that after I had finished showering the floor of the bathroom was completely flooded, not only a pain for me to mop up, but also extremely dangerous. The shower door has a full width handle on the outside but a very small and difficult to grip cylindrical knob on the inside. This makes it impossible to pull the door hard enough to close it should it not have been built properly, which our obviously had not. The windows were a decent size however I think that a flagship hotel overlooking one of the Wonders of the World could have full length windows or at least full width… Anyway, my enjoyment of the hotel was not diminished by these items. There was an amusing item as we walked from the parking lot to the hotel. Each floor has a “Hotel Events” large screen monitor encased in an expensive looking wooden display on which the hotel displays any conference information, helpful visitor tips and so on. The one on our floor however indicated that today’s Hotel Event was that “There are unused items on your desktop”. Maybe someone should call the helpdesk?

I am not sure if we reviewed the casino last time but the review is short and sweet. If you try hard you could imagine you are in Vegas. The casino itself is very nice, large and bright and well ventilated. It is not quite as loud as some of the Vegas casinos and certainly not as large but it is about as close as you will find anywhere around here. The machines play differently, there is no doubt that the payouts are less and that the variety is not comparable however it really doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the place. You can winn enough to keep playing which is the key and if you are very lucky like my wife (in more ways that one!) you can win enough to go shopping in Buffalo. One thing I did notice is that the Players Club works differently than in Vegas. They only bank points for the money that you put into the machine not for the time that you play. In Vegas you can put in $20 and play for an hour racking up credits enough to get you a free buffet in no time. At Niagara, unless you are putting cash into the machine you don’t get credits. Playing isn’t enough in other words, you have to pay! Their system calls for 100 points to get $10 play cash. However it notes that you have to put in between $40 and $60 to get ONE POINT!!! Enough said. Basically if you can’t get to Vegas and you want the next best thing go to Atlantic City. If you can’t leave the country then go to Niagara Fallsview. Just check the weather and the traffic before you go!