The Goat Man Proposes

The Goat Man is a fellow Canadian that the Latino’s aptly named The Goat during his public, on stage naming ceremony. The Goat nickname I can only imagine, is in reference to his odd 3 inch long, thick, chin hair.

On some vacation’s it can seem no matter how large and how vast the number of activities available, there are just some folks that you can never quite escape.

The Goat Man and his lady were just that couple.

Breakfast, the beach, the pool, the nightly entertainment, the casino, the plane ride home. After spending 7 days bumping into the Goat Man and his friend, it became a sport to guess his next move before it happened.

Like gambling all his money away at BlackJack {story}.

What we weren’t prepared for and couldn’t have guessed was his public, homeward bound, in-flight proposal to his lady with a place holder ring which was a green wire twist-tie {story}. Actually, we found out later there was nothing, no ring, no twist tie {fact}. There was a box, void of a ring {fact}, in it’s place an IOU? {story} – but a highly believable story at that πŸ™‚

“For those who missed it at the back of the plane, she said yes.”

Round of applause

This prompted a discussion on proposals. Post-vacation?! On a discount air carrier?! No ring?! Was he so insecure she’d say no that he was hedging his bets?!

Why not on the way there, or while ON vacation? Panama is a beautiful place. Was she on vacation probation? If so, I believe she earned her worth when she successfully flagged down the bus back to the airport for her hung-over, soon-to-be fiance.

7 Days, 7 Nights in Panama

7 Days, 7 Nights in Panama

PanamaIt is the first time being so close to the Equator. I am highly aware of the proximity and how it may affect my skin. I am by nature, not a huge sun tanner. I prefer slathering on copious amounts of sunscreen and playing a beach sport.

I am THAT vacationer that arrives home whiter than I left from all the zinc oxide build-up on my skin. Being so conscious of my ghostly white skin, each morning I take great care applying, reapplying my zinc oxide sunscreen.

It was with great displeasure, two days in when I realized I had successfully burnt a 1 inch patch of skin on my right ring finger.

How does this happen? That one little spot that missed inspection prior to sun-exposure? It has turned into what I can only diagnosis with my lack of credentials as a 3rd degree burn. It’s bubbling, it’s painful and it is taking up most of my finger.

In anycase, it’s a good thing for adventurous-shev-ski who packed Traumeel, Polysporin, Aloe Vera Gel and a whole other slew of lotions and potion’s.

I am a last minute packer. It took me an hour, when I should have been sleeping, to pack my bag.

030The adventurous-shev-ski and I have travelled a few places together and we’ve turned out to be compatible travellers. I didn’t think of this the first time I agreed to that cruise we took. The one where I woke up in the middle of the night OUTSIDE our cruise ship suite. What the HELL!! That’s correct, yours truly decided in her sleep to walk past the convenient in-cabin restroom and in bare feet and barely there sleep-wear, traipsed up to the top deck, past the 2am deck hands, to use the public facilities. Only when I tried morphing back through our cabin door and falling backwards, flat on my arse did I wake up to what had been so far an adventure dream.

Since that trip we’ve made it on many more trips, all equally as eventful as the first and I have discovered I am neurotic about packing. I’ve tried escaping my neurosis by leaving it in the Atlantic, Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and even the cold cold Yukon but it finds a way home. I can count on it always finding me.

I pre-occupy my packing with making sure I am way under the 21 kg weight limit. I worry that I might pack too much, too little and not the right clothes. The end result when I arrive at my destination is a self-fulfilled prophecy of all the wrong clothes and missing any sort of first aid items.

The adventurous-shev-ski gets a kick out of this. She packs triple of everything plus some.

This trip I did my best to pack light and pack smart.

I arrived at the airport with my carry-on size luggage and backpack. I felt confident I’d be within my weight limit. However the worry wouldn’t stop until the ticket agent weighed my bag.

The adventurous-shev-ski arrived pulling her trusty travel bag and carry-on luggage and I couldn’t help myself. All that pent-up neurosis and fear surrounding the 21 kg luggage weight per person and the first thing I blurted out, “My your bag is LARGE!”

She dismissed my comment, knowing my packing skill at best meant I’d likely only have enough clean underwear for each day, let alone clothing.

I knew she’d likely be right but I didn’t want to give in yet.

It didn’t end there. Once we arrived safely in our room we quickly realized two things:

1. By chance, we managed to be in the best possible location on the resort. To our surprise we had a beach front room and from our second floor balcony, had a clear a view of the Pacific ocean, the pools, the snack bar, the bar and the board walk. With a crank of the neck we could see Mojo Mojo, Panamai, the amphitheatre and it’s Nightly entertainment, the Gym, the Towel hut, the water sports. We were within 100 meters of everything one might want or need at a resort.

2. After some show and tell during our settling in, we quickly realized the adventurous-shev-ski has perfected the art of packing. She packed her bag like a luxury sedan carrying only two people. She had just the right amount of everything with room to spare. I, on the other hand, own a Clown Bag. I managed to somehow pack triple and quadruple of weather appropriate clothing, while only tipping the scale at a mere 12 kg. As I was unpacking it seemed there was no end in sight of shirts, shorts, bikini’s, dresses and flips flops. Not only did I out-pack my friend and her normal sized travel bag, my neurosis had followed me to Panama and in my anxiety of meeting a 21 kg weight restriction, overlooked packing lotions and potions and other necessary items to help numb the pain of frying to a crisp.

Louis’ Lessons of Love

1. A man always accompanies his woman everywhere, even shopping because he is her man and he is her protector. When he goes shopping with her he tells her “my love, how about this, maybe this one or try this.”

On men who don’t accompany their women “…bullshit! He doesn’t love her.”

2. Men should always be touching their girl. Massaging, kissing and touching their arms, and hands.

Louis’ easily spots Canadian travellers. They sit side by side, far apart. To help Canadians find love, Louis confronts unsuspecting vacationers with the following:

“Are you brother and sister.”

“No, we are husband and wife/boyfriend and girlfriend.”

He shakes his head in disappointment, “then why are you sitting like this?”

He grabs the man and woman’s hand, puts them together and declares, “You must hold hands! You must kiss and show passion”

Louis, is a compact man and he is looking for a Canadian Love and has asked us to keep an eye out for him. If anyone is interested in a real man who loves women 1,000% (because he has stressed he is NOT gay), let me know I have just the man!

Co-authored by the adventurous-shev-ski

Earning Panama

Earning Panama

IMG-20121130-00914Before we get to Panama and all its hot weather, sporadic rain and friendly spanish speaking Latino’s, its important to note the weeks leading up to this particular vacation to get the full effect.

You see, I agreed to this vacation BEFORE I knew I had a job that was going to support my basic needs of paying a mortgage, food and a car payment. After landing a job, I took a moment to have a sigh of relief. The downside is I still couldn’t bring myself to feel upbeat about my upcoming vacation. Aren’t vacation’s for people stressed out from their corporate jobs? A place to rejuvenate?

I’d been living the limin’ life for a year and this getaway felt exactly like the splurge it was and seemed like such a waste in my state of stress-free well being.

All that was to change 3 weeks leading up to beautiful Panama.

It started with a broken baby toe, progressed into a duel I lost with a 70lb animal and ended with the big bang of a condo flood 2 inches deep.

The toe and tooth are worthy stories, both were avoidable separate accidents, both are still causing me pain 3 weeks later. The condo flood is what will scar and scare me forever out of any semblance of a peaceful sleep!

I was preparing for my trip. There was work to be accomplished, packing to be done, pampering to be had. I was doing well, going to bed early, waking up early and one by one striking the “to-do’s” off my list until that morning at 3am when I was rudely awakened.

“Property Management! Property Management!”

My slumber was being pierced by an unknown male voice and it wasn’t coming from my dream.

I rolled over, rubbed my eyes and in my groggy state of partial awareness, struggling with my sheets I yelled back as loud and angry I could make my little 3am voice sound, “WHO Is IN MY CONDO!”

“It’s me, Steve, your property management.” He yelled back.

I grabbed my phone, it was 3am and I yelled back, “what the hell are you doing in my condo, bastard!”. And I looked around for that giant flashlight, my only hope, my only weapon!

“You’ve had a flood!!”

“I’ve had a WHAT!?!!”. I shouted back incredulously.

“A FLOOD!” Came his reply.

I rolled out of bed and took a step towards my bedroom door, the carpet was wet. I stepped off the carpet, reached for my door knob and stepped into what felt like the edge of the Atlantic ocean.

I opened my bedroom door, pried opened my eyes and saw the flood extending from my restroom, to my living room, my dining room to the kitchen to the front door.

The giant who is my property manager splashed by me, heading towards my bathroom. All the while he was chattering about the flood, “It looks like your toilet tank cracked, your neighbour noticed water coming through her vent.”

I groaned. I knew this neighbour. The one who is no fun at all. My property manager turned off the water to my toilet and suggested I clean up Lake Ontario that had unseemingly seeped into my condo.

He left.

I locked my door and in a dazed wandered through the flood only to fall flat on my back in my little private lake. As I laid there looking up at the ceiling and feeling the water soaking my hair, my shirt and my pants, I wondered if perhaps this may still be just a dream. I willed myself to stand up, brushed whatever water I could off myself and I went to work cleaning up the mess.

After two hours of soaking up water in towels, wringing them out into a bucket and dumping the bucket into my tub, I had successfully sent Lake Ontario back to where it belonged.

Now what to do? It was 5am and I needed to use the restroom. I quickly changed, dug up my insurance information, slid into my Mini and zoomed off to the nearest 24 hour donut shop I could find. For the record, the best time to use public restrooms is around the 5/6am mark! Trust me, I tried out a couple that early morning πŸ™‚

So here I am in Panama 3 days post-flood. Enjoying every minute of sun, sand and drop of rain. Knowing that everyday is bringing me closer to my new condo reality – cement flooring “throughout” and my neighbour who is threatening to sue me!

My Parking Garage Neighbour

I live in a rather reclusive building. When I first moved in over three years ago I hardly knew I had neighbours at all. I rode up and down the elevator, walked up and down the hallways and didn’t meet a soul.

It was after seven months of living in my condo that I met someone.

My parking garage neighbour.

At the time he was driving a 2002 Silver Volvo S60. Seriously, I know this is ridiculous of me, but cars really are my thing. I noticed there were always loads of things in his backseat all covered in blankets and I got to wondering what possibly could be lurking under the blankets.

Perhaps it was all this wondering that got my introduction but I believe it was more likely all the random cars he saw parked beside his that had him calculating exactly when I would be home so he could confront me.

And confront me he did.

I don’t recall how the conversation started but I do recall being grilled on what I did for work and the conversation ended with him asking for my help on his next car. As a side, I did attempt to help him however he ended up buying something completely off his original list – I am not offended just sad he choose a weaker competitor, but alas he couldn’t be helped πŸ™‚

Since that day we met, every few weeks we make it an unplanned point of meeting in the elevator, the garage, the parking lot and once in a while, the local grocery store.

He is what you would envision as a true sales guy. Rushing around with his goods packed into his vehicle, a fast talker with the ability of getting a clear and comprehensive full month of verbal catch-up done in literally 2 minutes. It puts alot of pressure on me to par down on my verbal updates to him, you know, give him the basic facts and let him fill in the rest!

I know when I’ve gone over my 2 minute limit because he starts shifting from foot to foot and fiddling with his hands. I almost want to keep the conversation going just to see if he would implode/explode if I added more filler to my stories :).

Today I didn’t quite get the memo and left my unit 30 seconds later than I should have. When I arrived in the basement to get into my car, he was already in his, car running, ready to go.

This meant our 4 minute conversation (2 for him, 2 for me) would have to be much shorter.

As I walked up to the driver side of my vehicle (He likes driving into his spot, I prefer backing into mine, so our driver doors are friends), he waited for me to walk around the back of his vehicle and rolled down his window to say,

“I really like your new car, when did you get it?”

“I picked it up Wednesday, it has turned out to be way more fun than I initially thought it would be! A friend helped me with a good deal on a well equipped car otherwise I don’t know what I would have done!”

“Well I love it, it suits your personality,” and then squinting slightly and scrunching lower into the seat of his SUV as though he was experiencing some major abdominal pain, he ended, “it’s sexy, sporty just like you!” and as he grimaced some more he completed a full hand finger wave, rolled up the window and off he went….

Our 1 minute was up. I stood there and laughed.

MINI Mania

MINI Mania

So not THE most creative title, but that is what is happening to me right now. I am experiencing mania towards my MINI!

Some people have children and pets, I have cars. I love cars (trains, planes and skateboards too!). Yes they eventually disintegrate and get recycled (we hope the metal and plastic parts do!), but to me cars have always been an extension of myself. Call me crazy, but I love driving with no destination in mind. The most important part being the experience of getting there and the mode of transportation.

It’s not about the brand or how much the car costs, it is how it handles the road, the ambience and comfort on the inside and the sound system blaring tunes.

There was my pain. What small car could I buy that would give me all those things, suit my personality and be THAT car.

My list was whittled down to two choices:

1. Volkswagen Golf – responsible me
2. Mini Cooper S – irresponsible me

The Mini had some advantages, besides being irresponsible, it also had a HUGE personal backer. I might come from automotive, I might understand the product, I might even understand the sales process, but all those things just made me more anxious about picking the right car.

So what happened exactly?

My good friend who is still in the business, the Volkswagen didn’t stand a chance :(, arranged for a nice dealer to call me, serve me up an offer I couldn’t resist that had me signing papers making me a ridiculous Mini Cooper S owner in mere minutes.

What I think of my new car after 3 days of ownership?

More fun than I thought. I forgot how much fun a manual car can be. Reminds me of that Mazda MX-5 Mazdaspeed I was pulled over in a few times!! but managed to talk my way out of my tickets (I wouldn’t have deserved them – honest πŸ™‚ )

Port Credit on my Bike-On-Loan

Port Credit on my Bike-On-Loan

Is it ok to post two entries about my bike-on-loan in one day!! πŸ™‚

So today I woke up for the first time in over a week without any muscle soreness. My Olympic training exercises have subsided…till tonight when it will start all over again.

In any event, with my body feeling like new, this morning was a great opportunity to see how far I could ride in one direction and still be able to walk.

I really want to get that shaky leg feeling going. After a good hour ride, I am disappointed. The only thing feeling shaky and fast asleep is my poor derriere!!

This on-road biking this is new to me. I am used to trails where you spend 10% in the saddle and 90% standing up dodging old stumps, overhanging trees and trying to keep ahead of the hungry animals lurking in the woods.

I’ve never needed bike shorts before. You know the kind. The ones that feel like you are wearing an adult diaper.

But here I am, wearing bike shorts, working on the most obscure tan lines (I secretly hope that all the models at the next Paris fashion show are sporting bike-short tan lines, that will make me feel better!), I have a shiny new helmet and full-on bike gloves.

Today’s adventure was to bike west as far as I could and here I am in Port Credit watching boats go in and out of the harbour. Does this count for a harbour?

On the ride here I have made a discovery about biking in general.

The bike bell is something that is disliked when it is ding ding ding DINGED – like a million times and since I’ve been dinged at enough while in-line skating, I decided I would forgo the bike bell. I know the “Olympic sized horn” was a good idea but it has terrible aerodynamics.

So without a bike bell to go ding ding ding, I quietly passed a pair of fellow bikers on a lazy and wide road. I didn’t think it was necessary to make a big spectacle that I would be passing them with 5 feet between me and the closest biker, but I was WRONG!

As soon as the farthest biker realized I was going to pass them he yelled into his friend’s ear, “BIKER ON YOUR LEFT” and then preceded to DING DING DING DING his bike bell.

I raced away not sure if he was expecting me to stop and apologize for my, apparently, bad bike manners.

So the discovery is no matter with or without a bike bell, SOMEONE somewhere is going to have issue with how you play the sport. It is up to me to decide which random group of people I’d rather have yelling at me for my sport induced indiscretions πŸ™‚ Like the lady on the path who was coming towards me yelling “BIKE COMING, BIKE COMING!!” I thought it was pretty obviously, visually, that I was biking towards them πŸ™‚

I don’t think there is any way to please everyone and what they feel is acceptable biking behaviour. Perhaps a solution is to ride around like I have a severe case of turrets yelling at everyone and everything I pass?!

I am thinking a standard one liner like. “BIKE INCOMING, BIKE INCOMING, to your LEFT…umm no I mean your RIGHT!!!”

The last few questions I have yet to answer are:

1. How long till the bones on my buttocks form large callouses (is this even possible)?
2. When will my buttocks stop falling asleep while riding?
3. Do I need to push harder to get my legs to feel the burn on the road or should I just find some long hills…..
4. What is with the broken down lawnmower in front of the tree?