Saturday, March 24, 2012

Brain Pains

Well I havent written for quite some time. No real excuses, only reasons. Apathy and procrastination. Oh there was a pesky little health blip.

On May 17 2011 I had a Non Aneurism Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. I think by definition it would be called a bloody headache.
So it was more of a scare for my loved ones than it was for me. I had the worst headache of my life, probably a 25 on a scale of one to ten. 5 days in ER on a diet of ice chips and morphine. 5 attempts at a lumbar puncture. well that was a pain for sure. I have to admit that the thought of going through the Lumbar makes me wince. I can look at almost any image on the internet but that one.

Well I am back on the mend and other than a few minor glitches I feel pretty good.
There is short term memory loss, a difficulty concentrating, emotional liability and fatigue.
Hmmm maybe thats why I havent written much..... but that doesnt cover previous years :D
I hope to write a little about my experience with a brain hemorrhage I believe it will help me move forward and hopefully show other people what they or the people they love can expect if they are touched with the same concerns.

Emotional liability is quite an experience. Nothing like watching a commercial and bursting into tears for no real reason. Ah but I am a better man for it. I just need a tissue now.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Halloween, then and now

Well it is early Friday morning. I catch a ride with my wife Nadine, on Fridays. She works at 5 am and I start at 7am. so that gives me a few hours before work to reflect on things, surf the net for whatever my latest obsession is, right now it is Halloween effects for a party coming up.
When I first came to Canada in 1965 I had never even heard of Halloween, let alone trick or treat.
Imagine a little English boy with a strong accent. His school mates tell him that there is a day where you can go from one house to the next with an empty sack and ask for treats and candies from complete strangers and they will give them to you!
Yeah Right. What is this Eutopian world you are living in.
My first Halloween took place in Toronto, Willowdale actually. We lived in a highrise, at the time it was the tallest, a whole 13 stories. Soon to be shadowed by the surrounding developments.
My parents knew little of the Halloween traditions, the certainly didnt have money to buy candies to give to strange children.
We had no costumes and knowing that there is a need for children to fit in my mom was very ingenious and wrapped me up un a toga made from a sheet. Julious Ceasar was reborn. Although a Nero's violin and a burning town in a redwagon would probably have made more sense for halloween, it was hardly practical in those days. I could pull it off now, after seeing all the halloween effects. I have to include this link
We went down the hall of the ninth floor of the apartment, donned with our costumes and our little paper grocery bags. By the time we were at the end of the hall our bags were overflowing and a neighbour gave us a green garbage bag to continue!
We ran home dumped the bags so mom had some candy to give out to the other kids that called and hit the streets running.
I have no idea how much candy we got that night. I do remember still eating the molasses halloween kisses around Christmas and Newyear. I also remember thinking to myself, "This is the land of milk and honey" I am sure glad my parents brought us to this country!
I guess it is time for me to get back to the Halloween effects pages. I am trying to figure out how to make writing appear on a mirror while you stand there watching it. I think I figured it out while writing this! Funny how as I get older I am more into the tricks than the treats. I have already figured out how to make Linda Blairs face superimpose over your reflection :D If you happen to hear whispering in the bathroom when you look in the mirror, it is just me!
What a warped mind I have.
Ciao for now!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Antiques. The last of my archived Sadgoat letters

Back in the late seventies I was fresh out of school. Jobs were abundant then and I was greedier than most. I had three.
One of my favorite jobs, perhaps due to the whopping four dollars an hour, but more for my fascination of old things, was working with an antique auction company.
Once a month the company would wheel into Victoria with a few semi containers packed to the rafters with antiques from England.
We would spend the first night unloading the trucks, and unpacking boxes of not so antique products, and setting them up for people to view on Saturday. The main auction took place Saturday night.
Over the years my friend and I developed a rapport with the auctioneer. He would wink at us as we lifted “tiffany” style lamps into the air for the bidders to view. We would be sure to get rid of the cardboard boxes that said made in California.
He would announce. “We are not too sure of the ages of these pieces but they are indeed beautiful works of art”.
The same would go for the horse brasses that word made in the far east from melted down artillery casings. They would put the horse brasses into piles of manure to speed up the aging process, dust them off and ship them to North America for decorative sales.
The rapport with the auctioneer didn’t stop there. We would have to lift items into the air for the public to see from the back of the auction hall.
He would grin widely as we hoisted up marble top washstands into the air. Old wooden cabinets with slabs of marble on the top, heavy marble, an inch thick rock over two feet wide. The auctioneer would slow down the bidding at this point, Making people realize the value of these wash stands.
The bids would slow down too. And there we were holding the heavy slabs in the air, sweating, muscles twitching, sinews ready to snap like brittle twigs under the immense strain.
He would finally shout “SOLD”. Our signal to lower the merchandise and move on to the next wash stand, with him grinning at the podium like a Cheshire cat.
One night when we had finished the sales we were helping customers load items into their vehicles.
A lady had just spent a hundred dollars on a Barrister Bookcase, the type of bookcase with glass doors. Each bookcase module stacked on the next and was locked in place.
Did I say locked in place. I should have said “Should be locked in place”.
You know how antique glass has ripples in it. Who would have thought that was the feature this lady wanted most out of the bookcases. Who wouldn’t have accepted an apology and a new piece of glass from two meek humble lackies that hoist heavy objects into the air.
Oh well, I didn’t make quite as much money that night. I did learn lots about antiques, reproductions and scams. Buyer beware!
It was a great job, I got an education, strong muscles and $4.00 an hour. I was the envy of all the people my age!
Carl Hird-Rutter Chilliwack BC

Yes there is a Santa Claus

I have portrayed Santa now for about ten years, Maybe it was my size or my hearty laugh that got me started. My boss at work asked me if I would be Santa for his wife's daycare. He had a suite A red felt suite from Sears, white faux fir around the edges, a plastic belt and a rather cotton wool like beard. They had placed the gifts in a large red sack and tucked them in the back of a truck just outside the house. I donned the gay apparel and scooped up the bag of toys. The children were thrilled. The room was hot and my glasses fogged, the children were amazed that Santa would take time from his busy schedule to pay them a visit. But Santa was blown away when he received a gift from the children. Twelve tiny angels, each one with the name of one of the children, all packaged up in a decorated box from Auntie Faye.
This became a tradition for me, the next year I purchased a better wig and beard. More gifts from the children and Auntie Faye.
The following year I was approached by a brownie group to see if I could be Santa for a Christmas party. I asked Faye if I could use the suite and she said "of course, that's what it is all about"
Well I never went to Santa school so even though I was a father and very experienced with children I was not prepared for what was to happen that night.
Each of the children and their siblings came and sat on Santa's knee. We went through the usual "Were you a good boy or girl?" Like Santa doesn't already know that!!!! "And what is happening at your house?" a good way to find out if the child has both mommy and daddy living in the same household.
Then the big question, "What would you like for Christmas?" Now for anyone who has never played Santa you may think that its a piece of cake. But Santa does not know everyone's financial situation, so if a child asks for an X-Box you don't just tell them there will be one under the tree, you fish around and get them to talk about less expensive things, dolls and cars, puzzles and books.
A young man sat on my knee. He must have been around five, the two front teeth missing. He told me that mommy and daddy said he was a good boy this year. I thought to myself this is easy the battle is half won. I know he is good and mom and dad live together. Now all I needed to know was what he wanted.
"what would you like for Christmas?" Santa asked. "I would like a bed Santa." he replied. No toys, no books no puzzles.......just a bed I thought to myself, as my heart sank deep in my chest. "I sleep on a cushion on the floor" he said."Is there anything else you would like?" Santa asked. skillfully trying to avoid the issue. "No just a bed" My heart almost stopped, he gave me a hug hopped off my knee and sat down. Before I could get my head around what I had just heard another child was on my knee. The next few children came and went a blur of questions bouncing in my head I have no idea what they were asking.
Then a little girl sat on my knee, she was about seven. Once again I asked the question." What would you like for Christmas?"
once again I heard the same haunting answer. "A bed!" Was I losing my mind? it was surreal like a Dickens' novel. It was the sister of the young boy who sat on my knee. The rest of the night was a blur, I was moved deeply by the events of the night. The next day I told the story to my boss, he relayed the same story to his wife Auntie Faye. Next thing I know there is a phone call from Faye. " Can you find out who these children are" she asked? I dug around and found out they were children of one of the leaders from the brownies. I told Faye I knew who they were.
Faye went to all her relatives and told them the story. They all chipped in and went to Sears to buy the children a set of bunk beds. Faye asked if Santa could deliver the beds, I had to decline, you see I knew the people who would be receiving them, Friends of a friend. I told her I would make the call but they would have to make the drop.
Who knows why I would be in a situation where I could pass a message on to just the right people? Faye doesn't have a daycare anymore. I still have the original suite she lent me. Since then my wife made me a lush suite of crimson velvet with real rabbit fur cuffs and collar that we rescued from an old fur coat.I still need to don the suite to really get into the Christmas spirit, but none have every been as memorable as the year it all came together for a family in need and a family who wanted to give.
Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.
Carl Hird-Rutter AKA Santa Claus Chilliwack BC.
Merry Christmas

Canada's Marshal Art, CBC Roundup Letter

A "Sadgoat" letter for Jan 15 2003, you have to love CBC's "Roundup"

The call goes out for a Truly Canadian Martial Art.
There can only be one. It would be CanDo

A secret art practiced by many but mastered by few. There are several moves and stances that could only be Canadian,

THE MOOSE: Stand with both feet firmly planted shoulder width apart. Place the thumb of each hand on the your temples, fingers outstretched like the antlers of the noble moose. When your opponent comes within striking distance either bellow like a rutting animal or stick your tongue out and scream "Neener Neener Neener"!

THE CANADA GOOSE: With both arms down by your sides crane your neck back and forth, as you stretch your neck back ready to strike your opponent will surely turn and try to flee, at this point take your hand of choice and rapidly and firmly pinch their buttocks letting out a familiar Honk of victory!

THE BEAVER: This is a close quarter move, and should only be done in very tight spaces. As the opponent is coming along side of you swing your tail around and knock them off balance. If the maneuver is executed properly the resounding smack will notify other CANDO masters of inherent danger.

THE LOONIE: This is a last resort maneuver. Should your assailant be relentless and all of your other maneuvers have failed...... throw loonies in the direction of the assailant and run the other way.

There are always rules of etiquette to be followed in any art. Remember to apologize profusely, offer assistance when the opponent is down and out and after all other negotiations fail, offer to take them to Timmies for a donut and a cup of coffee, we are after all the most civilized of all nations.

Carl Hird-Rutter Chilliwack BC

Thursday, September 02, 2004


A comment, a comment, MY KINGDOM FOR A COMMENT!!!

I once had a thought, that I could write publicly, somewhat like the scrawling on a bathroom wall. But attached to that thought was a thin wisp of an idea, feedback. If I could write and get feedback then my writing would improve.

But I fear the wisp is broken. Either that or no one has reached this page from the obscurities of the net. The modern partyline of the century. Drop me a line!

Monday, August 30, 2004

the Bates Hotel

Valentines is such a wonderful time of year, A time of romance, a time for a couple who have been married 24 years, who’s children are grown up to finally get away. Off season when rates are low. After looking in our local paper I came upon an ad for a romantic weekend away in Victoria, only $49 per night . Wow that is perfect, lots to see and do there.
I booked the room only to find there are no rooms available for $49 so it became $69. wow what a deal! Still cheap and meals were included.
I checked out the website, it looked wonderful.
We debated about taking the car, since we could walk almost everywhere we had to go. Relatives on the island could pick us up and drive. We decided the extra cost for the ferry wouldn’t be that bad so off we went, car and all.
We knew that for the price we wouldn’t get a view, but who cares….we really weren’t thinking of looking out the hotel windows anyway. The fire escape from the adjacent building passing 2 feet from our window really didn’t pose too much of a surprise.
We prepaid the room with an interac transaction two days and I also asked for 2 days parking. The parking lot was a block away from the hotel and I put the pass I was given in the window of the car.

The main restaurant was booked solid for Valentines, so our meal would be served in the breakfast room. It took us 2 hours to get our meal that night. We ordered the salmon off the special menu. People all around us were getting their salads and there entrees. The salad came after about 45 minutes. and we ordered another drink waiting for the meal. After about an hour and a half and four glasses of beer, two meals were placed in front of us. Linguini, no salmon. We informed the waiter and he apologized and then came back in about 15 minutes with the salmon. It was stone cold so we sent it back. Finally the salmon came hotter than before. There was enough salmon to cover a cracker. Then for dessert there was a bread pudding in vanilla custard. My wife's bread pudding had a green leaf in it of some sort.

Well after supper we went back to the room and decided to watch a little television. It seems the leaf in the pudding wasn’t the only thing that was green. The television was the type you couldn’t give away at a garage sale. Green bloomy pictures. Oh well, not the reason we wanted to get away anyway.
We didn’t need a wakeup call in the morning. The boiler kicked in around 5 am and the gurgling pipes would wake up the dead. I could hear the steam sizzle through the radiator. The room got hotter and hotter so I decided to get up. When I went downstairs I told the front desk that the room was quite hot and was there something they could do. They asked if I could open the window… know the one 2 feet from the neighbouring fire escape.

Day two we walked around Victoria, only to come back to our car still parked in the Hotel parking spot one block form the hotel to find a parking ticket for $22.50. I went with the ticket and the parking pass to the front desk. We were informed that parking passes could only be issued for one day at a time and needed to be renewed at noon. No one told us this when we booked in or we would have done that.
When we went to the front desk to check out the gentleman there said we just need your credit card the bill will be $173 dollars. I told him we had paid by interac the day we checked in. He had no record of it being processed. He went to the slot where the keys are kept behind the desk and found the interac slip in the slot.
Oh on a side note we did get a bill from the parking company about a month later, it had gone up to $45.00 Which we ended up paying,
I purposely left the name of the hotel off this email, but it is on Yates street if anyone is wondering. I wrote them an email about our experience and forwarded a copy to about a dozen people at my work who had asked me to check out the “Great Deal” in the paper, funny I never did get a reply from the Bates Hotel!
We did stay in Victoria a third night, at a lovely motel on the Gorge, It was cheaper cleaner airconditioned and had 2 king sized beds in it. Oh and the TV worked great. !!!

Art in life

This is not so much how art has affected my life but more my fathers. I am not sure of all the details, but the story goes something like this.
My father was in the Territorial Army in England, something akin to the reserves in Canada. At that time he was working for a company that designed packages, He had an unusual task of painting prunes for a canned product. Why would one paint prunes you may ask? If you have ever seen a photograph of prunes in a dish , you would understand!
One evening there was a Gala event. A Ball with royalty. I am not sure which princess was in attendance, but royalty is royalty. My father was officer on duty and was introduced to the Princess, as the prune painter. She was rather amussed by this and asked if he would be intersted in an Appointment. It seems the princess had never had a Royal Prune Painter in her charge. Needless to say my father was thrilled with the idea.
He had an appointment to see her and become the Royal Prune Painter by Appointment.
He drove to her residence and was greeted at the door by a valet.
"One moment please and I will the Princess you are here."
Several minutes later he retuned to inform my father
"Terribly sorry sir but your appointment was for last week ....Have a good day!"
So close and yet so far.

The Tapestry

The artist has his palette, the minstrel has his strings
The tapestry they weave tells of many things
Our life is like a tapestry, its’ fibres so entwined
It’s impossible to separate, body soul and mind

My palette has no colours
My lute it has no strings
The Fabric of our tapestry
Is made of other things

We started on our tapestry the first day that we met
Your deep blue velvet sweater, I never will forget
The white lace of your wedding dress is woven in it to
The whole things bound together with love from me to you
Sleepers from our children, two blues and one of pink
Are woven in our tapestry link by countless link
We had to cut the apron strings as our children grew
We could not see to throw them out, so they’re included to
Our children soon will graduate along with cap and gown
More fabric for the tapestry, for us to weave around

The fabric of our tapestry is rich and strong and true
The whole things bound together with love from me to you

Friday, August 27, 2004

An obituary

The easiest thing I ever wrote, ironically, cost me the most.

Frank Hird-Rutter

Nov. 23, 1928-Oct. 20, 2003 Heaven became a richer place with the passing of Frank Hird-Rutter. Frank was truly a renaissance man. He held degrees in mathematics, economics, theology and everything in between. He was an artist, writer, philosopher and a scribe. He was a man of integrity, who as a journalist would choose incarceration rather than revealing his sources. He was a man of honour who served his Queen as a commissioned officer in all three of her forces before he was 30. He was a sage who knew that knowledge without the wisdom to apply it, was worthless knowledge. He knew the most valuable gift in the world was the gift of a smile, and handed them out with regularity. He would give a job to the jobless, open his home to the homeless, and give his heart to the heartless. As a Pastor a grieving man came to him, upset that he had no suit to wear to his sister's funeral. Frank took a suit from his own closet, a shirt and tie from his drawer and a pair of shoes from under the bed and gave them to the grieving man. When Frank's wife May asked if he had given the things away or just loaned them, Frank's reply was simply "I guess it depends on how long he needs them." His infinite love for people close to him was witnessed daily as he walked hand in hand with his wife of 53 years, as he still opened the door to the car for her and as he still held her chair for her. The love they shared blossomed into five new families and 14 grandchildren, all of them blessed to have him in their lives, all of them proud to be his son, daughter, or grandchild. His love for others was evident in the extended family he would create, people he met along the way, people he shared his home with, his meals with, his heart with. Frank knew to be successful in life you must balance knowledge, emotions, and faith, an art he had mastered. He brushed the lives of millions of people, with his writings, his teachings, and his devotion. All who have been touched by him are truly blessed. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

The Trolley

The sun gazed down on my head as I lay in the tall grass of the meadow. The blackbirds were singing on the fence. We had been living at the farm since New Years Day. There was so much to explore here, so many adventures coming our way.The barn was just across the creek in the back of our house. I imagine from the air it would look like a giant "F". Inside the barn were some of the strangest old implements we ever saw, everything from a barrel butter churn to an overhead monorail.The monorail went all around the barn. A large long bucket like a wheelbarrow, suspended from the track. We fastened a piece of binder twine to one side of the bucket and towed it around.Today we would take turns riding in the trolley. The barn was dark compared to the bright spring day. The sun beams radiated through the barn boards. The clear glass lights in the barn twinkled like distant stars. I scrambled over a couple of hay bales to get into the trolley. My brother Mark grasped the string and started to tug. The rusty wheels overhead squeaked as we made our way around the barn. The weight of me and the trolley caused a chugging noise on each segment of the overhead track. Faster and faster Mark pulled the trolley the wind was blowing in my hair My face beamed as we picked up speed. Light beams from the sun whizzing by. I look back now and I am sure George Lucas had the same experience when he was writing the final scene in Starwars.My X-wing fighter was banking around the curves. The track went outside the barn into the barnyard. I burst into the sun! A climactic ending to the maiden voyage.Now it was Marks turn. I dragged the trolley back into the dark depths of the barnThe sunbeams were more vivid now since we had stirred up the dust off the barn floor.Mark climbed into the trolley. I grabbed the twine and started to tug. Once again the squeaky wheels chugged down the track, the dim lights twinkled and the sunbeams flashed by, Faster and faster we went, bursting into the sun light at the end of each voyage.This went on for several hours, we couldn't get enough of it. Then Mark suggested we oil the wheels, He was certain we could get the trolley to go faster. Out came the good old 3-in 1 WD40 in those days. Mark scrambled in the trolley, after all it was his idea!I grabbed that string and was bound and determined to give Mark the ride of his life. We would surely make this trolley fly.I started to run, there was a lack of squeaking this time, just the steady thunk thunk thunk of the rails overhead. I rounded the first turn, the trolley swung out slightly. Mark was hanging on tight. Faster and faster I ran, around the second turn we were really picking up ........ Suddenly there was a noise neither of us had heard before. A click and a groan.The next few seconds are replayed over and over in slow motion. I turned to look over my shoulder, the trolley was starting to flip over. The supports were still there. Mark was tumbling out of the trolley smashing onto the floor of the barn. The trolley was upside down!. Pivoting from its frame. He hit the ground with such a crash I am certain the cement must have cracked. I ducked down as the trolley flew past my head, still attached to the rail. I scrambled over to Mark who was dazed and somewhat stunned.He got up and shook the dust of his dark brown hair, now covered with cobwebs and shavings.We had no idea what had gone wrong. The trolley was still sailing away from us into the barn yard.I walked and Mark hobbled over to the trolley. We looked at the rusty metal hanging from the track. At first we thought it broke from old age. Then Mark discovered a trip mechanism. A switch to dump the contents. When the trolley rounded the last turn the trip mechanism hit a nail in the wall!Mark and I sat there looking at the trolley then at each other. Suddenly a light came on. The cart wasn't a trolley put there for our amusement, it was a cart for removing manure from the barn!!! We grabbed the trolley and reset the mechanism. Mark rubbed his back where he hit the ground. "Wanna go for a ride?" he said."In a manure cart?" I replied. We both grinned. I climbed in and for the rest of the day we tried our best to trip the mechanism when we rounded the turn!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

the Published letter

This is the letter that was included in Dear Sad Goat.

I urge you to read the book, there are some incredible writers there. If you decide to buy a copy all profits go to charity......half way to fame nowhere near fortune!

It is published by

This story takes place in Yorkshire England in 1964, I was just 6 years old. Winter and snow was a fascinating change from the rain. We dressed up in the woolen hats and mitts our grandmothers made us and played for hours outside.
This was the year two boys from Ethiopia moved in down the street. As amazed as I was with the snow they were absolutely awestruck. We played for hours with them building snowmen and having snowball fights. Lunch was called so we left our friends playing, telling them we would return.
An hour later we went to ask if our new friends could come out to play. We were sternly told NO! by their mother. Apparently, finding it too cold outside, the boys had moved their snowman inside and put him in front of the fire. We didn’t get a chance to play with them again until the snow was gone!

Flagpole pitch

The staff of the roundup always seem to get something going in my mind

In 1975 I was in the reserves, the Canadian Scottish Regiment. That was a year where I had a little bit of an academic struggle at school, I was supposed to go to summer school to make up for a lack of understanding certain principles of mathematics. The rest of my regiment went off to Wainright for summer training. Unfortunately there were not enough students to warrant summer school so it was cancelled.
With the rest of the regiment well into their training there was no chance for me to join them, fortunately my Major was also my history teacher and he made arrangements for me to go to Vernon with the Cadets.
In the camp in Vernon was a very healthy nurse. Several of the young men challenged one of their peers to seduce her. It seems some sort of proof would be required, something that would be irrefutable. The next day rumours were flying all over the camp, well not just rumours but something else. I couldn't believe it, the local radio station just announced a UFO flying over the town. There at the top of the flagpole was a very large bra! Although this was a training camp this was no training facility. That's when the problems started. It seems that one of the cups had slipped through the pulley at the top of the pole, a cup on each side, caught fast, immovable. I know it was immovable because one of my duties was to raise and lower the flag. Try as we might the flying fabric would not fall. In the end the whole pole had to be lowered by a crane truck. It was a wonderful summer full of lots of other stories, but the pitch went out for flagpoles and that I will need more pitches to sweep the cobwebs away form the darker side of my brain.

Weightier than thou

I had forgotten just how many letters I wrote to roundup@vancouver.cbc

I, being a man cannot begin to understand the fortitude required to deliver a baby, any size of baby. Sure I was there and supportive for all of my children's births, and nothing can compare with the feeling you get when your own child is brought into this world.
I wonder how my mom must have felt almost 46 years ago. I was supposed to be born on April 1, there was no way she was going to have a baby born on Fools Day.
She didn't have to worry. I hung on for awhile. A few whiles as a matter of fact. See her birthday was just around the corner. April 9, what a present that would be. for me to emerge on her birthday. The ultimate "Birth Day" present.
Now I wasn't that big a baby, 7 pound range I think, but I have come to hear, many many times, that I was not an easy birth. I was born, not breech, far too easy .... I was born transverse. That is to say one arm and one leg wanting to emmerge at the same time. In the maternity hospital in England I dont think ciscarian was an option, they didn't even believe in episiotomies. So the diligent midwife, tucked me back in and turned me around.
I still came out OK. and I wasn't the last child to mom and dad. But I still have the claim of being the best birthday present she ever had. After all she told me that and moms never lie about such things.

Animal Magnetism

"Roundup" again :D

Today I heard the story of the kitty litter box and the bra, interesting concept. Mind you cats are interesting creatures. People do not own cats, cats adopt people, I know this to be true. My family has a cat, the creature I said they may have if I didn't have to clean the cat box, if I didn't have to feed it. Who would have thought the cat had different ideas. This little cat is a female, in order to keep what little order there is in the house we had it spayed.
A nice little indoor cat that sleeps the days away. Now I never was much of a person for pet psychology, but I am afraid that either the cat or I are going to have to seek professional help.
It all started just over a year ago, my oldest son moved out of the house. His room was in the basement, next to the laundry room and close to the kitty litter box.
This left two males at home, my younger 20 year old son and me. So now we have my wife, my daughter, a female cat named Maggie and the two men.
The cat will go through the laundry, pick out the articles of clothing worn by males, place them on the floor and pee on them. Yes that's right pee on them!!!!
So off I go to the SPCA to see if they have ever heard of such a thing. Between the guffaw and the tears of laughter the lady managed to get out that the cat was showing ownership. A sign of affection.
I love you let me soil your clothes! Oh boy I am so blessed. She wont pee on my daughters clothes, she wont pee on my wife's clothes, she wont even pee on my clean clothes. Only the clothes my son or I have worn. Well the solution is to put the clothes into a hamper where she cannot get to them, just don't leave them on the floor after you have sorted the laundry out for washing.
Now comes the final hurdle. How the heck do you get the smell of cat pee out of your clothes. I guess I shouldn't really complain. It does prove I have animal magnetism!! :-)

the solution is oxygen great.....yes we still have the cat.

Sounds that woke you up

Another "Roundup" story, I had forgotten how many I had written!

So many years ago my wife and I rented a small house, our first house together. 500 square feet of bliss. It was on a tee junction and the bedroom closet was built in front of the window. Not much chance of car headlights waking you up, but all our clothes faded on one side from the sun.
Our bedroom was small, so small that once we got our queen size waterbed in the room you could not close the door.
We had two pets at this time, a bird, and a cat…..good combo eh?
One night I was sound asleep, a very deep sleep. My wife was awake, reading in bed.
She saw the cat stalking upon the birdcage, I being asleep did not! My dream was so vivid so real.
There was a semi truck rounding the corner of the tee junction. The cat crept closer and closer to the birdcage.
The truck spun out of control…… The cat pounced……The truck smashed through the window, through the closet…….the cat snagged the cage.

The crash that followed surely woke the dead. I know it woke me!
My wife was laughing hysterically! Not so much at the crash, but at the sight of a 200 pound man dancing around on a waterbed! I was so scared I couldn’t even utter a word. Just some incoherent babbling….. Ahh buu ahhh du…wha weha what was that.
She still brings this up on those occasions that it is appropriate. You wouldn’t believe how many times it is appropriate.

We moved to another house shortly after that. The front porch light was shining through the window and keeping my wife awake. I was dozing off and on but she asked me if I would get up and turn it off. I was closer so I said sure. I got out of bed, counted the steps to the front door and turned off the light. I counted the steps back to the bedroom and turned. Took a few steps forward….well one anyway. And walked right into the door frame. I forgot to subtract the step I took when I turned. Amazing how many stars you see in the pitch of night! I crawled back into bed, head pounding. It was even harder trying to fall back to sleep when the water bed was rocking from her laughter! It wasn’t too long before we moved from that house too.

Skating on thin Ice

The stream that ran between the house and the barn would spill its banks in the fall and the spring. The cold of winter would encrust the banks, creeping deeper into the water, by the second week the ice was thick enough to skate on. A pair of mitts and a touque made perfect goal posts. We couldn't skate too well, they don't have skating like this in England. Down to the local Canadian Tire store to buy our first pair of skates. CCM skates with the signature of a hockey player on them. Once again lost on my English background. We learned to get around, I wouldn't call it skating, I never could stop or skate backwards, but we still had fun on the pond. On really cold days you could hear the ice crack under the strain. And on the warmer days there was the added thrill of getting a "soaker" you know where one foot breaks through the ice and your socks and skate get drenched. We always took an extra pair of socks to the pond, I am sure mom would not approve of us skating on ice that may break. But we were young and invincible.
One day a friend from school convinced me to go to the rink. Artificial ice, what a concept. I was informed of how smooth and slick it was. I had no idea at that time that in the future I would become an iceman, no notion of thermodynamics, ice resurfacing or controlling the unruly masses at a hockey game.
I strapped my skates on and put one blade on the ice. The foot shot out in some unknown direction, slick wasn't the word. I struggled by holding onto the boards, slowly gaining confidence. After about tem minutes I was on my way, confident, as long as no one cut in front of me. I still couldn't stop without hitting the boards. My speed was increasing I was getting a little cocky.
You know the rules in a rink, no food or drink on the ice. Is gum food or drink? I don't think the person in front of me thought they were doing anything wrong.
After all what harm could a single stick of Juicy Fruit do. Well not so much the gum as the aluminum wrapper. Fluttering down to the ice like a fresh snowflake. I didn't see it hit the ice, foil side up, directly in the path of a novice skater barreling down the ice like a locomotive on a clear track. I didn't even feel the tip of my skate slip over it.
I remember the ice, that cold unforgiving surface slamming into my face, my skate blade stopped like it was caught in a vice. I remember the bright lights as I rolled onto my back, my lip warm, my nose numb. Ever notice how ice will suck up drops of blood like a thirsty desert?. Perhaps not, after all most people in Canada know how to skate, or at least how to fall gracefully when the stop.
I prefer that bumpy old pond in the back yard, not too many people watching me making a fool of myself. I could use the hockey stick to support me as a tripod. Sure I may get a soaker, or a bruised knee, but no blood, no crowds of school kids standing over me.
I never did learn how to skate. I did spend nine years as an iceman, driving the Zamboni, even cleaning ice for retired NHL playes, who's names are still lost on me. Oh one more thing, food was not allowed on the ice when I was on shift. As for unrully people at hockey games...... that's a different story.

Christmas Cookies

Another Roundup Story

The children were all nestled snug in their beds. Nadine and I started the Christmas baking, twelve dozen sugar cookies. These were going to be the best sugar cookies ever made! Santas, snowmen candy canes and Christmas trees. The santas and candy canes were decorated with red and white sugar. Glistening like a Christmas card. Each Christmas tree was sprinkled with green sugar, frosted on the tips of branches with white, and hard round silver candies were placed carefully like the decorations on a real tree. Snowmen with scarves and brooms. One hundred and forty four cookies. all placed around the kitchen and on the table, to cool and be packed away.
By this time were exhausted, the bed looked so inviting and the last thing we wanted to do is have visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads. We crashed just as soon as we hit the pillow.
I don't recall which one of us woke up first. I don't even really remember the reaction. In the kitchen there was no evidence that we even made a single cookie, not so much as a crumb. I know we hadn't dreamed all that hard work, all that artistic beauty.
Gee the kids are quiet aren't they? There in the living room, all over the living room, all over the carpet the couch the chair, all over the coffee table, the lamps the cushions. Crumbs! Crumbs everywhere, soggy bits of cookie ground into the fabric.
Three little children with guilt ridden faces. Not that you could see the guilt. It was too encrusted with sugar, icing and candies.
Two little boys and a little girl, with hair sticking up, faces painted with all the colours of Christmas. The only thing that takes longer than meticulously decorating one hundred and forty four sugar cookies, is cleaning up one hundred and forty four sugar cookies. That is really GROSS.

Don't Call Me the Gate is Open

In 1967 a ten year old English boy was just losing his accent moved from Toronto to a little village called Pefferlaw just south of Lake Simcoe. The television show Green Acres was still new and life paralleled it.
Pefferlaw was a land forgotten by time. Telephones were wooden boxes still mounted on the wall. Party lines, the predecessors of chat rooms, were the only way of communicating with the outside world. This wasn't really a problem as long as you didn't require privacy, Oh one other thing, you couldn't make a phone call if the gate was open. I know it sounds bizarre but the Pefferlaw Telephone company was very resourceful when it came to infrastructure, they didn't set up new telephone lines, they just piggybacked on the top wire of the fence. If the gate was open so was the connection.
We moved from the bustle of the city to a farm. At least to a farm house, lots of room for children to explore, fields and forests streams and lakes.
We moved in December 31, New Years Eve. A huge farmhouse heated by a wood furnace. We called it the octopus because the ducts waved overhead like tentacles. The door of the furnace was about four feet square. With a furnace that big it would seem obvious to an adult that the house would not be heated before we moved in. The house was cold, very very cold.
As the furnace warmed up the ground floor we started to put our things away. My two brothers and I shared a room and my older sister had her own. There were two bathrooms in the house, one downstairs in the warmer part of the house, the other upstairs just away from the heat, where the pipes were very cold. Very very cold. frozen as a matter of fact. Now I don't recall if my parents said don't use the upstairs bathroom, I was only ten. I just know when nature calls you have to come running. Nor was I aware that if you need to find a plumber, on New Years Eve, that they would charge you even more money than normal. Children don't know much of such things. Then there was that gate thing, with the telephone.
Well we all survived the ordeal, and even though I don't remember too much about it I am reminded at all of our family gatherings of my role in christening our new house.
As time went on in the farm house we all got pretty good at cutting wood. Mom could cleave a log with a single blow, but soon the woodpile was getting low and dad knew we would have to fell some more trees. He was a pioneer, two years in this vast land, a land of lumberjacks and farmers. Lumberjacks, now there was a trade that would be awe-inspiring to anyone in England.
Tall trees ready to be chopped down, no chainsaw, a double bitted axe and a Swedish bush saw. A manly task for real men. So dad, Mark, Simon and I trudged off to the forest behind the farm. A wooden toboggan in tow for us to pile the wood on.
The forest was full of birch and maple, snow was well past our knees, well at least the knees of us younger ones.
What an adventure! My father told all of us to stand clear as he wielded the axe. Chips of maple flew all around. Each crack of the axe echoing through the woods. The trunk of the tree was getting thinner and thinner, my father getting closer to his goal.
He didn't want to go through the whole trunk, who would know where the tree would land. So just towards the end he asked us all to stand back, once we were all clear he turned to the tree, Leaned into it with all his strength and cried out "TIMBER"
The anticipation was incredible, silence through the forest, so quiet you could almost hear the snowflakes land on the drifts. There was a shattering crack as the trunk split open. Then nothing, just silence. no rush of wind, no creaking of timber, no crash of wood hitting the ground. Nothing!
We all looked around in disbelief. The tree was still standing. We saw him chop it. We saw the chips fly, piercing the snow banks as they flew by. We saw him lean into the tree, heard the wood split as he did but nothing else. The tree remained standing. Dad started to laugh out loud, we still had no idea why but we joined in. We all looked at the tree from roots to entangled branches. There up in the lofts of the forest, the neighbouring trees locked arms to hold our maple high. The trunk of the tree would swing back and forth like the legs of an injured soccer player supported by his teammates.
The rope we had brought to tie the tree to the toboggan was tied around the loose trunk of the tree, Four cold men, pulling with all their might, and the branches cracked and the tree came tumbling down. Cheers resounded through the forest, we had conquered nature. We then got the saw and bucked up some of the branches, bound the logs to the toboggan and set off back to the house.
Hot chocolate seemed to taste extra special that day. The winter dragged on and we got pretty good at felling trees, That furnace had an insatiable appetite, the more we fed it the more it wanted. There was no way dad would put up with that furnace another winter.
The next year we would get a new gas furnace. That fall the workmen came in and tore the old furnace out, the octopus tentacles dangling without a body. The new modern gas furnace was set up in the basement. The gas line was scheduled to be installed and what on earth could prevent us from enjoying a toasty work free winter?
I had never heard of permafrost before.
When permafrost sets in even backhoes cant dig the soil. So there we were in a hundred year old farmhouse, with very little insulation. No furnace for heating and winter well on it’s way. My father was an artist through and through. Artists se things differently from normal people. He looked at the farmhouse and noticed three chimneys on the roof. One was surely for the furnace it ran up the center of the house. But the others, where did they lead to?
He went in the house and looked at the walls, No fireplaces to be found. In the kitchen he saw one wall much thicker than the others. Rapping the walls with his knuckles he listened intently for the hollow sound of a cavity. A smile lit up his face and he ran to the shop to retrieve a sledge hammer. My mother stared wide eyed as he struck the first blow to the plaster wall.
This is the point that smart children leave the room.
When we returned the fireplace was exposed, the debris cleaned up and a small fire was warming up the kitchen. It wouldn’t heat the whole house but at least one room would be toasty.
Dad made a partition wall around the fire out of cardboard. We would nestle around the fire and stay warm all winter.
Unheated bedrooms posed another problem. On some cold winter nights the temperature in the bedrooms dipped well below the freezing mark. If you stood on the linoleum floor with bare feet the sweat on your foot would stick you fast to the floor.Socks and slippers were kept under the blankets. Each morning Mom would come around and plug in a small portable space heater just to take the bite off the room. As the room warmed to the point we could get up we would smell the pancakes and bacon drifting up the stairs, luring us down to the warm toasty kitchen. There was always a line up for the bathroom, but times were staggered so we could all take a turn. No one wanted a repeat of the first year bathroom escapade!

White Lies

This story was a letter I sent to Richardsons Roundup on CBC.

Sometimes the stories we tell are not our own, the one I am about to relate belongs to my wife. I don't want to steal her thunder but the story has to be told, specially this time of year.
When our oldest son, Jason was around three we got the family a dog. A cute fuzzy fellow with big black eyes. Jason named the dog Elliot after his Favorite Movie Pete's Dragon. We had a fenced in yard and I made sure the entire perimeter was secure. The dog would wag his stubby tail every time anyone came close.
One day my wife Nadine took the children out for the morning, upon returning there was no barking at the gate, no wagging tail, no big black eyes. The gate was still secure no signs of any digging under the fence. Nothing! No dog! Jason was devastated. Nadine was in a panic and I was busy at work unaware of any of this. We looked for days for Elliot to no avail. In the end Nadine sat down with Jason and explained that somewhere out there was a child who had no friends, no toys to play with, nothing. Elliot felt sorry for this child and knew Jason would understand, Elliot left to look out for them. Jason accepted the explanation and seemed somewhat consoled with the thought that his pet was looking out for someone in need.
Time passed, we never did get another dog. It was hard on all of us. About four months later Nadine took the children to MacDonald's. At that time you could purchase Lego with the meals and since Lego was a favourite toy of our children she would stockpile it in her purse so we could stuff the Christmas stockings. Her purse was getting quite full, to the point she could hardly close it, but the kids know Moms purse is out of bounds so don't go in it. One morning Jason got up early, Nadine was in the kitchen and she heard a squeal from the living room.
"Lego", Jason exclaimed! Nadine's' Face grew flushed, she tore into the living room, there on the couch was Jason with bags of Lego in his hands, I am sure the look on his mother's face had informed him he had crossed that invisible line that parents draw out for children. I am sure he had no idea what was going on. Nadine snatched the toys up quickly and stuffed them deep into her purse. Christmas was just a few weeks away, no sense giving the toys to them now.
Jason couldn't seem to understand. The toys are there why can't I play with them? Nadine explained to him, that she had picked up the toys for someone much less fortunate than we were, We had good food, a house, clothes, the other person had nothing.
"OH YEAH", cried Jason, "He has my dog!"

The Scrolls

My name is Carl and one of my hobbies is Scroll Sawing, another is writing, this is why I call the blog Scrollers Scrolls. My grammer will often be incorrect, and although there is a spell checker, I am sure I will never use it.
I hope to write memoirs and tales to stimulate the imagination. I have a unique writing style, some will enjoy and some will pass by. I have no problem with that. I am writing for my enjoyment, if you enjoy it to then thats a bonus.
If you would like to see some of my Scroll Saw work you can check out Once I figure out the advanced features I will post pictures on here to. All things in good time.

Enjoy. Carl