The last tooth has been lost

Well Monkey, you’ve hit a milestone: today, you lost the last of your baby teeth. You told me you pulled it yourself (rather brave, if I do say so myself), and presented it to me like a strange kind of trophy. Your last baby tooth. There’s only adult teeth, now (and quite a few to come). Does that make you … an adult? Well, not in the legal sense…

I remember when your first tooth came in, so many, many years ago. I remember naming your teeth … or at least being told their names. I remember when the first one came loose, and then fell out. You were quite a bit more scared than I thought you’d be, but I suppose things falling out of your head are cause for alarm when you’re a kid.

Man, is your tooth fairy going to be disappointed…

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20 years from Ontario

Two decades ago today, I did something immensely stupid: I left home. Literally and figuratively. Twenty years ago, I was still sleeping in my room on Gatestone Avenue in Oakville. While I had lived on my own at university, and while I was on my co-op work terms in Ottawa, staying at home was … comfortable. And as my parents didn’t object, it seemed like a good idea. Literally leaving home wasn’t the problem — I’d already done it a dozen times.

Figuratively leaving home — notably the familiarity of the Greater Toronto area, but Ontario in general — was another matter. I’d not really lived abroad, where going to my parents’ house was something I did in an afternoon. I decided to throw myself into the world without any plan whatsoever.

Twenty years on, it was the smartest move I ever made.

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The kids’ first New Years Eve

Okay, to be fair, Monkey is now 10, and Choo Choo is rapidly approaching 8. They’ve seen “new years eve” a few times, but they’ve been more the family-friendly type. Staying up to midnight is the new thing. The only time they’ve ever been up past midnight is because of travel, and that’s always been a bit of a struggle.

Last night, for the first time ever, they watched a clock tick from 23:59 of one year to 00:00 of another. Honestly, they fared better than I did.

And that, my friends, is not a good sign.

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Marketing is common sense

I’ve worked in the marketing industry, in one form or another, since the mid-1990s (save for a couple-year break when I did technical writing, but we’ll ignore that for now). I’ve seen a lot in those many (many) years, but one thing has really stuck through all of that: what marketing does.

That’s not a question, it’s a realization. Truth is, most people don’t know what marketing is, or what it’s supposed to do. Most people think marketing is advertising: making TV commercials, radio blurbs, internet banners, print flyers, and so forth. To a degree, marketing is absolutely involved in that process, but the act of doing advertising is tactical, whereas marketing is strategic. And the end of the day, marketing does something that most people don’t realize:

Marketing is about creating common sense.

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Why calling people “cowboys” is wrong

You follow standards, you follow procedures, you follow policies. You’re making sure that things are done consistently, on schedule, on budget. You’re one of those people who have ensured that their work (and their legacy) will outlive you.

Then you see something that’s against everything you stand for, and the first word out of your mouth is that the antithesis of you is “a cowboy”. People nod, and comment how people shouldn’t be doing things like that.

But you know what? That’s an insult to cowboys.

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Things I learned by leaving social media

On 8 November 2016, Americans elected their new president, whom I hope to never have to publicly acknowledge. That night, I came to a rather painful conclusion: I needed to abandon social media for a while.

In this particular election, the media had (unwittingly, foolishly, stupidly, or all of the above) enabled a level of insipid, unchecked banter that intelligence and logic were utterly cast aside in favour of whomever had the best catchphrase. Basically, a Hollywood political satire come to life. Very real, very painful life.

It hurt so bad that I had to turn it off.

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Disney World 2016: ‘Twas the day before Christmas

The Art of Animation Resort had left information on our door regarding our DME pickup. We had until 1:30pm to relax, do any final shopping, and pack.

For our final breakfast, we went to Pop Century, to experience their morning fare. I can’t say that the quality was markedly better, but Alex got her gluten-free waffles, and we had something different for a change. So it was far from terrible.

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Disney World 2016: Magic Kingdom

This was the day I’d been waiting for since June. I have nothing against Epcot or Animal Kingdom, and I very much love the Kennedy Space Center. But when it comes to magic, the closest I’ll ever get to witnessing real magic, it’s the looks on children’s faces when they see something wonderful. I had great memories of the Magic Kingdom from when I was a kid, and I wanted to see what it looked like through my own kids’ eyes.

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Disney World 2016: Animal Kingdom

I moved the family as quickly as I had the day before. My biggest need that morning wasn’t to get to Animal Kingdom, it was to return the car before we got dinged another USD$133. I’d gotten over the fact that we’d ended up with an inappropriately large and expensive car, I just didn’t want to be reminded of it again.

We charged through breakfast, Alex and I started to really dislike the constant pattern of food without sufficient variation. Finishing first, I double-backed for the car, and brought it closer to Animation Hall for pickup. However, either due to miscommunication or misunderstanding, my family went left instead of right, and took longer to get out than I’d planned. I ended up literally chasing them around the building, only to find them at the car, wondering where I was.

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Disney World 2016: Kennedy Space Center

We were up early, hitting the front of the hotel for 8:20, to catch our shuttle bus to the Alamo Rental location just inside the Magic Kingdom‘s outer gates. We were renting a car for exploring!

I had originally arranged for a small car the day before, but we’d switched around the days (because we could) to make it a bit easier. I knew the day was going to involve a fair bit of driving for me and the girls, so I figured the day wouldn’t matter. We were going to the coast: I wanted to see the Kennedy Space Center, and I promised the girls we’d go to the beach afterwards.

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