Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Roommates

It's funny. When a man gets fired, chronicling his life is one of the last things he wants to do. Hence the complete abandonment of my blog for well over a month. Pretty much everyone knows that I lost my job in Picture Butte, so I won't dwell on it. Let's just say that I'm now in Edmonton, returning to Photo Gift World as the Retail General Manager. I'm living in Sara's basement while Avril and the boys remain in Picture Butte for now. They'll move up here to join me sometime in the new year.

Sara was nice enough to give me her old camera, which is a very nice one, so I figured now that I have a camera nicer than my cell phone, I should return to blogging.
The house that Sara and her family live in is the house that my parents lived in when I was in my early 20s. I'm back in my old room, the last room that I ever stayed in while living with my parents. The walls are even still the same colour that I painted them back in 2001, and some of the furniture (the night stand in the above picture, for instance) is even the same furniture I had used since I was 13. I must admit, it's rather strange. It's almost like I've slipped back through time: I'm living like a single man in my old room with my old furniture in my old hometown.

Although, there is one difference this time: I have roommates.
Sara's two young cats, Percy and Mickey, get locked downstairs with my every night, and they like to keep me company.
Like I said, they're young cats, just barely out of kittenhood, but they've begun to mature. I've caught them starting to have sex on my bed three times now. One of those times was at 5:00 in the morning, and they were on my legs. I break them up each time, but who knows what they're up to when I'm not around? I reported this to Sara. Poor Percy doesn't know what's in store for him now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pooh Bear King

When I was a young boy, I had a Winnie The Pooh teddy bear. It was one of my most cherished stuffed animals. My older brother, Rob, took his duties as a my only brother seriously. In other words, he was sure to tease me often. I was a good-natured kid, and I always knew that his teasing was in good fun, but I reacted as a typical child would react: it bothered me. Anyone in my immediately family remember Rob drowning in invisible bas? Why did the non-word "ba" bother me so much? Because I was little boy enduring harmless teasing from my big brother, whom I loved, and I knew he loved me in return.

Anyway, getting back to Winnie The Pooh. One of Rob's regular forms of teasing was the Pooh-Bear King. He would take Winnie The Pooh and give voice to a dark, tyrannical side of the lovable Disney character that you never see in the cartoons. Always yelling and slamming his head against the wall. Angry, angry little bear. I look back on the Pooh-Bear King with fondness. I feel lucky that my big brother's teasing was not only good-natured, but very unique and creative. The reason I'm thinking about the Pooh-Bear King right now is because I just stumbled over the following picture online:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Five Years

September 17, 2009 marked the fifth anniversary of my marriage to Avril. A lot has happened in those five years. We've lived in seven different homes in five different towns. We have two wonderful sons and a third child on the way. I started and completed college, worked in two motels, and now I'm an assistant municipal administrator. On the whole, it's been a great five years, and I love Avril more today than on the day I married her.
To celebrate, Avril and I spent the weekend at her parents' cabin near Crowsnest Pass. Don and Evelyn were nice enough to watch Kenny and Alex for us, so we got to have some quality alone time. On Saturday, we went to see nearby Lundbreck Falls. We forgot to take our real camera, so all of the pictures are fairly poor quality because they were taken with my phone. Please, please forgive me. I'm so, so sorry.
The falls were beautiful, and the weather was nice. We had fun. We got to look from several different angles, too, and we climbed right down into the canyon they were in.
The rest of the weekend was blessedly relaxing. I did all of the cooking. I love cooking over an open fire. Those steaks were amazing! We took a canoe out on the lake, but after five minutes, a strong wind came up and blew us back to the dock. We read, played board games, I did crossword puzzles while Avril did Sudoku, and we watched The Office season 5 DVDs on my laptop.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Summer Rolls On

With no kids in school, September is still summer for us. Yeah, I'm working, but it's still hot and the kids are always home.

Saturday was the Parkinson's Society Superwalk. Since Evelyn and Afton work for the society, and since Parkinson's greatly affected their family, Avril and I usually attend and volunteer at the registration table. The Superwalk was a success this year. Kenny got the second place prize for most pledges collected for children.
Later that afternoon, we went to Afton's house and met up with Noah and Heidi to play Rock Band: Beatles. We took the kids out back to run through the sprinkler. The younger kids weren't very into it, but Kenny and Isaac had a blast. Alex got sprayer once and didn't enjoy it, but he loved watching the older boys getting wet.
Oh, by the way, Rock Band: Beatles is awesome.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Catch Up

I apologize to anyone who has been following my blog for the long stretch I've gone without updating. Let me try to catch you up to what's been going on for the last little while.

First off, the big news, which anyone who is friends with me on Facebook already knows: Avril is pregnant. We don't have an official due date yet, but the baby will most likely come in the first week of April. We just seem to love the spring birthdays in this family: Alex and me in March, Avril and this new baby in April, and Kenny in early June.

We had fun over the long weekend in August. All of the Laquas got together for a camping trip at a place called Reeser Lake in Cypress Hills provincial park southeast of Medicine Hat. Avril and her family went camping there all the time as she was growing up, and this is the first time in a while they've been back together since they've all been adults. We all had a good time, but I think Kenny had the most fun. All six of the Laqua grandchildren were there, and Kenny loved playing with his cousins. We went swimming a couple of times at nearby Elkwater Lake, and Kenny took to the water quite enthusiastically despite the chilly temperature. I pride myself for being the only adult in our group who actually swam, although I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I first went in over my head. It was cold.

The weather was mostly agreeable, but we did have quite the thunder storm early one morning that woke me up and lasted for a while. The campsite was in a valley, so the thunder was louder than what I'm used to out on the prairies. I slept poorly the entire weekend, actually, but I never sleep well when I go camping, and having young children just makes it worse. I enjoyed myself, anyway.

Last week was Whoop-Up Days in Lethbridge. I was never able to go myself, but Avril went with the boys and her father and sister one day while I was at work. It was Kenny's first real visit to a fair, and he loved it. He went on a lot of rides, some of them more than once. He especially loved any ride that resembled a train.

There was a petting zoo there, too, and the boys enjoyed that. Kenny's favourite animals were the pot-bellied pigs. He liked the sheep, too, even though one snuck up behind him and scared him with a loud baa. Whenever he tells someone about his day at the fair, he always mentions the noisy sheep.

Alex enjoyed himself, but he wasn't allowed on most of the rides. He made it onto the carroussel and a train, and he had fun at the petting zoo.

Kenny has started graduating from his pre-school DVDs and taking an interest in my movies. I have a small collection of animated movies based on DC Comics characters: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern seem to be his favourites. The latter two are rated PG-13, so I'm a little nervous he might start slipping some words into his vocabulary that I might not approve of. Nothing so far, though. I don't think he understands what phrases like "I own your ass" mean, so he doesn't bother using them.

And, just because, here are some pictures of Kenny and I making cookies.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Train and Newspaper

Okay, I'm getting really bad at keeping this blog up to date. Too busy working, renovating, and playing video games. We went on a camping trip last weekend, but I'm waiting for pictures from Afton and Don before blogging about that. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I have two things to blog about.
I don't know why it took us so long to do this, but we finally took Kenny to see the steam engine on display at the health unit (the one that used to be a train station) in Lethbridge next to Chapters. He loved seeing a real steam engine up close. He has seen trains up close before, but they were ugly CN diesel engines.

Alex just loved running around outside and splashing in the puddles left from the rain earlier in the day.
A few weeks ago, I was featured in the Sunny South News (based out of Coaldale and circulating to most of Lethbridge County). The reporter who interviewed me is in my ward, and we found out as we spoke that I went to the same singles ward as her younger brother. The article didn't scan very well, so I'll just quote it here:

"The Town of Picture Butte is reaping the benefits from an internship program developed by Alberta's Municipal Affairs.

"Mike MacKenzie was studying business administration at Lethbridge College when he heard about the internship that allows students to work with municipalities and encourages them to consider careers in local government adminstration.

"It was during his final semester that municipal affairs came to the college for a career fair and he learned about the municipal internship program.

"'It's a great program.'

"He feels it can help students get their foot in the door with municipal governments. He had completed his local government administration training and year long internship working out of Trochu and Three Hills when he applied for the Assistant Administrator's position in Picture Butte.

"'I enjoy the small town feel.'

"He said his end goal was always to get involved in government and he saw business administration at the college as the first step.

"MacKenzie was born in BC but moved around a lot as a kid living in four different provinces, and managing to visit all but one, Newfoundland.

"'I've been all over the country.'

"Having lived in the Lethbridge area a few times over the years he decided he wanted to get back to Southern Alberta and Picture Butte afford him that opportunity. Now having relocated his family to the community he said he's found the town be nice and the people friendly.

"His wife, Avril grew up in Foremost so she also has a small town background. They have a couple of boys, the oldest Kenny is turning three and the youngest is 14-month-old Alex. Their family has already lived in six places so they feel now is a good time to set down some roots.

"'We actually bought a house which is good incentive to stay put.'

"Outside of his normal work week MacKenzie likes to write. If he can find the time he would like to become a published author of science fiction. He also likes to play the guitar and sing having performed with the Raymond Show Choir and the MT Vibes featuring 12 male voices.

"Music is something he shares with his wife who is classically trained."

The reporter also turned out to be related to Carol Dahl, so that's why the MT Vibes are mentioned. It's a pretty good article (more impressive than the two lines I got in the Three Hills Capital), even if my direct quotes weren't incorporated very smoothly and seemed to come out of nowhere. There's also a picture of me looking fat and smug, but like I said, the article didn't scan well, so you'll just have to imagine it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Okay, I've been meaning to post pictures of the renovations we've done so far since before Kenny's birthday, so I figure I better do it before you guys stop checking my blog and just assume that I've abandoned it.
What we've done so far:
-painted everything upstairs and a room-and-a-half downstairs
-laminate throughout the main floor
-linoleum on the stairs and in the main floor bathroom

What's left to do:
-new windows
-reshingle half the roof
-finish painting downstairs

For the before pictures, follow this link.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kenny's Birthday

It was Kenny's third birthday yesterday. We had a small party for him at home with his grandparents and a couple of cousins. He has been looking forward to his birthday ever since Alex's birthday back in March, so it was nice to finally be able to celebrate it. He requested pizza for supper, so that's what we fed him.
Avril decided to get creative with his cake. He's a big Thomas and Friends fan, so she made him a Thomas cake. It turned out very nice. It also reminded me of my own third birthday. Mum made me a train cake, too.
He got some pretty cool presents. Grammie and Papa gave him a basketball net that attaches to his door. Jane and Lucy gave him a squirt gun. Auntie Afton gave him a train (Emily) and a the movie Wall-E. The present from Gramma and Grampa was in Lethbridge, so he'll be getting it later.
He had a lot of fun playing with Jane and Lucy. There was a lot of running and screaming. Even Alex joined in, even though he can't go as fast as the older kids.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting There

Sorry I haven't been updating this blog much lately. Things have been excessively busy over the past two weeks. But hey, I updated hyperblogianism twice and Memories of the '90s once, so you haven't been completely out of my loop if you've been following those blogs.
See how tired I am because of all the busy-ness? I hate napping, yet there I am, falling asleep on the couch with a baby on my lap.

We're in full renovations mode. As of this morning, the main floor of our house is officially painted. Every wall, even the bathroom and closets, and we painted the kitchen cabinets, too. I also stained the deck. We're going to paint every wall in the basement, too. This evening, we painted the feature wall in Kenny's room. We let him pick the colour: dark purple. Kenny was eager to help, and Alex even started helping by the time we got to painting his room.

The people we bought our floors from are coming tomorrow to install new linoleum in the main floor bathroom and the stairs. Our laminate should be arriving any day now (they had to order it from Calgary), and Don Laqua will be installing it for us.

My new job is coming along well. People take me more seriously now that I'm an Assistant Municipal Administrator rather than a lowly Municipal Intern. It's always interesting to get to know a new town staff and a new town council. The Sunny South News will be interviewing me tomorrow, and there will be a little write-up about me in next weeks paper. I hope they don't ask me where I'm from, because I always have such a hard time answering that question succinctly.

On Saturday, Avril and the boys went out to the Laqua's cabin in the Crowsnest Pass to visit her parents and her sister. I was feeling a little under the weather, so I stayed home to stain the deck, mow the lawn, and play video games. Kenny went fishing for the first time. He and Grampa have been planning this for weeks, and he has been very excited about it. He caught three fish in half an hour. Not bad for a rookie.
He named all three fish. Then he ate them.
Alex enjoyed the cabin, too. He has been able to walk since a couple of weeks before his first birthday, but it hasn't been until this past week that walking has become his preferred mode of transportation. He's getting much better at it, and he's getting close to being able to run.

That should about bring you up to speed. I'm saving all of the after pictures of house until we at least have the new floors installed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Big Move

Well, we're in Picture Butte. Avril and I are officially home owners. The piano was moved out of the Three Hills house and into the Picture Butte house without killing or maiming anyone, and there was only minimal damage done to the house. And the casters broke off the bottom of the piano, but it still makes music fine.

It's been awhile since I've posted. I have nothing really to update besides the move. I'll include lots of pictures to make it more interesting.

My last day of work in Trochu was Thursday, April 23. We came down to Lethbridge on the 24th to close the deal on the house. Avril and I left the boys with their grandparents in Stirling, and we came back up alone to finish packing the house up without boys getting underfoot and screaming about all of the toys we were packing away. (And throwing away, in some cases.) We loaded up Don Laqua's trailer, and he came up to tow it to Picture Butte. Then last Wednesday, we rented a U-Haul to fill up and take the rest of the stuff. I made the reservation online, and we were supposed to pick up the truck in Beiseker, which is only half an hour away from Three Hills, but the day before, when U-Haul called to confirm the reservation, the truck was in Airdrie. I wasn't very happy about that, because it meant two hours of driving before we could even start loading the truck. We had some help from the branch loading the truck, and that went fairly quickly, and we left for Picture Butte late that afternoon. We moved everything in on Thursday, which is also when Sears delivered our new appliances. They were nice enough to move the previous owner's appliances out into the yard so they wouldn't be in the way of our stuff. I was pretty angry that the stuff was still there. Don made some calls, and they came to take their fridge and range, but they left their dishwaser for some reason. It's still sitting in my side yard.

We're in the midst of renovations now. We're painting every room in the house, and we ordered new floors for the main floor. We're also getting new windows, and half of the roof needs to be reshingled. I don't start work until May 11, so Avril has me around to help with everything. Don is going to install the laminate, and we're getting professionals to do the linoleum, windows, and shingles.

Kenny and Alex are adjusting nicely to their new house. Kenny loves to help paint. He really gets into it, and we have to watch him closely to make sure he doesn't paint anything that he shouldn't. He had a little mishap the other day. Avril was napping, and I was taking a break from work by playing video games. The boys had been playing in the family room with me, but they migrated upstairs. I heard a thump, but didn't think much of it until Kenny came downstairs and said, "I spilled the painting." I ran upstairs and found the can of white paint on its side in the living room. The lid had come off, and there was half a can of white paint soaking into the carpet. I was able to salvage enough so that we could finish painting our kitchen cupboards. Kenny got off relatively easy, partly because it was an accident, but mostly because the carpet is so disgusting that the paint was an improvement.