Monday, March 8, 2010

A Dog Day Afternoon - Buddy and I

Sorry this entry is a little past February 15, 2010 as promised but I hve been very, very busy these days training a puppy. Or at least attempting to train a puppy.

Buddy Larock, our newest edition, came into exsistence on October 17, 2009. We purchased him from a breeder in January and in a week from Wednesday on March 17, 2010 Buddy celebrates his five-month birthday. Oh boy, will that be party? That is if I don't strangle him first.

You see, training a puppy is extremely hard work. It demands a lot of attention, a schedule, rules and of course discipline. And these are all simply for the trainer. The puppy, well he's just happy go lucky puppy, bouncing, eating, pooping and peeing wherever and whenever he likes.

"Oh that training", Buddy throws out at me telepathically when I speak to him about leaking in the house. "Do I get a treat for that one?" is usually what telepathically follows.

Don't get me wrong, the unconditional love that Buddy brings to my life everyday is a welcomed treasure. He sits with me when I'm blue, he comforts and snuggles with me when I'm tired and he does whatever he can to make me smile whether its chasing his own tail, jumping from furniture to furniture or simply biting the back of Trent's ankles when he walks (now that's the funniest).

Buddy is a real helper too. He often wants to share his toys with me and will bring them and place them in a pile in front of my feet. He also helps me with tieing my shoes always getting his little paws on top of my fingers to knot the laces while using his razor sharp teeth to gnaw on my flesh. He often helps as well to wake Jennifer up when she sleeps in on weekdays and the weekends. Instead of me taking the heat, Buddy is now an easy blame for suddenly jumping on the bed and biting the very tip of Jennifer's nose. "Oh sorry! ...hehehe" Buddy says to me again telepathically.

The key to good training is consistency which is difficult in a house of three people. I am becoming Mr. Mean while Jennifer is Ms. Softy and Trent is well... 13. He doesn't handle poo well or Buddy peeing in his bedroom, which Buddy apparently thinks is hilarious, espeically when Trent often leaves his door open for just a few minutes. Overall Buddy is taking to training and is less and less hard work and more and more wonderful. Don't get me wrong, he's learning as are we, his three trainers.

In between training sessions when I am at home most of the day, Buddy and I catch up on some T.V. together, read a good book or have an afternoon nap every once-in-a-while. He has been a very welcomed edition to keep me company. And although, hard work is something that tires you out a little faster and keeps your body moving when you want to sit and relax, Buddy is exactly what I needed. He's smart, he funny and best of all he's very good at bitting Trent's ankles..hehehe. I think I will go a give him a hug right now!


So much to write about, so little time. I have to be honest and say that time is getting shorter. I am on oxygen at night and my breathing during the day is more laboured. I am trying my best to get up during the day and get out but somedays I just need to stay home and take it easy. NO one wants to admit they are dying and that's not what I am doing but I know and can tell I am getting sicker and sicker than even before January.

So much to write about, so little time. I realize I just wrote that but its true.

I have always wanted to write a book about my life and perhaps I should have but then again... who would read it? I mentioned on this blog that I honestly believe that I have done some very amazing things in my life that most people only dream of doing. And I have done so with every reason to feel sorry for myself. No reason to do that. So here's but one example.

The year is 1989 and I am working part-time for the Peterborough Sun, a small weekly newspaper in Peterborough. My parents, sister and her two children are going to Chicago to see friends of my sister who moved there with her husband, John Black, to work for Sears. I join them on the road trip. But before I go, I sell it to the newspaper and to the Chicago Blackhawks that I want to do an article on Steve Larmer, a Peterborough native and leading goal scorer of the Chicago Blackhawks, when I am in Chicago. So I arrange for a press pass to the old Chicago Stadium. My friend, Paul Jensen, thinks I'm crazy and told me I wouldn't get a press pass. I proved him wrong.

My father, nephew and sister's friend husband attend the game and I make my way to the press box at Chicago Stadium. Now this is an original six franchise and has been around since 1926. The building is in a very tough part of Chicago and go for it, like anyone else would.

I proudly show my pass and enter the press room which is full of food and drinks and NHL players out of the line-up. There are a few media guys as well like Mickey Redmond, also from Peterborough, but I do not approach him or bring it up. The Blackhawks are playing the Detroit Red Wings that night and so the Savard - Yzerman match-up is the only thing being discussed. I stand by myself and munch on the free food.

As the game starts I take my press box plastic chair, sorry nothing stylish, and sit down next to Bob Murray, an older veteran Blackhawks defenceman. After some brief conversation on who I was and what I was doing there, I settled in to watch the game beside my new friend Bob. The contest becomes a game filled with Yzerman moves that wonder the mind and Savardian spins that causes one to shutter. But the best moves of the night come from another player and I had no idea who he was because it was his debut that season, Jeremy Roenick. A young hot-shot that was rather small but fiesty as fiesty can be.

Following the game, I did my best to make it quickly through the crowd with my press pass snuggled tightly to my chest pocket until I had to flash it several times to the mature ushers enroute to the dressing room. I did say 1926 didn't I. I didn't know those ushers still worked there.

On my way down the stairs towards the dressing rooms I ran into Steve Larmer leaving the arena rather quickly. If I had been 20-seconds more, I would have missed him and my interview. Something that would not have looked good on my resume. So quckly I talked to Steve, otherwise known as Grandpa in the Blackhawks dressing room for his constant chewing of gum and laid back attitude towards the NHL persona. You see, Steve Larmer just considered hockey his job and never really looked it as a big deal. He did his job so well that he eventually won a Stanley Cup for it. That's not a bad way to look at it. Maybe more players should remember how lucky they are to be working for the NHL product.

After my interview with Steve, I made my way to get a quote off of Mike Keenan, coach of the Blackhawks. I had met Mike Keenan in Peterborough months before when the Petes had a roast of Scotty Bowman and both Bowman and Keenan were there. When I finally arrived at the dressing room I turned left into the large players room instead of right to the coaches room and all of a sudden someone yelled... "What the F*&^K are you doing here?"

Amongst Denis Savard, Dirk Graham, Steve Thomas, Doug Wilson and Jeremy Roenick, who just scored two goals that night, an old friend, just a skate blade taller than me, started to cross the room towards me. And you all know him too. You watched him during the 2010 Olympics and you should be able to tell by his bald head. It was Darren Pang. Panger and I played lacrosse against each other in Peewee. Darren, stayed at my parents house on Grady Avenue when he was in a lacrosse tournament as a peewee at 12 and then the following year, I stayed at his house when I went to a tournament in his hometown of Gloucester the next summer. We were majors that year and we played against each other. I stopped him on a breakaway and he scored on me twice. You don't forget people like Darren Pang. Beleive it or not, but Darren Pang and I went to see the movie GREASE together in a theatre when it first came out. And we grew up to be the same height.. imagine that!

I used to work at the Memorial Centre as well. From 1982 to 1988 I worked under Gary Watkins and Peter Bujold sweeping seats and eventually driving the Zamboni. When Panger played for the Ottawa 67s in Junior we would meet before the game or after and chat for a few minutes and Steve Yzerman who knew Panger as well from hockey days in Ottawa would also join us if he could. Sorry.. back to my story.

So Darren Pang comes over and starts to ask me how I am and we talk for about five minutes before he introduces me to everyone in the room. I almost walked on the middle carpet, a Chiefs head and Blackhawk logo, which is a NO, NO in that dressing room. Boy did I get the look. Panger then takes me to the coaches room and introduces me to Mike Keenan, who really had no idea we had met in Peterborough but had to make me feel good so nodded an oh yeah, I remember before I asked him a few questions about Steve Larmer.

After a couple of quotes from Iron Mike I made my way back up from the bowels of Chicago Stadium to find my father, nephew and sisters' friend husband. We made it to our car safely and off we drove to his home. Not a bad night of work for a part-time sports reporter at the Peterborough Sun. Was it worth asking for a press pass? ABSOLUTELY...

Thanks for reading and sharing...

Next blog... March 25, 2010... House of Commons Adventures

1 comment:

Aunt Lpp said...

Buddy is feisty-Trent's ankles. How funny is that? I wonder why he does that. Dog training-eek. Sounds like a lot of work. I find my two cats rule this house-and No just rolls off their back. I found the water pistol I bought once. Maybe they need to feel that again!Their claws have destroyed two wing chairs-which is my own fault.
The double pills-good you did your pill count. The rash sounds less than nice.
Interesting story about the Chicago adventure. You are one gutsy guy, Barry! Its hard to fathom how you can find the strength and courage to pull off such a lightheartedness as you go through all of this. You are an inspiration to all of us-no one knows how they'd react to news of Cancer-yet we all face death. To keel over and be gone-so many things unsaid or done. We all need to live each day, as if it was our last ( even that isn't a breeze). Life is what it is, and what you do to make your own "is"--big hug to you Barry. Is there anything you need?? Besides a press pass :-)