Saturday April 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Somehow we've reached the end of April already. No idea why, but most of it seems like a blur in my mind...

Anyway, let us write a four line poem about: Lady Luck.

The Canucks finished the regular season out of the playoffs, with the third-worst record in the league. As far as the entry draft for next year goes, that gave them a chance to pick anywhere from first overall to sixth. The NHL did their draft lottery this evening and Vancouver ended up with the fifth pick.

A little disappointing, considering the players expected to be chosen with the first three picks are all pretty good bets to be future superstars, but the draft seems to be deep enough that they should still get a high quality prospect in the fifth slot.

Still would have been nice if Lady Luck had gifted them the first overall pick, especially after a season like this one.


She's absent-minded,
And not at all mean;
But when she's with you,
It still makes me green...

Friday April 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the lost connection.

Work was busy but at a more manageable pace this morning. Greatly helped to have someone come in to pitch in for a couple of hours - that really made all the difference in being able to stay on top of things. By the time I left we'd sold out of three varieties of bread, leaving a couple loaves of one type and quite a few loaves of another behind. There was only one butter tart remaining, we'd sold out of chocolate croissants, and we were down to two cinnamon buns.

It's so much harder when it's just me up front and the two bakers in the back. They're usually available to help when I really need it, but I hate bothering them and I usually end up with a huge pile of dishes to deal with once things finally slow down late morning. Hopefully they'll have someone in place to come in each day to help out before the summer rush hits in full force.

Planning on getting out tomorrow morning to get some work done in our strawberry patch. I've been neglecting it for a while now, but Kat's brother and sister-in-law have been out there recently and I'm ready to chip in at last.


I saw you yesterday. You were walking past my favorite coffee shop while I was inside with an empty mug, a half-read newspaper, and nobody else. I almost didn't recognize you, you looked so happy and carefree.

The years have been kind to you; if they'd been kinder to me I might have said hello.

Thursday April 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the maze.

Max was supposed to get dropped off at daycare by Kat's dad this morning while I was at work. I got home to discover that he was still with Papa, only on the farm somewhere. I think he might need a little break from daycare at this rate, and with my parents coming to visit next week now is probably as good a time as any.

Bakery work was its usual busy but good. Ended up working until 1:30 so that I could help finish up the dishes before leaving the woman doing the closing shift all by herself. Back at it tomorrow morning at 8.

Edit: Max woke up just after midnight wanting something to eat. Got him back to bed and... promptly fell asleep with him for almost six hours. Probably the best sleep I've had since Miles was born.


Brick by brick
And stone by stone,
They've built a maze
And I travel it alone.

Now and then
I wonder Have I been here before?
Oh, most certainly -
Only fifty times or more.

At each corner
The same old faces,
Yet, somehow, there are
Still no familiar places.

Is it just me,
Or do we all feel the same?
In this vast, rambling city
I wander and wonder Who's to blame?

Wednesday April 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Was our last continuation prompt really in November? That seems too long ago. Let us correct that.

Carry on the story from wherever the previous writer stopped. Run with it for a little while and then try to give the next writer something to work with.

Work at the bakery went well this morning. Sleep deprivation is kinda kicking my ass right now though. Had to have a little nap after lunch before going out to the garden to transplant our broccoli, cabbage, and onions.

Pretty sure I'm about to fall asleep again. So I should get to this prompt pretty quick, huh?

Edit: not quickly enough, it would seem.


It was a cold day for April in that part of the world. An icy wind was blowing from the north, forcing folks indoors as it wound its way along the city's streets. It scattered newspapers this way and that and pushed empty playground swings, setting their chains to squeaking as though they were haunted by the children who had sat upon them only the day before.

In an apartment in the very heart of the city a man stood, hands clasped behind his back, waiting for a visitor to arrive. The visitor was technically late but that was expected, which left the man wondering if that still qualified as being actually late.

The rooms were sparsely decorated and spotlessly clean, giving the impression that the man had not lived there long - or lived there at all. This was not the case, however. He simply harbored an intense desire for cleanliness and therefore maintained a cleaning regime that even Mr. Clean might suggest was excessive.

A knock came and the man turned, not toward the entrance which led to the hallway, but to the glass door that opened onto his tiny balcony. He did not seem surprised as he moved to answer it, despite the fact that his apartment was on the twenty-third floor.

Tuesday April 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: sharing.

Finally got around to setting up the sprinklers in the yard this afternoon. Currently have the water going. Just typing that out as a reminder to shut it off before I go to bed.

Took Miles to get weighed this afternoon at the health unit. He's at 8 pounds 6 ounces now, which is up a pretty reasonable 8 ounces since last Tuesday. We'll be making the drive up to Penticton next week to see the midwives again for a proper appointment, but for now I'd say everything is looking pretty good.


One for me. Two for
me. Three for me. Four for me.
You're not good at this.

*     *     *

Helping hands make the
load easier to carry;
you are not alone.

Monday April 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the scout.

After a couple of weeks of failed attempts to get him to participate, I got Max back on the gym floor for soccer class this afternoon. I think it helped to have Kat and Miles there too. Hopefully we can get things back on track and I can start trending toward not having to be by his side for every second of it again.

Failed to mention this last night, but I potted up our tomato plants yesterday morning. Took all of about ten minutes.

I know that it will still be difficult to find the time to pay it proper attention, but I'm going to enjoy having a smaller veggie garden this summer. Miles being born at the start of growing season is the excuse, but I find it hard to imagine going back to the way things have been the last several years.


Another day, another ballpark. Another collection of drunken cowboys watching over the hill nobodies and wide-eyed kids with more hope than talent chasing their American dreams. These guys have about as much chance of landing a contract in the Majors as I do.

What the hell am I even doing here? Right. Ricky Higgins. Head office called yesterday telling me to check him out. Said he played shortstop like Ozzie Smith and swung the bat like Jeter. After three innings of this farce of a game I'm pretty sure I got pranked. Dicks.

I light a cigarette and stuff my notepad back into my jacket. I'm in need of a beer to make this afternoon worthwhile. Make that five, actually.

On the field a pinch hitter pops out of the dugout. What, did someone finally make it past first base out there? Whatever. The kid's tall and walks to the plate with a swagger he's probably never earned, but that's not what's caught my attention.

No, that would be the hot blonde wearing the tight jersey with his number on the back. She's on her feet, yelling her head off for him. He gives her a nod and a wink before turning his attention to Lanky McNobody on the mound.

Three pitches later he's on first after a weak single through the infield and I'm on my way over to her seat. I reckon with a flash of my credentials and a few vague promises of putting in a good word for him with the big club I should have no trouble making this afternoon a little more memorable for myself.

Sunday April 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Sneaking it in before we hit the end of the month, as promised, today we return to the House of Mercy.

I've got some figuring out to do here, so I'm just going to get right to it.


Anne was nearly back to solid ground when the voice froze her in place.

"That's far enough, Miss."

Looking down between her feet, she saw that it was only a few more feet until she could rest her aching, shaking arms. It seemed to her that in this case, far enough was not nearly far enough at all.

"Why don't you just climb back up there and go right back through whatever window you snuck out of, okay? Before anybody else sees you?"

"What?" Anne asked, finally finding her voice again.

"I don't know why you folks insist on trying to escape. You know we've been told to shoot to kill anybody we find making the attempt, right?"

"Shoot to...?" For a moment Anne forgot all about her trembling arms.

"On account of y'all being so dangerous? Not that I've seen none of you do anything scary enough to warrant being shot. And I especially ain't gonna shoot no woman. Not unless you got a knife hidden on you somewheres and you plan on coming at me with it?"

"I'm not a patient here. I was just trying to visit a friend."

"Uh huh. You know visiting hours are most definitely over?"

"I came earlier, they wouldn't let me see her."

"Uh huh. Whatever you say, Miss. Now if you'd just please scoot back up there? I can't exactly walk you back in the front door or they'd start asking questions as to why you're still breathing and then I'd most likely wind up losing my job. And I can't afford that, no ma'am."

"Call the front desk, then. They can verify that I'm not a patient here. Then you can -"

"Can what, Miss? Tell them I found somebody, most likely a patient, who is claiming she's not a patient, climbing down the wall? And could they please tell me if she's telling the truth or not? Because, you know, I haven't shot her yet? Ma'am, you're lucky I found you and not Bradley. He'd a shot you five times by now."

It was then that Anne's arms finally gave out and she collapsed the rest of the way down to the ground.

Saturday April 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the rush.

Worked from 8:45 to 11:15 this morning. Bakery opened at 9. By the time I left all the bread was sold, along with all the croissants, butter tarts, ciabatta buns and loaves, baguettes, and cinnamon buns. Which left the focaccia and various prepared things the bakery sells for other people (honey, smoked meats, cheeses... other things I can't remember right now).

Needless to say, when I walked out all I had to say was My work here is done.

Because I obviously had everything to do with how well things went...

Anyway. Looking forward to having a few days to get things done around the house and farm before I'm back in there on Wednesday morning.


The floodgates have opened,
They're coming full force.
Trust yourself, stand tall, and
Scream until you're hoarse...

Friday April 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the costume ball.

I'm doing a short shift at the bakery tomorrow morning to help out with the early rush. Hoping to be home before noon so that I can actually have lunch at a reasonable time.

Should still get to sleep early though.


"Why aren't you dressed up?"

"What are you talking about? My costume's in my pants."

"Did you put a costume on your... why do you have to take everything so literally?!"

Thursday April 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the trainee.

Another good morning of work at the bakery, though it was definitely busier than yesterday. Starting to learn little tricks to do various things faster, which feels good.

Max had a good day at daycare, after giving Kat's dad no trouble dropping him off. That's a relief.

Hoping to get back to House of Mercy on Sunday, before I run out of April. Someone please hold me to that.


She's doing her best
(Which isn't very good);
Doing all the things
She knows she really should.

In her wake she leaves
A trail of broken glass -
So at least we know
Exactly where she's passed.

Customers don't seem
To mind her many flaws;
I guess that's because
Her cleavage gives them pause...

I think I'll keep her
(And maybe half her tips).
I know she's trying,
My waitress with the yips.

Wednesday April 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the recovery.

Definitely getting into the rhythm of working at the bakery now. This morning went very smoothly and I felt totally comfortable with pretty much everything. It's good to get to here before things get crazy busy in the summer with all the tourists coming in.

Max had a fun day playing with Natalie at her house and around the farm. I was expecting to have to pick him up shortly after I got back from work but he was having such a good time, and Becky was fine with keeping an eye on both of them, that I just took some much needed time for myself.

A little more of that and I might actually start replying to comments again...


The knock on the door was not unexpected, but the man doing the knocking was a surprise to Emma. Her boyfriend was ten minutes late for their date (or, in his world, right on time) but the man on her front porch was not her boyfriend.

"Yes?" she said from behind the flimsy security of her locked screen door. The evening breeze gifted her with the scent of the lilac bushes lining her driveway, but also with a faint hint of the man's aftershave. She didn't recognize it but thought she might like her boyfriend to try it.

"Emma Brunson?" the man asked. His voice was deep but soft. His tone almost apologetic. In blue jeans and a white t-shirt she might have asked him in for a drink in different circumstances. Maybe if he hit the gym a little harder than he'd been hitting the burger joints.

"That's me all right," she said, smiling without realizing it. "How can I help you?"

"You've got this all wrong, miss," he said with a smile that did not reach his eyes. "It is I that can help you."

"Is that right?" Emma leaned against the door frame and crossed her arms. Tilting her head to the side, she asked, "How so?"

"Many years ago," the man told her in a tone bordering on scholarly, "certain items were taken from your ancestors. Wrongfully so. You may know of the items of which I speak, you may not. It is likely for the best if you do not inform me either way. Regardless, as the lone surviving member of your family these items belong to you."

"I don't-"

"I am here to make you aware of the fact that, after a lengthy search, I have located these items. And that, for a reasonable fee, I will recover them for you."

Emma stared blankly at the man for a few moments. He returned her gaze patiently. Just as she fumbled her way through her thoughts and was about to reply, her boyfriend's truck rumbled into her driveway.

"I will give you until tomorrow to think it over," the man told her without bothering to look at the new arrival. "Have a good night. And please know that hiring me is most definitely in your best interests. There are others searching for these items who are not as... principled... as I am."

Tuesday April 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: parting ways.

Took Miles to the public health office here in Osoyoos this morning to get him weighed and checked out, which saved us a drive to Penticton to see the midwives to do the same things. He's doing well. Like, very well.

Like, 7 pounds 14 ounces well.

As a reminder, his birth weight was 7 pounds 8 ounces. That would be one week ago this morning. I think we can relax about his feeding and weight gain now. Also: he can relax about needing to feed so often. Pretty sure Kat would appreciate that.

In less fun news, Max did not want to go to daycare this morning. It took me over half an hour to get out of there and I had to leave him crying when I did.

I called later on to make sure he was doing okay. And of course he was basically fine before I'd even reached the car. And when I picked him up he said he'd had a good day. And it took nearly fifteen minutes to get him out of there.

Because kids gotta kids.


So long, dearest friend.
May your rest be peaceful and
the maggots gentle

*     *     *

Parting is such sweet...
Forget that noise. I'm better
off without that nag!

Monday April 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: blinding.

Exhausted. Going to sleep now. Good night.


This is not how I imagined it would be. I expected an unending, all-consuming darkness in every direction. I thought it would be cold. Lonely and terrifying and sad. An echoing emptiness.

But this. This is not any of that. This is a searing brightness. Pure white surrounds me. As though I were lost in furious blizzard in the middle of a vast wilderness.

Except I am not cold.

And this quiet is not natural. It is reverberating.

And I am not at all alone.

Though, to be fair, everyone around me is not on my side. At least I can still feel the heavy solidness of the guns in my hands. And I know there is no potential of friends or loved ones being hurt.

So, despite the aftereffects of the flash bang, I begin shooting.

Sunday April 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the master.

Fun fact: even though my last installment of the Wastelands was March 10th, I haven't actually replied to the comment on that post yet. So, so far behind.

Anyway. Had a good family day. Spent a good part of the morning playing construction games with Max in the dirt, then went for lunch at our favorite coffee shop with all four of us. After we got back Kat and Miles had a rest while Max and I went up to Kat's parents garage and made a wooden bench to replace the wobbly piece of crap I made as a shoe rack... I'm not sure how long ago. A few years, I think.

At any rate, I made sure this one will be more stable. Max had fun helping out, but mostly he worked on his own bench. Which, apparently, we'll use when the one I made gets too wobbly and needs replacing.

This kid, you guys.


"What have we here?"

"Who, Master. I have brought you a fellow human."

"I can see that, Sebastien. So... who have we here?"

"An airship crash survivor. As unlikely as that may seem, with his injuries and physical deterioration his story aligns with the most recently reported attack by the North Ridge Brigands. He is, as you might say, not in a good way."

"And who is, these days?"

I hear the approach of slippered feet but keep my eyes closed and my breathing regular. I'm weak - probably weaker than I want to admit - but I can still fight if I need to. Not that I think I'll need to, but I'll be ready if it comes to that.

"I have sent Scout V42 to investigate the crash site and search for other survivors, Master. And to scavenge any useful parts."

"Good lad."

He places a hand on my chest, almost tenderly. I manage not to flinch but I can feel a cough clawing its way up my throat. I try to swallow it inconspicuously but that only makes it worse.

"Fetch my medical bag, Sebastien. I'll need to use my needle to re-hydrate him. And get a pot of vegetable soup started. Make sure that you blend everything thoroughly, so that our guest will be able to ingest it more easily."

"Yes, Master. Should I bring the restraints?"

"Hmm... yes, better to be safe than sorry. It is a rather large needle, after all."

"What?" I open my eyes and try to sit up but he holds me in place with little effort. "What are you going to d-"

The rest of my words are destroyed by a coughing fit that lasts only seconds. It feels like an hour. When I'm finally able to regain control of my breathing my eyes are watering and my chest and throat are burning.

"Relax, visitor. You are safe here. In time, I will bring you back to full health."

"Who are you?" What does it matter, really? But right now I feel like I know nothing, so even the knowledge of this man's name feels somehow valuable.

"You may call me Master Francis."

Saturday April 16th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the orchestra.

Appointment this morning went well. Miles is already back to within four ounces of his birth weight, which is great news. At this rate he should be back to his starting point by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Got back from Penticton in time to take Max to the park before dinner, which he enjoyed. I'm trying to make the effort to spend some extra time with him, though that's been especially hard with working the first two mornings after we got back.

Very much looking forward to tomorrow, with no appointments and no work and no time commitments on the calendar.


Hell's Orchestra

The woodwinds are burning,
The strings are all hanging;
But the percussionists
Will never stop clanging...

Friday April 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the reprieve.

As in, we were given one today when our midwife appointment was pushed back to tomorrow. Hopefully some sleep tonight will make the drive a little less painful than it would have been this afternoon.

I worked another 8 to 1 shift at the bakery this morning. Definitely starting to get the hang of things there. I think that once I'm able to ring customers up at the till without having to look up any prices, that will be the point when I can fully relax into it.


"Sir, Prisoner 722857 is requesting another reprieve."

"What's his reason this time?"

"This morning, during exercise in the yard, he broke a fingernail."

"Oh fine... I'm not a monster, after all."

Thursday April 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write: an introduction.

Looking back, I saw that I gave myself an extra day to do this with Max as well. So I don't feel so bad about that anymore.

Things I do still feel bad about: the ridiculous backlog of comment responses I owe you guys, as well as the fact that we're past due for a visit to our yearlong prompt. I will get to both soon. Probably House of Mercy sooner.

Thanks for hanging in there, guys. Crazy times.


Hey guys, my name is Miles Xavier Aucoin. I was born on April 12th, 2016. My Daddy won't tell me the exact time of day - he just keeps saying Real early. So that's cool, I guess. I weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, which I hear is a pretty all right size.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I look like this:

I'm sleeping in that one. I think I'm sleeping in all my pictures so far, actually. I like to sleep.

I have an older brother, named Max. The more observant among you may have already noticed this, but my initials spell MXA. That's about as close as my parents could get, unless they wanted to change my last name. That seems kinda... unfamily to me. Is unfamily a word? I think it should be.

So I've got that connection to my big brother. We've also both got first names that start with M. And we both have an X somewhere in there too (apparently Miles Alexander was an option for me, which I think I'd also be okay with). We're pretty close already, don't you think?

Speaking of my big bro, here's a picture of us together:

See? Sleeping good, you guys. Anyway, I guess that's a badminton racket he's got there? I've been told that he had no intention of hitting me with it, but... I dunno. Look at the mischief in that smile of his. I think me and him are going to have a talk about that. Later.

You know, when I can actually speak.

Assuming he gives me enough time and space to figure that stuff out on my own.

Anyway. Here I am, world. Please be nice to me. I plan on being nice to you. Thanks.

I should get going. More sleeping to do, you know? But I'm sure you'll be hearing lots more from me soon enough. So... catch ya later.

Wednesday April 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: serenity.

We're back in Osoyoos, as of early this afternoon. Still settling in. Still getting used to having two boys now.

I also have to be at the bakery at 8 am to start work, so I'm going to save birth and baby details until tomorrow. Sorry.

Other things I'm sorry for: the below. It's all I could manage tonight.


Serenity now.
Serenity how?
It can't be found,
So I am bound
For a place known
As my new home...

Tuesday April 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: what's in a name?

This is my second scheduled post, intended to cover my time away from the blog for the birth of my second son. Hopefully that happened yesterday, but maybe early today? Who knows.

I'm writing this on the evening of March 22nd. As of this moment we have yet to settle on a name for our second boy, though we do have several options that we like. We're planning on waiting to meet him before we name him, just as we did with Max.

Speaking of Max...


Presented, without comment, a list of names that Max has suggested for his little brother:

I may not have gotten the spelling right on that one.
Wait, does that count as a comment?
Anyway, carrying on.
Amersyn (Spelled Mop. Yes, I asked. He was insistent that he wasn't saying Emersyn.)
Okay, pretty sure that definitely counts as a comment. I'm out of here.

There have been others but I can't remember them right now. Mostly he's been stuck on Max though.

And although we have allowed him a vote... I'm fairly certain we will not be going with any of the above.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with an update on how things went. And pictures.

And a name.

Monday April 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: it takes two.

This is a scheduled post. If you're reading this then Kat has likely gone into labour today.


Be back in a day or two.


Without its pair
Seemed so...

At least
So it seemed
To the two of us:
One brother to two sisters,
One sister to one brother.
How could we
Stop at just

With no sibling
For support,
To strengthen.
No one else
To understand
Just how crazy
His parents truly are.
Not a

One became two,
And three
Became four,
And a family

Sunday April 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the keepsake.

We're in Penticton now, came up late last... er, early this morning actually. Progress stalled during the day and we're basically waiting around to see if things pick up again tonight.

I should probably get some rest, if not sleep.


Kat and I went for a walk this afternoon. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we needed to get some fresh air. Plus it's a good way to get labour moving along.

We had to walk along a busy street in order to reach a path that runs along a nearby river. I happened to notice a small wrench sitting on the road - I guess it fell off a truck as it drove by? Or maybe a bike? Either way, I stooped down and picked it up.

"Huh, that's -" Kat began but I cut her off as I stuffed it into my pocket.

"For Max."

"A keepsake from when we went away to get his little brother out of my belly?"

"Yeah," I said. "He's going to be so confused. Did you use that to get the baby out of Mommy's belly Dada?"

"Oh jeez..."

"Yes, Max. You should have seen the size of the toolbox we needed to get that job done..."

Saturday April 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: it's go time.

Work this morning went well. Super busy opening, but I suspect I'll need to get used to that.

As for the prompt? Maybe it is, maybe it's not. I guess you'll see by tomorrow night.

Us? We'll know pretty quick here.


On your marks!
We've been there awhile, don't you know?
Get set! Go!
It's about friggin' time, don't you... Right-e-o!

Friday April 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: binding.

I've been going to bed early for the last week or so, just in case things happen during the night and I need all the rest I can get. So far all that's happened is I've gotten more sleep. That's a pretty good deal, actually.

Tomorrow morning I've got a two hour training shift at the bakery. Should be fun!

Assuming I'm available to do it.


"You understand the terms of the contract as we've laid them out and agree that by signing here, here, and here, you must abide by them at all times?"

"Yes sir, I do."

"Then I thank you for signing our agreement and remind you that these terms are legally binding and any attempt to bypass, circumvent, or outright ignore them will be severely punished, with the utmost enthusiasm, and without hesitation."

"Yes sir," we shall see about that.

Thursday April 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: tentative.

So much for making things easy for me to remember. Max was born November 7th, but I guess his little brother didn't want to do April 7th. Perhaps the 8th will be more to his liking?


Three steps forward...
Inch back.
Inch back.
Inch back to the start.

Two steps forward...
Maybe not.
Maybe not.
Maybe let's go back.

One step forward.
Feels good.
Feels good.
Feels good at the start.

Wait a minute.
The start?
The start.
The start of nothing new...

Wednesday April 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the waiting game.

Not an especially productive day. The highlight was probably me getting around to shaving again.

It's feeling hard to commit to doing too much, what with baby due to arrive at any time.

We're ready and waiting, baby. Come out as soon as you're ready.


I got tables five and ten
And I'm gonna treat 'em right,
Cuz I need cash in my hands
Before the end of the night.

Extra tall pours and hors d'oeuvres
For those lucky ladies and gents -
I do what I gotta do
In order to pay my rent.

So I fill up on fake smiles
And laugh at all those stupid jokes,
Cuz a poor waiter like me
Needs to get his from rich folks.

Tuesday April 5th, 2016

The exercise:

We're throwing the doors wide open for interpretation this week, as we are writing two haiku that have something to do with: glass.

Productive day. I took a carload of cardboard and glass to the recycling depot, cleaned up the yard a little bit (stupid birds and squirrel and their love of walnuts), started weeding the strawberries, and... oh yeah, got a part-time job at the bakery.

I start training either Friday or Saturday, assuming no baby interruptions. Then next week I'll be doing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 8:30 to 12:30 and shall continue on that way for the foreseeable future.

It's pretty ideal. It's flexible, allowing me to fit in farm and town work. I get to be the front counter person, so I have the chance to deal with customers, which I generally enjoy. And it's working for a friend I've known for years, which feels very comfortable.

So I'm feeling pretty good about it.


Rainbow light on the
church floor, illuminating
your dirty footprints

*     *     *

He stands safe behind
his window, unseen, watching
the suspect squirming

Monday April 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the collision.

Soccer class started back up this afternoon and this time around Natalie is also signed up. Which was glorious, for all of about half a minute.

I was sitting in the stands, just starting to chat with a friend, when Natalie asked Max to come down to the gym floor to run around with her before class began. And he actually went without wanting me to go with him!

Unfortunately they were not the only ones running around. And Max was looking directly at Natalie beside him while running full steam ahead. So he did not see the other girl coming, who also apparently did not see him coming.

Big cry, long cuddle. He said he was okay to start class (which was only about a minute later) but once the drills started he wasn't participating at all. I asked him if he wanted to stay or just go home and he said go home, so that was that.

Hopefully next week goes better.


By the time we met it felt like we'd been on a collision course for years. Maybe even since birth. That's not me being some hopeless romantic. It's just how it felt. Inevitable. Inescapable. Like neither of us had any say in the matter.

Which, I gotta tell you, ain't a great way to start a relationship.

Resentment festers in an environment like that. We were always looking for someone to blame but could never agree on who was responsible for the mess we found ourselves in. Me? Her? My friends? Her parents? God?

And, the crazy thing is, the answer was simple: nobody.

There was nobody to blame. We could have left each other at any time. Somehow, we convinced ourselves that we were stuck with each other. That separation was not an option.

I'm still not sure how we made it down the aisle together. Then kids came. One. Two. Three. Daughter. Son. Daughter. Each one like another nail in the coffin. A tightening of the leash, at the very least. So many years in the rear-view now. I have trouble remembering any of them clearly. Thank the booze for that, I suppose.

So, no kids, I don't miss your mother now that she's gone. I'm sorry if you were hoping to hear something different. To be completely honest, all I feel is fear.

Because a part of me believes the universe will still find a way to keep us together.

Sunday April 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the wino.

Took Max to the park this morning while Kat was at her book club. They've added some new equipment, all of it aimed at toddlers. Which is great, because most of the stuff that was already there was more for five years and up.

The most popular item was a firetruck, which had two steering wheels, about a dozen moving parts, and (most importantly) a space to crawl underneath it. Where, of course, Max kept wanting me to go.

Anyway, it's a much easier place for him to play now and it's nice to see the park get upgraded like that.

Tomorrow is Max's little brother's due date. I guess we shall see if he's right on time like his mom, or prefers to be a little late like his dad.


The alley is cluttered and cramped, leaving little room to move without brushing against... something. A soft breeze does little to alleviate the afternoon heat, but does a fine job of circulating the stench without actually getting rid of any of it.

I hate this place. I don't know why I keep coming back here.

Well, I suppose that's a lie. I know the exact reason. The exact person, at any rate. Though it takes me a little longer to search him out every time I hear that he's returned to this human landfill. But I show up eventually, one way or another. I think he counts on it.

And that just makes me want to stop doing this even more.

"Hey brother," a voice calls from a lump of clothing to my right. "Spare some change for a good cause?"

"Always," I say as I walk past him. "Too bad I don't see one of those around here."

"That's just mean brother," he calls after me. "Stone cold, brother. Stone cold."

I make my way between two dumpsters that could not have been emptied in weeks, holding my breath and making a mental note to burn everything I'm wearing before reentering my house. Especially my shoes. I narrowly avoid stepping on a used needle before the sight of him stops me short.

"Spare sum coins, pretty boy?" he asks before bringing whatever terrible poison is in the paper bag in his hands to his lips and drinking deep. "Ima rill good inves'ment!"

"Get up, Eric." It's difficult to keep the hatred out of my voice. I don't think I did a good job.

"How you know mah name?" he asks, blinking in confusion.

"Let's go, brother," I say, reluctantly grabbing him under the arm and lifting him to his feet. "Mom wants me to bring you home before dark."

Saturday April 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: energy.

Spent some time this morning and after lunch mulching the raspberry canes. Hot sun made hard work even harder.

Late afternoon I finally got around to doing an oil change on the car. Happy to have that out of the way, and appreciative of the fact that Kat didn't go into labour while I was in the middle of it.

Now I sleep.


I've done all that I can,
Now I'm too tired to speak;
I think my energy well
Has gone and sprung a leak...

Friday April 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: checking in.

Appointment went fine this morning. Definitely feels like we're returning to it could happen at any time territory now.

Had our first BBQ dinner of the year this evening. I did up some potatoes and skewered chicken, to go with some green beans out of the freezer and a few leftovers from lunch in Penticton. The three of us hung out on the deck afterward until dark arrived to shoo us inside.

I do so enjoy this time of year.


"Hi son, how are things?"

"Mom... you really don't need to check in on me like this."

"What, can't a mother care about her son anymore?"

"Mom... there's caring... and then there's calling every ten minutes."