Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ongoing Legal Matter

For months now I’ve been involved in a drawn-out and stressful yet stalled legal battle over a matter that both parties involved have dubbed “the toothpick fiasco.” Some background information is as follows.

One day at work, I simply decided to partake of a slice of home-made pumpkin cake and while eating what I refer to as this “cake of irresistibleness,” I failed to notice a toothpick in said cake and thus injured my mouth. Although I was able to eat another slice through my pain, I felt completely confident that since there was neither signage nor any other warning regarding the offending toothpick hidden on/in said cake I had every right to sue the baker. Generous soul that I am however, I chose to forgo financial compensation in exchange for what I refer to as a “cake-deal” whereby the maker of the “cake of irresistibleness” would agree to send me an exact replica of the offending cake each week for the next year. [See letter below.]

October 1, 2009
Dear [name withheld],

I regret to inform you that I must take legal action regarding a pumpkin cake that I understand you made. Please read the following letter, which was carbon-copied to my legal counsel.

The said pumpkin cake somehow made it to my place of employment where the incident occurred. To dispel any debate that this cake was indeed yours, I will describe said cake.
1. It had two layers.
2. It was moist and fluffy, yet dense.
3. It was the colour of honey mixed with pumpkin.
4. It was covered in rich, real-dairy whipped cream, smooth yet airy and apparently protected by toothpicks intended to keep the cellophane away from that delectable whipped cream.
5. To summarize in one word: superb.

Before I describe the “incident,” I must explain that I learned that this partially eaten cake was brought to my place of employment because the cake, a birthday gift, was found by the recipient to be so incredibly tempting that it was necessary to remove what will henceforth be known as the “cake of irresistibleness” from her home so as to prevent further self-indulgence. Why did she bring it to my place of employment you ask? I believe she brought it to the ravenous horde of trough-feeders that will eat anything (commonly referred to as myself and the people I work with, but mostly myself) because she knew the cake would disappear quickly and thus remove her temptation to eat it with reckless abandon. Anyway, this brings me to the point of my letter.

As I was wolfing down the “cake of irresistibleness” I failed to notice the toothpicks until one became lodged in my mouth. Because of the “irresistible” nature of the cake, I could not spit it out (that would be pure insanity) and thus I had to swallow the toothpick shard and begin eating a second slice despite the pain. I must admit at this point that there were no witnesses to this event and therefore I will not be seeking psychological damages, however, there was clearly no sign on the cake indicating the presence of the said offending toothpicks which resulted in the aforementioned painful incident.

Therefore, regrettably, I must sue you.

I hope to resolve this matter out of court and thus I offer a very generous plea bargain in lieu of financial compensation. Please agree to send an exact duplication of the “cake of irresistibleness” to my home each week for the next year and I will consider this matter resolved immediately. (And my lawyer wants one too. Please send that one to my address also.)

I expect your prompt attention to this matter.

Thank you,
D.B. Stewart

Harrumph. Instead I received a letter from the offender and her legal counsel suggesting that my intentions were not honourable and I was indeed a thief and she had witnesses and whoop-de-doo and such. However, she did agree to settle out of court and offered, and I quote, “ONE tooth-pick free pumpkin cake.” [See letter below.]
October 8, 2009
Dear Thinking Man,

I am writing on behalf of my client [name witheld] regarding the unfortunate pumpkin cake toothpick fiasco.

We have been informed of your accusations and the matter is currently under investigation. It would appear that my client has been wrongfully accused. The birthday cake of irresistibleness was delivered to her sister 100% toothpick free on the afternoon of [her birthday]. (We have witnesses willing to testify.)

My client was not aware that the birthday cake would be pawned off at her sister’s place of employment the following week. Furthermore, we understand there was no sign posted offering to share the cake, which means the accuser could actually be facing his own charges of pumpkin cake thievery!

Our law firm is also wondering what was “The Thinking Man” actually thinking while placing a whole pointy wooden object into his mouth? One wonders if dollar signs roll past your eyes as you go through a McDonald’s drive thru and order HOT coffee.

Given the kind generous spirit of my client, she is willing to forgo any further battles, and would be willing to deliver ONE toothpick free pumpkin cake at her next scheduled Manning visit, or she would welcome you into her home to share a whole meal with cake to follow.

Associate of C. J. Law Firm”

To me this sounded like a first-rate deal. I mean think about it: if her “cake of irresistibleness” is truly high-quality (and I know it is), what must the rest of her food be like? I was tempted to settle. But no. My lawyer thought I could get more. And by more, I meant more cake.

Well folks, cut to May, 2010. The cake finally arrived and it was so delectable, so moist and fluffy yet dense, so pumpkin-y, and so smothered with rich whipped cream. Totally stoked, I ate half of it (and by half I mean three-quarters) and I even shared the meagre leftovers with my co-workers.

However, there was one problem: there were toothpicks in it! DUNT, DUNT, DUH! I’m serious: FOUR toothpicks. The letter I received stated it would be “toothpick-free.” Clearly, this means that I am within my rights to resume my lawsuit.

However, I have decided not to pursue this matter further. Why? People have criticized me claiming I am guilty of trying to “have my cake and eat it too.” Well, more like eat HER cake too because let’s face it I can’t make cake but I sure can wolf it down, toothpicks and all. [See letter below.]

May 27, 2010
Dear [name witheld],

O thou with such a remarkable talent at making pumpkin cakes of irresistibleness, your cake has melted my Grinch-y heart and I hereby promise to refrain from any further legal action.

Um, I just have one minor stipulation though: cupcakes. Please send pumpkin cupcakes. With real whipped cream. There’s no saying that one can’t have one’s cupcakes and eat them too. Am I right or am I right?

Awaiting your cupcakes,
D.B. Stewart,
the Thinkingman

Monday, May 24, 2010

Damn Disney

Another nefarious plot by Walt Disney: make us all love rodents.

My teens now have pets, pet rodents in fact. We must be insane.

They requested pets for years and years. They whined. They begged. Once, my wife's parents surprised our children with a goldfish and I had ongoing and very inappropriate secret thoughts about eyedroppers and bleach but indeed that slimy fish died of natural causes after a mere three years (!!!) during which I cleaned its bowl every Saturday while my children ignored it.

After it died, the whining and begging resumed. My daughter's homepage for a year was a rabbit with a pancake on its head. Cute, but we held firm (mostly) year after year after year. During that time I never said no. (Nod to parenting guru Barbara Coloroso.) Instead I told them they could have a pet if it met my one main criteria for ALL pets: they can't poop.

My daughter just shook her head. But my son sought a way to somehow meet my unreasonable criteria and still get a pet. We had several conversations about this that included questions such as these:
  • Dad, do worms poop? Yes. How do you know? Son, what do you think dirt is?
  • Dad, do tarantulas poop? Yes.
  • Dad, do frogs poop? Yes. (But we did keep frogs for a while until the big ones ate the small ones. Pure carnage.)
  • Dad, this is so unfair--everything poops! Yes, it's true. (When my son finally made this conclusion, I must admit I laughed manically inside myself but I still used the patented "aw shucks" parent face while he stared at me in frustration. I'm not sure if Barbara Coloroso would approve but it bought me more time.)
Time ran out though. We now have a dwarf hamster named Greg. And a dwarf rabbit named Echo. My teens are in love. They are adorable. But they poop. A lot.

And I blame it all on Disney.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Nope, that's not rain.

It's May 21st in Northern Alberta and nope, that's not rain. Notice the Mayday in our front yard is flowering and yet despite that, yes indeed, it also happens to be snowing. WTH?! Actually, this is not that unusual for this time of year. I think the Inuit have a saying for this: "Shitty weather, eh?"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things that are most likely the devil:

While sitting here at the computer for the last twelve minutes or so I suddenly realized that I have eaten the following:

  • an Aero bar
  • a granola bar (for balance, I guess)
  • half a watermelon.
I had supper about 90 minutes ago. Uh, what am I doing?  (I hate that little orange bastard.)

Friday, May 14, 2010


It's before 7 a.m. and I can hear the bumblebee trapped in our living room. I noticed the bee yesterday but the buzzing subsided and I forgot to find a jar.

This happens in our home sometimes. Somehow, especially in Spring, a few bumblebees will find their way into our home and become trapped.
Such a fierce little creature, seeking freedom, struggling, looking for any way out.

Did you know bumblebees can sting and bite? Repeatedly.

I think I know this bumblebee.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rorschach Test

On the roof of our farm house in Saskatchewan, I spent a lot of time looking at clouds when I was a kid. Still do. Yesterday I saw a cloud and it resembled Santa Claus wearing a bunny suit. He had turned his face away and looked a little sad. I knew how he felt. Clouds are my Rorschach test. What do you see in the clouds?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Sometimes I open the fridge door and look for something to eat. I soon discover there is nothing to eat and then after I eat something I don’t really want to eat, I soon discover the thing I wanted to eat in the first place. So I’ll eat that too.

Sometimes I just relent and give my children the little more freedom they seem to crave in increments each few months and then wait and worry and wonder and wax and wane with worry and then worry again and wonder if I did the right thing.

Sometimes I get interrupted by whatever (the phone, a comment, someone at the door, another request for money, air, etc) and then I cannot remember what it was I wanted to do when I was interrupted.

Sometimes I want to surrender and leave the back door open the way the kids left it and leave the piles of plates and cups and books and banana peels and various other bits and pieces deposited by my family and myself in various piles or maybe just flame-throw everything instead of returning it to its place.

Sometimes I don't want to return the DVDs that I didn't even watch but I know if I don't that it will still be three months later and I will end up paying a $450.00 late charge.

Sometimes I just want to speak to a customer service representative who is not a machine.

Sometimes I just want to speak to a customer service representative who speaks English.

Sometimes I just want to read and shut the door.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like scraping the windshield and so I look out through the steering wheel where the frost has melted and then realize that I’m going to run over something or someone if I keep doing this and then I do it again the next morning. (Especially in snowed here this morning.)

Sometimes I realize I need to relearn patience.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sometimes when she sings....

"Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise."

At the Music Monday celebration at her high school tonight, my 16 year old daughter sang Beatles' classics Blackbird & Yesterday. Her dress was too short!!! But in all honesty, sometimes when she sings, it's like a prayer.
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