Read First

Not sure what grade I was in, but it was grade school, so perhaps grade 5 or 6. The teacher announced a special surprise test. Put all your books away. Just keep out several pencils.

She then passed out the tests, but we were to keep them face down until everyone had theirs, as this test was a time limited one.

One last instruction. Read ALL the instructions before starting the test.


My mind rejoiced when I noticed that most of the questions were math based. My best subject. But I could not believe how short a time period we were being allowed. I raced through the questions as quickly as I could, answering them all, and also keeping my eye on the classroom’s clock at the same time. I might just make it.

I read the final question just seconds before the buzzer went, and gasped as I realized the significance of it. The final question was not a question at all. It was an instruction that merely stated that I should print my name at the top of the first page, and wait for the buzzer.

You see, the very first instruction was to read every question without answering any of them until told to do so, and, of course, we were never told to answer any of the questions.

Have you ever failed to complete an assignment properly because you did not read the instructions thoroughly? I did that today at church. I was in charge of the computer that puts the words to songs on screen, so the congregation can sing along. Some of the files that I needed on the computer were missing, so I sent a text to our coordinator. He replied that he was on his way with the files. Several minutes later I was reading the instruction sheet that lists the order of the songs, and there, right at the top (and even highlighted) was the following sentence. “I will be bringing the rest of the files with me Sunday morning and will arrive by 10:00”.

Forks vs. Spoons

Have I ever told you that I dislike forks?

Harder to clean than spoons.

But there is more insidious reason.

I hate making decisions. And forks remind me of decisions. As in, forks in the road. Which one to take?

I went for a walk today. Needed some cinnamon, and there are 2 Bulk Barns that I can walk to. The one at The Centre on Barton is 3.9 km away. The one near Eastgate is 4.4 km away. Sounds like an easy decision. BUT. And there is always a “but”. I might want to stop for some groceries, and the one near Eastgate is also near a No Frills and a Freshco. The one near The Centre on Barton is near a Walmart. I am not a big fan of the grocery section at Walmarts.



I stood at the corner of Cochrane and King for at least a full minute. Looking this way and that way. Hoping for “a sign”.

For no real reason I turned toward Eastgate, and put one foot in front of the other for 4.4 km.

(and I never did go to one of the grocery stores!!!)

Buying a Car

I was never a big fan of car ownership. Did not even get my driver’s license until I was 19. Owned my first vehicle at 25.

One unfortunate fact of modern life when you do not buy in (pun happily intended) to car ownership, is that insurance companies penalize you for the non-continuous service. Hence, though I get no-accident discounts, and senior’s discounts, I still tend to pay closer to $200 a month than $100.

Here at am at the ripe young age of 66 considering the idea of purchasing a vehicle. It would aid me in my family visits (they are not anywhere close to bus routes) and my main hobby (nature; hiking and photography). Every time I rent I am horrified at the cost. Without specials it costs me about $100 for a full 2 day weekend rental. This coming weekend’s special rate brings it down to Under $80.

Yet, logically, that is a good deal for my life style. I am currently working a short term contract (saving to buy a car!!!) and so really only have time for car use on the weekends. If I get a new, or close to new, car (I love warranties and relative reliability) using 100% financing for a lease, I am looking at $160 a month for the car, $150 for insurance (though probably higher for first several years – see above) and though I have no idea on costs, I will throw out another $100 for oil changes and quarterly maintenance. That is $410 a month.

That $410 will afford me a weekend rental almost every weekend, which I would never do, based on my lifestyle.

Logic aside, I still cringe when I have to fork over $100 to rent for the weekend.

Oh the folly that is human thinking.

And that is what Grandpa Richard Speaks today.

Dead Squirrel in the Middle of the Road

There is a dead squirrel in the middle of the road.

When I looked up appropriate quotes, I found this one.

Be Decisive. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.

This post is not about decision making. I am excluding myself from that discussion because I am terrible at making decisions. I need too much detail before I make a choice. There is, however, a dead squirrel down the street, which led to that quote, but also led me to another thought.

Humans are as bad as squirrels.

“In what way?”, you ask. I am glad you asked that question.

Have you ever called out to a squirrel stuck in indecision as you drove toward it at 50 km/hr? Have you ever said (out loud!), “Hey, you stupid squirrel, move!!”

I have.


And I will admit another stupid thing. As I walked past the dead squirrel the other day, I told it, “See. I told you this would happen.”

I was, of course, referring to the conversation that I have had with many squirrels, while I walked down our tree lined street. “Don’t do it. Stay on one side or the other. The trees are not greener on the other side, and you will just end up dead. A squirrel pancake.”

They don’t seem to care. They cross the street willy-nilly, with no regard to safety. Explain it to them. Plead with them. Beg them. It is useless. They WILL cross the street, and many will become dinner for a meat loving bird.

You can tell them all about the many flat squirrels you have seen, and they will just continue to do whatever they want.

Humans are just as bad. You can explain the follies of a particular action, or lifestyle, and many of them will continue on, totally ignoring you. Teenagers especially. You can even get other teens to talk with them, and often they will carry on, ignoring the advice. By the time we get to say “I told you so.”, it is too late. The damage has been done, and you just hope that they are not flattened by the results of their dumb actions. Adults do it as well.

A simple example is texting and driving. I saw a great video in which a young adult who was permanently crippled in an accident caused by texting and driving, talked to others their age. They were all visibly touched by the meeting, but one wonders how long that feeling lasted. How many eventually changed back to old bad habits?

Or, the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Nah. We know that we will never over do it. Just like the young woman who died from drinking too much water, when a recreational drug she took caused her to have a seemingly never ending thirst. Ever heard of that? Drinking yourself to death with water!!! Leanne had only taken 1/2 of an MDMA tablet, also known as ecstasy. (ref – 23 year old dies from drinking too much water )

Not every squirrel that crosses the road becomes roadkill. Not every human who texts and drives ends up in the morgue. But enough do to make it a tragedy.

Next time you decide to do something unsafe, listen closely. You might hear me yelling, “Don’t do it.”

Deal With It !!!

How you deal with stuff can say a lot about you. Every day, each of us wrestles with difficult situations that are beyond our control. Quick example. How do you deal with bad drivers during the commute?

Perhaps Google can help you with that. Everyday, thousands of people ask Google how to deal with stuff. I decided to go see what some common ones were.

(note: the following is based on personal research and represents some of the most common searches for this topic)

  • How to deal with an angry customer? Personally, I do not believe in the old “the customer is always right”. Customers can be real PITAs.
  • How to deal with a {zodiac sign} man? More often the search is for the man, not the woman? WHAT?
  • How to deal with an emotional man? Again, the search for the male version occurs more often than the female version.
  • How to deal with an evil boss? There were 17 different versions of this in my list of 260. Wow!
  • How to deal with an evil mother-in-law? Are we surprised?
  • How to deal with a girlfriend? I feel for you man.
  • How to deal with a used car salesman? The other professions in the list were teacher and insurance claims adjuster. (WHAT. No lawyer?)
  • How to deal with a verbally abusive father? (or husband or wife) But version with mother was not in the most common list. That should make us feel safe. (YET, toxic mother was on this list)
  • How to deal with a teenager? Good luck with that one!
  • How to deal with a teacher that doesn’t like you? This one surprised me. Is this suggesting that the students want to be on good terms with their teacher?
  • How to deal with a stuck zipper? Frustrating, eh?

In the 260 searches I studied, the following words appeared the most.

  • boss – 17
  • child – 17
  • person – 11
  • man – 10
  • husband – 9
  • friend – 9
  • wife – 7
  • narcissistic – 6

What is your most common “How to deal with …” issue? Leave a comment for Grandpa Richard

Can a Dog and a Cat Mate?

Those of you who use Google have probably noticed that when you start typing a search, Google thinks ahead and suggests what you might want to search for. Google’s suggestions are based partly on your past searches, and partly on popular searches that everyone else makes. Have you ever stopped to notice what those popular searches are? I have.

Seeing what other people search for can be quite entertaining. It can also be eye opening, and something you can learn from. I usually go with entertaining.

Let’s look at an example.

google_can a dog

First item that pops up is “can a dog and a cat breed”. I suppose that is a legitimate question for someone who slept through biology class. The scary thing is that when you examine the top 10 “can a dog a…” items (Google usually only shows human searchers the top 4, but a computer program can easily see 10) it seems lots of people ask if a dog and a human can mate. Yuck!

Moving on, what are some other very popular “can a dog” questions?

  • Can a dog be allergic to a cat
  • Can a dog die from eating weed
  • Can a dog eat quinoa (health conscious owners here)
    (actually, there are lots of questions about what a dog can eat or drink, which makes me feel good that people care about their pets)
  • Can a dog have/take (various human medications, including xanax, tums, tramadol, aleve, etc)
  • Can a dog kill (various other animals and snakes, etc)
  • Can a dog laugh
  • Can a dog live (without various body parts, including tongue, teeth, and spleen!)
  • Can a dog meow (in other words, speak cat)
  • A whole bunch of kind animal lovers want to know if a dog can nurse abandoned kittens
  • Can a dog pass a (various items, including socks)
  • Can a dog run for president (LOL in 2016)
  • Can a dog use a litter box (wouldn’t that be great)

Keep in mind, the above (partial) list is not just what a few people search for. It probably takes 10s of thousands of people (or more) doing the search for it to get on the top 10 list.

The list for “can a cat …” is almost identical, including the run for president. Several unique ones I saw for cats are …

  • Can a cat’s voice box be removed (now I am surprised people did not ask that more for dogs, with their incessant barking)
  • Can a cat be trained (LOL – good luck on that)

Do you have any burning “can a dog …” (or cat) questions? Leave a comment for Grandpa Richard.

There Must Be An Election Coming

The distractions are starting.

Just before an election, the political party in power starts creating distractions. These are created to take us away from issues that are important, and which the ruling party is struggling with.

The Harper Conservatives have been really pushing the terrorism and crime issues. What I see is a downward trend in violent crimes, and really, what are the chances of us being killed by a terrorist. As well, a majority of violent crimes involve people who know each other.

The other item I just noticed is Harper getting ready to announce that he will work at abolishing the Senate. Good ploy by Steven, but do NOT fall for the distraction. The Senate can wait until after Oct 19. Let’s deal with more important issues, like jobs and health and education.

Do NOT let the Conservatives do a “Wag the Dog” on you. (if you do not understand that reference, google it; it was a movie; read the plot)

Ask the candidates in your area how they are planning to deal with the day to day issues that affect all Canadians.

And that is what Grandpa Richard Speaks today.