Month: June 2006

What up cuz?

This weekend Kaylin got to meet her cousins Bradyn and Kiera (not to mention her other cousins Sherri, Jason and granola eatin', hemp-wearin' BC-ite Brenda). She met her first “big dog” (and had the cries scared right out of her when Whisky barked one of those bellowing barks that reverberates deep in the pit of your gut)…and she and Kiera beat up on little Bradyn. I think it was the girls way of saying “Welcome to Ontario granola eata'!”

The weekend was pretty packed, with a barbeque at Larry and Liz's to celebrate their return from Africa, where Kaylin crawled around, harassed their cat, and generally had a blast. We got her home around seven and started the “going to sleep” process.

Sunday was loads of fun, I haven't seen Brenda in a few years, and the last time we saw Kiera she was just a few months old. She's walking with the help of one of those walker toys (which inspired Kaylin to start motoring around he house on her walker toy when she got home), and she's a little brute, beating up on her poor cousin Bradyn and trying to suck on her face on more than one occasion.

Sadly our visit was all too short. We got to London around noon, had lunch with grampa and gramma, popped over to Ryan's (hoping to visit Ryan, Kari, Paige, and the newest addition to their family Cordeila), but we missed him (because he was apparently locked in his basement battling the denziens of the 4th level of hell…or perhaps a leak, I get easily confused by the two). We went to Sherri and Jason's around 3, and stayed until about 4:30 when we decided we needed to head back to “the 'Jax”.

Kaylin loves seeing little people her own height, so she had a blast, going so far as to babble about her day pretty much the whole way home. She was hilarious, chatting, getting mad a couple of times because she was bored, but generally having a good old time in the back of the car.

She fell asleep around Milton, and napped a little bit until we got home. Then we got her ready for bed and put her down for sleep.

Last week we started the whole “crying it out” process. We've read a half dozen books on the subject (and by “we” I mean “Charlene” has read), and we realize the difference between all of the methods. Until a couple of months ago, we took turns rocking her to sleep. Then she decided she would only be rocked by mommy. Then she decided she would only go to sleep while being nursed by mommy. Then she decided that she wouldn't bother going down after being nursed and would require a minimum of an hour of rocking, in which she wouldn't truly sleep.

We finally realized that she's crying it out on her own, the only difference is that it's getting longer and longer, and she was starting to get miserable in the morning too. We realized we had to do something drastic, so crying it out was all we could do.

The first night, we gave her a bath, I read “Goodnight Gorilla” to her (by “read it to her” I mean she turned the pages willy nilly in both a forward and backward fashion and I made up words for the pages). I then kissed her, and put her in bed, where she cried for 10 minutes. Char went in, hugged her (but didn't take her out of the crib), and told her it was bed time. 10 minutes more of crying I went in and did the same. 10 minutes later Char repeated the process, and 10 minutes after that I went in for a final time. She was sitting up crying, but not really serious about it. I laid her down and told her it was bed time one more time while I rubbed her tummy. She cried a little bit, and then went to sleep before I got out of the room.

The next four nights were roughly the same varying between 40 minutes and 30 minutes. Saturday though, it was an hour. Then came Sunday night. We put her down…she complained a bit (but didn't cry or scream really), and then settled down and got to sleep. Fifteen minutes later. Last night, same routine, but the smallest amount of complaining, and five minutes later she was out.

PLUS she's sleeping better every night. Hopefully this is the start of her learning how to sleep.

Cool or cutting edge? What comic store is best?

Every now and then I daydream. Lately those daydreams have been about comic stores. I still have this dream to open a comic store, and one day I will…the question is, what kind of comic store? Will it be hip and trendy, cool but safe, or totally out there?

This isn't something that will happen this year, maybe not even next year…my first priority is making our online store All New Comics THE number one comic destination for Canadians, and there's a lot of work to be done on that front.

One of the cool things about our distributor's website is that they have all of these cool “On the road” reports, where they show different stores from all across North America. In Toronto they visited 1,000,000 Comix, 3rd Quadrant, Comics and More, The Silver Snail, the Beguiling, the Comic Emporium, and Yesterday's Heroes. The stores are all tidy, clean, and nicely laid out…but they're comic stores. They're distincly comic-booky, and as cool as places like the Beguiling and the Snail are, I don't know if they fit my image of what “cool” is.

My partner likes the classic “Comic store” look. He likes bins, lots of toys and merch, and he has a fondness for dark colours.

I'm a fan of open white space, a lack of clutter, and cool design. I have two different visions in mind, either an antique apothocary look, or a modern art gallery look (and depending on what day of the week it is, my decisions change). I want new comics, TPB's, and cool toys that you can't get at Toys R Us to be our focus. I'd love to have an art gallery section as well focusing on local artists to give them a venue to sell their work.

Two stores I'm a huge fan of are Überbot in Winter Park Florida, and Magic Pony here in Toronto. Uberbot sells comics and cool vinyl toys, while Magic Pony is all about toys and art. Both of them have that gallery feel to them, and both of them look distinctly “different”.

Now here's the trouble. I showed a bunch of guys at work pictures of Zeus in Dallas Texas (a favourite store of Pete's) and pictures of Überbot. The comic guys LOVED Zeus. It's cluttered, it's got loads of stuff, and it looks like a “comic store”. They didn't like Überbot because it was too neat looking.

I showed them both to non-comics fans, and those folks liked Überbot, saying it looked like a shop on Queen Street they'd go to, and said they'd never want to go into Zeus.

So…the question is, is this a good way to get new folks into your store (which is how you grow your business), or does it just alienate the hardcores, who are ultimately the bread and butter that keeps your business afloat?

Tracking patient zero

On Saturday morning around 10am I got a call from my neighbour down the street “Freak Daddy” Donnie. “Yo Dark, you busy?” he inquired. This is usually code for “Come over and play video games.”, “A little dude, I’m cleaning the office because my parents are coming over.” I responded (actually I was trying to FIND my office beneath the mess that had accumulated over the last couple of months). “Can you do me a favour, I think I’ve got food poisoning and I’m stuck in the bathroom, Sarah’s gone to Niagra, and Tasha’s screaming in the other room. Can you come over for a minute and take care of her?” Dude, seriously, no problem, I’m there.

I let Char know where I was going and ran over to Donnie and Sarah’s (little girl run style…because I know it will make Donnie smile). Poor Tash was crying in her crib, but she brightened up when she saw me (kid’s got the disposition of a trooper, she never plays strange and is always smiles with folks). I took her downstairs and hung out with her after checking on Donnie. I heard him rumbling around upstairs so we went up to see how he was doing (and to change Tash’s diaper)…I believe it was at this point that I made a grevious mistake. Somewhere between sticking around for Tasha’s diaper change, disposing of the diaper or just talking to Donnie, I unwittingly became infected with his sickness.

Donnie’s dad came by to take over and I headed home where I finished cleaning up before I started preparing my walkway for some major construction, and got to work laying bricks.

My mom and dad came down this weekend, and dad and I spent all Saturday putting sand down, tamping, and buying pavers to install in the walkway. The trip to the brickyard for the stones is a story in itself I’ll have to tell some time.

Sunday morning, feeling pretty good except for the residual soreness from all the work on Saturday, and a mild headache, dad and I got up and started laying bricks (I think the first ones went down around 9am or so). Char headed out to a shower for our friend Tiffany in Hamilton, while my mom took care of Kaylin. We stopped for a lunch break, but my mom was taking awesome care of the Kegger, so there was no need for me to go in there and disrupt their fun (mom even got Kaylin to go down for a nap without a fuss!). By about 6 we were done and other than putting down sand, and cementing the sides into place my work on the walk was done. While we were cleaning up I started feeling a little off, and despite a couple of Advils, my head was killing me, I decided I’d better get everything cleaned up before we went in for dinner thinking that once I stopped my body would probably rebel a little and complain if I didn’t let it rest a little bit.

I managed to scarf down a couple pieces of pizza, but I was just feeling terrible. I decided to lay down on the couch for a bit and just rested, but things were quickly going south. At first I was thinking I was just exhausted and must be feeling the effects of the heat or something. I went and had a shower as my mom and dad got ready to go back home, but things were getting worse, and my head was starting to pound.

Almost as soon as they left I went upstairs and laid down for a bit, but I knew things were getting worse. At about 6:30, it was just too much and my body decided that everything I had eaten today would need to go. The stomache just yelled out “Okay, one of you buggers that got in here is causing trouble, that’s it. EVERYBODY OUT!!!”, and out it came. I made it into the bathroom just in time, and expulsed a torrent of badness. Feeling a little better I went back to bed, and Charlene brought Kaylin up to get her ready for bed. After her night nursing, Kaylin suddenly exploded with vomit, her first vomit incident in her little life. Char got covered, and I tried to clean it up as best I could, but I just couldn’t stomache it. Sure enough, seconds later I was back in the bathroom. Poor Kegger got sick one more time, but seemed to be better after that (though she was more whiney than normal). Char got her to settle down and go to bed, and then she spent the next several hours taking care of me, getting me water, cleaning up after me a couple of times, and going out for Pepto and Ginger Ale, and giving me Advil to control my fever, as I ran back and forth to the bathroom. Around 1am I finally settled down enough that I could sleep (though I got up a couple more times during the night). In all I think I was sick for a good six hours, and when I was done, I was pretty empty.

The next morning I was just wasted. My head still hurt like heck and I just needed to sleep for hours. My stomache was doing flip-flops, but luckily I wasn’t vomiting any more (though I was still running to the toilet if you know what I mean). I called my mom, and found out my dad had spent the night praying to the porcelain god, and was recovering too. A quick call to Donnie found that his dad, Sarah, and her dad were all sick too. So far my mom and Charlene were the only two unaffected.

Tuesday evening though…things started going downhill for Char, and she went through pretty much everything I did from 6pm on, fever, cold sweats, chills, everything…except she had the added bonus of having to keep our baby nursed. She’s a trooper though and pulled through (I’m sure she’ll go through a blow by blow on I Heart Baby Toes when she feels up to it).

In the end, Donnie’s “food poisoning” ended up being a plague worse than the bubonic and I think I’m going to change Donnie’s name to “Typhoid Mary”. At least it was a fast one, and not one of those lingering sicknesses that go on for weeks, or that leave you with a cold after, this was a quick 24 hours of wastedness, followed by a couple of days of feeling gross, but nothing long lasting.