Dear Present Day Self, It’s Me, Past Self

This is a complicated blog post as I attempt to write to my past self without a time machine or app to make it easy. If you get lost in the Matrix, at least you get to hang out with Keanu. So to summarize, 2015 Michael is writing to 2014 Michael. Got it? Good.

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The best. #brothers #toronto #beaches #summer #hugs

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Dear Michael of 2014, how’s it hanging?

Are you loving the 2014 NBA Playoffs? Sorry about the Raps. Losing like that in Game 7 sucks. Call me an asshole for spoiling 2015, but you won’t any happier come next season. Want to make some coin? Bet on the Warriors.

I wanted to write this post and send it back in time from the future. Not too far, only a year (2015), but I have the best news.

You made the right choice. You and your family love Toronto. So if there is any doubt in your head about what to expect, stop. It’s pretty wicked. Every battle has been won and life is pretty great.

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All ready for the day. #TGIF

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Sure, I have to say, you will miss several things about your Halifax life, such as the ocean, the bridges, your house, Cheese Curds, the friends you made and surprisingly you are going to miss driving. Driving? Well, yes because you simply won’t be doing as much once you move. You will quickly get used to TTC life again. Sadly it’s the same as you remember from 2004, just add waaaaaaay more people.

To help remove some stress, I want to give you the head’s up that somehow you will end up back in your old neighbourhood of High Park. This time, closer to the now-trendy Roncesvalles. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will also point out that you should chop down any money trees you have and bring them with you. The housing market her is crazy-stupid. Sorry Harry, I meant silly.

Since I don’t want to spoil too much of the “where” you will end up, maybe I will just focus on “how” everyone is doing.

Toronto has been an adjustment and it’s certainly not a complete story yet. I will tell you that the boys have blossomed here. They are so happy with the city, it will touch your parental soul at how well it has worked out. Harry is a boy. He could not have turned out better. You know that shy kid that is probably watching a Cars movie as you drive across Canada? Well Toronto has opened up his world. He is very much the extrovert now. He is such a caring and compassionate guy, I could not be more proud. His first crack at school has been a fun ride as well. He is so close to reading and writing. Just keep providing support, help and fun ways to learn and he will pick it up. Harry and school are like PB and J. The kid is a sponge. His hardcore interests are nature and birds. If you can, invest in a pair of binoculars. I could go on for 5,000 words on how amazing Harry is doing in Toronto, but that’s not fair to you. I want you to live it. He is well. He is happy. He is Harry.

Charlie. Oh boy. This kid. He is going to be trouble. He left Halifax as a baby and currently he is going on three. The talking, the potty training, the attitude and all the personality traits that are very different from his older brother. Charlie is a lucky guy. He will always be able to say he was born in Halifax, but he will live a huge part of his early life in the biggest city in Canada. Charlie is a challenge. He will push your parenting patience to the max. He will own your heart with his soft-spoken ways. He is also very happy. He is ready to explode. He is a joy to be around even when he is screaming.

Now for Katie. Yes, the girl you followed out to Halifax in the first place. Katie is enjoying and excelling at her job. That’s good since it was kind of the whole reason you moved back right? She is carrying the heavy load for the family. For you, reestablishing yourself career wise will be tough. So please remember to thank Katie a lot for keeping the family afloat. I know it’s a team, I know you will even the deal one day, but you sure got lucky when you met her.

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Ready to head out on the town.

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You are probably reading this long post on your phone while driving from Montreal to Toronto. You are probably part excited and part nervous driving into the unknown. Yes, Ontario is home, but there is so much still unanswered a year later.

Your sister will have a tough year. She is holding on and keeping her tiny family together. Friends will move back to the city and leave again. Cost of living will make you shake your head and wonder why you moved in the first place. The sheer amount of people will be a constant stress whenever you go somewhere.

But…..nothing has yet to counter all the good that has come out of making the move back to Toronto. There are no more boring Sunday mornings. The amount of quality places to eat is limitless. Having family near makes it that much more possible to go out without the kids and have classic Sunday dinners.

Like I have been saying since my first go around in Toronto, just walking out the door is an adventure and that has not changed.

Oh, this has nothing to do with the move, but TV has gotten so much better. The amount of quality shows is mind-blowing. Yes, we are paying for cable again.

The past 365 days have been exciting, stressful, tiring, frustrating and generally less rainy. I am happy. The family seems happy. We are doing it. We are living life in a city that I think we were born to be in.

The job will come. The house will come. All the stuff you want in life will come. But I just wanted to write to you and let you know that you don’t have to worry about moving. You are happy in 2015. You are excited about what the future holds. You are so busy watching your boys grow up in front of you, there is no time to dwell about what life would have been like without moving.

Like I said, I miss driving over a bridge. I miss smelling the ocean and I miss how sunny our house was on a crisp winter day. But I will always have those memories to go with all of the new ones Toronto has brought.

To close. It’s too late to tell you but your Big Green Egg will be broken when you go to help the movers unload. Shit happens. But you have a new one and you cooked your first brisket on it and it was AMAZING.

The rest I am going to leave to you to live and experience in real-time. You are a lucky guy. Don’t screw it up.

Oh one last thing. I won’t tell you how, but at some point you are going to get to go to New York City for free. Yeah, let that one stew in your brain.

Keep it real,

Your friendly self


P.S. Please don’t wait to play Cards Against Humanity. All I can say is Dick Fingers.

A Dad’s Life: Moving With Kids


This post was first published on Urban Parent.

Who likes to move? Anyone?

Moving is certainly not an ideal way to spend a weekend. We have all roped our friends into it at some point with the promise of pizza and beer. It is a lot of work and something I have accepted as something you pay others to do if possible.

But there is more to moving than the boxes. There is the mental side of it that I have never really thought about until now.

Thatโ€™s because we are moving for the first time with kids.

Yes, we are packing up the place, grabbing our two boys and hitting the road for Ontario. Toronto in fact.

But how do you break it to your kids that you are picking up the only life they have ever known and taking it elsewhere?

Well for our 20-month old, he really has no opinion. As long as we bring him, he is happy.

Our soon to be 5-year old however, that is a whole different psychological experiment.

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A Dadโ€™s Life: Life Father Like Son

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Originally posted on Urban Parent

Who is your favorite sports team? Do you have several?

Everyone seems to have at least one on some level.

The one team that gets our attention and brings us great join and even greater pain.

But how did you pick it? Was it recent or have you been a fan since your childhood?

For me, my dad was pretty new to Canada, so he did not have an allegiance yet. He loved English soccer for sure, but there was no connection with North American sport past knowing who the teams were.

So, for me as a boy, the world was wide open to pick the team I was going to love.

Growing up in SW Ontario, you would think I would have sided with a team from Toronto or Detroit. Nope, I was different.

My longest running bond with a pro sports team is with the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. I have been a fan of them since I was 10.

Second longest would be my love of Michigan basketball, which started around the same time and makes more geographical sense.

It got me hooked on hoops to the point of playing it for the next several years.

That same University of Michigan team is where I am now seeing the next line of sports fans grow. My boys.

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Recounting A #Snowday In #Halifax With Photos

Well I did it. I made it through a snow day with the boys. While my wife is away (flight cancelled), I had a fun day at home, hunkered down in the house for what was a pretty big storm. It is actually still going but luckily, the boys are not.

The house is now quiet, but because I know the day would speed by and I would forget a lot of the highlights, I had a camera with me all day and did my best to tell a story.

You will notice the many shots of the outside world to give you an idea of the snow we got.

This will also make it easier to describe our snow day once my wife does get home.

So enjoy this post as I recount a snow day in Halifax with photos.

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We Survived Blizzard 2014


Well the computer did not need to get dug out, but it feels like it has been awhile since I had time to sit and write. Probably due to the huge storm we had in Halifax on Friday. I was still cleaning off the driveway today.

On Friday we had a full-blown blizzard. 40 cm of snow, white out conditions and really, really cold temperatures for Halifax (-20 C).

It all made for a snow day with the kids. Friday we stayed inside. Saturday we went out briefly to shovel and get supplies and today, well today was nice. Warm air, melting snow and a chance for the kids to actually play.

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