Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Canadian National Exhibition



Yesterday, Pat and I spent a full day at the Canadian National Exhibition. 

What is the CNE you ask?  It is a national (Canadian) celebration. Last year was the first time I attended and that was strictly by a fluke.  I just happened to be visiting my friend Pat in Toronto while the CNE was in progress.  I had such a good time last year at the CNE I made it a point to visit Canada again when the CNE was in full progress.

What a full day we had.  I am exhausted as is Pat.  

We start out early in the afternoon (2:30 PM) and didn't leave until 11:00 PM last night.  We took public transportation down and back.  A mixture of trolley, subway and buses.  I sure am glad Pat knows his way around Toronto because if I attempted to do that by myself, I would still be wandering around in downtown Toronto asking questions how to get back to Tinytown (which is where Pat lives).

So what did we do besides walk a lot, eat a lot and, did I say walk a lot? 

Pat talked me into see a dog show.

 
I was reluctant but now I'm glad he took me because I had a fabulous time watching those dogs do their antics.

We also saw two musical performances.  One was Lee Harvey Osmond (similar sounding name, right? to someone we ALL know).  The other was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  All fabulous!  Nothing like live musical performances.  Nothing like FREE live musical performances! 



We took two rides.  One on a Ferris Wheel.  Lots of fun.  The other on the Magic Mouse (I think that's the name).  It's a roller coaster.  Pat and I promptly lost our favorite hats two minutes into that herky, jerky ride.  Those hats, that were so loved by us, are now laying abandoned on the discarded cigarette butt ground amongst the steel rod construction of that ride.  Ces't la vie dear hats.  We'll never have that recipe again.  Today, of course, we're on a mission to replace those hats. 

Eat, God did we ever eat.  The CNE food court is HUGE.  So much to choose from.  All delicious except for one burrito that I got that was basically canned baked beans and wilted iceberg lettuce.  That sad torpedo promptly was deposited into the trash after my second bite when I determined I was eating a big tasteless mess.  Oh well, I got a falafel wrap that quickly assuaged my sour puss countenance. 




Folks, I did a lot of walking yesterday and buy the end of the day I really was dragging. Walking had always been my big thing.  However, after yesterday, I'm really feeling my age.  I don't know if my fatigue was caused my my leg injury this year that is still in the process of healing or just the fact that I'm a 73 year old man trying to carry on like a 37 year old.  In my mind I'm 37 but I think my body is trying to tell me something different.  

Today is a quiet, recoup day.  We've been pretty busy ever since I landed in Buffalo last Wednesday.  Pat has been the perfect tour director.  Hey folks, I wish you could all have a friend like Pat.  

Pat is off to yogi day, taking a short break from keeping me entertained.  I think I'll take a short nap before leaving this front door to my right and seeing what delights and adventures that Toronto has to offer today.  

Carpe diem!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday Night in Toronto

Me relaxing at Zipprrs last night


The two old guys decided to Go Out on Saturday Night to a gay bar.  The default gay bar in Toronto is Zipprrs.  Yes, we did it.  

Being as old as we are (73 and 66 respectively) we went early.  The normal time to hit the gay bars is after ll PM.  Hey folks, that's when we left.  

We both had non alcoholic drinks, me a ginger ale and Pat a non alcoholic beer.  It's not that I'm a Carrie Nation teetoller but just that my body rejects booze in my advanced years.  Probably a good thing because just this past year three friends of mine have died of alcohol related causes (liver cancer).  Regular drinkers they were and no longer her.  Tells you something doesn't it?

We played a couple games of pool and took in the heavy beat.  A nice way to end a very busy day in Toronto.

Pat the Pool Shark

Yesterday we spent a glorious day at IKEA.  I love IKEA as does Pat.  If I was starting housekeeping from scratch I would do my whole house in IKEA furniture.  Who knows, I may yet do it if I ever move to smaller accommodations eventually when my present home is too much to take care of.  The only problem I have with moving to a condo is those high condo fees.  But I digress.

Pat and I had another wonderful day in the crowded, diverse and very metropolitan and EXPENSIVE city that is Toronto.  I have to admit folks, I like Toronto.  Oh sure, it's a little more messier (litter) than American cities but there is a joie de vivre that is missing from many metropolitan cities.  Sure, we have our diversity but there always seems to be that heaving tension of things about to implode in the background.  Here in Canada (Toronto anyway), it's live and let live and minding your own business and not worrying about other peoples' business who look different than you and who wear a turban or other non-traditional American headdress.  And not one Confederate flag did I see folks.  And absolutely NO feeling of hatred because I'm walking down the street with another man, which is what I have often encountered living in American.  Even in such so called gay-friendly places like Rehboth Beach.  And that folks is one reason I sometimes like to get out of that cauldron of simmering hate and discrimination that is all too often prevalent in America.  But don't get the wrong idea, I'm not moving to Canada.  I love America to and I am an American in spite of all the hatred that is often directed my way because of who I am.

Pat took a break from being my tour director this morning and went to his usual yoga class and is now at church.  Of course I don't go to church, being the secular guy that I am.

When Pat comes back we're off to another exciting day,  doing our laundry at the local laundromat.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Arrived in Canada Via Niagara Falls!



Yes, I have been delinquent in my blog postings.  Just having too much fun don't you know (smile).

Pat met me at the Buffalo airport on Wednesday.  I thought we were going direct to his home in Toronto but instead he suggested that we go via Niagara Falls.  I had told him I visited Niagara Falls once many years ago.  I think it was in 1966 and it was sort of me and Bill's "honeymoon" trip after I moved in with Bill.  I always wanted to visit Niagara Falls again.

Well, Pat had a surprise for me.  He booked us a room at the Ramada Inn on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  What a wonderful surprise!  The last time I saw Niagara Falls it was a "drive-thru". I stood on the Canadian side and took some Polaroid pictures then we were off to the U.S. via way of New York state and through Pennsylvania.

This time was MUCH different.  I didn't know Niagara Falls was a mini-Disneyland.  Wow!  Pat and I took in all the attractions our old bodies could endure including the giant Ferris Wheel (and it was BIG folks).  We even went to the casino and played the slots.  First time for both me and Pat.  We had $10.00 each to play with.  Of course we lost our whole stake but what the hey?  We can now check off "We played the slots" from our Bucket List.




Well, we visited the casino and entered the Den of Gamblers. Neither one of us had ever been in a casino before or played the slots. But tonight we had ten bucks and we were going to play!  Talk about two neophytes.  What a goofy pair we were. We didn't  ven know how to play the quarter slots.



We found a security person and she was kind enough to find us a "simple" slot machine.  We played, we lost.  Oh well, it was fun.  The lights, the action, the occasional screams of joy as someone actually did win . . . . all made for a wonderful experience.  I don't know that we would ever repeat the experience but we did have fun.  If for nothing else than to prove to ourselves and others that you're never too old to try a new adventure. 

Later we took a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel.  I have to say once we got on that Ferris wheel we had second thoughts but there we were.  I took a video but we both decided not to post it on this blog posting because we were both wailing like scared little girls.  Once was enough.

I did a lot of walking around on my recently healed leg.  Maybe too much but we did cover a lot of territory.  I never know that Niagara Falls was such a "Disneyland" of rides, amusements, restaurants, T-shirts shops and the usual tourist traps.  But fun we had and it was yet another experience we added to the "Ron and Pat Road Show.  

After comfortable night at the Ramada we had a very good, if expensive breakfast at the iHop connected to the hotel ($40 plus for eggs and sausage and pancakes for me - Pat only had the orange juice and coffee).  Oh well, I'm used to it.  I live near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

We checked out of the hotel and began our two hour ride to Pat's home in Toronto, having fulfilled our "Niagara Experience."  

Life is an adventure folks and we are having a grand time.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Canada, Here I Come!

"Frank" says we're ready to go

First thing this morning I checked my e-mails of my flight confirmation and ticket to Buffalo.  Wasn't there.  Oh no.

So I called American Airlines.  Thankfully it didn't take me too long to get through.  I stated my concern (no e-mail confirmation).  She checked and found that I hadn't confirmed an e-mail flight change.  What?

I did get a flight change a few weeks ago.  They changed the time but I didn't see anywhere on the e-mail where I could confirm it.  I told her and she said she didn't have my e-mail in front of her so she couldn't tell me but she could confirm my flight for me and send me an e-mail. (Wow. Long sentence there which, you know, I try to avoid).  

I checked the e-mail again (I save EVERYTHING) from American Airlines and have yet to see where I confirm it.  Oh well, I got my confirmation now and printed out my ticket.  I'll scan that when I get to the airport this time tomorrow.  I'll also do the scan of my boarding pass with my iPhone so I can breeze through security (if I remember how).  

Bill's driving me to the airport (Philadelphia International) tomorrow.  I've been paying co-workers to drive me but decided to save that money ($150 one way) and go on my own schedule instead of working around their schedule.  This time I'll catch the plane at 12:15 PM instead of some ungodly hour early in the morning even before the sun rises.  Last time I thought if I left early I would avoid the crowds and confusion.  Hey, the airport is crowded and confused at ALL HOURS.

So I did a last check of my packing.  It hurt but I kept myself down to two shirts, one pair of long pants (which I will wear) and one short. Five sets of underwear.  Socks. Laptop computer, iPad, iPhone, Apple watch, chargers, some toiletries and "Frank", my good luck Travel Bear.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Alone



This morning I have that rare treat (for me) of being alone.  I just dropped Bill off for his American Legion ride to the Wilmington VAMC.  Bill has a dermatology appointment this morning.

So, for the next four hours or so I will be alone.  

Think about it folks, I'm never alone.  NEVER.

At home, Bill is always here.  As much a I love Bill and our life together, I do occasionally like to be ALONE.  Not having to explain where I'm going, how long I'll be going somewhere, when I'll be back.  What I'm going to do that day, and tomorrow and . . . . . on and on.

I grew up in a "Grand Central" type household.  The oldest of three son of Ike and Betty Tipton.  We lived in a second floor apartment on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA.  What was then and still is, the white trash lower socioeconomic section of Downingtown. Hillbilly truck driver dad and stay at home mom. 

Two of my father's brothers and their families lived in the same apartment building.  Every day was Open House as families freely walked between lower socioeconomic apartments on cracked linoleum floors (carpets? you got to be kidding). 

By the time I was twelve years old I longed to have "my own place."  Privacy.  No longer sharing a bed with my two brothers. No longer having to wait to go to the bathroom.  

PRIVACY. 

SOLITUDE.

When I graduated from high school the plan was to get a job and "get my own place."  HA!

I couldn't get a job so I joined the Army.  Well, you know what kind of privacy I had in the Army.  

Three years later I got out of the Army. I would've stayed in but back in the Dark Ages queers were against the law and I knew I definitely was a queer by the time I got out of the Army.

I moved to Pittsburgh near an old Air Force friend of mine and got an apartment.  

I only stayed in Pittsburgh three months.  I wasn't making enough money to support myself as a hotel night auditor (Pittsburgh Hilton, $250 a month before taxes) and I was LONELY.  Yes, I had alone in my apartment but I was LONELY.

I moved back to Downingtown and my parent's house. I arrived Friday night.  Went out with a friend and stayed out late (innocent).  Next morning at breakfast my father wanted to know where I was the previous night.  I told him it was none of his business (it wasn't, INNOCENT).  He told me "If you're staying here you have to tell me where you're going."  He had a point.  It was his place and he made the rules.

I checked the classifieds and got an apartment the next day.  

For a year and a half I lived in that apartment ALONE.  I LOVED it.  

Then I met Bill.  We saw each other for six months then he insisted that I move in with him.  I didn't want to.  I told him that I would still like to see him but that I preferred to live ALONE.  For the first time since I meet him, he became very angry with me.  He told me he would never see me again and would break off our relationship unless I moved in with him.  He told me I would have complete freedom of movement but that he just wanted me to live with him.

I weighed my options then I decided to move in with him in February of 1965.  We have lived together ever since.  

With few exceptions (those times early in our relationship when Bill would go on business trips), Bill is always at home.  Always.  

Now fifty years later I think, for the 12 year old who always wanted to live alone I am basically never alone.  Either I'm at work behind the desk at the small hotel where I work in Lewes answering the same questions over and over again (What I call the Big Three Questions that I am asked EVERY TIME I am on shift):

"Do you have a pool?"

"What time is breakfast?"

"Where is the ice machine?"

"What time is check-out?"

When I come home I am NEVER ALONE.

I have friends who live alone and who have complained about being lonely.  I remind them that they never, NEVER have to always report:

Where they're going

What time they will back

Why they are going

I remind they how lucky they are to have the FREEDOM of movement and decision making.  

So the next few hours I'm going to cherish.  

No explaining, no nothing.  Just peace, quiet and no guilt trips. 



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Packed and Ready To Go!

Passport (red folder) and luggage packed for trip to Toronto

Well folks, I just about completed packing for my trip and I'm ready to take the big bird plan to Buffalo, New York this Wednesday.

"Buffalo, New York?" you say.  "But I thought you were going to visit Toronto, Canada."  I am folks, I am.  However, if I take a plan to Buffalo I save almost $500 versus taking a direct flight to Toronto Canada.  Pat will pick me up in Buffalo for the two hour drive to his modern, minimalist home in Tiny Town, Tornonto, Canada.  Oh I know I have a reputation as a Big Spender (just spent almost $10,000 on a new HVAC system which I am sick, SICK about) but I do try to economize wherever I can.

So I'll leave the current, invigorating, frustrating, and slash and burn political climate in the good old U S of A and enjoy ten splendid days of relaxation and comfort and goodwill that is Pat and his hometown Tornonto, Canada.  

Toronto is a very diverse city that doesn't have the tenseness of tribal culture of America. You say do away with the 14th Amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship to all who are born in the United States?  Time to take a break from this nonsense.

This is the second year that I'm visiting Pat in Toronto at the end of the summer.  What a wonderful way to end summer, with a good friend in a very hospitable city. 

You know folks, I may not have many days, weeks, months or years to live but I intend to live each day to the fullest and whenever I can grab a chance at happiness and contentment I will.  And this is just what I will be doing for the next ten days starting this Wednesday.  

I'm taking my MacBook Pro laptop with me and will try to keep you all apprised of my doings, goings and happiness but if I fail to do so, remember I am having the time of my life.

I wish everyone else this happiness.

Pat and me in front of the Big Carrot in Toronto, last year - I am returning (with a different shirt!)



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Toronto, Here I Come!

Me and Pat at Modern Mixture in Milton during Pat's visit last month

It's that time of year again folks!  This time next week I will be a guest of my little "brother" Pat at his fabulous home in Toronto. Why it seems like just a year ago I was visiting Pat in fabulous Toronto (yes, I used "fabulous" twice in one sentence).

Pat and I met two years ago (August 16th to be precise) in the parking lot of Hotel Blue in Lewes, Delaware.  I have to say it was "like" at first sight.  I finally met my "other Ron."  Pat and I are so much alike we're often mistaken for brothers by strangers.  On five different occasions in five different cities we have been approached by strangers and asked "are you brothers?"  There is something definitely there folks.  I don't know what but what I do know is that Pat and I are simpatico.  Now for those of you who get confuse easily; who have been brainwashed taught "one man only", well folks, we're breaking that rule. I can have my cake and eat it too.  Just saying (big smile). 

But I digress.  Next Wednesday I catch the Big Bird American Airlines plane out of Philly for a flight to Buffalo.  Pat will pick me up in Buffalo (not the first time a handsome man has picked me up, but I digress . . . . again) and complete the last leg of my annual trek to Toronto.  

Pat getting in his car in front of his "hoose" in Toronto

In my absence my friend and co-worker Don W. will fill in for me at work.  Thank you Don!  We men have to stick together.  I'm always asked to fill in for my lady co-workers but when I'm out a man fills in for me.  Like today, I'm going in for yet another female co-worker but again I digress.  Lot's of digressing here folks and I would love to write about my work situation but I dare not in this public forum that often has unforeseen negative consequences for me.  


Pat and Don
Suffice it to say, I appreciate Don filling in for me.  Above photo was taken last month during Pat's annual visit to Delaware.

This year we will not be meeting our friends Dr. Spo and Someone.  They took their annual holiday to Canada early this year.  We will miss them at the Canadian National Exhibition fun and games. Maybe next year, maybe not. 


Someone, Pat, Dr. Spo and me at last year's Canadian National Exhibition
So folks, the next few days I will prepare for the Big Trip. And I just hope I don't forget to take my passport with me.