2017… The Year That Was

Welcome to 2018. For those of you that are alive reading this, raise your hand if you never thought you would reach this day. Don’t bother raising your hand Uncle Jeremiah, I know that you’re surprised every day to wake up, so I’ll take you as a given. The rest of you can lower your hands now, I’m sure you realize I can’t see you.


One of my favourite things at the beginning of each year is look back at the previous year and assess what has passed. From a personal perspective 2017 began with the arrival of the fifth grandchild, young Sebastian, and ended with me receiving a booking for a cabana on the sand for July 2018. The world surely moved along this last year.


I have stayed away from world affairs for fear that if I started writing about it I wouldn’t stop. Once the United States put their dually elected President in place it’s been a ‘gong show’. I wouldn’t know where to start, so I won’t. I’ll simply say that I’m glad President Twit-ter represents someone else’s country and not mine. Oh and let’s not forget President ‘I have a launch button on my desk’ in Korea… I’m glad he’s not mine either.


My outrage at the behavior of these two teenagers in adult bodies knows no bounds. Putting them on a hurricane ravaged island and letting them beat the crap out of each other with palm fronds would be the best way to handle these two, in my ‘humble’ opinion. They both need to go, the respective citizens of their countries need to dispose them or at the very least put a muzzle on them!!! I swear that one of these two will be the cause of the ‘Zombie’ apocalypse and totally crush my retirement plans!! See I told you, don’t get me started!!!


One last thing and I’ll move along. I wish to state publicly that I applaud those women that have stepped forward to say “enough is enough”. 2017 will be a year to remembered for the courage that they showed the world and finally gave it to ‘The Man’. I hope that the wave continues and not just the wealthy and powerful are exposed for their behavior but those at the lower levels as well. The times are changing and we need to expunge the leaders that embrace an ancient standard of thinking. The time has come to move past our biases and petty differences and embrace our species as one.  We as a global society need to meld as one people devoid of differences, because it’s the only way we will survive the ‘Zombie’ apocalypse that the previous two started!


Alright… I’m done with the ‘Zombie’ apocalypse… for now… Let’s look instead at the year that was on a personal level. As stated at the top, the year began with the birth of the newest member of my family. Sebastian is a year old today and has a quirky smile and rock star hair, has a vocabulary of four words and a multitude of undecipherable sounds. He still craps in his pants as does his cousin Parker, I couldn’t be a prouder grumpa.


February brought the most amount of change in my life. On the beaches of the Playa Magante a drama unfolded I dubbed the ‘Siege at Los Gringos’. It was an adventure right out of the pages of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel (ok that might be a stretch) featuring heroes and villains. Ginger and The Earl met Rock and Stream and a formidable alliance was formed. We stormed the restaurant seizing the ‘war table’ for our own and when the cloud of cannon smoke had cleared Captain Ahole and his faux pirate ship were sent sailing. There was much merriment on the playa.


Our last night on the island Honey and I talked about our future, about solidifying dreams with reality and where did we really want to watch the sunsets together. I’ll give you a hint… The -30C winter prairie wasteland didn’t win. So I threw down with my friends and entered in to an arrangement that will help Honey and I watch our sunsets in the warmth of the Dominican Republic. An international triad was created that involved a salesman from Canada, a farmer from England and a cook from the Dominican Republic and voila, you have The Playa Paraiso en Magante.


I learned a lot about the internet and creating business using it. It took a month for me to create the website and four more to figure out how to get people to rent rooms. Without any idea of what I’m doing I have managed to get people from Finland, The United States, France, Greece, Germany, the Ukraine and Russia to come and spend the night at The Playa Paraiso en Magante. Not bad for an old guy that sells packaged consumables to the Big Box stores.


I have no way of knowing whether the number of guests that are booking with us is equivalent to previous years when the secluded B&B had had other names. Dominican record keeping leaves much to be considered but by the end of a full year of operation the beds will have had a 30% occupancy and I think it’s a good start. I’m happy with the progress the new business has made and I see a promising future.


In June I sent a stuffed bear to a wedding in England and somehow convinced the bride and groom, whom I have never met, to take pictures with it. I have to say even I didn’t think that would work. It was something that crazy Uncle Sherman would come up with! Writing about Thompson the wedding crashing bear was some of the most fun I have had writing and I hope that those of you that read it enjoyed his antics. I’m not done with Thompson there will be more to come if I can find time to finish another very long story.


Work was best described by the countdown calendar on my wall that went from 53 to 41 months. I got another new boss and a new truck, no more Mercedes for me. I have a Ford and I feel the same way about it as I do my new laptop… I hate them both!!!


Mother Nature delivered two hurricanes over top of my future Dominican home and did little more than make a mess while destroying neighbouring islands in the Caribbean. Hmmm I thought, maybe she’s starting to like me, but then she gave me a summer of incredible winds and cool temperatures followed by early snow and a week of -30C or lower to finish the year. Wind chills averaged from -43C to -54C, I can’t wear enough clothes to keep me warm! My underwear wears underwear!!!


Generally though if I were to rate 2017 I would give it a solid 7. Honey and I got to spend time with family and friends, which always makes us happy. We find ourselves in a situation at the end of the year that we are both happy about, the future has some promise beyond watching our grandchildren grow older. So even though 2017 wasn’t perfect I think I will look at it in a positive light as a year where more things went right versus wrong and of course be thankful that the ‘Zombie’ apocalypse didn’t start.


Happy New Year











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