Saturday, April 30, 2011

the house that dad built

I moved into a house just over four years ago that, in the kindest of terms, could be called a "fixer-upper". The only reason I bought the house was that I could see through it's current state to it's potential and that I knew what my Dad could do. Not a contractor by trade, but a contractor by hobby, my Dad has had a hand in building some parts of, if not all of, most of the homes and cottages that I've had the pleasure of living in during my life....and they.were. fabulous.

So four years ago, he began with the backyard here and has worked on a piece of this house every fall and winter since...the basement, the front foyer, the kitchen, the main floor bathroom, the second room in the basement, the laundry some crazy stair and closet renos in between. And this house is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates...once you start tearing down, you never know what you are gonna get.

Throughout the last four years I know, even though he would never tell me, that my Dad has encountered days of frustration working on this house, due to it's intricacies, that would have caused a lesser man to abandon the project in search of the nearest pub. And through his perseverance, what I have ended up with is not just a house with some fantastic renovations...I've ended up with a house that, as I move from room to room, I can see the reflection of my Dad in.

I can feel his presence in the design of my kitchen; hear his "whistle while he works" in the walls of my rec room in the basement; see his eye for small details in my bathroom. And those nuances will be there forever for me. My Dad lives in the very walls of my is not just the house that Dad is the home that he built...for his work is part of the very essence that makes my house a home. And that is one of the things that I love most about this is the thing I will never be able to put a price tag on.

Friday, April 22, 2011

a moment with buddy

There are those rare times in your life when you realize you are in the middle of having a great moment...a moment that you will remember forever. And to realize it when it is actually happening....not the next day or years later...lets you savour it even more. Many of you who have been reading this blog for while know that, thanks largely in part to my Sophie, I ended up stepping a bit backwards on my planned career path in order to take a job that was more aligned with my values and what I was passionate about -- a job where I get to spend my days talking about pet owners and dogs and cats. And, as I have come to see time and time again, when you follow your heart, great and wonderful things happen.

I was surprised and honoured to be the recipient of a prestigious award at my company's annual banquet this past week. It is an award named for the dog that was the inspiration for my company's very beginning: the Buddy Award. Knowing the caliber of past recipients and of the entire team of people that I work with, who not only excel at their jobs, but are truly passionate about pets, to be chosen for this honour left me absolutely speechless. And when I walked up to accept my award, the entire Canadian company was on their feet clapping and cheering. As I looked out at the crowd, the warmth and affection that I felt for these people and this company welled up in my heart and I knew I would remember that moment, that feeling, forever.

As I took my plaque I thought about Buddy, a dog who had inspired not only a man but an entire company and I couldn't help but think of my own "Buddy". The only thing missing from that night was having Sophie by my side...because she not only helped me find the path to this company, this work and these people, she is at the heart of what motivates and drives me every day. Sophie may not have inspired the formation of an entire company like Buddy did, but because of Sophie an entire company was on their feet for a minute or so one April evening, giving a girl the best moment of her career so far. My moment with a dog named Buddy....thanks to a dog named Sophie....I will never forget it.