I am a thirty-year-old prairie bachelor who lives on the west coast. i love red wine, live jazz and spaghetti bolognese. i work full-time at an itailan restaurant and am in a part-time relationship with netflix. if you love to laugh and treat yourself to multiple night-caps this is the site for you.



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    rugged fox and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

    abbotsford, b.c. "the country"There comes a time in every redhead’s life when they must rise from the depths of their basement apartment in the city, and retire to the country for a weekend.

    “Ca c’est bon pour mon visage,” I said to myself, using the rear-view mirror to eye the length to which my hairline had receded in the past week.

    Setting the courtesy car into drive, I set the GPS for nature and pulled eastbound on to the Trans-Canada highway. Now before I type any further you are no doubt asking yourself three very important questions: (1) Why are you driving a Courtesy Car? (2) What happened to your hatchback named Fanny? and (3) Why on earth would you ever set the GPS for nature?

    I understand at this point if you already feel as flustered as I am having barely survived this past week. Well welcome to triage because this is the part where I breakdown each trauma one at a time.  

    It all started two Fridays ago when the sun was still shining and I had finished an entirely productive session at the gym. By productive, I mean I showed up. Afterwards I picked up some apples and bananas at the market and put Fanny into gear for the coffee shop to hammer out some afternoon writing. On the radio, I flicked between stations and could not decide between listening to Adele or Adele or Adele.

    Half-way to my typical ham breakfast wrap and grande for-here dark roast, I was stopped patiently waiting for a car to parallel park in front of me when CRASH BOOM BANG. “What the Sam Heck?” I said, completing an uncalled shoulder-check to left to see a large pick-up truck impale the rear driver side of my vehicle. Before I knew it, the driver was heading off in the other direction and I was suddenly screaming at Adele to “shut it.”

    The next scene picks up three hours later at the collision repair centre.

    “Here are the keys to the courtesy car,” said the master of the car repair house.

    “Thank you so ever kindly,” I took the keys and shook his left hand. “At first I was unsure whether I could ever drive again; but I have a haircut this afternoon that I can’t miss.”

    “Right, well the car is just parked in the garage through that door to your right. Inesh will sign you out.”

    As I followed directions properly, for some reason I had it in my head that I was going to get, for a lack of a better term, a “dope ride.” As much as I love cruising down Fraser at 50 clicks with my hatchback Fanny, sometimes I long for a vehicle with a little more … you know muscle, and not such a tight back-end. To my dismay, the courtesy car I signed the release form on was none of the above.

    “Hello 2002 Toyota Corolla,” I said, stepping into the driver’s seat of a vehicle painted gray and plastered in decals advertising the repair agency. “Everything is going to be alright,” I whispered, taking a deep breath before shifting the car into reverse. “Everything is going to be … WHAT NO POWER WINDOWS?!”

    Fast-forward to the following Monday morning and the start of a fresh week, and there I am, pulling into park at my best friend Kelly’s condo in Chinatown. Popping open the truck (using the key) I pulled out my duffel bag and fobbed my way into her home for the next week to dog-sit. Below are three notes that will help you with this transition:

    1.0 Kelly has a killer Chinatown pad with a patio that even Drake would “swang” on.

    1.1 I am much too white to ever write point 1.0 again.

    2.0 Kelly also has a Boston Terrier that has enough energy to power a smart car.

    3.0 Kelly is on a beach in Mexico for this part of the story.

    As I entered into the apartment to greet my nephew Clark (the dog) I noticed six bottles of exquisite red wine on the counter, set up like bowling pins with a note that read “Knock em’ down, Fox.” Thank Meryl, I thought to myself, this week is already tasting better. I debated cracking the cork on the head pin; but thought I should probably get some much-needed writing done first, seeing as how it was only eleven thirty a.m.

    “Clark,” I said, kneeling down on the ground to have a conversation hombre a perro. “You must believe that I will return to you as soon as I reach 500 words and we will go for a walk, where I will pick-up our training on how to be civilized in the wake of your primal desire to pee on absolutely everything.

    Panting in excitement, Clark returned my sentiment by shoving a gigantic orange ball in my face.

    [Before we enter the coffee shop across the street, may I say that dressing for Chinatown can be incredibly difficult? Somehow, you have to successfully cultivate a look that falls on the spectrum between homeless, hipster and young professional. On the same block you can buy a $500 t-shirt you can also find a shot of wheat grass and a used intravenous drug needle. Don’t even get me started on the vinyl record shop.]

    I walked into the coffee shop across the street dressed in a simple combination of t-shirt and jeans. Finally I could return my fingers to a keyboard and I was pleased as craft beer about it. However, when I opened my laptop I discovered the most disturbing news: the battery was almost dead. Standing up to find an outlet I then discovered even worse news: there were no outlets.

    “Darn you designer coffee shops,” I mumbled lowly and squinted fiercely when I discovered a “Power Saver” option on the battery that I had never used before. Perfect, I thought. This will buy me enough time to get the job done.   

    Then the unthinkable happened. My computer crashed. Twenty words in! I had no idea what was going on but the CPU was churning and the fan was turning so fast I thought it might spin out like a Chinese throwing star. Microsoft Word slowed down to the speed of a 14.4 modem. It took ten minutes before my next sentence appeared and I could not help but feel like a teenage boy, waiting hours for a single naughty JPEG to load while constantly checking if my dad was walking in the room behind me.

    “SWEET MERYL WHAT HAVE I DONE?” I stood up screaming with my arms flayed out like Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What you Did Last Summer.

    The coffee shop went dead silent. My vision blurred and all I could see around me was a blur of Apple Notebooks and black-rimmed glasses. I grabbed all my belongings and ran back to the condo where I cracked open a bottle of wine to lament the total destruction of my life.

    “You don’t understand Clark,” I took a swig from my glass and collapsed on to the floor. “If I can’t write, there is no point in going on …. yes, I know … if only I too could get that much satisfaction from a Frisbee than we would not be having this conversation.”

    7 days and 45 hours of virus scans later, with a simple click I took my computer off “Power Saver” mode and everything returned to normal.

    Now, let us return to the beginning of this long journey as I drove down the highway heading East. Taking the last exit into Abbotsford, British Colombia I rolled up my windows (literally) and locked the doors while embarking into the small, rural, Christian town.

    “You’re final destination is on the right,” said the kind Google Maps lady as I veered up to the summit of a mountain where my friend Donna’s house lay. Donna and I served tables together at the Meatball Hut before she became a famous interior designer, moved out to the country, got married, and just recently had a baby girl.

    “Donna!” I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around her when she opened the front door. “You will never believe the week I just had!”

    “I haven’t slept in weeks and my boobs hurt from being gnawed on twelve hours a day,” replied Donna. From upstairs flowed down the sound of one baby crying and two pugs snoring. “Now make it good Fox, cause I ain’t got the time.”

    “Oh my heavens!” I screeched like a girl before scrambling to put together my next move. “I just wanted to say how excited I have been all week to see you and meet the newest addition to your family! Now, love, what I can do to help?”

    “You can start buy cranking open that bottle of red wine in your hand and pouring me a glass.”

    “I can definitely do that.”


    keep calm and meatball on

    This post comes to you directly from a steaming cup of dark roast at Matchstick Coffee Roasters on the corner of Fraser and Kingsway. The Postal Service is playing on the speakers above me and the sun just got sucked up back into the clouds. Because I am East of Main Street, everyone sitting around me looks like they could be featured on an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

    In the last year, Vancouver has seen a number of tragically hip coffee shops pop up and I could not be more delighted about it. While I am still fond of my green apron days, gone are the times when Starbucks was the only dark roast in town. I have awarded this particular coffee shop with bonus points because you can actually sit down in the seats. I am telling you, some of these cafes have become so modern you can find yourself trying to balance your butt on a single brick jutting out from a wall. Forget about basic comfort let alone finding a spot for your laptop.

    I have gigantic news to report even though it is already a day old. BREAKING NEWS – Oh my goodness the most gorgeous man just sat down beside me. I prayed to Meryl Streep he would take the seat next to mine as soon as I saw him walk in the door. He must be from across the tracks because he doesn’t look like he owns any vintage sweaters or faded leather boots. His right bicep is also the size of my neck. In my mind I am touching it. Jennifer Garner I am 30 going on 13. Ah! FOCUS FOX.

    Right, so yesterday was my last day at the Meatball Hut. At approximately 2:37PM on Wednesday October 28th, 2015, I hung up my black apron and stuffed my tomato-stained white collar shirt into the furthest depths of my backpack. At 3:02PM, I ordered my last staff meal (a gluten free bolognese) and at 3:38PM I said goodbye to everyone for the last time. At 3:40PM, I returned back to the restaurant because I forgot my umbrella. At 4:00pm, I came back for Happy hour.

    My final curtain call yesterday was exactly as I dreamed it to be; except for the fact that no one gave me flowers and there was no champagne in my dressing room (aka the handicap washroom). A true prima donna knows when it is time to exit stage right, and this month I knew it was time to put my meatballs in a take-out box and go.

    To date, the Meatball Hut is the longest relationship I have ever had. When we first met five years ago, I was a dashing 25-year-old redhead man with flamboyant dreams and a 28-inch waist. The restaurant gave me everything I was looking for at the time. I got slammed five nights a week, showered in twenty-dollar bills and slept in every Monday morning.

    Two years later and four more inches on the waist, I knew I had to make a serious change if our relationship was going to survive. And so I did. I folded up my black apron, latched the clip on a fake bowtie, and said “I do” to a role in management. I knew our first year of marriage was going to be tough and making any money was out of the question; but I held on to the dream that with hard work and steadfast devotion one day I would be able to afford 300 square feet within walking distance of a sky train station.

    On my first day as a manager, I strutted down West Georgia with Hunter at my side and debuted myself to downtown Vancouver as a young professional. “Hello world,” I said, before diving out of the way to avoid a rogue cyclist. I knew that sacrifice was part of any healthy marriage; but I had no idea how much running a restaurant was going to force me to give up. Working most nights from 3:00pm until sunrise, I said goodbye to my social life and laid to rest my relationship with the Polish Prince. By the end of that first year, I turned into a shadow of myself.

    With two bags under my eyes and one pair of ripped dress pants nothing about me looked young or professional.

    After my second anniversary, I was one second-flip away from turning into Quasimodo. Hunched over from bending to clear tables all day and night long in the upstairs dining room; I began to fear I had made a huge mistake.

    “This is life, Rugged Fox,” I began to argue myself in the semi-fictional third person.

    “Think about your pension and benefits … think about the fact that you haven’t written in months and might get sued for sexual harassment by a nineteen-year-old bus boy.”

    I was one moving truck back to Winnipeg away when half-way through my second season the most spectacular plot change occurred.

    I became part of a team. Overnight it was as if our entire management roster had been traded and/or dropped - for the better! Before I knew it, I ended up sitting down at a round table across from six of the most attractive and talented restauranteurs I had ever met. We were all on the same page when it came to running the best restaurant we could, and our communication over the mic on even the busiest nights was flawless. I never excelled in sports and was a lone wolf when it came to small group projects; but for the first time I felt like I was Geena Davis back-catching for the Rockford Peaches.

    Another year and my co-workers had officially transitioned from friends into family. Every lunch and dinner, I was fortunate enough to work with a mosaic of personalities that were known to guests as: hosts, bussers, food runners, servers and cooks; and to me as singers, writers, travelers, designers, divers, mothers, actors, teachers, fathers, academics, snowboarders and entrepreneurs. Together we popped the corks on endless bottles of wine as each day turned into night and then back into morning. We celebrated the good moments and drowned out the painful ones.

    I suppose now would be no different from then if it weren’t for the fact that despite my success turning tables – I could not forgive myself for locking away my pen and paper.

    It is that moment of definitiveness that you cross your fingers will come at one point but never have any idea when. Dressed in my second-hand floral Club Monaco shirt with charcoal dress pants and a salmon pink tie, I remember standing half-way between the kitchen and the front door at one of the busiest hours of the week. All sound muted in my head, I looked left and saw a waterfall of chits stream out of the printer and crash on to the ground below. To my right, two hostesses grappled to keep up with three phone lines that were off the hook while a line-up of hungry people grew outside the door.

    “Dear Meryl Streep,” I prayed inside, “is this it?”  The answer was no.

    There is no question I have grown into a different man over the past five years. I attribute this fact primarily to a new skincare regime as well as the people whose journeys (not swords) have crossed with mine. I am grateful for all my time at the Meatball Hut and look forward to what this next chapter will bring.

    UPDATE ON ATTRACTIVE MAN: I was too upset to interrupt this post once again. Great arms man (to my right) started flirting with Claire Danes lookalike to my left. It was all very Shopgirl meets 50 Shades of Gray. Life can just be so unfair.