Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Journal - Week 104 (27Aug11)

A note about our new business investment.

It's been a long couple of weeks but it is official.  I have officially become the proud owner of Dragon Ink Tattoos And Piercings Inc.  After I decided to purchase a business and draft up the proposal to purchase for an existing Tattoo Studio, I made the additional decision to open my own corporation for the sale rather than assume the existing name.  While it would have been a million times simpler to just take over the existing business, creating my own corporation name saves me the potential future issues that could have come along from the existing business name.  Purchasing a "Turn Key" business is all well and good if there are no known issues or there is plenty of proof to the established business.  In my case, even though it takes so much more to open a new corporation (and usually this is done by a lawyer or business designed to do this kind of work for a large fee) I did it on my own.  All the filing, all the "Articles of Incorporation", the actual legal paperwork for the "Proposal" and "Purchase of a Business or its Assets" etc.  It probably saved me a few thousand to do it on my own, but it takes night and day to do it right.   I did ensure that I had a lawyer review my work and make the proper Addendum's for the sale.

As of Thursday past (the 25th of August), I took possession of the location and opened the doors of the Tattoo studio as, "Dragon Ink Tattoos and Piercings Inc."

Since Thursday, it has been overwhelmingly busy and profitable so far.  This investment allows my family to be together as it allows me (the Owner) to control what happens there and I can manage it through John.

I maintain that my Studio will be more successful than most because the difference between my studio and many others, it is a family owned and run business, with family in mind.  Because Tattoos are now more of a modern expression of art rather than a mark of crime affiliation, I ensure that anyone can come in to my Studio and feel welcome.  My studio is bright, modern, fancy and beautiful.  There is not a single hint of "old school" grunge or dungeon.

It is to the future I look with this venture.  It is a place where I can have my children (hopefully) learn how to work in a retail environment to business administration and facility management.  Hopefully it is a success years from now and Hunter or Hayleigh will want to continue making it a profitable venture.

Here are some photos of my investment:

Signage people working on the FRONT OVERHEAD sign that I designed personally

Professional signage company (and also personal friend) helping to get sign up on first day

Front signage being hoisted up to its new and proper home

My personal design is looking good - nearly there... for ever.

Final touches and a few screws - the sign will be our first impression for everyone to see

My lobby.  Warm, inviting and classy for you to sit and view tattoo images

My front desk.  This is where John (now the Studio Manager) will greet you.

The tattooing studio.  Room for three prolific artists, the room is classy and upscale.

Chair #1, worked by Jeff LeBlanc - my current Master Artist.

Another view of the studio.  At night time, the studio is now dimmed before we shut down.

This is our Front "Private" Tattoo/Piercing room.  Set up perfectly for discrete work.

So much has been done in these last 2 weeks that I feel as if the days have been blurred from one into the other.  Let me just say, for the record - setting up a business (whether as an investment or to have run by yourself and your family) is a huge undertaking.  I have run several businesses in my 38 years of existence so it isn't a new tricky venture for me but it does take up much of my time.  Within the next few weeks or so, it will have all been worth it while I sit back and allow my hard work to make me lots of money... I hope!

And for no other reason but to advertise, if anyone at all is interested in getting any work done, from their baby's name written in script or maybe the hand or foot prints from birth to whatever they have wondered or wished to do - please don't hesitate to ask or be a stranger.  Call me and ask me any questions you have about tattoo work.  One thing I know my studio will eventually be known for is that it will be the "go to place"  to get your first tattoo or one of many.  Visit my website (currently a work in progress):

Visit us in Ajax at 282 Monarch Ave. 
Unit 22B, Ajax Ontario L1S 2G6

Or call the studio at: 905-231-2360

Tomorrow (Sunday 28 Aug - 12pm - 4pm) is the DDSA's (Durham Down syndrome Association) Family Picnic at WindReach Farms!!  Keep posted for the photos of a day we arranged to be filled with families and fun.  BBQ, Animals, hayrides, games, and more....
Visit www.ddsa.ca for more information!  If you can, join us!  DDSA members are free to attend.  Non members can participate for $10/child & $4/adult. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Journal - Week 103 (15Aug11)


After two years, my little baby is now a full fledged official "toddler"!  Today is Hunter's 2nd birthday.  Yesterday (Sunday), we had his birthday party and party it was!  Unfortunately, things never seem to go as planned, schedules didn't get followed and but we had a fun great day nonetheless.  The activities I planned got left behind, and so some other day - play date - we will finish what I had set out to do on his special day.
I do blame myself for not being as organized as I usually am for such a special event.  While I had literally bought and planned the parties activities over a month ago, I recently undertook one of the biggest ventures of my life this past week.  I invested and bought a business.  After today, one of the most critical conditions was met and it seems that the "offer to purchase a business" will be nearly complete and I will "Own" the business I purchased.  The business I bought is an upscale four year existing tattoo studio.  While many may lift an eyebrow or be quite surprised, this enterprise is an extremely profitable one so long as you know the industry.  Being a police officer, I have the ability to keep this business a clean, family oriented store/studio, with rules and regulations adhered to.  Running a tattoo business isn't just about putting "ink" under someone's skin.  It's about proving a key service, ear piercing, body art and more.
Officially (at this moment) I do not tattoo, and I am learning that side of the business but I do have a entrepreneurial mind and have run several of my own businesses.  So, I will be able to put those same skills into ensuring that this store exceeds and succeeds. 

Anyway, as time moves along and the 1st of September approaches (the actual possession date) I am sure I will have much more to comment on.  For now, I have several photos and video to post of Hunter's birthday.

It's my birthday party!

This is one of my best buddies - Vaun.

This is one of my other buddies - Taylor Rose

I'm entertaining my friends!

Here are Vaun & Taylor Rose playing together!

My friends are all enjoying my play room!

My sister Hayleigh is enjoying a bottle with Uncle Oliver!

We are all in my new ball castle!!  Wow... incredible fun!

I didn't even know Mommy bought this fun thing for me!

Vaun is sliding down with his Daddy's help!

Taylor Rose is brave!  She climbs up by herself and slides down alone too!

Her little sister Brooke is just learning to slide!

Here I go!  I am such a big boy, this is my first time by myself!!

Here's my cake!  It's actually a cupcake cake!!!

I have a plastic fork to "cut" my cake!!

See, here I go... hands and fork in to the cake!!  Ewwww!

And my final photo before opening gifts, me eating my cake with my family!

Mommy and I read all my cards and I open my gifts!!

A scribble pad and paper from Aunty Melissa


Crayola Beginnings...

Washable (good thing) Crayola Markers... (for my Crayola Beginnings)

Peter Rabbit... (for me - Hunter Bunny)

Nursery Rhyme Picture Book...

And Peter Rabbit Book...

MORE Crayola Markers (different colours) and notice how I sign MORE!!

Animal Magnets from Aunty Jane... Humm - I love animals...

Sea Creatures Colouring Book...

Disney Cars Back Pack - for when I am ready to go to school, or carry my toys around!

Cool Rocker Clothing from Haedyn & Isabella!

Chuck Trucks Tonka Set!!

Something called Play-doh... I don't know what it is yet....

And something Mommy called Mr. Potato Head!?  She said it's an old toy?!

Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzle!

Bowling Pins?!  Again, someone said that Mommy knows all about Bowling!!

Nerf Dart Tag - Mommy said Daddy will play with it more!  Something about Cops & Robbers!
Thank you all so much for helping us to celebrate Hunter's very special day.  Being two is going to open a whole other world of excitement and challenge.  We can't wait to embrace it, every step of the way.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Journal - Week 101 (02Aug11)


Many people may not realize the commonality of Tattoos these days.  I am not your usual plain old everyday person.  I like art permanently inked onto my body.  I may have many tattoos on my body but one thing I ensure is that each one of my tattoos has significant meaning behind it.  I have always planned and carefully thought out each and every single one of my pieces.  I know that tattoos are much more accepted these days and that viewing a person with many tattoos has less of a shock factor than it once did.  I personally do not tattoo my body to shock people, as many out there do.  My tattooing is significant, which for every person it should be.  There are however, people out there who do have plenty of images on their person that seem to make no sense or that the general public may question.  What I have realized about myself is, I would only get a tattoo that I believe will stand the test of time.  In other words, will I still enjoy this image when I am a grandmother?  As it stands for now, I do believe that I will.   One image that I know I will never question is one that I had done today.

Since my life has become "Everything Down syndrome" I thought, if all my tattoos signify a special significance in my life, why not an image I developed which is all about Ds?

Here is my latest tattoo:

Starting from the right side...

The middle (it's too round to take one shot)...

The left side...

A final mid shot...

It's my copyrighted Ds Advocate Ribbon Magnet!!  And why not, it's my own creation!!  (PLUG - those who would like to purchase an advocate ribbon magnet for their vehicle, please visit my publications page or my other website www.welcometoourhouse-ds.com).

I can understand that there are those out there who will not like or appreciate the tattoo art.   Some will feel that it's too much, others may reach back to the old days.  For those who do not like tattoo work, I can't be sorry - it's a part of who I am, they are for me.  For those more current or modern folks who do like the images, I thank you!  Either way, hopefully you will love me for me, I believe Daddy, Hunter and Hayleigh do!

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