Thursday, February 22, 2018

Not the Red Room!

The interior of my house has been painted many times. I have seen evidence of recent repainting and for the most part, I'm okay with their colour decisions, but there was one room in my house that was painted red. Red on all four walls. Scratch that. On all six walls. It's a funny shaped room, and I put a kid to sleep in that room. They didn't do well, like Jane Eyre who cried and fainted and feared the dreaded ghost of her dead uncle.

As a disclaimer, I have seen red rooms that are not hideous. I keep telling people that I'm not against red in such a way that I can't acknowledge that it looks nice from time to time. It looks really good in the Pizza Hut I patron sometimes, but that room in my house just bummed everyone out. Being in there made you feel like you were getting your soul sucked out. It's a narrow room with a dark floor.

Painting that room was on the list of things that needed to be done, but it didn't get done until last week. I took the kid in question to the paint store and let them pick whatever colour they wanted that was at least somewhat neutral. I made them stand in front of the colour pallet for five minutes while I rubbed my hands together evilly and thought, “This paint will up my resale value.” Seriously, any colour would. The red was that bad. When I was looking at the pictures of my house when we were still buying it, I didn't get a good look at that room until the home inspector sent me a very detailed package of pictures. You know the kind, where they take a picture of a drain really close up, or a pipe, or a filter, and then a picture of that room. The rest of the house is painted sage green and butter cream yellow, then suddenly in that room there's blood pouring down from the ceiling.

“Funny, the blood usually gets off on the second floor.”

So, the kid picked a light turquoise. I was okay with that. The gal selling me the paint reassured me that Behr Marquee paint would cover my red paint in one coat. It was a good thing I didn't believe her, because if I had I would have been mighty right ripped after I finished the first coat that was in no way adequate. The woman at the store even gave me detailed instructions on how to apply the paint to get the best results. I stared at her and wondered how long I had to listen to her filthy lies. I bit my tongue on telling her that I'd used that paint before and it was good paint, but her description of its super powers was ridiculously overrated.

AND the person who applied that wretched red paint did not tape, so there's little flecks of red paint on the ceiling and on the trim. Foul renovator! 

Oh... and one more thing. There is another room in my house painted red. They couldn't just do one.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Everyone and their Dog has a Dog

I first started noticing dog walkers when I lived about a block away from the river valley in Edmonton. If you sit by the window long enough, you'll start to notice a pattern in Edmonton. Once a year, there's this day at the end of winter and the beginning of spring (this day can occur quite randomly). It's the day where it's warm enough outside to NOT FREEZE YOUR FACE OFF. That's the day people who haven't walked their dogs all winter will get outside and walk their K9 friend. Then they keep on walking them until the corresponding day in fall where if you go outside you will FREEZE YOUR FACE OFF. The people who continue to walk their dog in winter are few, and they usually have a nicotine addiction.

Here on the Island, everyone has a dog. Today I walked past a car with this huge line of white stick figures indicating their family members. They had four dogs. So, if you sit in my living room and open the blinds, you will see a healthy parade of dogs go by. And it never gets SO COLD IT WILL FREEZE YOUR FACE OFF here, so there are plenty of pooches to approve of.

So, the other night, I was taking out compost or something and as I stepped onto my front porch and I saw this enormous coil of poop up the steps, just feet from my front door. And I thought that the dog walkers of this place had gone out of control. Seriously? Poop on my front step? Get a leash! Get a baggie! The deer around here aren't that much bigger than big dogs, so I guessed it might have been a deer, but on my front step? I was not happy. And that crap wasn't staying there.

I went to clean it up and BOOM! I was very apologetic to the dog owners of the area. It wasn't poop. It was the BIGGEST slug I'd ever seen in my life. It was really fat and in the dark, I couldn't tell it wasn't poop until I got too close to it to ever forget what I saw. Ew! I am not afraid of spiders. I actually sort of like them and before this incident the biggest slug I'd ever seen was on the road here. He was dark brown and really long. Actually, I mistook him for a branch. You know, part of a broken branch. But he wasn't on my step.

I went and got my husband. That's boy work if I ever saw it. He grabbed a hoe and was like, “Are you sure you want me to get rid of him? It probably took him forever to get up here.”

Just to be clear, all we were discussing was whether or not to get him off the porch and the answer was yes. Yes, please.

So, to those in Alberta who are at present freezing their faces off, remember that big creepy bugs don't live there.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Driving Myself Crazy

When I drove in Alberta, I'd call my vehicle my Hypothetical Argument Simulator. That was how I used to sort out my problems. I'd get in my vehicle, drive somewhere, and have a good conversation with myself about why I was ticked off, run through a collection of scenarios as to how to tell someone off, realize that no matter what I said I was still wrong, defuse myself and accept the situation.

When you drive in Edmonton, there are long straight stretches of nothing but stop lights. You don't have to think very hard when you drive, because there aren't many turns, the roads are wide, and since you're staring at a red light you have the time to think about whatever is bothering you.

Here, forget about all that. There are very few stop lights. You never get a second to even pause. You better like what's on your play list because you can't spare one finger to change the song. The roads are insanely curvy so you have to focus all the time. Sometimes, I feel like there's a driving instructor in the seat next to me. “You know how to turn your car, don't you?” he says. And I say, “I've had my driver's license for 15 years. I've probably done it twice.” And then we laugh and laugh, because the roads here are windier than a Mario Cart track. And so, yes, since I came from Edmonton, I can't claim to have driven on curves before.

So, the other problem is that if you go off the road for some reason, you'll die. I mean, you will die. Die. Death. The shoulders here maybe have enough room on them for half a car and then there is a wall of trees that goes along the sides of the road forever. You will die if you go off the road. You will hit a forest, total your car and that will be the end of it. When I got here, there were some sweet little wickets they put on the white line on the road by the lake. I saw them and I was like, “This is how I prove I can live here, by never ever grazing one.” Okay, so I didn't touch them, but the locals have completely decimated all of them. Sometimes people go so fast, they have a hard time staying on the road.

Those incredible trees also mean it's dark here – really dark here. The moon and the stars are shining, but you can only see a tiny sliver of sky above you. The trees are that dense. The sky is only available where the road cut away the trees. It's mostly black walls on both sides of you. Drivers use their brights here all the time. After driving somewhere at night, you honestly feel like you've been interrogated for espionage and they've finally agreed to let you have a glass of water. It's not just the cars in front of you either. The car riding your back bumper has their brights on too. But sometimes, when you're driving alone on the road, you make a turn or have to go down a hill and it feels like you are diving into a black hole. And I'm singing A-ha, Little Black Heart in my head, “But I've never felt darkness the way I feel it tonight.”

Just a post script, if you thought my mentioning a glass of water above was strange, it's because you can't get yourself a drink when you're driving. You wouldn't dare, even if your drink has a straw in it, because you're about to take a crazy curve.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Truth was in Me all Along

The truth is that I am not a Star Wars fan. I always believed I was because I got so ridiculously happy when I watched Empire Strikes Back. “My hands are dirty.” “My hands are dirty too.” The whole thing kills me. I am a grown woman and I'm entertained by an ugly green puppet that grunts wisdom and apparently makes things float. Go figure.

In 1999, I dead serious had a man ask me to accompany him to see Phantom Menace on opening night. I was completely romanced. Any of you who were there remember that the opening of that movie was a really big deal and going to see the latest Star Wars movie was downright exciting. And then, just like that, it wasn't. I won't go over why. You all know why. Needless to say none of the prequels rekindled my love for long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Then we have The Force Awakens. I only remember enjoying two things about that movie. One, Chewy. One of my dream careers is designing and making costumes like that. He looked so beautiful. And I liked the thirty seconds of Mark Hamill. I didn't like Rey or any other character they introduced. Ya know what I didn't like most of all? What happened afterwards. Rey is a girl protagonist, right? Such forward thinking, but not forward enough. No little boy is running around with Rey on his lunchbox. They have a patricidal maniac on the lunchboxes instead, because little boys don't actually want a girl on their lunchbox, even if she is the hero. Later, I was in a child psychiatrist's therapy room and saw a poster of Kylo Ren on the wall. I asked why they had that poster on the wall, when the main character featured was a murderer who killed his father. The reply was that a parent had brought it in and I could only think that was because that parent didn't want it in his own house.

Fast forward. I like Felicity Jones, so I was convinced to go see Rogue One, which I didn't enjoy either. Felicity is so beautiful and fun in other roles, but in this film it seemed like they did everything they could to make sure she had zero sparkle. I remember taking my eyes off the screen and looking at the walls of the theatre instead. They were ridgy. Then I started thinking about the ridges in human intestines and that was way more interesting than the movie.


When I saw the trailer for The Last Jedi, I was really disappointed. Patricide for Christmas two years ago, all the characters die last year, and from the trailer, it looked like matricide for Christmas this year. Get out your Yoda Christmas ornaments! I didn't go see it. I read the spoilers instead and I didn't even read all of them because they were really boring. I sort of stopped reading when I read that Luke dies.

Here's the thing. I love Luke. I love Mark Hamill. I will sit around and watch him do Star Wars promo on YouTube for hours and get a kick out of watching him on Muppet Show and laugh at him doing commentary on fan antics. My favourite is the guy in a Darth Vader helmet riding a unicycle, and playing bagpipes that light on fire. I even played Wing Commander and had fun doing it. Killing Luke makes me feel nothing but sad. I don't even care what the context is. I don't care if the new characters learn and grow and become more the people they are meant to be because he's out of the way. His was a story where he fought to save his Father and as a parent, I like that story better than one where any character kills his own father.

So, I saw the angry fans online who want Disney to strike Episode Eight from canon. And I went to read more about it. Then I read an angry fan of the film who said something like, “If you only like Empire Strikes Back, you're not a true Star Wars fan.” And I agreed with him. So, since there are nine movies and I only like one, I guess I can go watch Lord of the Rings. Where it's fun.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Greatest Thing... So Far

So far, the greatest thing about moving has been my new house. Now, you need to mentally walk with me as I explain to you that I spent my last few months in Edmonton prepping my house for sale, keeping it spotless for showings, selling it, keeping it tidy, and ultimately leaving. I'm a little shell shocked from the experience. Normally, my cleaning routine is this. I clean my house for one hour every day and if you come in off the street while I'm doing it, I'm not stopping for you. Chances are I'll hand you a wet sponge and inform you that my fridge doesn't wash itself (people call before they come over if you do this... just saying). Any other housework that falls outside of that hour is done by my army of maggots... I mean to say my kids. I just like to army yell at them. It makes them fierce, in a good way. It's make your momma proud time! But when I was doing all the house sale stuff, I couldn't get their help very often. They just don't clean anything well enough to give it that Pinterest farmhouse shine. So I did most of it myself. Actually, I'm still a little traumatized.

When I first got to my new house, I was very foggy-eyed like I was having a delayed reaction to being born. I didn't really know where I was and all I wanted was to cry and sleep. Now that I've been here for over a month, I understand the house I've got now a little better. First thing to note is that it's a little bigger than the old house. Second, is the thing that brings me unspeakable joy, is that it is actually easier to clean than the last house.

First, no one grooms themselves in the bathroom guests use. Since no one uses it, it's always clean. In my old house someone would ask to use the bathroom and I'd agree because anything else is pure insanity, but as the poor soul made their way to the bathroom, I'd yell desperate things at them like, “Don't open your eyes when you're in there!” Or, “Remember that I have a lot of sons and don't judge me too harshly!” Or, “It's okay with me if you clean up while you're in there!”

There's also only one common room in the new house. I like that too. Personally, I couldn't keep up with a family room and a rumpus room. Occasionally, I'd go down there, only to be greeted by Ritz crackers smooshed into the carpet and empty cups on their sides.

The other thing that easier to maintain is the new yard. Right now, it's yellow and dead. I hear that's the fashion. Summer on the island. Yellow, dead grass. Actually, I'm all for it. No mowing, but I have flowers. They look like red trumpets. The hummingbirds come drink from them.   

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Nasty in the Woodshed

Have any of you ever watched the movie Cold Comfort Farm? There's this crazy old bitty who lives in the top of the farm house who only ever says one thing about herself, that she saw something nasty in the woodshed. Later, Flora (our decluttering goddess) confronts her in the hallway. “Are you sure it was in the woodshed?” They then talk about whether the nasty thing happened in the tool shed or in the bicycle shed. I am sitting there going, who has so many bleeding sheds in their yard?

Now I have five.

And hilariously, the only one that has a clear cut purpose is the woodshed. There are four more that I don't know what they were used for or what I could use them for if I had a mind to do so. Not only that, but I am super confused about what anyone could have needed them for in the first place. I have a garage that has extra space in it. I also have a crawlspace that covers the entire square footage of my house. What do we need five sheds for?

The first shed is one of those little plastic houses that seems like it's two shakes off of being a kid's playhouse, but no... it's nowhere near fun enough and the ceiling is too high. Another one is sort of a tenty-canopy-like thing, but once again, it's not fun enough to dress up and have parties inside it. There's another one that has a loft and looks like it could have been, or could one day be, a tiny house (I'd sell this one, but it effectively blocks my only neighbours from seeing into my hot tub, and as an odd bonus it also stops us from seeing into theirs, so no). The last one, aside from the woodshed, is like a tiny gazebo, but once again, it's not large enough to be fun. My husband and I argue about what it could have been for. I think it was housing their garbage and recycling bins. He thinks they were using it to store surfboards or something fun. I think it's more than obvious that aside from the hot tub, no one is having any fun in my sheds. Regardless of our disagreement, he hung my hammock inside. It's the perfect size.

There's really only one logical explanation that makes sense to me. All five of them were used for storing wood!

My husband and I are on the tail end of an incredibly unwise acquisition of wood made by the previous owners. The sheds were all for wood. Wood here is super cheap compared to Alberta and the winters here are so mild that people can heat their homes with their wood fireplaces. And if all of them are for wood then don't you think that makes it all the more likely that something nasty really did happen in the woodshed?

I thought so too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Garage Garbage

“Have you ever noticed how there's like a one letter difference between the words Garage Sale and Garbage Sale? That's like the only joke mom's have and they can keep it for all I care.”

Okay, that's a Strongbad quote. But it's how I'm beginning this blog post. Back when I lived in Edmonton and I was emptying my house because of the move, I would line up trash bags against my back fence to be picked up. One time, I counted ten black garbage bags and four recycling bags. I felt pretty empowered. Getting rid of stuff always makes one feel sparkly and free.

However, life is different on the mainland, matey, and there won't be any lining up garbage bags here. Here, they only come pick up your trash once every two weeks and they weigh it and charge you based on weight. I have never seen so many No Dumping signs in my life. I also have not seen thrift stores crowded to the ceiling the way they are here. Zero organization, because there is just too much stuff. There are cushions. No one in Alberta would ever dream of purchasing a pillow at a thrift store. I'm not sure anyone would donate an old pillow to a thrift store either. They're super gross. Yet, here, rather than contribute the creepy old pillow to your bi-weekly weigh-in, you'd rather drop it off at a thrift store. There are walls of them. It's like Heap House over here.

I, for one, always disapproved of the amount of waste that left my house back in Edmonton. I always felt that it was wrong. Things shouldn't be packaged the way they are, so that our society is straddled with so much waste. For your entertainment, I am going to list the kind of waste that comes into my house that is hard to dispose of.

1. Kid's art/journal pages from school/finished tests/awards

This is unfair. Our kid does one thing and we have to hang onto it forever. I seriously have to open my eyes big, go through the immense pile the school sends home and then I have to recycle 98% of it. There's no where for it to go, except the recycle bin. Maybe there's room in there. And I feel like I've sawed off one of my arms because kids are kids for about 15 minutes and this is a picture my son has drawn of a Pokemon, but I don't know which one!

2. Toys

Every time I go into my kids' rooms, I come out with a Safeway bag full of broken toys. I don't even know where these things come from. I hate hamburgers from fast food chains, but I still suck down a burger on occasion and the toy in my kids' meals always sucks. Last time it was a Smurf, and actually, I am too ashamed to say what I did with it.

3. Party Supplies

This used to be a thing in Edmonton. I'd throw a party. I'd have cute paper napkins, paper plates, cups, tablecloth, pinata, wrappings off the candy from the pinata, bags the kids put their goodies from the pinata, a broken plastic baseball bat (because I didn't want to risk letting the kids use my aluminium bat), and so on. That will not be a problem here. I don't know anyone. Even if I wanted to throw a party and make the rafters ring (with the horrific beating of a pinata), I can't. I don't know anyone to invite and my kids have probably had enough fun beating stuff to last them.