Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Joke that Keeps on Giving

I did not make up this joke.

A guy walks up to a boloney sandwich truck and says, “I'd like to order a boloney sandwich shaped like it's got a bite taken out of it.”

The vendor says, “Yeah, shaped like it's got a bite taken out of it.” Wink. Wink.

“That's what I said, shaped like it's got a bite taken out of it.”

“Right, shaped like it's got a bite taken out of it.” Wink. Wink.

It goes on like that. I told this joke to my kids a few times and probably even showed them the cartoon somewhere on homestarrunner.com, and then one day it stopped being stupid for the sake of stupid and started being AWESOME.

Sometimes when you're a mom, things happen at the dinner table... unspeakable things. Things no one wants to know. Things you wouldn't rehearse to another human being simply because reliving the horror would be like letting your tiny army win, or losing those precious seconds of your life that it would take you to explain what really happened when there is simply... no right answer. But today, I'm going to take you into the dragon's den and explain the sort of thing that goes on at the dinner table.

Let's say it's been a tough day and you decide that you're going to make hamburgers for your kids as a bit of a treat. You cook them on the grill and when they are almost finished, you put a slice of cheese on all of them but two. When you present these all done up with lettuce and ketchup on the table, each kid takes one. One of the kids who hates cheese gets one of the burgers that didn't have cheese and the other one was accidentally scooped up by a cheese loving child. Nobody realizes the mix-up until it is too take. There is only one cheeseless hamburger and it has a bite taken out of it. The child who wants that cheeseless burger is on the verge of losing his fricken mind and sadly, you only have one burger for each person at the table.

To solve this, maybe you could scrape the cheese off the burger this kid was given. Maybe they'll take it, or maybe they won't because they think they can still taste the cheese. Maybe you could get all industrious and fry up another patty. Maybe the kid will cry for an hour no matter what you do. Or maybe, just maybe, you could take that imperfect cheeseless hamburger, put it on the kid's plate, smile and say, “It's shaped like it has a bite taken out of it!”

What if, miraculously, that kid smiles, laughs, and eats that hamburger despite the mistake? That, my friends, is what I mean by AWESOME. The kid doesn't cry and I don't get an earache while I remake dinner. That is what dreams are made out of.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Warm Stair

The phenomenon I am referring to is when you walk down (or up) your carpeted stairs and one of steps is warm on the bottom of your foot. It happens because my cat, Storm, likes to stretch out his whole body on one of the stairs and then he gets spooked and moves a few seconds before I start climbing the staircase, thus leaving a warm stair.

Sometimes I feel bad for my little Storm, fearing that he's not really happy. He's obviously a wild creature. He's a medium hair and quite large, even though he isn't yet two years old. He has a ruff and camouflage markings. He would blend into the forest and prowl and pounce, but instead... he lives with me and he must sit on a cushion and watch the forest from the comfort of the cushion. He isn't allowed to go outside. He dreams about birds, but isn't allowed to chase them.

This way, I save on worm medication. Actually, that's one of my life goals. Not to need worm medicine. So far, so good!

But I digress.

Sometimes Storm is still waiting on the stairs as I approach and he has this look on his face like he's surprised to see me there. It sort of reminds me of when you saw a boy loitering outside your house and then he pretends he's surprised to see you when you come out of your own house. “Fancy meeting you here!” Or when you literally bump into a boy you've been trying to bump into around that particular corner. “Eek, he touched me!” Even though from the boy's perspective, it was a hundred percent accidental. I think Storm has those moments of sudden joy when I'm around with his tiny feline heart beating wildly. Cats particularly like their contact to seem accidental.

He's a sweet boy. He likes to chase bugs that somehow get into the house. I'll see an ant (BTW ants are enormous here), Storm is chasing it and batting it back and forth. He seems engaged and I think he's finally going to start earning his keep, when suddenly, he loses interest completely and wanders off to loll about on the stairs. The ant walks away like he's so evolved he can let an attack like that slide.

And I am not egocentric enough to believe that my cat has a more complex relationship with me than that ant. He was probably also thrilled when he saw the ant scuttle across the checked floor. Bat, pat, bat with his paw and then the mood left him and he'd rather sleep or snooze or snore. It's the same for me. I pet him and rub behind his ears, and then boom, he's bored and he goes to the foot of the bed to put some space between us. He'll give me a nice slow blink, like he loves me, but prefers it if I don't touch him.

He also likes to stretch out on the stairs at night in the dark. That's when I'm the ant. He's gonna catch me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Whatever I Want

When I was a kid and I couldn't find something, I always thought my mom was sitting on it. I'd insist that the thing I wanted was under her butt and make her get up. When it wasn't there and she sat down again, I still insisted that she was sitting on it and make her get up again. This wasn't something I did when I was a little tiny baby either. I have memories of looking for things when I was a teenager and wanting to ask her to move because I still thought the remote control/my hair accessory/my book or whatever was under her butt.

I have had this theory for years that anything I want is within reach... like literally. I want a pen, I should be able to reach in some direction and pick one up. This has been true a shocking number of times, especially in my bedroom. I want an elastic for my hair? It's right there. The other day, I was trying to have a nap and the sunlight in my room was unbearable. So, using my theory, I started rooting around on my headboard (that is more like a bookshelf than your average headboard) and I found something. It was part of a robot Halloween costume I had made for one of my kids. It was a hat. It was very long, and went right over my eyes without squashing my nose. Hip hip hooray for home made costumes.

Which reminds me, almost this whole winter, whenever I wanted a hat, the only hat I could find was a toque I had sewn six eyes onto. It was the crowning piece of a spider costume. And every time I needed a hat, that was the one I could find. So, one day I was driving to my hubby's work and if you drive around in Edmonton, you know finding parking is like finding the Lost City of Atlantis. So, I found something close according to Google maps and parked. Then I paid for parking, realized I was in the wrong car park and had to walk about a block over to my hubby's work. It was windy and coldish, and I knew I would get an earache if I didn't put on a hat, so I crawled through my van looking for something and the only thing I could find was that six eyed spider hat. Originally, I was going to sew eight eyes on it when my hubby said that the kid wearing it already had two eyes so I only had to do six. That made me feel so much better when I had to ring a doorbell at his work and explain myself to someone I'd never met before who knew EXACTLY WHO I WAS.

So, now that I'm all grown up and my kids come up to me and they think I'm sitting on the remote control (I am) or that I have snacks in my hoodie pocket (I do) and I'm taking a nap or picking them up from school wearing their part of their Halloween costume. I also think someone is sitting on the thing I want. It's my cat and yes he is sitting on my phone. It's cause it's warm.

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.