Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Tree

It's a cold truth to face, but sometimes even the trustiest of pals can turn on a person. 

For instance, my longtime friend and ally, Internet Shopping, really fucked me this year. At Christmastime. Ouch. What did I ever do to you to deserve this, Internet Shopping? Couldn't we have just hugged it out instead?

Commence panicked last-minute double-shopping insanity. 

But the bright side of my orders not arriving in time is that I'm already well on my way to being done my shopping for next Christmas. Handy, right? Maybe I can wrap it up by April or so and make people think I'm a complete jackass - people just love it when you rub it in that you're way more psychotic about the holidays than they are. *cough, cough, Martha Stewart*

And on that note, I'd like to take a moment to gloat that I'm done my shopping for the future Mrs. Small Fry's** first Christmas as part of the family:

That's, like, decades ahead of schedule - eat my dust, Martha.

(**Notice that I'm waiting until the poor gal is actually married in before I let on just what she's getting herself into, 'cause you can bet that boy is karmically assured to wind up with kids just like himself.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Be Good for Goodness Sake!

During a recent bout of insomnia, I got the good idea to bake gingerbread men. Mostly I wanted to have a cookie-decorating party, but also - what else is there to do at three o'clock in the morning? And then I got the even better idea to poke a skewer through the gingerbrains of a dozen of those little critters and string them with a bit of ribbon so I could hang them on our Christmas tree.

Which I hadn't put up yet. Dang. So I also did that. But really - what else is there to do at five o'clock in the morning?

By the time I had the furniture rearranged and the tree decorated and the place tidied up again, it wasn't so early anymore. Small Fry came downstairs. I set down my seventeenth cup of coffee of the day and assumed a defensive crouch.

7:53am: Small Fry gasps and runs over to stand, starry-eyed, in front of the tree. A misguided "Oh, he's so sweet! I should get the camera" synapse fires in my brain.

7:53:10am: I reach up my nose with an ornament hook and rip that idiotic neuron out at the roots.

7:53:20am: Small Fry throws his arms open and exclaims, "I love it!" ... and leaves the tree completely alone.

No word of a lie. He didn't touch it at all. Not with a dinosaur, not with his eyeballs, not even with his nipples. What a difference from last year! This year's tree didn't require one iota of parental management.

Um, sorry, camera-neuron. Guess that was a little rash of me.

But then tonight I looked over and saw this:

 and this:

and this:

And yes, I put up a fake tree this year, but that's not the point so quit judging me. The point is, those are tooth marks. Small Fry has been nibbling on my sweet little defenseless gingerbabies in situ, like so many endangered albatross chicks or something. 

I no longer have a collection of adorable, homemade keepsake ornaments: I am the proprietor of a retirement community for gingerbread amputees. Not to mention, the mother of a rather devious Christmas-tree-worshipping pagan with possible cannibalistic tendencies. *sigh* Merry Christmas to me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Liquefaction

Dear Santa,

I have been a moderately decent human this year. Please bring me the willpower to lose ten pounds before Christmas.

Thanks,
Frecklepelt


Dear Frecklepelt,

My records indicate that you have in fact achieved your stated level of mediocrity over the past year. Thank you for your honesty, anyways. 

Unfortunately, willpower is on back order until the year 3000. In lieu of your requested item, enclosed is a really wicked stomach flu which may help you achieve your goal.

Sincerely,
Santa

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tenderfoot

Self, this is probably going to be hard to hear, but it needs to be said. I am your friend and I care about you, so please hear me out.

Self, you need to stop wearing your old work boots with your slacks at work.

I know, I know, you love your old work boots, and they're sooo comfy and your feet are soooo far away that, really, it's nothing but another unnecessary inconvenience in your life, but it's just the way it is.

No. No, please don't - please don't cry. I hate it when you cry. Well, yes, you do cry an awful lot, but that doesn't mean that I hate you, it just means that I frequently feel confused and agitated when I'm around you.

No, we're talking about your issues today. Specifically, your poor fashion sense. Quit changing the subject.

Now that is complete horse puckey, what on earth could possibly happen to your toes while sitting at your computer that would necessitate wearing CSA approved footwear? And don't you spend, like, the GDP of a small nation on pedicures every year? Why not show off those foxy tootsies a little?

Self, I hear what you're saying, but you really need to listen to me. Maybe it was endearing at one point in time back when you were a real biologist, but now... well, now it's just weird. You work at a desk. You wear mascara every day. Why can't you just change into one of the forty pairs of shoes you have hiding in your office?

Oh. Sorry. I didn't realize he didn't know you owned that many shoes. What do you do, buy them and smuggle them to work in your backpack?

Huh. Well, I guess that's one way to go about it.

But back to the boots. They don't even match with anything. No, it's not part of their charm, it's part of their, like, not-charm. They are the Anticharm. Plus, they smell. Oh yes they do! I dare you to smell them. Smell them! See? I told you so.

So are you with me now? Thaaaat's a good girl. Step away from the boots. It's okay, they've had a good life and they're going to a better place now. Sure, we can bury them in the back yard, sweetie, just as soon as the soil thaws a bit in the spring. We'll have a little memorial service, it'll be real nice. No, they'll be alright to sit over winter - I doubt they could get much stinkier.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

S.H.*.T.

I was telling a group of work girlfriends over the weekend about this one time I accidentally mis-texted a wildly inappropriate message that was intended for my mom to a male coworker whose name happens to be alphabetically adjacent to hers on my recipient list... aaaand who also happens to be my boss. (What can I say - I've got fat thumbs and slow reflexes).

Most of the ladies laughed.

One of the ladies leaned forward, pointed at me and in the Voice of Eternal Damnation said, 
“I am so signing you up for Sexual Harassment Awareness Training.”

I totally S.H.A.T.

I can only assume that this means I'll be seeking alternate employment in the near future. Dear soon-to-be ex-coworkers: it's been nice knowing you. I would apologize for all those off-colour jokes/texts/emails over the years, but I'm not actually sorry - it's just how I roll. Maybe if you're not feeling too terribly victimized by my perverse sense of humour you could give me a call sometime. We could make out. Er, hang out.

(Oh, what the hell. I meant make out.)

To kick my job search off on the right foot, I'd like to use my blog as a forum for supplementing my formal resume (bo-ring!) with a list of some of my many "alternate" - yet highly transferable! - skillz:

- created well-received employee initiatives
- conflict resolution experience
workplace safety training
- emergency preparedness planning background
- developed innovative terminology
- accomplished cook and baker
- um ... plant sitting expertise ...
- ... possesses high degree of hepatic fortitude
- really awesome hair ... and, uh ...
- hardly steals the covers at all.

If you happen to know anyone who's willing to pay top dollar for such broad-ranging talent, hook me up. Preference will be given to candidates who have completed Sexual Harassment Acceptance Training, or who have demonstrably comparable experience.
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Plus, I'll Know Which Plants to Eat

People are all about the zombie apocalypse these days. I hardly know anyone who doesn't secretly believe they've got the ultimate in zompocalypse planning all worked out. Even weirder is that everyone is so frigging cagey about their plan, as if it's actually going to be implemented and they don't want anyone else getting in on their gig. ("Dammit, Greg, this was the office tower I picked out special for me and my flamethrower - what the hell are you doing here?")

Seriously. It's ridiculous. People don't even adequately plan for feasible eventualities like, say, retirement, or inclement weather conditions. Why the zombie apocalypse of all things?

Not to mention that their cherished zompocalypse plans invariably reveal gross tactical errors: castle defense scenarios; heading to the Arctic (it's not exactly hospitable for you there, either); not having a botanist on their team.

Me? I'm just going about my life as normal, contributing to my RRSP and carrying an umbrella. Truth be told, if the unthinkable ever comes to pass, I'll actually be looking forward to finally meeting someone who wants me for my brains.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mitten String

It's been a beautiful fall here in Cowtown this year - so beautiful that we didn't have to crack the Rubbermaid of winter gear until last week.

In the past seven days, Medium Fry has already lost the two pairs of mittens remaining from the dozen or so we procured for her last winter.

"Maybe," she says, "you should put them on a string."

I like the part where she implies it's my fault because I haven't properly secured the mittens.

Know what, sweetie? To hell with a string. What we really need here is some sort of bungee cord, so if you even try to lose a mitten it comes back and smacks you upside the head. Now that would reinforce the principle.

Actually, I don't know who invented bungee cords, but after having been around for over a century don't you think they could use a little capacity upgrade? Consider the progression of the telephone - twenty years ago portable technology meant yelling into a four thousand dollar brick. Today, the iPhone is smarter than most people I know. But bungee cords? I'm not saying they're dumb, exactly, but they certainly haven't gotten "smart" in the sense that phones have - same elastic cord, same metal hooks, year after year after year. And sure, they hold your lunch box on your quad or keep your sleeping bag rolled just fine, but when it comes to any advanced parenting applications the traditional bungee cord falls sadly short.

What we need is a smart bungee - one that senses the issue at hand, then reliably calculates and enacts the desired parental response. The potential applications are limitless - The Mitten Bungee. The House Keys Bungee. The "you were wearing your glasses on your own face, where in hell could they possibly have gone?" Bungee.

And, at the pinnacle of bungee evolution, The Homework Bungee. The Homework Bungee would not only smack the absentminded child upside the head if ever s/he was about to misplace the homework, but would also ward off all manner of threats to the safe completion and submission of the homework, including (but not limited to):

- put the homework in the backpack*;
- zip up the backpack*;
- fend off hungry dogs;
- remind the child seventeen times to do the homework;
- find the kid some paper;
- find the kid a pencil;
- find the kid a calculator;
- find the kid a goddam full-size eraser;
- find the mom some patience**;
- sop up purple Kool-Aid spills*;
- find the mom some Advil;
- remind the mom what the fuck an integer is;
- check the homework;
- sign the homework;
- put the homework back in the backpack*;
- zip up the backpack*;
- fend off hungry dogs;
- remind the child seventeen times to hand in the homework*;
- repeat. Daily.

Come one, parents. You can't tell me you wouldn't willingly trample someone at Target on Black Friday if the Homework Bungee went on sale.

* Asterisks denote items for which a head smack is warranted. 
** Yep, I get one, too, for losing my shit^^^ over math homework. 
^^^ But seriously - I already passed Grade Six, why am I being punished?*
* Ow. Oh, I get it. Bad attitude.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mighty Neighbourly

My neighbours asked me to watch their baby so Mr. Neighbour could take Mrs. Neighbour out for her [undisclosed]th birthday - their first date night since Neighbour Baby was born.

Oh. My. Gawd. It's so cute to see couples who actually like each other! I said yes.

Thursday night I put on my most spit-up friendly outfit, tucked my laptop under my arm, and headed across the lawn to my first babysitting job in nigh on fifteen years.

Huh. New job. Fifteen years. Small human life. Man, that's... that's kindof intimidating... I knocked on the door.

Mr. Neighbour said, "Hello."

I said, "I brought my homework," and sortof flailed my laptop at him.

Mr. Neighbour gave me an odd look, conducted a brief risk assessment, then invited me in anyway. "Thanks so much for coming over, we really appreciate it."

I felt... strangely compelled to state my credentials. "Both my kids are still alive."

Somehow, in the seven metres from my door to the Neighbourses, I had regressed from being a competent, decidedly grown-up, thirty-something woman who had just finished feeding and bathing and tucking in her own two children, to a timid, tongue-tied, tit of a teenager.

Sensing a possible upside to the situation, I looked down.

Dang. Couldn't I have at least gotten my old body back while we were regressing my shit? Worst of both worlds.

The Neighbourses toured me around the house, demonstrating how to warm bottles and latch baby gates; describing Neighbour Baby's routine; setting up monitors in case he cried. All very standard items, yet somehow the spiel only succeeded in shoving me further back down my personal evolutionary progression:

"Then you test it on the inside of your elbow." ...17...
"Here's a sanitized soother in case you drop the other one." ...16...
"I'll put it right by the couch so you're sure to hear him." ...15...

The final blow came as they were walking out the door: "Help yourself to some snacks!"

Boom. Rock bottom. 

Oh my gawd, I thought. I feel twelve years old. This is terrifying. What am I going to do if that kid actually wakes up?

Okay. Ridiculous. You're thirty-three. You've done this before. For Pete's sake, they just showed you how to work the baby gate that you gave to them after Small Fry outsmarted it. 

Yep. You're right. I'm just feeling like this because I'm associating a new babysitting job with the way I used to feel with all my new babysitting jobs. This is all in my head. Maybe.

Hmm, I wonder what else is left over in my head from when I used to do lots of babysitting? I'll bet some snacks would help you remember. Oh yeah, that's right. You loooooove snacks. Too bad I don't have a boyfriend I could call to come over... hey, let's see if there's anything on TV that I'm not allowed to watch at home...

Just as I was getting settled in with some solid PG-13 viewing and all seven varieties of available snack food, Neighbour Baby woke up. 

Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Shit. Okay, think. Think. What should I do now? I can't just ignore him for four hours until his parents come home... I can't call DH, 'cause then he'd want a cut of the snacks... I can't call the Neighbourses because then they'd know that I don't know what I'm doing and I really need this job so I can buy a new t-shirt for that party tomorrow night. Okay, that settles it. I'm just going to have to go in there and deal with Neighbour Baby by myself.

I went in.

I looked at Neighbour Baby. He looked at me. I said, "Luke, I am not your father." He vocalized his lack of amusement. I picked him up. He went totally berserkers. And then - ah. Suddenly, all my trepidation was washed away in a surge of oxytocin and muscle memory, and I was once again the world champion baby bouncer and shusher I had become in real time.

Five minutes later, Neighbour Baby was asleep again. Success.

Yet another still-alive child to add to my babysitting resume. I'm going to need a raise.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Cozmo Guide to Coffee

Coffee. Everybody's drinking it, but it seems like no one's really talking about what it can do to a gal. You can't get enough of the smell of it; the taste of it; the heat of it spreading through your body until the caffeine hits your bloodstream and suddenly - ooohhhhhh yeaahhhhhh. Your heart races, your eyes roll back in unabashed pleasure, and you're pretty sure you're making one hell of a C-face but damned if you can stop yourself now! 

We asked our readers for your deepest, most top-secret fears about coffee, caffeine, and that crazy C-face we all love to hate, and you delivered! Here, Cozmo dishes - uncensored! - on everything you wanted to know about coffee but were afraid to ask.

* * *

Dear Cozmo,
The first time I had coffee with my new boyfriend, he totally LOLed at my C-face! He says that it was just that he had never seen such a "cute" C-face and it took him by surprise how much it looked like I was enjoying our coffee. He is the sort of guy who laughs a lot, but now I'm super embarrassed about it! I'm afraid to drink coffee with him anymore. Please help me get my mojo (and caffeine!) back! 
~Cute C Pie, Age 24~

Dear Cute C,
If you looked like you were really enjoying yourself, that probably means you were - and who wouldn't be, drinking coffee with a fun-loving dude like your BF? He's likely telling the truth - that he was really digging your obvious enjoyment of the coffee. So relax. It's no fun having all your coffee in the dark! Besides, his C-face is probably just as adorkable - relish these intimate moments together!

Dear Cozmo,
I've had quite a bit of coffee in my life, but I don't think I've ever made a C-face. Is there something wrong with me?
~C-Minus, Age 19~

Dear C-Minus,
Everyone is capable of having a C-face - you can't help it when it's that good! - and rest assured you will know a C-face when it happens. Often, not having achieved a C-face is a function of just not having experimented enough with drinking coffee. First off, make sure you're not drinking decaf (taking the C out of coffee since, like, forever!). Second, there are countless ways to enjoy coffee - try yours sweet or strong; fine or coarse grind; morning or night; every which way until you find the combo or combos that work best for you. And third, have coffee every day - even several times a day! You can never have too much coffee. We're certain that it won't be long until you experience your first C-face, and we're positive you'll enjoy yourself having all that coffee along the way!

Dear Cozmo,
I'm only able to get my C-face on when we're perking it and my BF always wants instant! I love having coffee with him however we do it, but it just doesn't seem fair that he gets a C-face every time while I'm left wanting more. How can I convince him to put a little more time and effort into our daily grind?
~Percolatin' Maiden, Age 22~

Dear Percolatin',
It's easy for your guy to achieve his C-face, but it sounds like he's not feeling any real incentive to wait for your pot to boil. If he's not willing to invest a little extra effort to ensure his lady love is satisfied, what else is he taking for granted in your relationship? Have a heart-to-heart to him about this, but go into it knowing that you can have excellent coffee by yourself, too, and be 100% in charge of creating your own C-face instead of relying on some inconsiderate fella. If he's unwilling to change, ditch him and treat yourself to some state-of-the-art equipment to help you get the quality coffee you deserve.

Dear Cozmo,
Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for coffee, or I don't have enough time for it. I've heard that some people take "wake up pills" to get their C-face on. I'm considering trying it - what do you think?
~Impatient, Age 20~ 

Dear Impatient,
Experiencing a C-face is a worthwhile destination, but it's only one stop along what should also be a pleasurable journey. From grinding the beans to plunging the French press to melting the sugar lumps into a mug of hot, creamy goodness, coffee is a sensual cornucopia that shouldn't be rushed. Sure, "wake-ups" might ultimately land you a C-face, but it will inevitably pale in comparison with the real deal. Make time in your schedule for some quality coffee. You're worth it!

~Cozmo~

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Liver of Steel

I have a tendency to over-think things. As a result, my decision tree probably looks more like a decision heavily-browsed-riparian-shrub: where other people might have a 'yes' branch and a 'no' branch, I have countless numbers of 'maybes' and 'yes, buts' and 'if I only had a little more information to work withs'... all of which conclusions I tend to arrive at simultaneously, culminating in endless mental gridlock.

On my more euphemistic days, I prefer to think of it as quantum superdecisioning. Sounds more like a superpower that way.

Whitewashed flaws aside, I do happen to be blessed with a great many superpowers. Not all of them are fit for publication in a family-friendly blog such as this, but I can tell you that one of my personal favourites - I used it just today! - is that I don't get hangovers. Ever.

And so, in absence of any perceivable disincentive, the decision whether to imbibe is one of the few I can reliably make in life without an awful lot of hand-wringing or second-guessing. In fact, my decision shrub for whether or not to drink is more like a decision... stick. With 'yes' being the foregone conclusion.

And there might not even have been a question.

Here's a recent example:

"Ooo, I'm so excited about this party, I'll grab a glass of this nice chardonnay and mingle a bit."
"M'mm, that first glass went down pretty easy. Better grab another just to be sociable."
"Oh my goodness, what a delightful time for a refill!"
"You know what this cheese would go well with..."
"Shit, my glass got all empty again."
"Now onto the reds!"
"Don't mind if I do!"
"I love you, man!"
"More = YES."
"YES = YES."
"Paaaaartay!"
"WOOOO HOOOOOO!"

I lost track after the first twelve glasses or so, but you can see how the Decision Stick works: the fact that wine was present in the vicinity functioned as an implicit question, to which the answer was, invariably, 'yes'.  

Okay, so it's a bit of a blunt stick, but what the heck.

DH gave my Decision Stick a try at the wine party we hosted last night, and his trajectory more or less paralleled mine throughout the evening (see above). Unfortunately, the results of his experiment seem to indicate that he doesn't appear to possess quite the same degree of hepatic fortitude as myself.

But don't worry - I was able to force the bathroom door open wide enough to get a blanket more or less on top of him and check his pulse every couple of hours throughout the night. I'm sure he'll be back to normal in a couple of days.

Friday, September 23, 2011

HazelNut

I always used to say to my ex-husband, "I didn't marry your mother!"

It was one of the biggest sources of friction in our relationship: I am a delightful, sensible person, while she is an overbearing, meddling lunatic. Who eats fish heads. (Not even kidding.)

In some sort of horrible cosmic comedy, the fact that I didn't marry her not only had no bearing whatsoever on her decorum for the duration of my ill-fated first marriage, but it also meant that I couldn't divorce her, either. Somehow, in her mentally-unstable fish head-eating haze, she's construed the fact that she and I are not divorced to mean that we must be good buddies, from which it (il)logically follows that she should phone me seventeen times a week to complain about her boss and ask whether Medium Fry needs a new jacket because she just saw some on clearance at Wal-Mart.

My ex phoned me this week to tell me his mother had phoned him to complain that I never answer the phone or return her messages when she calls.

First of all - she tattled on me? And secondly, what the hell did she think he was going to be able to do about it? The moron can't even hold down a cell phone account, I'm not about to start taking his advice. Thirdly, the kid doesn't need some shitty discount Wal-Mart jacket! I buy her nice jackets! What is with that woman and her Wal-Mart jackets?!

*pant, pant*

But I didn't say any of those things. You know why? Because I am a delightful, sensible person. So I put on my most thoroughly delightful saccharine-yet-terrifying-because-it-is-only-thinly-veiling-my-actual-rage voice (with which I assure you he is very familiar) and made an exceedingly sensible point, namely:

"Ohhhh, I see. So how many times a day would you like to converse with my parents? I'm sure I could arrange something..."

... ... (Have patience. It always takes him a while to process.) ... ...

... "Oh. Yeah. Uh, I guess it is kinda weird that she calls you so much. Maybe I'll tell her she should stop phoning you."

"I doubt she's going to be able to go cold turkey after all these years."

"Yeah, you're probably right. So how much can she call you?"

"I think a couple times a month is about the maximum I should reasonably be expected to handle politely."

"Okay, I'll tell her. Oh, hey, by the way, I've been having trouble with my cell phone..."

"You mean it got cut off again?"

... ... (processing... ) ... ...

"Um... yeah. So don't call me on it."

"Roger that."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It Ain't for Sissies

At first, the signs were subtle. If you weren't paying attention you wouldn't even notice them.

Then one day you walk out of the liquor store and think, Gee, that guy didn't even ask to see my ID when I bought this.

In fact, you realize that you can't think of the last time anyone asked for your ID.

Or, for that matter, your phone number.

Oh my gawd, you think. How long has this been going on? How far gone am I?

Maybe it was just the lighting. Yeah, the lighting. The lighting in that place was total shit.

You rush home and scrutinize yourself in a magnifying mirror. You discover what appears to be - although the sighting has not been confirmed - something resembling a line on your forehead. A permanent line.

Although it could have just been the lighting in your bathroom. The lighting in your bathroom is total shit.

Just to be safe, you make an emergency appointment with your hairdresser to get some side bangs.

But by the time it reaches this point, no amount of side bangs can help you. The signs start coming hard and fast, and all of them are pointing to one thing: Old. Here are some handy ways to know if you've arrived at Old:

- The pimply young grocery store clerk calls you "ma'am".
- Actually, everyone does.
- It takes you two months to fully recover from an all-nighter.
- "Now why did I come upstairs...?"
- You're in a long-distance relationship with your breasts.
- Your idea of a good time is a glass of red and a nap.
- It requires conscious effort to refrain from buying purple clothing.
- Your tweezing schedule has begun to interfere with your social life.
- You could swear that chocolate bars used to be way bigger.
- If someone would just get you some fucking coffee right now, no one would have to get hurt.
- Mascara has changed in your estimation from special-occasion accent to indispensable crutch.
- Someone of the opposite sex compliments your appearance and you become faint with gratitude.
- You used to be free to flirt with abandon, but now you're pretty sure you're going to be arrested for the dirty joke you just told that handsome young fellow.
- And, finally:


Frankly, Old is a scary place, and I'd like some company - if any of the above sound familiar, give me a shout. I'm thinking we could start a support group.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Ol' Hydraulic Frolic

Hey, did you hear about that French fellow who had to pay damages to his wife for not having sex with her for "a period of several years"?

I have to admit I'm appalled at the injustice of it. No, no, not that someone saw fit to attempt to legislate someone else's sex life - what really knots my knickers is that Monsieur B. failed to comply with Unspoken Spousal Agreement Number 6, a.k.a. the Proper Quantity and Type of Sex Agreement, as follows:

6 With respect to the Proper Quantity and Type of Sex to be entertained in the marriage:
 6.1 The spouses shall participate in some quantity of sex;
    6.1.1 at least some, and preferably all, of which shall occur with the marital partner;
    6.1.2 the spouses' fantasy lives notwithstanding;
    6.1.3 chance encounters with George Clooney also notwithstanding.
 6.2 The quantity of sex to be allotted within the marriage shall be mutually disagreeable to both parties;
    6.2.1 the sex shall be distributed spatially such that it occurs in a non-random manner;
    6.2.2 the sex shall be distributed temporally such that it occurs in a non-random manner.
 6.3 The type of sex to be allotted within the marriage shall also be mutually disagreeable to both parties;
    6.3.1 the sex shall be enacted in a non-random fashion.
 6.4 The disagreeable nature of the sex lives of the spouses shall be trotted out regularly;
    6.4.1 in any and all arguments longer than 10 seconds in duration;
    6.4.2 in moments of pique, as seen fit by the parties; and
    6.4.3 whenever drinking with friends.

So you see, Monsieur B. was clearly acting in violation of clauses 6.1 through 6.3, and one may infer 6.4 as well, although this is not essential to the case.

I'm an advocate of alternative sentencing in these types of rulings, so I would be very interested to know how exactly the judge assigned a dollar figure to the judgement. Perhaps Madame B. presented receipts for any "alternate means" she was forced to employ?

Although, even at cost plus 10% over several years, it hardly seems possible that one woman could burn through that many thousands of dollars' worth of hardware... she must have been awarded a battery stipend as well. Plus maybe a wee "pain and suffering" amount for any carpal tunnel incurred. Then multiply the lot by Madame B.'s subjective Hotness Factor - as determined solely at the discretion of the judge - and you've got yourself a quality alternative sentence.

I applaud you, crazy French judge.

Coincidentally, I predict a 6oo% increase in job security for positions within the French legal system as a result of this precedent-setting/ floodgate-opening case.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Damn You, Flynn!

I used to think the most dangerous place to leave toy cars would be on the stairs. Now that I have children of my own, I realize that it's actually the bathtub.

You can always trust kids to one-up you like that.

This leads me to a related conclusion at which I also couldn't have arrived without having been a parent. Be brave, this is gonna hurt a little: your kids are smarter than you.

Not just statistically smarter, or better at texting, or whatever it is you routinely tell yourself to help yourself sleep at night, but actually smarter. Sure sure, you can tie your own shoes and snicker at the dirty jokes in the Pixar films that are still going way over their little heads, but otherwise they are floating like butterflies and stinging like bees while you are basically standing around scratching your ass. Intellectually speaking, anyways.

Now to be fair, they have a lot less going on than you do - no work, no responsibilities - but all this means is that they are able to devote 100% of their formidable processing powers to a) obtaining junk food; b) shedding whatever work or responsibilities they are handed; and/or c) formulating "non-linear interpretations" of rules.

Cases in point:

a) We recently saw twin eight-year-old boys at Superstore get the old "One treat, do you hear me? ONE!" from Mom, then - having made artful use of Dad's inattention during the remainder of the shopping trip - waltz out of the store a half-hour later with one of them cradling a family-sized chocolate bar and the other a bag of marshmallows. (Pwned!)

b) My girlfriend finally hit on a potty training incentive that worked: every time her daughter used the potty, she would get a sticker. When she earned ten stickers, she got a trip to the store to pick out one treat, whatever she wanted. Once at the store, she looked her mother straight in the eye and requested a roll of stickers. (PWNED!!)

c) Small Fry. All the time. *sigh* pwned.

And if the three-year-old is running laps around my best efforts I'm thinking I'll probably need to retain a lawyer before Medium Fry hits her teen years, to help me through curfew negotiations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We Didn't Forget Her, We Just Miscounted

Today marked an important milestone in DHs and my parenting career together.

It's difficult to convey in English, but the full translation is something along the lines of "my ex-husband bailed at the last minute on his summer plans with Medium Fry which left us in the lurch because DH started back at work today after his holidays and Small Fry's regular sitter is away on holidays and his interim sitter only had room for one child and my desk isn't really large enough to conceal an entire 11-year-old underneath it for the day..."

... or, "we left the kid at home alone today" for short.

Now, Medium Fry has been doing the latch key thing for ages already, but an hour here and there is significantly different than a whoooooole day home alone. And while she's quite an exceptional child, it's still a well-known scientifish fact that you can't grow pubic hairs and brain cells at the same time, so her decision-making skills of late frequently leave something to be desired.

Just to be safe, we made some ground rules:

- Keep the doors locked.
- Don't answer the phone.
- No fires, serious accidents, or kissing boys.
- If you are frightened, injured, or considering kissing boys, call me.
- If you are TERRIFIED, MORTALLY WOUNDED, or ON FIRE, call 9-1-1.
- If you are itchy, gassy, hungry, stinky, thirsty, whiny or bored, figure things out for yourself.

Truthfully, I felt pretty good about the whole situation. She's old enough to take a babysitting course and care for other children, so surely she's capable of hanging out by herself for a few hours. But just to quell that tiny niggling anxiety inside me, I decided to ask around the office this morning to suss out what other local parents of similarly-aged children are doing.

Turns out the first few people I talked to haven't actually let their children out of the womb yet, let alone left them home alone for a day. One fellow implied that he loves his children more than I love mine; another flat-out stated as much.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Today's Special: Raging Inferno of Self-Doubt and Apprehension, with a generous side order of Unsavoury Public Opinion, tossed in our own house-made Trepidation sauce.

I ordered a double C&C (caffeine and cortisol) to wash it down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Got a New Girl Now

The first time I heard her dulcet voice I was mesmerized. Sultry, sexy... and so informative. Now this, I thought, was a sound I could get used to hearing every morning, if you know what I mean.

It was so sweet the way she would gently remind me which station was coming up next - she knows how absent-minded I can be in the mornings! - and I really admired her patience with those buffoons who always seem to be blocking doors with their backpacks somehow. If not for her, I just didn't know how the world would run on time! What a voice. What a gal.

*sigh* Those were the days.

Then, I don't know. Things just started to... to change between us. I mean, why would someone consistently go out of their way to wake everyone up every five seconds to let you know that you were at one station, then departing the station you were just at, then heading to the next station, then arriving at that station she had just said you were heading to, for every goddamn station down the entire line? Hey, guess what? It's not like they change up the order or anything - I think we got it after the first thousand times or so. Let a person catch some z's in the mornings, will ya? It's just so damned passive aggressive.

Oh yeah, and that bullshit about "this train is trying to depart", could you get any more self-righteous? Like, who died and made her the blocking-the-door police? Take two seconds too long and she's bawling out people on crutches, little old blue-hairs, anyone, totally indiscriminate - surely some people deserve an extra moment to maneuver their wheelchairs or whatever in the doors, don't you think?

And then with the nagging! Jeez, you forget your personal belongings and newspapers when leaving the train once - once! - and man you are in for a lifetime of punishment. Might as well slit your own throat now and put yourself out of your misery because that bitch just won't let it go. I can hardly think with her constantly yapping at me in that grating, whinging frigging voice. Why can't she just shut up and leave me alone for five minutes? I swear, if I hear one single more snotty little "reminder" out of her mouth I may completely lose my mind.

I've asked her to treat me right, but this has been going on for months and she seems completely unwilling to change. I don't want to be stuck in this totally negative, one-sided relationship. I didn't even buy a transit pass this month, just paying cash when I absolutely can't avoid seeing her.

My friends are trying to hook me up with this really sweet gal, quiet and nice, a little 2010 Hyundai. I think it could totally work out between us, but I gotta admit it might be a little out of my price range to take her out every day...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Workplace Hazardous Persons Information System

I believe in rights. In fact, I am all about rights. The Right to Form an Uneducated and Baseless Opinion and the Right to Be an Idiot are no exception to my unwavering support of one's rights.  

But if someone chooses to take those two god-given and incontrovertible rights, and ignore the distinctive chartreuse skull-and-crossbones-slathered-with-radioactive-waste-then-stuffed-with-poison-dart-frogs-and-guarded-by-rabid-pikas-and-also-chock-full-of-trans-fats MSDS warning label that is clearly and prominently displayed on the rights, stating that those two rights should NEVER be deployed in spatial or temporal proximity to each other, and goes ahead and uses them at the same time anyways...

Well, then.

As a Class V Temper regulated under the Hazardous Products Act, I'm obligated to warn the public that I react strongly with the byproducts of Opinionated x Idiocy. However, having provided fair and reasonable notice of potential contraindication by way of my red hair (i.e., the universal symbol for Concentrated Source of Rage), I can no longer be held responsible for any consequences that may be incurred as a result of one's own stupidity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Only Onychophagia

I've been a nail-biter my whole life. For real - as far back as I can remember, someone was yelling at me to stop biting my nails. Probably been doing it since I first had teeth.

I've tried everything I can think of: nail polish; mittens; snapping a rubber band on my wrist. (Which sucks, by the way, but if I can deal with the pain of mauling my own fingernails a little rubber band isn't going to make a difference.) I've even developed a habit of sitting on one hand while I drive with the other - not sure if this is a better habit than nail-biting, but you can at least tell I'm trying. Trying to DEATH!

You know, I had absolutely no problem quitting smoking - something that's actually addictive - so you'd think that nail-biting of all things would be an easy fix. Wrong! I figure that the difference is, if I don't go to the store to buy cigarettes I just won't have them to smoke, whereas laziness and cheapness just aren't adequate disincentives when it comes to fingernails: they're always there, and they're always free.

Medium Fry discovered the solution at the drugstore the other day: an incredibly bitter liquid that you paint on to your nails like nail polish. It is so intensely bitter and disgusting that even a dedicated nail-biter like myself can't work through it. Simply apply once a day and presto - no biting.

Although it doesn't wash or flake off, the extreme bitterness in the polish transfers readily to other objects, and therefore may have the unintended consequence of curing me of several other habits I've picked up over the years. Like flossing.

And lunch.

And sex.

It's like having the Midas touch, but less lucrative.

Now, I don't much care for the looks of my mangled fingertips, but I do like lunch, and I really like flossing. DH HATES that I bite my nails, but he's enough of a tightwad that my springing for gel nails (an effective, but admittedly pricey, deterrent) really annoys him... and then there's that last item on the list.

Which brings us to an impasse.

Odds are 10:1 in favour of supporting my local nail salon. Stay tuned for results of today's match.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monotamy? Monogony? Kemo Sabe?

How To Keep Sex Interesting in Marriage

Tip #08: Role Play.
Wear your sleep mask; pretend you're the Lone Ranger.

Tip #13: Keep It Fresh.
Wear your flannel nightgown; pretend you're Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Tip #45: Mix Things Up.
Wear your apron; pretend you're Martha Stewart.

Tip #52: Try Something New.
Wear nothing to bed. Pretend you're you and he's him.
(Super trippy, eh?)

 (Who was that masked woman anyway?)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Helpful is the New Hunky

So about three weeks ago I reported to you that I was the proud new owner of two cases of wine, and - what's that? I said three before? Hmm, you must be mistaken, because surely I couldn't have consumed an entire case of wine already...

But that's beside the point: this week, I won another work prize draw! This time I came home with a pound of excellent coffee. Everything's coming up Frecklepelt! What really impresses me is how all these work prizes are geared toward my favourite vices. Coffee to get me going before 9am - wine to keep me going after that - man, I can't wait for the next draw! Carton of smokes and a hunky fireman for sure!

Those folks at the office, they really know how to keep a hedonist like myself coming back every Monday.

(And Wednesday...)

Hmm, DH seems to be objecting to the idea of "hunky fireman as vice". No, no, dear - you misunderstand - I just want someone to, uh... carry me around... over their shoulder... firemen do that, right? You see, I've been having this trouble with my, uh, knee, yeah knee, that makes it hard for me to get up the stairs sometimes after a bottle of wine, and a fireman could really help me out with that little problem. 'Cause that's, like, part of their training or something. Carrying middle-aged inebriated ladies up the stairs. They're good at that.

Which is why women like them. Hunky firemen. They're so... helpful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Woman of Loose Morels

DH and I went morel hunting today out at a friend's place. Our friend hates mushrooms, so we assured her we could help out with the "fungal infestation" she said she was having trouble with on her property. (Sadly, she also has a wood paneling infestation, which was beyond our powers to address.) Turns out I'm a pretty good mushroom finder - must have picked that up at work or something - and we made out like bandits with probably two hundred bucks' worth of the gorgeous little wrinkly critters.

If you can call something that looks like a cross between a citrus reamer and a decomposing kitchen sponge "gorgeous". But I'm also pretty good at appreciating, er, "under-charismatic" plants - another little something I guess I picked up at work.

As I understand things, it's good manners to use a mesh collecting bag when hunting mushrooms. That way the mushrooms you're taking still get a kick at spreading their spores. (Hey, when you're that ugly you need all the help you can get.) I was feeling pretty altruistic about my role as wingman - "my friend Morley, he's a real fun guy" - until we got back to our car and noticed a faint yellowish tinge on her normally sleek black exterior.

Yellow? Yellow dust? What the heck?

Oh, wow. Pollen, and lots of it.

Come to think of it, probably spores, too.

I peered at our mushroom bag with new suspicion. My gawd. These things don't need my help. In fact, they've got so much to spare that they're indiscriminately blowing it over the whole of creation, Hyundai Sonatas and all. It's a regular chlorophorgy out there! Maybe even a plantgasm!

I shook my fist at the mushrooms. "Hey! You dirty bastards! My car is not that kind of girl, you hear me? I don't want no funny business on the ride home, alright?"

I can't prove anything, but I am sure they spored all over the back seat on the drive home. *sigh* Really, what can you expect from a bunch of loose morels like that?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Slacker

Today's post has been forsaken in favour of less productive activities, namely:

I call it "View from a Hammock." Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Lovely.

See you next week.

Maybe.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Booze Hound

My new lucky number is 04724338.

I'll admit it lacks a certain roll-off-the-tongue-ness when you're shooting craps at the casino, but there was this fundraising raffle at work and today, that very ticket number won me three cases of wine.

Ooooohhhhh yeaaaaahhhhhh.

I think you'd be surprised what three cases of wine can do for your social life. My Popularity Index reached an all-time high today! I mean, it's always pretty stratospheric, what with the baked goods and the glorious hair and all, but if I were publicly-traded, today would be the day you'd kick your own ass for not buying shares in me. I have drinking dates well into the foreseeable future! And not only does three cases of wine greatly improve one's social standing, but I also have a feeling it's going to go a long way toward taking the edge off, like, the rest of the year for me.

As soon as I got home, DH and I spread all the bottles out on the kitchen floor and developed a complex algorithm for sorting them involving country of origin, year, varietal, and label cuteness. It was like some kind of awesome grown-up Halloween where the people actually care enough about their loot to afford it an appropriate level of respect in their sorting decisions. No crappy "chocolate; not-chocolate" system for us! I felt so vindicated!

The kids quietly shared a bowl of popcorn for supper and watched us haggling over an appropriate sorting schematic. Every so often we'd shout, "Now THIS is how it's DONE, kids!" and laugh maniacally.

After a couple of hours of intensive sorting, re-sorting, revising the taxonomy, and calling each others' credentials and methodologies into question, we had created thirty-five individual piles based on our carefully selected criteria [patent pending]. (We would have had thirty-six, but we drank one.)

*aaaaaahhhhhhh* Best. Halloween. Ever.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Late-Successional Salad

I hate diets. They're always trying to make you eat salad, which I hate even more than diets. It's not even that salad in itself is all that bad, it's just that - since I've spent more or less my entire adult life on a diet - I've grown to seriously resent having to eat the shit. It just doesn't rev my reward centres the way a hunk of good chocolate can, and - evolutionarily speaking - that's gotta say something.

Trouble is, if you think about it long enough you realize that damn near everything is actually salad. And let me tell you: with about fifteen years of adult (i.e., dieting) life on the clock, I've had a lot of time to think about it. Case in point:

Casseroles? Stir frys? Ain't nuthin' but hot salads.

Sandwiches? Wraps? You haven't mixed 'em well enough.

Soups? Smoothies? Uh, you mixed 'em too much.

In addition to being generally unpalatable, given the advanced civilization we live in, salad is actually something of an embarrassment - it's just a pile of ingredients! Half the time they haven't even been cooked! Dude, humans discovered fire about a zillion years ago - why the hell are we still serving up plates of uncooked foliage? If someone asked you for a masterpiece would you give them a can of paint?

Of course not.

Here at the top of the food chain, all I'm asking is for someone else to do the work of turning those ingredients into something more delectable and calorically-dense. Steak, for instance. Or cheesecake. Now there's the masterpiece I had in mind!

Thanks, Vincent van Cow - keep up the great work!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Got a Nikon Camera...

Give someone a dollar and they eat for a day; give someone a grand or so and they drop it on lenses and stand around all day talking about how they're photographers.

This is a classic logic error: although all photographers are people with cameras, it does not necessarily follow that all people with cameras are photographers. Seems like everyone and their uncle fancies themselves a photographer these days. Hey, guess what? It's not that hard anymore. Point; click; repeat a zillion times because digital memory is cheap and essentially limitless. It's like those monkeys that wrote those plays: if you do anything often enough it's bound to come up Shakespeare sometimes.

The next time someone tells me they're a photographer, instead of just letting my eyes glaze over with extreme apathy I'm throwing down the ultimate photographic gauntlet: take a good picture of my toddler. After all, toddler photography is a lot like wildlife photography, except your subject is more recalcitrant than a grizzly bear in early spring, faster than a hummingbird on amphetamines, and dirtier than, like, a wombat or something rolled in dirt. And then maybe rolled a little more in more dirt, just for good measure.

Wait, what's that? You got a clear shot? Of my child? Holding still? And smiling?

Awww, too bad he has a giant boog dangling from his left nostril. You lose the challenge. Hey, maybe you should hire some monkeys to help you out for next time - I hear they're into photography.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Am I Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Hey, sweetie. How was school today?

Pretty good. Guess what, mom? I'm doing a project on wetlands!

Hey, cool, I love wetlands - what's your topic?

I got the letter E so I was

What do you mean you got the letter E?

The teacher assigned each person a letter of the alphabet and their wetland project has to be about something that starts with that letter. So I was going

Who's the poor sucker who got stuck with Z?

No one, there's only 25 kids in the class.

Well that's a relief.

So but I was going to

What about Q? Or U or V? Those would suck too.

I know Owen got V, I don't know what he's going to do, but I was going to do

Hey, how about Eleocharis?

...what?

What?

What did you say?

Uh, Eleocharis, cool Genus, in all sorts of wetlands, awesome right?

*blank*

Er, were you going to say something?

I was going to do the Elizabeth Hall Wetlands.

Oh. Huh. Wow. That's a good idea. How did you think of that?

I remembered Grandpa likes to go there to look at birds sometimes.

Huh. Well, that's a really good idea. Forget I said anything.

What did you say? Was it real words?

Yeah, it's real, it's a type of wetland plant.

Oh. I thought maybe you had some wine before I got home from school or something. (*makes drinky-drinky motion with hand*) I'm planning to do a presentation. Can I use the computer tonight?

*reeling from implications of ten-year-old child making drinky-drinky motion at me* Uh, yeah, sure. I can show you how to use PowerPoint, it's this program where you can make really nice slide presentations...

I already know how to make PowerPoints, mom. I do them all the time.

*reeling from implications of ten-year-old child being more technologically advanced than myself* Oh. Right. So do you, like, need a snack or something?

*laughs, waves sandwich in my direction* Mom, I was standing here making a sandwich the whole time we were talking! Do you want me to make one for you too?

*reeling from being in the frigging Twilight Zone* Uh, no thanks. I think I'll just lie down for a minute. I feel a little dizzy all of a sudden.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In Case of Emergency, Break Something

You know what it's like getting back from a weekend away: you're (sortof) relaxed and happy(ish) of course, but you're also tired, and your bladder is setting a new Guinness record for capacity, and you have come to the conclusion that if you are ever forced to occupy the same cubic feet of car space as your family (*cough cough, kids*) EVER AGAIN - or at the very least, within the next year or ten - you may well lose your mind.

Within four seconds of pulling into the driveway, someone asks you what's for supper.

You might rant a little at this point, about - for instance - how you haven't even finished extricating all the Hot Wheels and mashed Easter candy from under the car seats, let alone had a frigging PEE or unpacked or Spray & Washed the chocolate stains off of every article of clothing that ever saw the interior of Grandma's house during Cadbury season. At some point during your rant, someone else will see you're in the vicinity of the kitchen and say, "Oh, good. I'm starved. What're you making?" and yet another someone will start climbing your legs and screaming, "Hungry and sirsty! Hungry and sirsty!"

You will think some really choice language at this point, but only a rather mild "Oh for Pete's sake!"- which, frankly, sometimes just doesn't fully express the scope of your discontent the way a good f-bomb would have, and now is one of those times - will actually cross your lips, and you will huff your discontented ass over to the fridge to see what you can rustle up for supper.

(Actually, you will do that special walk that parents do when a small child has latched onto their leg, which, frankly, sometimes just doesn't fully express the scope of your discontent the way a good huff would have. And now is one of those times.)

But anyways, you will lurch awkwardly over to the fridge, uttering gentle grievances all the while, and will find that your fridge contains precisely:

- one-half bag of green onions, slightly wilted.

Organic, yes; filling, no.

You will realize at this point two very important things about life:

1. Green onions are the most useless fucking vegetable on earth.
2. So THIS is how McDonald's stays in business.

With fifteen years still on the parenting clock, you will break the glass on your last remaining emergency ration of mental restraint. You and your bladder will get back in the car with your kids, in fact well within the decade, and hightail it for the nearest drive-thru.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Honey Do, Honey Don't

Sometimes - in moments of weakness, perhaps, or simply a human need to reach out to other troubled souls - women make confessions to me. Whispered things, usually, that speak of the deep self-doubt that arises from the ceaseless measuring of oneself against capricious and impossible standards of femininity.

Whatever their form, the contents of these confessions can be distilled into a single question: How do other women do it all? And following naturally from that, Why can't I?

But what is all of "it" that they're talking about? Long story short, "it" is nothing less than everything: raising successful kids; having a successful career; maintaining a home; maintaining relationships; personal, spiritual and professional growth; giving back to the community; eating five to ten servings of fruits and veggies every day; defying age, gravity and the effects of child-bearing/rearing and chronic stress on one's face and body; yadda fucking yadda.

One woman confessed to me that she never actually folds laundry, she just piles it on the guest room bed. Whenever someone in the house needs an article of clothing, they rummage through the pile. I say "confessed" in the sense that this facet of her life was revealed sotto vocce, nervously and a little apologetically, and was swiftly followed by an almost pleading, "How do you manage it all?"

Uh, I don't. Who the hell gave anyone the impression that I have anything under control, let alone everything? Hasn't she ever read my blog? Hasn't she ever seen the size of my ass? The bags under my eyes? The junk piled up in my basement? Clearly I am not doing it all. Actually, I had just been wondering how she managed it all. How did we all get so confused?

* * *

I have a confession to make.

I'm on a bit of a staycation right now. A little while ago I thought, I'm burned out and emotionally exhausted. I need to take care of myself, I need a break, and I need it to be alone. I'm so desperate for time away from other humans that I booked a few vacation days, booked a sitter, and planned to enjoy a few precious hours alone in my own home.

Enter cognitive dissonance: I feel silly for wasting money on child care when I'm not at work. I feel guilty for being "unproductive". I feel like I have to justify my break, loud and clear so no one could think me lazy or crazy or ridiculous.

So I started planning: I'll wash the walls. I'll touch up the paint throughout the house where it's a little thin or chipped or blobbed onto the ceiling. I'll print off, organize and file three years' worth of photos. I'll catch up on paperwork and correspondence. I'll clean the fridge and stove and car, inside and out, and clean and organize the basement while I'm at it. I'll volunteer at the school and take a load of junk to the dump and make casseroles to take to my neighbours and friends. I'll work out every day.

You know by now that I'm prone to exaggerating, but literally and truly, that was my to-do list for the four child-free (for approximately 7.5 hours per day) days I had planned this week. For the four child-free days I've had this past decade, and probably the only ones I can expect for the next decade too.

If that's not the very definition of INSANITY I don't know what is.

So I took a long, hard look at my (obviously flawed) thought process, and the problem boiled down to this: I believed that if I could just plough through that list of Things-Not-Done that is constantly hanging over my head, if I could tick off those "outstanding" boxes off my list, I would actually be "managing it all". I would finally be caught up, if only for a short while until more Things took the place of the Things I had crossed off, or the same Things crept back up on me, as such Things are wont to do.

I realized that I don't need a to-do list, I need counseling! So I balled up that sack of useless guilt and assumed obligation and pitched its sorry ass out the window, and I made some new goals:


That's right, four bottles. One glass. Get over it.

For seven-point-five hours per day this week, I am on vacation in the real and true sense. Any activity I plan to engage in, I first hold up to my emotional compass: if it elicits the slightest twinge of guilt or obligation, I refuse to do it. I have embarked on a dedicated journey of unstructured, unproductive time, unbeholden to anyone. For the record, I'm feeling wonderful - more relaxed and well-rested and peaceful than I've felt in ages. Cheapest counseling ever.

One day my sweet little babies will be grown up and moved out and I'll have all the alone time I can handle, and in fact probably more than I'll be able to stand. I'll clean the basement then. For now, who gives a shit?

I'll drink to that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Curriculum Vitae

I recently discovered there's a "Stats" tab at the top of my blog dashboard. It doesn't present me with statistics per se, but if I click on it I am taken to a marvelous page where I can see how many people have viewed my blog over various timeframes (hour, day, week, etc.), which posts have been viewed over that timeframe, the referring URLs, and - most interestingly - a map of the world showing where in the world people have been viewing my blog.

I say "most interestingly" for a couple of reasons: first of all, since I rarely leave my house (let alone Canada), I consider it proof positive that I'm not the only person in the world reading, and secondly - Sweden? China? Slovenia? Really? FASCINATING!!!

Hellooooo, Ljubljana!

But at the same time, I'm a little concerned. I know we're all besties here on the interwebs, but I do tend to write with my close friends in mind, and I can understand how a headlong plunge into the deeper recesses of my personality might be a little off-putting to the uninitiated.

In the interest of getting ourselves better acquainted, I have compiled a top ten list of essential reading to familiarize new followers with the life and times of the Frecklepeltian era. The list is by no means exhaustive, but will contribute a solid foundational understanding of the recurrent themes and styles present in related works.
1. "Get to Know Your Friends"
2. Getting to Hope You Like Me
3. Day at the Races
4. Housework Man
5. Who Lives on Drury Lane?
6. How Things Go Terribly Wrong in Relationships
7. Like Riding a Bicycle
8. Mysteries of the Unexplained
9. Take It or Leave It
10. If Wives Rules the World...

I encourage you to continue exploration of this blog through further study (recommended supplemental reading list provided below), and welcome your questions and comments.
11. It's Business Time
12. Retarded in the Mouth
13. Testicle Festival
14. Ask a Stupid Question...
15. Five to Ten a Month
16. Things Every Kid Should Know
17. Murphy vs. Darwin
18. Retirement Planning
19. Locked in the Trunk of a Car
20. Cheese With That?

Bonus credit:
Suggestive Vegetable Day



Thursday, March 24, 2011

The People vs. Atkins

Vegetable (veg-e-tuh-bull, veg-tuh-bull): edible herbaceous plants which are grown or harvested for consumption as food; the edible portions (e.g., roots, stems, leaves, tubers) of such plants; a person whose body or brain has been damaged to the extent that they are unable to interact with the surrounding environment.

See? Potatoes are people too!

...or at the very least, they're vegetables. Perfectly, legitimately, tuberously vegetables. And vegetables are good for you.

So how is it that even I - a dedicated carbohydrate enthusiast - have somehow been indoctrinated into thinking potatoes are a "bad" food? Damn low-carbers, infiltrating my kitchen.

In defiance of the damage that ridiculous diet fads have done to the potato's wholesome, humble reputation, I call on potato lovers everywhere to take a stand. Show your love! Participate proudly in the Potato Partakers' Proclamation!

I WILL cook potatoes a zillion different ways, and relish every one!
I WILL NOT relegate potatoes to the "starch" quarter of my plate!
I WILL pile 'em high and gobble 'em up!
I WILL NOT fear the carbohydrate!
I WILL be grateful for the inexpensive source of fibre, protein and abundant vitamins and minerals, and - most importantly! - the delightful, fluffy, flavour sensation that enter my body with every mouthful of potato.

And dammit, I WILL NOT feel guilty about it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Suggestive Vegetable Day!

 

March 26 update: it has been brought to my attention that the above vegetable arrangement may be considered by some to be less on the order of "suggestive" and more on the order of "pornographic". In my own defense, I would like to point out that all featured vegetables were of age at the time of the photo, and all had consented fully to representing the artistic vision of the photographer. It is also of note that - unlike in most "adult content" images - Mr. English here is not only safely wrapped, but is also actually representative of specimens one might hope to encounter in real life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Locked in the Trunk of a Car

Small Fry just turned three.

There comes a time in every parent's career that s/he experiences a moment of mildly delusional self-confidence, when s/he thinks to him or herself, "Self, I think we're in the clear now. We've had a few scares, but god willing I think we might maybe just make it through the rest of this alright."

On Small Fry's third birthday, I had my moment: I stood back and reflected on my years of experience parenting my two "interesting", "inquisitive" and "energetic" offspring, and for a single brief and shining moment I truly believed that nothing could surprise me anymore.

Until Small Fry announced, "My penis is up in the mornings!"

Thankfully, DH was also present at the time. So while I struggled to recall whether one could self-administer CPR, he just nodded sagely and told Small Fry, "Yep. That happens a lot. Hey, what shirt do you want to wear today?"

DH is never calm. NEVER. How could he calmly suggest that this was a normal occurrence for a three-year-old? For my three-year-old? What do you even call that? Morning twig? It's just... just... wrong!

And then it hit me, like fifteen chest compressions, or maybe a shock from an AED: the penis is a life long affliction. It makes a power grab early on in life and before you can say NARB it's running the whole damn show. Its authority over its subject is absolute! Why, it's a regular dicktator! Even when it eventually quits working, it is mighty in its absence: the now-leaderless male doesn't revel in his newfound emancipation, but instead goes to great lengths to reinstate the beast, no matter how tyrannical a master it was! Oh, the irony!

Ho. Ly. Shit. I have such a better understanding of men now! Sure, we ladies have those pesky hormone fluctuations and we get all "week three" sometimes, and other times all "week two" or "week one", or even occasionally a little "week four", but that's peanuts compared to how bad men have it! It's like the difference between having a mildly annoying backseat driver gently suggesting ways in which you may wish to safely operate your vehicle, and being bound and gagged in the trunk while a horny megalomaniac joyrides around in your car. For your entire life. With pants over his head.

Golly, that sounds downright dangerous! I wonder if Bill 16 is going to help out with that at all?

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Waxman Cometh

The road to hell is paved with lousy estheticians.

Not like they're all just lying around and you drive over them in your handbasket on your way down, but more like they're standing along the shoulders, slathering you in too-hot wax and not pulling your skin tight enough before they rip out your hair in the wrong direction so it doesn't really work very well and they have to do it over again in the same place with more boiling wax.

So maybe "paved" wasn't exactly the right term, but I guess that's the risk you run when paraphrasing while under the influence of a freshly-scalded vuvuzela. And yes, I - or more specifically, my legs and bikini area - recently suffered an unfortunate run-in with a lousy esthetician. I'd call her the Butcher of Hanoi, but apparently that one's already taken.

At least she didn't ask about my stretch marks.

Not sure how it all started, but I was visiting some friends this weekend and somehow - beverages were had, things got out of hand - we ended up sitting around someone's kitchen table trying out hair removal devices. (Also butt cheek quarters, but that's a different story.) As one might expect, the painless devices didn't work very well, while the more sadistic ones worked like a hot damn. With great and possibly booze-induced wisdom, I boldly claimed that waxing was the ONLY hair removal option that successfully balanced pain, results and cost-effectiveness.

Given today's events, it is clear that I invoked some form of negative depilatory karma with my audacious statement.

But I guess that's the risk you run when hanging out with a bunch of thirtysomething ladies while under the influence of homemade kahlua.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Going Off the Rails

I got to ride on one of those new-fangled C-Train cars today. In case you haven't experienced one yet, they feature two rows of seating that face the centre of the train, and lots of standing room. The arrangement allows for increased passenger-carrying capacity, which I can't argue with, as well as increased passenger awkwardness capacity, which I can.

Have I ever mentioned that I suffer from a certain degree of social awkwardness? Much like a functional alcoholic I've become adept at working around the affliction, so some people who know me are bound not to believe me, but I swear it's true. Gauged against the full possible spectrum of social awkwardness it's not too bad a case, but it does tend to result in (you guessed it!) awkward social situations on a regular basis. The matter is further compounded by my incredibly sensitive internal awkwardness alarm: at the slightest sign of social awkwardness the alarm goes haywire; adrenalin is released; fear and befuddlement further hamper my judgment; socially awkward acts are committed; additional adrenalin is released; and affected parties are sucked into an Embarrassment Vortex that can only be healed by vodka. Or the witness protection program.

One of the hallmarks of a social awkwardness problem is an impaired ability to extricate oneself from awkward social situations. Take today on the train, for instance: I entered the train with about seven million other people and jostled for a plum position, of which - on the new-fangled trains - there aren't many.

You know, during my entire pregnancy, no one ever offered me a seat on the C-Train. Today, for reasons not fully understood, the gentleman who beat me by a millisecond to the same plum position we were both gunning for - won it fair and square! - offered me the seat. The last seat on the C-Train. He stopped just short of claiming his prize, looked kindly in my eyes, and gestured toward the seat. Then we both looked toward the seat. And realized it was being overflowed by largish persons on either side and was effectively only one-third of a seat, and that there was no way in hell my also largish person was going to actually fit in the one-third seat.

Being the magnanimous person that he was, the fellow recognized that by retracting his offer for me to take the seat he would be implying that I was a lard ass who couldn't fit in the seat, so he continued to offer me the seat, while I - recognizing that by declining his offer of the seat would be conceding that I am in fact a lard ass who couldn't fit in the seat - in an adrenalin-induced haze of confusion continued to move incrementally toward the seat. The largish persons on either side of the one-third seat became aware of my intention to actually attempt to sit, and I tried not to notice the rising alarm in their eyes as I turned my rear end toward the one-third seat and began backing in. Praise the lord that I didn't start beeping.

But I did shoulder check.

Cinderella's slipper must have felt much the same way - when faced with her wicked stepsisters' grotesque feet - as those two unfortunate souls did, being completely powerless to stop the relentless descent of my bottom toward them. The difference being that largish persons tend to be squishier than feet or glass footwear, so squeeze in I did. SQUEEZE in. A completely-touching-from-shoulder-to-ankle kind of squeeze. And then we all sat there, decidedly not talking and not looking at each other and silently pretending not to notice that we were all doing wildly inappropriate amounts of touching.

Just when I thought the awkwardness had reached its zenith, I realized that, in enacting a straight-ahead-stare approach to coping with the outrageous awkwardness, the only item available in my field of view was seat-offering man's crotch. So I turned my focus toward also not-noticing his package whilst clearly staring directly at it, and that's when the true absurdity of the situation hit me:

For the love of gawd why didn't I just say  "no, thank you"? And did I actually shoulder check? I choked down a giggle. And why the hell can't this guy just do a quarter turn and get his junk out of my face? I started to shake from the strain of controlling my rising hysteria. No, don't think funny things. Don't think funny things. I think I'll play corners at the next turn. Ohmygawd that's funny stop that! Tears began rolling down my face. Deep breath. No funny things. Only serious things. What if I ripped a huge fart and pretended not to notice? A strangled squeak of laughter escaped my lips.

The largish persons actually stood up - both of them, one right after the other - and stood for the rest of the train ride.

Embarrassment Vortex accomplished. Commence vodka.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tall Drink of Water

DH and I got some new life insurance this week. (Sorry if this puts a damper on your plans to knock us off, but none of you are the beneficiaries.) A nurse actually came to our house to take our "samples" & vitals - so easy! I had no idea it would be that easy. Why aren't more businesses so customer-laziness oriented? I'd probably buy way more stuff if I could do it without getting out of my pyjamas.

Oh, wait - I do. It's called "online shopping", and actually I should probably cut back on that. Lunar New Year's Resolution #146: less shopping in my pyjamas.

As an added bonus to the nurse's visit, I found out I'm actually taller that I thought I was. I'm not five-foot-five at all; I'm five-foot-five and a half!


Sadly, and contrary to popular belief, growing taller didn't make me any thinner, but I have noticed several improvements in my quality of life over the past few days. My salary hasn't increased as much as I had hoped (or as much as if I had, say, discovered I was actually a man all this time instead of just a vertically-gifted woman), but I imagine that's primarily a function of my not hovering around my boss's office frequently enough this week for him to notice my dramatic growth spurt. I'll figure out a way to work the good news into a meeting next week and then just sit back and watch the dollas start rolling in. But I'm, like, statistically way more attractive and successful now, and pantyhose hardly come up to my armpits at all anymore. Plus I can definitely tell that I'm living longer.

Yup, being tall sure has its advantages.

I wonder if it's too late for me to pass on this fortunate bit of genetics to my children, since I only discovered my tallness after I had them? Drat. Well, I'm not giving it up now - maybe I'll leave it to them in my will. They can have a quarter of an inch each, and if they need any more than that, they'll just have to learn to backcomb their hair.

Monday, February 7, 2011

T & A & W

I took this awesome evolutionary ecology course in university, fascinated the hell out of me. But I had a terrible time maintaining focus because so much of the subject matter pertained to the large amount of study that has been conducted over in Europe... on tits. And not just any tits, but great tits. My brains nearly blew out my ears from the strain of not-laughing at the four thousand times a day my prof said "great tits". Between those guys and their tits and Darwin and his boobies - by jove it's a miracle I survived university.

I just love sort of old-fashioned words that have taken on a risqué connotation (cunning, naughty, peeler, rubber, tickled) and - even more so - words that sound dirty but really aren't (bifurcate, fagaceous, masticate, prostrate, thallus, uvula). Yea, yea, so I'm a complete adolescent, whatev. Guess I should cut Small Fry some slack for killing himself over "poop" and "fart" these days - the average two-year-old's vocabulary only stretches so far. But what he lacks in diversity, he makes up for in sheer quantity and bizarreness of usage. Dinner conversations of late generally go something like this:

"Are you enjoying your noodles?"
"These not noodles. I'm eating poop sandwiches."
(Ignore) "Mommy really likes these yummy noodles. Yum, yum."
"You like poop sandwich?"
(Correct) "That's not something we talk about at the table."
"Daddy like poop? Grandma and grandpa like poop?"
(Reprimand) "That's enough."
"Stinky bum-bum. Poop. Tomato butt."
(Distract) "So what did you do today at Jody's house?"
"I eat farts. Poop. Butt. Stinky fart head."
(Redirect) "Hmm, why don't we talk about something else now?"
"Hmm, why don't we fart poop bum-bum poop stinky head?"
(Give up) *sigh* "Yum, yum. Poop sandwiches again. My favourite."

No matter the mental agility with which you engage your small male offspring, nothing can match his single-minded determination in bludgeoning your conversations to death with potty jokes. Making mealtimes even less pleasant than they already were! (Wait - is that possible?)

Actually, I've been calling the kids to dinner lately by yelling, "Kids! Suffer time!" - my own little inside joke with myself. You can use it if you wish, 'cause if you can't laugh about it you might just have to cry. And it would never do to let the little beasts sense weakness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wildlife Encounters of the Married Kind

MAMMAL FACT SHEETS: 
HOUSEWORK MAN

Description
Housework Man (Homo soapiens) is highly variable in appearance, achieving an average height of 1.736m throughout its North American range. Its plumage is often abundant, becoming more so on the back and ears with age.

Habitat and Habits
The call of the Housework Man is a plaintive, whinging sound that has been likened to pay attention to me, pay attention to me. Housework Man is active for approximately twenty minutes per week, and is rarely observed outside the breeding season.

Man housework comprises a minor, yet valuable, component of his habitat.

Conservation
Housework Man is a delicate beast. The savvy woman recognizes that man housework - no matter its quality or quantity relative to her typical weekly output - must be lavishly praised, and diligently and reverently maintained for at least seven days following its completion. Anything less is liable to cause Housework Man offense and, given his finicky nature, may put Housework Man off his man housework indefinitely.
 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Brains, Delicious Brains

Wow, I haven't written in weeks. This is in direct conflict with at least one ("post to blog weekly"), and possibly three-and-a-half ("reinstate hobbies into life" and "maintain contact with outside world - not just at work!"), of my New Year's Resolutions. But as they say, you gotta break some eggs if you wanna make an omelet.

Which reminds me, I also Resolved to try eating vegan this year, but discovered that I'm severely allergic to soy products. Otherwise I'd be "breaking" tofu to be making an "omelet", which admittedly doesn't flow (not to mention taste) quite as well. Which also reminds me, if you've never had hives over 99% of your body (my eyelids and toenails were spared), you just haven't lived. I had to use Lamaze breathing to make it through a project meeting without itching my ass.

But back to that omelet: what kind of omelet could possibly be as important to me as your mental health breaks and/or late-night breastfeeding reading, dear Minions? Not much of an omelet at all, it turns out. In truth, I've been playing Plants vs. Zombies. Obsessively. Maybe even compulsively. (And, by DHs account at least, disorder-edly.) I was forced to pitch all my regularly-scheduled Resolutions out the window in order to implement an Emergency Resolution to stop playing Plants vs. Zombies, cold-turkey. Just when I was totally on track to "lose fifty pounds" and "win the lotto" this year! Dang.

However, thanks to the fact that humans have invented numerous calendar systems throughout history - and assuming my Emergency Resolution has been successful by that time - I can still make a fresh start in the lunar new year. According to my calculations, if I really work at it I should be thin and rich... just in time for the end of the world in 2012.

Also dang. I think I'll go water my Zen Garden awhile and ponder my next move.