Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hell Pinata

Did you hear the one about the guy who accidentally infested his boss' office with zillions of mini spiders on his second day of work? Me neither, but that would be pretty funny if it ever DID happen (*cough, cough, Jeff*). And if such a thing ever happened, it might remind me of this one story I'm super proud of from my life and should probably just write down so I stop repeating it to people. Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess...

Actually, once upon a time there was just regular me. I moved in with this gal who had bought a house with her fiance (her parents gave them the down payment as an engagement gift, if that helps you not feel too sorry for her later on in the story) but then they broke up and he moved out but they still worked together (ugh) and she was still in love with him (double ugh). The latter presumably being why - unbeknownst to me when I moved in there - he still had a house key months after he had moved out and I had moved in. He let himself in the house one night when Roomie was at work. He was a big, imposing guy (he worked as a bouncer) and was high as hell on I don't know what, so he thought he would stop by unannounced to see what I was doing. Was my boyfriend leaving soon? Should he come by after? That sort of thing. You know. Not scary or rapey at all.

So I told Roomie. Gently, because I knew it was not going to be easy for her to hear it, but firmly, because I didn't think I could feel safe living there unless we changed the locks. Her super logical response to her drug addict creep of an ex-fiance trespassing in her home and trying to fuck her roommate... was to kick me out. Because, love?

She generously gave me a whole week to find a new place to live. I won't even bother getting into what a practical and financial hardship this represented for me at that point in my life. What I will tell you is that Roomie was arachnophobic, and I am an excellent multitasker when sufficiently motivated. I kept going to work and school, while packing and house-hunting (no small task in those pre-internet days), and still found time to round up dozens of spiders and store them lovingly in individual storage containers. The house was in a new development and backed on to a natural area so there was no shortage of arachnid diversity to choose from. I even caught one of those huge hairy bastards that drop down onto your head from overhead beams like a pinata from hell. I don't ever really love spiders, exactly, but that one was horrifying to even get near enough to catch in a jam jar. But it was the cherry on the top of my collection because it seemed so poetically analagous to the ex-fiance - big, hairy, predatory, scary - so catch it I did.

On moving day I released my collection into her bedroom. One or more into each drawer, shelf, storage container, etc. A few in the ensuite. Extra in her bed and underwear drawers. And Mr. Cherry on Top, he got the walk-in closet all to himself. The perfect venue to hell pinata someone.

In retrospect, if I would have thought of the hilarious idea of a mini spider infestation back then, I would have done that, too. It wasn't my idea but I'm sure you can go ahead and use it if you like - it's a nice touch for all those 'roommate revenge' or 'new job' scenarios where you might want to make a particularly lasting impression.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Canola Crush Challenge

It is right around this time every year that I realize that I am going to die. Like, I always know that I'm going to die eventually, but it's the first greens of spring that send me into the full-blown panic of 'it's almost field season and I haven't moved from my desk in eight months'. That kind of die. A 'my first 15 kilometre day in steel-toed rubber boots is going to kill me' kind of die.

Also, are my field pants going to button? Always a dicey proposition this time of year.

2016 will be my 14th field season. I am not proud to admit that I've gone through this exact same process, every year, for over a decade. But I am proud to say that this year, I actually learned my damn lesson and did things differently: I worked out like a maniac five days a week. I did really bad Zumba, and took plus-sized ladies' yoga classes, and attempted insane workout videos in my basement. I even ponied up for a personal trainer a couple times a week.

This is not an inspirational forum so don't go expecting miraculous "after" photos or egg white recipes or anything. I hate that shit. The fact is that I look 100% the damn same as I did last spring, 'cept I can do way more pushups. (And if you want to feel my butt I will let you because it's AH-mazingly firm these days.) (Seriously. Feel my butt.)

So for the first time in all these years I was feeling pretty hunky dory about my upcoming field season. Confident, even. Until I raked (de-thatched) the lawn. Raking the lawn reminded me that nothing can prepare you for raking the lawn - I hurt for days. Similarly, there is precious little about a leisurely 45 minutes of watching Netflix on an elliptical trainer that is remotely comparable to hoofing around all day in steel-toed rubber boots with 25 pounds of crap stuffed in my field vest. Nothing can prepare you for walking through a bog.

Actually, I don't even know if you can call it walking, and it's not just bogs that are tough. Whatever very particular form of habitat-specific locomotion one must employ while attempting to traverse various difficult types of terrain/vegetation: nothing can prepare you. And just when you think you're finally prepared, it's welp, end of season, back to your desk, see ya next year sucker. I'll bet all those kettlebell swings you're doing in the interim will *totally* make a difference next time - good luck with that.

I really wish I had raked the lawn in the fall so I would have thought of this sooner. Dang. At this point I only have 2 weeks left to prepare so I guess all there is for me to do is get out there and hope for at least some improvement over previous years. This season, however, I will definitely be compiling ideas for a hardcore winter training program for field biologists.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

All Your Towels Are Belong To Us

I frequently think what could only be characterized as UnMotherly Thoughts to myself. I then mentally half-retract them out of guilt; then rally against my self censorship; then ultimately end up justifying my thoughts with the half-arsed rationale, "Well, I'm surely not the only person who thinks that! Totally normal!" and carry on with my day until the next UnMotherly Thought arises. Whole process takes about half a second, and repeats approximately every 5-7 minutes.

Don't worry, it's not very much guilt - just the briefest, weakest of twinges, swiftly followed by a slightly stronger twinge of guilt-for-not-feeling-too-terribly-guilty. Then I talk myself out of it. Very healthy approach, overall. But it occurs to me that others (you know who you are!) have waaay more guilt problems than I do. Wherever you happen fall on the innate guilt spectrum, I figured that perhaps hearing that other apparently more-or-less totally normal people have UMTs** might help strengthen your own inner rationalizations.

** A small caution that my use of "totally normal" and "people" is pure inference: I haven't actually ever confirmed that any other humans have these kinds of thoughts. However, I have been telling myself about it for a really long time so there's a legit patina of truthiness to it if you'd like to latch onto that.

I've been posting blogs here since Small Fry was an infant so if you've been reading along you've probably seen plenty of my UMTs before. Something I didn't realize at first is that they would grow and change right along with my children. (If you're a new/er/ish parent, now you know that, too - it's not just a lack of sleep and you're not growing out of it. I recommend starting a blog.) I used to gripe about super standard stuff like leaky diapers, but now I have a whole suite of both generic and highly individualized complaints about my kids. Those little wonders just never cease to amaze!

Currently, my big thing is dry towels. How are ALL the towels ALWAYS wet? I have no fucking clue. But I sincerely want to experience a dry towel against my skin again before I die. Oh, and a dry bath mat under my feet, too. Plus a toilet paper dispenser with actual toilet paper already on it and not just an empty roll sitting there mocking me with its three wispy, glued-on remnants. And oh my gawd, a dish towel that does not have chocolate/ketchup/mystery grease hand prints on it like my kids are secretly employed as heavy-duty mechanics in their spare time; and windows without more choco-mystery-grease; and STOP TOUCHING THE WALLS WITH YOUR FILTHY HANDS ALREADY.

I could go on. (Like, really. I could really go on.) But I need to come back to my thesis: I'm not the only person who thinks UnMotherly Thoughts. Neither are you. That must mean we're okay.

And if anyone tells you that you will miss having disgusting little filth generators in your house when they grow up and move away one day, those people are liars and you have my express permission to throat-punch them and steal their dry towels.