The Top 9 Reasons Why This Post Will Delight You

Everyone has a list. Made famous by Late Night talk shows and grocery store magazines. There are lists for any conceivable, quantifiable opinion and personal taste out there.  A great many of these lists are full of the kind of information you would expect from quality magazines such as Basket Full of Kittens Digest or Chatelaine.

Top 10 Signs Your Lunchmeat is a Sagittarius.

The Top 15 Terrifying Big Brand Mascots That Will Haunt Your Dreams and Plague Your Waking Hours With Their Giant Heads.

How to Predict Your Marital Success Based On Your Lip Balm Preferences.

Grocery store line-ups and gynecologist appointments are my personal favorite places to peruse a sampling of both current and shockingly old magazines to really get a feel for the state of humanity through their hastily compiled, sensationalist lists. Nothing breaks the ice like some casual banter about 10 Reasons Why Sharks Will Always Win In A Fight Against A Lion while your feet are in the stirrups on your OBGYN’s table.  

The table in her office, not her dining room table at home. 

I’m pretty casual about body after giving birth to 2 kids, but that might actually be where I draw the line. I have yet to confirm this but it’s probably a safe assumption.

Where DID you get your dining room chairs?

Moving along…

The actual reason this type of list exists is likely rooted in our increasing need for information, but not actual information that should probably be verified before being spread throughout Facebook in posts forwarded from friends of friends. Magazine lists should be consumed more like the culmination of sound bites from your great Aunt, which she has filtered through both her love of gossip and day drinking.

“You won’t get pregnant the first time”

“My friend ate a chocolate bar from the Dollar Store and hasn’t had peripheral vision since.”

None of this is actual information as much as it is entertainment and dangerous advice gleaned from a weekly senior’s speed-walking meeting in the mall.   A magazine list of amazing facts and little-known statistics is a quick fix for our immediate gratification brains.  My own immediate gratification brain sorts these fact-ish nuggets into the appropriate folder where trivia and my current postal code are kept; waaay in the back so it can only be recalled when I am actually trying to remember where I parked.  To try to get away from feeding our collective minds with even more instant delight, I have compiled what I see as a definitive list of actual learning moments and observations, none of which I learned through day drinking.

Number 1:  Your mother is probably right.

I could start by saying your mother didn’t get to be a mom simply by accident, but it is safe to assume that upwards of 80% of us were spontaneous children. And yes, I know where babies come from.  I understand that they are not spontaneously created, like parking spots or the latest iPhone incarnations. I am suggesting there is a pretty good chance your mother is a mom by at least a little bit of accident.  However, they become mothers by choice.  It’s the mother-by-choice decision that places them in the category of probably being right about something.  

SWEET CHRISTMAS WHAT DID YOU EAT??

Parents of any gender can choose to simply have kids or to have kids they are engaged with, but I’ll focus for now on the mothers as I have been hearing how incorrect my dad is about so many things for so long from my own mother, that it’s just part of my narrative about him.  Sorry dad.  

Mothers know stuff. They know how to do things, how to say things, and how to repair things.  I’m not saying they also do not screw things up, break things, and have no idea how to do things.  I’m just saying they know stuff.  Listen to your mothers now and in 5 years you will see she was probably right.  

One of the biggest advice nuggets I appreciated from my own mother years after she shared it with me was that I should never be with a man who didn’t appreciate his own mother.  A number of years after the fact and a few sketchy relationships later, I understand what she meant.  Men, if you are reading this, take this as a call to be good to your mothers.  It will work out for you later. Trust me.

Number 2:  There are no bad dogs, only bad people.

This one is an eternal frustration for me.  I see dogs vilified in the news too often and wonder how it is that the owners are not more accountable for their actions.  My dog Ruby (bless her soul) was a rescue from a remote northern community.  When she came to me she was afraid of plastic bags, flames, and baseball hats.  She would lunge and snarl at people riding towards her on bikes and motorcycles and charged our fence once or twice towards children holding baseball bats or umbrellas.  I think it is safe to assume she was not aggressive and defensive because she felt that major league baseball really let her down since the performance enhancement scandals of the mid-2000’s or that umbrellas were a capitalist sham. She was aggressive because at some time in her life before me, she was chased, taunted or beaten with something that looked like a normal, inoccuous item.

She was not a bad dog. Not even close.  Her badness with me was limited to her unimpressed sigh when I would turn the bedroom light on at 6am, or for her flatulence so caustic it could peel paint.  Bad people made sure her only response was to be aggressive out of her sense of self-preservation.  Some might see it as a shame to train the beast out of the beast and this is why they don’t attend to their social needs.  Others might say they want a vicious beast to protect their family and possessions, yet most are probably just too ignorant to train, thus love, their beasts into being good members of society as well as loyal protectors. Maybe this links into my first point – anyone can be a mom, but you choose to be a mother.   You can also choose between being a dog owner or a dog lover.  If you cannot commit to be a functional dog parent, please get a fish or a sock puppet.

Number 3:  Be your own ride.

Many years ago when I was but a bartender with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and no car, I used to have to either take the bus or get a ride with a friend when I went out. Couple this lack of a dependable ride with the misunderstood anxiety symptoms that I assumed had to be either an unplanned pregnancy, cholera, or swimmers itch, and you have the makings of an imminent melt down at all times while I waited on other people timelines. 

One New Year’s Eve in particular I spent hiding in the bathroom at a house party where I knew 2 people.  One of them was my ride and she was in deep conversation with the other person I knew. The feeling of having to be on her timeline and leave when she wanted to leave changed how I travelled from that day. I had not felt the urgency of a car until I realized how much I disliked being held hostage at the whim of another. 

Be your own ride is more a nod towards not being beholden to anyone.  Do your own thing. Create your own terms. Make your own present and future without relying on anyone else to make it happen for you.  Today, I drive alone to most events where it would make sense to carpool, only because I cannot be trusted to make it through the whole event and can’t spend one more night hiding in a bathroom.  The reason I give to others for taking my own car by myself is that I belt out show tunes at the top of my lungs in the car and refuse to wear pants while doing so.  I drive alone now. Every time.  

Number 4:  If it feels weird, it’s probably weird, so don’t do it.

Let’s hear it for gut feelings and intuition!  Woot woot! 

When we are young, I think we feel more in our gut in unfamiliar situations, but then we are told not to be afraid, or shy, or nervous.  We are told to ignore our gut feelings and soldier on through uncomfortable situations.  I’m sure there is some validity to this thinking, as kids are not worldly beings with a good choices history to rely on for guidance.  Kids are barely able to remember to bring their lunch kits home before the contents turn into The Soup of Decay, so how can they possibly understand the subtlety of the gut feeling?  When we are adults, we stop listening to our gut feelings, favouring instead the desire for inclusion and harmony.  Walk down a dark street alone, go for coffee with the curiously attentive guy from your office, having drinks with the girls that a table full of frat guys keeps buying for you.  

None of these things are intrinsically bad, but if your gut gives you the warning shot across the bow that there might be trouble brewing, you should listen, or at least acknowledge it.  I could have staved off at least one horrible relationship and my first tattoo had I honoured my gut feelings.  On the other hand, your gut is also trained to make stuff up, like that time I thought my new dentist would not work out because he has red hair.  That wasn’t my gut speaking. That was me being an asshole. A very unfounded asshole since I have grown to love my dentist, red hair and all. Look at how I’ve grown as a person!

Number 5:  Pack in, pack out.

A good camper will understand and adhere to this concept. A great camper should also understand that bears are not just “misunderstood puppies”, and given the chance, squirrels WILL steal your wallet and order Skip-The-Dishes with your credit card.   The best campers, however, know that they are to leave the camp site and surrounding nature the same, if not in better condition, than they found it. Nature is there for us to enjoy, not to scatter with Slim Jim wrappers and empty Gatorade bottles.  

Where this rule is stressed to campers throughout their camping experience, people in everyday life are not held as fast to this rule.  I know this through my shared human experience with public washrooms, rental cars, and bowling shoes.  An endless, and surprisingly high number of shit-painted toilet bowls, hidden condoms and toenail clippings has proven to me that humans, left unchecked, will often not leave anything better than they found it. 

The larger metaphorical interpretation of this idea could be applied to human relationships as well. If we can agree to stop leaving people in worse shape than when they came into a relationship, I think we can make motions towards creating fewer messed up people for the next person to discover.  I would not want to walk into the bathroom at Starbucks and have to deal with someone else’s mess myself, yet people leave trails of damage on partners and children, who then in turn become someone else’s Starbucks bathroom.  And sadly, a reluctant barista will never clean them up on your behalf.  That’s now your mess to deal with.  

So stop shitting all over metaphorical and actual toilet bowls, and if you can’t be good to your surroundings or to one another, or at least try to be LESS shitty. 

It’s like the movie The Birds, but with fewer birds and more Cathy’s.

I’m not sure if I’ll be back to write again, because there might be some kind of bird epidemic going on at my house and there is a chance I will be consumed by it before the end of the month.

My husband called me out to the front yard this morning to ‘come see something’.  When I got to the door I assessed his face for clues about what I would be seeing.  Based on his expression I could only assume he had either bought me a puppy, someone had stolen our fence, or there was a human body on the front walk.  It turns out I’m horrible at reading his facial cues.  Maybe it’s no surprise how upset he was when I laughed after he bumped his head on a wooden beam that left him with a good sized bleeding gash.  I swear his face said something more along the lines of ‘I squirted grapefruit juice into my eye by accident, or ‘I think I gave the wrong address to the pizza delivery guy’.  Hilarious either way.  Bleeding out in the basement apparently less so.

When I got to the door, he pointed to a spot beneath our tree to a lifeless looking pile of feathers.  He told me he had been standing outside drinking his coffee while taking in the lazy Sunday morning and probably squeaking out a few farts in solitude away from me, when he head a clatter in the tree.  He looked up and witnessed an actual live death.

An artist’s rendition of my husband and I just before he showed me the bird. His face tells me he’s letting one sneak out right now. What a smug bastard…

Is that oxymoronic to say it like that?

There it was. A crow lying under the tree in an I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up pose, yet no medic alert button was going to save this bird. He was done.

My first thought was thank God it wasn’t about the fence or a human, because I’m not a monster.  However, now that I was done feeling relief about the fence, I changed tune and swung into crime scene mode.  What if people saw us standing out here around the body? Would they think we had done it? Crows are loud and we complain about them every morning at 6am when apparently their stock market opens up because its all BUY SELL EAT GARBAGE screaming outside our window.  We fit the person of interest profile perfectly.

In an effort to cover my criminal tracks that had not been left, I phoned our city department of What The Hell Do I Do With This and was greeted by a happy woman named Cathy.  She seemed more down to earth than the Cathy with a K Cathy’s, so I was happy to be dealing with her.  K Kathy’s can be real loose cannons.

I explained my situation to her, then blurted out at the end that we certainly did not kill the bird (all calls are recorded for quality assurance and sketchy confessions).  She giggled at the picture I laid out for her.  Now I knew how my husband felt…my face was clearly distressed and she misread it however impossible that would have been with this being a phone call. Still, it felt a little more like something a Kathy might do.

She told me how since it was on my property and was not a larger animal like a bobcat or a moose, the homeowner was in charge of removing it.  Or, she offered, I could wait until the next day when someone from the city could come clean that up for me.  I asked her about delivering the bird to their secret testing department to make sure the bird hadn’t died of a sudden antrhrax exposure or cholera.   As she was explaining to me this was not a real department a car rolled past our intersection, darting their judgemental eyes between us and the dead bird while probably shaking their heads.  I couldn’t have this body resting in my yard all day and be labelled as the neighbourhood killer, so I cut short her made up story about the secret department not existing and told her we would take care of it ourselves.  I thanked Cathy/Kathy for her time and poked one more We Didn’t Kill The Crow into the goodbyes.  Better safe than sorry.

With a shovel in hand and a plastic bag lined with paper towels for comfort, we scooped up the sudden death from our lawn.  I said a heartfelt goodbye to the bird because all life is meaningful, then tipped him into the garbage can.

I’m not convinced it died of natural causes or high cholesterol from all the garbage it eats, and for the foreseeable future, every slight upset stomach or tingling sensation in an extremity will be because of the horrible unseen malady that killed the crow.  My husband’s face right now is expressing that either my assumption is ridiculous or he has misplaced his keys again. I guess we’ll never know.

 

 

 

Good idea, bad idea. Potato, potaahhto.

Image

I’m in my mid 40’s a few years ago.  This means two things for sure; impending menopause and retirement.

Menopause, the bat signal into the sky that my cooler has run out of eggs and in celebration, I will be made to experience vast temperature swings and a catatonic metabolism.  And lo, the time of regret for my years of Dorito enslavement shall be upon me.

Retirement is a little trickier to navigate right now.  You may have read, or at least skimmed for dirty words, my last post about working from home.  Home, however, does not provide the promise of a good retirement.  It’s more of an idea than a practice.  I’ve secretly replaced home’s sense of security in retirement with crippling self doubt and 3am wakeful periods wondering about black market kidney sales. Let’s see what happens!

I’m not completely unplanned.  I have lots of great ideas just waiting to happen which will either propel me into a comfortable retirement or a suitable sized box with enough room for my home dialysis set-up.

Investors, I urge you to read through and pick the one best suited to your diverse portfolio.

Carb Block
Couples who limit carbs together stay together. No couple is immune however from the ‘cheat day’ or donut fuelled meeting at the office. Carb Block to the rescue!
A quick spray of Carb Block before you walk through the door of your home promises to erase the telltale scent of carbohydrates, sugar, and fun. Carb Block replaces the scent of delicious sugar and white flour with the pungency of single malt scotch. Your partner will be amazed at your dedication to the low-carb lifestyle you have agreed upon, wondering instead if your drinking is related to the children you feel you were tricked into having. Try Carb Block today and commit once again to your mid-life crisis/back-on-the-market-rapid-weight-loss life while you scroll through the hundreds of singles also looking for new love.

GreasyTint
Embarrassed of everyone judging your plastic wear and its lingering tomato sauce based staining and ‘barely clean’ feel? GreasyTint makes the haters stop hating.
A few drops of GreasyTint in your sink or dishwasher enhances the orange sheen on your plastic wear into a uniform coating onto all your dishes, removing the “look at me” singularity, replacing it with a distinctly unclean feeling to everything. Created with the same distraction techniques used by the military and the inventors of Spanx, GreasyTint will turn the haters into believers who won’t likely darken your doorway for another judgemental dinner again!

Whass’that?
Making a birthday cake? Pancakes? Scrambled eggs and toast? A dash of Whass’that promises to elevate your dish…with delicious mystery.  Nature, in her keen evolution over a couple of years, has designed the perfect containment system which illustrates how nature protects itself by saying “don’t touch”. Like the porcupine and the mullet, the egg has devised a protective shell around it which indicates it does not wish to be bothered or considered for a serious relationship. When cracked, the egg relies on its evolutionary safety net and deposits tiny bits of shell into the intended recipe, thus rendering the final product a disaster. But wait! What if I told you evolution could be circumvented with Whass’that? With just a few shakes into anything containing eggs, your final products will consistently be described as having “something small and crunchy” in them, changing the “don’t touch” into a “yes please”. How delightful!
*product usage may be extended to bathmats and guest bedding for that certain je ne sais quoi that leaves your guests anxious for a return visit.

The mullet is cautionary, but it’s the air-punching that should be taken more seriously.

I’ve got a million of these gems in my head.  My reluctance to start the entrepreneur process lies in my fear of getting TOO involved in it and missing out on fully enjoying menopause.

*A full prospectus and available schematics will be available for suitable backers.