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.




If Vin Diesel and Kathleen Turner had a baby…

My name is unusual. Not unusual like being named after fruit (I’m talking to you, Gwyneth) but unusual enough to make it stand out in a crowd.  In a room full of my age cohorts, there will be a 27% Karen, 19% Scott, and 38% Erin/Aaron mix.  My name lingers around the .07% saturation, with more than three-quarters of THAT insignificant sum replying ‘Male” or “yes please” to the check box question of sex.

Boys are so immature.

My name is not only a conundrum of assumed gender, it is also wrapped up in the bonus of tall stature, a deep voice and an aversion to traditional feminine roles.  I cannot count how many times I have been mistaken for a man.  I also cannot count how many times I have posed as a man.

I’m sensing a need for some additional information right about now…

Besides my gender neutral name, I was also blessed with a deep voice.  Imagine warm dulcet vocal honey evocative of Lauren Bacall, or James Earl Jones when I have a chest cold.  Although unable to harmonize or match any tone occurring in nature, it is often suggested to me that I must have a beautiful tenor singing voice, or that I should consider a career in radio.  I like to think that last one isn’t a “she has a face for radio” veiled insult. Haters.

So what is a girl to do about having a neutral name that swings wildly to the male side when she speaks?  She poses as a man, of course.

Now, I probably shouldn’t be telling this story, but seriously…who is going to read this other than a few friends and maybe a bot wanting to sell me advertising banners on this blog for Ensure?  My secret is possibly safe with you.

On more than one occasion I have posed as a man on the phone. Not in a dirty, predatory, prosecutable way of course.  Rather, in a prosecutable, assumed identity way.  BIG difference.  Some would insist on the word “fraudulent” here.  I prefer “dramatized”.

Tell me this though, oh ye of higher moral standards, wouldn’t you want to use it for un-indictable fun on occasion just because it had been naturally happening to you for years?  Confuse children at the park as to my gender based on my voice and unfortunate haircut?  Done it.  Be in a long term phone relationship with a co-worker who had never met me but assumed I was a man, yet I never had the nerve to come clean, instead waiting until she retired to tell this story?  Done that too.  Negotiate with the Government of Canada about repayment of my husbands student loans while posing as said husband on the phone?  Challenge accepted!  Have a birth certificate that identified you as male until you’re 4, so your dad had to make you wear a dress to go plead your case to be registered as a girl at Vital Statistics?  Surprisingly…did that too***

Sure, it sounds like fun, but there is a dark downside to this curse.  I have also been asked to meet after work to go “be men and shoot some guns sometime” by a business contact at a huntin’ and fishin’ outlet.  I’ve been asked IN PERSON once if I was a drag queen.  Yes.  IN PERSON.  In his defence, it was 1990 and we all kind of looked like that guy from Dead Or Alive.  Also I was hanging out at a gay bar at the time, but still…

The eye patch was for protection from all those extra arms of mine.

Over the years I have become more dedicated at inserting the pronoun I identify as into mistaken identity phone conversations.  Sometimes someone has to do it for me though. Shortly before I remarried, my soon-to-be husband and I were taking care of some housekeeping/life joining administrative things and having my email address added to his internet provider account.  I was on the phone with the ISP, detailing my request, when I was asked if my fiancé was there in order to confirm and accept the change made to the account.  This was what I heard when I passed him the phone;

“Yes….yes…..OK….no…he’s a she.  She’s my fiancé.”

That’s why I love him.  My husband, not the internet service provider.  He can bite me. Although again, in his defence, I should note how wonderfully accepting his tone was when he THOUGHT we were a same sex couple.  Little steps towards progress…little steps.

I keep saying I won’t purposely do it again, but just yesterday I posed as my 82 year old dad on a phone call to his cellphone provider.  The necessity of the ruse was to protect both my dad from age-ism judgement, and to protect the service tech from having an 82 year old yelling at him for using words like sim card and tower. Dad would have torn that young whipper snapper a new one for using that kind of talk around him.  The call went well, and I was addressed as Mister or Sir in a respectful, appropriate manner.  My dad didn’t bat an eye through the whole thing, because I’m his little girl.  Mostly.

*** these examples are 100% the truth.  The 100% tragic truth.

Vital Stats agreed I was a girl in 1975, while the sun didn’t give a shit and seared my retinas anyway.

I was promised a monkey, so I will GET a monkey.

…Did I turn the oven off?…

I’m not sure if it’s normal to have a barter system on which your marriage is based, but it seems like this is where I have landed.  My starter marriage was based more in emasculating behaviours (his words) and too much man-jewelry (my words).  This marriage, or I should say my favourite marriage, seems to have some of its stability related to haggling.

My husband and I are authentically and unapologetically ourselves.  This is why it works so well.  We are both exactly what the brochure promised; we both have great Better Business Bureau ratings and a 4 star average on Yelp (which could have been higher  were it not for the unfortunate laundry incident of 2014. Sorry about your socks.)   Through  openly displaying our authentic selves we have discovered that perhaps neither of us understand how bartering works.  Ours are less You-Do-The-Dishes-I’ll-Mow-The-Lawn, and more You-Ate-All-The-Ice-Cream-So-I’ll-Buy-More-And-Hide-It-From-You.  Everybody wins.

In a weird turn, even for us, our barter today culminated with the statement “If you want a monkey sitting on your chest all day masturbating and eating eggs, that’s up to you”.

May I offer some context before you close the browser window?

The discussion really began when we went to bed last night and I was asking if we could get a chicken.  Or chickens.

We live in an urban neighbourhood of a city with a population large enough to support about 75 mattress stores and an IKEA, yet still small enough that all the really good restaurant franchises pass us over. Urban chickens are becoming a thing in some cities so it wasn’t a completely outrageous idea.

The night was cool and breezy outside, and through our open window we were reminded that we do indeed live in an urban area.  A herd of teens outside were being teens, oblivious to our old-person 9:30pm bedtime.  I turned to my husband and suggested we get chickens to combat the loud teens.

“Like to fight them?”

“No. Chickens so they will wake up the rude teens early in the morning. Let them know what it feels like to be disturbed from your natural schedule, and teens hate mornings.  It’s passive aggressive chicken ownership.”

“But they’ll wake us up too…right?”

“Yes.  But they also have eggs!”

“So do grocery stores, and a grocery store won’t wake me up at 5am.  If you’re getting chickens, I’m buying a delivery driver to go to the store for me.  I’ll have my eggs before you will and my driver will know to leave the eggs at the door and not wake me up.”

“What if I get a MONKEY to gather the eggs in the morning from the chickens?”

“Oh my god…this is all about a monkey again isn’t it? What did we agree on about the monkey? No monkeys.” ***

“This is a HELPER MONKEY though. It’s like you WANT me to get beat up by angry sleep deprived teens when I collect eggs!”

…sshhhh….you’ll enrage the slumbering teens…

“You know that monkeys just sit around all day and eat, destroy your curtains and masturbate, right?”

“I hate these curtains anyway.  It’ll be fine. And it’s not like you won’t get your delivery driver as well!  It might take me a while to teach the monkey how to drive, but they’re our closest genetic relatives so how hard could it be?” ***

I believe that was the moment I lost him.  He looked at me with the same look he gives to the elderly in line ahead of him who try to pay by cheque – a tolerant smile hiding a hint of homicide behind his twitching eye.

“If you want a monkey sitting on your chest all day masturbating and eating eggs, that’s up to you.”

If anyone knows where I can buy chickens and helper monkeys online, I’d appreciate the help.  I’d like to save on shipping though, so a big box chicken/monkey outlet would be best.  Thanks!

***I’ve been asking in increasingly creative ways for a pet monkey for months. I have agreed only to no monkey AT THIS TIME, not ZERO monkeys.


…See? Monkeys love chickens! And dogs! And smoking Marlborough Lights?…