If I Was A Tamagotchi

Welcome! Congratulations on your purchase of the Unwashed Tamagotchi, this act will allow you to live out your dirt-squirreliest, hippie dreams. Before we get started, you need to know how to care for your Unwashed Tamagotchi.Unwashed tamagotchi

Feeding

Unwashed prefers to eat cookies. Feeding your Unwashed Tamagotchi cookies will result in 3 happiness points and an abundance of hugs. As wonderful as endless hugs and happiness points may sound, cookies should be used sparingly because otherwise your Unwashed Tamagotchi’s health will suffer and she’ll begin to lay about moaning that her super fit mother is going to send a trainer to her door. Life with your Unwashed Tamagotchi is no fun when she is moaning about feeling spherical rather than person shaped.

 

Sleep

Your Unwashed Tamagotchi is sensitive to the sun. At the smallest hint of light, your Unwashed Tamagotchi will bound out of bed demanding to go on a hike or bike ride, use extra thick black out curtains to ensure a good sleep. This Tamagotchi also doesn’t like sound; keep her away from noisy neighbours or risk losing happiness points. A good night’s sleep will earn 8 happiness points. Beware of late night reading, although it earns 10 happiness points, waking up the next morning costs 12 happiness points.

 

Activity

Your Unwashed Tamagotchi LOVES to be active, however going to the gym will kill your Unwashed Tamagotchi. This threat is so acute that even driving past a gym will result in loss of health points-use an alternate route. Stick to quiet green spaces and transportation as forms of activity and watch those happiness points accumulate. Exercise caution with exercise, because too much will cause your Unwashed Tamagotchi to whinge and a couple happiness points will be lost.

 

Health

Walks in green spaces will increase your Unwashed Tamagotchi’s health meter. Walks in cities will decrease it. Cookies will cause a slight decrease. Beets make your Unwashed Tamagotchi’s health meter jump. As do social interactions.

 

Social

Your Unwashed Tamagotchi wants to hang out with other Tamagotchis. Arrange for her to see and cook dinner for her friends and those happiness points will pile up.

 

Happiness

Cookies, sleep, hikes and seeing other Tamagotchis regularly makes for a happy Tamagotchi. Gyms, cities, and travel will cause a steep loss in happiness points. After a long time alone or a lack of cookies, your Unwashed Tamagotchi will be at zero happiness points and cranky. While spending time in a noisy, crowded metropolis your Unwashed Tamagotchi will be at -10 happiness points. At that level she will be prone to laying on the ground and complaining. Flying, long car trips or travel of any type will leave your Unwashed Tamagotchi at -30 happiness points and prone to biting. While social interactions help the most, the other Tamagotchis won’t want to play with your Unwashed Tamagotchi in that state. Use cookies and reading to build happiness points.

Good luck! Enjoy your Unwashed Tamagotchi. Another note- obviously it is a terrible idea to bathe an Unwashed Tamagotchi, not only will it fry the circuits, but it will cost happiness points. Wait until stink lines begin to form around your Unwashed Tamagotchi and then light a scented candle.

 

Dear Toronto

And New York, and Los Angeles and every other enormous metropolis in the world,

We hate you. I know you don’t care because you’re too busy loving yourself and proclaiming how important you are but I just wanted to give you a heads up that the rest of the world totally and completely DESPISES you.

For the record Toronto, before you get all high and mighty about how you invented the cronut or whatever, I should remind you that it costs an eighth of the price of one of your teeny weeny condos to buy a house here. Paying more doesn’t make you better, it just makes the banks your BFF.

Also, while we’re on the topic of cronuts, no, Toronto, before you ask, that delectable snack is not available out here. Hold off on getting up on your high city horse about the varieties of food and drink available in your perfect city; I need to state that lining up for forty minutes for what is essentially a donut doesn’t make you “hip” it merely confirms my conclusion that you, Toronto, are in fact a crazy pants.

Speaking of crazy, let’s talk about your “reasonable” forty minute commute to work. It takes forty minutes to drive around my town. Twice. By contrast my “commute” is a 15 minute walk down a quiet, treed street. I’ll let you chew on that, along with your cronut while you sit in traffic yet again, cursing the other people around you for existing.

And about that whole “cursing other people” thing. We don’t do that here either. Not because other people aren’t annoying sometimes, but because you will see them Every. Single. Day. Forever. So you show everyone kindness and respect, and open the door for them and offer them the last cookie in the break room because you bowl with their Aunt Mabel on Tuesdays.

Stop your sniggering Toronto, yes, we bowl. The alley is celebrating it’s fortieth year in business as a matter of fact. Out here, we don’t feel the need to follow the latest trend or seek out the newest hotspot, instead we bowl, we garden, we hike and we laugh at your ridiculous urban habit of inventing new activities to distract yourself from the misery of living in your overcrowded, loud, obnoxious city.

Were you able to hear that comment Toronto? I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t. Do you realize your subways, which along with being totally filthy by the way, are actually loud enough to damage your hearing? As if you weren’t grouchy enough already with your giant mortgage and your endless commute, now you’ll be deaf to boot.

I won’t pretend that you listened to any of that Toronto, in fact you probably left halfway through to go throw axes or paint cans or whatever the beardy, plaid youth are doing nowadays. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go help fix my neighbour’s tractor.

Never, ever yours,

Unwashed

 

Tradesperson Wanted Regarding Cement Boot Removal

Wait until the guy responds to my Kijiji ad and realizes the boots are attached to my psyche. Now that’s going to be a bewildered look.

I’m stuck. Stuck like a frat boy after an unfortunate super glue prank. Stuck like a Smart car in an eight foot snow drift. Stuck like my twelve year old self in the maroon swimming level.

Much like my twelve year old self, clinging to the pool wall, refusing to do a front roll into the water, I don’t foresee this situation changing anytime soon. Only unlike my twelve year old self, who was scared to death of hitting her head on the way in and dying, (Two group lessons, three private instructors and no maroon badge later, Mom, are you regretting not asking me why I wouldn’t forward roll into water?) I’m worried about not being funny.

I’d love to melodramatically claim that it’s “Writer’s Block” but someone on WordPress debunked that last week saying that writer’s block is merely a writer’s will. So apparently I’m willing myself not to write. Likely due to the aforementioned fact that I’m not funny anymore. For starters, I no longer do weird and bloggable acts like kicking banks, partially because there are no banks here there’s only THE bank and Fred would get offended if I started wailing on his establishment and would consequently pull my husband aside in the grocery store “Hey Tex, like your choice in onions by the way- Spanish, always a winner. While I’ve got you here, is your wife all right?” but also because I’m a Mom and am therefore not out and about hoofing any businesses let alone Fred’s bank. Instead I spend a lot of my time convincing Mini-Tex that apples taste as good as breastmilk and singing “Down by the bay”. While wombats in top hats are amusing, the story of my days pretty much ends there.

Furthermore, on top of not being funny anymore, I’m seriously bummed. Everyone, we have got to stop egging Stephen Hawking’s house. For starters, computer voices are not nearly as entertaining as irate voices of neighbour’s while they shake their fists at teens while the vandals speed away from the scene- pick a different home. Secondly because giving this scientific legend’s home an omelet shower is clearly pissing Stephen Hawking off. In case you missed it, this renowned physicist and researcher damned the whole world. According to Dr. Hawking, humans have about 100 years until we face extinction.

Mind you, if the CBC is to be believed, people may have damned themselves first. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that young people now prefer to talk to twenty people at once on Facebook and Instagram in lieu of telephone calls with a lone person. If that isn’t a recipe for slow, isolating extinction, I don’t know what is. So I’m bummed, because whether by Stephen Hawking, or our own ridiculous love of handheld technology, we as a species are done for.

Now everyone start a slow clap for me, because I’ve just written something that is almost as depressing since the news that the villain from the last bachelor show has a girlfriend. If society had been paying attention, the concept that such a man could be in a position to approach procreation is terrifying and obviously foreshadows more horrible news. This has been Debbie “Unwashed” Downer in your weekly “Reasons to Read a Book Rather Than Use Your Device” list.

For the record, I’m still searching for foot and psyche friendly jack hammer wielding tradespeople.

Trump is Not a Tragedy: Sign Your Own Paris Accord

The United States has backed out of the Paris Accord. Not surprising given their president’s world views. Rather than calling this event an environmental tragedy, take the situation for what it is- an opportunity. This is a chance to open up a discussion about climate change, the environment and consumption with your family, friends and children, because ultimately, nothing has changed.

The people still hold all the power. With every product you purchase, with every watt, kilojoule or BTU of energy you use, you are voting. In buying shampoo, you’re saying “Hell Yeah!” to Proctor and Gamble, each time you drive your car, it’s a message to Exxon “Keep up the good work” and by charging your phone, depending on where you live, it’s like slapping a small invisible bumper sticker to your tush that says “What’s that lovely smell? It’s natural gas”.

Each person votes hundreds of times a day. The power remains with you, meaning that every single person has the ability to enact change. The take home message of climate change and the Paris Accord is this: we need to change how much we are consuming and what we are consuming. Both of those are hard truths to hear and even more difficult truths to act upon.

My aunt bought me a book for Christmas “The Reader’s Digest Guide to Life”. The book’s cover advertised that it contained instructions on “How to actually save the planet!” or some other such nonsense like that. For the record, Reader’s Digest would like you all to turn down your thermostats and locate a nearby farmer’s market. Unfortunately, as a planet, we’re past that point. But the issue is, no one wants to surrender the keys to their car.

As someone who sold their vehicle and lived car-free, I’ll tell you honestly that giving up your vehicle is limiting and complicates your life. But it’s what our planet needs. I’ll also share that two years after I junked my truck, I bought a van. The caveat here is- I don’t drive my van. Mostly I walk and I bike, on the rare occasions that neither of those forms of transportation will cut it, I hop in my car. For the past four years, my feet and my mountain bike have been my preferred form of transportation.

Tex on the other hand is a different story. He’s a cowboy which means he loves his “Man Van” and chose almost exclusively to drive the 2km to work and home last year. But the combination of watching National Geographic’s “Before the Flood” and Trump’s exit from the Paris Accord struck an unhappy note in him. It sparked a series of discussions in our house about the use of fossil fuels, the necessity of alternate forms of energy and our personal responsibility.

Last night, Tex and I signed our personal Paris Accord. As an engineer, the need for different sources of energy resonated with Tex. For myself, the question is always “How can we use less?” Together, we came up with the following agreement.

Paris Accord: The Family Edition- Goals for 2017 to 2018

  1. Put 1,000 kilometers on our cargo trike

Previously, my walking distance was under 5 kilometers, but with the arrival of our son, that became too far to go by foot. Acquiring a cargo trike opened up a world of locations that had previously only been accessible by car. We purchased the trike in lieu of buying a second vehicle. Our initial goal of 500 kilometers for the year seemed low given that the odometer ticked over to 300 yesterday. It’s been amazing how quickly trips to the grocery store and the local playplace have added up. I’ll share our tally in December.

  1. 400 kilometers on Tex’s bike

This goal made me so proud of my husband. Tex is not a morning person and allotting extra time to bike in the morning will be a challenge for him. This number represents Tex biking to and from work 100 times. Wish him luck.

  1. Reduce the distance we drive our van by 6,000 kilometers

This goal will be our biggest challenge; an unfortunate consequence of living in the middle of nowhere is that it is a very, very long drive to anything beyond basic amenities, family or programs. The average family puts 20,000 kilometers on their vehicle each year, so we would be cutting our emissions by more than a quarter. I’ll let you know how we fare.

  1. Tex will invest $10,000 in solar panels

This week, Tex discovered that in the next province over, where his family farm is located, the majority of the energy comes from oil and natural gas whereas our province is powered by dams up north. Through investing this amount in solar panels for the farm, Tex will prevent 4.6 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in addition to the 5% payback we will receive each year from the energy generated by the panels. This is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by driving a car 17,600 km or flying a family of four round trip to Europe.

  1. “Car free days” will be rewarded with $5 contributions to a fund for additional solar panels.

Five dollars a day adds up quickly, and rather than taxing our van’s use, I wanted to incentivize Tex’s newfound passion for cycling. This goal will show whether his excitement for solar panels is lasting.

 

There were a number of other obvious goals which didn’t make our family Paris Accord because they are easier changes or we had previously enacted them.

  • Less travel – we will not be flying for pleasure this year, instead we’ll be investing that money and then some into renewable energy.
  • Less beef – this one is a challenge given that Tex’s family are ranchers. We decided to halve our beef consumption to start.
  • Local food – I mentioned the family farm which is where a large percentage of our produce comes from.

Being in a family of two working professionals, Tex and I are afforded greater freedom with respect to what we can invest in alternative energy. But everyone, no matter their means can have a sizeable environmental impact by choosing to walk or bike or reducing their meat consumption. For our family, this agreement was a way of truly committing to reducing climate change by changing both how much and the kind of energy we consume.

For myself, the financial investment was and will be the aspect that I struggle with most. For Tex, the change in driving habits will present the most difficulty. Change isn’t easy, financial investment isn’t easy and sticking to it is the hardest part. But as citizens of planet earth we can personally choose to say “No” and in doing so, we will change the world. So my question to you is – What kind of Paris Accord could your family sign?

 

What small steps could you take? Transportation is where the majority of a person’s carbon footprint comes from- flying and driving are rough on our environment. When I began my green journey four years ago, I set a goal of walking or taking the bus to work once a week and my goals snowballed from there. Start small and keep challenging yourself.

 

How can you say “No”? While my brother in-law won’t be thrilled about our partial beef embargo, to me, this was a small, easy change to make. Focus on simple changes.

 

Learn more. Read green biographies, David Suzuki is fronting a movement for change. You can find him and his foundation here: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/

 

If you agree with our thoughts, press “Like”. If you think creating your own Paris Accord is a good idea press “Share” and if you want to change the world, make your own Paris Accord and tell us about it in the comments.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, I bet they’re good ones.

Deadbeat Manatee Parent

A consequence of meeting someone and then marrying them while being five months pregnant with their child, all in under a year, is that for a long while after all that excitement, you’re still getting to know your life partner. There are times when I’ll say “My friend Algernon* got married” and Tex will say “Algernon? You’ve never mentioned an Algernon” even though Algernon was my best friend in fifth through eighth grade. Then, I’ll tell him all about who I was when the world wore necklaces made of Bonnebelland braces.

So when a dresser full of papers from my childhood bedroom arrived, Tex stopped me before I could recycle the lot. “Wait” he said “we need to go through this together. This is a gold mine.” Waving a page around gleefully he said “Look there’s even your school project on manatees!”

I did do a project on manatees, but the paper he was waving around wasn’t it. I’m a heartless purger of memorabilia of any kind so that particular project had hit the blue bin two decades ago. In fact before Tex declared an amnesty for my childhood papers, I had already peeled the photographs from the pages because I know the city doesn’t take them with newspapers.

Fast forward to Tex and I sitting together, going through all of my junk. Once again, Tex grabbed for the papers about the manatees. “Who is Deep Dent?” Tex asked as he read over the paper congratulating me on my contribution to a manatee sanctuary. “He’s my manatee.” I answered, “For my birthdays I would ask for people to adopt manatees for me because I’ve always been an environment loving, dirty hippie”.

“Cool” Tex responded with his signature buoyant enthusiasm. “What do you know about these manatees?”

“I don’t know,” I replied offhandedly, “Here are their biographies, I didn’t read them.”

Tex reached for the pages of information about Deep Dent and the two other manatees I had adopted. “Neat. Are there pictures?”

“I took them out already, I was going to put them in the trash.”

Tex stopped rifling through the pages to look at me. “Do you mean to say that you don’t know anything about these manatees that you’ve adopted and you don’t have pictures of them? You’re a deadbeat manatee parent.” He glanced down at Amanda the manatee’s biography. “Did you at least visit them?”

“No, but my grandparents did” I said sheepishly.

“Your grandparents?!” Tex exploded at me “You really are a deadbeat manatee parent.”

So there you have it world. My mother is an excellent grandmother and a good step-parent even if she doesn’t want to be acknowledged in either of those roles, whereas I mindlessly adopt manatees and forget about them. Give me forty lashes or chain me to the stocks, or whatever it is that’s done to deadbeats.

 

 

*I didn’t actually have a friend named Algernon. Mostly because when I was younger I didn’t have friends. Not because I was unpopular, I was just unpleasant. But these types of omissions of information happen with Tex and I all the time. Probably because during the first year we were together, a little under half of it was consumed with prenatal activities and discussions. And by prenatal activities I mean vomiting. And by discussions I mean this conversation:

“Are you going to puke?”

“That looks like your puke face.”

“I’m pulling over to the side of the road now.”

Kids, the lesson here is to bang hot cowboys and get to know them later. It’s a tried and true recipe for life success, as evidenced by me, the deadbeat manatee parent. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just realized I forgot about the possum that I brought home last week and put in the porch.

To My Former Lover

I saw you on the street the other day. You were with someone else. I crossed to the other side because I didn’t want my desperation and feelings of longing to show. I think about you a lot. It’s hard not to; those squinting, dark hours we used to spend together before the day began, the afternoons at cafes, the late, late nights in university. You were a part of my family, my sister used to joke that if my mother didn’t have you, then what would motherly acts would she cling to?

My son is a year and a half now. It’s been that long. I know you’re not keeping count, but I am. Especially in the mornings, seeing you with other people, laughing, having a ball. I remember those days, when you’d wake me up; colours were brighter, sounds were sharper, with you it was like the world was in high def. To an extent, I know that I will always miss you, that some days will be a fog. But that comes with the territory, to know you so well- there’s no going back.

Not to be awkward, but I miss your body. Of all of your incarnations, the full one was always my favourite, but you knew that. The taste of you borders on sensuous; empires have been built on that power of yours. To say nothing of your smell, which we both know is your most attractive quality. Memorable, enticing, yours is a scent that is unmistakable.

I miss you. I just thought you should know that. I know it doesn’t matter, that you have the rest of the world while I’m left with the empty moments you once occupied in my day. But I wanted to say it all the same. And to add that nothing else looks quite as good in my mugs. Somehow a steaming cup of Earl Grey doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Coffee, just like Adele, I’d like to send my love to your new lover. And I do hope you treat her better and don’t give her tachycardia, because that would and does suck.

Miss you always,

Unwashed

Five Things Friday: All I Have To Do Now Is Mug A Hooker

  1. I’ve taken to stealing cars

The whole “motherhood” bit was getting dull, especially since it has been ages since I broke into that nunnery, so I decided to play the videogame Grand Theft Auto, but in real life. Our van is an incredibly popular model, meaning that there are approximately six other cars that look like it at any one time in a parking lot. This means that I attempt to break into at least one car a week. I’m a godawful thief though- I make a huge scene, yanking on the door handle, swearing at the car, waving my keys at it before realizing that I don’t play lacrosse, so that definitely isn’t my sporting equipment in the front seat.

 

  1. FOMO is not a sushi dish

I stopped reading trashy magazines, partially because it was a New Year’s resolution, but mostly because I had no idea what the text meant. My weekly indulgence had started using terms like “IDK” and “ICYMI” which I found somewhat confusing, but the worst trendy acronym for me was “IRL”, which I had decided was the English version of “Beurk!” which is a French sound effect for when a person is disgusted. This made sentences like “Such and such extremely attractive actor started dating so and so, another excessively beautiful person, IRL!” confounding, because was the magazine trying not to toss its cookies because the two were so adorable? Or was the couple a bad match? Or was one of the attractive people cheating on a third attractive person?

In case you are also confused, IRL means “In Real Life”. I discovered that this week, meaning that I’m now 30% fluent in young personese. With this new status, I plan to hang out at skate parks to put my acquired language skills to good use. And in case you’re wondering, ICYMI is a Japanese word meaning “Look there’s an octopus!” I’m not sure why English speakers are using it, probably for the same reason that white people get Japanese characters indelibly inked onto their skin.

 

  1. Pants the universal sponge

To cement my status as “Dirtiest Hippie Ever”, prior to moving, I decided to hide all of the towels and placemats in the house. This should have made cleaning up spills a challenge given that we don’t have paper towels in the house ever, but ever the resourceful person that I am, I used my pants.

I’ve chosen to cling to this explanation as opposed to the more obvious one which is that I am an idiot who used every single hand towel, placemat and cloth napkin as packing material, not realizing that we had ten more days in the house.

 

5. I am a toddler

Remember when you were small and painstakingly counted ooooooone, Two… three, FIVE! You don’t? Well aren’t you lucky, today you get to relive your childhood, because this five things Friday edition, goes just like that. You may all have a lollipop and hug your teddybear now too.

All of My Favourite Parts

In case you missed it, I defamed my mother terribly in my last post, I poked fun at her vanity and her constant need to feel and be perceived as young. But my mother is more than just her foibles. Although my Mom’s peccadillos are what make her into an interesting story, it’s her strengths like her ability to laugh at herself which make her so much fun to write about. And in this post, whether she likes it or not, I’m going to expound upon all of her strengths, and the qualities I love most about my Mom.

What I admire most about my mother is her willingness to be outside of the box. When I was younger, my mother was a hippie with a compost barrel before environmentalism was cool. My Mom always wore these unique, artsy jackets and dresses that made her stick out. But best of all, she was herself, this slightly nerdy lady who loved science and would let the whole world know it by covering our dining room table in overheads of organ systems. It was through watching this person who just delighted in who she was that I gained the confidence to be myself as well.

This sounds trivial but it isn’t – my mother is good at math. It was only after I entered university that I learned about the stereotype that girls struggle with math. After watching my mother, it never occurred to me that I would experience anything but success when faced with numbers. By the same token, my mother demonstrated to me that if I worked hard enough, I was capable of anything.

Earlier, I mentioned my Mom’s ability to make fun of herself. There is nothing which is more likely to elicit a huge laugh from my mother than a story lampooning either an action or a trait of hers. I always try to emulate this, to never take myself too seriously. In that same vein, my mother is always up for an adventure. Traveling or attempting new sports with her is a riot, because to my Mom, every mishap or fall is a story and a story is something to smile about.

Lastly, the quality that most often makes my mother a model to others is her level of fitness. Upon meeting my Mom for the first time, once her back is turned, people will say to me “Your mother is jacked” which is both true and false at the same time. For a person in their late fifties, my mother is probably in the ninety-ninth percentile in terms of physical fitness. However, throughout my teens and early twenties, my mother was actually jacked, with biceps that made boyfriends contemplate picking me up down the street to avoid facing her. She used to wear crop tops every day of the week to show off her rockin’ six pack. My mother viewed every chin up bar that she met as a challenge to be conquered, which, had video games not been invented by then and thus gobbled up the neighbourhood children, would have made walks to the local playground exceptionally awkward. Regardless of whether or not she can still bench press the neighbour’s sedan, my mother lives the adage “use it or lose it”, and has passed on this commitment of personal fitness to me.

While I take great pleasure in teasing my mother for her weaknesses, I love her most for her strengths because they’re what she’s passed on to me. These unique qualities are the ones that I hope my own children will possess. I’m doing my best to be an equally good model as my own mom was and is, but I must confess, those are some big (and jacked) shoes to fill.

All Hail Cookie Owl

Appearances are very important to my mother. Whether it’s appearing to be a good hostess, mother or much younger than her years, my mother’s vanity has always been an entertaining part of my life. If only because in every instance, I often end up dashing these dreams of competency and youth upon the rocks.

Once upon a time, when I thought My Little Pony was the answer to all the world’s problems, I was in Brownies. It was a horrible, weekly event that I was forced into under the guise of “making friends”, “appearing normal” and “trying new things”. I resisted the group at every turn. In an effort to support my participation, my mother agreed to become one of the leaders. The first week that she joined, everyone sat in a circle and we were asked to give our new leader a name. All the leader’s names ended with “Owl”, there was probably justification for this but as I spent the majority of the meetings calculating how many seconds were left until my parents picked me up, I don’t remember it.

Anyway, so my mother sat there, next to Sleepy Owl, Happy Owl and Sneezy Owl. These weren’t actually the women’s “Brownie Names” but I don’t remember either the women or the names, so they very well could have been small bearded men for all I know.

Sneezy Owl asked the group whether anyone had any suggestions for the new Owl’s name. Ever the helpful child, I raised my hand. “You should call her Thunder Owl because she yells a lot” I suggested. My mother was mortified and gave me the kind of look that said that the car ride wasn’t going to be fun so perhaps I shouldn’t count the seconds this evening. She ended up being Cookie Owl, only the second most boring name after Happy Owl. Regardless, she could pretend to maintain the facade of being a perfect parent.

Although my mother denies that she yells, more often, she denies her age. The most recent example of this would be the name she demanded Mini-Tex call her. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief, it’s not Cookie Owl. Even though her own mother became a grandma at fifty and willingly took on the moniker “Gran”, at fifty-eight, my mother decided she was to young to be a grandma and refused to be called any incarnation of the title, not granny, not buba, not grams. Instead she invented her own name – Gemma. She took the “g” and “m” from grandma and made a hip title so no one would dare offer her a discount on the early bird special.

One would think that denying the existence of a grandchild would be the pinnacle in narcissistic acts, but this week, my mother took it one step further. She chose to deny that she was a parent. No, she wasn’t parading around claiming that we were sisters, she chose to instead deny her role as a step parent.

Gary, a family friend and trusted contractor, made the jump last year to boyfriend status. My mother even upped the ante by having him move in with her. Since then, they have attended each other’s family functions, she routinely makes meals for his children and Gary’s sons often sleep over. Which led to the following conversation.

Unwashed – “So as their step parent”

Mom – “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. No one is anyone’s step parent.”

Unwashed – “I’m sorry, do they regularly sleep at your house?”

Mom – “Yes”

Unwashed – “Do you often make them meals?”

Mom – “Yes, but”

Unwashed rudely cutting her mother off – “Do you worry about how they’re doing in school and whether they’re attending.”

Mom in an obvious state of discomfort – “Yes, it’s different”

Unwashed obnoxiously talking loudly over her mother – “STEP PARENT!”

I’m not actually sure why my mother is denying her step children’s existence, they’re even teenagers so it would totally feed into her love of being mistaken for being much younger than she is. I think it’s one of those times where I just have to shake my head and smirk inwardly as everyone calls my mother “Cookie Owl” to soothe her ego. For the record, “Thunder Owl” is much more bad ass. It’s what a Hell’s Angel’s member would demand to be called if they weren’t too busy dealing cocaine to attend their children’s extra-curricular activities.

Who Are You People?

It occurs to me, that I write about myself, my husband, son, mother and closest friend often. So I decided to give a bit of a backstory to them. Yes, this blog has existed just fine without such a page for four and a half years, but think of the “characters” page as being like streamers on a bicycle. Who doesn’t love streamers?

I just posed the streamer question to my husband Tex and he gave me a perplexed look and asked me whether I would paint dicks on a wall. It would seem that only five year old girls and me love bicycle streamers. Although now I’m somewhat relieved that Tex has never shown interest in decorating our home, I’m understandably concerned what his accents for a room would look like.

So with that profane tangent aside, I encourage you all to check out the new page on The Great Unwashed.