Travesty Tuesday – Tricycle Rides and Unfortunate Sleeping Arrangements

The Great Unwashed- “I’m putting up a Travesty Tuesday post.”

Roscoe- “But it’s Thursday.”

The Great Unwashed- “You know that saying “It’s five o’clock somewhere?” Well it’s Tuesday somewhere. It’s a time zone thing.”

Roscoe- “That’s not how time zones work.”

Red onion slices

These account for approximately 60% of New Zealand’s diet**. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Great Unwashed – “It’s Tuesday in New Zealand. Honest. And it doesn’t even matter if it isn’t, New Zealanders do things backwards anyways, they call every second Wednesday “Girdle” and only eat raw onions.”

Roscoe walked out of the room after that. He does that sometimes.

Here is an email I sent to my youngest cousin Candy*. She came to visit me just before leaving to go to college. It’s my guess that she robbed multiple convenience stores and the judge gave her the option of going to Juvie for a month or spending time with me. I think Juvie was looking pretty sweet after she read this.

Oh well you can’t win ‘em all, right Candy?



Dear Candy,


SURPRISE! We’re going camping. Nothing big, just the local park and only for one night. To celebrate this momentous occasion my truck is in at the mechanics getting both the flap thingie on the front fixed and also the SCREEEEEEEE noise that it’s been making any time I turn it on.

The parking lot in front of the garage was packed full of broken-down cars. The mechanics seemed doubtful about when they would be able to return my truck to me.


English: A man is riding his overloaded tricyc...

Candy, I think you over packed a little. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As such it’s my recommendation to you Candy, to practice core muscle exercises for the next few days. Not only will these assist with paddle boarding which we shall be trying at the park but it will also help in your transport to the house from the bus station. My current plan is to ride a tricycle over and have you ride on my shoulders the three kilometers home. You will have to carry your suitcase on your back obviously.

This is a hugely popular transportation method in India just so you know.

We will be sharing the giant self inflating mattress while camping because I can’t be bothered to bring and blow up two separate ones when I could punch and kick my way through a night next to someone who is obligated to be nice to me by virtue of sharing just over 12% of my genetic code and staying in my house.

I also suggest you bring a sweater, a bathing suit, sunscreen and a UV shirt*** if you own one. Otherwise I’ll make you wear one of my UV shirts which are so used and stretched out that they’d look more appropriate on a fashionable orangutan.

Or maybe not, I feel like a fashionable anything would refuse to wear a UV shirt.

I have all necessary other camping items although I suggest you remind me to bring pillows. I often forget this item and no matter how I arrange the pile, firewood never seems comfortable to sleep on.

Lovingly, awkwardly and always on three wheels, your cousin,

The Great Unwashed


*Candy is as sweet as her made up name. She would never burn down convenience stores. She is frequently forced to visit me, a severe penance for crimes she doesn’t commit. At least I don’t think she commits crimes. I was covered in highly flammable oil during her visit though.


** I wouldn’t necessarily trust my knowledge of the world. I garnered most of the facts I know about New Zealand from Wild Buttercup. However I only looked at the pictures so I don’t know how reliable my information is.


Also I’ve never been to India. However I would like someone to ride on my shoulders while I peddle a tricycle. As a young child I was prevented from attempting this, I can only assume that sort of fun is illegal in Canada. India seems like a fun loving place. I bet mothers allow that sort of thing there.


***For those of you who don’t go red and shrivel up in the sun like a raisin a UV shirt blocks ninety to one hundred percent of UVA and UVB rays. For near albinos like Candy and I this type of clothing is a necessity for all outdoor activities. We combine it with 110 SPF sunscreen and then complain about feeling burnt. The Irish are fun to kiss but you probably shouldn’t procreate with them if you ever want to sit out on a beach.


Lighting Fires In Public Places -The Student Ghetto Chronicles Part III

So another perk of living in the student ghetto along with the cast of Shakespearean inspired characters that grace our presence during the wee hours is the area around our home.

Needle and Junky Park boasts riverside picnicking, summer music festivals and countless people some with permanent residences and some without. It also has a needle drop box. The needles don’t always make it in.

This lush spot is one of my favourite places to run. It’s also the meth heads’ favourite place to run after me. As of yet I haven’t been caught.

So there I am running through the park, almost to the playground which marks the end of Needle and Junky Park and the beginning of Soccer Mompreneur Park when I spied a man carrying a GIANT branch. He also had with him a soiled grocery bag packed to the brim. Rather than being weary of him I concluded that he was an artist, hellbent on creating the perfect scene with just the right branch. However he was quite heavy and as a rule most starving artists are just that- starving and very skinny. With all of these factors indicating something else I clung to my hopeful idea; he was an artist there to create incredible and heartfelt images with nature.

And then he gave me crazy eyes as I passed him. So I picked up my pace a little bit and decided he was a crazy artist. I continued on my run for a while then turned around. I didn’t think of the man again until I saw the thick cloud of smoke next to the river on my way back. Next I saw the fire, and watched Crazy Eyes pick up more branches to add to it.

Now in school they educate people on things like “Don’t eat poison.” “Don’t talk to strangers.” “Don’t play in traffic.”

They never covered what to do if you see a man start and tend a fire in the middle of a public place. What made the whole situation worse was that no one else batted an eye.

I came up with two conclusions;

  1. Building fires in public parks is a normal and acceptable practice, my life has been incomplete up to this moment and I am probably a little unpatriotic for never having done this myself.
    Fire in Dumpster

    Fires; not just an ingredient for a romantic evening under the mantle.  (Photo credit: benwatts)


  2.  He made crazy eyes at the people around me and they were equally terrified and refused to pull out their cell phones to call the police in front of him.

Walking until there was a fair amount of space between me and the crazy eyed arsonist I phoned 911. Then immediately felt guilty because I had been taught never to call 911 unless it was an emergency and I still wasn’t sure this was an emergency.

“Hello, Emergency 911. Do you need police, fire or ambulance?” asked the operator.

I hadn’t thought I would need to make a decision that if it was an actual emergency the operator would be comforting me because I would be going into shock.

“Uhhhhhh police?” I said, thinking that the only thing needed was for a stern man in uniform to walk down to the park and say “Hey! Stop that!” At which point Crazy Eyes would cease tending the fire and dig through his soiled grocery bag for a bucket to gather river water in. Or possibly a fire extinguisher, for all I knew Crazy Eyes could have been an organized man who plans ahead.

“A man has built a fire in Needle and Junky Park.” I said into my phone as inconspicuously as I could.

“I’m transferring you to the fire department” said the 911 operator humorlessly.

What made the whole situation worse was that the fire department operator didn’t seem at all fazed by my story. “Is the fire out of control?” She asked.

“No” I said now thoroughly convinced that this was not in fact an emergency and may very well not even be illegal.

“Thanks ma’am we will try and send someone to check it out.”

The try in the last sentence before she hung up now has me questioning whether making campfires in public is something that people do.

I guess the only way to find out is to go get my own giant branch and light it aflame in the middle of the park.




This post is a part of the Student Ghetto Chronicles series. To read more about living in a place where items like pants are unnecessary click below.

Bongs, Dirty Laundry and Elmo

Midnight Thespians; profanity, moaning and sprinklers

Cardboard Umbrellas and Minor Identity Theft


This week my grandmother turns eighty-nine. Consequently I am staying with my parents so I can attend the celebration. I enjoy my jaunts home, whether or not my parents also enjoy my visits changes from moment to moment.



Telephone modele U43-MGR Lyon-IMG 9923

My generation does not believe in landlines. One of the perks of coming home is getting to answer my parents’ home phone. My father uses this line to call his clients and telemarketers use this phone as a way of irritating my father. When I come home I use the home phone to annoy the bejaysus out of telemarketers.


My favourite thing to do when I hear the special long distance ring is to pick up the phone and in the highest tone in my register say “Hello?”


Invariably the telemarketer asks “Is Mr. Phillip D. Belnar there?” which is a complete bastardization of my father’s name. No one calls him Phillip, his name is Phil. Furthermore my father’s business associates would never use the “D.” in his name and most importantly my family’s name isn’t even Belnar, it’s Bilnur.*


I take this as a sign that mischief must be made. Using the top of my register again, a full three octaves above my father’s low tenor, I’ll answer “This is him.”


Occasionally the telemarketers will be slightly annoyed by this and ask again “Is Mr. Phillip D. Belnar there?”


And I’ll doggedly answer a second time “This is him” acquiescing slightly to their demand to speak with a man by lowering my voice, but only a little. “Is there a problem?” I’ll ask.


“Well Mr. Belnar”, they’ll answer, “It isn’t so much a problem as an opportunity”.


At this point, I’ll cut the salesperson off and let the most ridiculous ideas spew from my mouth, making sure not to take a breath to allow the telemarketer an opportunity to interrupt. “You know I’m so glad you called, I actually have an opportunity for you! Cardboard umbrellas, now wait a moment there, I know what you’re thinking- That dog won’t hunt.”


This is my favourite part of the conversation, increasingly call centres are being outsourced to countries where English is a second language. These companies can teach their employees all of the grammar in the world, but there’s nothing like an outdated Southern saying to throw a non native speaker off. You don’t realize that confusion makes a sound until you hear it.


I’ll continue with my absurd pitch, railroading both the telemarketers’ original purpose and their puzzlement. “Now how many times have you left an umbrella somewhere and lost it?” I’ll say once again without pausing. “Really the item in question is disposable, so my question to you is –Why not treat it as such?” It’s at this point in the non conversation, because the formerly tenacious salesperson has been forced to give up their end of the call from the absurdity of my behaviour, that they hang up.


I consider it a personal badge of honor that I have only had to end a call on a telemarketer a handful of times.


*For obvious reasons this is not my father’s real name. Although I create such minor mischief as impersonating my Dad, I’m not in the habit of putting his full name on the internet. Unless of course I was going whole hog and putting his phone number alongside with the message “For a good time call”.


Midnight Thespians; profanity, moaning and sprinklers

The Student Ghetto Chronicles Part Two

Last night my sleep was interrupted by Roscoe turning on the lights and swearing about “the damn students”.

A hamburger with a rim of lettuce sitting on a...

A truly stylish hood ornament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This kind of thing happens sometimes, generally after a young, drunken soul leaves a hamburger with the ketchup covered patty face down on Roscoe’s car. For the record this has never once happened to my truck, likely because I bring our rabble rousing neighbours bagel flavoured cake. Don’t ask, I was teased mercilessly for that abomination at home, but the frat boys didn’t complain.

Personally I’ll take the odd McDonaldsified vehicle over moving to a less colourful area where people don’t shout “I effing love boooooooooooobs” at three am. Only they don’t say effing. It adds spice to my day. Or in that case my very early morning. There’s a certain amount of youthful joie de vie which is lost when you don’t wake up on March 17th with teenagers traipsing through your backyard en route to the frat party next door. “Oh sorry ma’am. Cool Snoopy jammies. Do you want to come with us?”

Anyway, so Roscoe has a completely different story but I’m going to tell my version.

So at about eleven o’clock last night Roscoe was studying in a very grouchy manner. The gods of humour and calamity saw this and decided that his evening needed less colostomy bag protocol and more fun. Hence Dude appears underneath the office window. And begins to reenact Hamlet for the two young ladies with him.

Only he doesn’t remember the plot to Hamlet. Or any of the characters, or what Shakespearean prose sounds like. So he just starts fighting a battle to the death.  With himself.

Roscoe, who was focused on colostomy bag incisions, is able to ignore this production. Sort of.

However a moment later Dude realizes that our landlord has left the sprinkler and the hose out. Right next to the tap. Dude senses that his production is lacking a certain something – a storm. Being the Good Samaritan that he is, Dude also noticed that our grass was looking thirsty. This environmentally savvy young thespian knew that the best time to water your lawn is at night. Three birds with one very convenient stone. On goes the hose.

Regretfully Dude had underestimated the water pressure. It was at this point in the evening when swear words, groans and water started to come in through the open office window.

Roscoe, not realizing that Dude was just trying to provide him with some entertainment while watering our lawn, rushed outside and started bellowing at the young do-gooder, who ran, leaving the hose on full blast and soaking Roscoe to the skin.

This is when my husband burst into our bedroom and started going on about that he knows how much I enjoy living in the student ghetto but really we’re just surrounded by awful people.

All I saw was the jerk who woke me up in the middle of the night asking for a towel when there was one on his hook in the bathroom.

Roscoe tells the story differently. Tragically this is my blog, so I’m going to talk about wannabe actors who like to conserve water and help their neighbours. Tough luck dear husband, perhaps wait until morning next time to tell me about our midnight visitors?

Better Than A Cross Country Unicycle Ride

So earlier this week I was struck by a brilliant idea- I could work in Hawaii. Maui in particular is short 500 people in my industry every year. There were a number of obstacles in this plan, the first being Roscoe. Here is how I presented the idea to him.

The Great Unwashed– “I want to work in Hawaii.”

Roscoe– “Can we please have this conversation another time? Or can you at least carry your end of the couch while you are doing it?”

Pipecleaner Art Masterwork, Age 3

While pipecleaners make festive centerpieces they’ve rarely been cited for their abilities to transport anything larger than a googly eye. (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Roscoe and I have an agreement that me and my bendy, pipecleaner arms will pretend to help him move big pieces of furniture and Roscoe will act as though I’m actually helping.

The Great Unwashed obligingly pretends to pick up half the couch- “I want to work in Hawaii, they need people in my field there.”

Roscoe grunting from the exertion of carrying a couch alone- “That’s great?”

The Great Unwashed– “No it is! You could work there too. People lose bits all the time in Hawaii, sharks are always biting surfers’ arms and legs off. You’d have lots of work. Also I hear some fish even bite. You’d be overrun with sewing bits back on, honest.”

Roscoe– “I question your knowledge of ichthyology.”

The Great Unwashed– “I question your knowledge of cosmetology. So there. The point is we need to move to Hawaii.”

After the couch was placed in it’s new spot I went online to find more persuasive information about employment and carnivorous fish.

What I discovered was that in order to work in Hawaii I would have to get my degree accredited, write an exam, fly myself out to Hawaii to attend an interview on my dime and then go through the process of applying for an international work Visa.

After doing all of that to the tune of approximately five grand I might, might get hired to work and be paid two thirds of what I receive here.

“Nutbars!” I cried upon this revelation “Super peanut-y O’Henrys! King Size Snickers!

There is only one possible solution to this costly problem.

I’m going to write to Hawaii and recommend that they install a zipline from Canada, thereby cutting the travel costs down to zero and making the process far, far cheaper. Although it still would be a pain. Now there would be some start up expenses with the installation of the zipline but I think it would be minimal compared to the number of people who would benefit from its use. And it would certainly cut down on the labour shortages.

Awkward Beard Love

Archer*, the young man who tends my parents’ garden has a lush, thick beard. The kind of beard you’d find on Santa if Father Christmas was a ginger. Sometimes when I’m home my parents will ask me to bring him some ice water or I’ll offer him a cup of coffee in the morning. It was this kind of interaction which led to the following conversation.

The Great Unwashed hands Archer a glass of ice water. Archer puts down the pruning shears and happily accepts it. As he’s sipping the liquid The Great Unwashed decides to fill the silence and finally says what’s on her mind.

The Great Unwashed– “You have a really great beard.”

Archer swallows and says “Thank you.” Then takes another sip.

The Great Unwashed– “I wish I could grow a beard like that.”

Archer coughs and looks surprised.

The Great Unwashed wistfully to herself –“Maybe when I’m older.”

One day this will be mine. Just imagine all the things I could hide in there. (Photo Credit:

One day this will be mine. Just imagine all the things I could hide in there. (Photo Credit:

As women age they produce less estrogen leading to the growth of facial hair. My mother spent her teen years working in a nursing home. If her stories are true; ninety percent of elderly care is female mustache removal and the other ten percent is bathing people with faded tattoos. There’s hope for me yet.

*As Archer has yet to accept another beverage from me following this exchange I felt that it was best to change his name.

The Alternative Is Dating Gargamel

I’m having a colourful day. Not colourful as in swearing a lot, or even colourful as in the apartment is filled with rainbows but it might as well be.

I got up this morning and painted my nails a bright and alluring red. When Roscoe got up his first words were “What happened to your hands?”

Although it is out of the ordinary for me to paint my nails (and my toes nails too), what he was referring to was the way I chose to decorate them. In theory you’re supposed to use the edges of your nails as a point for where to stop painting but that’s only a guideline. A suggestion really. You could paint all the way up your arms and across your clavicle if you wanted, the only limiting factor there is the size of those darn bottles. Why do they make them so small? It’s like OPI doesn’t want me to have any fun, ever.

Although I hadn’t painted all the way up my arms, I hadn’t quite respected the nail bed boundary idea so it looked like I had spent the morning in an abattoir. “Uaaah” Roscoe recoiled from my gruesome hands.

“Don’t worry” I assured him. “They’re dry, this should stay on for a couple hours at least” I said while waggling my gory fingers at him.

In Canada it’s a holiday today so Roscoe was determined to take me out to the movies. However I had a number of chores I wanted to finish up before we left. Primarily I wanted to revitalize a sweater of mine by dying it teal. I was all set up in the bathroom, with my big plastic bucket, my sweater and most importantly the dye which was such a vibrant colour that I wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately Roscoe caught me right as I was about to plunge my hands into the deep swirling blue, thereby cutting my mischief off at the pass. And preventing yet another violet-bathroom, purple-foot incident. “What are you doing?”

“Dying? My? Shirt?” I answered as innocently as one who is about to dye her forearms deep blue can.

“No. Absolutely not, I’m not going out with a Smurf.”

I hesitated, holding my arms a safe distance above the bucket of dye. “”Well technically I would only be part Smurf, not even an eighth, like a Smurf twice removed.”

Roscoe was not smiling. This is why I get up at five am, so that all of my tomfoolery is complete long before my husband wakes up.  Because it’s harder to argue with things that have already happened. There’s only so much you can do when you awaken, rub your eyes and realize there’s a wild turkey perched on the chest of drawers. “Why is there a bird in the bedroom? And I did not agree to this wallpaper!”

Gargamel and his cat Azrael.

No one wants to hit that. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It could be worse.”I said, still holding my hands within dipping distance of the dye. “I could look like the Smurf villain and then everyone would be staring at you wondering why you want to date a hunched, balding, old man.”

“Put on some gloves” he commanded before turning on his heel while shaking his head.

I suppose I’m just going to have to settle for bright red nails, hands and feet. I’ll wear my teal sweater tomorrow.

The Student Ghetto Chronicles- Bongs, Dirty Laundry and Elmo

Beer Pong Champ

Winning this is the ultimate Frat boy fantasy. They practice nightly for this competition. I admire their commitment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, while taking out the garbage I saw a strange sight. I often pause during this chore to appreciate our spectacular view into the frat boy’s parking lot next door.  Now living in the student ghetto there are many things that I regularly see in this space; detritus from a party days before, people making out in cars, inebriated men playing basketball but never what I saw last night. Looking over into what is in essence the frat boy’s backyard I spied an honest to goodness little person. Even more surprising was that standing not three feet away from the little person was yet another little person. I was immediately concerned.

One of the blondes I often see next door was with the miniature people as well as a middle aged woman who looked equally out of place. Although I knew the blonde girl was kind, I doubted that she would be  much help in this situation. Mostly because the girls next door are often too busy being young and drunk to assist anyone. I don’t judge, once upon a time I was eighteen and considered Mudslides the dairy component of a balanced breakfast too.

From my steps I shouted to the middle aged woman “Are you lost?”

The woman looked up as the two miniature people continued to toddle around the remains of last night’s game of beer pong. “Huh?” she said.

“Are you lost?” I repeated “This is the student ghetto, we don’t often see children here.”

The woman chuckled. “No, we’re OK, we’re just visiting”.

I proceeded to take out the garbage all the while wondering what a person does to amuse a child in a frat house. I suppose there’s the classic “Find the Bottle” where they scour the house for the empties. Or the children could make a small fort out of all the two-four boxes lying about. Of course for the studious child there’s always the joy of entomology and counting how many types of insects which call the frat house home. For whatever reason the family didn’t stay long. Perhaps the children had played one too many rounds of “Whose Lacy Underpants Are These?” and got tired.