Subliminal Marketing And An Undying Passion For Cheddar

Roscoe and I do not have cable. There are a number of reasons for this; the first being that I haven’t yet figured out how to work the television itself. It has three remotes. Roscoe says that the remotes and the television are easy to operate. I question this factoid, as he also claimed that his car was easy to operate and I spent fifteen minutes in the driveway trying unsuccessfully to turn it on.

I tried to order two of Suzanne Somers but they were out.

Once I tried to order two of Suzanne Somers but she was out of stock. (Photo Credit:

The second reason that we don’t have cable is that I’m very susceptible to marketing; subliminal or otherwise. I don’t sit for long periods of time so my television watching is limited to programs that are ten minutes long or less – like an ad on the shopping channel. When Roscoe and I were dating, I lived at home with my parents who had cable. This led to a number of phone calls in which I tried to convince Roscoe that I needed an ab blaster or a mandolin made in Switzerland despite the fact that I believed in neither gyms nor cooking at the time.

Hence in the interest of not filling our house with useless pieces of exercise equipment and chotchkes  we live without cable. And life was fine and dandy, that was until Netflix arrived.

Although Netflix does not have a shopping channel, it does have documentaries. Unlike sitcoms or movies one can watch ten minutes of a documentary, pause it then walk away only to sit back down a day later without feeling as though a plot refresher is necessary. For this reason I love documentaries. However my favourite genre of documentaries are the sketchy ones. Documentaries without enough proof or information tend to be short thus my sense of accomplishment is greater as I can watch two of these a week versus just one of the more reputable, longer documentaries.

Although this new habit has had some unexpected side effects- last night Roscoe walked in on this scene.

The Great Unwashed stands in front of the bedroom mirror staring intently into her reflection.

The Great Unwashed -“You are valid” pauses, still staring into her reflection. “And hopeful” pauses again for longer “Also you like cheese.”

Roscoe unable to watch this bizarre scene for any longer asks “What are you doing?”

The Great Unwashed speaks to Roscoe’s reflection in the mirror – “I watched part of a documentary today on vegans. It told me to look at my reflection and repeat a message to myself every night, only I forgot was the message was.”

Roscoe- “Vegans don’t eat cheese.”

The Great Unwashed – “It might have been a movie about the Kennedy conspiracies, I don’t really know, I only watched ten minutes of it.”

For some reason I have a feeling the Netflix subscription will be cancelled shortly.

Death By Baby Oil

It’s grievous bodily injury week here at The Great Unwashed and we’re celebrating with vigor. Remember the story of the old lady who swallowed a fly?  I’ve always thought that woman was crazy after reading that she swallowed a spider, a cat, a dog and so on. However after what happened the other day I can now empathize with the old lady. Sometimes when things go bad the only option is to make them worse.

I’m attempting to stain a fifty year old dining set. I say attempting because currently I’m on my third try after two failed coats of varnish. My grandmother was upset with me when she heard that I had been attempting to spread the finish with a rag “Use a brush otherwise it’s a waste of stain and rags- Grandpa’s underwear doesn’t grow on trees you know.”

That's a horrible mental image. Almost as bad as the day I spent holding onto Grampa's underpants.

Grandpa’s underwear tree. That’s a horrible mental image. (Photo Credit :

Ok she may not have said the last part, but it was implied by her incredulous tone of voice upon hearing how I had been attempting to refinish the table.

Armed with Grandma’s advice, the refinishing job was going splendidly until I needed to wash the brush.

Now as a former lifeguard and a self confessed safety aficionado I am normally all decked out in personal protective equipment; goggles, masks, ear protection, gloves, the whole nine yards. However using a brush meant that my hands were not touching the stain, hence I didn’t wear gloves. So when I went to wash the stain out of the brush I thought to myself “Water washes things, why would I need gloves to wash things?”

Which was how I ended up with stain coated hands. A veteran of being covered in gook  I went immediately to my supply of baby oil gel* and smeared it all over my hands.

It's also useful when you're stuck in a tube slide. (Photo credit :

It’s also useful when you’re stuck in a tube slide. (Photo credit :

Baby oil gel will remove most dyes, all temporary tattoos and wax. Unfortunately I discovered what baby oil gel will not remove is varnish. Now my hands were stained brown with a top coat of baby oil. The tub was rapidly being coated in stain as well at this point.

That’s when I decided to get the borax. Tragically I store borax in the cupboard with a glass doorknob, which would not turn because my hands were coated in grease. So I grabbed a glove that I should have been wearing at the beginning of all of this and put it on to open the door.

Sprinkling the borax liberally I began to scrub the now “Mission Oak” brown bathtub with a gloved hand. Suddenly the latex started to get very warm and I realized that a chemical reaction was occurring between the stain and the borax. Remembering the slew of detergent suicides in the media, I threw open our front door and the window hoping to air out the room. The borax worked a little bit but kept heating up so I tried regular soap.

Unfortunately following an afternoon of unsupervised science experiments all of the soap in our house looked like this.


 Soap is prone to exploding when exposed to science because science is great. Not quite so great when you need it to clean things though. (Photo Credit :

Soap is prone to exploding when exposed to science because science is great. Not quite so great when you need it to clean things though. (Photo Credit :

So it didn’t work very well. And now the wonky shaped soap had a coat of “Mission Oak” stain too.

After all of that the tub was clean. As long as the lights were off and you squinted it looked almost white. I was on the verge of being late to meet a friend so I hopped in to shampoo my hair and shower.

The ensuing shriek as I slid down and sideways out of the tub could be heard four houses away because the front door was still open. The tub was white (ish) but the borax and science experiment soap had not cut through the layer of baby oil.

The only way I could shower was by crouching, which didn’t work well as the drain was clogged with a mixture of stain, borax and oil. While I shampooed my hair, the tub gradually filled with water and there was a grimy layer on the top.

So I had to walk the fine line of staying crouched enough so I wouldn’t slip on the baby oil but not so crouched that my lower half got coated in the varnish and borax combination floating on the surface. Although the words “I preserved it just for you” are very sweet I don’t think shellacking my kootch and bum would go over well with my husband.

I realized that I was going to be late when I emerged from the shower dirtier than when I went in. Texting my friend  “Late. Have story.” I grabbed a bottle of dish detergent from the kitchen and took another swipe at cleaning the tub. The Palmolive cut through the baby oil and I was able to shower standing up this time to get rid of the film that had formed on my legs.

In the future I’m going to ask my grandmother what to do after completing a staining job. I have a feeling it will involve gloves and more underpants.

*My friend upon hearing this story said “Why do you have so much baby oil gel?” which I thought was a silly question given how often I end up covered in some sort of dye thus it seems obvious why  we would have bottles and bottles of it lying around. But there is one other purpose for baby oil gel which I will cover in another post.


The Recipe For An Awesome Summer: Me and Grandpa’s Underpants

I have an intimate and unintentional relationship with my grandfather’s boxer briefs.

I must preface this story with the following comments. My paternal grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. It was a difficult period in Canada’s history but the people were resourceful and used objects eight different ways until the item disintegrated into dust. And then they made decorative wall hangings out of the dust.

My grandmother never lost this resourcefulness; she was often seen dumpster diving around the neighbourhood for useful items that people had carelessly discarded. She would then give the furniture new life by stripping and recovering it. I’ve always admired my Grandma’s remarkable ability to use items in every imaginable way. My concern for the environment and limiting the amount of material waste I produce comes from watching my grandmother create wonderful pieces from reclaimed furniture.

This was how I ended up staining an oak chest in my grandparent’s basement one summer. I had covered the cost of the stain and the chest but my grandmother had kindly offered to provide the rest of the materials which included masks, gloves and rags.

“Thanks Grandma for helping me.” I said as we worked the stain into the wood.

“Oh you’re welcome dear.” She replied kindly. Glancing over at my work my grandmother commented “You’re going to need to use a new rag that one has to be changed.”

Looking at the stain saturated cloth in my hand I hesitated “Grandma, I don’t want to use all of your rags.”

“Oh don’t worry dear, Grandpa’s old underwear has lots of uses.”

English: I put some boxers in the floor

I don’t want to know the other uses.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I hadn’t been wearing a mask my grandmother would have seen my mouth drop open in horror and disbelief. I stared at my hand which would now always be the hand that had touched Grandpa’s underwear. No longer did I have a left and right hand, for years after this I would have my right hand and the Grandpa’s underwear hand. Writing was quite difficult in grade eight as I had previously been a lefty. Also I lost the “Best Summer Contest” on the first day back at school that year.


Attack of the Bulge! Jeremiah Returns!

In September, the days become shorter and colder to herald the long awaited return of Jeremiah.  For those of you who are new to The Great Unwashed, Jeremiah is my food baby.

English: Chocolate Zingers

I make Jeremiah out of so many of these. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I make him out of tortilla chips, cupcakes and sitting on my butt every winter. I very carefully grow him in the dark Canadian cold and then sweat him off every spring. I look forward to eating wheels of cheese with Jeremiah, yet I never miss him when he’s gone.

In an act of poor judgment I named my winter pudge after a model that I used to date. In a fit of even poorer judgment I decided to inform said ex boyfriend that he was a (food) daddy. The original message is below.

Dear Jeremiah*,

Once upon a time I was young and lovely, and you were significantly older than me but also still lovely. And we went out on a date. I thought you were hot stuff.
Now I am married. And I have a blog. I just wanted you to know I named my food baby after you.
I always really liked the name Jeremiah.

Sincerely yours,

The Great Unwashed

A while ago, the actual Jeremiah not my chubby mid section emailed me back.

Oh my god! The Great Unwashed! How’s it going?? How are things? And what’s a food baby??


*Names have not been changed to protect the identity of my (food) baby daddy because not only was his response tardy, but he didn’t even bother to inquire about little Jeremiah’s well being. He’s gone, extremely hot man who I went on a two hour date with exactly once- thanks for asking. I might have kept him had you offered child support.

No that’s a lie. I never intentionally hold on to my winter weight.


If you love chocolate and sour cream and the resulting the pleasant curve of a food baby named Jeremiah too, you can read more about him below.

Mid-Day Stabbings

Needle Exchange

Trypanophobia: the fear of needles. The jerk of all phobias- it’ll shiv you in a back alley (or office) and then claim it was for your health. (Photo credit: Todd Huffman)

My fear of needles is making me pungent and gooey. I have a long standing history of trypanophobia- I even have a scar from it. When I was five, I was involved in a horrible playground accident that left both my mother and I covered in blood. While crawling across a set of monkey bars my elbows buckled and my teeth went through my lower lip. Then my face bled like I was dying in the way that facial wounds do. Unless of course you’ve cut a dead person in which case your biggest problem is your choice of hobbies rather than the amount of blood coming from the wound. I digress. So my mother rushed me to our family doctor who declared that I would need two stitches or it would scar.

At that point in my life the only way I would endure a needle was to have my mother lay across my legs and pin my arms to my sides to prevent the kindly medical professional from battling my five year old self mixed martial arts style while administering a vaccination.

“I don’t think I can hold her down for that long.” My mother replied. Hence it was decided that my mother liked our doctor too much to have her attempt to sew my face back together. So my mother and I went home. I have the scar to prove it.

Chuck Norris was the special outside referee f...

It doesn’t matter how widely you smile now Chuck, you’re still getting those stitches. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother then started working out and developed biceps the size of my head so that the next time either my sister or I fell off playground equipment she could pin both me and Chuck Norris down to receive stitches. My Mom’s very committed to being a good parent. Or at least that’s what I tell people when they ask why my mother is lifting the neighbour’s sedan by herself.

Back to the malodorous, sticky present. Last week I had my yearly physical and because my doctor is colluding with the devil, I was sent to get blood work done. This is the only possible conclusion one can come to after being sent for bloodwork, it is never that one has an excellent GP who is concerned about anemia and blood iron levels.

This would have been fine had my doctor not recently moved offices. Previously when sent for blood work, I would have both time and space to prepare myself appropriately. First I would purchase an orange juice to ensure that I wouldn’t become “The Floor Unwashed”. Next I would drink the juice in the elevator while doing muscle poses in the mirror to pretend that I was brave and look for resemblances to my mother. For whatever reason no passengers ever joined me in this exercise, even though oftentimes they were also headed to the lab.

Lastly I would wait awkwardly outside the lab door for a small child to go in ahead of me. This was the most important step of all. No matter how terrified I was of needles, it was vital for me not to be out-couraged by a child. A favourite diversionary activity of mine is to make up words while being stabbed by total strangers.  While watching a three year old next to me stoically receive their MMR vaccine I would then pretend to be equally brave while a phlebotomist took vial after vial of my blood.

That was before the medical practice moved buildings. “The lab is just across the waiting room now!” my doctor cheerfully exclaimed while steering me out the door of her office and handing off lab request forms. As she waved to my back I trudged across the waiting area and into a tiny room.

“Where do I take a number?” I asked the woman there.

“No numbers or waiting, you just sit right down.” She patted the seat next to her. On the other side of the lab tech’s chair were a series of packaged, pointy instruments and vials.

“But. Um. I?” There was no time for juice, I hadn’t even gotten a cursory bicep curl in. And worst of all, there wasn’t another soul around as she closed the door to the room, let alone a small person who I ought to be a good model for.

It was terrifying. It was painful. I may have almost passed out. Twice. But the phlebotomist kept going.

And now I have a band-aid on my crook of my elbow that I can’t take off. Having watched the woman enthusiastically descend upon my arm I can’t help but think that if I remove the bandage, the phlebotomist will somehow know my arm is free for poking again and appear on my doorstep sharps in hand.

To avoid this problem of freeing up the desired fleshy real estate I have worn long sleeved shirts all week. However three days ago the band aid looked like it was close to falling off, having lost all of its glue, which was smeared around my elbow in a grey sticky mess. In order not to agitate it further I decided not to change shirts again. However after the heat of three September afternoons, I must admit I’m becoming a little ripe. It’s not my fault though- blasted trypanophobia.

I really should start eating more red meat. I don’t think I can do this again next year.

From Snakes On A Plane to Zombies On A Train; Travel With The Great Unwashed

My day started out normally, as most days involving Zombie Apocalypses do. I got up at five AM and had my oatmeal. Filling my metal SIGG water bottle in case of hungry cougars or bobcats, I set out on my walk to the train station. When I got there the train was late. Finally the locomotive pulled up to the platform, having already picked up passengers from other cities.


Stepping carefully up the tall metal steps, I boarded the train with my book and my French exercises tucked neatly into my purse. Walking down the aisle I searched for someone who looked both quiet and petite like me because there’s nothing worse than having to share an arm rest or horror of horrors, a  part of your seat with someone larger than you.


I settled down next to a young woman wearing tights that were dyed to look like acid washed jeans. Unfortunately she was watching a live-action, whodunit movie. The constant flipping of scenes and light coming from her tablet was distracting, it was difficult to read my book let alone concentrate on learning another language. Quickly as the train started to move I hopped into the next empty seat I saw.


You know that feeling when something isn’t quite right? Maybe it was the heavy manner that my new neighbor breathed in. Maybe it was the blood shot eyes and the mouth that hung slightly open. But it was probably the fact that he looked like he enjoyed kidney and small intestine salad for breakfast which caused me to suspect he was a zombie.


Remembering the metal SIGG water bottle I had packed in case of cougars, I reached into my purse. SIGG water bottles are excellent. BPA free and good for the environment, they also function as weapons in the event of an attack.

Melbourne Zombie Shuffle

Zombies get lonely, so they often travel with friends. I probably should buy another water bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A handful of years ago a Mom and her son were hiking in Algonquin Park when a wildcat decided that the nine year old boy would make a delicious appetizer before his venison main course. As the animal’s jaws bit into her son’s head, the mother attempted to bash the cat’s head in with her half full SIGG water bottle. Freshly concussed, the predator took off, leaving the boy who needed ten stitches and a funky hat to cover the thread train tracks before starting school the next week.


This is why I always carry a full metal container of water with me. Reaching down into my purse I weighed the possibility that my seat-mate was a zombie against the likelihood of my bludgeoning an innocent passenger when he stood up to use the bathroom.


While I was ninety-eight percent certain this man was moments away from feasting on my brains, I remembered an incident of mistaken identity from earlier in the week.


~Four days prior~


The Great Unwashed hears rustling while walking up the steps to the house – “AHHHHHHHHHH!!! There’s a wolverine under our porch!”

Wolverine in Skansen

The wolverine. It’s hobbies are; looking fuzzy and tearing off faces.(Photo credit: existential hero)

The Great Unwashed runs up the stairs faster than the speed of sound and slams the door repeating her message at top volume.


Roscoe emerges from the office – “What’s this about Hugh Jackman?”


The Great Unwashed in a flustered manner- “Not Wolverine, a wolverine. If Hugh Jackman was under our porch I would already have crawled under there and offered to have his babies.”

Hugh Jackman at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine p...

I wish this man hid under my stairs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moral of the story: We have unconscionably large squirrels.


Loosening my grip around the neck of my water bottle on the train, I sat up in my seat, still feeling very wary of the man next to me but not quite ready to beat him over the head with a blunt object.


Saving The World; One Hardened Lump of Goo at a Time

Roscoe standing in the bathroom looking perplexed -“Unwashed*?”

The Great Unwashed appears in the bathroom doorway- “Yes?”

 Soap is prone to exploding when exposed to science because science is great. (Photo Credit :

What do you mean you don’t want to wash yourself with this? (Photo Credit :

Roscoe holds up a giant white mound of hardened scented goo- “What’s up with our soap?”

The Great Unwashed – “I believe what you meant to ask was; What’s up AND out with our soap? As it has clearly grown both up AND out.” The Great Unwashed gestures to emphasize the soap’s growth.

Roscoe still not any closer to having clean hands- “What did you do to our soap?”

The Great Unwashed- “I blew it up. For the good of mankind.”

Roscoe takes a closer look at what was a bar of soap and watches as small pieces flake off into the sink- “How does this help mankind?”

I improved the soap, by making more of it. (Photo Credit :

I improved the soap, by making more of it. (Photo Credit :

The Great Unwashed- “It’s science, and science is good. As a doctor science employs you every day and helps people. Ergo I also helped people by microwaving our soap because it was a part of a scientific experiment.”

Roscoe looks as though he is about to ask a follow up question but refrains until The Great Unwashed is walking away, undoubtedly to create more calamity away from his watchful eyes. “Does this mean the microwave is clean?” he hopefully asks The Great Unwashed’s back.

Fun Science Fact For The Day: If you microwave a bar of Ivory soap it expands and you can mold it or just keep microwaving bars continuously until you have a series of small soap explosions. I don’t recommend the last option though. It seems fun at the time, but then your spouse realizes that all the soap in the house looks funnier than the stuff they sell at Lush and disintegrates when it’s touched. This might result in microwave privileges being revoked.

Unless of course you are the kind of pious, responsible person who never microwaves uncovered tomato soup.

I’m not- I heat up uncovered chili in the microwave too and I never ever, ever clean it out. I am an excellent wife. Roscoe would probably hug me right now if his hands were clean. Nonetheless microwaving bath products is a fun and educational science experiment. And science helps everyone. Especially Roscoe, even if he doesn’t always recognize it.

*On occasion Roscoe omits both the article and the “Great” from my name. Generally when I have done something not so great, like dying my hands blue or purple, or putting dirt in our freezer and making him eat chicken fingers for eight days straight.