Notice of Interruption of Service

I began the Great Unwashed with three goals in mind; to write more often, to write humour and to improve the quality of work produced. Sometimes humour is hard. That’s a lie, humour is always hard, but there are times when it is near impossible to create. However it’s still important to write. As my pseudo philosophical and trite ramblings caused my mother to pick up and drive two hours my direction, I have chosen to instead, for the time being record my day.

Though logs of one’s activities are not humour, it’s still writing. Therefore I’m meeting two of my three goals which is better than meeting none, and definitely an improvement on having family members appear on my doorstep when my fridge is empty.

 

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But I Like Iced Tea

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Or that’s the idea at least, but other times life starts relentlessly pelting you with lemons until you cry “Oh please stop!”. At which point Life switches fruits and slams you with one Granny Smith after another “How do you like these apples?” Life asks in a menacing way. “I don’t like those apples” you cry helplessly, “I don’t like them at all” So Life rears back and snarls “Then have some more lemons!” And you whimper while Life grinds lemon juice into your cuts and bruises.

Life can be a bit of a dick sometimes. But then again so can I, so really I can’t blame Life that much. However that doesn’t prevent me from crying quietly over my lemon juice marinated wounds.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m at a fork in the road. Generally I only recognize these branching spots after I’ve passed them, getting too caught up in the difficulty of the situation to notice the major change occurring in the scenery of my world. My previous forks were precipitated or possibly occurred while life pelted me with various flora and whatever else it could find.

A large part of me wants to huddle with my hurts and wait for the storm to pass.There’s an ease in that, in closing one’s eyes and holding your breath, willing the storm to pass. It means relinquishing all but a little control, and giving into the currents of life, landing where it drops you. In previous years, I’ve chosen this option.

There’s another way too. To duck your head for a moment, find your bearings, and decide on a route rather than letting the path take you. Choosing this method takes bravery and a certain amount of foolhardiness. After all, even the best of plans fail sometimes.

Regardless, the dividing of roads is cause for reflection. Neither curling in on oneself, nor striking out against the howling winds of change can avoid that outcome.

Naked in Public: The Nature Edition

Tis the season for stand up paddleboarding, a time when Canadians shuck off their parkas, then pack up and head to the local provincial park to balance on flat pieces of fibre glass. Paddling my way down a river is one of my favourite ways to pass a late spring morning. The fact that this sport is the sexy, new activity that every celebrity is trying, of course adds to my enjoyment.

(Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Of course I look exactly like this while paddling on the river. Except that I’m not in Hawaii. Or that tall. And I don’t own cute bathing suits. Ok this looks nothing like me paddleboarding. (Photo Credit : celebuzz.com)

Tragically it does not add to my canine companion’s enjoyment of the activity. Although I would counter that if Maddie was given a paddle, her love of the sport would increase exponentially. Yesterday found me peacefully making my way up the river, Maddie perched on the nose of my board, staring balefully at me, her doggy eyes questioning when we would head back. On a separate piece of fibreglass paddled my friend Natalie*. 

There is one thing that you need to know about Natalie; she is the most organized person on the face of the planet. On this day my friend had packed; a towel for the beach, dry clothes in case she became sweaty or fell in and sunscreen even though she applied a coating to her entire person before venturing out of the house. By contrast I brought; Maddie, a doggy lifejacket and the slightly off colour dog towel to dry Maddie off afterward.  I have no doubt that if I had chosen to perch Maddie on Natalie’s board, the public nudity would never have occurred. In life, some people are destined to make good decisions while the rest of us get to flounder about and watch. I really wish I didn’t watch so often.

So there Maddie and I are, paddling along. Well, I was paddling and Maddie was trying to telepathically communicate how much she hates paddleboarding, when the little dog shifts, loses her balance and falls in the river. The little King Charles Cavalier can swim, however dogs don’t come with handles whereas lifejackets do, thus she was wearing hers. Grabbing hold of the polyester handhold, I removed her squirming form from the water and placed the dog gently back on the nose of the board. 

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

There Maddie sat, miserable and now sopping. However it was a warm day, so I hoped she would dry quickly. Glancing down a couple minutes later, I realized her little doggy haunches were shaking violently. The only thing I had with me on the board was the now soaked dog towel. A brighter person like Natalie might have stowed such an item on the back of the board, where there was little danger of contact with sopping wet water dogs.

So I did what any sane, animal loving person would do. In the middle of the river I started to strip. Off came my sweater. I wrapped it around Maddie’s tiny back, the sleeves I secured around her stick thin legs. She continued to shiver. 

I had no choice. “Don’t look back” I cried to Natalie, not so much for my dignity but to save my friend from the shock of seeing my doughy, pasty, white torso on the serene river as I removed my shirt. “I wasn’t going to” was her reply. In Natalie’s world stripping to save animals from hypothermia is never a possibility because precautions like hot water bottles and extra, dry blankets would have been packed in water-tight Ziploc bags.

Standing on the bright yellow board in my bra, my chalk coloured, winter skin almost fluorescent in the sunlight, I contemplated whether I could reasonably remove my pants to warm the poor, still shivering creature in front of me. I concluded that while the lifejacket would cover my nude mid section, I couldn’t expose the world to my discounted, moss green, lacy underwear which makes it appear as though my butt is growing lichens. Natalie and I continued to paddle for a bit, with Natalie shielding her eyes from the reflection of the sun flashing off my pure white arms. 

I don't bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks  exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : www.mv.com)

I don’t bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit : http://www.mv.com)

Arriving back at the dock with a dog is always a bit of a scene to begin with. Maddie dries herself by running back and forth and then stopping intermittently to give her little body a vigorous shake. Having just watched her shiver violently for almost an hour, I didn’t want to deprive her of this joy so I neglected to put her lead back on. So I dock, then off goes Maddie, freed from her floating fibre glass prison, my damp shirts trailing behind her, leaving me to attempt to help dock the paddleboard with a young ranger, my pasty muffin tops bulging out of the lifejacket as I scrunched myself up and scrambled on to the dock.

“I’m going to need some private naked time in your storage shed.” I said to the park ranger as I called Maddie out from behind the wall of lifejackets and oars.Trying to be discrete, despite the situation, I grabbed my shirt from where it had fallen on the dock and marched towards the open shed, with Maddie’s lead in the other hand. Natalie stood nearby, no doubt searching the crowd for a new friend.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who are detail oriented and thorough enough to carry out a hit without being caught or suspected in response to having their name published on the internet.

Technology Showdown:The Great Unwashed Versus The Underpaid Youth of Technology Stores

I went computer shopping yesterday. This went worse than when I go regular shopping, a process that generally ends with me lying face-down on the mall floor, groaning. So you can imagine how a visit to no less than three techie stores went.

The first one was a complete write off because I burst into tears when I found a model of computer I liked.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee– “How can I help you Ma’am?”

The Great Unwashed holding a  grey netbook gingerly in her hands whispers “It’s not”. Her lip begins to quiver so that the last word is only faintly audible, “blue” and promptly starts to cry.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee who is now also  uncomfortable “Can I get a manager here?”

Next I headed to an independent electronics store.

Hopeful Techie Guy “What are you looking for today?”

The Great Unwashed quietly lays her head down on a shelf in between two computers and says nothing because it’s technology so she has no idea what she’s looking for.

Driving away from the store I realized that continuing to burst into grief stricken tears for my old netbook and spontaneously going limp and mute was never going to end with a new computer. So I put on my game face. And walked into Future Shop with a swagger that said to the world “I know the difference between a monitor and a hard drive 50% of the time.” Clearly this show of confidence was far too convincing because it resulted in the following conversation.

Future Shop Employee “This is an internet only computer.”

The Great Unwashed “So it gets internet. That’s a good thing, I think.”

Future Shop Employee “No, it’s only online.”

The Great Unwashed “The internet is always online.”

Future Shop Employee “Internet only means it only accesses the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Does that mean you don’t need a phone line to get the internet with this computer?”

Future Shop Employee “No, this computer only has the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Everyone has the internet.”

Future Shop Employee “I don’t think you understand.”

The Great Unwashed “That’s only because you aren’t making sense.”

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone but my shopping trip was unsuccessful, and I have yet to acquire a new computer.

Reeling

I’m still feeling lost. Although that’s not unexpected when you lose a part of yourself. My netbook held my work but it was also my connection to the world. The place where I could show my reality to everyone else, explain my point of view and talk about my thoughts.

Rarely in my life do I feel that I am being perceived for who I am, but through my writing, I could be myself. Like most writers, I live in my head, the same rules and laws do not apply in my mind and the expectations are different. Through blogging and typing on my little writing machine, I could build bridges between the two places; the world and my head. Even if I didn’t publish a piece, often I would share it with family members or friends, reading my work aloud when we were together.

In that quick moment, when a stranger sped away from my car with my computer in his hands, the link between myself and the world was severed. Effectively a flamethrower had been taken to the bridges I had carefully built. All of those thoughts that were so jumbled in my head but clear on the page were gone. I’m still trying to make sense of it.

*I wrote this a couple of days ago. After publishing my last post I was so touched by the outpouring of support from friends, family and readers. Between the many kind words and the passage of time, I am feeling a little better than when I penned the above words. Thank you so much to everyone who “Liked” my last post, left a comment, called or emailed to offer comfort. It was sincerely appreciated.

Loss and Lost

Normally I do my best to create paragraphs that fit together and have a bit of humour added in. They’re written a safe distance from my true self, never venturing towards the rambling, disjointed, personal words which I put in my journal. I know bloggers can be that personal but I’ve never been comfortable with it. However, occasionally events happen that leave you so confused and hurt that only disjointed, personal sentence fragments are left.

My netbook was stolen this week. On Monday an anonymous man on a bicycle swiped my little writing machine from my car. I know this because I was shown the footage form the security cameras. On that computer was my nearly edited book and every piece of writing I had produced for the last three and a half years.

I mourned. I’m still mourning, every word that I didn’t put out to the world, all of the ideas that I kept in there for myself, the book that I had almost finished editing. All of it gone.

These past couple of days I tried to put words together, to push myself through the pain of my loss and be a clown but I couldn’t. There weren’t any words, I couldn’t find a place to start.

I’m sad and disappointed and angry at myself for leaving the possession I love most because it has so much of me in it, in a place where it could be taken. I’m frustrated that I never actually followed through with backing up my words on Google Drive or a separate device.

Part of me is glad though, that I thought to release my work to the greater world, that I put so much of what I loved and was proud of, up for the internet to see. That all of those words are still there.Eventually, when the initial pain of my loss has worn off, I know I will be more grateful for this and recognize how much content was saved in my one hundred and fifty posts. But for now, all I can see are the files I had yet to edit, the words I sweated over but hadn’t published, and all of the pieces I wrote just to write them. Those are the only paragraphs in my head at this moment.

 

Mouse You To Death

I’m short. On a good day I measure all of five feet and two inches. Once I did yoga every day for a week straight, stood up very tall and was just over five foot three. But like most people, the majority of the time I slouch which leaves me at five feet and one inch. This means that I am never far from the ground which is useful in Canadian winters because slipping on ice is never followed by a long or hard fall. Along this line, it’s not difficult for me to go from standing to a crouch. As such I’m often the person asked to squeeze into small places or arrange items close to the ground at work.

Mr. Delkirk is a tall man, well over six feet. He’s often grouchy and rarely smiles. For him to go from a standing position to a crouch is an undertaking. One I’ve never seen. Last month, I was tasked with working in the common area of his building. This entails providing resources and assistance to other employees. So there I was crouched and arranging resource books on a shelf near the floor when Mr. Delkirk walked in.

Now if Mr. Delkirk somehow got it into his mind that he was going to pack himself up like a folding chair and shove himself into a suitcase, he wouldn’t have much luck. I on the other hand compact into a small package. Thus in my crouched position near the floor, Mr. Delkirk didn’t see me.

“Good Morning Mr. Delkirk” I cheerfully interjected from my scrunched pose, “What can I help you find?” Grabbing his chest, the tall man took a step back. “You scared me Unwashed, I wasn’t expecting anyone to be in here.”

“I’m sorry about that Mr. Delkirk, is there anything I can help you find?” I responded.

“No.” He said shortly. With his hand still on his chest Mr. Delkirk commented “My heart is pounding”. And then, that grumpy man decided to anger the gods of the little people, so he added “You’re mousy, so silent and creeping around the shelves in here” before walking out of the common area.

Now I will admit, my short stature and small size lends me a hushed gait. And yes, I have on occasion surprised people with my quiet footstep. But under no circumstance would I call myself mousy, nor do I take it as a compliment. If Mr. Delkirk thought I frightened him badly when I wasn’t trying, just imagine if I did make it my life’s goal to scare him. As a rule, being well over six feet tall and facing off against a tiny person in a yearlong game of “I can fit in that” is a poor choice.

(Photo Credit: usmagazine.com)

 Mousy Christina Ricci is lying in wait for someone to need a glass of milk. (Photo Credit: usmagazine.com)

Mr. Delkirk will find me popping up in all sorts of places; out of his office cupboard “Hi Mr. Delkirk, could I borrow this stapler?”, under his desk, “How are you today Mr. Delkirk? I dropped something back here”, behind the shelves in the lunchroom, “Just cleaning out the dust, Mr. Delkirk”.

Challenge accepted sir. I shall see whether I can “mouse” you to death before the year’s end.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those foolish enough to unknowingly challenge child size people to a year long game of hide and go seek.

A Friend Making Rockstar

I’m officially moved into my new home. So naturally I’ve begun to befriend my neighbours.

The other night, as I was walking towards my house, I spied a Jack Russel Terrier. The small dog yipped, it yapped, it howled like it was going to kill me. I continued walking. The tiny canine ran towards me while keeping up it’s oral protestations. Although it stayed a distance from my feet, the dog made it known that it wanted to tear me to shreds. As I hurried up the steps of my home, I glanced over my shoulder and saw that the furry thing was waiting at the bottom of the stairs still growling death wishes at me.

In that moment I realized that I had allowed myself to be chased home by a fifteen pound ball of fur and kibble. I turned on my heel and snarled at the tiny beast. It stepped back. I advanced towards it, still snarling. Unsure, the petite pooch held it’s ground. Undaunted by the terrier’s attempted alpha stance, I commenced my shouting, brawling chase. It was at that second that his owner rounded the corner in time to witness me wild armed chasing down of her dog.

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit : blingcheese.com)

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit : blingcheese.com)

“He doesn’t bite.” She yelled over the calamity.

As far as I could see there were two possible responses to this. Both of them truths. “Yes, but I do.” and “I knew that, I’d have punted the creature already if he did.” Neither of these seemed appropriate, so I turned and hurried inside my house.

I imagine this shall be the beginning of a beautiful friendship; she and I will be best friends forever, sharing our lives over coffee and bundt cake from now on. Or not.

I Might Be Drunk, Or Just Tired. One of the Two

Moving is dying. Or rather moving is killing me and I am perishing from it. If the act of physically lifting all of my worldly possessions hadn’t fatigued me, then the exhaustion from my day becoming a long game of Hide and Go Seek where invariably my water bottle, glass lunch containers and bed sheets always seem to win, definitely resulted in my  near death by tiredness.

I had debated pushing the “Publish” button on a pre-written post from way back in November during NaNoWriMo but instead am choosing to wave my white flag a prone position on the floor. Please send help. I am thirsty, hungry and the mattress I am sleeping on is covered in strange stains. It’s possible the monster from Ghostbusters used it while I was on vacation this summer.

Definitely while I was on vacation. I think I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)

Definitely while I was away. One would hope I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)