Rolling Around on the Floor Being a Screw Up

Sula,

I miss you. You went to the Arctic for three months and I was all “Whatevs my closest friend has gone to live with seals and arctic foxes” only not really, it was more like “I really miss Sula, I wish she liked civilization more than birds, seals and arctic foxes”.

I’m responsible for hiring our au pair. That’s right, I’m responsible for CHOOSING SOMEONE TO LIVE WITH ME. To date, you are the only room mate who worked out long term (I’m still in the process with Tex- I’ll call it a success after three years.) and I didn’t even choose you. You were all like “I need a place to stay” and I was all “I’m not in the country but here are instructions on how to get my house keys.”¹

I have had NINE unsuccessful roommates. NINE.² I am officially a screw up who can’t get along with anyone. And now I have to choose someone to live with to take care of my son.

Who put me in charge? It’s madness. I need a drink. Only I can’t. Because breastfeeding. Forever. For reals -the whole introduction to solids thing is going abysmally. Clearly my mammaries are too awesome.

So Tex and I joined Au Pair World to find girls and then I joined Au Pair Solutions because the women who run the Au Pair Solutions site have all kinds of advice and documents to help you. And I feel like these women’s shoes always match their belts and their homes are tastefully decorated and flawless like your mom’s and everything in their world lines up because they’re so damn organized and who put me in charge again?

There are approximately one hundred pages of documents to download from this advice site that I need to go through with a fine tooth comb and then alter so that they fit our family’s needs. I’m going insane and not just because the words “fine tooth comb” conjure up the idea to make a harmonica with a comb and wax paper.

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So much more entertaining than altering documents. (Photo Credit : momjunction.com)

I am so not an academic or businessy in the least. (I’m so bad at this that the Google mails claims I just invented a word.) My god, there must be a special camp for people like me where all we do is throw clay at the wall and talk about weird performance art pieces.

That’s what I’m calling what I do now-performance art. I’ve decided to send out my postcards to politicians and CEOs. If in the future you’re wondering how I got on the No Fly list, now you know.

I wish you had an international phone plan. I wish we lived closer. I wish my weird was something I could unleash upon a person after I meet them without it melting their face off like an outtake from Indiana Jones.

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I was going to insert a picture of the character’s face melting off from Indiana Jones but it looked disgusting, so instead I’ll put a picture of Playboy Bunnies which is as inappropriate and out of place as my weird. (Photo Credit: ibtimes.com)

I think that’s enough desperation for one email. Have fun at your international conference. I believe in you and so does everyone else in your professional world. Don’t accidentally sleep with any Frenchmen.³ It happens. You’re all like “Hello” and they’re all “Bonjour” and then suddenly you have a baby and live in the middle of nowhere. That totally happened to me. My life is a Public Service Announcement only not really because Tex speaks German so he greeted me with “Auf Wiedersehen” or some other similarly forceful sounding German word that made him seem both angry and like he understood clockwork and punctual trains.

For serious. Who decided that I was the one to do the paperwork? I’m into my third audit of the year from the CRA because the first two weren’t enough.

Hysterically yours,

Unwashed
¹ This actually happened, Sula messaged me while I was on vacation saying “I know we’ve only met a couple of times but I got this job and need a place to stay in your city pronto.” and because life isn’t fun without the possibility of dying in your sleep at the hands of an acquaintance, I answered with “The key’s under the turtle, careful the microwave runs a little hot.” and so started the love story of a life time. Only not really because Sula and I are both straight. We just routinely wish we were married to each other, enough so that my family gets uncomfortable and my grandparents sometimes worry that I’ll run off into the frozen sunset with my friend.

² Upon reflection, I realized that I actually forgot my most recent room mate disaster, which clinches the whole “screw up” idea.

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If this was Sesame Street the Count would say “Ten! Ten room mate disasters. Ah ha ha.” (Photo Credit : youtube.com)

³ In the same way that my academic friend Gordy studies an industry rife with Germans, Sula’s research has a huge French component.
Also if you can believe it, this email was sent while sober. You can imagine the kinds of messages I come out with while drunk based on my belligerent use of Caps Lock without alcohol. It’s probably for the best that I’ll be breastfeeding for the next nineteen years based on how poorly Mini-Tex reacts to every single piece of food that we give him.
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My Friend Tom : A Fan Letter That Foams At The Mouth

I have a new obsession. And for once it doesn’t involve these girls.

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Don’t worry ladies, I still adore you, I just think about other topics sometimes now. (Photo Credit people.com)

Let’s just say his name. Tom Bricker. Or as he’s being referred to in my house currently “my friend Tom”, in the same tone that the acne covered, coke bottle glasses wearing girl who was just invited to sit at the popular lunch table would confidently and hopefully say “my friend Brittany”.

Anyway so this Tom fellow, we’re totally BFFs and by that, I mean he has no clue that I exist. Anyway my friend Tom runs a wildly popular website disneytouristblog.com. I suggest you pay a visit, even if Disney isn’t your bag. Because everyone loves good photography. And robots.

Did I forget to mention that my friend Tom is a robot? Yes he claims to be a human being with a job and the like, however in reading the Disney Tourist blog, this electronic side of him slowly became apparent.

Case and point. Tom is a lawyer. While not the most beloved job in the world, it’s a difficult one and requires a lot of education, thus we can all conclude that Tom is smart and well spoken. Robots incidentally are well spoken and extremely smart, take for example the Googles, totally brilliant and also a robot.

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You can rely on me for this one; I’m well informed when it comes to the interwebs. (Photo Credit : updatealways.com)

Now, being a lazy, layabout artist, I’m not too familiar with the rigors of being a lawyer, but the phrase 100 hour work weeks have been bandied about before. When this is considered, the fact that in addition to working full time, that Tom runs a successful blog and posts regularly, one must conclude that he is a definitely a robot who doesn’t sleep.

On top of being the world’s busiest, almost-human writer, Tom takes beautiful pictures. He takes theme parks and makes art. It’s beautiful; my friend Tom’s photos make me wish I knew how to operate my phone so that every image didn’t look like this.

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What is this? It appears to be a marine creature. I don’t even know, yet images like this appear on cameras operated by me ALL THE TIME. (Photo Credit : I wish I could say the The Drunk Unwashed but I don’t drink and breastfeed, so it’s just me and my terrible skills.)

I’d post an example of Tom’s work but that would be stealing, so you’ll just have to visit his website HERE. At first, this talent for photography made me question the whole “my friend Tom is a robot” conclusion, because robots don’t have souls and therefore are incapable of creating art like Tom’s. But then it came to me- Tom is a Martian robot. While our meager earthling robots are limited by their inability to feel the beauty of a sunrise, aliens are a superior race and thus their robots outpace ours in many respects.

Anyway, being a Martian-robot-lawyer and celebrated blogger wasn’t enough for Tom, after all, he was still getting about three hours of sleep per night or whatever it is that Martian-robot-lawyers do in the wee hours. Tom and his alien motherboard thirsted for more, so he bit the Flash. Or at least, I think that’s what happened, I mean isn’t that how Peter Parker became Spiderman? By biting? Or maybe Tom was bitten, seems unlikely given that his skin is made of Depertron the hardest element known to Martians. Regardless, some sort of exchange occurred between my friend Tom and the Flash because in addition to being a Martian-robot-lawyer-writer, Tom started running marathons. Without training. (Click the link to read about it.) And he began using all of those hours that he’d previously wasted “sleeping” each night to zip around the world. While the rest of us mortal earthlings were sleeping, Tom scaled the Great Wall of China and then he swam around Alcatraz.

Then because all of that awesome can’t be contained, it must be shared, our favourite superhero-Martian-robot-lawyer-blogger created ANOTHER website that he frequently posts on; Travel Caffeine in case any of you are interested.  With all of this busyness, I did question whether Tom was time traveling to get all of this done, but quickly rejected that idea. My friend Tom is far too generous a superhero-Martian-robot-lawyer to keep such a wonderful life changing concept as time travel to himself.

Now that everyone knows what I’ve been spending my time on, you should go check out each of my friend Tom’s blogs. I’m not greedy, I can share him. And to conclude, a message specially for my new pal; sorry to blow your “I’m a normal human” cover Tom, but it had to be done. No doubt your lovely wife will be surprised however I imagine you will quickly subdue her shock with an offer to jet her to Jupiter for your wedding anniversary.

Five Things Friday- The Insults Just Keep Coming

  1. Remember when your mom would subtly leave deodorant on your night stand when you were twelve?

My husband totally did that. Only not with deodorant. He arrived home yesterday and brandished a drugstore bag at me. “Look what I bought” he proudly proclaimed, first pulling out the items he had purchased for himself before getting to the real purpose of his visit to the mall; “I bought you razors and soap.” Essentially my hubby just called me hairy and dirty. Point taken Tex, I won’t wait for an instructional tutorial on how to use both, I promise.

 

  1. My new spa routine

I thought Mini-Tex’s bum being infested by ferrets was bad until this week when he learned how to whistle. Well, not whistle exactly, but exhale using his mouth. He likes to practice this trick while we are feeding him. So not only is everything in the kitchen and living area covered with spatters of breastmilk mixed with apple from when Mini-Tex creates an impromptu catapult using his spoon, but now every time we put some food in his mouth, he reacts by creating a fine spray of baby slobber mixed with gruel. It’s making me consider bathing more than twice a week.

 

  1. The Canadian version of “A Dingo took my baby!”

Much like his parents, Mini-Tex loves the great outdoors. So every day, I haul him, his toys, his jolly jumper and his ring of neglect outside. He loves it, I love it, and the mosquitos love it too. I thought it was bad when at his six month checkup, I had to explain that Mini-Tex didn’t have chicken pox, those were bug bites.

That was nothing compared to watching a small bird half hop, half fly off with a part of my son. Initially it was a small mosquito, but after feeding on Mini-Tex’s chubby little leg while he played in his exersaucer until the tiny pest was actually full to bursting, it morphed from insect into small avian species. Honest to goodness, when I finally spotted the bloodsucker all but draining my son’s little calf, it had the mosquito version of a pot belly. It was so bloated when it tried to take off, it dipped back down to the ground. The mosquito had fed on my baby for so long that it was too fat to fly. I’m pretty sure I’m sucking at this parenting gig.

 

  1. I’m moving to a trailer park

Not really, but I might as well given that I’ve started answering the door topless and if one is going to be super classy, it’s best just to rent the mobile home too. This event caused me to question our neighbourhood as well because the mailman didn’t bat an eye. This may in part be due to the fact that I was wearing a baby and a brassiere at the time, so there was a lot to distract from the nudity.

 

  1. I’ve started an anti-Post Secret blog

That sounded way more negative than it meant to. What I meant was that instead of the world sending me their secrets, I’m sending mine to the world. Only they’re not secrets, it’s mostly nonsense or manatees with facial hair Sharpie-d on. Also the entire world isn’t receiving them. Currently I’ve contained my weirdness to North America and people I know, but I might start looking up either politicians or business executives to infuse their life with random anecdotes about whales.

The Dog Pee School of Ballet

One summer when I was twenty, I decided to take ballet. This would have worked better if my job as a lifeguard hadn’t ended at eight pm every evening. As it was, my criterion for classes was as follows: at my level, which began after eight thirty and that were in my price range. Hence how I ended up dancing next to eight year olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The teacher was a cantankerous former ballerina who had taken to eating a family-size box of cookies each day. A large woman, she spent every class sitting in a chair shouting directions at the four children and me while an accompanist played classical music on a piano in the corner. Despite never demonstrating the proper technique once, she held the group to the highest standards and would fling objects and curse words whenever we failed to meet expectations. My lack of experience and exhaustion from working in the sun all day made me a target. My friends would sometimes tag along and listen to the lesson from the waiting room “Who was she so angry at?” I was asked after one particularly furious evening. I slunk down in the chair while changing out of my ballet shoes, “me” I answered despondently.

The teacher also owned a terrier. For the majority of the class, the dog would sleep on a pillow at the front next to her chair, but once or twice it would get up, pee in the corner, then bite the feet and legs of the nearest dancer before settling back down to rest. Consequently, the back of the room was a coveted spot not only because it was out of the range of staplers, hairbrushes and cassette tapes, all of which were occasionally thrown our way after a misstep but also for its distance from sharp doggy teeth.

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This ballet instructor likely would have deemed this to be an acceptable teaching instrument were it not for the effort required in throwing it about. (Photo Credit : walyou.com)

As I was often running late, despite being taller than the other girls and thus blocking the teacher’s view of them, most nights I stood near the canine terror.

Despite the profanities, the bite holes in my tights and the odd flying hairbrush, I continued with the class. At the end of the term was a recital. Classes became more intense as rehearsals loomed. My inability to simultaneously coordinate my arm and leg movements infuriated the instructor whom my family nicknamed “The Cube” because she was as wide as she was tall. Although my eight year old colleagues did their best to help, hissing the dance names under their breath at me -“jeté!”  in the hopes of avoiding the instructor’s wrath, it was to no avail. Finally one night, after watching me flail my arms and barrel sideways into the smallest dancer “The Cube” declared that we were all to hold hands and dance. This had the added benefit of allowing the children to whisper the sequence of steps to me without detection. Class went smoother after that.

This experience culminated with the recital. Picture fifty eight-year-olds in leotards and slicked back hair and twenty-year-old me running around the underbelly of a theatre while upstairs, onstage other eight-year-olds in leotards with slick backed hair performed.  It was the pinnacle of my dancing career, and I absolutely wasn’t ready. My family had turned out in full force complete with flowers to congratulate me afterwards. My sister had even brought along her boyfriend. While the children ran up and down the halls, muffling their shrieks of joy with their hands, I obsessively practiced the choreography. Then, my turn came; nervously I lined up with five tiny ballerinas, looking like a female Billy Madison  and stepped onstage.

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It was like this, but with a tutu. Also to make matters worse, because I was a nightmare of a dancer, “The Cube” stuck me not in the middle, which would have made the height and age difference less obvious but towards one of the ends so I was buffeted by two little girls who knew the routine much better than me. (Photo Credit : downtowntulsaok.com)

 

Halfway through the dance I realized I was grimacing, so I decided to smile. That slight break in my concentration caused me to lose the beat and lightly trample the child’s foot beside me. In the wings, my family said “Oh! She smiled! And now it’s gone.” Once more, I focused on the steps determined to keep up with my tiny dancing cohorts. After, we bowed and exited the stage and I awkwardly congratulated the little people on their work, while they stood, still not quite certain what I was doing there. Ballet is without a doubt a commitment involving pain and sacrifice, but for me it was mostly an exercise in all aspects of discomfort, right down to the weird slick backed hair.

This post is dedicated to Tex. I can’t wait to celebrate our first anniversary with you tomorrow.

He Said, She Said, Engineers versus Artists

She Said: Marriage According to the Great Unwashed

(Tex has added in his two cents in italics)

In a word, being married to an engineer is awesome. I love it. 

I always know where Tex is and what he’s doing; I’m kind of like Santa Claus but without the beard

Around about when we first started dating, Tex linked me to his Google Calendar. To say that it’s a comprehensive document is an understatement. It includes when to check his tire pressure (the 2nd of every month), any outings he has tickets for within the next couple of weeks and his work locations for the next year. I’m not saying I know when my hubby goes to the loo; if he starts slotting that activity in there too, it wouldn’t be shocking. After Tex sent me his schedule, I was supposed to create my own. That was a year and a half ago.

“By the way I need to borrow the car tomorrow to do this thing. Didn’t I tell you about that? Remember?”

 

The keys are always in the same place. Actually everything is in the exact same place

Or rather I should say Tex’s keys are always in the same place. It’s a crap shoot as to where I’ve stowed mine. This makes it easy to take my significant other’s keys. Please note this kind of behavior will get you into trouble on occasion. Along these same lines, Tex has routines and protocols for everything in our home, up to and including washing pots and the proper storage of baking soda. Everything is very easy to find and is grouped with like items when Tex has organized or tidied a room.

Since we’ve moved into our new place, there’s a constant litany of “Unwashed where did you put the colander/spatula/baking pan?” and she’ll respond with “It’s in the garage/shed/under the couch.” Of course it’s there. That is the obvious place for a frying pan.

 

Everything in the house is in perfect working order

Engineers love problems. They live for problems; the show “How It’s Made” is engineering porn. I’m always surprised whenever I see it on TV during the daytime, because I know there’s engineers out there, watching saying, “Oh, oh yeah, look at how well they figured out how to make paint spackle. Oh the hydraulics.”

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Somewhere, an engineer is getting worked up over belt sanders. (Photo Credit: all-that-is-interesting.com)

Along these same lines, whenever something in our house breaks, Tex launches into engineer mode, taking our tap apart, determining where the problem is and whisking Mini-Tex and me off to the local Rona to locate the necessary part. (It’s possible I’m only along for the charity popcorn that is always sold at the hardware store.)

 

Our car seat is installed properly

Remember what I said about “How It’s Made” being engineering porn? Oven manuals, car seat directions, really any kind of manual is like a dirty magazine for engineers. I’m not saying that I’ve found instructions for the lawnmower under Tex’s side of the mattress, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised to find them there. Whenever we purchase anything, Tex reads the manual from cover to cover then adjusts the item so it exactly meets his specifications; our car door opens after pressing only one button and it never beeps when it locks. Afterwards he files the manual so he can always refer back to it even though he never needs to because he has an eidetic memory. (But won’t admit to it because then he would have to confess that he’s actually a super villain.) He then carefully explains to me how the item works and all of the minor changes he’s made to improve its function. I half listen because I know that if something breaks I can always call my husband in a panic and say “Tex! The dishwasher/dryer/car is broken!”

 

Everything somehow relates to science

It doesn’t matter whether the topic is weather, cooking or machinery- an in depth explanation of the science behind the subject always follows. Yet I still can’t recall the basic rules of matter.

Unwashed’s equivalent is celebrity name dropping and referencing obscure Canadian authors. For example her post about Desmond Howl “Oh you don’t know Hornjob McGee? He appeared in little known indie film “That Greasy Summer.”

 

He Said: Marriage From Tex’s Perspective

(With Unwashed’s comment in italics)

By contrast, this is what it’s like to be married to an artist- bedlam.

Nothing is ever where you left it including the car

For a period of time, Unwashed hid various pieces of mail and vital items like my phone charger. It was only after I had exhausted my own search of our apartment that I questioned her “Have you seen my ID badge for work?” “Oh” she replied nonchalantly as if she wasn’t a magpie squirrelling away my belongings and correspondence “they’re in the Very Important Place.” “The pardon?” I asked “The Very Important Place” my wife repeated “I put everything right here” and then she pointed to the most random of hiding spots in our home. It wasn’t a loose floorboard under the bathroom cabinet but it was close.

Admittedly, sometimes I do tidy Tex’s belongings away for company and then forget to move his items back. And the car wasn’t my fault; we had just moved here and I drove past the house three times before finally throwing the car into park and walking home. I will cop to forgetting that I had done this and where the car was parked though.

 

Your laundry flies stand-by and there has been an exponential increase in the number of lost socks

They say purgatory is a place between heaven and hell, currently in my house there is a laundry purgatory or one might say it flies stand by as it exists neither clean in my drawer nor dirty and obviously in need of washing in my hamper. I suspect one day I will be searching online classifieds and find a “Missed Connections” ad written by one of my socks.

In my defense, I once witnessed Tex systematically search for an hour for one lost sock. He found it in the end. I am neither that thorough, nor do I possess the memory to retrace my steps and the steps of others exactly to locate lost undergarments. As for the laundry, I’ve created a complex system that there isn’t enough time to explain, be assured that all of my and Mini-Tex’s clothes are found and cleaned on a regular basis. Tex’s shirts make it into the wash when they can hence the stand by comment.

 

I’ve been forced to take bizarre and ridiculous pictures of her

I had to take a picture of her covered in chocolate icing, holding a wad of flaming bills while riding a pig and I was supposed to not only understand the symbology of this but at the very least hold the camera steady. Not to mention catch the terrified pig.

This is a complete exaggeration. Ok not complete. There wasn’t a pig though. I did make Tex take artistic photos where I composed an image of multiple juxtaposing elements and then posed myself in awkward ways to enhance this effect.

 

Arranging a room has less to do with what will fit and more to do with the “chi” and whether it makes a room “warm” or not

I’ve moved sectionals more times than I care to count. And I had to buy a big, really expensive chair to provide her with a place to read and feel artistic or whatever it is that she does when she isn’t riding pigs.

Again, he’s totally fabricating the pig thing and what can I say? Chi is a moving target. Happily I don’t have to move it.

 Also, did anyone else notice that Tex didn’t comment about the memory thing? I expect I’ll find his blaster ray gun in the basement any day now.