If I Was A Tamagotchi

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

Feeding

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

 

Sleep

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

 

Activity

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

 

Health

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

 

Social

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

 

Happiness

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

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

 

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Dear Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never, ever yours,

Unwashed

 

Tradesperson Wanted Regarding Cement Boot Removal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump is Not a Tragedy: Sign Your Own Paris Accord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Put 1,000 kilometers on our cargo trike

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

  1. 400 kilometers on Tex’s bike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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