Eating Rodents Like Farley Mowat and Making Pastry Drug Lord Style

Just before she left, Sula sent all her nearest and dearest a message containing the number of the satellite phone (a fifteen digit number if you can believe it) along with the dates of her departure and return. Included in this message was the surprising piece of information that in the case of emergencies, the satellite phone could receive texts.

This is Sula’s fourth year in the bush. It is also the first year that she has given any indication that her only means of communication could receive texts. It was my understanding that the satellite phone was for emergencies only. Events along the lines of “The narcoleptic field hand ate all the food in the night; please send help as we are dining Farley Mowat style- eating roasted mice with tails, fur and all.” were what I thought the phone was reserved for.

The texting tidbit was news to me, whether we, her family and friends, had shown the proper respect for the phone in not contacting Sula ever during her field season (no emergencies came up) or whether this was a new function on a delicate and temperamental piece of technology, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, while Sula was away, when I was having trouble with baking or was just thinking of her, I would write imaginary texts to Sula. I never sent them because doing so would have landed the both of us in hot water, as Sula works with top government agencies that don’t care about superfluous items like false eyelash glue.

 

Is now too late to text your mother?

Message sent at 12:49 AM

 

My mother and I are wearing false eyelashes.

Message sent at 12:52 AM

 

We have no idea how to remove them and are afraid of waking up with our eyelids glued together.

Message sent at 12:54 AM

 

Is this a thing? Please advise.

Message sent at 12:55 AM

 

Wait, sorry, just realized that it’s five am in the Arctic.

Message sent at 1:04 AM

 

Or maybe it’s 10 AM. I have no clue. Time zones are hard. Are you even in the continent?

Message sent at 1:05 AM

 

On the continent? Prepositions are hard too. Especially whilst drunk.

Message sent at 1:06 AM

 

You may have figured that last bit out.

Message sent at 1:07 AM

 

I probably should have paid more attention in high school geography. In my defense, I didn’t know my best friend would be an Arctic researcher.

Message sent at 1:11 AM

 

Along with possessing more experience with finicky makeup tools than me, Sula is also a better baker. When she’s at home, I sometimes go to her for advice when working in the kitchen.

 

I’m making a pie crust. It isn’t going well.

Message sent 3:24 PM

 

What does it mean when it says to cut the butter in?

Message sent at 3:26 PM

 

That sounds like something a drug lord would do.

Message sent at 3:27 PM

 

Regardless, this process is wildly unsuccessful.

Message sent at 3:27 PM

 

You’re not answering. Despite the fact that you’re an expert on pie crusts.

Message sent at 3:44 PM

 

It’s kind of like you’re too busy befriending polar bears and furthering science to care about dessert.

Message sent at 3:46 PM

 

When Sula is away, or off the grid, I try to contact her mother more often, presumably so that Mrs. Jackson will appreciate her talented, couth daughter more when Sula returns from the North.

 

I just sent your mom a postcard about penises. I’m sorry.

Message sent at 11:23 AM

 

It was an accident. Again, I’m sorry. For whatever reason, these types of writing accidents always seem to happen to me. Like the time I sent my aunt a postcard about why she should make out with Colin Firth.

Message sent at 11:26 AM

 

Someone ought to take away my stamps. Or at least proof my correspondence before I send it out. My son is phenomenally poor at editing. Something about him only knowing eight letters of the alphabet.

Message sent at 11:31 AM

 

I of course never sent any of these text messages. For whatever reason I’m already on the Canadian government’s radar based on the number of times they audit my taxes. Texts like these on a government phone might get me added to the “No Fly” list.

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The Amazing Race – The Family Edition

Remember that post where I confided that I would never do the Amazing Race because it would likely result in my or Tex’s death? Well I ate my words because shortly after that we embarked on the challenge WITH OUR SON. Only not exactly, because Phil Keoghan wasn’t there to stand at the finish saying “Man, you guys made it just under the wire and phwwwwooooar what is that smell? Unwashed, you know you can bathe at the rest stops, they allow time for that.”

The justification for this endless trip was that Tex had a conference in Newfoundland therefore we should explore the province. The wrench in the works was that a nonstop flight from here to Newfoundland was EIGHT HOURS. I’m going to retype that so you can picture the bloody carnage from stuffing me into a small space for that long. EIGHT HOURS.

Tex would have been able to poop from at least five new places on his body from being ripped so many new @#&holes had we chosen to fly for eight hours straight. My son would start talking like he worked on an oil rig after hearing me use so many curse words; “Mother of &!#$, grilled &%$#?% cheese again? Aw hell.” After three hours on a plane, I become a rabid caged animal with a filthy vocabulary. This necessitated a stopover in the throbbing metropolis where my family lives. Thus the Amazing Race the Family Edition began

The Race : To and from Canada’s Most Eastern Province In Search of Adventure and The Best Places To Pee In A Bush

The Team :

Unwashed, whose hygiene habits make her the ideal candidate for not showering for days while traveling from place to place.

Tex, whose patience and problem solving skills will be tested during this competition. Mostly by his wife.

Mini-Tex has the ability to sleep anywhere; this quality will be exploited by his adventuring parents.

The First Leg : Location – Toronto             Duration : 8 Days

Challenge – Ride a combination of six trains, a bus, a subway and two streetcars to have coffee, dinner and a chess game with twenty-seven separate people. Mini Challenge for Mini-Tex – Terrorize his grandmother’s cat.

Commentary : Unwashed bravely took on this leg by herself. It was a marvel the way she refrained from punching cars in anger when Torontites cut in front of her stroller in the rain. Likewise Mini-Tex handled his challenge with aplomb using a combination of yelling “Cat! CAT!!!” and playing a one sided game of catch with the feline using a dodge ball.

Second Leg : St. John’s                  Duration : 5 Days

Challenge – Keep ahold of the stroller on enormously steep hills and consume the contestants’ body weight in fish following hiking up three thousand stairs. Also look somewhat professional for Tex’s conference.

Commentary : There were a couple of anxiety filled moments with the stroller where it was a millisecond away from careening out of control but the couple showcased their fitness and speed through their reaction times. Mini-Tex once again proved that he is the world’s best sleeper by snoozing through the 684,000 steps down Signal Hill and the 1,239,000 steps back up Signal Hill. Supposedly there are an equal number of steps down as up, but contestants always report that going up is twice as hard particularly with an unconscious toddler on your back. Unwashed received a standing ovation when she made it through the entire conference without tucking her skirt into her tights.

 

Third Leg : Traytown- Grand Falls – Woody’s Point                        Duration : 8 Hours

Challenge – Keep all contestants happy and alive while driving across the second smallest province in Canada

Commentary – The contestants almost narrowly failed this challenge when they chose to stop at the gas station/restaurant/karaoke bar/convenience-store/church for supper. In general, the greater the number of slashes in a restaurant’s name, the greater the likelihood of walking away with food poisoning. Luckily what the contestants were served could not be categorized as food, so they were saved.

Fourth Leg : Woody’s Point                         Duration : 5 Days

Challenge – Hike until the contestants’ legs fall off or until one of them is discovered frozen in a snow bank.

Commentary – All three contestants made a valiant effort towards the goal. Most notably hiking along cliffs, up an 800ft waterfall and attempting to scale Gros Morne. They got points for skirting avalanche areas but alas no one was discovered in a snow bank.

Woody Point Sub Challenge – Locate, kill and eat a softshell crab

Commentary – Not surprisingly for those who have read Cowboy Cookin’, Unwashed was the weakest link during this challenge, refusing at first to touch the sea creatures and then showing hesitation about pulling their legs off. Mini-Tex stepped right up to the plate, removing legs with abandon and zooming the legless crab body around the dinner table like a NASCAR.

Fifth Leg : Cornerbrook                                 Duration : 2 Days

Challenge – Meet a childhood friend and terrorize yet another cat.

Commentary – Once again Mini-Tex readily met his challenge with gusto, chasing Unwashed’s friend’s cat around the house and then perching on the stairs yelling “CAT! CAT!” when the irritated feline retreated to the basement.

Sixth Leg : Cornerbrook – Grand Falls – Traytown                      Duration : 10 Hours

Challenge – Listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat until everyone begins making plans to assassinate Olaf.

Commentary – The crew achieved their goal and was rewarded with a hearty meal of stuffed squid when they arrived in Glovertown although none of them ever want to build a snowman again.

Seventh Leg : St. John’s – Take Two                                            Duration : 4 Days

Challenge – Eat each contestant’s weight in seal.

Commentary – This challenge demonstrated the extent of Tex’s selflessness; upon discovering that seal meat tastes like wet dog fur, both Mini-Tex and Unwashed refused more than one bite. Tex took it upon himself to consume seal flipper pie, seal flipper stew, seal flipper soup and seal flipper sausage. Mini-Tex and Unwashed took to the playground while this was occurring so Tex could eat the goods(?) and then air out the smelly apartment afterwards.

Eighth Leg : Toronto then London, Ont                                    Duration : 3 Days

Challenge – Visit with Grandpa, see real dinosaurs, jet off to London and baptize Mini-Tex in front of a confused congregation.

Commentary – Real dinosaurs were seen with ease, and Ferris wheels were ridden multiple times. Generally children are baptized in front of parishioners who know them. Given that Tex, Unwashed and Mini-Tex are nomads, this becomes challenging.

Ninth Leg : Toronto to Winnipeg                                               Duration : 3 hours

Challenge – Unwashed needs to survive the flight without a working television (Damnit West Jet) while flying alone with a toddler and refrain from sinking her teeth into the arm of a fellow passenger in frustration.

Commentary – There were a couple of close calls with the fellow passengers especially the woman who wore vanilla scented perfume but the contestants survived.

 

So there it is, four and a bit weeks away from home. I won’t be repeating that. Although that’s what I said last time.