Who Are You People?

It occurs to me, that I write about myself, my husband, son, mother and closest friend often. So I decided to give a bit of a backstory to them. Yes, this blog has existed just fine without such a page for four and a half years, but think of the “characters” page as being like streamers on a bicycle. Who doesn’t love streamers?

I just posed the streamer question to my husband Tex and he gave me a perplexed look and asked me whether I would paint dicks on a wall. It would seem that only five year old girls and me love bicycle streamers. Although now I’m somewhat relieved that Tex has never shown interest in decorating our home, I’m understandably concerned what his accents for a room would look like.

So with that profane tangent aside, I encourage you all to check out the new page on The Great Unwashed.

Diary Excerpts: Monkey Balls, Feces Rinse Cycles and Laundry Mountains

Dear Diary,

The world=balls right now.

Giant hairy monkey balls that make you question why anyone wants to visit the zoo.

Diary, in case you forgot what my schedule looks like this month, let me remind you.

March 28th – T-minus 28 days until we move to a new house in a new town.

March 29th- Realize that there is a trip in two days and that in addition to not packing, you have no clothes. Frantically wash diapers. Then wash diapers again because you totally sent a poop filled diaper through the wash. Resolve never to inform Tex that this happened because it would scar him and he’d purchase a new washer.

March 30th – Wonder what in the heck you’ve been doing with your time as nothing is packed and the diapers are still lying disassembled in the basement. Put on same clothes as yesterday because -why not? It’s maternity leave, they don’t smell and no one will realize that you don’t do laundry.

This plan works until you pick up the babysitter from school and realize that she saw you in the identical outfit and will probably go home and tell her mother that she hates working for dirty people who insist on washing their baby’s feces.

March 31st- Why are there only five photo albums in a suitcase? WHY? You can’t wear your vacation pictures all weekend. Also why isn’t the laundry done? What kind of cockamamie, well endowed monkey is running this place?

April 1st- Arrived at family function late last night. Remembered everything except for shoes. Which is fine, muddy rubber boots and designer dresses fit the high/low chic trend this year.

April 2nd- Speed home with screaming baby in the car for four hours to make it just in the nick of time to Tex’s concert. Which feels less like the movie “Speed” and more like one of the characters out of the movie franchise “Saw”, who is slowly being tortured to death by having each of their finger and toe nails removed.

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The hunkiness factor of traveling with a baby is zero. The wanting-to-saw-a-limb-off-to-make-it-stop factor is about three squigillion. (Photo Credit cinemablend.com)

April 3rd – Pretend that you can take the day off from packing, laundering and general preparation.

April 4th – Curse yourself and your laziness, because tomorrow, you, Tex and Mini-Tex are shooting yourselves into the wild blue yonder to attend a conference for Tex’s work. Your day now =laundry. Endless laundry.

April 5th- Repeat the whole “Saw”/”Speed” scenario on drive to the airport. Cave at the airport and put “Peppa Pig” on the iPad. Wonder if this cartoon was the inspiration for “Saw” as the narrative drills a hole into your ears and through your brain.

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The original and unlikely villlain of the “Saw” series. (Photo Credit Google Play)

April 6th- Spend fun day with another family that is also attending the conference. Perhaps life is not entirely composed of giant, hairy monkey balls?

April 7th – Poo-pocolypse Now! On public transit! Remember why you loathe both cities and traveling, as you schlep your soiled self and your toddler back to the hotel.

April 8th- Looking around the hotel room, you realize that your belongings have mated, multiplied themselves by ten fold and have staged a take over of the room. In lieu of packing, lie down on the floor and wait for death.

It would seem death isn’t coming. Set about packing up belongings for the fourth time in ten days.

April 9th – Gazing at the suitcase, carry-on, diaper bag, computer bag, toy bag and baby carrier which all need to be lugged back to the airport, you decide to lie down and wait for death however long takes this time. Your helpful husband asks if you can lie down at the bus stop instead. The bus gets to the station seconds after you do, which is just as well, there are far cleaner places to lie down and wait for death.

April 10th – Lie underneath a mountain of laundry as your baby practices his spelunking skills on dirty diaper mountain using your knees and the twenty dirty, cloth diapers. Try to muster up the energy to move. Is impossible. Throw teething cookies in baby’s direction and continue lying on the floor.

April 11th- Saved! Tex returns home and whips around finishing up laundry and making dinner.

April 12th – Have hidden the calendars because otherwise they’d say to pack for the farm to celebrate Easter which would make life more horrible than monkey balls, would be mastadon balls or some other enormous creature.

 

 

Proper Corpse Storage and Musty Bearhugs

Under no circumstances should one ever store dead bodies below the kitchen sink. Along with being unhygienic, it doesn’t matter how tightly sealed the container is, or the materials the bin is made from, eventually the smell will escape. I speak from experience here.

I began with good intentions, in the way that most stories do which end with someone gagging on the smell of their regret. Longing to be the dippiest of hippy-dippy hippies, I had expressed interest in vermiculture; so for my birthday, Tex purchased three pounds of worms for me. In preparation for their arrival, we started gathering compost in a medium size tub underneath our sink. Contrary to popular belief, worms don’t actually eat the compost, they eat the bacteria which break down the compost.

It takes time for enough bacteria colonies to form, so the recommendation is to leave the compost for a week or so prior to adding the worms. I may have left our bin a little longer. Ok maybe a lot longer. Allright, fine, I confess, I left the compost waaaaaay too long. In a sealed container.

That last sentence is the important one, because an important clarification is that worms prefer aerobic bacteria, meaning bacteria that thrive when exposed to air. The awful smell that’s emitted from decomposing carcasses? That’s the work of anaerobic bacteria, or the bacteria that work without exposure to oxygen.

So there those bacteria were, working away on our vegetable peels and coffee grounds and apple cores, having a no oxygen party in their sealed paradise. For weeks. Ok a month. Allright, it was a month and a half, and during those last two weeks, my kitchen smelled seriously funky. It might have even stank just before I decided to deal with the container.

It’s possible that it wasn’t even my decision to take action. There may have been prodding from my dear spouse who commented that our kitchen smelled like a decomposing elk that expired in the woods near the farm which Tex’s uncle once bet my husband five dollars to try and touch without vomiting. For the record, there is only one response to this- “You had weird games growing up; my family just played Monopoly”.

Because I make bad decisions, I decided to open the aforementioned stinky container while still in the house. My first mistake was opening the container at all- the stench was so bad that it singed the inside of my nose and throat making an indelible mark. The second mistake was carrying this out in the kitchen, where the smell promptly clung to every surface.

Tex while yelling at me to take the container to the porch, quickly scooped up Mini-Tex and ran, in an effort to protect our infant son from the stink. Before making one of the worst decisions of my life, and one that will likely lose us our damage deposit when we move, I had prepared a larger tub full of leaves to mix in with the compost. Worms need a two to one mixture of leaves to compost in order to thrive.

My throat burning from the smell, I poured the half liquid, half solid, one hundred percent disgusting mess into the container of leaves. Even after the tempering effect of the leaves, the mixture still smelled like a combination of dead bodies, garbage and the devil’s air freshener.

In the meantime, Tex had opened every window in our home and thrown open all the doors despite the freezing temperatures. He had set Mini-Tex down in front of a fan which was channeling fresh air from outside, concluding that our son was at greater risk of dying from the smell of decay than hypothermia.

Previously, I thought that the olfactory low point of my week was going to be bearhugging bedding from my grandmother’s house to transport it to Value Village. Instead of Old Spice, I ended up smelling like Old House, a scent that was surprisingly pervasive and clingy but completely paled in comparison to the monstrosity I had unleashed upon our family and home in opening the container of death.

Following my eau de corpse debacle, we moved the compost bin to the porch and removed the lid so aerobic bacteria could mix with the air and party, thus outcompeting their putrid, oxygen hating counterparts.

How Many “F”s in Giraffe? Either a Bad Joke or an Act That’s Illegal in Most States

I’m fluent in French. This is a topic that doesn’t come up often here. Probably because this isn’t French blog. But my second language is something which affects my writing. When I’m studying French intensely, occasionally I’ll start writing a story only to realize it’s in the wrong language, for my audience at least. Other times, I’ll be penning a post, trying to think of a word, and only the French one will come to mind, which is a bit maddening. But most perplexing of all has been the loss of my once near perfect ability to spell.

My family has a language learning disability. A trait that I used to haughtily proclaim I was unaffected by, based on my love of writing and my superior memory for orthography, that is, until I tried to pick up another language. In learning French as an adult, my brain somehow got jumbled, so now I can’t recall whether broccoli has one c or two or if it’s girafe or giraffe.

This rearrangment and omission of letters and words has been further compounded by sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a small person. Tonight it lead to the following series of non-words. Or perhaps I’m merely following in The Bloggess’s shoes and making up my own words to accurately express myself. At any rate, this was my thought process this evening as I tried to make a grocery list

“Zuchini”

That looks wrong, I think it needs another “n”

“Zuchinni”

There are way too many eenies in that word, it looks seedy and not at all tasty. Better try another combination.

“Zucchini”

That cannot possibly be right. It must be another letter that needs doubling, at least I’m 100% certain it isn’t the “u”.

“Zuchhini”

Definitely wrong. But maybe if I balance out the eenies with the hhhhs it’ll work.

“Zuchhinni”

Right before I was going to try spelling a vegetable with four “i”s, I caved and asked my husband.

For anyone whose brain isn’t sleep deprived and fluctuating between two languages, it’s zucchini and it doesn’t look right because it’s an italian word.

 

 

Golden Equine Showers and Other Dubious Events I Can Anticipate In My Future: An Update On Where I’m Going To Live

Remember when I swore that I would update everyone on where Tex and I were going to live in my post Man Eating Fish, Bakery Theft and KKK Heaven: Let’s Introduce the Contestants? And then I didn’t? Well I have an excuse. It’s because I was showering off all the horse pee that was dumped on me. Figuratively thankfully.

Not so secretly, I had thought that Tex and I were staying. That our family would get to enjoy our happy home with its sun room and live in peaceful northern harmony for a couple more years. Or at the very worst, that we would be placed in the town that is a smaller version of where we live. After all, Tex is well liked at work, I mean who can live without a man who uses the word “eutectic” in a sentence? I know I can’t. Anyways with that confounding term and all Tex’s other shining qualities, I thought we were good, no better, I thought we were golden.

And we were. Covered in golden horsey showers that is, as the universe, or karma, or the gods, or whoever it was smited the both of us for being so cocky as to believe that we were going to stay.

When Tex told me where we were going to be placed, I quickly mass texted my family and close friends the name of the town and the words “I can’t even speak.” Then I dropped my phone and went to go curl up, lick my wounded ego and contemplate where I was going to live.

Frantically Sula tried texting, then calling all the while scrolling through my words to determine what place it was on my posted list we had been placed at. “Charm City?” her voicemail asked. “I don’t think it’s Charm City.” Then, when she Googled the place name, she realized the terrible truth. That we weren’t staying where we live, that we hadn’t been placed at my second choice, or my third choice or even my fourth choice with that fabulous indoor playground.

No dear readers, I’m heading to my seventh choice. The town that considers indoor plumbing and eeelecktricity, as they call it, to be “new fangled technology”. It was karma’s way of dumping a trough full of horse urine onto my head for being so smug as to only compose one version of my “updated” post revealing where my family was going to live. I was like those actors at the award ceremony who are nominated and still stand up when their name isn’t called on the stage.

I was going to invite you all to a bonfire at my house. We were going to light up all the boxes that I had saved just in case. Instead I started frantically packing said boxes, while my cowboy brother in-law who was visiting for the day said “Well $*@^, that sucks, I’m sorry.” while wrapping my equally shocked husband and I enormous, warm, bear hugs that only a rancher can give. My brother in-law then encouraged me to “scream, cry or break things- do whatever I need to do” while he watched Mini-Tex. I didn’t need to scream or break things, but I did cry while I started to box up our life.

So now that the moving van has been booked and housing with indoor plumbing has been secured (“Golly gee- you’re going to love this marvel!”), I can write an addendum to my Introduce the Contestants post.

Goodbye cruel world. I had wanted to invite you to a bonfire, but instead I’m moving six hours away, which doesn’t sound, far but it might as well be the moon in terms of distance to everything which resembles civilization. I hope everyone enjoys their grande coffees, automatic washers and dental floss. I will miss all of those things and you, my Unwashed public.

It is with a sad heart that I will pack up our covered wagon (we had to trade in our car to move to this place which is in the middle of nowhere) and bid you all adieu. The Great Unwashed will continue for ten or so posts because I have them banked but there’s no telling how long it will take me to teach a carrier pigeon to type my thoughts so wish me luck.

Soon to be very remotely yours,

The Great Unwashed

Is Everyone Finished Grunting In Public and Picking Chia Seeds Out Of Their Teeth?

You are? Excellent, then let’s talk. I’m a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, January first is a great time to try and improve one’s self and become a better person. Normally I have about three or four personal goals to start the year, this year is a bit different though, there are twelve. Based on the sheer number of them, we can conclude that I was a pitiful human being last year.

None of my resolutions have to do with dropping pounds or fitness. Losing weight has only ever made me chronically hungry, so I walk around all day feeling like Oprah only with less money. Also chia seeds result in an excessive amount of flossing- there’s no need to make my dentist that happy. As for fitness, if spending an hour or more a day sweating next to people throwing heavy objects about and giving sideways glances to the woman who spends her entire life on the same elliptical is your happiness, more power to you. My personal take on all that is- it’s what hell looks like, only with air conditioning. The music is probably the same though.

I tend to make resolutions for my own happiness, or so that my life aligns better with my personal beliefs. For example my first and biggest resolution was about my phone.

  1. 40 Screen Unlocks a Day And Less Than 90 Minutes Of Usage Including Phonecalls

Ostensibly I was given a smartphone to take photos and videos of my son. While I have filled my phone with videos of Mini-Tex whacking every item in our house with his xylophone mallet, the majority of the time, I use my phone to check what these girls are up to

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Hey ladies, lookin’ good! (Photo Credit : pintrest.com)

and whether this man has died.

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This man is getting on in years, I have little time left to meet him ( Photo Credit: kokosoup.com)

Which is concerning, a little macabre and worst of all takes attention away from the little boy creating a symphony using the kitchen table legs. Initially I downloaded the “Break Free” app, but that only tracks a person’s data usage. Now I’m using the “Quality” app which locks smartphones for agreed upon periods of time. Before anyone gets upset, unless something in on fire, people can wait to talk to me. In addition, I should not be the first point of contact, my firefighting training is limited to the time I ran past the crazy guy in the park making a bonfire.

 

  1. Pinch Tex’s Butt More Often

I spend a chunk of the day carrying, holding, hugging, snuggling and touching my son. This has coincided with a steep drop off in the number of times I hug my husband. So I vowed to hug/grab/pinch and just basically show Tex that I love him more often each day. I aim for about five hugs. I’m managing four on average.

 

  1. Abusing Canada Post’s Good Natured Attitude And Mailing Bizarre Items

Sending cards to everyone and their distant second cousin who I met once at an opening for a hair salon is my hobby. Recently, with my new lack of free time due to raising a child, I’ve become complacent in my environmentalism. To combat this laziness, I’ve decided to reuse all paper, envelopes and wood pulp products that come my way. My personal goal is to reuse and repurpose items to the point that Sula would be mortified by my sending them to the government. She once saw the package I was sending my tax return in and remarked that the Canadian Revenue Agency would take it for a joke. Come to think of it, this may be why I was audited twice in the past year. Moving on.

 

  1. Hug a Homeless Person

Then give him five bucks. I’m on extended mat leave, in other words, I’m raising my son while making bupkis, but the thing is, I have everything; a loving husband, an adorable little baby, a roof over my head and a metric tonne of farm squash grown by my mother-in-law  (Would anyone like a butternut the size of a smart car?). I’d be hard pressed to find a luckier person. Consequently, no matter my means, it’s my job to give back. So sometimes I find a homeless person and hand them whatever is in my pocket, other times I choose an artist to support on Patreon. Whatever the act is, sharing my good fortune makes my life better.

 

So those are my resolutions that are bringing me joy this year, for all of you still sweating it out at the gym, eating kale and chia seed salad like it’s going out of style, good-o on you, someone needs to able to strut the runways and beaches, and it certainly won’t be me. Mostly because I’m a vampire, the beach is an exquisitely painful place for me.

What are your resolutions for this year my Unwashed public? Share them in the comments below!

Man Eating Fish, Bakery Theft and KKK Heaven: Let’s Introduce the Contestants

Tex is applying for new jobs. Which means we are potentially moving. I’ve listed the possibilities in order of how much I like them.

  1. Where we currently live

There is a job opening here that Tex is applying for. Because who wouldn’t want to remain in a community where people question what types of knives are necessary to cut up a moose in the Canadian Tire? Also, where else is it normal for one of your band mates call in sick because they have eight stitches in their hand from a jackfish bite? I love our tiny, northern home.

  1. A smaller version of where we live

This spot would totally be number one on the list if not for the move because in addition to the risk of losing digits to unruly jackfish while fishing here, there is the opportunity to both downhill and cross country ski nearby. If that isn’t nine fingered heaven, I don’t know what is. However, getting a job here would involve moving, which involves lifting, a task that is against my religion, or that I hate so much that it ought to be in the good book somewhere.

  1. Charm City

Not the cake place.

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Everyone would want to come to my house. (Photo Credit: CBS Baaltimore)

Although living in a bakery would totally also be nine fingered heaven where I’d help myself to a ten fingered discount everyday on my way out the door after sleeping next to the piping bags. But number three was succinctly and accurately described by Tex as “charming”, before we visited it. He was right on the money, from the cute shops on the main street, to the quirky ice cream place, to its storied history, this place oozes charm. A top pick for sure.

  1. The place with an indoor playground

I didn’t actually hear all of the other strengths of this city after Tex mentioned that it has an indoor playground. Y’all, I live in a place where it’s so cold that the mercury routinely curls up in a frozen ball at the bottom of the thermometer because it’s too frigid out for this element to do its job and rise up the glass to show what temperature it is. The idea of moving somewhere with mini trampolines and slides where there isn’t the threat of losing multiple digits to frostbite (because the cold is meaner than jackfish) warms the cockles of this mother’s icy Canadian heart. Irrespective of the beautiful nature around our current home, there is no indoor playground to speak of, so I am STOKED at the idea of taking a rowdy toddler somewhere that he can launch himself off of structures which aren’t our fireplace or antique tables.

  1. The town with the German name

One word. Oktoberfest. Yes, I recognize that I’m breastfeeding, and old, and therefore can’t get raucously drunk like some sort of undergrad, but once a year, I could pretend that I was going to, then back out at the last minute citing ringworm or some other equally disgusting childhood ailment that makes people run in the opposite direction.

  1. The place that I always get the name wrong

I can’t tell you much about this place. It is, however, close to my Aunty Betty, so it gets points for that. But not much else, it probably has a store, also a gas station, possibly indoor plumbing.

  1. Where we are likely to end up

Tex likes this place. I don’t. We visited because Tex knew his job was ending and was all “What do you think of this spot?” and I was a good wife and didn’t say “The restaurant can’t even make decent fries and the mall smells funny” but I’m telling my thoughts to you dear readers, so that you can pray for me. Because there is nothing here. Remember how that last place might have had indoor plumbing? I’m 98% certain this place doesn’t. I didn’t use the bathrooms at the mall, but they likely had some sort of medieval set up with a outhouse trough near the horses so all of creation could do their business together. Admittedly I didn’t see any horses and have no evidence of this trough set up that I’ve described but it’s one of those things that a person knows in their soul.

  1. The place that I always forget about

I can tell you even less about this place than about number six. It’s possible that I myself will stop existing if my family moves there because it’s so forgettable.

  1. The KKK believe that if they are very good, after death, their members end up here

Once upon a time, a yuppy turned to another yuppy, and said “Hey I like hanging out with you, shall we go to place where we can hang out alone?” So they drove, a really long time, but they could still hear the other poor and multicultural people, hence the Caucasian yuppies continued to drive for another hour and a half. And thus this community was born. It’s far, far away from anything resembling civilization. It looks like it’s been dropped in the middle of the prairie like some sort of city planner’s version of a joke. The inhabitants consist entirely of labradoodle walking, seven-dollar-boxes-of-organic-seed-based-cracker-eating, white people who drive their kids to hockey practice even though it’s thirty seconds away by car. Based on the layout of the place, I think the city planners thought peyote was a food group. Housing prices here are ABSURD, given that it’s four hours away from anything and has limited amenities. It’s like the old rich white people, turned to the other rich white people and asked “How can we only let in yuppies to our club in the middle of nowhere?” and then decided to make homes laughably expensive and all the roads highways because there’s nothing that white people like better, myself included, than driving to the store which is two minutes away in their oversized vehicles, feeling pious for remembering their reusable bags.

What do you think readers? What would be YOUR pick for a place for me to live? Leave your choice in the comment section below.  Come back tomorrow evening and I’ll let you know where we end up. And again, pray for me, otherwise I’m going to end up using the loo next to Black Beauty.

 

Speaking Farsi and Interpretive Dancing With Engineers

My husband Tex makes my life nice. He’s an engineer, meaning he loves science, understands math and his entire life is organized by a series of intricate but straight forward systems. I, on the other hand am a failed scientist turned artist whose life contains no obvious organizational systems, however I cook so this arrangement works for us. I joke that he lives to solve problems and I create them by virtue of existing.

For the most part, that last statement is true. Broken door? Tex is on it. Excessively complicated taxes? Put away the calculator, the engineer is here. Hosting family Christmas on the same day a drop shipment of furniture is set to arrive to fill three empty rooms of the house? Let the organizational pro through, he’ll schedule this day into submission.

Artistic problems are a horse of a different colour though. Having dabbled in the arts throughout my life, I’m experienced at collaborating with other like-minded artsy people. In those circumstances, I will explain my vision for a project, listen to my partner’s ideas and together we’ll come up with a product that is infinitely better had I just worked on my own.

For the No Excuses November post, I wanted to recreate the John Snow “Winter is coming” meme.

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Only with my name because I am equally powerful as a season of course. Modified from makeameme.org

It was going to look like the original but with curly hair.

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It’s like John Snow is wearing a wig. Modified from makeameme.org

And of course Mini Tex would be incorporated.

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Because who doesn’t love babies with preternaturally long fingers on their left hands? Modified from makeameme.org

In his ridiculous bird/dragon/fish costume, because there is no point in purchasing a costume for your child unless you force them to wear it in all manner of situations. Admittedly, bringing a fish/bird child to that funeral was not the most popular decision but I stand by it.

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You can properly appreciate the randomness of the fin/wing/foreshortened arms of the costume at this angle. Modified from makeameme.org

But no matter how many images Tex and I took, or alterations that I made to the poses or suggestions for framing, the photos all looked completely awkward and not even remotely like the meme. And it wasn’t even like I was unprepared! I had fur! I had a giant heavy dark coat! I even had a giant sword-like thing! All of the elements were there but the fairies of luck and creativity refused to smile on us that day.

I concluded it was a one-off, that there was all the possibility in the world that Tex would suddenly morph into a free love spouting, organic eating, Burning Man attending, artsy hippie. I mean, I’m becoming like him after having lived together- just last week I used the words “anaerobic reaction” in a sentence and it wasn’t just an example of my mommy brain substituting words while trying to describe a new fitness class.

Only time will tell though. In his words, I’ll continue asking him to “take weird pictures of me” and hope that in the future we’ll be able to artistically trouble shoot together. In the meantime, my readers can enjoy my Microsoft Paint photos.

Science What? The Secret to Riding on Coattails By Befriending Pageant Moms

Once upon a time, when I thought that a king size KitKat bar constituted a balanced breakfast, I studied science. I wasn’t a very good scientist mind you. But a university decided that I could stuff enough facts in my head to justify admitting me to a science program.

And somehow I stayed in that program. This is mostly due to my close friend Charity* who regularly won sizeable government grants for her contributions to science. She taught me that libraries aren’t just a quiet space to take a nap.

Charity is also the sole reason that I ended up on the Dean’s list all four years running. Sometimes it was her help with specific assignments; she edited more poorly written papers than I think either of us cares to remember. Other times Charity gave me advice, like the time I rehearsed a presentation for her that was worth half my grade or some other such nonsense and she said it was terrible. Only in different words, and much nicer and more subtly, so I spent a harried evening revising it. Charity then Pagaent-Mommed her way through that presentation of mine, sitting directly behind the professor, gesticulating to speed up and smiling broadly as a reminder of what my face should look like. She also took away my cue cards before I presented because Charity’s a hardcore academic like that.

Then there was the time that Charity used her connections to get me better marks; I once handed in a lab with the pages stapled out of order, I was justifiably docked ten percent for my error. I complained to Charity, who had a look at the mediocre assignment in question and then chided the lab tech that had marked my work, who (fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view) worked in the same lab that Charity did and was a friend of hers. My lab marks improved considerably after that interaction, and not due to my own abilities.

After all of that, I graduated university with the identical degree my mother was given twenty years before me- a Bachelor’s of Science with an Honors Specialization in Genetics. Although I clung to the idea that I was science minded for a time, after spending six months working as a performer in the arts and then starting up this blog four years ago, I’ve since given up the ghost. Here are a couple of excerpts about my brief stint in science.

The first one is from Charity herself, who now works a science writer for a premier hospital.

“What [Unwashed] lacked in report writing and technical expertise, [she] made up for with oodles and oodles of unbridled curiosity and enthusiasm.”

So in essence I was a cheerleader being all “GOOOOOOOOOOOO SCIENCE! Microarrays! Whoo! Whoo!” And the shortness of my skirts and pom poms distracted from my complete inability to do lab work.

My personal favourite quote is from another friend who had the misfortune of being my first year physics lab partner. Despite being two years younger than me, he seemed far more mature. There’s something about having freshly ironed pants which will give a knowing air to any undergrad. He is now the brains behind a scientific research team in California. Sometime after we had graduated, I approached my friend and apologized profusely for never being prepared for our physics labs or doing anything in said labs while he worked frantically. To which he chortled good-naturedly and replied

“Oh Unwashed, you brought the entertainment.”

Well, I can lay claim to something. And at the very least I’m not this woman. I may not practice science but I don’t go around touting bad science that hospitalizes babies and children.

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Her lack of clothing and uniform lends her a certain credibility no? (Photo Credit : Pintrest.com)

Thus, when I met Tex two and a half years ago, I introduced myself as an artist. Along with describing the activities I enjoy most in my life, this title has the added benefit of excusing much bizarre behaviour. Understandably, a passionate lover of engineering, my husband on occasion forgets that I have a working knowledge of science and will explain basic concepts to me such as osmosis. Given how I act and what I create in our life together, I try to take this in stride. However the other week, my Mom, who has the same degree as me, whose thesis supervisor was one of my lecturers, a fact that we would discuss on occasion, explained basic cell biology to me.

You know you’re truly a failed scientist when your own mother forgets that you understand more than chi, modern art and interpretative dance.

*Names have been changed to protect those who are the reason for me to succeeding in higher education.

 

Five Things Friday: The Murderous Family Christmas Edition

It’s Friday in New Zealand. It doesn’t make any sense, but time zones are like that; they’re tricky devils, sometimes, for example last weekend, they jump backwards an hour for no reason at all. Time zones don’t obey the laws of physics. Scientists thought everything had to obey the laws of physics. And everything does, except for time zones. Also Cher.

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This lack of adherence to physics is the only possible explanation for this woman. Photo Credit: MTV.com

Anyway, on with Five Things Friday

  1. My In-Laws Gave Me Coal For Christmas

It wasn’t actually coal, it looked more like severed tree roots. Regardless, it sent a message -be nicer to our son; this is your Christmas gift. Following celebrating an early Christmas with Tex’s family this past weekend, I found a “present” at the bottom of the bag of produce they had brought from the farm. It was underneath the beets and the lone zucchini which was the size and shape of a baseball bat.

I turned the oddly shaped, dirt clod coated bulb-ish/shrub-ish thing over in my hands trying to find an identifiable feature so I could figure out whether to cook it or plant it. Finally I gave up and called my mother-in-law Zoey*. “Did you give us a piece of a tree?” I asked. “Pardon?” Zoey replied masking her obvious disapproval of my naughty behavior over the past year with confusion.

“I’m holding a plant” I said. At least I thought it was a plant, it very well could have been dirty petrified wood. “Is it for the garden?” I questioned further. “Oh!” Zoey burst out, “it’s the horseradish”. So it wasn’t coal, it was condiment ingredients. Close enough, it ended up making me cry. Message received -I should be nicer to Tex.

 

  1. I Drove Over Two Men With My Van

To clarify, I drove over a pit AND two men with my van. It was horrifying and I cried in the way that one does when they’re about to commit murder. I’d never patronized a Jiffy Lube before, consequently I was shocked when the garage doors opened and in lieu of a friendly mechanic trotting out to relieve me of my keys, a youth in a pit beckoned me to drive over him. Then to make matters worse, another young man jumped in with him. Double manslaughter, goody.

I drive infrequently because I loathe it, but more importantly because I’m terrible at it. The examiner had to coach me through a three point turn on my licensing test. Thus, the pit/youth situation spelled certain doom and jail time to me. However I somehow managed to very slowly maneuver the van over the pit and the youths lived to scare another unsuspecting customer.

 

  1. Babies + Oranges = Mistake

Mini-Tex is into eating exactly what I’m eating. I made the mistake of consuming citrus in front of him so now our floor is like a high school cafeteria- sticky and more than a little gross. I debated not washing it and leaving the job for Tex but thought better of it upon remembering the number of baseball bat sized zucchini my mother-in-law has in her garage. Death by squash is never pretty.

 

  1. I Don’t Actually Have A Fourth Or Fifth Thing

Cher took them to another time zone. I’m sending a search party to Taiwan and Austria, I’ll let you know when my other writing points turn up.

 

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of lovely, thoughtful women whose fondest desire is for their families to have well seasoned, delicious, local food. She also would never think of using her zucchinis for anything other than baking and is so gentle that she makes people who would never hurt a fly look aggressive. My mother-in-law is compassionate to the point that I’m pretty sure she mourns the dust-mites that accidently get sucked out of the air by the vacuum cleaner.