That Time That The Government Was All “Show Us the Goods, Unwashed”

I got audited. Hard. The Canadian Revenue Agency showed up at my door, kicked it in, and then frisked me. Afterwards, just for kicks, the CRA stuck my hand in the toilet while singing “Swirlé, Swirlé Swiiiiirrrrlééé”.

Ok, it might not have happened exactly like that, but it was close. 2014 was kind of a nutty year for me. I decided to follow it up with an even crazier year filled with two cross country moves, a wedding and a baby. The baby was four days late and arrived in 2016 but the vast majority of the baby-making occurred in 2015. Anyways, because of all this moving, shaking and baby-making, I didn’t get the letter where the government was all like “We need proof of these antics; send us your receipts, proofs and your third grade report card”, what I got instead months later, was an angry letter demanding me to pay them allllllllll of the money. To which I sniffled “But, but, but, I don’t understand!” and after that promptly paid them alllllllll of the money, then stood on street corners singing the blues with my hat held out for people to throw nickels in.

Last month, I finally received all the mail that had been sent to my former address the previous summer, including the aforementioned letter in which the government wanted to see written proof of my life up to and including Mrs. Bobbitt’s thoughts on my third grade Claymation project and life started to add up again.

So I dutifully, gathered all the documents and sent them into the heads of our true north strong and free. Even though my receipts, letters and Mrs. Bobbitt’s praise for my addition skills explained a lot, I felt the government deserved the whole story.

 

Dear Bilingual Dudes and Dudettes in suits,

Bonjourno! Wait, that may be the wrong language. At any rate, hello! How’s it hanging up in parliament? That’s great! Sorry; I stopped listening after the first syllable because no one except for Justin Trudeau cares that much about politics. Unless of course politics involves our Prime Minster taking off his shirt.

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This man’s shapely torso is the answer to voter apathy. (Photo Credit : http://www.alanifagan.com)

I received your letter and enclosed the requested documents but I thought I should explain, I mean, I totally understand your incredulous response to my year. Looking back, I can’t even believe that I bought a house, went back to school for ten months, worked part time and traveled for three months. It doesn’t show it anywhere on those documents, but I met the cowboy of my dreams in there too. What can I say? It was a super packed year. Clearly I didn’t sleep. But even still, I see your questioning eyebrows, Canada Revenue Agency, you’re saying to yourself “These numbers don’t add up, we need concrete proof of this tomfoolery and possibly a road map” so let me draw it out for you.

I’ll admit it, I bought a house. It was a small house though, which meant the mortgage was manageable, even as a single, quasi-employed lady. Also then I sold my car. Ok, the word isn’t sold. I took my car to the junk yard, poured out a little for my mechanical homey and then was driven home by my friend Gordy. So that saved money. Lots of money in fact, have you seen what insurers charge in Ontario?

Then, to fund my piling tuition bills I took a page out of Burning Man’s book

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Everything good can happen when this is the model one works from. (Photo Credit : http://www.rollingstone.com)

and started trading topless pirate Macarena dances for watermelons. Not really, but I did exchange meals at my house for rides to places I wanted to go. I relied on my friends that year. I am especially indebted to my close friend Gordy; he drove me everywhere and offered to fight evil, trash can tumbling raccoons cum burglars for me. But don’t call him to verify this; Gordy’s so humble he’ll claim that he didn’t do anything.

Even with lots of help, that still didn’t save enough money to fund ten months of schooling, so I kept cutting my budget. I shopped at Giant Tiger and ate produce which tasted like blue cheese. I raided my Dad’s pantry and mowed down on ten year old wild rice. When that wasn’t sufficient, I cut out all activities that weren’t free or directly related to school. CRA, you don’t even want to know how many walks I took.

I know, taking all those cost cutting measures into account, the numbers still don’t add up. Dearest government, that’s the best, most comprehensive explanation I have for that year. All I can say is when I look back; I was running, running, running the entire twelve months. I hope this helps to clarify matters. If it doesn’t, you’re welcome to call me at home, although I wouldn’t suggest it, I’m even more inexplicable in person.

Inscrutably yours,

The Great Unwashed

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Green Confessions and Naughty Neighbours

I’ve never mowed a lawn. I went almost thirty years having never pushed a mower, cut grass or done any sort of yard work beyond a bit of weeding. I’d say I’m ashamed but the fact the matter is lawn mowers are ungainly, heavy tools and frankly they scare me a bit with all their blustering and vrooming.

My non grass cutting life was going fairly smoothly until I bought a house. Happily this house came with a lawn mower. Unhappily this lawn mower was one of the loud, gas guzzling variety. I allowed it to sit in it’s angry den until one day I arrived home to the following note left by an anonymous neighbour.

 “You are an embarrassment to the neighbourhood. Mow your lawn! Even Gladys* did a better job than this. SMARTEN UP!!!!”

For the record Gladys is the eighty year old woman whom I bought the house from. She used a walker. Effectively my gardening skills are inferior to that of the extremely elderly.

So away I went to purchase a push mower, the kind that ran on my own sweat but hopefully not blood. I got the mower home and away I went. The satisfaction was immense and immediate. I discovered that mowing a lawn is like vacuuming but better because the effect is so drastic, one moment your backyard is overrun with weeds, the next it’s a perfectly cultivated,  fragrant paradise. I went up the lawn, and back, then turned and went diagonally across it. I swiveled the mower and made a loop-de-loop on the lawn. To finish, I made progressively smaller circles.  

A friend who had not witnessed my lawn cutting revelery came to visit on Sunday, by that point the patches I had missed in my erratic fit of yard work were becoming obvious as they seemed to grow by the minute in the sun.

“You’re supposed to mow in a pattern” he said helpfully.

“I did” I answered beaming with pride over my now not so newly cut lawn. “Paisley!”

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those kind enough to gift me a gas guzzling, terrifying lawn mower.

 

Also for the record, I am the naughty neighbour in the title. Prior to cutting it, my lawn may have looked like something that Indiana Jones would have to take a machete to while trekking through the Amazon in search of a skull, or the death star. I never watched that series of Harrison Ford movies, regardless, I’m sure my lawn made an appearance somewhere.

I Wish This Wasn’t True

The Great Unwashed – “I kicked a bank today.”

Diana – “Then what happened?”

The Great Unwashed – “Nothing, so I punched it.”

Diana – “Then what happened?”

The Great Unwashed – “Still nothing, so I kept yelling at the top of my lungs and then a fifty year old bank manager came out and said “Closed” emphatically while making a frowny face, so I snarled at him and bared my teeth.”

Diana – “You know this story doesn’t make me worry about you less. Also you need to go to a different branch now.”

There is no explanation for my behaviour on Thursday. Well there is, it’s just not very good and doesn’t excuse me from transforming into a rabid, mental patient outside of a financial institution. In my defense, the mental patient appearance was not entirely my fault.

The end effect was like this only shorter. (Photo Credit : hji.co.uk)

My hair looked like this only shorter. (Photo Credit : hji.co.uk)

All of the pipes had clogged that morning and it was supposed to be bathin’ day. To distract from my unwashed state, I decided to put my hair up. Unfortunately my hair is currently about chin length, so the end result of pinning my curls meant that tendrils poked out from my head, making my scalp look like a mismanaged, wild garden in the spring. I was wearing utility pants which I had haphazardly sewn extra pockets into. However I hadn’t bothered to finish the pockets so the ones I sewed in were fraying about the edges. The end result was bag lady chic.

As a card carrying adult, I accept certain necessary evils in my life for example, banks and insurance companies. My life philosophy is “Most people probably want to help me and be my friend”.  The bank’s philosophy is “We don’t want to help you and we will take ALL of your money”. As a result, I do my best to avoid this institution, however purchasing a house has meant that I’ve dealt quite a bit with the bank recently. As I headed once again to the dreaded financial institution, I was aware that the interaction was going to be long, possibly unpleasant and one hundred percent certain that the fees would be astronomical. But it was ok because I was going to get my down payment for my house. I had even written down the financial terms to use in conversation with the bankers so I wouldn’t be nodding my curly head while saying “You know, the paper that you give to people, to give to the other people, to give to your mortgage company?”

But at four thirty two PM, when I arrived outside the locked doors of the bank, having run almost a half a kilometer because traffic was moving at a crawl so I was forced to park far away to have a hope of making the closing time, all of those terms flew out of my head. This bank closed at four thirty on Thursdays. Pulling with all of my might against the doors, I yelled “Mortgage! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Yanking again with my entire five foot-ish frame, the door did not budge. “AHHHHHHH” I yelled in frustration “But, but, but HOUSE! NOOOOOOOOOO”

It was one of those times in life where you can’t believe your poor luck, when the sheepish shrugs of the employees inside are almost taunting in the face of your time-sensitive To-Do List.

Around the time I yelled “HOOOOUUse. Down payment!” the dour faced bank manager appeared. What I needed most in the world at that moment was a hug. But people don’t approach nut cases with their arms outstretched. I do expect a video of my meltdown to appear on Youtube though, seeing as all of this occurred in front of a crowded bus stop.

I booted the door. The bank manager frowned. I punched the metal frame. “Closed” he said firmly. “No? But, down payment, house! MonEEEEEEEEEEY!” I bellowed, having lost the ability to form coherent sentences half a minute before. “Closed” he repeated sternly. That was when I snarled and bared my teeth, shoving my face as close to the door as I could. Realizing what I had done, I pulled myself back. “Thank you!” I shouted turning and rushing away from the building towards my car. Then upon realizing that I had thanked someone who wasn’t remotely helpful I turned again “I mean, NOT thank you!”

In the end, I called the helpline on my bank card and explained the situation. The kind voice directed me to a branch two kilometers down the road which was open slightly later.

Ingredients For Seasonal Cheer: Jesus and Zebras in Party Hats

Last week I was confused for an eight year old. This happens on occasion. And by on occasion I mean a lot. Almost daily people ask me what I want to do after high school. My go to move of replying in a squeaky, high pitched voice “I’m a grown up DAMMIT!” is less effective than one might think.

So I’ve decided to do the most grown up thing I can think of. And to answer your question – no I’m not having a baby. Teenagers do that all the time consequently the act has lost it’s grown up status. No I’m going to do the other thing- next year I’m buying a house.

Nothing makes you sound more grown up (and boring!) than talking about interest rates. Adults are very, very interested in interest rates. They talk about them all the time while doing mature things like commuting. Ergo I’m going to start peppering my conversations with words like “prime” and “five year fixed term” so instead of being confused for a precocious teeny bopper, people shall recognize me for what I am; a small, irresponsible adult who has no idea what she is talking about

Buying a house means that one has to save and cut costs wherever possible. Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving which means that along with budgeting, I need to start writing Christmas cards. To save money, instead of buying and sending out traditional Christmas cards, I’ve decided to use my preexisting supply of stationary.

I feel this would work better if I hadn’t spent the past two years collecting the strangest card sets I could find in the Michael’s 90% off clearance bin.

Last year I inadvertently confused the conservative parents of a friend by sending them a Christmas card about midget slave labour. So I’m not sure how they’re going to react to the zebra birthday invitations I’m sending out in December this year.

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To : People who see me once a year and possibly think I should be institutionalized.

Date: December 25th 2013

Time : The whole day!

Location : Your choice.

Hosted by : Jesus! It’s his birthday and he wants you to bring gifts for everyone except him. He’s a seriously generous guy.

Merry Christmas and or Happy Birthday

Much love,

The Great Unwashed

 

I’m thinking that I may send these kinds of cards out every year for Christmas; I like that they practically write themselves. It would cut down on the amount of time I spend debating if writing about juggling dogs is appropriate to use with a seasonal greeting.