Sometimes I am Alarmed By Me

I’m cleaning house, which means I’m coming across relics of my former self. Often when rummaging through their things, people will look at old photos and question their fashion choices. That rarely happens to me because my fashion choices are always questionable.

Just your average Tuesday afternoon outfit.

Just your average Tuesday afternoon outfit.

However, I frequently find pieces of my writing or snippets of stories which give me pause, but none more so than what I found today in a binder from my early university days. On a piece of paper I read just two words written in my distinctive scrawl; penis karaoke. That’s it. Nothing more, no explanation, no elaboration, I’m not sure whether it was an activity, a jot note from a memory that I’ve apparently repressed or possibly an ill-conceived business venture that I’m relieved I didn’t follow through with.

Normally when I discover a piece of old writing, I can remember to a certain extent where the story or idea came from. I’m drawing a complete blank here and frankly I’m a little alarmed by my twenty year old self. First off, I’d like to know what exactly “penis karaoke” is. Does it involve some sort of nude bar with microphones that go up just past the knees? I feel like backup singers might object to standing that close in the buff. Also I’ve never heard a man’s member singing. But it’s possible I’ve never listened closely enough. Maybe mens’ locker rooms sound like a choir of angels.

Or is “penis karaoke” some sort of bachelorette party type activity where awkwardly shaped microphones are used to match the phallic pasta gag gifts? Another possibility is having to act like male genitalia while doing karaoke. Although where I would have gotten the idea to try such a thing is beyond me. My only conclusion is that I attended a job interview before penning these words where I was asked absurd questions like “If you were a species of tree, what would you be?” which would of course be followed up with this question “Do oak trees work in teams?”. The only logical answer is of course; oak trees work with others about as well as penises sing.

Whatever “penis karaoke” was, it makes my old workout instructions which I found in the same pile, that have descriptors like “Do twenty five push up Frankensteins” and “Perch uncomfortably on the weird over the head machine fifteen times” look positively tame. Although further cleaning didn’t turn up any answers regarding bizarre types of karaoke, upon rereading my descriptions of fitness exercises, I concluded that I may be the reason why I no longer go to the gym.

To Don’t List

Normally one makes a “To Do” List and giddily checks chores off, one after another. Today I made a “Things I Didn’t Do” List. And I’m going to chronicle them for you in the same annoying manner that girls with low self esteem call up their boyfriends and detail everything they ate that day. I’d do that too but the list would be very short because I’m trying to clear out my pantry in preparation for moving and might upset my grandparents as half of it would be Bailey’s liqueur. Normally I mix Baileys with milk however going grocery shopping was one of my errands that wasn’t completed so there we are.

Things I Didn’t Do But Really Probably Should Have Because Sometimes I Call Myself A Grown-Up But I Have A Feeling My Membership To That Particular Club May Be Revoked Soon

Grocery Shopping– I really should have done this. I’m going to regret this inaction tomorrow when I have no milk for my coffee and a wicked mean hangover from drinking the remains of my pantry.

Going To The Bank– In the grand scheme of things, I’m giving myself a partial pass on this errand. Earlier this week I found important government papers that I thought I had lost hidden in with pictures of naked backs. Ostensibly I could have been searching for more mortgage related papers in my Bailey’s bottle.

Dropping Donations Off At Goodwill– Aside from the fact that a corner of my bedroom is currently being overrun with junk, I think the impoverished people of the city will be just fine even though I didn’t drop off my collection of sparkly wigs* and thirty year old hard cover books.

Vacuuming– The average temperature outside this week has been negative twenty. Inside my house it’s averaged only slightly more than that hence extra thick socks are now a part of my indoor wardrobe but even without being trod upon by shoes the carpet has taken on a fawn tinge. The situation wasn’t helped by my decision to complete one task on my actual To-Do list and shred paper with a dull Exacto knife, which had the effect of recreating the scene in “Elf” where Buddy makes it snow.

If you flip this picture upside down that's what my carpet looks like. (Photo Credit:

If you flip this picture upside down that’s what my carpet looks like. (Photo Credit:

Wipe Down Counters and Tabletops in the Kitchen– It looks as though the International Convention of Toast Eaters met on my kitchen table and counters then proceeded to devour hundreds of loaves of thick crusted sourdough bread. A family of mice could live off these surfaces for a year or two in their current state.

Recycle the Giant Collection of Boxes that is in a Closet for No Good Reason– If pillow forts were made of cardboard I would be the reigning queen and emperor of the home made fortress world. As such they aren’t and I just have a huge box of collapsed and unusable boxes in my closet to take up space. Also half of the cushions on the sofa are sewed in because the designers were enemies of fun.

Bathe– I rarely do this one anyway, so this isn’t actually a huge disappointment**.

*This special extra post is dedicated to my mother who is doing lots of unfun things this weekend like going to the bank and running tedious errands. Also Mom do not freak out I didn’t donate all of my sparkly wigs. I know you like to wear them to work on occasion.

** Excerpt from a conversation with my Dad:

Dad “Sweetheart, about the title of your blog “The Great Unwashed”, how do you explain that to people?

The Great Unwashed “I tell them I don’t bathe. Just tell people that.”

Dad “But that makes you sound strange.”

Dad, I included that last item just for you. To make you uncomfortable. Because that’s how I show affection and love; by publicly announcing my poor hygiene.

Wanted: A nice smelling, clean person who can advise me on which purse matches my outfit

My friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears is moving. She’s also been known to go by the name Sula* however sometimes when your friends do outlandish things they must be described by their actions.

Sula is moving to the Arctic, to crouch on the tundra with polar bears. Apparently it’s a highly coveted position; being a light appetizer to one of the most monstrous and terrifying mammals in the world. Although as Sula puts it “I’d rather not be eaten alive by a polar bear in the name of science” so technically that isn’t the actual purpose of her job, more of a side project.

 What is the opposite of barbeque sauce? Sula needs to coat herself in that. (Photo credit :

What is the opposite of barbeque sauce? Sula needs to coat herself in that. (Photo credit :

I’m going to miss her terribly. As a dear friend of mine she’s been known to feed me on a weekly basis and allow me to bask in the glory of her fireplace. Her Cavalier King Charles spaniel and I enjoy lying face up pointing our bellies towards the flames in a most undignified manner. It’s great fun.

I’m feeling quite bereft, I haven’t the remotest clue how I will fill my Thursday nights which previously had been Sula and my time to meet up and work on our various crafting projects. That’s a lie, Sula would work on one of her many exquisite quilts and I would paint a shirt for twenty five minutes and then collapse on her floor groaning about how much I hate painting in between lying on my back in front of her fireplace.

As with any dear friend I will miss her endlessly. However she’s going to a better place. A place where people will appreciate both her ability to fire a semi automatic gun and apply false eyelashes so carefully that you wouldn’t believe the spidery tendrils weren’t her own. These skills will come in handy as Sula is heading to a city filled to the brim with environmentally minded hunters and lesbians. With her luscious brown hair and ability to discuss the effects of climate change on shore birds I have no doubt her dance card will fill up quickly.

Although Sula is moving in May I’ve decided to hold “New Unwashed Friend” auditions starting next month. All candidates must possess the following qualities.

  • The knowledge of how to properly strain one’s urine for drinking after hiking in the wilderness for hours on end. ( I have never had to use this skill of Sula’s but it reassures me when we are out in the forest that she knows how.)
  • An intense desire to clean not only their home but mine as well. (Sula didn’t actually do this but applicants for the job of being The Great Unwashed’s new companion should think of themselves as Sula 2.0 “The toilet brush wielding friend”)
  • A penchant for cooking paired with a desperate need to feed people. By people I mean specifically me.
  • A fireplace obviously.
  • A well trained, smallish dog. Chihuahua owners need not apply. Great Dane owners ironically will be considered.
  • All applicants should have a history of being told that they and their house smell nice. Each room in Sula’s home has a specific and pleasant aroma. As a person who bathes infrequently and cares even less about the scent of my home I find this a welcome change.

Auditions shall be held on the third Thursday of next month.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of persons who make me delicious salads.

The Great Unwashed Wants YOU as a Pen Pal Because Who Doesn’t Love Manatees With Facial Hair?

Recently while searching for my lost passport I found a stack of blank postcards.

And I thought what many people think in this same situation “I want to write awkward messages to distant acquaintances.” Hence I approached my Dad who works with a lot of people, some who have met me, some who have only heard of me.

The Great Unwashed “I want to write to your clients. I’m sure Camilla Parker Bowles would love a postcard of a manatee with a moustache.”

Dad “First off I don’t think you understand what I do- I don’t work with Camilla Parker Bowles and secondly I’m not giving you my clients’ addresses.”

C'mon who doesn't want this in their mailbox?

Even the queen Mum would want this postcard.

Next I went to my sister Diana.

The Great Unwashed “Lend me your address book, I want to send postcards to all of your friends.”

Diana “I don’t have an address book and please stop sending valentines to my roommates. It’s really weird to receive hearts with goofy smiles from strangers in September.”

Stacey's Bad Word. Can Canada Post ever top this?

Stacey’s Bad Word. A new way to express my affection for Diana’s friends.

I was at a loss. Short of distributing postcards to all of Roscoe’s patients which he claimed “Would be a violation of ethics and their privacy” I had no one new to send mail to.

And for a moment I despaired. What would become of Travesty Tuesdays? My beloved series of posts which sometimes appear on the second day of the work week that feature odd correspondence sent to those I know and love. But much like the act of riding an armadillo to work, after a while receiving poorly drawn stick figures and descriptions of falling in the shower becomes the norm over time. My family simply does not appreciate receiving Easter cards about attempting to hog tie raccoons the way they used to. I needed a new audience to send my ramblings to.


(Photo Credit :

Thus I am calling on my Unwashed public. If you would love nothing more than a vintage Babysitter’s Club postcard about the bus ride I took with a recently paroled drug dealer who is about to become a baby daddy please send me your contact information.

Fair readers, if you choose to help me tackle this pile of postcards I promise not to share your personal information with anyone. I also pledge to only send you one postcard. Unless you are one of Diana’s roommates in which case I popped yet another valentine proclaiming my undying love in the mail just this morning. I also promise that I’m not a 350 lb women’s prison guard. At best I hover around a third of that size and am occasionally mistaken for an eighth grader.

In the interest of protecting everyone’s privacy please send your mailing address to * rather placing it in the comments below.

Alternatively you can private message me on Facebook by “Liking” The Great Unwashed. Or if you are feeling a little mischievous you could send the address of your arch nemesis.

*My email seems narcissistic until you realize that it’s meant to be a reminder. I also have a post it with the words “Put Food Here!” on my fridge because it’s just awkward to store leeks in your sock drawer.

Based on the sheer number of these kinds of postcards that I found I can only assume I meant to create some sort of miniature paper city of  monuments for a tiny Godzilla to destroy. Only possible conclusion.

Based on the sheer number of these kinds of postcards I can only assume I meant to create some sort of miniature paper city of monuments for a tiny Godzilla to destroy. Only possible conclusion.

Saving The World; One Hardened Lump of Goo at a Time

Roscoe standing in the bathroom looking perplexed -“Unwashed*?”

The Great Unwashed appears in the bathroom doorway- “Yes?”

 Soap is prone to exploding when exposed to science because science is great. (Photo Credit :

What do you mean you don’t want to wash yourself with this? (Photo Credit :

Roscoe holds up a giant white mound of hardened scented goo- “What’s up with our soap?”

The Great Unwashed – “I believe what you meant to ask was; What’s up AND out with our soap? As it has clearly grown both up AND out.” The Great Unwashed gestures to emphasize the soap’s growth.

Roscoe still not any closer to having clean hands- “What did you do to our soap?”

The Great Unwashed- “I blew it up. For the good of mankind.”

Roscoe takes a closer look at what was a bar of soap and watches as small pieces flake off into the sink- “How does this help mankind?”

I improved the soap, by making more of it. (Photo Credit :

I improved the soap, by making more of it. (Photo Credit :

The Great Unwashed- “It’s science, and science is good. As a doctor science employs you every day and helps people. Ergo I also helped people by microwaving our soap because it was a part of a scientific experiment.”

Roscoe looks as though he is about to ask a follow up question but refrains until The Great Unwashed is walking away, undoubtedly to create more calamity away from his watchful eyes. “Does this mean the microwave is clean?” he hopefully asks The Great Unwashed’s back.

Fun Science Fact For The Day: If you microwave a bar of Ivory soap it expands and you can mold it or just keep microwaving bars continuously until you have a series of small soap explosions. I don’t recommend the last option though. It seems fun at the time, but then your spouse realizes that all the soap in the house looks funnier than the stuff they sell at Lush and disintegrates when it’s touched. This might result in microwave privileges being revoked.

Unless of course you are the kind of pious, responsible person who never microwaves uncovered tomato soup.

I’m not- I heat up uncovered chili in the microwave too and I never ever, ever clean it out. I am an excellent wife. Roscoe would probably hug me right now if his hands were clean. Nonetheless microwaving bath products is a fun and educational science experiment. And science helps everyone. Especially Roscoe, even if he doesn’t always recognize it.

*On occasion Roscoe omits both the article and the “Great” from my name. Generally when I have done something not so great, like dying my hands blue or purple, or putting dirt in our freezer and making him eat chicken fingers for eight days straight.

I Really Need A New Hobby Aside From Cleaning Dead Animals On A Saturday Night

So I spent all of last Saturday night washing my childhood pet. This doesn’t sound like a lot of work but the pet in question was a cat who never really caught onto the whole “I am a cat and therefore have amazing balance skills and clean myself regularly” concept. In fact this cat was known for the number of things it could fall off of. Its lack of hygiene was never really a problem until my parent’s elderly cat died and Splat was left to fend for and clean himself.

Splat, judging by the unhappy look on his face, he fell off of something just before this photo was taken and is annoyed that there may be photographic evidence.

Splat, judging by the unhappy look on his face, he fell off of something just before this photo was taken and is annoyed that there may be photographic evidence.**

On top of having a fairly significant problem with dandruff Splat* also had a habit of finding giant dirt piles and rolling in them. He would then rub himself against the person nearest to him, effectively creating a cat-dirt version of a brass rubbing. You know where you lay paper against something really old and then take a metallic crayon to it? The result was like that only with more feline dander and small beetles. It was quite possibly the grossest thing next to discovering cat barf in your shoes after you’ve put them on. Eventually my parents were so disgusted with the state of Splat’s fur that they shipped him off to the groomers. To my knowledge Splat is the only cat to have ever endured a professional cleaning.

Anyway so last Saturday night I shampooed, then rinsed Splat’s coat, then shampooed again because of all the dander and grease.  It took a while; Splat was quite resistant to both the water and the soap. Of course he was also rather dirty.

The sense of exhaustion when I opened my eyes on Sunday morning was overwhelming but my first thought was “Well at least the cat is clean.” But that’s when I realized that the cat I had spent all night lathering, rinsing and repeating had been dead for a year. And I was annoyed. Not only because I was so tired from washing a dead cat all night but I didn’t even get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Cursing both my poor sleep and my subconscious, who was responsible for the weird dream, I got up.

Fast forward a couple of hours, I’ve completed an exhausting ten km race in fifty minutes and am now sitting in my aunt’s kitchen at a family get together. If pressed I would say that hands down bathing the dead cat was more tiring than the race.

My Dad is standing at the counter loading up on potato salad. From across the room I loudly say “Dad, you didn’t notice all the work I did last night.”

Fair on the Yare - in the Stocks - geograph.or...

This girl neglected to say thank you for her delicious lunch of a ham sandwich with the crusts cut off.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Dad stops mid scoop, having lived in a house full of three women for twenty some odd years he knows that forgetting to notice and thank someone for housework is right up there with high treason. Very slowly he turns to face me, fully expecting to be chastised for not appreciating the clean kitchen/ laundry/ basement, in front of our whole family to boot.

“I was up all night cleaning our dead cat. I shampooed his coat.”

My Dad started to laugh and went back to scooping salad onto his plate. I know one thing’s for sure, that is the last time I stay up all night shampooing beloved, deceased pets. Neither of my parents bothered to thank me for my efforts.

*Names have not been changed because the late cat in question always liked my mother better than me to begin with.

** Special thanks to my Dad who looked through all our family photos to find one of Splat and then sent it to me, on very short notice, because that’s who I am.