The Dog Pee School of Ballet

One summer when I was twenty, I decided to take ballet. This would have worked better if my job as a lifeguard hadn’t ended at eight pm every evening. As it was, my criterion for classes was as follows: at my level, which began after eight thirty and that were in my price range. Hence how I ended up dancing next to eight year olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The teacher was a cantankerous former ballerina who had taken to eating a family-size box of cookies each day. A large woman, she spent every class sitting in a chair shouting directions at the four children and me while an accompanist played classical music on a piano in the corner. Despite never demonstrating the proper technique once, she held the group to the highest standards and would fling objects and curse words whenever we failed to meet expectations. My lack of experience and exhaustion from working in the sun all day made me a target. My friends would sometimes tag along and listen to the lesson from the waiting room “Who was she so angry at?” I was asked after one particularly furious evening. I slunk down in the chair while changing out of my ballet shoes, “me” I answered despondently.

The teacher also owned a terrier. For the majority of the class, the dog would sleep on a pillow at the front next to her chair, but once or twice it would get up, pee in the corner, then bite the feet and legs of the nearest dancer before settling back down to rest. Consequently, the back of the room was a coveted spot not only because it was out of the range of staplers, hairbrushes and cassette tapes, all of which were occasionally thrown our way after a misstep but also for its distance from sharp doggy teeth.


This ballet instructor likely would have deemed this to be an acceptable teaching instrument were it not for the effort required in throwing it about. (Photo Credit :

As I was often running late, despite being taller than the other girls and thus blocking the teacher’s view of them, most nights I stood near the canine terror.

Despite the profanities, the bite holes in my tights and the odd flying hairbrush, I continued with the class. At the end of the term was a recital. Classes became more intense as rehearsals loomed. My inability to simultaneously coordinate my arm and leg movements infuriated the instructor whom my family nicknamed “The Cube” because she was as wide as she was tall. Although my eight year old colleagues did their best to help, hissing the dance names under their breath at me -“jeté!”  in the hopes of avoiding the instructor’s wrath, it was to no avail. Finally one night, after watching me flail my arms and barrel sideways into the smallest dancer “The Cube” declared that we were all to hold hands and dance. This had the added benefit of allowing the children to whisper the sequence of steps to me without detection. Class went smoother after that.

This experience culminated with the recital. Picture fifty eight-year-olds in leotards and slicked back hair and twenty-year-old me running around the underbelly of a theatre while upstairs, onstage other eight-year-olds in leotards with slick backed hair performed.  It was the pinnacle of my dancing career, and I absolutely wasn’t ready. My family had turned out in full force complete with flowers to congratulate me afterwards. My sister had even brought along her boyfriend. While the children ran up and down the halls, muffling their shrieks of joy with their hands, I obsessively practiced the choreography. Then, my turn came; nervously I lined up with five tiny ballerinas, looking like a female Billy Madison  and stepped onstage.


It was like this, but with a tutu. Also to make matters worse, because I was a nightmare of a dancer, “The Cube” stuck me not in the middle, which would have made the height and age difference less obvious but towards one of the ends so I was buffeted by two little girls who knew the routine much better than me. (Photo Credit :


Halfway through the dance I realized I was grimacing, so I decided to smile. That slight break in my concentration caused me to lose the beat and lightly trample the child’s foot beside me. In the wings, my family said “Oh! She smiled! And now it’s gone.” Once more, I focused on the steps determined to keep up with my tiny dancing cohorts. After, we bowed and exited the stage and I awkwardly congratulated the little people on their work, while they stood, still not quite certain what I was doing there. Ballet is without a doubt a commitment involving pain and sacrifice, but for me it was mostly an exercise in all aspects of discomfort, right down to the weird slick backed hair.

This post is dedicated to Tex. I can’t wait to celebrate our first anniversary with you tomorrow.


On The Road : The Flying Maddie Kerouac

10 AM – This is bad. This is very bad. The bags are packed. I repeat the bags are packed. Every single one of them, from the small purse bag to the over-sized wheelie bag. I would run around in a frenzy but anxiety has pinned me helplessly to the floor. Worst of all, the purple prison has emerged.

Life up until now has been pretty good. Admittedly there have been some rough times like when Sula disappears for what feels like forever and I stay with either the nice smelling woman who gives me endless treats (Who gets a cookie for peeing and has no thumbs? This dog.) or the newly fat one who takes me paddleboarding and hiking but ultimately, it’s a good life.

Then I met the purple prison. It showed up at the nice smelling woman’s house. I got stuck in it for longer and longer periods of time. Sure I got treats afterwards but nothing makes up for shoving yourself into the world’s smallest hiding place in a hellish game of hide and go seek where everyone can see you.

Now it’s out again. I rode in it ages ago when we went into a tiny building with bad smelling air and too many people that made my ears hurt. The building made a lot of noise and I was trapped in the violet temple of doom for what was probably a day before Sula helped me fight my way out. Then we got in a car and drove for what must have been two days.

The point is, the bags are packed, the purple prison is out and nothing good can happen from now on. Possibly forever, the purple prison is exceptionally powerful.

4 PM – Terrifying update – The fish is being packed! When Sula returned from Alaska she brought with her a giant box of delicious smelling frozen fish. Sula said while I was staying with the newly fat one and the tattooed man that she had caught the fish in a river. She was silly and wrapped all of the fish in plastic so they’re difficult to eat raw and all at once, but I forgive my master when she does foolish things sometimes.

Oh no, oh no, why are the fish being packed? I liked the fish. I had planned to eat the fish with Sula, but now I don’t know what’s happening.

4:30 PM – There are shoes. I repeat everyone is putting on their shoes! Please let me come, please let me come, please let me come, don’t take away all of the bags and the fish and leave me here forever. I’m standing next to the door so you know that I’m ready to leave, I will follow you anywhere, please let me come.

4:35 PM – The newly fat one is holding onto my leash while Sula and the tattooed man carry everything else including (horrors!) the purple prison. I would prefer that Sula hold my leash so I knew I was staying with her, but her hands are full.

4:36 PM – Sula and the newly fat one are urging me to pee. Who can pee when everything good in the world is packed up into bags???

4:37 PM – Me apparently. After I relieve myself, Sula, the newly fat one and I continue down the street without the tattooed man and the fish. Why are we leaving the fish? I liked the fish! And the tattooed man wasn’t too bad either; he would play a game to towel me off when I was wet and I slept in between him and the newly fat one on their bed.

4:38 PM – Calm yourself Mads, we can live without fish and the tattooed man, we still have the two most important people, life is good. Ok, life isn’t good, but it’s manageable, your favourite ball went into the suitcase, we can remedy this awful situation.

4:39 Pm – We are in the car, sure it’s a really hot car but this isn’t so bad. Focus; you are in the car with your two most important people, life is ok, pant, life is ok.

4:40 PM – We drive the car down the road and pick up the tattooed man and the fish. Hurray! The fish are back. I jump on the tattooed man’s lap when he climbs into the car to express my gratitude; thank you for returning my fish! Dinner is back on.

4:45 PM – I am riding on the newly fat one’s lap which has become smaller of late. I do not like this arrangement. Not only would I be more comfortable in the backseat on Sula’s lap but then I could be sure that she would stay with me and not leave again.

5:00 PM – The car is slowing down. This does not look like the dog park. I do not like this new place. I give a plaintiff look to both Sula and the newly fat one in the hopes we will leave and go to a dog park. Or even better we could go to a beach! I love the beach.

5:05 PM – This building smells like cleaning fluid, fear and hurry. Worst of all I am being held by the newly fat one while Sula walks away with all of the bags. Newly fat one, follow her! Don’t you understand that the only way to survive is by staying together?

5:07 PM – Where are they taking the bags? My favourite ball is in there!

5:11 PM – We’ve actually lost the fish now. A frowny woman I didn’t recognize in a uniform came and put them in a machine. Goodbye fish, goodbye dinner. I guess I don’t actually need you now that my bowels have seized up from worry. I don’t think I will ever eat again. This fact is confirmed when Sula tries to feed me a piece of buttered bagel and it falls directly out of my mouth. The world is ending and food tastes like sawdust.

5:15 PM – I am standing on both Sula and the newly fat one to prevent them from getting away. Sure I’d like the pack to stay together but I am small, and the tattooed man feeds me treats but not meals; I have to be prudent about my choices.

If I can just stay in this position until the end of time, then everything will be good. (Photo Credit : Tex)

If I can just stay in this position until the end of time, then everything will be good. (Photo Credit : Tex)

5:20 PM – Ack! I moved to stretch my legs and now Sula is walking away.

If I don’t blink, I can keep her in my sight. (Photo Credit : Tex)

If I don’t blink, I can keep her in my sight. (Photo Credit : Tex)

5:21 PM – She is back, the world is ok now. Well not ok, but you get my drift.

5:25 PM – A horrible thought has just occurred to me, the bags are gone, but the purple prison is still here. Am I supposed to go in the purple prison again?

What if I can't ever get out? (Photo Credit : Tex)

What if I can’t ever get out? (Photo Credit : Tex)

5:27 pm – Seeing my distress, the tattooed man tries to cuddle me.

Tattooed man, you are not good at this. It’s for this reason that I was willing to cut you from my pack. (Photo Credit : The Great Unwashed)

Tattooed man, you are not good at this. It’s for this reason that I was willing to cut you from my pack. (Photo Credit : The Great Unwashed)

5:28 PM – Sula picks me up and I relax entirely in her arms. This would be a good place to die, maybe I should just expire here while we’re all together and the horrible purple cage hasn’t captured me.

5:30 PM – My worst fears have been confirmed; the newly fat one is placing me in the purple temple of doom.

Please beloved fat one, don’t put me in here, I might never escape. (Photo Credit : Tex)

Please beloved fat one, don’t put me in here, I might never escape. (Photo Credit : Tex)

5:32 PM – Everyone is hugging. Why is everyone hugging? People leave after this happens. Stop hugging! Or hug me so I know that I am coming with you.

5:33 PM – All is well, Sula is picking me up, I am going with her.

5:34 PM – Scratch that, the pack is breaking up again; the newly fat one and the tattooed man aren’t walking with us!

5:36 PM – The rest of the pack has reappeared, but they’re stuck behind a glass door. I plead with them to find the handle so they can join us. They are smiling and waving. The newly fat one is pressing her face into the glass. How can they joke around at a time like this? Do they not understand that I will need all of their help to escape the purple prison?

For Pete's sake come out from behind that glass and rescue me from this purple case of torture! (Photo Credit : Tex)

For Pete’s sake come out from behind that glass and rescue me from this purple case of torture! (Photo Credit : Tex)

Update: Maddie survived her harrowing adventure and made it safely back home and out of her traveling case, after flying once again in a small noisy building. A day and a half later, her bowels unclenched and she attempted to recreate herself in poop form. This would have been more impressive had I myself not done such a thing after a trip. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I love her so much; we both hate traveling and airplanes.

In case you are interested, small dogs may fly in the cabin of airplanes if they and their carrier together weigh less than 22lbs or the weight of a small personal item. The dogs must stay in the case FOR THE ENTIRE TIME and must be stored under the seat in front of their owner. The airplane must be notified in advance that they are flying with someone and there is an additional fee. Animals are not permitted on flights longer than four hours out of respect for their well being and need to pee. Sula limited Maddie’s water intake before the flight to visit me and going back.

My Week In A Rolling Prison

Canada is a vast and beautiful country, emphasis on the vast. Sometimes the elderly drive across it in enormous camper vans. Last summer, along with my grandparents, I decided to take part in one of these pilgrimages. The following is my record of the adventure.

Day 1: Ontario, Somewhere in the Kawarthas

7:00 AM – Whoo Hoo! Road trip with Gran and Granddad. With my grandparents, two Harry Potter books and the whole back of the RV to myself, in essence have the whole world. Also, Granddad hinted that may be able to drive the RV. Am so excited that even the sixty pound poodle half sitting on me in a territorial fight for the seat can’t dim my enthusiasm.

11:00 AM – Stopped for lunch. Was instructed to take both the standard poodles for a quick walk while Gran prepares lunch, is possible that the poodles did not receive the same instruction as both are actively pulling me back towards the RV. Perhaps am just a bad dog walker because is more like a drag.

4:20 PM – Suffering from an extreme case of numb bum. No matter, shall delve into a magical fictional world where the only concern during long trips is broomstick crotch.

5:00 PM – Have stopped for the evening. Granddad insisted on instructing me how to connect the poop hose to the site. May need to shower forever. Will never eat again.

5:20 PM – Gran’s spaghetti! Will have to live with knowledge that delicious pasta and sauce may contain poop particles. Remind self that dirt and therefore feces are good for immune system.

Day 2: Ontario, Sault St. Marie

7:00 AM – Have been told I can drive the RV! Very excited; partly for opportunity and partly because will not have to share my seat with a disgruntled poodle. Am still very excited about trip itself, is uncommon to see such savage beauty whizzing by window.

10:45 – Numb bum has returned. Harry Potter’s world only partially distracting from discomfort.

2:01 PM – Is my moment of glory! Granddad has vacated driver’s seat. Am going to drive forever, may drive all the way to Manitoba, perhaps may drive all night!

2:59 PM – Have been told to pull RV over and that my turn is finished.

3:05 PM – Notice that phone was noticeably silent and without any messages during my hour long absence. Realize that have lost signal.

4:10 PM – Made mistake of looking at GPS. Said three thousand and eight more hours of driving until arrival. Ok possibly not THAT long but was close. Cell phone a useless paperweight. Am effectively cut off from everything.

6:00 PM – Pulled into the loveliest, leafiest park ever. Hiked all of the trails while Gran made dinner. Took poodles who went willingly. Suspect they only came because saw potential for a jail break by simultaneously pulling my arms in opposite directions while dashing for the river.

Day 3 : Ontario, Thunder Bay

8:00 AM – On road again. Granddad promised to relinquish the steering wheel this morning. Have lovely fantasies of flying down the road for hours and hours until arrive at Aunty Betty’s doorstep. Am still enthused by landscape however majestic rock faces are beginning to look a bit alike.

10:02 AM – Granddad has just moved over! Perhaps will be allowed to drive all day!

10:59 AM – Was just informed my turn is up.

11:00 AM – Pulled over and took the poodles for a drag. Either my arms are becoming stronger or they are walking more willingly.

12:50 AM – Ride seeming impossibly long. Forcing myself not to look at GPS because feel as if may have to live in RV forever.

1:00 PM – Lunch! But am sadly not hungry, it seems boredom kills appetites.

2:00 PM – Fear that feeling may never return to my posterior.

3:00 PM – Must not ask when we are stopping for the night. Am an adult, will handle boredom accordingly.

3:01 PM – Poodle has sat on my foot in such a manner as to indicate that it’s looking for a fight. It seems all of the natives are restless.

3:07 PM – Do not wish to be an adult anymore, want to stop driving and run into the bush which looks exactly like the wild brush from a couple of minutes ago which is identical to the brush from a thousand kilometers ago. Screw up determination; am going to really appreciate wild beauty around me.

3:08 PM – Rock, rock, rock, rock.

3:09 PM – Tree, tree, tree, tree.

3:10 PM – Lake.

3:11 PM – Tree, tree, tree, rock, tree.

5:00 PM – Have stopped for the night. Take dogs for a walk then take advantage of Wifi which is inexplicably fast despite there being no cell phone signal to speak of.

Day 4 : Ontario, ?????? (Somewhere is the north, this province is endless- we may never get out)

5:45 AM – Wake ridiculously early and go for a stroll so legs won’t forget how to walk after spending four years in RV. Discover magical park with up ended picnic tables which look like they enjoy galloping around in the night. Pretend to be a ninja observing secret life of picnic tables.

I am one with the galloping picnic tables. (Photo Credit : Gran)

I am one with the galloping picnic tables. (Photo Credit : Gran)

7:30 AM – After Granddad disconnects poop hose, a task which was mercifully excused from helping with, we are back on road in my gigantic rolling prison.

7: 37 AM – Press face against window and think happily about a time when the world didn’t move and used to do things like run around. Turn cell phone off to save it from uselessly searching for a signal.

8:30 AM – Start to read Harry Potter but even J.K. Rowling can’t fight this much ennui.

9:30 AM – Resist urge to start marking days and hours on RV wall with butter knife.

10:30 AM – See something strange in distance, is weird and rectangular shaped, like a rock face but with ninety degree angles.

10:32 AM – Is most definitely not a rock face nor the Canadian Shield because there is nothing growing out of it.

10:34 AM – Is gigantic building! Have reached civilization. Would drop to knees but would squish poodle that has taken up residence at feet if did so.

10:44 AM – Watch as building approaches.

10:54 AM – And approaches

11:04 AM – And approaches. Had forgotten it was the prairies, the place where people watch their dog run away for three days. Fall back into despair again. May never leave the RV.

1:00 Pm – Gran says are only an hour from Aunty Betty’s! Is such good news cannot believe it. Cell phone signal returns.

2:30 PM – Difficult to say who tumbles out of the RV faster- me or the poodles. Throw self to the ground so happy to be freed from RV and not in a moving vehicle any more. Was beginning to get bedsores from seat belt.

2:35 PM – Hug Gran and Granddad goodbye, say thank you for driving and wheel my suitcase into Aunty Betty’s house. Success!

We Should Do Brunch

Much to my great pleasure and surprise, life stopped beating the snot out of me. Regrettably, life is still life which means it’s continuously handing me lemons, but at a more manageable rate thankfully, so I’m able to turn to those around me and say “Who wants dessert? Lemon meringue anyone?”

Which is my way of telling you, my fair readers, that I made everyone pie. Actually that isn’t true; I am neither that skilled nor that motivated. However I thought about making pie, in my world that’s practically the equivalent of the act itself. Often in my life I’ll think of jobs and assume because I’ve thought of them, that I’ve completed the tasks. Hence why I’m writing this post in the dark, let that be the lesson of the day; pay the electricity company, they have no sense of humour and a complete lack of regard for the fact that their customers contemplated paying the hydro bill multiple times.

I digress, for those of you who have been steered this way from North of the Grid, I apologize, not only is this not a science blog packed with useful information but we’re out of pie. My condolences, however the invitation did say come early. What you have stumbled upon is a humour blog that contains record of all of the nonsensical things I do to myself and loved ones.

And on that note, allow me to share my most recent paddleboarding experience. Last Saturday, having learned my naked, cold lesson the previous week, I arrived at the dock fully kitted out and ready to sit Maddie on a paddleboard for a couple hours with me.

This is Maddie her hobbies include chasing squirrels, trailing bits of sticks into the house and staring woefully at me while I paddleboard. Photo Credit :

This is Maddie. Her hobbies include chasing squirrels, trailing bits of sticks into the house and staring woefully at me while I paddleboard. Photo Credit :

“Hello” I said waving cheerily to the blonde, tanned youths working at the dock, “I’m the naked gongshow from last week. I’ve come to give a repeat performance.” At which point the youths all shaded their eyes, ostensibly to protect them from the sun but more likely because the young workers had no desire to see my doughy midsection again.

The young man, who I can only assume drew the short straw, held the paddleboard for me while I took out a bathmat and proceeded to press the suction cups to the nose of the watercraft. “This is so the dog will have something to grip” I explained while the silicon mat made “sqwoosh, shlup” sounds on the fibreglass board. Then I secured the dry bag, stuffed to the brim with a towel, sunscreen and a doggy snuggie to the back of the paddleboard.

Even canines like to get warm and fuzzy after they fall in the river. Photo Credit:

Even canines like to get warm and fuzzy after they fall in the river. Photo Credit:

Next of course came Maddie herself, who was looking bulky and resplendent in her lifejacket. That is, as long as resplendent means awkward and funny-looking. Then of course I had to remove her lead and secure it to the back of the board with the dry bag. It was at that moment, kneeling on the board with a dog on a bathmat on the nose and what was in essence a giant doggie diaper bag on the other end, that I realized that I had failed to grab a paddle. “Help!” I cried to the youth who had long since given up feigning interest in my floating sideshow and let go of the paddleboard, “I need a paddle!”

At first, I was handed a  broken paddle which was missing a section “This won’t do” I told the youth gesturing towards Maddie’s small shape on the front of my board “Do you not see all the extra weight I have to propel forward? I need a whole paddle.”

Eventually an unbroken paddle was found and away we went. The Provincial Park staff has since begun campaigning for a raise, supposedly to compensate for all the nut jobs they are forced to assist.

Naked in Public: The Nature Edition

Tis the season for stand up paddleboarding, a time when Canadians shuck off their parkas, then pack up and head to the local provincial park to balance on flat pieces of fibre glass. Paddling my way down a river is one of my favourite ways to pass a late spring morning. The fact that this sport is the sexy, new activity that every celebrity is trying, of course adds to my enjoyment.

(Photo Credit :

Of course I look exactly like this while paddling on the river. Except that I’m not in Hawaii. Or that tall. And I don’t own cute bathing suits. Ok this looks nothing like me paddleboarding. (Photo Credit :

Tragically it does not add to my canine companion’s enjoyment of the activity. Although I would counter that if Maddie was given a paddle, her love of the sport would increase exponentially. Yesterday found me peacefully making my way up the river, Maddie perched on the nose of my board, staring balefully at me, her doggy eyes questioning when we would head back. On a separate piece of fibreglass paddled my friend Natalie*. 

There is one thing that you need to know about Natalie; she is the most organized person on the face of the planet. On this day my friend had packed; a towel for the beach, dry clothes in case she became sweaty or fell in and sunscreen even though she applied a coating to her entire person before venturing out of the house. By contrast I brought; Maddie, a doggy lifejacket and the slightly off colour dog towel to dry Maddie off afterward.  I have no doubt that if I had chosen to perch Maddie on Natalie’s board, the public nudity would never have occurred. In life, some people are destined to make good decisions while the rest of us get to flounder about and watch. I really wish I didn’t watch so often.

So there Maddie and I are, paddling along. Well, I was paddling and Maddie was trying to telepathically communicate how much she hates paddleboarding, when the little dog shifts, loses her balance and falls in the river. The little King Charles Cavalier can swim, however dogs don’t come with handles whereas lifejackets do, thus she was wearing hers. Grabbing hold of the polyester handhold, I removed her squirming form from the water and placed the dog gently back on the nose of the board. 

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit:

As you can see, Maddie loves water. (Photo Credit:

There Maddie sat, miserable and now sopping. However it was a warm day, so I hoped she would dry quickly. Glancing down a couple minutes later, I realized her little doggy haunches were shaking violently. The only thing I had with me on the board was the now soaked dog towel. A brighter person like Natalie might have stowed such an item on the back of the board, where there was little danger of contact with sopping wet water dogs.

So I did what any sane, animal loving person would do. In the middle of the river I started to strip. Off came my sweater. I wrapped it around Maddie’s tiny back, the sleeves I secured around her stick thin legs. She continued to shiver. 

I had no choice. “Don’t look back” I cried to Natalie, not so much for my dignity but to save my friend from the shock of seeing my doughy, pasty, white torso on the serene river as I removed my shirt. “I wasn’t going to” was her reply. In Natalie’s world stripping to save animals from hypothermia is never a possibility because precautions like hot water bottles and extra, dry blankets would have been packed in water-tight Ziploc bags.

Standing on the bright yellow board in my bra, my chalk coloured, winter skin almost fluorescent in the sunlight, I contemplated whether I could reasonably remove my pants to warm the poor, still shivering creature in front of me. I concluded that while the lifejacket would cover my nude mid section, I couldn’t expose the world to my discounted, moss green, lacy underwear which makes it appear as though my butt is growing lichens. Natalie and I continued to paddle for a bit, with Natalie shielding her eyes from the reflection of the sun flashing off my pure white arms. 

I don't bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks  exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit :

I don’t bear any resemblance to Taylor Swift but my backend looks exactly like this in my discounted underpants. (Photo Credit :

Arriving back at the dock with a dog is always a bit of a scene to begin with. Maddie dries herself by running back and forth and then stopping intermittently to give her little body a vigorous shake. Having just watched her shiver violently for almost an hour, I didn’t want to deprive her of this joy so I neglected to put her lead back on. So I dock, then off goes Maddie, freed from her floating fibre glass prison, my damp shirts trailing behind her, leaving me to attempt to help dock the paddleboard with a young ranger, my pasty muffin tops bulging out of the lifejacket as I scrunched myself up and scrambled on to the dock.

“I’m going to need some private naked time in your storage shed.” I said to the park ranger as I called Maddie out from behind the wall of lifejackets and oars.Trying to be discrete, despite the situation, I grabbed my shirt from where it had fallen on the dock and marched towards the open shed, with Maddie’s lead in the other hand. Natalie stood nearby, no doubt searching the crowd for a new friend.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who are detail oriented and thorough enough to carry out a hit without being caught or suspected in response to having their name published on the internet.

A Friend Making Rockstar

I’m officially moved into my new home. So naturally I’ve begun to befriend my neighbours.

The other night, as I was walking towards my house, I spied a Jack Russel Terrier. The small dog yipped, it yapped, it howled like it was going to kill me. I continued walking. The tiny canine ran towards me while keeping up it’s oral protestations. Although it stayed a distance from my feet, the dog made it known that it wanted to tear me to shreds. As I hurried up the steps of my home, I glanced over my shoulder and saw that the furry thing was waiting at the bottom of the stairs still growling death wishes at me.

In that moment I realized that I had allowed myself to be chased home by a fifteen pound ball of fur and kibble. I turned on my heel and snarled at the tiny beast. It stepped back. I advanced towards it, still snarling. Unsure, the petite pooch held it’s ground. Undaunted by the terrier’s attempted alpha stance, I commenced my shouting, brawling chase. It was at that second that his owner rounded the corner in time to witness me wild armed chasing down of her dog.

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit :

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit :

“He doesn’t bite.” She yelled over the calamity.

As far as I could see there were two possible responses to this. Both of them truths. “Yes, but I do.” and “I knew that, I’d have punted the creature already if he did.” Neither of these seemed appropriate, so I turned and hurried inside my house.

I imagine this shall be the beginning of a beautiful friendship; she and I will be best friends forever, sharing our lives over coffee and bundt cake from now on. Or not.

The Crackhouse Chronicles 3

I’m on vacation. I’ve traded the stress of the roaring, fast-paced student ghetto for a cuddle and a glass of wine by a fireplace.

Tragic that Roscoe wasn’t able to come. Fortunately this fact doesn’t bother me or Maddie, my canine cuddle-buddy one bit.

Just looking at this I want to snuggle her. (Photo Credit : Sula's Camera with permission. )

Just looking at this I want to snuggle her. (Photo Credit: Sula’s Camera with permission. )

My friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears is out of the country for the week, climbing mountains, flying in helicopters and engaging in all kinds of activities that cause Unwashed anxiety.

She has kindly lent me her home and her puppy for that time. Supposedly it’s called house sitting but the house hasn’t been doing much sitting. Mostly I have, on my friend Sula’s* glorious plush couch in front of her roaring fireplace.

A photo of the much beloved fireplace being photo bombed by my furry cohort. (Photo Credit: Sula's camera)

A photo of the much beloved fireplace being photo bombed by my furry cohort. (Photo Credit: Sula’s camera)

I intersperse this inactivity with walks with Maddie with more sitting. And then sometimes I wander about Sula’s home trying to figure out what everything does.

The first night here I had a disastrous encounter with her mattress. Namely it tried to kill me in my sleep. Since then I’ve taken the precautionary measure of unplugging everything in her home. Although at some points I’ll work up the courage and attempt to use one of the many gadgets in the house.

My first morning at the house, the Keurig and I had a run in. I examined the machine carefully. Each time that I had visited Sula, the machine had been illuminated with a blue light. I pressed the “Brew” button. No light. I lifted up the hatch to put the plastic coffee container in. No light. Occasionally my computer pulls these kinds of antics so I was well versed in the “I refuse to turn on game” I unplugged the coffeemaker and then plugged it back in. No dice. It was at this point that I was forced to throw in the towel and accept my uncaffeinated state.

My loss with the coffee maker doesn’t bode well for my goal to use the ceramic huts which, according to my friend, are used for cooking meat but that I think are actually houses for tiny, tiny people.

This post is a part of the Crackhouse Chronicles series. To read more about my adventures on the wrong side of the tracks and being offered nefarious substances click the links below.

Crackhouse Chronicles

Crackhouse Chronicles 2: Mattress Warmers

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those braver than I. If Sula is able to fly in a helicopter, I don’t doubt her ability to strong arm me into a half nelson for putting her name on the internet.


The Crackhouse Chronicles 2; Mattress Warmers

I did my friend Sula’s* house a disservice in my last Crackhouse Chronicles post. Though her home is located in an area where when I pass a group of youths I silently thank them in my head for not robbing me, Sula’s home is actually quite nice. First and foremost it has Maddie, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Sula’s puppy is adorable and well trained.

Hobbies: Melting the hearts of people everywhere and providing little to no protection from street urchins. (Photo Credit: Shamelessly stolen without Sula's permission from Facebook.)

Hobbies: Melting the hearts of people everywhere and providing little to no protection from street urchins. (Photo Credit: Shamelessly stolen without Sula’s permission from Facebook.)

Also my friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears is the best host I know of. Before I arrived to house and dog sit, Sula had shampooed the carpet in front of her fireplace for me because it’s my favourite spot in the house.

The other rooms were also immaculate when I arrived. Unfortunately not so much anymore. With each passing day I’m beginning to feel more like John Candy in “Uncle Buck”; completely out of my element, surrounded by bizarre items that I have no idea how to work like the UV light that hangs above her tomato plants which turns off and on at random times throughout the day.

The first night alone was nearly fatal. Before she left, my friend taught me how to use her mattress warmer. I wasn’t aware such things existed. Living in the doctor’s house which was built in 1915, at a time when steel wool passed for insulation, I had assumed nights were times when one bundled up in eight different quilts, threw on a toque and mittens then hoped that the news about global warming was true.

Not only was Sula’s house built after the end of the First World War, I’d wager it never even saw the second. As such it was quite warm already the first evening that I was there. However fearing the chilly bedroom that my friend who crouches in bushes described, I jacked the mattress warmer up to “High” while brushing my teeth then turned it down to the lowest setting before hopping into bed.

Perhaps Sula didn’t like her Christmas gift last year, or maybe at one of our many craft nights I left a mess, or possibly that pretty smiling exterior is a mask for a trained and determined killer. Whatever the reason, I can only assume that after eating venison Sula decided the next best thing was Unwashed Flambé. At midnight I woke up in a pool of my own sweat the mattress warmer on its way to roasting me alive. The tiny spaniel next to me was paddling around on the soaked bed trying to keep her head above the salty water.

Nearly delirious with fluid loss and electrolyte deficiency, I stumbled downstairs for a glass of water and a towel to dry off the puppy that stood bedraggled and bewildered on what was now a water bed.

The puppy looked like this. Only sopping wet and doggy paddling for her life. (Photo Credit : Once again taken without permission or regard for the world's impending desire to usurp my position as dog sitter after seeing the photos.)

The puppy looked like this. Only sopping wet and doggy paddling for her life. (Photo Credit : Once again taken without permission or regard for the world’s impending desire to usurp my position as dog sitter after seeing the photos.)

The next night I unplugged the mattress warmer fearing that like many of the other appliances in the house, it may be on a timer.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent. Or possibly me, it’s doubtful whether Sula can still be considered innocent after I spent two days re-hydrating.

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.