Cowboy Cookin’

“We’re going to kill something, skin it and eat it” Tex proclaimed one afternoon midway through his visit to my city, just when I thought that he was adjusting to the civilities of urban life. Thankfully he didn’t mean an elk or deer, the creature Tex was hankering for was lobster.

The first problem with this idea was transportation. In Tex’s world vehicles come with half or one tonne sizes with a gun rack on the back. By contrast these were my wheels at the time.

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It might look more manly if I removed the streamers. (Photo Credit : price.salespider.com)

Happily, although Tex likes his meat red and his boots nicely polished, he isn’t averse to riding a bicycle, so we rode to the grocery store. The next problem was how to get the boxed up lobsters home. Normally I stow delicate items like eggs in my jacket so that my body can absorb the impact of any curbs or bumps. It was decided that there are better ways to lose a nipple than by stowing live crustaceans in your clothing, so Tex set about using our other groceries to pad the saddle bags of my bike to create a nest for our new marine friends.

The last and greatest problem we faced that day was me; specifically my inability to kill and dismember living creatures. An avid meat eater, I had no problem with the theory of the process, but the actual act itself caused me quite a bit of anguish. Once we arrived home, Tex was all set to commit murder. I on the other hand was preoccupied with the lobsters’ mental wellbeing.  I sang to comfort the lobsters and distract them from their impending doom. Every creature loves music right? Meanwhile Tex busied himself with boiling a stock pot full of water. “Do you think their lives were happy?” I asked Tex. Standing over my slow moving salt water friends that I had carefully transported home, I worried aloud “Should we show them pictures of the sea during their last moments, or would that be cruel?” Guilt was slowly building in my gut; I tried to assuage it by brainstorming a last meal for the lobsters. “What is a lobster’s favourite food?” I wondered.

Then came the terrible moment. Tex held the lobsters over the boiling stock pot of water and looked down. “I don’t think it’s hot enough” he lowered the lobsters back into the box and transferred the pot to another, supposedly more effective burner. The lobsters had been spared, and given an extra couple minutes of life, so I sang them a song from the “Rescuers” encouraging the hard shelled creatures to be brave. They lazily waved their claws at me. I don’t know if lobsters understand English.

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Unfortunately Bernard and Bianca did not show up at the last minute to prevent the lobsters’ demise, undoubtedly they were too busy saving orphans to concern themselves with a couple of undersea creatures. (Photo Credit : youtube.com)

The water reached a rolling boil on the larger burner and once again Tex held the lobsters high above the pot. Supposedly the change in pressure when lobsters are immersed in boiling liquid creates a sound like a small scream. Neither Tex nor I heard that noise over my shriek as Tex dropped Fergus and Amalda in. (Following their close call minutes earlier, I named our supper which is according to Tex a rookie cowboy’s mistake; the only names his rancher brother gives his cattle are “Filet Mignon”, “Steak” and “Chuck”.)

Twelve minutes later the lobsters were declared done and Tex offered the tongs to me. “Want to fish yours out?” he asked. I didn’t. I wanted nothing of the sort but I took the tongs anyway and haphazardly grabbed a lobster (Possibly Amalda?) out of the pot and dropped it on the plate. The lobster was sopping and water sloshed over the plate. Then Tex confidently turned his lobster in the pot so it was easy to grasp, raised it out of the water and held it still for a couple of seconds to allow the shell to drain before lowering it onto his dry plate.

I brought my full plate with lobster water to the table, too distressed to tip the excess liquid back into the pot. “Turn your lobster like this” Tex instructed, “It makes it easier to break off its arms”. My hand went to touch the poor dead lobster, then pulled back at the last second. “Touch it” I ordered my hand. My fingers hovered around the lobster almost touching it, then pulling back. “Just pick it up” Tex encouraged. “I can do this” I thought as my hand hovered around the dead sea creature. I’m not sure what terrified me more, the idea that the lobster would move when I touched it, or the fact that it wouldn’t. Finally after more coaching, I picked up my lobster. That’s when the low grade distress noises started, my terror and guilt combining in a small, high pitched hum.

Undeterred by my hesitation, Tex continued to coach me in the art of lobster slaughter. “Now you grip it like this, and break its arm. Don’t hold onto the pointy part of the claw.” That last part seemed obvious but in my upset state I had grabbed the claw tightly in the wrong spot, it was only then that I felt the pain in my hand as the points of the claw dug into my skin. “Crack!” Tex’s lobster was now down an arm. My stomach lurched, it sounded just like the rat dissection in grade twelve, when my partner had to break the rat’s arm in order to pin it down. In that biology lab, not only had I refused to break the arms but I avoided pinning the rodent to the cutting board as well.

In the present, I held a dead crustacean and gave it the same horrified and disgusted look I had given the formaldehyde preserved rat.  “Your turn” Tex gestured to my lobster. Desperate to delay the inevitable I sweetly asked if I could watch him do it again. “Crack!” off went the other arm of Tex’s lobster. “Now yours”, Tex urged.

I took a deep breath and recalled my university Animal Physiology lab, when I’d been paired with a beautiful but flaky sorority girl. She was a partier and a consistent C student whereas I stayed home most nights and excelled at the course. At first glance it seemed like an unfortunate pairing however after I passed out during the teaching assistant’s demonstration of how to behead, then filet a fish, the sorority girl beheaded and prepared our fish for the experiment while I inhaled through my nose on the floor and focused on not puking all over the other teaching assistant that was patiently rubbing my back. “No more blood!” The cheerful sorority blonde proclaimed when I returned to our lab station still woozy and soaked in my own sweat.

Closing my eyes I bent the lobster’s arm back. “Crack!” My stomach heaved, and my guilt over having broken the poor creature’s claw was thick at the back of my throat. It didn’t matter that it was dead; in my mind the lobster needed that claw. “Now the other one”, Tex instructed. As I gripped the remaining claw, a wobbly “Uhhhhh” was added to my high pitched hum. It grew in volume as the claw moved to break, so loud that the “crack” was almost soft underneath my keening.

Just as in both the biology and animal physiology labs, my dread over dismantling a living creature had me bathing in my own sweat. But unlike both of these situations there was no one else to dismember the lobster for me. Regrettably, the worst was yet to come. “Now you rip the lobster body in half” with a great “POP” Tex’s lobster was in two and my stomach flipped over.  My arms shook and tears gathered at the corners of my eyes as I tore Amalda in two. At my feet, Whiskey, my room-mate at the time’s cat mewled pathetically for a taste.

Tex’s enthusiasm was palpable now as he prepared to taste his meal. Using my can opener, (surprisingly I lacked the tool to crack the hard shells of crustaceans) he broke the hard red chitin of the claw into pieces and fished out the meat inside. Then handed me the can opener so I could so the same.

Next to literally tearing a creature in half, this step seemed humane. But then as the meat dangled limply from my fingers I realized that guilt had stolen my appetite. By contrast, Whiskey the cat was in a frenzy at my feet. So I passed the meaty claw to him. He devoured it with what can only be described as feline ecstasy.

From there, the gradual consumption of our meal continued, Whiskey was fed more surf than I think any cat aside from those in cultures which worship felines have eaten. While cleaning up Tex grabbed me about the shoulders and kissed the top of my head “You did great Unwashed” he said. Clearly he was more engrossed in his dinner than in my reaction, either that or “great” in cowboy terms means wimpy and on the verge of fainting.

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Reliving the Greats – On The Road: The Flying Maddie Kerouac

When we first started dating, Tex went into my archives and read every single post I’d ever written. To this day, he’s my biggest fan and cheerleader, given that, I thought he could choose one of his favourite posts from the year as a part of my five day countdown to my blogiversary.

Despite Tex’s claims that he doesnt understand the purpose of indoor pets and non-working animals, Tex chose the post I wrote abour Maddie flying home from our wedding with Sula.

So without further adieu, here is post three of five of the top five posts from this past year.

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.

 

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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.

 

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?

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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 House is Haunted and Ripe For Thieves

My home is filled with poltergeists and thieves attempt to break in constantly. This kind of living situation would cramp my style but it is limited to when Roscoe is not home. I live in an 85 year old house in the student ghetto, this fact rarely bothers me. But the moment that Roscoe leaves something changes, shadows grow to enormous sizes, the hallways become endless and the ghosts emerge from the woodwork. Suddenly every passerby on the street below is a convicted felon, hell bent on stealing my toaster oven and collection of jigsaw puzzles.

I do my best to deal with the unwelcome spirits and burglars on my own. And by on my own, what I mean is I call my parents, grandparents, friends, sister, the Coca Cola 1-800 number, anyone who will pick up their phone. “The house is haunted ! And there are armed bandits outside the door.! ” I’ll wail into the phone. My parents, having lived with me for twenty some odd years are rarely fazed. They will say “The strange thing is, our house stopped being haunted the day you moved out. Just lock the door- you’ll be fine”. Not a helpful observation when one hears a ninja with a baseball bat lurking near the kitchen window.

The ninja I picture outside of my house looks just like this but with a bat. Obviously he wasn't terrifying enough with only a sword thing and handcuffs alone. (Photo Credit : theadminzone.com)

The ninja I picture outside of my house looks just like this but with a bat. Obviously he wasn’t terrifying enough with only a sword thing and handcuffs alone. (Photo Credit : theadminzone.com)

My best friend Chastity, who is a PhD candidate and a first rate problem solver immediately starts looking up natural remedies “A ghost? Did you try burning sweet grass? You’ll need a match, and some sage too.”

My sister, after seeing I’ve posted strange things on her Facebook twice that evening; “Diana, my house tripled in size, I got lost walking to the pantry, please call me” and “Diana, I’m becoming strange because Roscoe isn’t home, please call me” won’t even pick up her phone.

The people at the 1-800 Coca Cola number quickly tire of talking with me. “My house is filled with ghosts! Cannibalistic ghosts! And robbers!” I say in a high pitched voice that my parents endearingly named my “hysterical chipmunk” tone. “Thank you for calling ma’am but what does this have to do with your Sprite beverage?” the kindly operator will say. “Oh, I don’t consume soft drinks but I thought a multimillion dollar corporation might have some suggestions for how to deal with a paranormal infestation and burglary” I’ll reply. Funny enough my calls to 1-800 numbers seem to disconnect a lot.

After exhausting my conversational skills, I’ll retire to bed. This is a whole process in and of itself. In order for me to sleep when I’m home alone, the chest of drawers must be pushed up against the bedroom door. However last night this was impossible because Roscoe had moved the chest of drawers upstairs. Lacking any other option, I began to move the giant, dirty laundry mountain in front of the door. It is widely known that ghosts hate the scent of old socks. Also any potential intruders would be caught in the many arms of the clothes-spider  I created using Roscoe’s dress shirts.

With all of my ghost busting and crime protection measures in place I am able to climb into bed. Just before I nod off to sleep, many hours past my standard eight thirty pm bedtime I send off a text to Roscoe. “Stop treating all the car accident victims and come home. House has become a den of thieves and Mecca for the afterlife.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the brilliant. However for once I actually let the person in question choose their written name. When she was three, after emigrating to Canada from China, not only did Chastity get to choose her English name but she also chose her little brother’s English name when he was born. I don’t even know if I could have shouldered that level of responsibility now as a fully functional adult let alone as a toddler. If given the choice, three year old me probably would have called Diana “Dry Goods”. She would have been easier to sell that way.

My brilliant and somewhat conservative friend chose the name “Chastity”, because she wanted to keep with the stripper nom de plume theme The Great Unwashed has going.

The South Americans Were Going To Have To Bunk In The Bathroom

Bad news. My Dad put the kibosh on “The Great Unwashed Anniversary” party. Sometime around when I asked him if the spare guest room could fit all my Armenian readers for the week, he shut the whole idea down. Also there’s a new rule at my parent’s house now; my Dad must be consulted before I invite the internet for a party at his home.

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I called to cancel my order at the bakery. It was just as well, they were having difficulty with my instructions “Make it look Unwashed”. (Photo credit: bunchofpants)

Sorry to cancel on everyone. I know all my international readers had flights booked and were looking forward to tasting our country’s sweet, sweet maple syrup over pancakes the morning after the fete.

In place of a giant bash celebrating a year of writing, I’ve decided to put up the top five posts from the year, each day counting down to the anniversary. After that I’ll start a new Unwashed year with five days of new content.

I realize that informing everyone before I started this process, rather than midway through would have been ideal however occasionally life is not idyllic. Like this morning when I let the neighbour’s dog into my parent’s house and allowed it to create a muddy paw print trail through every room on their beige carpet.

Without further adieu, the third of five greatest Great Unwashed posts.

Mid-Day Stabbings

My fear of needles is making me pungent and gooey. I have a long standing history of trypanophobia- I even have a scar from it. When I was five, I was involved in a horrible playground accident that left both my mother and I covered in blood. While crawling across a set of monkey bars my elbows buckled and my teeth went through my lower lip. Then my face bled like I was dying in the way that facial wounds do. Unless of course you’ve cut a dead person in which case your biggest problem is your choice of hobbies rather than the amount of blood coming from the wound. I digress. So my mother rushed me to our family doctor who declared that I would need two stitches or it would scar.

At that point in my life the only way I would endure a needle was to have my mother lay across my legs and pin my arms to my sides to prevent the kindly medical professional from battling my five year old self mixed martial arts style while administering a vaccination.

“I don’t think I can hold her down for that long.” My mother replied. Hence it was decided that my mother liked our doctor too much to have her attempt to sew my face back together. So my mother and I went home. I have the scar to prove it.

Further cropped version of Image:Chuck Norris ...

It doesn’t matter how widely you smile now Chuck, you’re still getting those stitches.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother then started working out and developed biceps the size of my headso that the next time either my sister or I fell off playground equipment she could pin both me and Chuck Norris down to receive stitches. My Mom’s very committed to being a good parent. Or at least that’s what I tell people when they ask why my mother is lifting the neighbour’s sedan by herself.

Back to the malodorous, sticky present. Last week I had my yearly physical and because my doctor is colluding with the devil, I was sent to get blood work done. This is the only possible conclusion one can come to after being sent for bloodwork, it is never that one has an excellent GP who is concerned about anemia and blood iron levels.

This would have been fine had my doctor not recently moved offices. Previously when sent for blood work, I would have both time and space to prepare myself appropriately. First I would purchase an orange juice to ensure that I wouldn’t become “The Floor Unwashed”. Next I would drink the juice in the elevator while doing muscle poses in the mirror to pretend that I was brave and look for resemblances to my mother. For whatever reason no passengers ever joined me in this exercise, even though oftentimes they were also headed to the lab.

Lastly I would wait awkwardly outside the lab door for a small child to go in ahead of me. This was the most important step of all. No matter how terrified I was of needles, it was vital for me not to be out-couraged by a child. A favourite diversionary activity of mine is to make up words while being stabbed by total strangers.  While watching a three year old next to me stoically receive their MMR vaccine I would then pretend to be equally brave while a phlebotomist took vial after vial of my blood.

That was before the medical practice moved buildings. “The lab is just across the waiting room now!” my doctor cheerfully exclaimed while steering me out the door of her office and handing off lab request forms. As she waved to my back I trudged across the waiting area and into a tiny room.

“Where do I take a number?” I asked the woman there.

“No numbers or waiting, you just sit right down.” She patted the seat next to her. On the other side of the lab tech’s chair were a series of packaged, pointy instruments and vials.

“But. Um. I?” There was no time for juice, I hadn’t even gotten a cursory bicep curl in. And worst of all, there wasn’t another soul around as she closed the door to the room, let alone a small person who I ought to be a good model for.

It was terrifying. It was painful. I may have almost passed out. Twice. But the phlebotomist kept going.

And now I have a band-aid on my crook of my elbow that I can’t take off. Having watched the woman enthusiastically descend upon my arm I can’t help but think that if I remove the bandage, the phlebotomist will somehow know my arm is free for poking again and appear on my doorstep sharps in hand.

To avoid this problem of freeing up the desired fleshy real estate I have worn long sleeved shirts all week. However three days ago the band aid looked like it was close to falling off, having lost all of its glue, which was smeared around my elbow in a grey sticky mess. In order not to agitate it further I decided not to change shirts again. However after the heat of three September afternoons, I must admit I’m becoming a little ripe. It’s not my fault though- blasted trypanophobia.

I really should start eating more red meat. I don’t think I can do this again next year.

Mid-Day Stabbings

Needle Exchange

Trypanophobia: the fear of needles. The jerk of all phobias- it’ll shiv you in a back alley (or office) and then claim it was for your health. (Photo credit: Todd Huffman)

My fear of needles is making me pungent and gooey. I have a long standing history of trypanophobia- I even have a scar from it. When I was five, I was involved in a horrible playground accident that left both my mother and I covered in blood. While crawling across a set of monkey bars my elbows buckled and my teeth went through my lower lip. Then my face bled like I was dying in the way that facial wounds do. Unless of course you’ve cut a dead person in which case your biggest problem is your choice of hobbies rather than the amount of blood coming from the wound. I digress. So my mother rushed me to our family doctor who declared that I would need two stitches or it would scar.

At that point in my life the only way I would endure a needle was to have my mother lay across my legs and pin my arms to my sides to prevent the kindly medical professional from battling my five year old self mixed martial arts style while administering a vaccination.

“I don’t think I can hold her down for that long.” My mother replied. Hence it was decided that my mother liked our doctor too much to have her attempt to sew my face back together. So my mother and I went home. I have the scar to prove it.

Chuck Norris was the special outside referee f...

It doesn’t matter how widely you smile now Chuck, you’re still getting those stitches. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother then started working out and developed biceps the size of my head so that the next time either my sister or I fell off playground equipment she could pin both me and Chuck Norris down to receive stitches. My Mom’s very committed to being a good parent. Or at least that’s what I tell people when they ask why my mother is lifting the neighbour’s sedan by herself.

Back to the malodorous, sticky present. Last week I had my yearly physical and because my doctor is colluding with the devil, I was sent to get blood work done. This is the only possible conclusion one can come to after being sent for bloodwork, it is never that one has an excellent GP who is concerned about anemia and blood iron levels.

This would have been fine had my doctor not recently moved offices. Previously when sent for blood work, I would have both time and space to prepare myself appropriately. First I would purchase an orange juice to ensure that I wouldn’t become “The Floor Unwashed”. Next I would drink the juice in the elevator while doing muscle poses in the mirror to pretend that I was brave and look for resemblances to my mother. For whatever reason no passengers ever joined me in this exercise, even though oftentimes they were also headed to the lab.

Lastly I would wait awkwardly outside the lab door for a small child to go in ahead of me. This was the most important step of all. No matter how terrified I was of needles, it was vital for me not to be out-couraged by a child. A favourite diversionary activity of mine is to make up words while being stabbed by total strangers.  While watching a three year old next to me stoically receive their MMR vaccine I would then pretend to be equally brave while a phlebotomist took vial after vial of my blood.

That was before the medical practice moved buildings. “The lab is just across the waiting room now!” my doctor cheerfully exclaimed while steering me out the door of her office and handing off lab request forms. As she waved to my back I trudged across the waiting area and into a tiny room.

“Where do I take a number?” I asked the woman there.

“No numbers or waiting, you just sit right down.” She patted the seat next to her. On the other side of the lab tech’s chair were a series of packaged, pointy instruments and vials.

“But. Um. I?” There was no time for juice, I hadn’t even gotten a cursory bicep curl in. And worst of all, there wasn’t another soul around as she closed the door to the room, let alone a small person who I ought to be a good model for.

It was terrifying. It was painful. I may have almost passed out. Twice. But the phlebotomist kept going.

And now I have a band-aid on my crook of my elbow that I can’t take off. Having watched the woman enthusiastically descend upon my arm I can’t help but think that if I remove the bandage, the phlebotomist will somehow know my arm is free for poking again and appear on my doorstep sharps in hand.

To avoid this problem of freeing up the desired fleshy real estate I have worn long sleeved shirts all week. However three days ago the band aid looked like it was close to falling off, having lost all of its glue, which was smeared around my elbow in a grey sticky mess. In order not to agitate it further I decided not to change shirts again. However after the heat of three September afternoons, I must admit I’m becoming a little ripe. It’s not my fault though- blasted trypanophobia.

I really should start eating more red meat. I don’t think I can do this again next year.