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.

The Crackhouse Chronicles

With the news of Rob Ford’s second favourite vice next to food coming to light, crack is very in vogue here in the North right now. As such I’ve decided to trade the comforts of beer and late night greasy food that are the hallmarks of the Student Ghetto for the other end of town where only thing more plentiful than the grow ops are the muggings.

It seemed like the most appropriate way to pledge my allegiance to Toronto’s shady mayor. Not only that but I’m house and dog sitting.

My friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears has chosen to fly to the Caribbean to crouch on the beach with her mother. I’d say I’m jealous but that would be a bald face lie. Much like how mothers have to forget the pain of childbirth before considering another baby, I have to forget the pain of air travel and jet lag before thinking of going any further than around the corner.

Virtually identical to creating new life no? (Photo Credit: Randymayfield.com)

Virtually identical to creating new life no? (Photo Credit: Randymayfield.com)

Yes I just compared the agony of pushing a human being into existence to flying and a couple days of grumpy exhaustion. Moms of the world are free to hunt down my address and stone me. I’ll make it even easier on you by giving directions to the place I’m staying at; go across town, drive until you feel like you should lock your car doors, then turn left. At the local penitentiary turn right. There should be loiterers and shady looking individuals on most corners. I don’t suggest stopping for directions. Keep going until you see a partially dilapidated strip mall. The convenience store in there sells delectable sticky buns. Tragically they are unavailable after dusk what with the store being a hangout for the resident gang. The street is your second left after that.

My friend’s house is the one across from the grow op with the wooden board for a window and two doors down from Terrence the neighbourhood drug dealer. He gives excellent and reliable directions but word on the street is he over charges for a dime. Also Terrence spends the odd night in jail so often he isn’t at home.

You can find me there for the next week.