What the Hell Wednesday: Drunk Vampires Eating Nachos and other High Points in my Life

So there’s this site called “Storyworth that will send you or a loved one, questions and then compile the answers into a book to then be cherished by your family for generations. No one in my family, including myself, would be dedicated enough to complete such a task, however I thought it was an incredible idea, thus I’m sharing it with the world. As it is, Storyworth has a page of questions, each time you refresh the page, new questions pop up. The questions are taken from their bank of thousands of questions.

I’ve wanted to do a daily or weekly writing prompt and even though I’ve never actually looked at the WordPress prompts, I’ve concluded they’re too “uppity” for my style. So I’m going to shamelessly steal some of Storyworth’s questions, all the while plugging their business. For serious, if you have a more literary family than mine- try it! In the meantime, here are some questions that I’ve lifted from their site, in a new series that I’m calling “What the Hell? Wednesdays”

 

What were your favourite courses in college?

Actual college or Mickey Mouse college? Because I went to both. Well actually I went to university and then decided I was too successful, so shortly after, I enrolled in Mickey Mouse college. In university, I loved the history courses taught by this one professor who had a passion for the North, Canada and rural issues. I used to audit his courses because they brought me joy.

As a part of the Mickey Mouse college program, to fulfill the requirements for the J1 visa, everyone had to attend classes. I have this theory that Disney bought half of the school, a theory which was validated by the giant plaque thanking Disney for paying for a wing of the school. I’m assuming that included in the deal was the understanding that once a week, the international college program kids would descend upon the campus, and the instructors of the school would teach jokes instead of courses to meet the United States Visa requirement. Excerpts from my memories of this educational experience were: the “Leadership” course in which 80% of class time was spent watching Obama speeches, the “Timeshare” course- the highlight was when we visited a timeshare and got out of going to our other classes for the day. Without a doubt though, the piece de resistance will always be the “Wine” course.

It might have been titled “Wines of the World” because I have hazy recollections of France and Australia being mentioned but it just as easily could have been “Wine Consumption” given that’s what it was. Every afternoon, once a week, I would sit with a whole bunch of underpaid youth from all over the world and listen to a portly man drone on about wine. Exactly one person listened, the day before the exam, we all took turns pretending to read her notes. The rest of us sat and waited patiently for when the instructor told us that we could sample our wines. Each week we “appreciated” three wines. Whether the TAs in the course were looking for a Disney World ticket hook up or whether they just enjoyed watching all the tiny Mexican girls get drunk, I’ll never know but those were generous “tastes”. The large samples combined with our youthful choice of entertainment over groceries meant that most of the class entered slightly hungry and exited a little buzzed. I feel all post-secondary institutions could learn a thing or two from this class-it was one of my top moments in a classroom ever.

 

What is your favourite joke?

Question – “What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?”

Answer – “Nawt yo cheese” pronounced as “nacho cheese”

I love this joke so much. It makes me giggle hysterically every time while others groan and secretly plot to avoid future interactions with me. I wholly encourage you to share this awful joke with everyone you know. The only better piece of humour that I have is a knock knock joke told to me ten years ago by a four year old who didn’t understand knock knock jokes.

“Knock knock”

“Who’s there?”

“Vampire eat yowr FAAAAACE!”

It works best if you, the teller, laugh maniacally at your own joke afterwards.

 

When in life have you felt most alone? What gave you strength during those times?

I’m a mom. I am never alone. I actually just go to the bathroom with the door open because it’s easier than trying to open a closed door while peeing because your two year old is having a nuclear meltdown over not seeing you for thirty seconds.

What gives me strength during these times is wine. I’ve established that I love alcohol and my love of truly bad jokes proves that I’m an irresponsible adult.

 

If you could choose any talents to have, what would they be?

The ability to drum with my feet, obviously.

 

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Man-Eating Fire Trucks, Unpredictable Horses of Satan and Other Forms of Childhood Entertainment

There’s a saying that “It takes a village to raise a child”. I firmly believe in this adage, particularly when visiting places like indoor carnivals, hence how we ended up with a four to one ratio of adults to toddlers last month. In our motley crew was; myself (obviously), Tex, my Dad and best of all Clark’s chosen godparent, my old friend Gordy.

After a visit at my Dad’s, we decided to spend the day at an indoor fair. Is there a better place for children? Rides? Check. Animatronic dinosaurs? Check. The biggest indoor playground one could imagine? Check. An endless line up of quarter and loonie operated machines to climb on? Double check.

This place is truly a child’s dream. Six months ago when I visited my Dad, the three of us had spent an afternoon at the carnival and it was fun. Unfortunately, Mini-Tex, my son is a toddler and a super cautious one to boot. Given that Mini-Tex is becoming more of a riot and more independent with each passing day, I had high hopes for yesterday. That said, my little boy darts, and also requires a fair amount of reassurance, hence the excessive adult entourage. I figured I could comfort from one side, Tex would be the other half of a toddler reassuring sandwich. My Dad could take pictures and enjoy watching and Gordy would be on hand to catch him if Mini-Tex tried to pull a toddler Houdini.

It was a great plan. Truly I was destined for the toddler mothering championships. And then we walked in; the first thing Tex, Mini-Tex and I saw was a giant animatronic elephant. Mini-Tex LOVES elephants. He adores pictures of elephants, he kisses his stuffed elephant, he enjoys acting like an elephant with his little friends at the library once a week. However, the enormous trumpeting elephant at the entrance to the indoor fair solicited a “No thank you, no thank you” when we got close. Same for the animatronic Santa wishing him a Merry Christmas.

No matter, we rushed up the escalators to meet Gordy and my Dad. My father had thoughtfully purchased ten tickets while he awaited our arrival. “Let’s go on the carousel” he suggested, anxious to start enjoying some awesome Grandpa-grandson bonding time while galloping on wooden horses. Mini-Tex likes horses because of where we live, he sees them regularly. My son even does a spot on impression of a horse’s whinny. Essentially, he’s a total horse fan. With eyes as big as saucers, Mini-Tex approached the stopped carousel. The attendant had just closed the gate but we ushered our little guy forward, eager for him to watch the ride and get in line. Then the carousel started to spin, Mini-Tex’s brow furrowed in horror as he realized what we were pushing him towards. “No thank you, no thank you” he cried scrambling to climb up my body and away from the out of control carnival ride that was clearly going to end in his death.

So that was a bust. No matter. His Daddy needed coffee so Tex and Gordy ventured off in search of caffeine while my Dad, Mini-Tex and I looked at the forty foot T-Rex which was flanked by a ten foot baby T-Rex. Ever the optimist, my Dad said “What about the hot air balloons?” During our last visit, Mini-Tex had clung to me like a terrified baby spider monkey on this ride. We got into line. No protests. We entered the ride. Mini-Tex stayed silent. We boarded our balloon and all was well. Up and away we went, spinning around and around with me using dance training skills to spot the purple slide in an effort not to puke. My Dad was delighted and pointed out dinosaurs and sights to my son.

Upon exiting, we spotted Gordy and my husband. I remembered that there was a quarter operated fire truck about ten feet away so we all walked there. I carefully explained that Mini-Tex loved these machines but only if they didn’t move. An important point for my Dad, who competes for “Grandpa of the Year” constantly, and would have loose change at the ready in no time flat.

Mini-Tex was enthused at the idea of riding his own fire truck, having seen an actual fire truck outside of our house a month ago, but unbeknownst to us, a kind stranger had deposited change into the fire truck and left it for the next person to enjoy. With wonder in his eyes, Mini-Tex clambered into the front seat, smiling an actual smile rather than the uncertain, fearful expression he had been wearing since we walked in. And then he pressed the big green flashing button, all at once the truck sprang to life, moving back and forth. Mini-Tex froze and then lunged for my arms. Desperate to help, Gordy stood by the truck touching it “It’s all right Mini-Tex, look I’m having so much fun!” When Mini-Tex was unconvinced by this display, Gordy folded his adult male sized self into the truck and rode the bucking quarter machine, “This is fun, wheeeeeee!” Best godparent in the world, right there. But Mini-Tex was still skeptical and furthermore, my son extrapolated that if THIS machine moved, all the others did too, so from then on he kept a wide berth between himself and all the unpredictable helicopters, jeeps, zebras, tigers and racecars in the event that they too began moving on their own. So that was a win.

Still, we forged on, determined to make a magical afternoon for my toddler. Mini-Tex loved watching the triceratops and brontosaurus as we made a beeline for the train. Unfortunately, the train was closed for maintenance, but just beyond the station, was another dinosaur! Win! Or a win until the dinosaur roared loudly and scared the living daylights out of our meek little boy. Again, ever the supportive godparent, Gordy started petting the dinosaur and cooing to it about how it was such a nice dinosaur. No dice, Mini-Tex was not going to be swayed- this was clearly an evil, boy-eating dinosaur and possibly the others were too.

We decided to give the carousel another try. In the face of rogue fire trucks, and vicious dinosaurs, by contrast, the carousel now seemed tame to Mini-Tex and he willingly walked onto the ride with me. My Dad was ecstatic and immediately whipped out his camera to document the entire experience. I chose, what I felt was the gentlest looking horse, and just as I went to lift Mini-Tex onto it, came the stream of “No thank you, no thank you, no thank you” before giving way to a terrified screech when his pleas didn’t work. My Dad and I sat on the sleigh. Mini-Tex clung to my front, white knuckling it for all three turns while Tex and Gordy looked on from the outside, waving vigorously each time we past, in an attempt to convince Mini-Tex that this was fun.

Last, we tried the enormous playground. Gordy was going for broke with the whole “Best Godparent Ever” idea and waited at the bottom of the slide for twenty minutes so that when Mini-Tex’s little head popped up at the top of it, he could encourage him to slide down. SPOILER ALERT- it wasn’t successful but man did Gordy try. My son actually enjoyed himself though; he met a six year old girl who wanted to be his friend. She kept shoving him aside and lightly trampling him but in the grand scheme of how his day was going- escaping death by fire trucks, dinosaurs and rabid horses, it seemed like the lesser of all the evils so Mini-Tex accepted being squished and pulled like a champ.

At this point, Mini-Tex was fading fast and using his Dad as a pillow, so we called it a day. Although the day could reasonably be called an exercise in terrorizing your child, personally I would classify the day as a success; super fun for me and I was reminded how much my family and friends love me and the lengths they are willing to go to support both me and Mini-Tex. As it happened, the next day, Mini-Tex was telling everyone about the “big, REAL dinosaurs” he saw to anyone who would listen, so it might not have been a total parenting flop.

Five Things Friday : Bidets and Barfights with Babies

  1. We got a bidet!

Not actually, however I had an extremely similar experience when I went to sit down and my son lifted up the toilet seat at the last second. In case you’re wondering, this scores high on the toddler amusement list, right after farting loudly during prayers at a Sunday church service.

  1. Bobby pins 7 : Me 1

I keep losing the game of Find all the Bobby Pins before bed. My hair is unconscionably long, and still curly which means that it takes no less than at least twelve bobby pins for me to look as unkempt as Helena Bonham Carter on a good day. Otherwise I look like a graying Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City circa season one. While I rock at putting bobby pins into my hair, they tend to twist and bury themselves so that I can’t find them at the end of the day, that is until I roll over and stab myself in the head while falling asleep.

 

  1. Welcome to our Ice Hotel

I slept on a bed of ice! You know those iconic photos of the ice hotels? It was exactly like that. Only not really, because it was my bed, in my house. It’s so cold that somehow the mattress froze to the wall and the mattress partially froze too. Come to Canada where it isn’t even warm indoors!

  1. You should see the other guy

Mini-Tex head butted me in an attempt to escape being shoved into his snow suit and gave me a black eye. So I’ve been putting on cover up all week and feeling like a bad ass when actually I’m merely a bad parent because my reaction was to stop going outside ever, to prevent further injuries. Mini-Tex was completely unharmed in case you were concern, by contrast I saw stars.

  1. Next come the flame throwing lessons

I taught our two year old how to scale the four foot high ladder section of his play structure, figuring that our cautious non-climbing child would never attempt such a maneuver on his own. In other news, I shall be eating my hat along with my words and clearly idiotic intentions.

New Year, Fatter You! A Guide To Making This Year Your Biggest Ever

Times they are a changing. Landlines are going the way of the leather-backed sea turtle, running home at lunch to check on your home is a thing of the past thanks to the Nest, not that one would need to as working from home is becoming more popular than ever. It’s time to embrace our sedentary, potato chip filled future. As a society, it’s time to for viewpoints on health, on body shape and size to catch up with the rest of the world so everyone can commit to a bigger, better future.

Steps to a New You

  1. Throw away the gym membership

Did you even use yours anyway? I didn’t. First of all that place is waaaaay too close to my home. That niggling, guilty feeling that I got each time I drove there was further exacerbated by the twenty minutes I spent circling the lot trying to find a close parking space. Let’s all find a better use for our time and guilt.

  1. Treat chocolate as a food group

This delicious treat has been maligned. Because let’s face facts- it’s not a treat, it’s a food group. Aim for five to ten servings a day. If that sounds excessive, ease your way into the change by melting it onto your broccoli. Chocolate is like cheese, it improves every dish.

  1. Reconsider lard

If chocolate has been demonized, don’t even get me started on this yummy cooking additive. Not just for frying bacon, add it to salads, jello- anything that could use that extra kick of taste.

  1. Buy a bungalow

On the topic of exercise, stairs provide the average person an unnecessary fourteen minutes of cardio a day! Nix this roadblock to your new life change by purchasing a bungalow. Or better yet downsize to a studio condo. Nothing will prevent movement like a lack of space, and it will enable you to spend your days in bed.

  1. Travel less

Something about the prospect of sightseeing incites even the most committed of souls to walk about and take in new experiences. These types of activities will greatly impede your desired lifestyle. Cancel all plans and get a Netflix account – why go outside when the whole world is available within reach of a bowl of your favourite your broccoli-chocolate-cheese-chips?

  1. Become a shut-in

Another barrier to your new big lifestyle are friends, often in these sorts of relationships, people will do things such as shopping, otherwise known as cardio. You are building a new you; cut these toxic ties and reacquaint yourself with Ross Gellar and Chandler Bing, also coincidentally available on Netflix.

Ultimately, change is hard and takes time; don’t beat yourself up after a day of only one serving of chocolate followed by a walk with a pal. After all, in every new diet or lifestyle, there is always room for cheat days.

 

Bathing In Shame Which Is Surprisingly Similar To Bathing In Lemon Juice, Only Just Add An Invisible Force That Keeps Submerging Your Face

Suffice to say, it’s an experience that stings the eyes and pretty much everywhere else.

Let’s get down to how I took a shame bath. Flashback to Saturday night, after having lived here for six months, I have made a friend. Liv came to dinner. So I was cooking, zucchini, and porkchops and because I’m crazy and have no respect for tastebuds and complimentary flavours, there was a pot of pumpkin curry going too.

Of course Mini-Tex was having none of this, so he was on my back while I stirred, and cooked and talked with Liv. That’s when it happened; the porkchops burned. And went up like a house on fire, at which point our house started to act like it was on fire. High pitched beeping and shrill shrieks reverberated off of every surface. It seemed like the house itself was screaming. Wanting to protect my two year old son’s ears, I made a beeline for the door. And began swinging it open and closed to disperse some of the smoke. Janie covered her ears “It is so loud!” Unable to understand English over the din, she joined me outside, while Liv tried to figure out how to disable the smoke alarm.

In our brief tenure at this house, this happened once before so I knew that the smoke alarm was somehow tied to my landlord’s phone. I immediately sent her a frantic series of texts along the lines of “nothing is on fire, how do I disable the system without hacking into the wall with an axe?” Unbeknownst to me, my landlord’s phone was in her car, so she didn’t reply.

After a couple of minutes Liv managed to disable the smoke alarm (all the while stirring the remaining dishes so they didn’t burn and opening windows) and we all sat down to dinner, content to laugh about the hilarity of the situation, feeling that it was in the past. This is of course when the firetruck pulled up in front of our house with lights ablazing and a firefighter clothed entirely in his heavy firefighting getup, stepped down from the fire engine.

Embarrassment flooded my being and I wanted to sink into the ground. But before digging my way to China to escape my shame, I had to apologize to the poor men whose Saturday night I had ruined. Because let’s keep in mind that this is a small town. The likelihood that they were on call and that my poor cooking had pulled them away from THEIR family dinners was exceptionally high.

Despite the -25 temperature, I ran outside without a coat. It didn’t matter, the bubbling cauldron of humiliation that was my midsection at that moment kept me warm. “I’m sorry!” I cried “I’m so sorry! There’s no fire! You can go home, I interrupted your dinners for nothing.”

The fireman good naturedly explained that he still had to come in to fill out paperwork and that possibly I should get the security code from my landlord for the next time I was cooking the other white meat.

This was when my shame morphed from a small roiling portion of my midsection to a full on lemon juice like bath. Because the fireman walked into my house and upon hearing that Mini-Tex was excited by the whole situation, the firefighter, still with his fifty plus pounds of gear on, began to play peekaboo with my son.

It was at that moment that I melted and became a puddle of mortified goo, as this man, who was missing his dinner because of my mistake, made himself the hightlight of my son’s month.

After a couple more short questions and giving the fireman the proper spelling of my name, he and his firetruck left, with the lights still blazing. Mini-Tex spent the rest of the night talking about the firetruck that was in our front yard. And later, when he woke up that night and the next morning, his first words were “firetruck”.

That whole story would be awful enough, but the thing is, it’s a small town, so the story won’t end there. It will be relived when I see that kind man in the grocery store. He’ll give Mini-Tex an extra specal wave at the parade next week when he recognizes him. And because God loves a good laugh, most likely I’ll meet that kind firefighter at my work. And thanks to my impossible to spell and unique last name, he’ll remember me and likely ask whether I’m planning porkchops for dinner. And I’ll bathe in shame all over again.

But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a good shame bath to have. Splashing metaphorical lemon juice in ones eyes because you’re so mortfied that someone was so kind when you were so stupid-it’s a good problem to have. That’s small town life for you though.

This post is dedicated to Liv, who insisted that I take a brief shame shower and retell the story at work.

Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who didn’t allow the curry to burn.

 

Are You Stranger Than An Unwashed Hippie? It’s like the game “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” but for the internet.

I’m approaching my fifth blogiversary. With that milestone has come the realization that, I don’t really need the stats. That is not to say I don’t need readers- I do! I really do! And I thank you all for being here. But I’m not really attached to numbers or your origins although it is cool when people from Uruguay read my work because I don’t know anything about Uruguay.

Same thing goes for the search terms becausse for the most part, I notice that people end up reading “My 60,000 Dollar Cat Scratch” because they were searching “60,000 dollar kitchen”. I’m not entirely sure how the Google machine works, but to all of you who were mistakenly led here under the guise of discussions of jewel encrusted countertops- my apologies, you’ve come to the wrong place.

However, this past week a somewhat surprising search term caught my eye.

“unwashed pussy”

Now I’m not 100% certain on this one but I’m fairly sure that whoever this is wasn’t looking for dirty cats. Sir, you’re barking up the wrong internet tree. Not only is this not that kind of site- I actually once spent hours washing a dream cat in the post entitled “I Really Need A New Hobby Aside From Cleaning Dead Animals For Hours On A Saturday Night“. I suggest you try again with the Google machine.

With that somewhat alarming and unusual intro, I thought we’d look at some of the terms people have searched to find their way here. It will be a reflection of what this blog is and isn’t about. I’m not sure whether it will make me question myself or the random bottom dwellers of the internet. Kind of like when my travel blogger friend wrote about avoiding prostitution in Thailand and her blog saw a huge spike in visits because of all the people using her post to try and find a prostitute in Thailand.

“being an extra in a porno”

This person got exactly what they were searching for. I totally had an unplanned cameo in an impromptu porno in the woods three years ago. I’d say this particular batch of weirdness is my fault but for serious, it was an evening hike. Ok, not really, I was drinking in the woods but the part where I was reading comic books was totally innocent.

In case you’d like to read more about my brush with greatness? Awkwardness? The wilderness? The link is here.

 

“buttbabies.com”

Once again, this weird search term – totally on me. I’ve written about buttbabies. The .com part is a bit off putting though. Was this reader looking for pictures of butt babies? Or information about butt babies?

You can read about my take on butt babies here.

 

The search term “baby cage” gets my site a surprising amount of traffic. This makes me question whether there other other former baby cage residents like myself who are feeling nostalgic about their caged days are searching this or whether it’s people who genuinely want to cage babies like some sort of chicken farm kind of deal.

If you would like to read about my fabulous baby cage memories click here.

“big cotton granny panties”

At one point in time, about 30% of my blogs content was vaguely underpants related. I’m not sure how this happened, it certainly wasn’t intentional. It’s been a couple of years since that point so I’d estimate only about 10% of my blog’s content is about underwear. So again- this weird search term landing people at my blog is my fault. There search term “grandma bought me underoos” would also fall under this category.

“Charlize Theron feet”

Again a bizarre search term, but once again, also my fault that the Google machine led said person here. I frequently ask my cousin to Photoshop my feet so they look more like Charlize Theron’s.

 

Readers, I’m going to level with you here; I started this post with the hopes of showing how strange and perverted some people who use the Google are and instead am realizing that I’m actually the weirdo/posssible pervert who writes about underpants and unintentionally walks into live action adult films while wishing that my tootsies looked more like Charlize Theron’s.

 

We’re going to keep going with this experiment because I’m hoping that it will prove that the internet is full of people stranger than myself. I think at this point everyone needs to cross their fingers for me.

“chubby milfs bruised”

Ok, let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief. I’m definitely not the strangest person in the internet house.

“jenny grumbles”

Haven’t written about that one. Best of luck on your search though. It would seem things are looking up for me on this experiment.

“ever wanted to freeze to death? come to our table”

Jackpot! Now that is an odd search term

“naked men being vaccinated”

And we’re back to square one. I totally witnessed something exactly like this and wrote about it in “Taking Shots With Half Naked Men In Public”– this guy just started stripping in the middle of a flu vaccine clinic. Which is why we should all ignore Jenny McCarthy and vaccinate our children, because where else are you going to get a free show? But back to the whole search term business- this weirdness once again is on me.

Ok, I think we can accept that the Google machine works and that this experiement has failed horribly, it would seem that I am the strangest person on the interweb. The search terms “awkward beard”, “power ranger valentine heart” and “vintage granny panties” all rightfully led readers here. It would seem that I am more random and in general underpants obsessed than the internet.

So dear readers, I apologize, the internet is 40% smut. Initially when I began this search term experiment, I thought it would show that my blog was a part of the classier 60% but it would seem it is not.

If you would like proof that 10% of my website is devoted to writing about underpants here  are a selection of posts to prove it.

 

Vintage Underpants the Great Untapped Resource

The Recipe For An Awesome Summer: Me and Grandpa’s Underpants

Ridiculous Debates and Secondhand Underpants

Atomic Wedgies and Packing Fails

Clothing Is Overrated Especially In Church

 

 

 

Oprah Says- Bedtime Stories For Trendy Soccer Moms and Upper Middle Class Yuppies Seeking Enlightenment

Although my son’s favourite book is currently “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, occasionally he’ll pick up some of my or husband’s reading material. While bike repair manuals hold no interest for him, the latest Oprah magazine was a winner. I thought I’d share some of the story with you.

Oprah Says

Oprah says ride on a dog sled in ten thousand dollar ball gowns- they help you steer.

Oprah says listen to her podcast because she has a direct line to God. Or money.

Oprah says live in a Volkswagen van to be true to yourself.

Oprah says shoveling snow is good for you. Even though she’s never done it.

Oprah says to wear hats to the beach. But not sun protective ones, santa hats because they’re Pintrest worthy and make good “Look at how fabulous our family’s life is” Christmas cards.

Oprah says hugging dogs in two hundred dollar faux fur hats increases your life span.

Oprah says that coffee tastes best when it’s consumed from a cup that looks like it was purchased at a garage sale for 25 cents but actually costs 50 times that.

Oprah says to wear flannel, plaid pyjamas so you can look like a sleepy lumberjack.

Oprah says that scarves which resemble stuffed, coloured garbage bags are stylish. We have to believe her, she’s Oprah.

Oprah says that wearing pyjamas as clothes is acceptable now. We need to thank Oprah. Or college students, one of the two.

Oprah says to wash in goat cheese so you’ll look like Taylor Swift.

Oprah says to ignore all of her demands to buy gifts and instead make presents for loved ones. Out of thoughts. Oprah believes in you. You can do this.

Oprah says to eat strawberries. But only in cake form.

Oprah says to hug dogs again. We all should show dogs more love.

The End

 

 

 

 

Random Tiny Strangers’ Sharts And Other Revolting Revelations In My Life

Mini-Tex is approaching the two year mark. Which means potty training. Only not actually because we’re spending the next six months bouncing around the country and the one thing that’s crazier than trying to potty train a small person is trying to do it on the run. At some point, likely during a summer, ideally before he’s twelve, we will attempt to potty train Mini-Tex. At this juncture however, we are going to be content just having a potty.

Or at least we would have been if we had a potty. As it was, this morning we didn’t. This isn’t a problem for most people because they

A) Live in a place where they need more than just their fingers and toes to count their neighours.

B) Live in a place where the only store isn’t the “Super Val e Mart”

C) They’re not insistent on buying all children’s goods second hand.

As it is, I live in a place that makes Dog River from Corner Gas look big. We are F  A   R from everything. We are two hours away from a large pharmacy let alone a children’s store, and we are four hours away from a major centre where second hand children’s stores are found.

As luck would have it, Tex was traveling on an overnight jaunt to the big smoke for work. On his last trip, he secured not one, not two but, three pairs of dinosaur pyjamas. An article of clothing our son had been begging for for the past six months or so. Tragically, I forgot to ask my husband to pick up a potty.

Thus today, when Tex was all set to travel back home and just sent a cursory “So do we need anything from the city?” text to me, expecting to hear crickets in return, I jumped on my phone. “Yes” I hastily replied “A potty”.

Ironically, one of my favourite character traits in Tex is his desire for everything to be spotless. While I am perfectly happy to wallow in my own personal gime, I would prefer that my living quarters are relatively clean. Tex cleans items and places that it would never occur to me to clean- ever. For example, the cup holder in the car. To me, it’s a spot that just becomes progressively stickier over the course of your car’s life. My view of a microwave is that it’s something you use and slop stuff on, until you move houses at which point, you receive a shiny new microwave to splatter with spaghetti sauce. And as for under the couch? Well I’m small, so not only is there no need to move said heavy couch, but it’s also verging on impossible, so the dust bunnies can procreate, colonize and form their own society there as far as I’m concerned.

Tex, on the other hand is a completely different story. When we first met, he was horrified by the shortness of my showers. At one point, he asked whether he could wash me, and it wasn’t in a sexy way (for the record I said “No”- Tex scrubs his skin like he’s Cinderella and removing every iota of dirt is his only shot at attending the ball). My pans, which were thoroughly abused and not well scrubbed in their previous existence with just me, have a new lease on life. And our car receives a twice yearly detailing that would probably cost hundreds if done professionally.

This was the man I sent to choose a second hand potty.

Now I should state, as grimy as  I am, I have limits. And I also keep the well being and personal tastes of other’s in mind. Hence, when I donate an item to Goodwill or what not, I will wash it thoroughly first. And if I don’t feel I’m up to the task of washing it, I’ll kindly ask Tex. Meaning that, if I were to donate a potty, it would be clean. That said, upon buying a used children’s potty, I would immediately scrub it (or let’s be honest ask Tex to scrub it) regardless of the state it was in.

Anyways so away Tex goes to the second hand children’s store. “What kind of potty?” he asks me. “A boy potty” I type back, hoping for something with either cars, fire engines or dinosaurs on it, Mini-Tex’s three interests at the moment. Tex shoots me a photo back “It’s Elmo, all the other ones are for bigger kids to sit on the toilet.” “Awesome” I reply.

I thought that was the end of it. But oh no, Tex arrives home, and cleans the living daylights out of the Elmo potty with bleach until it sparkles even brighter than when it came off the factory conveyor belt. Then Tex, who loves putting batteries into items almost as much as he loves cleaning, demonstrates the piece de resistance. With the juice from two double As, the tiny potty makes flushing sounds.

“You did so great” I said, hugging my husband tight, “I’m sure this was the best one there.” “Well” confesses Tex “there were other boy ones but they had little kid sharts all down the sides.” He didn’t need to say anymore, I tried to suppress a grin picturing my husband eyeballing random tiny stranger sharts on Lightning McQueen potties.

I have a really nice husband. In the grand scheme of gross, awkward shopping trips, I think this one even tops the time that my Dad had to pick up a year’s supply of birth control for my sister. After calling all around the city, he found a store with a large enough supply. Upon entering, the cashier yelled out “Hey it’s the Yasmin guy!” Embarrassing, but not quite as bad as having to pick between plastic seats coated in the sharts of toddlers.

 

This post is dedicated to my mother, who told me not to put up something nice about her even though it’s her sixtieth birthday today. Mom likes to joke that my husband has OCD. Only she doesn’t think that it’s a joke, to which I respond “Our cereal isn’t alphabetized”. That’s totally a criterion from the DSM IV, I am totally up on all things psychology. Also I don’t think people with OCD marry dirt squirrels like me and certainly not dirt squirrels with sweaty runner moms. Happy Birthday Mom, your nice post is forth coming.

 

This Troll Is My Grandfather

20171007_120126Because he’s crotchety and barks at people for no good reason. Not really, my grandfather isn’t like that at all, for starters, he only yells with good reason. The following is an abridged and incomplete list of reasons that my Grandfather has yelled being:

  1. Making noise in the backseat
  2. Not learning how to ride a two wheeler fast enough
  3. Pinching your sister
  4. Pulling your sister’s hair
  5. Calling your sister “weasel elbows”
  6. Doing anything besides sitting silently next to your sister without touching each other at all
  7. Trying to swim in a flooded basement
  8. Yapping at the neighbour’s car (that one was the dog)
  9. Not eating the fat on a piece of meat (that was me, the dog will ALWAYS eat the fat)
  10. Showing inadequate amounts of enthusiasm for Granddad’s current interest that he is explaining to you at length
  11. Being in the wrong gear while cycling uphill
  12. Speaking above a whisper volume when Granddad has a migraine

As you can see from the list, my grandfather is both an extremely reasonable and even tempered fellow, not at all troll-like.

But yet, I’ve kept this troll doll for ages. Clearly because of its wicked hairdo; I wake up every morning with my fingers crossed that my own tresses will have formed such an awesome “just rolled out of the cave and off to bludgeon a mammoth” style of their own volition.

All joking aside, I’m not a sentimental person. Tex actually stopped me from sending my framed degree from my Bachelor of Science to the second hand shop. Yet, I’ve carted this troll doll with me across the country and through multiple moves- why? Because I love my Granddad.

My love for my grandfather runs so deep that this tchotchke and I have been together for almost thirty years. At first I kept it because it was a fun toy, then I kept it because it was terrifying and I had grand plans of playing “hide the awful troll” in the same way that my sister played “hide the beady eyed ostrich”, scaring the bejesus out of me when the ostrich surprised me in unlikely places. But most recently I’ve kept it because it represents my relationship with my grandfather.

While unpacking after our recent move, I realized that I kept the troll out of the fear of not being reminded of the stories that accompany it. This is the point in life where being a writer is almost akin to being a super hero, as I realized that I could record the memories, and find a new home for the troll doll.

My grandparents took our family to Walt Disney World. It was supposed to be just me and Diana but then my mother threw a hissy fit, stating that my Gran and Granddad had never taken her to Disney World. This was how my father, mother and uncle went to Walt Disney World. I’d say “with us” but that isn’t true, looking back at the photo album my mother has and the notes she made about the trip, my sister and I spent about 95% of our time with our grandparents while my parents and uncle shucked their parental and uncle-y duties all devil-may-care, in favor of exploring the theme parks.

The first time I visited the Magic Kingdom was with my grandfather. My sister was ill and stayed back at the hotel with my Gran while my parents went on roller coasters and drank endless shots of tequila. (That last part may be a fabrication, but they did really and truly delight in not having a five and seven year old in tow.) The wonder and joy I felt at walking into the Magic Kingdom is tied with the sense of happiness and security I felt at having my grandfather all to myself in that wonderful place. My Granddad enjoys recounting the story of me running at a wandering character and hugging them with all of my might on that day.

That trip was the first time I realized that my grandfather was a flirt. Actually, flirt is the wrong word, my grandfather is charming, utterly charming and engaging with everyone. He just makes a point of being more so with the female persuasion. Disney Cast Members all wear badges with their names. Upon returning to the hotel, I remarked to my mother that Granddad knew all of the cashiers’ names.

As much as my parents delighted in their independence, my grandparents delighted in my and my sister’s joy. They rode the tea cups with us countless times. Diana’s and my explanation to my parents upon entering the ride with them (while they were sobering up before their next tequila binge) was “You spin the wheel whichever way Diana wants, as fast as you can, until Granddad yells “I’m gonna barf!””

My grandfather loves history, especially family history. Growing up, my sister and I donned crowns with electric candles on them and would wander around family parties at Christmas delivering hors d’oeuvres. Seeing us dressed as St. Lucia and honoring our Swedish and Scandinavian heritage made my grandfather so happy that we continued to dress up even as teens if asked.

Thus the Norwegian pavilion at EPCOT, which in the early 90’s still offered unique Scandinavian products rather than all things Frozen related, was a kind of heaven for my grandfather. For starters, it was staffed with gorgeous Norwegian women who were obligated to smile at my grandfather’s stories which he imparted in detail to his blonde, cheerful listeners. The variety of Viking related goods gave Granddad many talking points to remind Diana and me of our heritage. To this day my grandfather never misses an opportunity to share the tale of our brave ancestor Stoingvald who fought to defend his country even after his enemies cut off his legs at the knees. Our visit to the Norwegian pavilion of course prompted said story, so Granddad acted out the battle with Stoingvald on the roof of his home for all the tourists and smiley Swedes.

Granddad bought me this troll that night. I kept it because I wanted to hold onto the love that I hold for my Granddad and that my grandparents hold for me. I kept the doll because it recalled a time when vacations were as endless as the hugs and attention from my grandparents. I kept it to remind myself of my grandfather’s foibles and the way they make me smile. I kept it so I would remember all those stories each time my eyes lit on the troll while in the rec room.

But love, memories and stories aren’t housed in objects, they make their homes in our hearts. It’s through retelling that the memories live on. I don’t need the troll to remind myself to retell the stories of its youth, I can keep a picture of it and pen the words it holds for me instead.

 

This post is of course dedicated to my Granddad from whom all my stories originate because he is the original storyteller of our family.

The Bastard Offspring of a Threesome Between Glue, Sawdust and Your Previous Product: Consumer Advocacy At It’s Finest.

 

Dear the formerly good makers of Promax bars,

I’m writing to inform you that I noticed the changes you made to your packaging; sleek, stylish, a good way to celebrate the 21st century. I also noticed the changes made to the Promax bar recipe because to quote my husband “they taste like butt”.

My waistline must thank you, previously I consumed Promax bars in lieu of chocolate bars because your product was both filling and delicious. However, seeing as your product now tastes like the bastard offspring of a threesome between glue, sawdust and the old recipe of a Promax bar, I’m going to give up that habit, because if I’m going to eat paste mixed with wood, I’ll save myself the three dollars and just grab some supplies out of my husband’s workshop.

In all seriousness Promax, I loved your old product. It was excellent, delicious, and I would happily recommend it to anyone. This new formula? Not so much. Please bring back the old recipe.

 

Sincerely, a former fan,

 

Sarah

This was an actual letter that I wrote to Promax. But I was still mad, so i wrote another letter, this time from the point of view of my husband. It wasn’t a complete forgery though- I asked him to sign the page before popping it in the mail.

 

 

Dear Promax Bars,

Coke came out with a new coke. It sucked. Like Coca Cola, Promax bar should have realized when it had a winner and perhaps consulted an analyst before changing its formula. Preferably not an analyst which owned half of the stock in the Elmer Glue company.

Seriously Promax, you had a winner, it was called Cookies and Cream, the old Promax bar was so delicious that my wife once ate four bars in one day rather than meals. That was an addictive, delicious, filling product which I kept locked away from my sweets loving family. Now, I can store these new gluey, sawdust laden bars in full view, without fear of anything happening to them. All right, sometimes I do fear that I myself might consume them in a fit of masochistic rage.

Consider this my call to arms to bring back the previous recipe. It was great. This new one? Well I’m sure it makes excellent packing material.

 

Sincerely, a former supporter of your brand,

 

Tex

 

At that point, I was on a letter writing rampage, I just continued. So I sent another because there’s no use in being mad unless you express your sentiments to the fullest.

 

 

Dear Promax,

Congratulations! You’ve finally joined the ranks of every other protein bar out on the market. You held out a long time, but we knew eventually you’d join us, the organization of “Tasteless, Revolting Athletic Food”. Now that you’ve moved up the ranks of sports nutrition to compete with the other big, gluey, sawdust tasting bars we thought we should inform you of the rules:

  1. Your packaging should look both fast and sporty. It should also carry a delicious name like “Cookies and Cream” to deceive the customer into believing they’re going to eat something good.

 

A job well done on that front Promax – A+

 

  1. There should be no allusion to the change in recipe so that when the customer eats your new product they spit it out in a combination of disgust and surprise.

 

Good work on that front too Promax- you’re almost ready to play in the big leagues – A+

 

  1. Your product should only be consumed by muscle bound people whose biceps are larger than their heads.

 

This will come Promax, with your new recipe, only those with brains the size of peas would consume your product –  B–

To sum up, a good showing so far Promax, keep up the good work. For a while there, us heads of the “Tasteless, Revolting, Athletic Food” were concerned that you were going to go the way of those darn “Clif” bars- being delicious and enjoyed by everyone from children to yummy mummies, all the way to endurance runners. Way to man up and show us what you’re made of (which is of course according to our club rules, sawdust and adhesive)

Sincerely yours,

 

The Welcoming Committee of the Tasteless, Revolting, Athletic Food Club

Otherwise known as Sarah

 

P.S. Promax, you might not have figured it out from the other letter that I sent you but I previously enjoyed your product. In fact when I used to run marathons, I would consume a half a bar on average per day. Thankfully I don’t run anymore. I used to say this is because when push came to shove, I didn’t actually like running. Now I say that I’m grateful that I don’t run because I would have to eat Clif bars almost every day, which are not as yummy as your previous Cookies and Cream Promax bar recipe.

 

Then because I still had more juice in the writing tank I decided to create an actual forgery and write on behalf of my mother and sign her name. However, I’m 100% that if my mother lived in the same province, she would have happily signed off on the letter. As it was, for the first time since I skipped grade eleven gym, I signed her name.

 

 

Dear the Makers of the Cookies and Cream Promax Bar,

When I purchased a box of your product recently, I was surprised to see that changes had been made to the packaging. Upon opening up a bar, I was dismayed to discover that the recipe had been changed. An avid marathon runner and fitness loving athlete, boxes of your product are regularly consumed in my house for the simple reason – they taste good. Which is to say, not like the other protein bars on the market: gluey and sawdust-like.

As the company has put work into this, I feel it’s unlikely that the recipe will change back, so consider this my official complaint and notice that I will no longer be supporting your brand. Clif bars, however inferior will now have to be my bar of choice, as they are the only brand on the market currently which tastes good.

 

Sunny

 

Just incase any of my readers are wondering, none of my letter received a reply.