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

 

 

 

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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.

Red Foreman and Whatever the Opposite of Unicorn Farts Are

Most of the time I’m Pollyanna; my life is sunshine and rainbows and I love it and I have endless patience for most things and to quote the Lego movie “everything is awesome”.

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A picture of my life 99.9% of the time. (Photo Credit Amazon UK)

But then, some terrible bureaucracy will poke its paperwork filled head out of a whole and suddenly I’m a werewolf on an unpredictable, couch-eating rampage. This also goes for telemarketers.

Tex is the second nicest person in the whole entire world. The title of nicest person in the world goes to Tex’s mother Zoey. I once watched her cut her finger- she bled rainbows, butterflies and a song with lots of trills. After applying a Band-Aid, she apologized to the potatoes for quartering them.

Being married to the second nicest person in the world is a burden at times. Because some of the time, for example when someone calls to inform me I’ve won a “free” vacation, well I don’t always feel like being nice.

The summer before Tex and I got married, UHaul made a staggering error while billing my move across country. After listening to me deal with the moving company on the phone, my mother congratulated me for not losing my cool, while Tex cowered in the corner, apparently terrified of his future vengeful bride. “You eviscerated them with your words” he exclaimed, shocked that his chosen life partner could use such a nasty tone.

We’re three years in to knowing each other and the harshest word Tex has ever used was “dinkus”. Since my talk with UHaul, I’ve modified my approach to people and callers I find unpleasant, so as to protect my husband’s delicate sensibilities. Thus when the bank called this evening to offer me “an excellent service for a nominal fee”, I stopped them dead in their tracks then firmly and assertively stated that I was not interested and to please refrain from calling me about such practices.

I was quite proud of my restraint until I turned to my husband who translated the entire conversation for our au pair. “Janie, she told the bank to shut the hell up about their useless product and never call her again”.

Apparently no matter what I sound like this man.

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“How about we discuss my attractive offer of my foot up your ass?” (Photo Credit : Youtube.com)

 

C’est la vie. My husband bleeds rainbows as opposed to me; I’m composed of slugs, thorns and scotch bonnets.

You always wanted to read my diary right?

There are a couple of people whose blogs I follow who just post about their life. I don’t know these people, yet I find myself reading about their Thanksgiving holiday (thank goodness Grammy recovered from that hip replacement.), their new kitchens (Victoria, I love that counter top) and looking at pictures of their sheep (Wooly Wednesdays- so cute!).

In lieu of an actual post, dear readers, you may peruse my diary. Only not actually, because I don’t keep a diary.

Dear Judith,

(Judith is my imaginary friend. I tried writing to myself but I was like “I know all this stuff! Why am I telling myself this?” Whereas Judith is a shut-in; she lives with her mother who is 108 years old. Judith, by contrast, is mysteriously only 42 years old. I haven’t asked her about that whole situation. Anyways, she doesn’t get out much. Judith really likes Fig Newtons, sometimes I’ll tell her about when I see a new flavour of that cookie- she gets super pumped about that. Well as “pumped” as Judith can get- it mostly looks like her neck breaking out in hives, but as her understanding and only friend, I totally get it.)

We visited Regina last weekend. When my cousins were little, they were wrestling with their Mom, everyone was having fun until someone kneed my aunt in the groin. She shut down the wrestling match immediately saying “It’s all fun and games until someone gets kneed in the vagina.” The little girls latched onto this saying immediately and would repeat it in public “It’s all fun and games” and they’d shout the last part “until someone gets kneed IN THE VAGINA!” My uncle was properly mortified by this and tried to cover it up by saying loudly “It’s all fun and games until someone GOES TO REGINA!”

Judith, I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. My life was all fun and games, and then we went to Regina; now I feel like I’ve been squished flat by a Mack truck. Good gravy I am tired. Not as tired as your mother of course, and I’m sorry for complaining what with her flambormalistosyalgia, but man that trip was tiring.

Worth it though, when I lived in the most beautiful city in the world, it’s ugly step sister Regina, seemed quite homely. But it’s been over a year since we’ve lived in sunny Saskatoon, with the gorgeous river running through it and the bridges arching so neatly over the treed river valleys. Regina doesn’t have a river, but it’s glorified little paddling pool, Wascana lake, isn’t half bad and a lot of the neighbourhoods are quite charming. I enjoyed wandering around the city much more than I have in the past.

The marathon was also fun, don’t worry Judith, I didn’t run it. I was just there to cheer my Mom on. I met her twice; once at the six km mark and again at the 38 km mark. Mini-Tex and I ran with her for four kilometers. Ok, well obviously Mini-Tex didn’t run what with the fact that he’s a toddler and was asleep the majority of that time, but he was there gosh darn it. And I’m sure he was cheering his Gran on in his little baby dreams.

I forgot how entertaining being a spectator is. I liked cheering the people on “Go dancing pecs guy! You work that topless look!” and “Yeah beard dude- way to run with all that extra hairy weight. Keep it up!” At the very least, I made myself laugh.

Then came the 38 km mark. No one runs 38 km and feels good. Thirty-eight kilometers is an exercise in various states of pain. Some people were just getting through it. Then there was the one guy who had a funny gait, started limping and finally stopped to dry heave at the side of the road. The next stage is crying. I know because I’ve been there so I was determined to distract the man.

As he passed Tex, Janie, Mini-Tex and me, I cheered his name. I shouted “Looking strong Daniel” and he looked at me and said “No” pause “I’m not at all” then went on his painful way.

Well I wasn’t about to let that go, so I chased him down and started speed walking beside him.

“Is this your first marathon?” I asked.

“No” he wheezed “My tenth”.

“Ahh” I replied “Well I’ve run twelve or so of these and I can tell you they are EXACTLY like labour.”

I let the fact that a random stranger was discussing her labour sink in with him for a moment before moving on. “See, 38 kilometers is like the point in the labour where the nurses are all “We can see the head- you’re almost there!” and you’re thinking to yourself “Screw you jerks- I KNOW how far I have to go. That is exactly what 38 kilometers is like. So I won’t say you’re almost there but I will say you’re going to finish because in the same way that I had my son, and he’s all big now, this race will end. And even better, if you walk faster, you’ll get away from the weirdo who’s talking about child birth with strangers.”

I am nothing if not helpful. For those two minutes and likely the couple minutes after, I am certain that man was not thinking about his aching muscles or the blisters on his feet, instead he was trying to think of how to get rid of me and who in the hell gives a pep talk about babies’ heads crowning?

Judith, as always, I am inappropriately yours, give my best to your mother.

Unwashed

Illegal Felines and Crimes Against Friendship

Barbara Kingsolver, whose lifestyle incidentally I aspire to, changed her writing following living off the land for a year. According to my mother, she became sanctimonious and dull. So in the interest of avoiding said pitfall, here is an engaging story, which has nothing to do with the environment. Mom I dedicate this post to you.

I have only a sister. But growing up in a church, my family spent every Sunday morning, the occasional Sunday afternoon and every New Year’s Eve with another family, who had two boys the same age as myself and Diana. This was in addition to seeing these boys at every single church event that happened during the week. Effectively rendering Jamie and Jackie the boys in the family, the closest thing I have to brothers.

My mother and the boys’ mother Janie, often talked about how wonderful it would be if either Diana or I married one of Janie’s boys so we’d all be related. This gives you an idea of the closeness of our two families.

Janie and Lane, her husband decided to go away one weekend. My mother quickly offered to care for the boys. At home, Lane was a formidable figure. A cheapskate to the core, he preferred to risk death by pruning the fifty foot tall trees on his property himself rather than paying someone. A strict disciplinarian, things like rabble rousing, takeout pizza and pets were not permitted in his home. Jamie and Jackie knew this and followed the rules to a T.

In comes my mother, who believes that the real world can discipline children with consequences better than any parent and that every child has a right to a pet. This was the woman charged with caring for Lane and Janie’s sons for a weekend.

Friday night went off without a hitch. For the first time in their lives, Jamie and Jackie ate pizza that was delivered to the door. They covered their amazement and awe by devouring every last piece of the cheesy pie. At a reasonable hour, my mother tucked them both into the guest room bed and hugged them good night. So far so good.

It was the Saturday morning when the wheels began to fall off the cart. After a filling breakfast of pancakes topped with anything us children could think of in the kitchen including caramel sauce and maraschino cherries, my mother turned to the group of us and asked what we wanted to do that day. In a sugar induced fog, we all shrugged assuming that the weekend would consist or some combination of tag and playing at the park. “We’re going to buy Jamie and Jackie a cat!” exclaimed my mother.

The boys were dumbfounded. They knew this was not allowed. Scholarly pets like ant farms were forbidden so a cat was definitely against the rules. However the laws of their house dictated that they respect the adult in charge and for that weekend the adult was my mother so away we all went to the pet store.

An hour later Harley the cat rode home on Jamie and Jackie’s laps. The rest of the day was spent playing with the kitten, dressing him up in dolls clothes, cuddling the fur ball and in general enjoying all the perks of pet ownership. At an appropriate time, my mother tucked the boys and Harley into the guest room bed and hugged them goodnight.

The next afternoon, my mother dropped the boys off, Lane met them at the door. Clapping his eyes on the cat he demanded that we “Take it back”. “It’s an animal, not a sweater Lane” my mother replied “and besides it’s your cat.” Lane was unmoved “Take it back” he repeated as my mother brought Harley and all his accoutrements that we had purchased the day before into the house. “He’s so cute!” Janie exclaimed. “Don’t get attached, he’s going back” Lane deadpanned.

And that was how one of my mother’s closest friends got a cat. Appropriately, out of defiance for Lane, Harley is still alive. At 25, he skulks around their house, essentially just a bit of fur stuck on a pile of bones but living nonetheless.

At the age of ten, I knew that my mother hadn’t asked permission from Lane. Or even bothered to question the boys on what type of pet they’d like. But it was only at 32 that I thought to ask the most important question, after reliving the story over the phone one night. “Mom, did Janie even know?”  Still laughing from the memory of her ballsy acquisition she somewhat sheepishly confessed “Nope”.

Readers, I invite you all to suggest ways my mother can atone for her sins. Keeping in mind that she once tried to make my childhood home into a zoo, so taking in animals is NOT a punishment.

And Mom, you know that we will always love you Mrs. Flax.

Remembering Who You Are While Going Pee

It’s a thing. And not just for Moms who finally get a moment of privacy to think. In rural places, while there is some reflection involved, that statement is a reminder of the lack of anonymity in a small town.

In my marriage, I’m known for my willingness to drop trou anywhere to relieve myself. A habit that previously, was more likely to bother a black bear ambling by than a neighbor. While Smokey’s cousin might have taken umbrage with my lack of decorum in his living room, peeing in the bush had few if any consequences. The obvious ones being awkwardly located mosquito bites.

By contrast, on the prairie, where plants are plentiful but by and large short, peeing anywhere particularly by the side of the road is problematic. Tex and myself both work for the government, rendering our mugs somewhat higher profile within the community. Add in our unique cargo trike and you’ve got yourself an embarrassing story should anyone pass by whilst I crouch in the weeds.

So there we were, pedaling along the road to the national park when nature started calling. This urge coincided with Mini-Tex’s need to get out and stretch his legs. So we pulled the bikes over to an entrance to a farmer’s field and commenced exploring the roadside. The pickings were slim; a bare field, knee high weeds next to the field or a ditch. Crossing my legs and hopping from one foot to the other, I squeaked “It can’t wait”.

“Just remember who you are” Tex cautioned as he stood watching for a break in traffic. Having only just lived down my performance in the high school the day after we moved to town, when I showed up looking like a homeless person and yelling about childcare, I wasn’t keen on becoming the resident exhibitionist. After two pickup trucks and a hatchback passed, Tex gave the go ahead “there’s a break”. Already poised in the ditch I quickly dropped my pants. “Hurry that semi’s gaining speed” my husband called from the other side of the bikes. As the tractor neared, I hurriedly pulled up my capris, chuffed that in my haste, I didn’t even pee on my shoes.

After that we continued on our forty kilometer bike ride and hike. Though pleased with my ability to excrete with speed, I rationed my liquid intake so I wouldn’t have another similar pit stop on the ride home.

Black Markets, Being Amish And Sketchy Kijiji Meet Ups

I bought a television. It wasn’t by choice. This purchase was in response to the constant questioning from potential au pairs while we searched for the right person to watch our son. All of the young women we interviewed, regardless of whether they came from a mud hut in Africa or whatever the heck kind of cold house they have in Greenland, all the young women wanted to know one thing, “Why don’t you have a TV?” And then came the questions after that; “Is there a reason you don’t have a TV?” “Could I have a TV at your house?”, “Could I buy a TV?”, and finally, “Are you secretly Amish?”

After this exchange happened eight separate times, I decided it was time to buy a television. The only problem was that they’re damn expensive! If I was going to buy a technological chotchke I didn’t want, you better bet your bippy I wasn’t going to pay a lot of money for it. This was how I was nearly stabbed to death.

After much searching, I found a largish TV for a smallish amount of money on Kijiji. Tex had deemed it necessary to accompany me on said errand to prevent my corpse from turning up in the local river. However, in typical baby fashion, our son fell asleep right as we drove onto the street. Hence someone had to stay in the car with him because if faced with the choice of possible death and waking a baby, one always chooses the less painful option. So there I went to knock on the door by myself.

The only problem was; I was knocking on the wrong door. I had gotten the address mixed up. Realizing my error, I hopped across and down the street and knocked on the proper door. A large well groomed man answered “Is Jules there?” I asked. “You’re looking for the boys around back” the man answered before shutting the door in my face.

Walking down the narrow dark alley, I thought to myself “And she was never seen again”. Somewhat hesitantly, I knocked on the third door of the day. A lanky, scruffy youth answered. “Is Jules there?” I asked hopefully. “Yeah he’s downstairs” gestured a youth, pointing to a dark, narrow and steep staircase. I stepped inside the grubby entranceway and descended the staircase, all the while thinking “And she was never seen again”.

At the bottom of the staircase, I was greeted by a room that must have a special place in the “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” hall of fame for being the filthiest kitchen in the world. I was shocked there weren’t roaches skittering about. Despite the grime, the youth who had let me in recommenced making lunch. “He’s in there” the scruffy young man pointed to a doorway on the opposite side of the room. “and she was actually never seen again” I thought to myself as I approached the doorway.

Jules sat in his underpants on a single mattress covered by a sheet that had once been white but now was…not. The walls were adorned with a combination of machetes, marijuana paraphernalia and breasts. There was a large, beaten up looking fish tank in the corner resting on an even more beaten up chest of drawers. The nicest item in the room was the television which Jules was still watching. Suppressing my need to gulp nervously at the machetes, I introduced myself “Hi, I’m Unwashed, I’m here to pick up a television” all the while guessing how much time would have to pass before Tex would come to look for my lifeless body.

Jules jumped up and quickly explained that he was just watching the TV until I arrived so he could demonstrate that it worked. Eager to leave, I handed him the money as Jules unplugged the television. He gallantly offered to carry the TV to my car. Given the freezing temperatures, I didn’t want this man to lose his television and his testicles to frostbite in the same day so I declined his offer.

After making my way over several snow drifts, and popping the TV into the back of the van, all without waking my son, I turned to Tex and said “I just stole that man’s television. It was the nicest thing he had in his life, and I took it for a song. I hope he manages to get enough drugs with that money to forget how awful his life is.”

The whole way home I felt terrible. I mean I have everything; a loving husband, a beautiful baby, a nice house, clean sheets, breasts of my own so I don’t need to look at images of other people’s- everything. And now I had this man’s television. I felt just awful.

Months later, after relaying this story and my lingering guilt to my sister, she said “You know that it was stolen right?”

Ever the country bumpkin I replied “Huh?”

“How big was the TV, and how much did you pay for it?” my sister asked.

Gesturing with my hands, I said “One hundred dollars.”

“Definitely stolen” she replied.

A terrible pit formed in my stomach, similar to the one that I had on the drive home from the squalid basement apartment that day because I knew Diana was right. Now, to top it off, I was in possession of stolen goods. I’m not sure whether that makes my karma better or worse.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people who have way more machetes than necessary and my contact information.