Illicit Sugar and Job Confusion

Once upon a time, when I thought glitter glue was a necessary addition to all objects, my father worked for a company that made chocolate bars. Technically he was a marketing manager, but at seven years of age his job title was irrelevant.

Black Chocolate in Japan

The cupboard contents of my childhood home. (Photo credit: gullevek)

The more important part to my young mind and mouth was that this job resulted in every cupboard in our house being stocked with some type of delicious treat. Everyday my father was sent home with an edible good to sample and create a detailed description about. A man can only consume so much sugar before he begins to stash it with the coffee mugs, next to canned corn and behind the stand up mixer. As far as I was concerned this was the next best thing to being fathered by Santa Claus himself.

Life was not all rainbows and unicorns in my childhood home. Although we were surrounded by chocolate, my sister and I could not technically eat all of the chocolate. We had to ask permission. Nearly always the answer was “No”. However we discovered a loophole in the parental framework; what my parents did not know about, we could secretly consume.

Diana and I later parlayed this rule into the consumption of my parent’s old alcohol. As a teenager my sister spent an inordinate amount of time searching for dusty bottles of booze in our basement to decant into inconspicuous containers. Our crime was discovered eight years later when the house was being renovated and my mother was puzzled by a box of twenty cobweb covered bottles of hootch, each with only a couple of milliliters left. God bless my near teetotaling parents’ drinking habits.

I digress. In Canada the legal age that one may stay at home alone is ten. This was an excellent year for me as I discovered a fifteen pound box of abandoned chocolate chips next to a stack of two year old flyers advertising a new candy bar. I ate nearly a third of my bootleg bounty before sharing the news with my sister.

When I was twelve, my father changed jobs and began working for a tea company. Supposedly it was a better position but from my preadolescent point of view it was a step down. In my mind our family was probably one job change away from the poor house.

In high school, my father changed careers again, no longer was he concerned with the colour of tea or chocolate packaging however I never quite figured out what he did. To this day if asked I will answer “Um…..? He’s a banker? He works for a bank? He talks to a lot of people. Stocks?”

My dad has repeatedly attempted to explain his role but he always includes unnecessary technical details which confuse the issue. Once, Phillip my sister’s giant boy friend explained what he did, and everything made sense. Unfortunately then my father tried to elaborate on the topic and my understanding was lost.

Here’s what I know

  1. My father goes to work everyday
  2. He wears a suit
  3. He talks to a lot of people.

Based on this I like to assume that what he does is very important but it’s entirely possible that he could be a well dressed ice cream man.

My father's office. (Photo Credit:

My father’s office. (Photo Credit:

Better Than A Cross Country Unicycle Ride

So earlier this week I was struck by a brilliant idea- I could work in Hawaii. Maui in particular is short 500 people in my industry every year. There were a number of obstacles in this plan, the first being Roscoe. Here is how I presented the idea to him.

The Great Unwashed– “I want to work in Hawaii.”

Roscoe– “Can we please have this conversation another time? Or can you at least carry your end of the couch while you are doing it?”

Pipecleaner Art Masterwork, Age 3

While pipecleaners make festive centerpieces they’ve rarely been cited for their abilities to transport anything larger than a googly eye. (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Roscoe and I have an agreement that me and my bendy, pipecleaner arms will pretend to help him move big pieces of furniture and Roscoe will act as though I’m actually helping.

The Great Unwashed obligingly pretends to pick up half the couch- “I want to work in Hawaii, they need people in my field there.”

Roscoe grunting from the exertion of carrying a couch alone- “That’s great?”

The Great Unwashed– “No it is! You could work there too. People lose bits all the time in Hawaii, sharks are always biting surfers’ arms and legs off. You’d have lots of work. Also I hear some fish even bite. You’d be overrun with sewing bits back on, honest.”

Roscoe– “I question your knowledge of ichthyology.”

The Great Unwashed– “I question your knowledge of cosmetology. So there. The point is we need to move to Hawaii.”

After the couch was placed in it’s new spot I went online to find more persuasive information about employment and carnivorous fish.

What I discovered was that in order to work in Hawaii I would have to get my degree accredited, write an exam, fly myself out to Hawaii to attend an interview on my dime and then go through the process of applying for an international work Visa.

After doing all of that to the tune of approximately five grand I might, might get hired to work and be paid two thirds of what I receive here.

“Nutbars!” I cried upon this revelation “Super peanut-y O’Henrys! King Size Snickers!

There is only one possible solution to this costly problem.

I’m going to write to Hawaii and recommend that they install a zipline from Canada, thereby cutting the travel costs down to zero and making the process far, far cheaper. Although it still would be a pain. Now there would be some start up expenses with the installation of the zipline but I think it would be minimal compared to the number of people who would benefit from its use. And it would certainly cut down on the labour shortages.

The Life’s Goal Of Every Sixteen Year Old- To See As Much Elderly, Wrinkled Skin As Possible

Once upon a time when my butt lived further north and I thought that shoes were something you wore for fine dining, I was a lifeguard. That means that I have spent an inordinate amount of time in pools. But I’ve spent an even greater amount of time watching people in water, specifically older people.

For three summers I sat next to pools in condo complexes and in between slathering approximately 16 litres of sunscreen on my skin, I catalogued the patrons’ behaviours.

The Three Main Types of Adult Pool Swimmers

The Noodle Group

Age: Mid forties to approximately three thousand and a half years old

Bathing Suit: A one piece with something to cover their hair for women.  The men generally sport long trunks and enough gray chest hair to make a sizeable throw rug.

two very fat men

These men decided to spice it up by floating on the noodles. (Photo credit: Max Nathan)

Swim Style: Don’t be fooled by their polka dot flotation devices, these people are not here to have fun. In fact if hit by a rogue splash from a nearby game they will start talking about the “good ol’ days” when the strap was used and you could openly shout at someone else’s children. The Noodle Group’s favourite thing to do is stand in the pool for hours on end. This is not so much a way of swimming as a way of creating human shaped obstacles for the next group of swimmers because the Noodle Group must always stand in the very centre of the pool.

The Getting In Shape For Their Vacation Crowd

Age: Anywhere from thirty to late forties

Bathing Suit: Any type of suits, these fitness minded people can be recognized by the presence of their Gatorade bottle and the way they swagger onto the deck as though they are going to “own” the water.

Swim Style: Their swim begins with a dive despite the many signs posted in the area dictating “Shallow Water, NO Diving”. After surfacing and a short chat with the lifeguard The Getting In Shape Crowd take off from the wall like they’re in a high speed chase. Once this crowd reaches the opposite side of the pool they pop their heads out of the water and take a loud, deep breath as though an invisible assailant had just stopped choking them. This routine continues for approximately five lengths at which point The Getting In Shape Crowd will rest their elbows on the wall and smugly watch The Noodle Group stand around. The previous performance will be repeated two to four times at which point The Getting In Shape Crowd will climb out of the pool and ask the lifeguard for the time. Without fail they will always be stunned at how little time has passed since they got into the pool. Regardless, after mentally patting themselves on the back they’ll call it a day.

Genuine, Bonafide  Swimmers

Age: Twenties to thirties. Actually I have no idea, I’ve never seen one of these people.

Bathing Suit: According to lifeguard lore these athletes appear in Speedos or an equally high quality swimsuit company brand. 

Swim Style: They jump into the pool, swim at a confident, even speed around the Noodle Group and the erratic Getting In Shape Crowd. The Genuine Swimmers continue this way for quite some time and then leave the pool area in a flash of terry cloth and Coppertone SPF 30. In the world of condo pool lifeguarding these swimmers are like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny; you just have to believe they exist.

As much joy as I took from watching the various kinds of swimmers the purpose of my job was to watch for the types of drowners. I will be covering some of those in an upcoming post.

Clearing Up The Confusion- Roscoe’s Job

Roscoe works very hard at an actual job. As opposed to my job which is imaginary according to my mother. My job isn’t really imaginary but my mother’s claim would explain why I’m paid in cheetos and unicorns.

English: Daffodils at Longdon Daffodils in the...

Sometimes I’m paid in these! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I digress, Roscoe’s job. So my dear husband is becoming a doctor. What this means is that he works day and night. This isn’t one of those exaggerated, only partially true posts where I write things that I don’t actually mean- Roscoe literally works day and night. Or rather he works fourteen hour to twenty-eight hour shifts depending on the day. And then he arrives home absolutely exhausted and has to get up and do it again the next day. In between these long, long shifts when he has down time, he studies.

List of Prime Ministers of Queen Victoria

Obviously Roscoe has to wear a fake nose to play him onstage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 All in all that isn’t very much fun to write about, aside from the times when Roscoe comes home talking about things that people try to stick in their family jewels. Hence why I occasionally pretend that he’s an ottoman, or the lead performer in a Victor/Victoria style drag show about Sir John A. McDonald. It’s just more fun that way.

I mean, wouldn’t you rather live in a camper as a nomad, with a Corn Pops obsessed boa constrictor and your elephant trainer husband than in a normal house in a city with someone who has a job they like but works a lot? I thought as much. So on days when Roscoe doesn’t come home because he’s stitching someone’s ear back onto their head, rather than sitting and feeling sorry for myself because a stranger is getting to spend some admittedly painful, quality time with my husband instead of me, I picture Roscoe encased in a thick, down, sleeping bag, shivering in Antarctica while out on a mission to save three thousand year old ice.

Also it makes my bed seem warmer.

Side Note

You might have noticed that I’ve added some buttons and widgets to my website. If you’re finding that your week is just too clean, you can follow the Great Unwashed on Twitter. My most recent tweets will appear at the side of this page.

Also the Great Unwashed now has a Facebook page that you can “Like”, it has photos which were taken by Candy* on her recent visit to my city.

I’ve also divided up my posts into categories so if you really like reading about my family for example, you can click the word at the very bottom of my page and magically all of the Unwashed posts about my family will appear. There are a lot. Mostly because I have the kind of enormous family that you have to create diagrams of before introducing people into it. Roscoe still has no idea how many cousins I have.

*Even though the idea of using her real name to give proper credit for the beautiful and creative photos was thrown about, Candy Hooling is still a minor so I cannot reveal her identity. Also her father is a video game tester**, so he’s probably an incredible hacker and could take down my site in less than nine seconds for posting his daughter’s name online.

** Candy’s Dad is not actually a video game tester, but that and computer programmer are the only technology related careers I can remember despite Candy having repeatedly told me the name of her Dad’s job. Some things just don’t stick in my Unwashed brain.