Golden Equine Showers and Other Dubious Events I Can Anticipate In My Future: An Update On Where I’m Going To Live

Remember when I swore that I would update everyone on where Tex and I were going to live in my post Man Eating Fish, Bakery Theft and KKK Heaven: Let’s Introduce the Contestants? And then I didn’t? Well I have an excuse. It’s because I was showering off all the horse pee that was dumped on me. Figuratively thankfully.

Not so secretly, I had thought that Tex and I were staying. That our family would get to enjoy our happy home with its sun room and live in peaceful northern harmony for a couple more years. Or at the very worst, that we would be placed in the town that is a smaller version of where we live. After all, Tex is well liked at work, I mean who can live without a man who uses the word “eutectic” in a sentence? I know I can’t. Anyways with that confounding term and all Tex’s other shining qualities, I thought we were good, no better, I thought we were golden.

And we were. Covered in golden horsey showers that is, as the universe, or karma, or the gods, or whoever it was smited the both of us for being so cocky as to believe that we were going to stay.

When Tex told me where we were going to be placed, I quickly mass texted my family and close friends the name of the town and the words “I can’t even speak.” Then I dropped my phone and went to go curl up, lick my wounded ego and contemplate where I was going to live.

Frantically Sula tried texting, then calling all the while scrolling through my words to determine what place it was on my posted list we had been placed at. “Charm City?” her voicemail asked. “I don’t think it’s Charm City.” Then, when she Googled the place name, she realized the terrible truth. That we weren’t staying where we live, that we hadn’t been placed at my second choice, or my third choice or even my fourth choice with that fabulous indoor playground.

No dear readers, I’m heading to my seventh choice. The town that considers indoor plumbing and eeelecktricity, as they call it, to be “new fangled technology”. It was karma’s way of dumping a trough full of horse urine onto my head for being so smug as to only compose one version of my “updated” post revealing where my family was going to live. I was like those actors at the award ceremony who are nominated and still stand up when their name isn’t called on the stage.

I was going to invite you all to a bonfire at my house. We were going to light up all the boxes that I had saved just in case. Instead I started frantically packing said boxes, while my cowboy brother in-law who was visiting for the day said “Well $*@^, that sucks, I’m sorry.” while wrapping my equally shocked husband and I enormous, warm, bear hugs that only a rancher can give. My brother in-law then encouraged me to “scream, cry or break things- do whatever I need to do” while he watched Mini-Tex. I didn’t need to scream or break things, but I did cry while I started to box up our life.

So now that the moving van has been booked and housing with indoor plumbing has been secured (“Golly gee- you’re going to love this marvel!”), I can write an addendum to my Introduce the Contestants post.

Goodbye cruel world. I had wanted to invite you to a bonfire, but instead I’m moving six hours away, which doesn’t sound, far but it might as well be the moon in terms of distance to everything which resembles civilization. I hope everyone enjoys their grande coffees, automatic washers and dental floss. I will miss all of those things and you, my Unwashed public.

It is with a sad heart that I will pack up our covered wagon (we had to trade in our car to move to this place which is in the middle of nowhere) and bid you all adieu. The Great Unwashed will continue for ten or so posts because I have them banked but there’s no telling how long it will take me to teach a carrier pigeon to type my thoughts so wish me luck.

Soon to be very remotely yours,

The Great Unwashed

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Man Eating Fish, Bakery Theft and KKK Heaven: Let’s Introduce the Contestants

Tex is applying for new jobs. Which means we are potentially moving. I’ve listed the possibilities in order of how much I like them.

  1. Where we currently live

There is a job opening here that Tex is applying for. Because who wouldn’t want to remain in a community where people question what types of knives are necessary to cut up a moose in the Canadian Tire? Also, where else is it normal for one of your band mates call in sick because they have eight stitches in their hand from a jackfish bite? I love our tiny, northern home.

  1. A smaller version of where we live

This spot would totally be number one on the list if not for the move because in addition to the risk of losing digits to unruly jackfish while fishing here, there is the opportunity to both downhill and cross country ski nearby. If that isn’t nine fingered heaven, I don’t know what is. However, getting a job here would involve moving, which involves lifting, a task that is against my religion, or that I hate so much that it ought to be in the good book somewhere.

  1. Charm City

Not the cake place.

ace-of-cakes

Everyone would want to come to my house. (Photo Credit: CBS Baaltimore)

Although living in a bakery would totally also be nine fingered heaven where I’d help myself to a ten fingered discount everyday on my way out the door after sleeping next to the piping bags. But number three was succinctly and accurately described by Tex as “charming”, before we visited it. He was right on the money, from the cute shops on the main street, to the quirky ice cream place, to its storied history, this place oozes charm. A top pick for sure.

  1. The place with an indoor playground

I didn’t actually hear all of the other strengths of this city after Tex mentioned that it has an indoor playground. Y’all, I live in a place where it’s so cold that the mercury routinely curls up in a frozen ball at the bottom of the thermometer because it’s too frigid out for this element to do its job and rise up the glass to show what temperature it is. The idea of moving somewhere with mini trampolines and slides where there isn’t the threat of losing multiple digits to frostbite (because the cold is meaner than jackfish) warms the cockles of this mother’s icy Canadian heart. Irrespective of the beautiful nature around our current home, there is no indoor playground to speak of, so I am STOKED at the idea of taking a rowdy toddler somewhere that he can launch himself off of structures which aren’t our fireplace or antique tables.

  1. The town with the German name

One word. Oktoberfest. Yes, I recognize that I’m breastfeeding, and old, and therefore can’t get raucously drunk like some sort of undergrad, but once a year, I could pretend that I was going to, then back out at the last minute citing ringworm or some other equally disgusting childhood ailment that makes people run in the opposite direction.

  1. The place that I always get the name wrong

I can’t tell you much about this place. It is, however, close to my Aunty Betty, so it gets points for that. But not much else, it probably has a store, also a gas station, possibly indoor plumbing.

  1. Where we are likely to end up

Tex likes this place. I don’t. We visited because Tex knew his job was ending and was all “What do you think of this spot?” and I was a good wife and didn’t say “The restaurant can’t even make decent fries and the mall smells funny” but I’m telling my thoughts to you dear readers, so that you can pray for me. Because there is nothing here. Remember how that last place might have had indoor plumbing? I’m 98% certain this place doesn’t. I didn’t use the bathrooms at the mall, but they likely had some sort of medieval set up with a outhouse trough near the horses so all of creation could do their business together. Admittedly I didn’t see any horses and have no evidence of this trough set up that I’ve described but it’s one of those things that a person knows in their soul.

  1. The place that I always forget about

I can tell you even less about this place than about number six. It’s possible that I myself will stop existing if my family moves there because it’s so forgettable.

  1. The KKK believe that if they are very good, after death, their members end up here

Once upon a time, a yuppy turned to another yuppy, and said “Hey I like hanging out with you, shall we go to place where we can hang out alone?” So they drove, a really long time, but they could still hear the other poor and multicultural people, hence the Caucasian yuppies continued to drive for another hour and a half. And thus this community was born. It’s far, far away from anything resembling civilization. It looks like it’s been dropped in the middle of the prairie like some sort of city planner’s version of a joke. The inhabitants consist entirely of labradoodle walking, seven-dollar-boxes-of-organic-seed-based-cracker-eating, white people who drive their kids to hockey practice even though it’s thirty seconds away by car. Based on the layout of the place, I think the city planners thought peyote was a food group. Housing prices here are ABSURD, given that it’s four hours away from anything and has limited amenities. It’s like the old rich white people, turned to the other rich white people and asked “How can we only let in yuppies to our club in the middle of nowhere?” and then decided to make homes laughably expensive and all the roads highways because there’s nothing that white people like better, myself included, than driving to the store which is two minutes away in their oversized vehicles, feeling pious for remembering their reusable bags.

What do you think readers? What would be YOUR pick for a place for me to live? Leave your choice in the comment section below.  Come back tomorrow evening and I’ll let you know where we end up. And again, pray for me, otherwise I’m going to end up using the loo next to Black Beauty.

 

That Time I Made A Murder-Suicide Pact

My life was ending. As far as I was concerned, everything good was moving four hours away, so in my car-less life there were only two reasonable options; kill or be killed. Luckily Sula felt the same way. And so, without vocalizing our intent, a murder suicide pact was made. The night before my best friend moved away forever, we decided that the best way to mark this occasion was to drink ourselves to death.

In lieu of beer pong, we took a shot for each happy memory, throwing alcohol down our throats in an attempt to obliterate the knowledge that spontaneously popping over after work, after church, before bed, just because, would never again be an option.

The evening started with wine. Toasting all the nights we had spent eating, “like peasants” as Sula’s brother would joke, with just one light on. We drank because never again would I keep a stash of my favourite vino in Sula’s fridge because I was there so often. Pouring out the last our bottles; red for Sula, white for me, we celebrated all of the hours spent sitting in our pyjamas working diligently on our respective projects.

I poured stolen Baileys onto ice cubes to commemorate when Sula learned how to crochet left handed in order to teach me the beloved pastime. We tossed back a second mug of that delicious, creamy liquor while reminiscing about my inability to line dance and the Friday nights that we walked down the street to the local bar to take lessons after dinner.

With a bit of spray and a satisfying crack, cans of cider were opened and consumed as Sula and I talked of all the weekend when we spent first the morning at the Farmer’s Market and later paddleboarding or cross country skiing at the local provincial park in the afternoon. It was at that point that we decided to take our goodbye party on the road. Specifically down the street to that same bar where I used to crash into strangers while attempting to learn the electric slide.

At the bar, while slugging back beer, we sat on top of a picnic table and stared up at the night sky trying to brainstorm ways we could continue our craft nights, sewing tutorials, dance lessons and hiking trips. In the place of a solution, we ordered more beer.

Initially we believed that our attempt had been unsuccessful, until we woke up the next morning with the most killer hangover in history. Sula and I spent the day running back and forth to the bathroom or dry heaving into the sink when the other person beat us to the coveted porcelain spot. Despite our painful heads and certainty that the end was near, at six o’clock Sula packed up her belongings and drove off forever. I couldn’t have pictured a more appropriate send off.

This post is dedicated to Sula who is once again heading off into the frigid north. Good luck lady, I’m glad that you graduated from crouching in the woods with bears at night to walking the tundra during the day. And even more glad for the giant anti-polar bear rifle you carry.

Bedtime Stories for King Charles Cavalier Spaniels

Once there was a girl. She was beautiful, interesting and funny. For the sake of preserving her lovely identity I called her Sula. But then she began a blog of her own and used her actual name: Lisa.

This is Lisa. I told you she was beautiful. (Photo Credit : Northofthegrid.com)

This is Lisa. I told you she was gorgeous. (Photo Credit : Northofthegrid.com)

Lisa is the modern day Wonderwoman; she makes her own jams, roasts pigs on spits, goes on grand adventures in the wilderness, was scooped up by the government to work on important projects, all the while keeping a spotless house and entertaining no less than fifteen people at a time.

When I see t head scarf, I know she means business. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

When I see this head scarf, I know she means business. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

And she was my best friend. And I loved her. And I’m pretty certain she at minimum tolerated me, because we spent every Thursday night together, and some Sundays, often another evening too. Our project nights that were spent working on quilts and scrapbooks were precious. When a mutual friend was asked whether he ever hung out with the two of us he replied “When you get close to them, they hiss and spit.”

I relayed this anecdote to Lisa one night sitting in front of her fireplace while she carefully constructed an ornament to go in her Christmas cards. (It was May, did I mention how organized she is?) Laughing she replied “I can’t refute that.”

This is her boyfriend. His back spans the width of a Volkswagon. I considered fighting him for Lisa, but it didn't seem wise. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

This is her boyfriend. His back spans the width of a Volkswagon. I considered fighting him for Lisa, but it didn’t seem wise. (Photo Credit: northofthegrid.com)

Then the inevitable happened. Lisa dreamed bigger. Having a Bachelors and a Masters of Science was simply not enough. Universities fell over one another vying for Lisa to study for her Doctorate in their hallowed halls. Eventually she chose a program and a school four hours away. The day Lisa accepted the offer was jubilant, sure it meant she would move, but that was months and months from now. The task of the day was to open a bottle of wine and celebrate.

But gradually, our Thursday Project Nights passed until suddenly it was February and Lisa was to start packing soon. Taking a deep breath Lisa and I reminded ourselves of the many weeks we had left together. But then the dark winter days lengthened and suddenly Lisa’s house was a labyrinth of boxes. My cherished Thursday night hideaway was gone, buried, under piles of outdoor gear and cooking utensils. Then the terrible day arrived when Lisa loaded up her truck one last time and left my city, formerly our city, forever. The only one who was more heartbroken than me, was the young man in the photo.

I comforted myself with the fact that my dear friend was moving onto better things; to study shore birds in the arctic circle, to rub shoulders with the best and brightest of Canada’s scientists, to chase after her dream of becoming a world renowned ornithologist.

 

Ornithologists study these creatures. (Photo Credit :northofthegrid.com)

Ornithologists study these guys. (Photo Credit :northofthegrid.com)

At the very least, I could content myself with the knowledge that Lisa left me to care for the one creature she loves most in the world.

This is the greeting that Maddie receives from most people. She's an exceptionally adorable pup. (Photo Credit : northofthegrid.com)

This is the greeting that Maddie receives from most people. She’s an exceptionally adorable pup. (Photo Credit : northofthegrid.com)

And that I can visit her anytime I like when she returns from her northern adventure.

If you would like to read more about Lisa and her wild, adventurous life, check out her blog:

northofthegrid.com

It’s a great resources for scientists and people who don’t camp in the Arctic circle for months on end alike.

 

Shelf Theft and A Lack of Character

I’ve found myself fantasizing about hard wood lately. Now before any of my readers get some big ideas and start sending me dirty pictures, allow me to explain. Having recently moved houses, my possessions have been dramatically rearranged. For example my books, which once called a series of shelves home are now in piles on the floor of my dining room. The plan was to put them in the giant glass front cabinet from my grandmother’s house, however there was one issue, well two if we’re being exact. The first is that I had no car. The second problem could not be solved by a trip to the local Enterprise; I have no muscles. Or rather I have insufficient muscles to move a piece of furniture that was made when people didn’t move often and shelves came from a local, swarthy carpenter and not from a machine in Sweden.

I could have acquired a bookshelf from a big box store, but as I mentioned before; I’ve been dreaming of wood. Mahogany, red, oak, I’ want them all, and the heavier the better. If only I myself had been born a large, male, swarthy carpenter, then moving such a well made shelf would not have been an issue.

I had plans, big plans. Plans that involved my father and one other large man moving the shelf from my grandmother’s house two hours away to my cozy dining room. Alas it was not to be. Despite having promised the shelf to me, my cousin, who at six foot seventeen, or some other height that is equally giant, spied the shelf in question, liked it and took it.

Two possible conclusions can be drawn, either my grandmother tired of parking her Corolla next to fifty years of exquisite workmanship while the shelf waited in the garage for me to retrieve it or somehow, without meaning to, I royally ticked my grandmother off. Seeing as my track record includes having my Grandma hauled home by the police and nearly killed (two separate incidents if you can believe it) I’m leaning towards the second option.

To better understand why there is a literary mountain piled next to my china hutch, I’ve decided to create a list of all the possible ways I could have POed my dad’s mom.

An Incomplete Collection of My Faults and Shortcomings Compared to my Enormous Perfect Cousin

I frequently appear at my church half naked or only partially dressed: If you would like to read the accounts of all of the times I’ve managed to flash the elders in my congregation they are available

Here

Here

And here

In essence getting dressed in the morning is obviously not my strong suit, whereas my monstrously tall cousin, not only suits up for Sunday morning services, but he also has been known to attend Bible study. Point for giant cousin.

I have been known to say what I’m thinking: This character trait would work better for me if I had nicer thoughts, as it is the words “Your baby looks like a homely Steve Buscemi” never go over well. By contrast, my cousin is one of the nicest most genuine people I know, book case stealing aside. Point for my cousin.

I cannot grow facial hair: Apart from the occasional absurdly long chin hair, I can neither grow a moustache nor a scraggly beard, on the other hand, at Christmas my cousin’s face did a remarkable impression of Farley Mowat’s when he emerged from a two month stay in the woods having subsisted on roasted mice.

Clearly my grandmother admires the wild-man look and lifestyle, point for my cousin.

It would seem that I am deficient in all aspects of life, from grooming to character, little wonder that my cousin is now stowing his worldly possessions in a gorgeous glass front cabinet, while I am pondering a trip to the local IKEA.

I Might Be Drunk, Or Just Tired. One of the Two

Moving is dying. Or rather moving is killing me and I am perishing from it. If the act of physically lifting all of my worldly possessions hadn’t fatigued me, then the exhaustion from my day becoming a long game of Hide and Go Seek where invariably my water bottle, glass lunch containers and bed sheets always seem to win, definitely resulted in my  near death by tiredness.

I had debated pushing the “Publish” button on a pre-written post from way back in November during NaNoWriMo but instead am choosing to wave my white flag a prone position on the floor. Please send help. I am thirsty, hungry and the mattress I am sleeping on is covered in strange stains. It’s possible the monster from Ghostbusters used it while I was on vacation this summer.

Definitely while I was on vacation. I think I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)

Definitely while I was away. One would hope I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)