Going Out For Vaginas With Satan

I have a new phone. It’s a fancy phone. I resisted this change for the longest time; finally my sister leaned on me so hard that I cracked. Previously I had a phone which couldn’t be killed. You could drop it from hundreds of feet, throw it in a lake, embed it in concrete, run over it with a truck; nothing could dent it or prevent it from placing and receiving calls. When it would fall out of my purse at someone’s house, I would pick it up and say “I’m so sorry, is your floor dented?”

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It’s the electronic equivalent of Cher, it just keeps going. Ten years from now I’ll probably see my phone, covered in sequins, performing in Vegas.

When my old phone rang, the ringer was so loud that the dead turned over. Mark Twain once appeared on our doorstep asking if the ringer had a lower setting. The only downside to this device was that it neither took photos nor accepted them. A definite drawback when one has a child.

So at the behest of my family, I got a smart phone. As far as I know it can do everything; it takes photos, sends photos, looks up how many times Cher has staged a comeback tour, and reminds me when Mini Tex has a doctor’s appointment. My new phone actually made me a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch the other day. However, it’s extremely fragile. If I was to drop it from fifty feet up, it would explode into thousands of tiny, brilliant pieces. If I leave it near the bath it will sing a burbly swan song.

Funny enough owning a fragile piece of equipment doesn’t bother me. But I must admit that even though my new phone can instruct me how to walk to Hong Kong in seven thousand hours or less, I’m having trouble communicating with it.

For starters, my old phone had T9 texting. A feature that I only just learned how to use two years ago. Previously my texts were curt, succinct messages. Then I learned the magic of pressing just a combination of letters rather than hitting seven four times to get one “S”. I used this function with varying degrees of success. Because T9 texting ensured that I always created a word, if I got most of the words in a message correct, I would just send it. This often created a bit of confusion.

Message to Tex: I sat that we were out of milk but I made offer wayward.

Or sometimes I would forget how to change a word that had the same sequence of numbers as another word for example “nope” and “more” were the same combination of numbers, leading to conversations like this.

Message from Sula “Have you seen Meredith recently?”

Message from Unwashed “More.”

Message from Sula “?? Could you elaborate?”

I bought a Samsung Galaxy which has this wonderful function called “Swipe”. Basically it means that you brush your finger across the letters rather than tapping each one individually. The only downside is that the phone has to guess what you are trying to say sometimes if one only gets close-ish to a letter. Thus my name becomes “Satan” and fajitas become “vaginas”. Which is awkward when you are texting someone whom you’ve just met, wanting to invite them to lunch and offering up nefarious activity with the lord of the underworld instead. “See anyone” becomes “Sr. Antoine” and most memorably, after I tried to text my mother to wait for further instructions, I instead asked her to wait for fisher inductions.

Happily, no matter the amount of uncertainty my texts create, my family will always forgive me when I follow a message of dubious content with a photo of Mini Tex.

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Technology Showdown:The Great Unwashed Versus The Underpaid Youth of Technology Stores

I went computer shopping yesterday. This went worse than when I go regular shopping, a process that generally ends with me lying face-down on the mall floor, groaning. So you can imagine how a visit to no less than three techie stores went.

The first one was a complete write off because I burst into tears when I found a model of computer I liked.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee– “How can I help you Ma’am?”

The Great Unwashed holding a  grey netbook gingerly in her hands whispers “It’s not”. Her lip begins to quiver so that the last word is only faintly audible, “blue” and promptly starts to cry.

Underpaid and Underage Best Buy Employee who is now also  uncomfortable “Can I get a manager here?”

Next I headed to an independent electronics store.

Hopeful Techie Guy “What are you looking for today?”

The Great Unwashed quietly lays her head down on a shelf in between two computers and says nothing because it’s technology so she has no idea what she’s looking for.

Driving away from the store I realized that continuing to burst into grief stricken tears for my old netbook and spontaneously going limp and mute was never going to end with a new computer. So I put on my game face. And walked into Future Shop with a swagger that said to the world “I know the difference between a monitor and a hard drive 50% of the time.” Clearly this show of confidence was far too convincing because it resulted in the following conversation.

Future Shop Employee “This is an internet only computer.”

The Great Unwashed “So it gets internet. That’s a good thing, I think.”

Future Shop Employee “No, it’s only online.”

The Great Unwashed “The internet is always online.”

Future Shop Employee “Internet only means it only accesses the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Does that mean you don’t need a phone line to get the internet with this computer?”

Future Shop Employee “No, this computer only has the internet.”

The Great Unwashed “Everyone has the internet.”

Future Shop Employee “I don’t think you understand.”

The Great Unwashed “That’s only because you aren’t making sense.”

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone but my shopping trip was unsuccessful, and I have yet to acquire a new computer.

The Call Is Coming From Inside the PlayStation

Dear Roscoe,

You are gone, therefore, the Netflix is broken. This happens every time that you leave the house. It is a fact of my life; I do not begrudge the Netflix’s refusal to work when you are not present, I merely accept it. I don’t even get grouchy now when the technology malfunctions. Admittedly I’d probably become surly if the internet broke but even then I’d just head to into the university to use the computers and unnerve the frat boys when I pass them in the library.

“Hey Guys!” I’d say cheerily waving at the young men.

“Uh, hi Mrs. Unwashed from next door” they would reply awkwardly.

After the Netflix’s refusal to function and show me good things, I turned to the DVD collection on the bookshelf, happily picturing a night spent watching the antics of Mike and Sulley in “Monsters Inc”. When I opened the package however, there were three, count ‘em three DVDs. I hadn’t the remotest clue what to do. Is one in French? Is one entirely special features? So I’m writing to tell you the DVD collection is broken. It’s being confusing and audacious with its excessive features.

Please send help or tech support immediately. The Frat boys next door have refused to come to my aid because I mentioned their large garbage collection in front of their girlfriends. I didn’t know what else to call it. Certainly forgetfulness only goes so far before your mountain of garbage becomes a collection. If they’d buy curtains, I wouldn’t be able to see the pile in the first place.

The Great Unwashed

 

 

The Crackhouse Chronicles 3

I’m on vacation. I’ve traded the stress of the roaring, fast-paced student ghetto for a cuddle and a glass of wine by a fireplace.

Tragic that Roscoe wasn’t able to come. Fortunately this fact doesn’t bother me or Maddie, my canine cuddle-buddy one bit.

Just looking at this I want to snuggle her. (Photo Credit : Sula's Camera with permission. )

Just looking at this I want to snuggle her. (Photo Credit: Sula’s Camera with permission. )

My friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears is out of the country for the week, climbing mountains, flying in helicopters and engaging in all kinds of activities that cause Unwashed anxiety.

She has kindly lent me her home and her puppy for that time. Supposedly it’s called house sitting but the house hasn’t been doing much sitting. Mostly I have, on my friend Sula’s* glorious plush couch in front of her roaring fireplace.

A photo of the much beloved fireplace being photo bombed by my furry cohort. (Photo Credit: Sula's camera)

A photo of the much beloved fireplace being photo bombed by my furry cohort. (Photo Credit: Sula’s camera)

I intersperse this inactivity with walks with Maddie with more sitting. And then sometimes I wander about Sula’s home trying to figure out what everything does.

The first night here I had a disastrous encounter with her mattress. Namely it tried to kill me in my sleep. Since then I’ve taken the precautionary measure of unplugging everything in her home. Although at some points I’ll work up the courage and attempt to use one of the many gadgets in the house.

My first morning at the house, the Keurig and I had a run in. I examined the machine carefully. Each time that I had visited Sula, the machine had been illuminated with a blue light. I pressed the “Brew” button. No light. I lifted up the hatch to put the plastic coffee container in. No light. Occasionally my computer pulls these kinds of antics so I was well versed in the “I refuse to turn on game” I unplugged the coffeemaker and then plugged it back in. No dice. It was at this point that I was forced to throw in the towel and accept my uncaffeinated state.

My loss with the coffee maker doesn’t bode well for my goal to use the ceramic huts which, according to my friend, are used for cooking meat but that I think are actually houses for tiny, tiny people.

This post is a part of the Crackhouse Chronicles series. To read more about my adventures on the wrong side of the tracks and being offered nefarious substances click the links below.

Crackhouse Chronicles

Crackhouse Chronicles 2: Mattress Warmers

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those braver than I. If Sula is able to fly in a helicopter, I don’t doubt her ability to strong arm me into a half nelson for putting her name on the internet.

 

The Crackhouse Chronicles 2; Mattress Warmers

I did my friend Sula’s* house a disservice in my last Crackhouse Chronicles post. Though her home is located in an area where when I pass a group of youths I silently thank them in my head for not robbing me, Sula’s home is actually quite nice. First and foremost it has Maddie, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Sula’s puppy is adorable and well trained.

Hobbies: Melting the hearts of people everywhere and providing little to no protection from street urchins. (Photo Credit: Shamelessly stolen without Sula's permission from Facebook.)

Hobbies: Melting the hearts of people everywhere and providing little to no protection from street urchins. (Photo Credit: Shamelessly stolen without Sula’s permission from Facebook.)

Also my friend who crouches in the woods at night with bears is the best host I know of. Before I arrived to house and dog sit, Sula had shampooed the carpet in front of her fireplace for me because it’s my favourite spot in the house.

The other rooms were also immaculate when I arrived. Unfortunately not so much anymore. With each passing day I’m beginning to feel more like John Candy in “Uncle Buck”; completely out of my element, surrounded by bizarre items that I have no idea how to work like the UV light that hangs above her tomato plants which turns off and on at random times throughout the day.

The first night alone was nearly fatal. Before she left, my friend taught me how to use her mattress warmer. I wasn’t aware such things existed. Living in the doctor’s house which was built in 1915, at a time when steel wool passed for insulation, I had assumed nights were times when one bundled up in eight different quilts, threw on a toque and mittens then hoped that the news about global warming was true.

Not only was Sula’s house built after the end of the First World War, I’d wager it never even saw the second. As such it was quite warm already the first evening that I was there. However fearing the chilly bedroom that my friend who crouches in bushes described, I jacked the mattress warmer up to “High” while brushing my teeth then turned it down to the lowest setting before hopping into bed.

Perhaps Sula didn’t like her Christmas gift last year, or maybe at one of our many craft nights I left a mess, or possibly that pretty smiling exterior is a mask for a trained and determined killer. Whatever the reason, I can only assume that after eating venison Sula decided the next best thing was Unwashed Flambé. At midnight I woke up in a pool of my own sweat the mattress warmer on its way to roasting me alive. The tiny spaniel next to me was paddling around on the soaked bed trying to keep her head above the salty water.

Nearly delirious with fluid loss and electrolyte deficiency, I stumbled downstairs for a glass of water and a towel to dry off the puppy that stood bedraggled and bewildered on what was now a water bed.

The puppy looked like this. Only sopping wet and doggy paddling for her life. (Photo Credit : Once again taken without permission or regard for the world's impending desire to usurp my position as dog sitter after seeing the photos.)

The puppy looked like this. Only sopping wet and doggy paddling for her life. (Photo Credit : Once again taken without permission or regard for the world’s impending desire to usurp my position as dog sitter after seeing the photos.)

The next night I unplugged the mattress warmer fearing that like many of the other appliances in the house, it may be on a timer.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent. Or possibly me, it’s doubtful whether Sula can still be considered innocent after I spent two days re-hydrating.

Please Type Your Password

My TV habits sometimes come up in conversation because for the most part I don’t watch any.

There are many reasons for this embargo on popular media. The primary being that the Netflix does not work for me. The internet and I have a standing agreement that I won’t complain when it is slow and in return the internet will work 98% of the time.

Unfortunately the Netflix and I have no such agreement. So here is how an Unwashed attempt at television watching goes.

The Great Unwashed sits down on the couch with the intent of consuming popular culture through the television.

The television turns on.

The Great Unwashed says “Hurray!” This doesn’t always happen, things like the vacuum cleaner bumping the television cord and unplugging it without The Great Unwashed noticing often impedes this step.

The Playstation turns on resulting in another “Hurray” from the Great Unwashed.

Next The Great Unwashed follows the series of steps outlined by Roscoe when he taught her how to use the Netflix.

The Netflix does not work.

It asks for things that The Great Unwashed doesn’t know like passwords or to update hard drives or whatever the Netflix runs on. Following a traumatizing kitchen renovation at her parent’s house The Great Unwashed refrains from updating anything, especially technology. As evidenced by her phone.

You wish your phone was this sexy and advanced. It even has T9 texting.

You wish your phone was this sexy and advanced. It even has T9 texting. (Photo Credit : dexigner.com)

The Great Unwashed turns the television and Playstation off and begins the Netflix process outlined by Roscoe again, only to be faced with the same screen. In an act of self preservation The Great Unwashed unplugs all of the electronics in the room just in case the lamp was colluding with the Playstation to prevent her from watching Extreme Couponing and heads outside for a walk because her shoelaces never tell her “Error Please Restart”.

Subliminal Marketing And An Undying Passion For Cheddar

Roscoe and I do not have cable. There are a number of reasons for this; the first being that I haven’t yet figured out how to work the television itself. It has three remotes. Roscoe says that the remotes and the television are easy to operate. I question this factoid, as he also claimed that his car was easy to operate and I spent fifteen minutes in the driveway trying unsuccessfully to turn it on.

I tried to order two of Suzanne Somers but they were out.

Once I tried to order two of Suzanne Somers but she was out of stock. (Photo Credit: torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com)

The second reason that we don’t have cable is that I’m very susceptible to marketing; subliminal or otherwise. I don’t sit for long periods of time so my television watching is limited to programs that are ten minutes long or less – like an ad on the shopping channel. When Roscoe and I were dating, I lived at home with my parents who had cable. This led to a number of phone calls in which I tried to convince Roscoe that I needed an ab blaster or a mandolin made in Switzerland despite the fact that I believed in neither gyms nor cooking at the time.

Hence in the interest of not filling our house with useless pieces of exercise equipment and chotchkes  we live without cable. And life was fine and dandy, that was until Netflix arrived.

Although Netflix does not have a shopping channel, it does have documentaries. Unlike sitcoms or movies one can watch ten minutes of a documentary, pause it then walk away only to sit back down a day later without feeling as though a plot refresher is necessary. For this reason I love documentaries. However my favourite genre of documentaries are the sketchy ones. Documentaries without enough proof or information tend to be short thus my sense of accomplishment is greater as I can watch two of these a week versus just one of the more reputable, longer documentaries.

Although this new habit has had some unexpected side effects- last night Roscoe walked in on this scene.

The Great Unwashed stands in front of the bedroom mirror staring intently into her reflection.

The Great Unwashed -“You are valid” pauses, still staring into her reflection. “And hopeful” pauses again for longer “Also you like cheese.”

Roscoe unable to watch this bizarre scene for any longer asks “What are you doing?”

The Great Unwashed speaks to Roscoe’s reflection in the mirror – “I watched part of a documentary today on vegans. It told me to look at my reflection and repeat a message to myself every night, only I forgot was the message was.”

Roscoe- “Vegans don’t eat cheese.”

The Great Unwashed – “It might have been a movie about the Kennedy conspiracies, I don’t really know, I only watched ten minutes of it.”

For some reason I have a feeling the Netflix subscription will be cancelled shortly.

Internet Search Engines- A How To Guide

My lack of technological prowess is something that is poked fun at by my family and friends, particularly my habit of saying “The Googles”.

 

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

One of “The Googles”. According to Roscoe, you’re not supposed to type a message complete with a greeting and your name into the search bar. Image via CrunchBase

The Google search engine I use is vastly different from the one Roscoe uses. When Roscoe uses The Googles, he discovers the exact piece of information he is searching for. By contrast when I use The Googles, I’m lucky if I can find anything actually related to my topic. Thus I’ve reached the conclusion that there is clearly more than one Google, consequently the name must be pluralized.

 

For example, this past week our knives were getting alarmingly dull, making any task from chopping a carrot to slicing meat difficult and unrewarding. Hence like any self respecting member of my generation, I went to the internet for help. I entered my query into the Google search bar as thus “Dear The Googles, cutting with our knives is becoming super tough, please help me find someone to sharpen them, thanks! Love The Great Unwashed”

 

Prison Break: The Conspiracy

Although they are ruggedly handsome, somehow I doubt that either of these men can instruct me on the finer point of using a whetstone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Googles found me a Prison Break Wikiquote link and a knife sharpener from the United Kingdom. Although people in prison likely know how to use knives, quoting a television show about penitentiaries was not going to mince onions. The second link would have had me paying an arm and a leg in shipping and resulted in Roscoe and I eating rice-a-roni for months while we waited for our knives to come back to us.

 

I explained my Google and knife sharpening woes to Roscoe, at which point he used The Googles to find a local knife sharpener, thus confirming my suspicion that there is more than one Google. Although I imagine I could learn to use Roscoe’s Google*, I feel like having a faster, better Google would require endless updating.   Downloading new versions of software is something that I don’t even bother to do for necessary programs on my computer, let alone a search engine that I really only use to find out what flavor of air Tori Spelling eats. Were it not for Roscoe’s intervention I’d probably still be using MS-DOS, so I think I’m going to be stuck using my Googles for a long time.

 

 

 

*The words “Roscoe’s Google” sound vaguely dirty to me and I’m half expecting one of my aunts to put a comment below “Hey! Do you mind? This is a family blog!”

 

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.

My Almost Impulse Buy

While most girls I know tend to make impulse purchases along the lines of shoes, magazines and clothes my impulse buys tend to be less conventional. Yesterday I was walking past our local Shopper’s Home Health store. Though Roscoe and I live in what could arguably be described as the student ghetto, there is also a large retirement complex a couple of blocks away. Personally I feel this makes us ideally situated because it means we have easy access to both beer and diabetic compression stockings.

Just outside the Home Health store was a sale table with large signs advertising “50% OFF!” I was drawn in by the SAD light sitting on the table. Living in a Northern latitude, I am a huge fan of these and have a habit of pressing them upon everyone I know. Hence the idea of paying half price for such an expensive and useful item excited me. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the price sticker on the SAD light and my hatred of shopping prevented me from seeking out a salesperson to inquire about the price. But my eye was drawn to something else on the table-a black, stationary home phone with large buttons and numbers. The kind of phone that is designed for the elderly or those with impaired vision.

I immediately wanted it. Not only because it was a dying breed what with the proliferation of portable phones but because I instinctively felt it was useful.

I stood there pondering how I would justify this impulse buy to Roscoe when I got home. I pictured walking in the door. “I bought us a telephone!” I would gleefully cry. And then Roscoe would be elated because he would jump to the conclusion that I had finally replaced my seven year old cell phone. Although I am not bothered by the fact that the buttons don’t work from time to time, Roscoe claims that receiving texts like “tgamks for the grdat dimmer” to show my gratitude when he cooks supper are irritating.

However when he realized that I had actually purchased a phone for a landline that we don’t have, he might be annoyed. Even once I pointed out that it would be useful into our eighties when we could no longer see small buttons. But then I remembered my new technological fact for the week.

FACT – Computers can be plugged into televisions

ANOTHER FACT- Cameras can also be plugged into printers.

Or maybe that’s the cards inside of the cameras. Regardless there isn’t enough Printer Crack in the world to make me attempt that last electronic feat. As I lovingly held the phone designed for the elderly a thought occurred to me. Could this enormous black phone be plugged into my cell phone so I wouldn’t get a neck ache when I tried to balance it on my shoulder? While it wasn’t excellent justification for the purchase, it was going to have to do. Whether or not this was actually true would be decided by Roscoe when I got home.

And that was when I reached into my pocket and realized that I had forgotten my credit card. Placing the phone back on the table and sadly waving goodbye to the big buttons which I could still see from a distance, I headed home. Of course once I arrived home my hatred of shopping took over and I concluded that perhaps we didn’t really need a large-button, landline phone.