My Week 148: Family Vacation, Road Conversations, TBT (Throw Back Titus)

It’s been a kind of crazy, hectic week, what with us taking a mini-vacation to Blue Mountain with T and his girlfriend, the lovely V. The trip was in honour of T’s 19th birthday, and the best part was at midnight on the Wednesday, when we went into a local bar. At exactly one minute after midnight, T ordered a glass of scotch, and when the waitress asked for his ID, he whipped out his driver’s license like a boss. She read it, her eyebrows shot up, and she laughed. “Congratulations!” His next goal is to go into the liquor store that he and Ken were recently kicked out of, because Ken was letting him carry some of the alcohol and there’s a ridiculous rule in Ontario that people under 19 aren’t even allowed to TOUCH anything, so they got told to leave. Seriously. My poor husband, who’s never done a single illegal thing in his life, got tossed from the LCBO. (Actually, he DID run a red light once, but in his defense, I was in labour, it was 3 in the morning, and who WOULDN’T run the light with an insane woman next to you screaming, “For f*ck’s sake!! Do you want me to have the baby in the car?! Why are you stopping?!”) So T’s plan is to go in and very obviously touch  as much liquor as he can and carry bottles around until someone confronts him, then he’ll whip out his ID again in the manner he’s been practicing, which is to say, very confidently and smugly.

If you’ve never been to Blue Mountain, the resort there is fantastic, with mini-golf, ziplining, treetop adventures, the Apex bag jump so you can pretend to be a stuntperson, and the Ridge Runner, which is like a combination rollercoaster/bobsled run down the mountain at top speeds (there are plenty of cheesy homemade movies on Youtube if you want to see how it works). Mini-golf is always a great family activity, but I have to admit that we take it seriously and play by the rules, UNLIKE the family behind us, who were playing “best ball” and kept dogging us at each hole, tapping their feet and sh*t because we were actually trying to make par and keep score instead of PICKING UP THE BALLS FOR YOUR KIDS AND PUTTING THEM IN THE HOLE IN A CAVALIER FASHION, LADY.

There was also a swimming pool where I would have been able to show off my awesome swimming prowess if it wasn’t for Ken:

Me: I’m going to do the Australian crawl. Spot me so I don’t smash into anything.
Ken: OK. Off you go. I’m watching.

10 seconds later:

Me: OWW. OMG, I just smashed my hand on the ledge. Why are you holding onto my ankles?! Are you trying to drown me? Let go!!
Ken: I was trying to help you straighten out. You were going all crooked.
Me: Are you drunk?
T: We were yelling at him to push you away from the concrete, but he kept trying to grab your feet.
Ken: It seemed like the best option. Plus, you’ve been drinking too—no wonder you can’t swim straight.
Me: Sigh. Fair enough.

(Before I go on to the next bit, I just want to quickly add that Blue Mountain has the best gift shops. I bought a pair of socks that say “This meeting is bullshit” on them, and I am totally wearing them to the next meeting about whether or not the percentages on the pie chart are accurate.)

Anyway, aside from the “pool incident”, we had a great time, and were pretty exhausted on the way home. At one point, we got passed by a truck, and the sign on the side said ‘Underground Investigations”, which got me thinking—what kind of business is that exactly? Private detectives? Sewer inspectors? People who work at cemeteries making sure that the holes are dug properly (or that the people in the coffins are really dead)? A secret agency that looks into other secret organizations? (of course, if you do that, it’s kind of stupid to advertise it on your truck). When we got home, I looked it up, and it turns out that it could also be a heavy metal band, or a TV reality show that follows the adventures of 4 plucky men who “follow clues to the source of hazardous liquids that flow into storm drains.” And now I really can’t decide which one I’d rather be—a rock star or a sewer detective—because both sound pretty cool, and there’s not technically much to choose between them aside from the hazmat suit, but that could also be your trademark as a heavy metal band. I mean, there are bands that perform in clown costumes, and bands that perform dressed like space aliens, so why not orange jumpsuits and gasmasks, am I right?

But an even better choice is “bucket or truck?” which I asked Ken as we passed a road crew trimming trees along the highway using cherry pickers:

Me: Bucket or truck?
Ken: Huh?
Me: Would you rather be the guy in the bucket or the guy in the truck controlling the bucket?
Ken: The guy in the bucket controls the bucket. The guy in the truck just sits there hanging out. So I’m going to say “truck”.
Me: The guy in the bucket gets to control the bucket?! I’m totally saying “bucket”. I’d be up and down and swooping around—it would be fun.
Ken: You’re just supposed to trim the trees.
Me: Seriously? F*ck that. That sounds boring and labour-intensive. I change my choice to “truck”.
Ken: We can’t both be in the truck.
Me: Fine. You go in the bucket then.
Ken: But I don’t want to be in the bucket…
Me: Stop being a baby and get in the damned bucket.

But later, in revenge for making him be the guy in the bucket, Ken informed me that I had to make T’s birthday cake yesterday, instead of today like I’d planned:

Me: Why? I was going to make it tomorrow morning.
Ken: No. It needs time to cool down before you ice it.
Me: Do you think I’ve never made a cake before and don’t know how to do it without all the icing soaking into the hot cake?
Ken: I’m just saying.
Me: You realize that if I make it now, you still don’t get to eat it until tomorrow, right?
Ken (pause): Yes. Sigh.

Friday Night: I ponder casting choices

On Friday night, we were tired from the trip and decided to rent a movie. The kids wanted to see Star Wars: Rogue 1 again, but as we were watching it, it occurred to me that the casting is pretty random when it comes to the aliens:

Director: OK. For this scene, give me a girl with elephant trunks for ears. Make her blue and half-naked. Also, I want a giant white sloth.
Costume Person: We need more fake fur!! Someone get to Len’s Mill Store, stat!
Director: Not too much fur–he needs to have cyborg parts.

Later…

Director: Now, for this scene, I’m gonna need a guy with a squid head, a woman in a toga, and a frog wearing a beehive for a hat.
Costume Person: We’re all out of beehives.
Director: NO! Don’t tell me that—it won’t be authentic without the beehive. FIND ME ONE! Oh, and give Forest Whitaker an oxygen mask to suck on.
Costume Person: What about the blind Asian ninja? Should I find him giant red shoes or something?
Director: Don’t be ridiculous! There’s such a thing as overkill, you know.

People have very strange ideas about what aliens might look like. Personally, I think if there ARE aliens living on other planets, they’re probably invisible. Either that, or they look like the members of a heavy metal band.

Throw Back Time

It occurs to me that many of you who only started following in the last year or so might have never seen some of these earlier posts, so I present to you a throw back to November 2014, when Ken and I first got Titus:

Friday: I realize that my dog is a bit of a dick.

So let me just say first that I love my dog. He’s awesome. We got him about 2 months ago, and he’s this big, black Labrador Retriever that another family had to give up. Now I know why. No, just kidding. Titus is actually like the best dog ever, but he has some bad habits that make me crazy, and I’m just going to vent a little.
• Tonight, he licked my pants FIVE times. Seriously. Five times. Do you know why? Because I dropped a Dill Pickle flavoured rice cake on my pants. I picked it up and gave it to him, which apparently is dog-ese for “lick the pants that thing landed on.” (When Ken read this, Titus was sitting next to me and tried to lick my pajamas. When I objected, Ken told me I was like “a human smorgasbord.” He gives the dog a little too much credit.)
• Two days ago, he ate an entire bag of pitas. He has a voracious appetite. Since we got him, he’s eaten 2 full unopened bags of dog treats, a package of tortilla shells, 4 boxes of chicken bouillon cubes and a can of beef bouillon powder, a bag of grapes, a box of cherry tomatoes, an unopened box of Vegetable Thins crackers, and so on and so on. We have learned the hard way to make sure there is no food left out ANYWHERE, because he also has no issue whatsoever with vomiting. When there is no food, however, he will steal dishes out of the sink and carry them around the house, licking them lovingly. (Just for the record, we DO feed him his own food.)
• He likes to sleep on our bed. We’ve never had a dog that wanted to do this. I wouldn’t mind, except that he weighs almost as much as me, and insists on sleeping between Ken and me. And he likes to SPOON.
• He thinks the cat is another toy. She, however, does not appreciate his playful nature. Have you ever heard a very small cat growl from the depths of her soul, like a demon? Titus doesn’t seem to understand her objections to him, and wants to smell her ladyparts whenever possible. Naturally, this is putting up a barrier between them.

You’d think this would be another “worst case scenario”, but he also does this thing like when you’re petting him and you stop, he puts his nose under your hand and flips your hand up, so you understand that he still wants you to love him. And whenever he eats something he shouldn’t, he looks guilty (right before he throws everything up.) And when he jumps on the bed, slides over and puts his head on your chest and his arm around your neck, you’d forgive him just about anything. Well, I would. I can’t speak for the cat.

*As of right now, we’ve been well-trained to no longer leave food out, so the vomiting is a thing of the past. He and the cat have made their peace, and sleep together with us on the bed. Also, as it turns out, he’s a great conversationalist.

My Week 147: I am Descended From Royalty, Deadly Distractions

I am descended from royalty

A couple of weekends ago, Ken and I went to a local Highland Games. I love the Highland Games for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the music. I can never understand when people object to bagpipe music and cover their ears, or make jokes about the sound of cows dying, because to me the sound of the pipes and drums is thrilling. The best part is the band competition, where you can hear them approaching, and then they walk onto the field in formation, stop, circle up and play their hearts out. If you look around at the crowd, you can see that almost everyone watching is subtly moving one of their feet up and down to the rhythm. Because it’s Scottish, so no one’s getting all excited and doing the pogo, or breaking out into spontaneous flings (mostly because it’s the middle of the day and the drinking hasn’t started yet). Nope, just the understated foot tap, but we all know that means the soul is awake.

This year, they also had a sheep herding competition which was kind of interesting. The trainer had different border collies for the demonstration, and the one thing they had in common was that they only cared about the sheep. I’ve never seen dogs so focused—it was like if instead of sheep, I was holding a hamburger, and Titus was watching me eat it. That’s how intense these dogs were, but without all the requisite drooling.

Of course, if you’ve ever been to a Highland Games, you’ll know there’s also the heavy events, where men, and women now too, do things like toss giant poles into the air, or see who can throw a massive stone the furthest, because that’s what Scottish people used to do back in the old days:

Scottish Man 1: Och aye! I need to build ma hoose, but I dinnae know how tae get this log from here to there!
Scottish Man 2: Dinnae be daft. Just toss it.
Scottish Man 1: Och! Good idea, Jimmy! How will I nail the logs together?!
Scottish Man 2: Just throw the hammer after them!

So apparently, all the Highland Games heavy events are based on Scottish construction techniques.

There was also Highland Dancing, which I longed to do as a small child. Once, when I was about 5, my mother, in a misguided attempt to save my soul, sent me to Sunday School at the local church. It was in the basement, and literally this is my only memory of the entire event: I told the Sunday School teacher that I knew how to do highland dancing, and she asked me to show everyone. Of course, I had absolutely no f*cking idea how to do it, but I’d just been to a local highland games and had watched the dance competition. Back when I was five, I wasn’t quite so introverted as I am now, so I stood up, walked to the middle of the circle of kids, and flailed my arms around, kicked my feet randomly, then bowed. Because that’s how I used to roll. All the other kids clapped, but the Sunday School teacher looked confused:

Sunday School Teacher: You don’t really know how to highland dance, do you?
Me: Yes.
Sunday School Teacher: But that wasn’t really highland dancing, was it?
Me: Yes it was.
Sunday School Teacher: Did you take lessons?
Me: No. I learned it myself.
Sunday School Teacher: Sigh. Jesus hates liars.
Me: Who’s Jesus?

OK, I made up that last part, but it was really what we were both thinking—her, that this five-year-old was full of sh*t and would be punished in the afterlife for being a crappy highland dancer, and me, why the hell was I sitting in a basement with a lady who doubted my dancing prowess?

Anyway, back to this weekend. As the band competitions were nearing a close, the sky was looking ominous and thunderstorms were in the forecast, so I said to Ken, “Let’s take a look at the vendors before it starts to rain.” There were a lot of booths, with pottery, and baked goods, and so on, but then I saw a sign that said, “Have you ever dreamed of owning land in Scotland?” and I was like, “We’re going to that booth, Ken!” The booth was mostly clothing, and I kept looking for a real estate agent, until finally I just asked the guy who was running it, “Where do I buy the land?” So he showed me these packages where you can buy so many square feet of Scottish property, and then he said the BEST THING OF ALL: “If you buy this land, you can become a lord or lady of Scotland.” I thought I was going to die from happiness, and I bought the 10 square feet package which would entitle me to legally change my name on all my banking information and credit cards to “Lady mydangblog”. But then I thought to myself, “Who might get a bigger kick out of this than me?” and also, “Who’s more legitimately Scottish than me?” and I immediately thought of my Dad, who was actually born in Scotland and who just had a milestone birthday. Also, if I made my dad a Scottish lord, it would totally beat out my brother, who travels a lot and once, for Christmas, gave my parents plane tickets to Hawaii with his points, while I was like “Here’s a gift card to The Keg.”

So I registered the land ownership to my dad, then I called my brother to tell him:

Me: I just bought Dad land in Scotland and now he gets to call himself a Lord.
J: That’s awesome. And the best part is that I get to inherit it.
Me: No. The rules of primogeniture have changed so that women can inherit. I’m the oldest, so it goes to me.
J: We’ll see. I have to look up the legal precedents…

(Later, when I told my dad about this, he said, “I can’t believe you guys. I’m not even dead and you’re already arguing about my estate.”)

I really wanted it to be a surprise, but the company had to have his email address. Mom and Dad were coming over for dinner that afternoon, and when he walked in, I said, “Greetings, my lord!” and he said, “What’s going on? I just got some spam email calling me Lord D__ and inviting me to tour my new property in Scotland!”

When I explained it to him, he was pretty chuffed, but he said, “What could I possibly do with 10 square feet? That’s just a little over 3 by 3.” So I thought about it, and here are some suggestions:

1) Pitch a tall, narrow tent and sleep sitting up in a camp chair.
2) Yoga. You can do the Lotus, the Hero pose, and the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. Also, the Standing Up Straight pose, and the Curled Up in a Tight Foetal Position pose.
3) Solitaire.
4) Picnic for One. Or two, if you hug each other while you eat.
5) Narrowly Focused Highland Dancing. I’m an expert, so I can show you how.

When I told T about it, he was intrigued, and the next thing you know, he bought himself his OWN 10 square feet of land in Scotland. So now, I’m surrounded by royalty. Luckily, we’re going to Scotland in a little over two weeks, and the company will give us the GPS coordinates for T’s land so that we can visit it. And huddle tightly together while we survey all that is his.

Saturday: I am distracted

Yesterday, we were downstairs getting ready to go out, when T said, “Hey, do you hear that? It sounds like something is scratching inside the wall in the back room.” So I listened, and sure enough, there was some kind of creature making a lot of noise, like it was trying to escape. But it wasn’t coming from inside the wall—it was coming from inside an old chimney that has an access door into the top cupboard of a wall unit that Ken built. So we did what any normal person would do—we called Ken/Dad. Which is to say that Ken was taking a shower, so we both ran towards the bathroom, simultaneously yelling, “Ken!” and “Dad!” Ken came out of the shower, and tied a towel around his waist, then went to the back room to look.

“Okay,” he said. “I’m going to have to open the cupboard door.” I immediately ran outside and locked myself behind the gate leading into the vegetable garden, and T hid behind the door to the backyard, where we taunted each other:

Me: Once that thing gets loose, it’s going to eat your feet off.
T: No—it will eat your face off.
Me: No—it’ll hit the floor and go straight for your feet.
T: Haha—that’s what you think—it’ll go straight for the exit and fly at your face!
Ken (opening the door): I can’t see anything—the chimney is full of bird skeletons.
Me: Someone wake me up from this hellish nightmare.

A couple of years ago, Ken had wrapped chicken wire around the top of the chimney to stop creatures from getting in, but apparently the wire had fallen down, and now it was a graveyard. The only thing he could do was pull all the dead stuff out and put it in a bag, and hope that whatever was still alive in there would be able to finally make its way into the cupboard. Which meant that for the rest of the day, we had to keep the door to the back room shut, because I was terrified that some manic squirrel would push its way out and kill us in our sleep. As of this morning, there’s still no sign of anything and I’m super-distracted. The only person who was happy about the whole situation was Ken:

Ken: Hey, check this out!
Me: Why are you digging through all that dead sh*t?!
Ken: There are some awesome skulls in here! I can use them for a photography project.
Me: Are they maggoty? Stop digging in the bag—you’re kicking up dead animal dust and I don’t want it to get in my wine!
Ken: Ooh—this one is really nice. So clean! Oh look—a perfectly formed leg…
Me: I need more wine.

 

 

My Week 146: I Need To Learn German, Happy Anniversary!

Well. It’s been a fairly hectic week, what with me having to drive on the highway to and from home. The upside is that I get to spend more time with Ken, Titus, and Raven. Notice that I didn’t mention T, because he’s working in an auto parts factory for the summer to make money for next year. We have his tuition covered etc., but I was like, “If you want to keep buying light sabres and land in Scotland, then get a job, kid.” I’ll explain the Scottish real estate thing later. The downside of all this driving is, of course, that I have to drive on the worst highway in the world. I’ve already said plenty about that in previous posts, so I won’t pursue it any further except to say that it gave me time to think of some pretty random things for this week’s foray into the world of the absurd.

1) Last week, I went back to Toronto on the train. During the trip, I had to use the nasty train bathroom. They always smell of pee, mostly because the train is very wobbly. It’s not a problem for me, since I SIT on the seat, but if you’re one of those people who likes to stand and try to aim at the opening (male OR female—I’m not judge-y), I can guarantee you’re going to miss at some point and get your urine all over the place. As a result, I line the seat with toilet paper just in case. After, I sat back down in my seat. Then I got off the train, and took the subway home. I must have looked pretty cute because I was getting a lot of looks, like “Hey girl,” and “Nice, old lady”. When I got to my stop, I walked to my condo, and it was all good. Then I got into the apartment and realized that I didn’t have any milk for the morning, so I decided to pop down to the Loblaw’s on the corner. I was standing at the light, waiting to cross, when a German couple approached me. I could tell they were German because they were saying things like, “Das Madchen hat Toilettenpapier auf ihrem Arsch”, which I didn’t understand, but I assumed they needed directions. Then the woman said, “Excuse me,” and I was like “Sure”, thinking she needed to know where the CN Tower or the Eaton Centre was. But then she said, “You haf some papier on your back.” I tried to see where she was talking about, and the guy she was with was pointing and saying, “Das is right zere,” until finally, I got a glimpse of it, and was able to pull it off. It was a square of toilet paper. I had been walking around with a square of toilet paper hanging from my waistband for the last hour. Well, no worries—it was gone now, and I could buy milk without shame. I laughed and thanked the German couple and went merrily on my way. They seemed pleased, having helped me, and yelled out, “Es gibt noch mehr Toilettenpapier!” which I assumed meant, “We gave you help with the toilet paper!” Unfortunately, my German sucks. When I got back to my condo, finally, I started to change into my pajamas, and discovered to my horror that I had only pulled off the LAST SQUARE of toilet paper and that there were 6 additional squares that I had unwittingly tucked into my waistband in the train bathroom and which were hanging down like a paper tail the whole time I was in the grocery store. And now I need to learn German.

2) Last week, a colleague of mine and I were having a conversation about why he was bailing on going out for a drink on his last night before leaving the agency for good because he and his wife just had a baby. “I have to pick up something that I found on Kijiji,” he said.

“What could possibly be so important that you’re not coming for a drink? I’m buying, for God’s sake!”

“Exactly,” he said. “It IS for God’s sake. This couple is advertising all of their daughter’s baptism and communion stuff, on sale for super-cheap. I know it sounds weird, but it was only used once and it’s generic, with the dove on it and all, so I might as well get it now rather than pay twice as much later.”

Me: Why do Catholics have pigeons all over everything?
Colleague: Not pigeons. Doves. There’s a slight difference.
Me: I’m not seeing it, but OK—why doves?
Colleague: The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes fire shoots out of its head. If you ever see a dove breathing fire, you know you’re in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Me: Either that, or in the latest Harry Potter movie, like “Harry Potter and the Fire-breathing Pigeon”.
Colleague: Dove. It’s a dove.
Me: OK.

The next morning, I went into my office, and there on my desk, was a little dove planter, with a fern in it. My colleague popped his head in:

Colleague: I got you this as a going-away present.
Me: Cool! Does it breathe fire?!
Colleague: No, it’s only ceramic. But the plant is fake, so you can’t kill it.
Me: You know me so well. I’m going to miss you more than you know.

And I will.

3) Yesterday, I was at the mall, and I decided to buy some Cinnabons for a treat. T loves them, and I could take some to my parents for dessert that night. So I went up to the counter:

Me: I would like some of those little Cinnabons please.
Woman: THEY ONLY COME IN BOXES OF 9 AND 12.
Me: Oh. How many of the big ones can I get?
Woman (sighs): THEY ONLY COME IN BOXES OF 4 AND 6.
Me: Um, okay. Can I get a box of 4?
Woman (rolls eyes): THEY’RE RIGHT DOWN THERE. YOU GET THEM YOURSELF.

So I grabbed a box from below the counter. I’m not an expert in buying ‘bons’, so I thought she was pretty mean, and very yell-y. But I got her back because just as she was packing up the box of 4, I said, “You know what? I changed my mind. I’ll take the box of 9 little ones.” And then she rolled her eyes really hard again, and gave me back the box, which I switched out. Then I paid and told her to “have a good day” but I might have said it slightly sarcastically, so I totally SHOWED HER. When I got home, I told T and Ken that the woman at the Cinnabons counter was very rude to me, and T said, “Was it the old lady with the short white hair?” and I was like, “YES!!”, and he said, “She’s always really rude to us too, when we go there.” So at least I know it’s not just me, and now I REALLY wish I knew German because I could have just smiled at her and said, “Du hast Toilettenpapier auf deinen Arsch”.

4) On Friday, it was our 27th Anniversary. Ken said “Happy anniversary” first, but I was the first one to post it on Facebook, so I thought I won. Then he posted a picture of two puzzle pieces which said “You” and “Me”, and I was like, “Aww—that’s sweet!” But then I realized it was a gif, and when I watched it, the two little puzzle pieces moved towards each other and fit together. Which sounds really cute, but the one puzzle piece had a part like a very large phallus, and the other one had an opening, so when they fit together, it looked super-dirty. And then I also realized that the puzzle piece with the phallic bit said “You”, as in me, and the apparently-lady piece said “Me”, as in Ken, and that was even more disturbing in terms of what Ken intended:

Me: I think you got the genders on those puzzle pieces wrong. At least I’m hoping. I think we’re both too old to be trying stuff like that.
Ken: What are you talking about?!
Me: That gif was a little dirty.
Ken: It was two puzzle pieces. What’s dirty about THAT?
Me: Did you watch the animation? Very pornographic.
Ken: They fit together! It’s cute, like “we’re a perfect fit”! Get your mind out of the gutter.
Me: Super-dirty. What WILL our friends think?
Ken: Happy Anniversary, weirdo.
Me: Yeah. Ich liebe dich. That means “I love your–”
Ken: No, it doesn’t.

 

 

My Week 145: Line-ups Are Hell, The Todd

Tuesday to Friday: I Go Abroad

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been conspicuously AFK this week (“away from keyboard” for those of you who don’t watch The Big Bang Theory).  I was in a different country and my laptop wouldn’t work because the hotel wifi was ‘open’ as opposed to ‘secured’. Every time I tried to open Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or even my own work drives (you can see how I prioritize when I have free wifi, right?), I would get a message saying that someone might be trying to hack into my system.  I was like, “Listen, laptop. You’re not the boss of me,” but the laptop didn’t give a sh*t and refused to let me connect with the world like a mean babysitter. Sure, I had my phone, but I HATE trying to read and comment on things via a handheld device. I really need a full keyboard to feel articulate. Also my hands are gigantic, so I make so many typos with my phone that I get frustrated.

That having been said, the conference was very interesting and I was with a couple of really nice guys from work who made sure I didn’t get lost or get on the wrong plane. I’ve never actually travelled out of the country by myself before, and Ken usually arranges everything, and keeps all the pertinent itinerary materials in a file folder in order of date, while I’m all ‘devil-may-care’ and try to throw him off by insisting on unscheduled stops at scenic bars and such. But I was feeling super-confident because I’d gone and booked my own transit to the airport from downtown and I’d made my OWN file folder. Then I got to the airport. I walked inside and immediately had a panic attack. There were kiosks and line-ups and counters and people, and I didn’t know how to even begin. So I did what any normal person would do—I called Ken. But just as the phone was ringing, I saw one of my colleagues, and he was like “Great, you’re here. Have you checked in yet? You do that here—let me show you” and I was SO relieved that I hung up the phone.

Then Ken messaged me to say “Why did you call? Are you OK?” But I’d just exchanged Blackberry PINs with my colleague, and when I sent back a reply to Ken that said, “Yes” with two great big HEARTS, it accidentally went to the guy I work with. I was mortified and didn’t know what to do, because he hadn’t seen it yet. By this time, our other co-worker had arrived, and when I told him what had happened, he said, “Don’t say anything. Later, I’m going to whisper, ‘I think mydangblog has a crush on you—have you checked your messages lately?’ and we’ll see what he says.” I was even more appalled but then I realized 2 things: 1) that both these guys had a good sense of humour and that 2) I should probably stop making fun of Ken with his “file folder system” and his “knowledge of airports”.

We arrived at our destination without incident, and the rest of the trip was excellent. But it occurred to me over and over again, that the main problem with any kind of travel is other people. That is to say, other people who are ahead of you in any kind of line-up and who have seemingly complicated issues that inevitably delay you from doing the things you need to do:

1) The bank

I had to get American money for the trip. I went to a bank. I stood in line for 20 minutes while the tellers were each dealing with people who apparently had never been in a bank before. One girl was asking numerous questions and signing several documents, another guy was just standing there while three bank employees looked at a computer terminal, another woman just looked confused and kept digging in her purse for god-knows-what and handing the teller the same piece of paper back, and so on. When it was finally my turn, I went to the teller with 3 twenty-dollar bills in my hand and said, “Here is 60 dollars Canadian. I would like this turned into as much American money as you can.” I had my 44 bucks and 5 cents in under 2 minutes, and I was like, “The rest of you in line can thank me NOW.”

2) The airport

Both coming and going, the airport was another place where people who don’t know what they’re doing hold up lines. Yes, I was confused and didn’t know where to go when I arrived, but I DIDN’T stand in a line just to ask someone. If my colleague hadn’t appeared and if Ken hadn’t answered the phone, I would have simply Googled “What do you do when you get to the airport?” Either that or called my Mom.

At the self-baggage check, we literally had to wait 5 minutes for a family who was standing there, discussing and debating what to do with their luggage. The sign clearly read, “Place bag on belt.” I don’t know what there was to talk about—it’s four words. And an ARROW.

On the way back, there was literally no one at the airport and there were only two people in line ahead of us at the Air Canada desk, with two service representatives. Guess how long it took to get a boarding pass? You can probably imagine, given the nature of people in line-ups. At one point, the guy ahead of me had 4 clerks staring back and forth between his passport and a computer terminal. Then one of the clerks got on the PHONE. The other person in line ahead of us was busy repacking his suitcase, because it was over the weight limit. You know how I knew my suitcase was UNDER the weight limit? Because I had it weighed at the hotel. Also, he had two sets of golf clubs that were being inspected ONE BY ONE by a security guard. Who the hell travels alone with TWO sets of golf clubs?!

When I DID step up to the counter to check in and get my boarding pass, I had my passport open to the right page to expedite the process. The woman looked at my passport and asked me, “What’s your country of origin?” I really wanted to say, “You’re looking at my passport right now. I believe that information is readily available to you on the page you’re currently staring at, so FIGURE IT OUT.” What I actually did was say “Canada”. But when she asked, “Are you travelling alone?”, I refrained from answering, “Do you see anyone else standing here?!” and I just pretended not to hear the question. Eventually, she DID figure that one out.

3) On the plane

What was I waiting for on the plane, you ask? The bar cart, obviously. And it would have been there in fine time if the old dude in the second row hadn’t wanted to know the ingredients of each and every menu item:

Old Dude (pointing to cart): What’s that?
Flight Attendant: That’s hummus.
Old Dude: What’s hummus?
Flight Attendant: It’s a spread made out of chick peas.
Old Dude (pointing to cart): Oh. What’s that?
Flight Attendant: It’s another type of hummus.
Old Dude: What’s in it?
Me: F*ckity f*ck f*ck can a girl get a damned drink before this plane lands??!!

I didn’t need to know about the hummus, or what was in the ‘Fiesta Snack Pack’, or the ‘Airline Surprise’, because I had read the MENU that Air Canada thoughtfully provides to every passenger.

To paraphrase Jean Paul Sartre, “Hell is other people ahead of you in line”.

Last Sunday:

Last week, I challenged a fantastic fellow blogger to write on a specific topic. He goes by ‘desertcurmudgeon’ and his blog is Two Voices in One Transmission. His posts are extremely articulate and always thought-provoking and entertaining, so be sure to check him out. When he challenged his readers to give him a topic, I gave him the following prompt: “A daughter’s a daughter all of her life; a son’s a son ‘til he takes a wife.” I’ve heard this saying many times, and while I don’t necessarily believe it’s true, I wanted to see what desertcurmudgeon could do with it. The result is the hilarious Todd.

As funny as it is, when you dig beneath the surface, “Todd” is a pointed example of being so fearful of your child leaving you that you coddle him until he has no coping skills and no independence. I think being a good mother to a son is a very delicate balancing act between supporting him, but also raising him to be good with the world. And while I sometimes struggle with feelings of loss now that my own son has become an adult and doesn’t really ‘need’ me much anymore, I’m still extremely proud of his independence and his resiliency. Also, he has a lovely girlfriend, and when I see how he treats her, I know I raised him well. So thank you, desertcurmudgeon, for “Todd” and for helping me realize that if I’d done what Todd’s mom had done, I’d have nobody to blame but myself when he was travelling and  pissed everyone else off on the plane because he hadn’t read the menu and treated the flight attendant like she was his mother.

My Week 144: Titus the Therapy Dog, It’s Coming From Inside the House

Titus the Therapy Dog

At the beginning of last week, someone in the office posted on our Staff site that the St. John’s Ambulance Society would be bringing therapy dogs into our building on Friday, and if anyone wanted to come and see them, they would be in the lobby from 11 am to 2 pm. You can only imagine how excited I was—I love dogs, and I only get to see Titus on weekends, thanks to living in a large city so I can be close to work. In the spring, we were doing an event off-site, and there was supposed to be someone coming with a miniature Chihuahua service dog, and it was all we could talk about for weeks. Of course, we were told that we weren’t allowed to PET the dog, since it was a working animal, and I was like, “What kind of service is THAT?” and I was secretly betting that the woman would let us pet it. I mean, what’s the point of having a tiny ball of adorable dogginess if you can’t share it with anyone, am I right? But if not, we would understand, and just stare at it lovingly. Then the day finally came, and we all, seemingly nonchalantly but inwardly super-pumped, strolled down to the room where the woman would be, only to discover that she hadn’t shown up for the event. It was such a letdown, and worse was when we went back to the office, and people kept asking, “Did you see the Chihuahua?” and it just kept bringing it all those feelings of disappointment back again.

Also, I regularly annoy people in my condo building when they bring their dogs onto the elevator, and I only speak to the dog, as in “So what’s your name? Are you a good girl? Are you going for a walk?” and the owners feel obliged to answer, but in my head, it’s actually the dog and me having a conversation. I also do that to small children, but THEIR parents don’t seem to mind, perhaps recognizing that their babies can’t talk. Unlike dogs, some of whom secretly can. Quite often when we’re out with Titus, people try to engage him in conversation, which he steadfastly ignores:

Random Stranger: Ooh, who’s a big boy? Who’s got a lovely coat? Does he like the vet?
Me: Titus?
Titus: What?
Me: The man was asking you questions. Why didn’t you answer?
Titus: I assumed he was being rhetorical. You know, if you leave people alone long enough, they eventually answer their own questions all by themselves.
Random Stranger: Ooh, YOU’RE the big boy! Yes, he’s so shiny. I’ll bet he LOVES the vet.
Titus: I rest my case.

So Friday came, but I got sidetracked by a PowerPoint I was working on, until suddenly it was around 1 pm, and somebody said, “Hey, did you see the dogs?” And I was like, “The dogs?! Are they still here?! Please tell me they’re still here!” And then I tried to coerce the nice gentleman I work with to come downstairs with me:

Me: There are dogs in the lobby! Come and pet them with me!
Colleague: Um, no, that’s OK.
Me: But you’re ALLOWED to pet them!
Colleague: I’m good, thanks. REALLY.

Then I remembered that I’d tried to get the same man to look at naked ladies last week, so he was probably suspicious that the dogs were a euphemism or something. Everybody else had already gone down to see the dogs (I know because I asked), but then one of my French colleagues came strolling by. I work with a lot of very cheery and easy-going Francophones, so I called out, “Hey! Il y a des chiens ici! Viens avec moi!” My French is not fantastic, but she said, “Ooh, oui, d’accord!” which of course sounded like “Ooh way dakkar,” because of the Quebecois’ broader accent, but she was nodding, so I guessed she was coming with me. Of course, I hadn’t been specific, and she didn’t know whether or not they were wild dogs and I was trying to help her escape, but again, the French are pretty laidback, so down we went.

There was a crowd of people surrounding three dogs and their handlers, but I kind of slid my way up to the front so I could pet them, on the grounds that I’d had an awkward morning (Slight tangent: I don’t think it’s fair that some people in our office don’t have nameplates on their cubicles. Two days prior, I was visited by two different women from the finance department. Then one of them called me and asked me to sign a document and bring it down to her on the floor below. I opened the door and I saw one of the women, but her cubicle didn’t have a name plate on it. She looked at me, and I looked at her. I didn’t know how to get out of it gracefully, so I held up the document game-show style, smiled cheekily, and said, “This is for Desiree!” in a kind of sing-songy way. So if SHE was Desiree, she would be like, “Oh thanks!” in the same sing-songy voice, and if she WASN’T, she could say, “I’ll bet she’ll be happy to get it!” and then I would know. As it turned out, she wasn’t Desiree, and her response was, “Desiree’s cubicle is right down there”, so I feel simultaneously clever, and awkward as f*ck. Tangent over.) Anyway, I NEEDED to pet a dog. I’ll bet people would have forgiven Donald Trump for pushing aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro if he’d been trying to get to a puppy.

The dogs were beautiful, and totally calm as people petted them and scratched them behind their ears, but I noticed something weird—none of their tails were wagging, and none of them would make eye contact. Even if you tried to look at them, they would turn their heads away. In short, these dogs all seemed like they needed their OWN dogs to pet, because they all seemed depressed. I’ve never yet seen a dog that didn’t wag its tail when people were talking to it and petting it, unless it was scared. I mean, I don’t know a lot about therapy dogs, but the best thing about ANY dog is how happy they are to see YOU. That’s why dogs are so great. No matter how sh*tty you feel, the dog is always like, “Oh my god! You’re home! This is the best day ever!” So I got to pet the dogs, but the stress of worrying about how sad they looked cancelled out the therapy part of the experience. How do you even train a dog to NOT wag its tail? I kind of don’t want to think about it. One of the dogs, Tucker, was a Golden Retriever who even had his own business card, and on the business card, he had a huge smile on his face. In person though, it was like the time when T was around 7 years old and we took him to see Brent Butt, the comedian. We’d watched Brent on “Corner Gas” for years, and T loved him. His stand-up show was hilarious, and afterwards, he was signing autographs, so we lined up. When we got there, we told him how much T liked him and T told him how funny he thought the show was. Brent Butt just flatly said, “Thanks,” and turned away to the next person in line, like he was really bored. So maybe that was the problem—these dogs were temperamental celebrities. Anyway, I arrived home on Friday night:

Titus: You’re here!! This is the best day ever! Pop the cork on the champagne!
Me: I’m happy to see you too, buddy. C’mere and let me rub that tummy.
Titus: With pleasure! Wait—have you been around any other dogs today? Don’t lie. You know how good my sense of smell is. For example, I detect that you had white wine on the train—a Riesling, 2016, I believe.
Me: I ALWAYS have wine on the train, Sherlock. But yeah, they had therapy dogs at work.
Titus: Therapy dogs? Those guys have no sense of humour.
Me: I know, right? I guess I’m too used to you, you big goof.
Titus: That’s right, baby. I’m the only therapy you need.

Saturday: Lines of communication

On Friday, I went out for lunch with a couple of people from work to a local restaurant which serves ethnic cuisine. I don’t want to mention what kind, because I’ve had it before from different places without consequence. The meal I ordered didn’t look remotely like what it normally does, but I thought, Hey—maybe they are regional variations. It tasted OK, although it was a lot spicier than normal. Then for dinner that night, I had Cajun chicken wings and nachos with hot peppers. It’s no surprise then that I woke up about three o’clock in the morning feeling pretty sh*tty. I tossed and turned and finally went back to sleep around 6. When I woke up at 8, Ken had already gotten out of bed. I lay there for a while, all miserable and still feeling lousy, so I did what any normal person would do: I called Ken.

Phone rings and rings…

Ken (groggy): Uh…hello?
Me: It’s me.
Ken: Why are you calling me?
Me: I don’t feel well. What are you doing right now?
Ken: Well, I WAS having a nap on the couch. But then the phone rang and I had to get up to answer it, so thanks.
Me: Well, I tried your cell phone, but you didn’t pick up.
Ken: Why didn’t you just come downstairs?
Me: Because I’m all cozy.
Ken: Yeah, so was I, until I had to ANSWER THE PHONE.
Me: Can you bring up some batteries? I can’t turn the TV on because the remote is dead.
Ken: You could always get up and turn it on—Sigh. Never mind. I’ll be right up.
Me: Bring Titus with you. I need a hug.

 

My Week 143: Awkwardness at Work, 2 Quick Tales

I am sometimes awkward at work

Anyone who knows me (or visits this site frequently) knows that I can be a little awkward around other people. I quite often misinterpret the things other people say, mostly because in my head, life is like a Monty Python sketch, which is to say it’s weird, and funny, and quite often self-referential, like if you haven’t watched the show before, you might not understand the joke. For instance, the other day, I was going through some materials with a co-worker, looking for common patterns, when another colleague walked in and asked, “Have you found anything?”

“Well,” I answered, “it could be something, or it could just be a case of a million monkeys with a million typewriters.”

“Writing the bible. Right,” replied my colleague. And I so badly wanted to say, “Ah, you’ve seen this episode before,” but I didn’t, because that would be pushing my luck. And also, I wanted to hug her, because mostly when I say that, people think I’m either obsessed with monkeys, or don’t like the Bible. Not that I actually LIKE the Bible—I’m kind of ambivalent towards it, like if I was to review it, I would probably say something like “Choppy style, but interesting plot. A little too preachy for this critic. 3 out of 5 stars.”

Anyway, recently I got promoted, so I’ve gone from being able to wallow in my comfort zone to being right out there in the spotlight. And it’s hella uncomfortable. In work situations, I normally like to sit and listen, just observe, and I only say something if I think it’s important. In my head, I like to think I’m perceived thusly: “She doesn’t speak very often, but when she does, we all should listen.” Unfortunately, the reality is probably more like, “What the hell is she talking about NOW? It’s always monkeys, monkeys, monkeys.”

But since the promotion, when I’m in meetings, instead of just being able to sit there, listen, and make notes, I’m REQUIRED to speak. And it’s usually when I least expect it.

Director: And then the 4th quarter targets….
Other Director: The memo about this requires a decision note…
Chair: And now for a report from mydangblog.
Me: What?! I…We are an EFFECTIVE team.

You can tell that I was lost in thought, going through Tom Cruise movies in my head. Thank goodness I was stuck at Oblivion, and not Jerry Macguire, because “Show me the money!” might not have gone over as well. (Just for the record, they don’t actually call me ‘mydangblog’ at work, but it would be super-funny if they did.) And the other day, we were having a high up meeting, and we were told not to let people into the office without escorts, because it IS a secret agency, and there are a lot of confidential materials in the office that are not for the public’s eye. “In fact,” said one of the Directors, “this came about because last week, we discovered that a former employee was in the office, and no one knew about it.”

Me: What?! You mean, like, for days? Was he hiding somewhere? I KNEW we needed to clean up that storage room!
Director: No. He was only here for a couple of hours. He wasn’t hiding—he just wasn’t being escorted by the person who let him in.
Me: Oh, good, because otherwise that would have been REALLY disconcerting.
Director: Yes. Sigh.

Now that I’m a manager, I’m also responsible for a budget. And it’s a HUGE f*cking budget. When I was a high school department head, my total budget was $12 000, and I was responsible for every penny. I had an Excel spreadsheet with two columns: ‘What I Have’ and ‘What I Spent’. My only job was to make sure that ‘What I Spent’ was never more than ‘What I Have’. When I first saw my new budget, I was completely freaked out, and my first thought was, “I’m gonna need a bigger spreadsheet.” So I asked to have a meeting with the Manager of Finance:

Me: So I’m a little concerned about how I’m supposed to keep track of all this.
Finance Manager: Keep track?
Me: Well, there are over 200 budget lines with like another 500 sublines. Does the spreadsheet you sent me automatically calculate debits or do I have to do that manually? I think I should probably pin the calculator to the task bar if that’s the case, cuz this is gonna take a LOT of time.
Finance Manager: Uh, no. This is just ‘for your information’. We have a whole department that deals with budget calculations.
Me: Oh. OK. Cool.

And speaking of cool, the person who had my office before me had a big-ass fan. Me, I’m always cold, so I haven’t used it yet, but last week it was getting pretty hot, so I decided to turn it on.

Step 1) Plug fan in and press ‘Power’ button.
Step 2) Hold hand up in front of fan to see how cold the air is.
Step 3) Look at fan skeptically.
Step 4) Change the setting to high and place hand in front of fan again.
Step 5) Look at fan skeptically.
Step 6) Change setting to “Oscillate” and place hand in front of fan again.
Step 7) Turn fan off and then back on.
Step 8) Realize that fan is not a computer and that turning it off and on again made no difference.
Step 9) Pick up fan to shake it and discover that fan is facing backwards.
Step 10) Turn fan around so that it is no longer blowing cold air at the wall.

And finally, the coup de grace of my awkward week:

I work with a very nice gentleman about my own age. On Wednesday, I was having trouble with my computer, so I went over to his desk. He’s lucky, in that he has a window, but also unlucky, in that it looks right over into the highrise building next door. I was in the middle of a conversation with him when this happened:

Me: So are you having trouble with your drives? I can’t get anything to load.
Colleague: No, mine seem–
Me: Holy sh*t! There’s a girl in that window and she’s completely naked!
Colleague (clears throat): Oh, gosh. Anyway–
Me: No, seriously. Good lord! Okay, now she’s putting on underwear. Doesn’t she know we can see her?!
Colleague: Um, I actually can’t from where I’m sitting. So, have you tried restarting your com–
Me: She’s right there! Just stand up a little bit!
Colleague: No, that’s OK.

So I stood there for a little while longer until the girl was dressed and gone. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the poor guy was probably mortified and all like “Can’t we just talk about monkeys?!” And now, I feel terrible for trying to make him look at naked ladies . But probably not as terrible as the girl would be, if she knew that she can be seen in all her glory from our office windows.

Two Quick Stories:

Crazy for Adjectives:

Right now, I’m going through resumes for a position I’m hiring for. The one notable thing is that people really go a little overboard with their superlatives. Either that, or they REALLY want to work with me. I started making a list of things that people say that will not get them a foot in the door. First, there are the people who are ‘delighted’ to be applying for the position. These people are also possessed of ‘great enthusiasm’, as well as ‘great eagerness’. Then there are the people who are ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and are ‘highly adept’. Finally, there are those who tell me that ‘As you can see’, they will be an ‘excellent addition’ and a ‘valuable member’. Then I got the feeling that maybe they all thought they were applying for a position as “puppy petter” or “ice cream truck client”. I mean, my office is a great place to work, but it’s no kitten farm, so dial it back a notch, Skippy.

Nickels and Dimes:

I was on the train Friday night, and we were sitting in the station waiting to depart, when the guy in the seat across the aisle from me suddenly starting talking VERY LOUDLY to someone on his cellphone. It was his bank. He was angry because he had paid for something by cheque from his line of credit which he rarely did, and he was charged a service fee, which he had NEVER been charged before. Then he gave the person on the other end his account number and the answer to his secret question, AND the dollar amount of the cheque, which was $2, 226.00 and I was like, “That service charge must have been huge for him to do this in front of everyone”, and also “I could totally hack his account”, at which point, he said, “It was twenty-five cents. I don’t understand why I’m being charged to use my line of credit. I want it credited back to my account immediately.” I actually snickered out loud at how serious and pissy he was. Then the train left the station and he was quiet for a while, so I assumed the bank’s customer service representative told him he was silly, and to go away. But suddenly, after about 10 minutes, I heard him say, “Yes,” and I realized he was STILL on the phone. Then he said, “Thank you. I hope this never happens again.” I just love that the customer service rep. kept him on hold for so long, hoping that he would hang up. Yet, he persisted.

My Week 142: Which Wolverine is Which? and They Call Me The Streak

Friday: I am befuddled by Wolverine

I remember a time when superhero movies and shows were so much simpler. There was Batman (Godspeed, Adam West—to me, you will always be the BEST bat), who fought crime with his sidekick Robin. There was the cartoon Aquaman, who lived in an underwater kingdom and rode around on a seahorse with his sidekick Aqualad, fighting the forces of evil. Then, of course, there were Superman and Spiderman, each with their OWN show. Apparently at one point, the Flash appeared on the Superman cartoon, but other than that, there were no cross-overs, no re-imaginings, no “Origin” stories and no guest appearances. It was easy to keep straight. Then came the Superfriends, which Ken INSISTS on calling the “Justice League”, and yes, I know that was their official name, Ken, but the SHOW was called Superfriends. It made sense, because they all worked together to solve crime, instead of randomly appearing in each other’s movies. (As an aside, I’m including Rocket Robin Hood in my list of childhood cartoons, but that was someone’s drug-fuelled hallucination gone bad with its bizarre mix of the Middle Ages and futuristic technology—I’m surprised no one has remade this yet. Also, there was Hercules, which I believe was created by the same studio since the characters all looked the same. I was wracking my brains trying to find the theme to Rocket Robin Hood which included the words, “Softness in his eyes and iron in his thighs”, which sounds a little pervy for a kid’s cartoon, am I right? Then I remembered THAT was Hercules, which also might explain why I thought that Rocket Robin Hood fought the Minotaur and had a sidekick named Newt).

Then, on Friday night, Ken and I decided to rent a movie, and Logan was available. We started watching it and right away, I was confused:

Me: Why is Wolverine so old? Why is he driving a limo? Where are the rest of the X-Men?
Ken: This takes place in the future. It’s, like, a reboot—a totally different timeline.
Me: So, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t in this one?
Ken: Not sure. We’ll have to wait and see.
Me: Is that Stephen Merchant?! Ooh, is Ricky Gervais in this too? I could totally see him as, like, “Sarcastic Man”. His superpower would be destroying his enemies with the lowest form of wit.

(Warning: If you haven’t seen Logan yet, there might be a spoiler or two coming up.) Anyway, in THIS movie, Professor X is really old and there’s a new, young group of mutants created by an evil scientist and a random English dude who escape from the scientist’s evil laboratory, and then it turns into a really boring chase/fight sequence involving a little girl who’s apparently Wolverine’s test-tube daughter and some guy who’s a Wolverine clone. No one can kill anyone, until—well, I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say an adamanatium bullet plays a role. Then Wolverine and Professor X both die, and I was so confused.

Me: I thought there was another X-Men movie coming out soon. How can that happen if Professor X is dead?
Ken: I think that’s a different timeline.
Me: How many f*cking timelines are there? This is so confusing.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, I started watching X-Men: Origins where Wolverine was part of a mercenary group that included Ryan Reynolds and Dominic Monaghan, and I was like, “What the hell? Is that DEADPOOL?! Are there HOBBITS in this movie?! This crossover thing has gone too far!” And in this one, Wolverine was a Canadian (yes, Canadian!) lumberjack. Was he ALWAYS Canadian, or are they setting up a new timeline where he works with Captain Canuck? (As another sidenote, Captain Canuck is the quintessential Canadian superhero—he has superstrength, an eidetic memory, is fully bilingual, and of course, polite. If he took his shirt off more often, Justin Trudeau could play him in the movie). After the first 10 minutes, I decided to stop watching because I needed to go back and start the X-Men series at the beginning. But trying to figure out where exactly the beginning IS seems like an impossible task, what with all the movies that are filmed later but take place BEFORE other things. It’s like Star Wars, where the first movie is Episode IV, but kids today think that’s the 4th movie, but it’s NOT, T. Or like the Alien series, where we were all like, “Is Prometheus a sequel or a prequel? Is Covenant a prequel to Prometheus? Why are we moving backwards? That’s not how time works, godammit!”

And then last night, I wanted to rewatch Suicide Squad because it was shot in Toronto right down the street from where I live, and they were all seemingly new superheroes, I think, but the movie was set in Gotham. Yes, Gotham, like where Batman is from. And then Batman was actually in it, and so was the lady from How to Get Away With Murder, and there was all this talk about Superman being dead, and I was like, “When did Superman die?! Was that at the end of Batman Vs. Superman?” Because I was asleep at that point, having been bored to tears by yet another insanely long fight scene where no one could win. And then, at the end, the credits started rolling:

Me: Don’t turn it off yet. There might be a teaser.
Ken: This is a DC Universe. Those only happen with Marvel. I think.
Me: What? Well, you never know. Just wait.

And sure enough, there WAS a teaser. And it was Ben Affleck as Batman with some kind of dossier, and in the dossier was f*cking AQUAMAN! But it wasn’t clear if he wanted to get the Superfriends back together or kill them all. And now, it’s just going to be a non-stop free-for-all of backstories, reimaginings, reboots, and timelines, until all universes are one and Rocket Robin Hood is protecting Sherwood Forest against the Joker in outer space with his trusty sidekick, Nightcrawler.

Saturday: Oh yeah, they call me The Streak

Last Saturday, I was in my bathroom upstairs getting ready for the day, and just about to have a bath, when I realized I was almost out of toilet paper. I was totally naked at the time, but Ken was outside doing yardwork, and no one could see me from the windows since our house is set back from the street, so I made my way downstairs to the cupboard where we keep the toilet paper, bottles of water, and other assorted beverages—a kind of all-purpose pantry, if you will. I was standing there with a roll of toilet paper in one hand, and a Vitamin Water in the other, when Ken, like the damned ninja he is, suddenly appeared with no warning. We stared at each other:

Ken: Well, hello there. I’m sure there’s a very interesting story behind this.
Me: Oh my god, Ken! You’re supposed to be outside! I’m naked!
Ken: Why yes. Yes, you are.
Me (running away): Stop looking at my ass!

Now, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? They’ve been married for 27 years. Surely, they’ve seen each other naked.” And you would be right, except this was broad daylight, in the middle of a room, and I was holding toilet paper and Ken was holding a garden trowel. If I was a more clever person, I might have responded with, “I’m so sorry—I have no money to pay you for your gardening services…” instead of fleeing like a streaker at a soccer game. But I’m just not comfortable being naked and running around the house unless I’m sure I’m completely alone, and even then it feels weird. Like, even in Toronto, when my roommate’s gone and I have the chain on the door so no one can sneak in, I still put on my pajamas before I leave the bathroom. I COULD run around naked, since the closest neighbour would need a high-powered telescope to see me, but you never know. Sometimes I just give the finger to my window on the off-chance that I’m being spied on, to let the other person know I see them, even though I don’t. And now what I think is that PARANOIA is my super-power, and I deserve a cross-over appearance in the Marvel/DC/Hanna Barbera universe. Just call me “Uncomfortably Naked Girl”.