My Week 131: I Get “Evicted”, The Hunt for Stools

Tuesday: I make a list

So, last week, my property management company told me that my landlord was putting the condo I’ve lived in for the last 2 and a half years on the market. I was shocked, mostly by the asking price, which was $525 000 for 624 square feet. At that rate, my own house should be worth over 3.5 million dollars, but it’s not in the heart of the big city, but in a small town where people aren’t insane. I woke up last Saturday morning to approximately 40 emails in my inbox about showings that weekend. I was super-pissed off and full of anxiety because I hate it when people touch my stuff. Especially when I’m not there. In fact, I regularly have panicky episodes after our new cleaner has been here, because she moves everything and doesn’t put it back. Then I have to spend ages restoring order to my life, and re-re-arranging all my sh*t. Now, I know that this sounds like a first-world problem, but imagine if all my stuff was a goat, and someone…No, the goat analogy doesn’t really work here, but still. I had a minor panic attack on Saturday, imagining people wandering around my private space and silently judging me. And to make things worse, the photographs that went with the internet listing were taken when the previous tenants lived there, and they were total slobs. So now, people would think I lived like a hoarder. Here’s a quote from My Week 18, where I describe the experience of seeing my own condo for the first time over two years ago, just in case you think I’m exaggerating:

“The actual listing showed this pristine, empty apartment, so none of us were prepared when we opened the door and the place was crammed from top to bottom with someone else’s crap. And I mean CRAP. My dad and brother had come with me because Ken had to work, and they were both like “Oh, look at all the light” and “It’s so roomy” (it’s 624 square feet and costs more than the mortgage for my house), at which point the door to the second bedroom opened and a half-dressed woman peeked out. We were all taken aback, and the agent said something like “We have an appointment—is it OK that we look around?” She kind of nodded, then disappeared back into the room and shut the door. You couldn’t really move around to see much—they were getting ready to move out, but it was like that show Hoarders—there were little pathways between all the stuff (use your imagination), and you couldn’t get to the periphery of anything, plus the half-naked lady was in the one bedroom and we had to ask her if we could look at it. She kind of stood to one side, and there was underwear everywhere, and I was having major doubts about the whole thing. Then my brother was like, “Look—what a great balcony—it runs from the living room all the way to the bedroom!”, and then I realized that we were on the 27TH FLOOR, and there was no way I was EVER going out onto that balcony. I don’t have a fear of heights; I just have an intense fear of falling FROM THEM. But it was the only place left in town, and it was right across the street from my office, which meant no commuting, especially if I launched myself off the balcony and parasailed down to the street (which would only happen if I was, in fact, a secret agent trying to elude enemy agents).”

The pictures were from THAT tenant. And just for the record, here’s what MY condo looks like–calm and uncluttered (some of you might recognize the leather loveseat that I got for free in the big garage downstairs):

I emailed the real estate agent, who basically gave zero f*cks about my angst that people would think I lived in a metaphorical and literal sense of turmoil. Then, when I got back on Sunday night, I was even more upset because my bedroom cabinet and my bedside table had both been opened, and someone had very obviously been sitting on my bed. So even more anxiety for me, but it didn’t much matter because on Tuesday afternoon, I got an email telling me that the place was sold, and there was an eviction notice attached which gave me until the end of May to move out. I was simultaneously furious and sad. Then I had to go home and tell my roommate, S. But at least I didn’t have to move until her co-op term was over. She’s a great kid, easy to get along with, and a hard worker, which makes me think that all the people who whine about “millenials” haven’t actually met one, because any of the ones I know, S included, are just lovely, super-informed, and have no sense of entitlement whatsoever. Anyhow, we had a long discussion about my options and she made me feel a lot better in the way that only sensible young people can do. Later, I went to take my laundry out of the dryer, and I got yet another shock from all the static that having the heat on causes:

Me: Jesus! That’s the fifth time since I’ve been home that I’ve gotten shocked. This place is merciless.
S: See? That’s something you won’t miss about living here, right?
Me: Absolutely. I also won’t miss the fact that there’s only one knob to control the washer AND the dryer, and you have to switch them back and forth.
S: You should make a list of all the things you won’t miss. Then you’ll feel better.

So here’s my list:

1) I won’t miss the extremely dark hardwood floors that show every speck of dust. I clean them ALL THE TIME and they still look dirty. And if you walk around barefoot, the next day you can see where you’ve been, like some insanely complicated dance instruction chart.

2) I won’t miss the refrigerator that makes a knocking sound, like there’s someone at the door. For the first few months, it would make the sound randomly, and I would jump up and look through my peephole, but there was never anyone there (except that one time—see number 5). The refrigerator is a dick, and I won’t miss it.

3) I won’t miss the scuffed walls that the previous tenants left behind and that my landlord refused to paint. I also won’t miss the peeling veneer on the bathroom cabinets that my landlord refused to repair. I guess the new owners get to deal with that sh*t now. Suckers. You paid over half a million dollars to live in a box, and the first thing you’ll have to do is paint and renovate.

4) I won’t miss the sweet smell of deodorizer that permeates the halls and garbage rooms. It doesn’t do anywhere near a good enough job of covering up the underlying smell of garbage, because when downtown Toronto doesn’t smell like urine, it smells like garbage. Sad truth.

5) I will ABSOLUTELY NOT miss the Serial Killer upstairs who, after an almost yearlong reprieve, chose this past week to begin building another ladybox for his next victim, if the nightlong hammering is any indication. The first time he pulled this crap, I complained to the concierge, who went up at 3 am to make him stop. The second time that I complained about the nocturnal hammering and sawing, he came down to my unit and knocked on the door to explain that he was installing a new floor (at first I wasn’t sure it was the door or the refrigerator, then I looked through the peephole and jumped out of my f*cking skin). Sure, I believe THAT—it doesn’t take three months to install a floor in a 600 square foot condo—you’re not fooling anyone. The previous last time was April 2016, when I complained to the property manager, and she sent him a noise violation notice. The hammering stopped for almost a year, then on Wednesday night, he started around 5 pm, and he was still at it at 4 in the morning. Did I complain? Not me. In fact, my roommate suggested that I encourage him to continue with his “nocturnal emissions” so that the new owners will also have the pleasure of lying awake in the middle of the night and imagining the worst.

At the end of the day though, the list doesn’t matter. I’m still angry and stressed out, because I’ve made the place my home, despite its shortcomings, for the last 2 and a half years, and now I’m in the process of contacting real estate agents about rentals. Transitions are hard for me, but I’m sure I’ll find something else that will become a new “home away from home”. And at least I still have Ken, T, Raven, Titus, and Oscar Wildefish. And who knows–maybe I’ll even luck out, and get a new serial killer upstairs.

Saturday: Buying stools is sh*tty

Yesterday, Ken and I went shopping for stools for our kitchen island. The two barstools we have are old and starting to fall apart, so I decided I wanted new ones. Well, that was easier said than done. Who would have thought that buying two f*cking stools would be that hard?

Store 1: Teppermans

They only sell their barstools in sets of three for some bizarre, nonsensical reason. Also, there are 50 people working there, and they’re too busy flirting with each other to help the customers. Well, it IS a family-owned business, so maybe encouraging their employees to procreate in the mattress section of the store fits into their business model.

Store 2: Homesense

They had the perfect stools, but they were three inches too short. I don’t know if I’m willing to sacrifice style over being able to reach the counter.

Store 3: Pier One

The place was mobbed. Despite that, a sales person immediately came to us and not only offered to show us all the barstools in their catalogue, but to sign us up for the napkin-folding workshop that was about to take place. Ken looked mildly excited (you all know how much he loves crafts) but I was on a stool mission, so no fancy napkins for us today. Then she showed us the stools and they were all like $250 EACH. For a STOOL. I think not, but it explains the excellent customer service.

Store 4: Leons

We asked the sales guy if they sold bar stools, and he said no. Then another, more Alpha Male sales guy said, “Yes we do—they’re back here.” But they all looked too short, at which point, he started mansplaining to me the difference between a “counterstool” and a “barstool”. Turns out they had ZERO “barstools”, but he was “pretty sure that a counterstool would do the trick because our counter couldn’t be THAT high.” Well, it’s a KITCHEN ISLAND NOT A COUNTER, mansplain-y guy, and we measured it, so we know what we’re talking about, but thanks for being a dick.

Store 5: The Bay

They had a stool we liked, but we couldn’t find another one. There were two people working the furniture floor, both like 90, and the one guy was “busy finalizing a sale for a customer” (we looked around and we were the only people even in the place), and the woman in housewares was taking an eternity to wrap a marble cake plate in layers of tissue paper, while she and the purchaser chatted about NOT STOOL STUFF! Then Ken was all embarrassed because I loudly said that it was ridiculous and I didn’t have any more time in my day to wait for someone to wrap and rewrap a stupid cake plate. He claims that “everyone” heard me, and that I made “everyone feel bad” but if it takes you more than 2 minutes to wrap a f*cking cake plate, then you SHOULD feel bad and you should get a job that doesn’t involve wrapping stuff, KEN.

The only good part of the day was that we went to Petsmart and I found the perfect structure for Oscar’s tank. It’s a section of a Romanesque building, and he was thrilled:

Me: Look, Oscar—it’s like the Parthenon!
Oscar: I think you mean the Temple of Athena, sweetie. Still, it has a certain “je ne sais quoi”. Not quite the Aesthetic Style, but a close approximation. Flossie, what do you think?
Raven: Better than Ninja-Fish’s old pagoda.
Oscar: Oh Flossie, you’re such a cheek!
Titus: It has that “Gladiator” sexy kind of vibe. I’m down with it.
Oscar: All agreed then. I shall name it the “Kitchen Coliseum”. Let the games begin!

Hopefully, I’ll be as thrilled with my new digs as Oscar, whose chariot races are keeping everyone occupied at the moment. I’ll keep you posted.

My Week 130: Surrounded by Russians, Everyone Learns French

Tuesday: I live in the Kremlin

On Tuesday night, I was making dinner in my condo. I needed to defrost some soup, so I opened my pot drawer. No, not the “GOOD kind of pot” drawer, like I have a secret stash under the oven mitts and tea towels, but the drawer in which I keep my cooking pots. Although if I HAD a pot drawer, I`d have to call it something else to throw people off, because “pot drawer” would be pretty obvious—I could call it the “spider drawer” because who the hell would want to open THAT? Oh, and just for the record, I don’t smoke pot—I tried it a couple of times as a teenager, but instead of feeling mellow and whatnot, I felt super-paranoid and my skin wouldn’t stop twitching. Nothing was humorous, and everything was too real. So kind of the anti-marijuana experience. Anyhow, I opened my non-marijuana drawer, and everything inside was wet (so probably good that I DON’T keep pot in it), and I was confused. Why was my drawer full of water? This didn’t bode well, and if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll remember a certain week when a certain woman left the kitchen sink running and ended up with a small flood. I immediately went into panic mode and pulled the drawer further out to discover that the pipe under the sink was leaking quite noticeably. How did this happen? I’d just used the dishwasher the night before and everything seemed fine. But now the pipe was dribbling into the drawer and the undercabinet. I have the number for my concierge desk pinned to a corkboard (made from real corks that I hotglued to a wooden panel and framed in barnboard—I had to drink a LOT of wine to make it and it was a terrible hardship, let me tell you) so I called down. No answer. The dripping continued and my panic increased. It was 6:30 pm and I was wearing pajamas because why the f*ck not, am I right? So I had to change back into my actual human clothes and go down to the front desk myself. I had no idea if it would help because normally a concierge isn’t trained in the plumberly arts, but Ken was 100 kilometres away and I had no tools other than a universal screwdriver, a hammer (in case there’s a fire and I have to break a window), and a sewing kit.

The three to midnight concierge is called Sergei, and my only contact with him thus far had been to say “hello” when I came in every afternoon, to which he replied “hello” back. It was an amiable, albeit succinct, relationship, but I feel like we were both OK with that. I approached the desk:

Me: Hi. Um, the pipe under my kitchen sink is leaking.
Sergei: OK. I come.

With that, he reached into a drawer (not a pot drawer either apparently), and took out a small flashlight and a tiny pair of slipjoint pliers (I totally looked that up—did you really think I know the names of all the tools?), and he came out from behind the front desk. We travelled up the elevator together, me telling him about the leak, and how it wasn’t there yesterday. He walked into my condo with the confidence that Russians seem to have, and peered into the space behind the drawer. Then he straightened up and smiled.

Sergei: Is drainage pipe only. I have pliers to turn off water but is not necessary. Contact property management company and they can fix. But don’t use sink until then. Empty drawer and put big pot under for leak.
Me: That’s a relief—I’ll do that. Thanks so much.
Sergei: Is no problem.

Then he left, and I immediately emailed my property management company and logged a ticket (which I swear to god would be the best euphemism for going to the bathroom that I ever heard—how do I make this popular?! Like, “Excuse me for a minute—I just have to “log a ticket”. Am I right?) Anyway, I got a reply back right away that I would be contacted by the in-house plumber in the morning. My roommate and I spent the rest of the night using the bathroom sink to rinse off dishes, and hoping it would be fixed before the bathtub became the dishwasher.

The next morning, I was in a meeting when my phone rang (it was on silent, because I’m not a dick), so I stepped out:

Voice with thick Russian accent: Hello. I am Alex. The plumber. You have problem with sink?
Me: Yes, the drain pipe is leaking.
Alex: I come at noon. How do I get in?
Me: The concierge can let you into the building…
Alex: No, how do I get into apartment?
Me: Don’t you have a key?
Alex: No.
Me: OK, I can meet you there at noon and let you in. OK?
Alex: Yes, is good.

Luckily I live just across the street from work, so at quarter to twelve (yes, the meeting was still going on), I said to my co-workers, “I have to step out for a minute and meet my plumber. His name is Alex.” I added that for emphasis in case they thought I was ditching them to go eat something, or “log a ticket” or something else that normal people do when they’re not in meetings that last ALL MORNING.

I ran across the street and waited in the lobby. A couple of minutes after twelve, a van pulled up, and I knew it was him because it said “Alex’s Plumbing” on the side. An elderly, tiny man got out and went to the passenger side, where he helped an elderly woman wearing a housedress, slippers, and a leather overcoat out of the van. She was clutching a handbag, and he had a utility light. I was very confused. They both came into the lobby, and I said, “Oh hi—are you Alex?” He gave me a huge smile and said he was, then they both followed me into the elevator.

Me: So…
Alex: We came from Jamaica.
Me: ???
Alex: It was good holiday, but we just came back. This is my wife, Marta.
Me: Oh hi. Did you have a good trip?
Marta: Yes, is good, but weather here is so cold now after Jamaica.
Me: Um yes, I can imagine…

As you may recall, I am super-sh*tty at small talk. Obviously. We got into my apartment and I showed him the sink, while Marta slowly wandered around the living room.

Me: Would you like to sit down?
Marta: Oh nuh, is fine. I stand. I was on airplane for six hours.
Alex: I see problem. Pipe is cracked. I get new trap pipe.

Then he left and there I was, alone with Marta, who kept commenting about the view (“I can see lake”), the size of the condo (“Is so small!”) until Alex got back.

Alex: Anyone got toonie? I need toonie.
Me: I think I might have one? Oh wait, I only have a loonie.
Marta: I have toonie. Don’t worry. Here is toonie.

I was completely befuddled at this point, as she handed Alex the toonie (loonies and toonies are one and two dollar coins, for my non-Canadian readers), but then he clarified that he needed it to “tighten pipe”, and I was like “A toonie is an actual plumbing tool?” but it seemed to work, and within 10 minutes, he was running water and checking for leaks, of which there were none.

Alex: All fixed now. No big problem.
Me: Thanks so much for coming so quickly.
Alex: We were at airport. Not too far, so they call me because I’m the cheapest.
Me: Um, OK. Well, I totally appreciate it.
Marta: Have good day.

Then they both toddled off to goodness knows where. Everything was fine, until later that day when I got an email from my property management company. My phone screen read, “We regret to inform you…” and I was like “WHAT DID THE RUSSIANS TELL YOU?!” but it wasn’t about the plumbing visit, it was that my landlord was selling my condo, which made me want to write back, “It was only a trap pipe! ASK THE RUSSIANS!” but apparently the housing in Toronto is so insane that my landlord is listing my 600 square foot, one bedroom plus den condo at $525 000 and expecting to get more. So I’m probably going to have to move. Maybe the Russians can hook me up with something.

Friday: The language of love

I came home on Friday night and was greeted with this:

Titus: Bonne soir, ma cherie
Raven: Bonjour, tete de merde.
Me: What the hell is going on here?
Titus: Oscar Wildefish is teaching us French. He says it’s the language of love. Check this out—“Voulez-vous coucher avec—
Me: Stop! No more French for you! Oscar?!
Oscar: Oui, mon petit chou?
Me: You just called me a tiny cabbage. WTF?
Oscar: It’s a term of endearment, sweetheart.
Me: Fine, but tete de merde is NOT. Why are you teaching everyone naughty French?
Oscar: Everyone should know at least one of the Romance languages, darling. When I was in Paris with Gertrude, Scottie, and Zelda—
Me: Here we go again. Do all goldfish have past lives?
Oscar: Only the good ones, honey.
Me: You weren’t in ‘Nam, were you?
Oscar: Heavens no! I’m a lover, not a fighter. That was Uncle Mishy. Oh, the stories he used to tell…
Me: Yes. I remember. Well, if you’re going to teach Titus and Raven—
Oscar: Flossy.
Me: Whatever. If you’re going to be their French tutor, keep it clean.
Oscar: Oui, oui madame. Voulez-vous coucher—
Me: Don’t be cheeky!
Oscar: Just part of my natural charm, mon amour.

Yes, it certainly is. I wonder if he also know a little Russian…

My Week 129: Sensitive Startle Response, We Find Oscar Wildefish

Wednesday: I live in a constant state of fear

I have an extremely sensitive startle response. No, not an actual syndrome like “Exaggerated Startle Response” where you go all stiff and can’t move (like a goat, but not as funny), nor do I have “Jumping Frenchmen of Maine” syndrome (yes, that IS a real thing involving a group of French-Canadian lumberjacks, and I realize that my attempt to elaborate on this only makes it sound weirder), or any other neurological disease for that matter—I’m just super-f*cking-jumpy. It’s annoying as hell, but it hasn’t been much of a problem until lately, when I began a new position with the secret agency. If you read last week’s post, you’ll remember that I now have my own office (complete with the awesome mini-fridge that I hauled up there myself), which is great, but also now a lot more people want to talk to me. That is also great, because my co-workers are terrific, but my desk is L-shaped and in the corner. And that means that most of the time, I’m working with my back to the door. I already had a problem with people coming up behind me in my cubicle, but I was in a fairly busy area so there was less chance of sudden noises. Also, my coworkers learned to sidle up towards me rather than suddenly appearing from around the corner of my cubicle wall, to avoid causing me to jump in the air and stifle a scream.

Now, though, I’m in a very quiet office with a door, and people come to the door without me being able to see them first, and I’ve been scared sh*tless no less than 13 times in the last 4 days, through no one’s fault but my own:

Coworker: Oh hey, can I—
Me: Agh!!
Coworker: Oh my god, I’m so sorry!
Me: Don’t be. It’s me, not you.

Of course, the best part is that my Director has the exact same startle response as me, and there’s nothing funnier (or more terrifying) than the two of us triggering each other:

Director: Oh hey, can I—
Me: Agh!!
Director: Agh!!!
Both: Oh my god, I’m so sorry!

It had become a bit of a running joke, to the point that last fall, my work partner L decided that the only thing to do, aside from making us wear bells around our necks was to buy us each a box of TicTacs that we could shake while we were approaching each other. Unfortunately, TicTacs are yummy and I ate all of mine, which kind of stymied the plan. At any rate, the one good thing is that I also now have a super-comfy office chair that has really great “give”, so when I jump three feet in the air, I land on a nice bouncy cushion and get to go “boing boing” for a minute while I’m catching my breath.

But I haven’t always had such a sensitive startle response—it’s gotten worse over the last few years for a couple of reasons I won’t get into. Anyway, here are the top ten things that now cause me to jump in the air, scream, and swoon, aside from people coming up behind me:

1) The text notification on my phone chiming.
2) The TV coming on too loudly.
3) Things dropping. (Like, literally anything—a pencil, a glass, my hairbrush…)
4) Ken walking into a room (but he does it quietly ON PURPOSE).
5) A car appearing in my blind spot (and no, it’s never a great idea to jump out of your seat whilst driving).
6) Birds. They fly by the window with no warning AT ALL because they’re dicks.
7) People sneezing. Someone in my office has a very loud sneeze and it scares the bejeezus out of me every damn time.
8) Car horns. Particularly hard to avoid in the downtown core where taxi drivers will literally honk at pigeons.
9) My alarm. I usually wake up before it goes off, then I forget to turn it off, and then it goes off and scares me. It’s a vicious cycle, and you’d think I would have figured this sh*t out by now.
10) The cat jumping onto the bed. I can always see Titus coming but Raven—she’s stealthy like a ninja.

Luckily, my coworkers are kind enough to try and help me out. On Friday, I heard a soft shuffling outside my office door that started getting louder. When I turned around, it was a colleague, who said, “I thought if I made a little noise first, it would give you some warning.” But I feel terrible that my bizarre reaction to normal human things makes THEM feel bad, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to resolve this. I can’t move my desk because it’s technically a counter that’s bolted to the wall, so I either get a mirror installed so I can see who’s coming up behind me, or I buy everyone in the office a lifetime supply of TicTacs.

Oscar Comes Home:

Last weekend, the official Quest for Oscar began. As per Mishima’s instructions, we were to seek out his nephew, Oscar Wildefish, in order that he might collect the inheritance left to him when Mishima passed away. You may recall that we had few clues, other than “he’s flamboyant, blue, and very witty”. Nevertheless, Ken and I set out to scour local pet stores. There are a LOT of fish out there, let me tell you, and while some of them were blue, none of them were particularly witty. We’d just about given up when we went into Petsmart and made our way to the fish section.

Ken: Oh look–here are some blue fish.
Me: Those are betas. Mishima was a goldfish, so…
Ken: Why couldn’t Oscar be a beta? It could have been like a mixed marriage or something.
Me: Betas aren’t witty. The last one we had was boring AF, remember? Let’s keep looking.

True to form, the blue betas weren’t saying anything. Then suddenly, I heard someone clear his throat:

Voice: Why, hello darling.
Me: Is that you, Oscar? Where are you?
Voice: Yes, ‘tis I, Oscar Wildefish. Look to your left.

And there, in a tank labelled Calico Ryukin Goldfish, was a baby blue, white, and gold fellow with delightful fins that looked like long chiffon sleeves. Definitely flamboyant.

Oscar: I’ve been waiting for you ever since I heard dear Uncle Mishy was unwell. The rumours of his death are apparently NOT exaggerated, judging by your appearance here in “Petsmart”, which is a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one. Honestly, I’m surrounded by dullards. It’s like a Donald Trump rally—non-stop complaining about immigrants every time someone new is put in the tank. I’m absolutely DYING for civilized company.
Me: I’m so happy we found you! Wait—you’re $12.99?! What kind of fish ARE you?
Oscar: Me? Sweetheart, I’m a delight, that’s what I am. And worth every penny. Now let’s go home. Adios, “Petsmart”.

So we brought Oscar home and he’s merrily preening in the reflective glass of his tank as we speak. He’s nicknamed the cat “Flossy” for some strange reason (and stranger still, she doesn’t seem to mind) and he and Titus are planning a picnic once the weather “becomes more charming”. But now, I have to go out and get him some new décor—it seems he’s not overly thrilled with the pagoda and says he’d prefer something “more glamourous”. So, new quest undertaken. I’ll keep you posted.

 

My Week 128: Quest for a Mini-Fridge, Titus is the New Zoolander

Wednesday: I buy a refrigerator

I recently got a promotion at work, and, for the first time in my career, I have my own office. Sure it’s just for a few months, but I was really excited. Not because of the office itself, but because the room is notoriously hot. My manager, who had just vacated it, having also been given a temporary promotion, said to me, “I’m leaving you the fan, because it gets really hot in there.” And I was like, “Sure, thanks,” but secretly, I will never use the giant floor fan because I’m always cold. Like freezing. ALL THE TIME. Except, in a strange twist of “middle-aged woman fate”, at night, where I can barely stand to have any covers on, and keep my condo at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, I knew I would be just fine in the glorious hot office except for one thing: she also took her mini-fridge with her. And I wouldn’t care, except that I was secretly hoping for my own fridge because the refrigerator in the office kitchen is always overflowing, and people just shove your stuff to the back to make room for theirs. So I’ll put my lunch on one of the shelves in the morning, and by the time noon rolls around, it’s like an archaeological expedition to find it again. And when I DO find it, either shoved in the back all squishy and sh*t or upside down in the vegetable crisper, I’ve had to touch several other people’s lunches, which always makes me feel weird and strangely unsettled because I don’t know where these things have been, and also I don’t remember where they were to put them back in their proper places, so EVERYTHING IS F*CKING CHAOS. This may seem like a first world problem, but imagine if Bob’s sandwich was a goat, and Bob’s goat was standing in front of my goat, and I needed my goat, so I killed Bob’s goat and shoved its corpse into the back of the lean-to where the goats live. And I NEVER want to kill a goat, so this is why I need a refrigerator.

Anyway, I was sitting in my condo on Wednesday after work, pondering the whole fridge/goat issue, when I decided I would just buy my own damn mini-fridge. I live in the heart of the city, so I googled a couple of stores and found an absolutely awesome Star Wars mini-fridge at Bed Bath and Beyond. The one I wanted featured a young Hans Solo frozen in that slab of carbonite, which seemed apropos for a refrigerator. They didn’t have any available on-line, so I decided, at 6:00 pm on a February evening, to change out of my pajamas (stop judging me) and back into my clothes and undertake the journey two blocks down to the actual human store. Because now, this was a QUEST:

Bed Bath and Beyond: None in stock. The young salesman looked them up online. The entire continent was sold out. I wouldn’t have thought there were that many Star Wars fans who wanted mini-fridges.

Eaton Centre: I tried EB Games. They had a Star Wars waffle iron. The salesgirl told me to try the Sears on-line catalogue because “they had them in the Christmas Wish Book”. No, Sears. I will not wait for you to deliver this to me. I want it tonight and I shall have it.

Canadian Tire: Jackpot! No, not a Star Wars fridge, but “Retro” Coca Cola fridges in two sizes. I decided that, for the sake of expediency, that I could make my peace with not having Hans Solo forever screaming in agony in my office. I opted for the larger Coke fridge, which holds up to 18 cans of pop. But then I realized I would have to get it back to my office. Well, hell. I’d come this far—what was 17 pounds and 1 kilometre? The cashier fashioned a handle on the box out of packing tape and plastic bags and off I went. LIKE A BOSS.

Now, you may think that I looked slightly ridiculous walking down the busiest and longest street in Canada with a giant-ass refrigerator box, but trust me—there are plenty of people in the city centre who are WAY stranger and no one even gave me a second glance. Not even the guy who had tried to attack me the other day by threatening to put his cigarette out in my face, then tried to punch me in the head. (For real—it was random and scary and I may or may not have cried a little). He was now sitting on the corner with a sign that said “Spare change for weed”, which explains a lot about his behaviour, plus if he’d tried anything, I could have hit him with the fridge. So to sum up—a middle-aged woman carrying a refrigerator is not that interesting in downtown Toronto unless she’s wielding it like a weapon. I took it straight to my office and left it there to unpack in the morning. The concierge at the desk gave me a big smile and a thumbs-up, as if to say, “Another goat saved. Well done.” I went to bed that night feeling tough and cool for carrying the fridge back all that way by myself. Then I woke up at 3 in the morning, in agony from muscle strain, and had to take 2 Advil like the out-of-shape middle-aged woman I actually am.

The next day, I got in early, and opened the box. There was an instruction manual inside that was supposed to explain all about my glorious new refrigerator. On the front cover, there was a picture of the fridge and in bold AND italics, the words “Please Read These Instructions Very Carefully Before Use!” I was suddenly worried—how complicated was this going to BE?! The unit was made by Koolatron, which sounded like a German electronic dance music duo, so I prepared myself for some mindboggling, robot-helmeted directions.

The first thing inside the cover was “MODE SELECTION”. Luckily, there were only two modes, and I quote this verbatim:

ON – Move the sliding switch to “Cold”, the unit will cool and a green light will be on.

OFF – Move the sliding switch to “Off”, the unit will be off.

Seriously. It actually took 30 words to explain that. Yet, two comma splices.

The next thing was MAINTENANCE. There were several reminders, one in particular that “small tobacco or dirt particles in the socket or plug may affect performance”. What did these people think I’d be doing in my office?! Then there were a sh*tload of cleaning instructions about how to prevent odours and stains using charcoal and bleach. Who is the normal clientele for this product—a messy, chainsmoking serial killer?!

Then on the back, there was a rider on the warranty that the product was not covered in the case of “abuse or neglect”. Did I buy a refrigerator or a goat?! What kind of abuse could I perpetuate on a Coca-Cola mini-fridge? Like putting Pepsi in it or something? And neglect? I WAS planning on mostly ignoring it, but now I feel like I have to at least say “Good Morning” to it, or it will be sad and my warranty will be voided. Despite its deceptively complicated MODE SELECTION, this fridge was turning out to be pretty high maintenance.

Still, I plugged it in, and switched the mode to ON. The green light came on, which was a good sign, and the fan started to hum comfortingly. Now, how best to ensure that it works?

Me: Hey, do you have a can of pop?
L: I’m not sure. Why?
Me: I want to check if my new mini-fridge is working, and I thought if I put a can of pop in it, I would know because the can would get cold.
L: And you don’t like to drink cold pop, so you need me to give you a can…
Me: Right. Do you have any Coke? I don’t want to upset the fridge.
L: Actually, I do. Here you go. Oh, it’s so cute—and the can of Coke totally matches it!
Me: I know, right?!
Both: *high five and stare fondly at refrigerator*
Refrigerator: *whispers* I’ve found my forever home. Now I can chill. Sigh.

coke-firg

Saturday: Titus is a fashionista

Me: Hey, guess what? A friend of mine just sent me pictures of some dog coats and I bought one for you. She’s bringing it to work on Monday, and I’ll bring it home for you next weekend.
Titus: This is the best day EVER!! Let me see…Ooh, fancy!
Me: I’m glad you like it. It’ll keep you warm on those late night walks.
Titus: And the fedora you’re going to get me to match will keep my ears warm. I’d say “trilby” but I think my head is too pointy for one of those.
Me: Fedora? What are you talking about?
Titus: You’re buying me a coat that looks like a classic tweed Burberry trench coat! I can’t rock that style without a gentleman’s fedora. What do I look like—a hippie? Oh—also, I’m going to need Raybans—I think Wayfarers will complete the look.
Me: You’re getting a coat. Be satisfied.
Titus: Well, there goes Milan. I’d make a great male model, you know. Check me out. Blue Steel!
Me: Good god.

titus-model

titus-burberry

My Week 127: Farewell to Mishima

A Farewell to a Good Fish

tweet

Last December, I went on a cruise. I brought back souvenirs for everyone, including Mishima. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that Mishima is the fish who lives on my kitchen counter. I can’t say “my” fish, because Mishima was certainly his own man—well, his own aquatic creature. He was a bit of a diva, and made some pretty outrageous claims about his combat skills, his romantic past, and had his own Twitter account, which he used occasionally to subtweet at me when his tank needed cleaning or he was mad at the cat. At any rate, I had picked up a really pretty seashell for his tank, and when I gave it to him, he looked pleased, but then his little face became concerned.

“What will happen to all my things when I die?” he asked.

“Kijiji,” I answered.

“No, seriously. I have some really beautiful things and I don’t want them going to some random stranger that you found on a Facebook Buy and Sell site. I want my nephew Oscar to have them. I need to make a will.”

Now, I was concerned. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “There’s nothing wrong with you. You survived that fall from the counter—I think you’re pretty indestructible. Besides, you’re only 5—that’s like middle-aged for a goldfish. Also, that might explain why you keep bugging me for a sportscar and trying to pick up young mermaids.”

“The ladies love me,” he said. “Stop trying to deny it. Now get a piece of paper and a pen and take this down. ‘I, Mishima Fishima, being of sound mind and body—why are you snickering?!”

“The ‘sound mind’ bit. We’ll agree to disagree on that. Carry on.”

“—do hereby bequeath all my worldly possessions to my nephew, Oscar Wildefish.”

“We should maybe list them. Just so we know what ‘worldly possessions’ we’re talking about here,” I said.

“Well, all my land—“

“You mean the gravel on the bottom of your tank?”

“Call it what you like. Also, my house and surrounding property, and my jewels. That big diamond has GOT to be worth a pretty penny. Also, don’t forget my social media holdings.”

“OK. So the pagoda, the fake palm tree, the glass beads from the dollar store, and your Twitter account. Gotcha.” So we drew up the will, and I tucked it away.

“How will I find Oscar Wildefish though?” I asked.

Mishima pondered for a moment. “You’ll just know. He’s flamboyant, and blue, and extremely witty.”

Then, two weekends ago, we changed the water in his tank, and when I looked at him swimming around in the bowl we used to keep him safe during the whole process, looking so tiny and vulnerable, I had a terrible feeling that I’d never see him again.

But then the moment quickly passed when he looked up and yelled, “Why are you staring at me? You’re giving me the creeps. Come on, hurry up. This water is cold—the shrinkage might scare off the mermaids!”

I shoved the feeling of impending sorrow into the back of my mind, and went back to Toronto on the train. Then, on the Tuesday morning, Ken texted me: “Mishima is just lying on the bottom of the tank and he hasn’t eaten his breakfast. I think he might be sick.”

I spent the whole day worrying and googling “How do I know if my goldfish is dying?” Then, after work, Ken called. We chatted about work and other things, then suddenly he said, “Oh by the way—the fish is dead.”

And I refuse to apologize for sobbing hysterically, for calling my mother and crying into the phone, and for yelling at Ken that he could have told me in a more gentle way, all over a fish. I was so upset that T actually called me—he hates talking on the phone, so you KNOW it was serious sh*t. Yes, Mishima was “just” a goldfish, and yes, I’m a grown woman, but Mishima and I had an understanding, a bond if you will. Plus, he was on the kitchen island right where I prepare dinner for 5 years, and I got used to having him around. From his complaints about fishflakes to his Twitter polls to his claims about ‘Nam, he was nothing if not entertaining. So here, as a tribute to a fine fish and friend, are some of his best moments.

poll

March 2016

Mishima goes on a road trip

On Thursday night, Ken called me.

Ken: I have to tell you something, but don’t worry—everything is OK.
Me: What?! What happened?
Ken: Titus and I went for a walk, and when we got back, Titus didn’t care about a cookie, which is COMPLETELY unlike him—he just kept trying to run into the kitchen. So I followed him in and he went straight over to where the toaster oven is. Mishima was lying there on the floor.
Me: Oh my god! What happened?
Ken: He was still breathing, so I scooped him up and put him back in his tank. After a minute, he started to swim around. His one fin looks a little iffy, but he seems OK otherwise.
Me: How the hell did he get down there? That’s like at least 5 feet away from his tank.
Ken: I don’t know. I suspected the cat, but she was upstairs sleeping on a chair.
Me: I’ll find out tomorrow when I come home.

I finally had a chance to ask the damn fish what he’d been up to. I was a little surprised at my reaction the night before because frankly, he can be quite the diva, and after 4 years, I still can’t convince him to stop telling people that he was in ‘Nam. Plus, he has way more followers on Twitter than I do. Still, he has a certain charm, and he keeps me company when I’m cooking (because his tank is on the kitchen island so he really has no choice).

Me: So what the hell were you doing the other night? You scared me to death.
Mishima: What are you talking about?
Me: Your little “road trip”?
Mishima: Oh that. I was trying to punch the cat in the throat using a special manoeuver that I learned in the Marines. I overextended my reach and ended up sliding across the counter onto the floor.
Me: Stop pretending you were in the American military. For the last time, you’re a 4 year-old Canadian fish. Why were you trying to punch the cat in the throat?! You could have died.
Mishima: Ask her, the furry little hellion.  I’m not saying another word. Plus, I have a three second memory, so I’m not actually sure anymore.

I found Raven in her usual spot, curled up in a patch of sun on T’s bed.

Me: Explain yourself. What did you do to the fish?
Raven: I was thirsty. He got all pissy about me drinking out of his tank, and the next thing I know, he started yelling, “Hiyah! Hiyah!”, flew over my head and landed on the floor. What was I supposed to do?  Dial 911? I was laughing too hard.
Me: He could have died. Stop drinking out of his tank.
Raven: Fine. The water tastes like sh*t anyway.
Me: There’s a reason for that. Do you see a separate bathroom in there? Where do you THINK he goes?
Raven: I’d be more grossed out, but I lick my own ass, so…

rave

June 2016

I love fish. Not so much to eat—if given a choice, I’d much rather have steak—but as far as living organisms go, I’ve got a tremendous fondness for the wee, finned ones. We have 2 ponds on our property, both stocked with goldfish, and until recently, we had a pond at our cottage, also inhabited by over a dozen swimmers of all colour variations. And then, of course, there’s Mishima, who lives in a tank on the kitchen island. He’s a narcissistic diva, but over the last 4 years, we’ve come to an understanding. He doesn’t trash me on his Twitter feed (@tweetsoffish), and I feed him. It’s a deal that benefits him more than me, to be honest, because while he can be rather cutting, he is still just a fish, and his opinion of me is just about as compelling as Donald Trump congratulating Scotland on Brexit. Scotland responded exactly the way I do with Mishima, which is to roll my eyes and call him a “mangled apricot hellbeast” But Mishima doesn’t realize just how lucky he is, considering my actual track record of keeping fish alive…

December 2016

Well, if you looked up “weary traveller” in the dictionary, you would see my sunburned face and crazy hair, after the night I just spent trying to get home from the cruise I was on with my parents and my aunt, thanks to Delta Airlines, who have to be one of the most incompetent and weird airlines I’ve ever flown on. After a comedy of errors involving plane delays, transfers, flights into cities across America trying to get back to Canada during a snowstorm, lost luggage, closed border bridges, and freezing rain, I finally made it back home to the loving arms of my family (most of them), only to be greeted with this:

Mishima: You’re back. What the f*ck was THAT?
Me: Sigh. You’re mad about last week’s blog. I TOLD Ken to include you. This is NOT my fault.
Mishima: I am the linchpin that keeps this motley platoon together, and no one wants to get MY perspective on anything?! This is as bad as the day I said we should “go over the top” but nobody listened, and we were stuck in a trench for 3 weeks.
Me: Um…that’s not ringing any bells.
Mishima: Lest we forget, baby—lest we forget.
Me: You’ve completely lost me, which is not surprising. Anyway, I’m sorry about the blog, but it wasn’t my fault. I brought you back this cool seashell for your tank though.
Mishima: Is there a tiny mermaid trapped within it, and when I rub the shell, she’ll grant me three wishes?
Me: No. It’s just a seashell.
Mishima: You disappoint me once again, woman. And I’ll bet you can guess what the first wish would have been.
Me: So many options…

schoolpic

So farewell, Mishima. I’ll miss you. But I promise—the quest for Oscar has begun.

 

My Week 126: February is Too Hot, Canadian Politics Are Getting Severely Abnormal

sun

Saturday: Global Warming

This morning, I had a hot bath, then I washed my hair with hot water. Then I started to dry my hair with a hot hair dryer (wait—it WILL get funnier). After about two minutes, I was sweating and unhappy. “WTF?!” I may have yelled to no one in particular. “Why am I so HOT?!” So I did what any normal person would do under these circumstances. I called Ken.

Me: Ken! I’m too hot!!
Ken (from other side of the house): Open your balcony door then!

So I took his advice and opened the door to the balcony off my bathroom. Why is there a balcony off my bathroom, you ask? Well, my house is over 100 years old, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my bathroom used to be something else, just like my kitchen used to be a bedroom, and my media room used to be an old woodshop with a giant cistern underneath it which I try NEVER to think about while I’m watching horror movies. Anyway, I opened the door, and a huge square of sunlight hit me, accompanied by a draft of warm air, making me feel even hotter, and more miserable. And while this wouldn’t be unusual during other months of the year, THIS IS F*CKING FEBRUARY. FEBRUARY—the month of winter doom in Ontario, where normally it’s 19 below instead of 19 above (for my American readers, that’s like plus 70 vs. minus a gazillion—I’m not great at math or exchange rates, obviously). So, to anyone who believes that global warming is a hoax perpetrate on us by the Chinese, let me assure you that there were no Chinese people in my bathroom, and that things are way too warm for February. I asked everyone yesterday on the way home from my mom’s birthday party what they thought about global warming:

Me: So what are our thoughts on global warming?
Ken: Do you mean “climate change”? Because technically–
T: Dad, are you mansplaining global warming to Mom?
My Mom: It’s extremely cold in England right now, so I don’t know about “warming”.
Ken: CLIMATE CHANGE. That’s why it’s called “climate change”.

At any rate, whatever you want to call it, this warm weather in February is a real problem. Yes, I know it’s lovely outside. Yes, the weather continues charming. However, it’s just not fair for a couple of reasons. I live in both the country AND the city at any given moment of the week, and warm weather this early is a real problem in both settings.

The country: I pulled into the driveway yesterday, and my lilac trees were budding. I actually yelled at them, “No, stop it! Next week, we’ll be back to minus 10, and those buds will die! Don’t be fooled by this crazy warm sh*t!” Warm weather in February only sets us all up for disappointment—let’s face it, there are still at least two more months of snow and ice before we get to the “real” spring and summer. The current temperature is just creating false hope, hope that we really don’t live in an area of the country where there are only two seasons (No, not “winter and construction”, like a lot of people will tell you): Summer, and the rest of the miserable year. The last thing I want is for all my trees and flowers to start budding and then have those buds killed by the next frost. Trees—they’re so gullible.

The city: You’d think a warm February would be glorious in the city, but no. First, it takes a slow thaw for all the garbage to disappear. Right now, all the melting snow is revealing a multitude of cigarette butts, food containers, and for some reason on my street corner, about 200 old lottery tickets. The street cleaning machines won’t be on the roads for at least two more months, so we’re stuck with sidestepping all the crap until at least April. But even worse is the detritus of the human bodily kind, which becomes more noticeable the hotter it gets:

Me: Oh my god, why does it smell like pee out here?!
M: Why WOULDN’T it smell like pee? This is downtown Toronto.
L: If it didn’t smell like pee, how would we know where we are? How would we find our way back to the office?
M: We’d totally lose our bearings. We’d be wandering around all afternoon, not sure where the office was.

And see, this is a conversation that I would normally have with my work partners in May or June, but it was just a few days ago. I should probably clarify though—it’s the subway station that regularly smells like urine and our office is right in front of the station entrance. So the smell of pee is to us as breadcrumbs are to Hansel and Gretel. Except no pigeon wants to eat THAT.

Long story short—I cannot rejoice over this weather. I feel like the polar bears must when they’re stuck on an iceberg that broke off and is floating in the middle of the Arctic Ocean—which is to say, completely disoriented, baffled, and hungry (because I never eat breakfast until I finish writing). And the weirdest thing is, I don’t even LIKE the cold. In fact, I HATE winter with a passion, but winter is an absolute necessity because I hate mosquitoes even more, and a mild winter results in way more mosquitoes than normal. So f*ck you, global warming and your impending plague of locusts. Me, I long for ice and snow until at least March Break.

Sunday: No, YOU’RE the weirdo.

Last week, Conservative Leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, the new queen of white nationalism, held a rally at a Christian college against a motion proposed in the House to strike a committee to look into Islamophobia and other forms of racism on the grounds that it’s “against Free Speech”. Not sure how she’s making that leap, but as she likes to boast, “I have 22 letters after my name. They’re all great letters, the best letters, in fact. I have all the important letters.” Actually, if you take away all the letters that don’t mean much, like the initials of the political party she’s a member of and whatnot, there aren’t that many. I myself would have MORE than 22 if I included not only my degrees and professional affiliations, but my Twitter handle, my official title of “Perpetual Ruler of the Ensuite Bathroom”, and my stripper name, which is Perky Cyrus (the name of my first pet and the street I lived on as a child—try it for yourself. It’s fun). Anyway, she introduced herself and then said, “It’s great to be in a room full of SEVERELY NORMAL people!” And I was like WTF, Lady? What is “SEVERELY NORMAL”? And yes, I have to keep typing it in cap-locks, because that’s how she said it—like it was all in capital letters, because the SEVERELY NORMAL don’t recognize how “special” they are unless you yell it at them. But before I go on to discuss what SEVERELY NORMAL is, I’d first like to say that Kellie Leitch is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of someone who is highly educated, but despite that, is as stupid as the people who think global warming is a hoax perpetrated on us by the Chinese. Oh, she’s cunning, I’ll give her that, but “cunning” and intelligent are not always bed-fellows. She’s cunning AF because, as a Member of the Canadian Parliament, she didn’t object when the exact same type of motion against Anti-Semitism was presented last year in the House. And she didn’t hold a rally for SEVERELY NORMAL people at a Christian College when the same type of motion regarding Islamophobia was passed by the House last October. But now that the leadership race for the Conservative party is heating up, suddenly she’s the poster girl for “Canadian Values”, and whining about free speech over a motion which she knows damn well is only to strike an exploratory committee? Well, unfortunately, she’s currently second in the polls behind Kevin O’Leary, that weird little wannabe Donald Trump (you might know him from the TV show Shark Tank), who lives in Boston and hawks blended wine on US shopping channels, and who believes that being rich is great because it makes poor people look up to him and become inspired to work harder, and that union leaders should be thrown in jail. That these two people are currently at the top of the polls for the leadership of a major political party should scare the sh*t out of the rest of us completely normal people, because Canada is supposed to have one of the most educated populations in the world, yet all those people who attend Leitch’s rallies, and espouse her brand of “Canadian Values” seem morbidly uninformed and earnestly believe her when she tells them that they are not “the fringe”. Um…Yes. You are. All I can say is this though: You can be SEVERELY NORMAL and believe Leitch’s appeals to the lowest common denominator of hatred and mistrust, or you can be just be a regular Canadian who believes that no one should be discriminated against and that we’re all happier, healthier, and ABSOLUTELY normal when we start using our brains and stop listening to idiots who confuse SEVERELY NORMAL with “extremist white nationalism”. But you just know that her cunning plan was that the people who follow her are going to start embracing the term and start using it as their Twitter handles, like @BobSEVERELYNORMAL and wearing ball caps that say Make Canada Great Again. Me, I don’t want to be severely anything. I just want to be Canadian. But it’s all good—it’s not as if someone like her could EVER become the Prime Minister, right?  There’s been no other country where someone got elected by lying to people and using hateful rhetoric, right? No other candidate for the leadership of a country got to pull this sh*t while the other candidates just sat back and watched, and the media snickered while the ratings were high until suddenly it was too late, right? Oh, wait…

 

My Week 125: Trudeau Meets Trump, Trump’s Spice Girls, Celebrity Spouses

Thursday: Throw Back Thursday with a Twist

trudeau

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about an imaginary first meeting between our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the not-yet-elected US President, Donald Trump (My Week 64). Looking back on it, it’s kind of weird how accurate I was, but now Trump really IS President (who’d have guessed?), and Justin Trudeau really IS meeting with him on Monday. So I thought I would revise the previous post to catch up with events:

Donald: So what am I doing here again?
Aide: You’re meeting with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. He’s here to talk about the relationship between Canada and the US.
Justin: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Trump.
Donald: So what, you’re like the King of the Arctic or something?
Justin (laughs gently): No, no, I’m the Prime Minister of Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russian in terms of landmass. It’s the world’s most educated country, and it has more lakes than all the other countries in the world combined.
Donald: What the f*ck ARE you, a geography teacher or something?
Justin: Well, I do have a working knowledge of geography. For example, the Balkan States definitely exists. In fact, though, I used to be a drama teacher.
Donald: All actors are overrated, especially that Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I don’t give a sh*t about the Balcanadians. Save the drama for your mama, pretty boy. Now, what exactly do you want?
Justin: Well, Canada is the US’s biggest trading partner, so I think it’s time that we discussed some issues relating to trade.
Donald: Well, I have a lot of issues–
Justin: Mm, yes, I’ve heard.
Donald: –but what I really want to do is bring American back to the Americans and dig it out of the hole that Muslim from Alaska put it in.
Justin (confused): Are you talking about President Obama? He’s not Muslim and he’s from Hawaii.
Donald: That’s what the Democrats would HAVE you believe. Anyway, I have a deal for you. It’s a great deal, because I’m the best at deals.
Justin (puzzled): What kind of deal?
Donald: I’ll agree to keep NAFTA the way it is if you agree to force all Canadian stores to sell my daughter’s clothes.
Justin: What?!
Donald: And my wife’s jewelry.
Justin: I don’t have the power to do that. Can we just talk about trade?
Donald: OK, FINE. Baby Spice!! Get in here. Bring the rest of the gang!
Justin: Why are you being so derogatory about your colleagues?!
Donald: Derogatory? What? Those are terms of affection. I decided to nickname my closest friends after the Spice Girls. Ah, here they are. Ok, Justine—
Justin: It’s Justin. I don’t want an “affectionate nickname” from you.
Donald: Anyway, this is Baby Spice…
Sean Spicer (whispers): The struggle is real.
Donald: And Scary Spice…
Steve Bannon: Your country is mostly white, right?
Donald: This, of course, is Posh Spice. She donated a LOT of money to my campaign, so naturally that qualifies her to be the Secretary of Education.
Betsy DeVos: Play dead.
Justin: I beg your pardon?
Betsy: For when the bears attack and you don’t have a gun. What, did you go to public school or something?
Donald: And meet your new Ambassador to Canada, Sporty Spice!
Sarah Palin: Yah, hi. I only tweet five words at a time.
Donald: And I, of course, am Old Spice. I’m on a boat!
Justin: Mon dieu! C’est incroyable.
Donald: Why are you talking Islam talk?!
Justin: I was speaking French. Canada is a bilingual country. Now can we just discuss trade? Can you tell me where you stand?
Donald: I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, really want.
Sean Spicer: So, tell us what you want. What you really, really want.
Steve Bannon: I wanna, I wanna—
Betsy DeVos: Really, really, really wanna–
Sarah Palin: Zig a zig. Yah.
Justin (rolls eyes): I feel like we’re not making much headway here. Why don’t I introduce you to some of MY colleagues? This is Harjit Sajjan, my Minister of National Defence.
Donald (sotto voce): You know he’s wearing a towel on his head, right?
Justin: That’s a turban, Mr. Trump—he’s a Sikh.
Donald: How did he get into my country?! I thought I banned him!
Justin: What?! NO. He’s a trusted member of my cabinet!
Donald: That’s what JFK said about Lee Harvey Oswald, and look how THAT turned out.
Justin: I don’t think JFK EVER said that, and I find your comments ludicrous and divisive.
Donald: Fine. But I’m still going to call that guy “Curry Spice”.
Justin: Your attitude is as ridiculous as your travel ban.
Donald: What’s ridiculous about it? It’s keeping out the bad hombres.
Justin: Aside from the fact that it’s racist, the countries you’ve banned haven’t committed any terrorist acts on US soil!
Donald: Well, I could hardly ban countries where I have hotels and whatnot. That would be a conflict of interest!
Justin: All right—I think we’ve all had enough. I’m going home.
Donald: Yes. Go back to that condemned row house you call an official residence. The Winter White House is better. It’s the best official residence. It’s a golf club for rich white people. I’d call it a metaphor for the state of US politics right now, if I actually knew what a metaphor was.
Justin: 24 Sussex Drive isn’t a “condemned row house”. It’s a historical monument. I lived there as a child.
Donald: Holy sh*t, you’ve been Prime Minister since you were a kid? Why the hell have I never heard of you until now?
Justin: No, no, that was when my father was elected Prime Minister. There were others in between. Remember the guy in the sweater vest?
Donald: It rings a bell, although I don’t remember his name. By the way, speaking of elections, I heard you’re taking some flak about changing voting.
Justin: Ah yes—my electoral reform promise. I just couldn’t get consensus, and it seemed silly to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a referendum to decide an issue that really isn’t that imperative to many Canadians.
Donald: While I don’t understand your big words, I DO understand how to take attention away from your problem. Just do what I do. Tweet something crazy, and then pass the most outrageous executive order that Scary Spice can think of. Does your daughter have a clothing line? How do you feel about banning hockey?
Justin: Or I could just say I’m building a wall between Canada and the US.
Donald: Ooh, good one! That might just work!
Justin: Sigh. Let’s hope it does.

Later:

Harjit Sajjan: So, was it just me, or did you “really wanna” punch him in the face?
Justin: You have NO idea.

Friday: We discuss our celebrity spouses

It’s an unwritten rule (or maybe it’s written down somewhere, like in the Bible or People Magazine) that it’s perfectly acceptable for a married woman or man to have a celebrity husband/wife. AND a celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend. Isn’t that like extra cheating, you ask? You’re already married, then you get to have a pretend husband, then you pretend-cheat on BOTH of them with a pretend boyfriend?! Well, yes. But it’s OK, because it’s not like I’m EVER going to meet Idris Elba (husband) or Benedict Cumberbatch (boyfriend). My celebrity husband used to be Johnny Depp, but then he got all alcohol-y and started doing only movies where he was dressed all weird and sh*t. I could have made my peace with Captain Jack Sparrow and his “young Keith Richards” vibe, but that Mad Hatter? Yuck. Could the guy possibly do a movie where he’s NOT dressed in a stylized costume? Coincidently, I just now, while Googling Johnny Depp’s Imdb page to see if he’s done anything normal lately, read an article in the Guardian by a woman who also claimed that Johnny Depp was her celebrity boyfriend, and I was appalled. Not only was Johnny cheating on me with her, she knew a LOT more about him than I did, and her reasons for breaking up with him were a lot more compelling than my “he makes stupid movies now” excuse. Also, I learned that he spends $30, 000 a month on wine. And I totally don’t get that, because I drink a lot of wine, and even in a particularly souse-y month, I never spend more than around $135 (which is what a couple of cases costs at Wine Kitz, where Dad and I “make” our own by ordering it and then putting it in bottles after 4 weeks). So how much wine are you DRINKING, Johnny Depp?!

Anyway, then I got concerned that maybe Johnny was cheating on ME with a lot of other ladies out there, so I researched “Johnny Depp is my celebrity husband” and sure enough, he was being puh-lenty unfaithful. Then I saw a link for a Playbuzz quiz that said it could tell me who my REAL celebrity boyfriend was, so I took it. There were only 5 questions, one of which was “Blonde or Brunette”? So the field was pretty open, apparently. After I answered “Brunette”, the little swirly thing swirled and then it came up with Zac Efron. No, Playbuzz—just NO. If anything, Zac Efron would be my celebrity SON. And that would be cool, but don’t tell T. “Won’t he see it here?” you ask. No, dear Reader, because the one person who DOESN’T read my posts is my own actual son. So maybe I DO need a celebrity son. I’ll bet Zac would read everything I wrote and say, “Hey Pretend-Mom, you are SO funny!”

So the other day at lunch, a bunch of us from work were discussing upcoming movies and other things, and I said I was totally pumped to see The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King’s novels and starring Idris Elba, so like two of my absolute favourite things all rolled into one. And then one of the women said, “Oh Idris Elba—he’s my celebrity husband.” And I was like, “No. NO. He’s MY celebrity husband! He’s been mine since I saw him in Luther.” Then another woman countered with, “No, he’s mine. He’s been MY celebrity husband since The Office.” I was immediately chagrined because I didn’t know that Idris Elba had even been on The Office, but I immediately offered to throw down with either of them. Then I took it back, because they’re both really nice people, and I still have Benedict Cumberbatch all to myself. ISN’T THAT RIGHT, LADIES?

Then I was telling Ken all about this, and he was like, “Am I allowed to have a celebrity wife?” I told him of course he was.

Me: Who would be your celebrity wife then?
Ken: Ummm. I don’t know.
Me: You can pick anyone. Who’s a movie star that you really like?
Ken: I can’t think of anyone.
Me: What about that woman who was in the movie we saw last night?
Ken: No. Oh wait—I’m going to say Nicole Karkic.
Me: Who the hell is Nicole Karkic?
Ken: She’s on The Weather Channel. She’s smart and she really knows her weather.
Me: You can’t pick someone from The Weather Channel!
Ken: Why not? You said I could pick anyone. There’s also that meteorologist on CTV News—she’s very reliable.
Me: OK, then…

I guess I should consider myself lucky to be married to a man who appreciates a woman who’s climate-savvy, instead of being all about her physical looks. Me, I also appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s…intelligence.