Wiener Fest!

Well, it was quite the exciting week. After relocating skunk Number 1, we caught a second little varmint later that same night. In the morning, Ken went out to check on him and returned, saying, “He has two friends visiting him in jail.” So the fencing stayed up and the trap was re-baited with peanut butter and cat food, which seems to be the entrée of choice for the discerning skunk. By Wednesday, 3 and 4 had been relocated, and Ken and I were breathing a sigh of relief, although the breathing was still tinged with eau de skunk, thanks to Atlas. Then, around 8 pm, Ken came into the room with a glass of wine, and handed another one to me:

Ken: I’d like to propose a toast.
Me: Really? That’s so sweet. To what?
Ken: To five.

Me: My fifth book?
Ken: Nope.
Me (confused and a little worried that I’d missed yet another anniversary of some kind): Five what?
Ken: Skunk number five.
Me: Oh my god. (Downs wine in one shot). How many more can there be??!!

Turns out there were SEVEN. Yep. Seven skunks. At least I hope that’s all there are, because I don’t fancy battling the final boss, and so far, there’s been no mother in sight, just a lot of kits. Apparently, a group of skunks is called a ‘stench’, and I can certainly see why, because our cargo trailer might just permanently smell like raunchy weed. The problem with skunks, especially the young ones, is that they’re so damn cute but you can’t hug them, and I really hope they have a family reunion in the forest where we dropped each of them off.

Aside from Skunkapalooza, not much happened this week, except for the funniest misunderstanding at work I can think of. I took Kate’s shift on Saturday because she was in an e-sports tournament, and around lunchtime, a woman came to the counter:

Woman: We’re just heading over to Wiener Fest. Is it okay if we come back with a couple?
Me (hesitates): I suppose, as long as you don’t get ketchup or relish on anything in the booths.
Woman (confused): Oh. All right…

Later on, a group came into the market with a pair of dachshunds. We have a policy that dogs are fine in the building as long as they can be carried or put in a cart (the exception is service dogs, which are fine no matter what). So my boss got them two carts lined with cardboard and they went around happily (the dogs, of course—I have no idea if the people were happy because the second I saw the dogs, their humans ceased to exist. I once got on an elevator and there was a man with a golden retriever. “Hello, gorgeous,” I said, to which the man replied, “Thanks.” Imagine how sad he was when I told him I was talking to his dog.). Anyway, the dachshunds were adorable—one was even wearing a little bow tie—and they seemed to be having a great time. Eventually, the whole group came to the counter to check out, and I realized the woman who had asked about eating hot dogs was with them.

Woman: I’m so glad we were able to bring Roxie and Moxie inside. Wiener Fest was so hot!
Me:
Woman: I know you weren’t sure about it, but they’re so well-behaved.
Me: When you said wieners, I didn’t know you meant dogs. I thought you were going to a barbeque!
Woman: Ha ha! Is that why you were talking about ketchup and mustard? No wonder we were both so confused!

Then I hugged Roxie and Moxie and told them if they were ever in the neighbourhood again, to be sure to drop by. Whether they bring their people or not, that’s up to them.

The only way I take a picture of a skunk trap is if the skunk isn’t in it.

A Pointed Stick

After having had a brutal heat wave last week, the weather here turned much cooler, so on Friday morning, I decided to weed the front flower beds. I was having a great time, yanking out wild carrot and crabgrass from between the daylilies when I bent over and (if you’re the slightest bit squeamish, brace yourself) I was stabbed square in the left eyeball by a dead hydrangea branch. I didn’t see it coming and had no chance to close my eye before it stuck me, and I jumped back in both horror and pain, much to the amusement of the construction crew working on the monster house next door. They watched (or at least I think they did because I couldn’t see anything), as I staggered around the yard, my hand over my eye, tears streaming down my face, and yelling profanities. This is the view they get when they cut down the trees next to MY house. At least I wasn’t naked, and a good thing too because who knows where that stick might have ended up otherwise.

I was eventually able to get back to weeding but as the day wore on, the pain increased, and I got worried. I had an old bottle of antibiotic eyedrops and I used them before bed, and that only MADE THINGS SO MUCH WORSE. And to top it all off, this happened:

Ken: So you know how we thought we had a skunk in the backyard under the deck of the shed?
Me: …yeah…?
Ken: it’s pretty small and kind of cute. Atlas thought so too for a minute. And you know how we had that fence up but then I moved it a bit and forgot to put it back?
Me: …YEAH…?
Ken: Atlas got through it. The skunk wasn’t very happy about it.
Atlas (walking into room): Was cat.
Me (sniffs the air and comes to a horrifying realization): That wasn’t the cat, you dummy!!
Ken: In fairness to Atlas, the skunk and Ilana DO kind of look alike–
Me: OH MY GOD, why is he in here with his skunk-sprayed head??!! Stop rubbing your face on the blankets!!

Not a skunk

So on top of everything else, I had one eye watering from being impaled and the other one watering from the stench. I barely got any sleep and woke up the next morning feeling like there was sandpaper in my eye and skunk ass in my nose. Atlas, on the other hand, was in fine form, ready to tackle the morning, and the skunk if he saw it again. We’d set out a live trap with peanut butter, wet dog food, and a few other things, but apparently this skunk is very finicky and didn’t appreciate our smorgasbord efforts. After two days, the top of Atlas’s head is more reminiscent of sesame oil than really cheap marijuana, so things are looking up. I found the recipe for skunk odour remover that we used on our last dog, so here’s hoping the combination of peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent rids us all of it for good. As of right now, my eye is feeling slightly better, and I keep thinking about that Monty Python sketch, “How To Defend Yourself From A Man Armed With A Banana”, where one of the unruly students in the self-defense class keeps asking about pointed sticks. Let me tell you, I’d much rather have been attacked by a banana.

In other news, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a publishing contract with Potters Grove Press for my second short story collection, At The End Of It All: Stories From The Shadows. It might be out by the end of this year, so put it on your Xmas wishlist!

It’s A Raid!

If you remember, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post called All The Pretty Dead Things, in which I discussed the plethora of bones, dehydrated animals, and other suspiciously taxidermized items at the antique market where I work. They sell like crazy, and over the last few weeks, I’ve had to ring dried rabbit ears, cow ribs, hawk legs, and even a whale vertebrae through the till, much to my dismay, because I don’t believe for a second that a whale vertebrae was ‘ethically sourced’. But apparently someone else agreed with me, because when I dropped Kate off at work the other day, there were several official looking men speaking with the owner. AND THEY HAD WARRANTS. They were from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and if you don’t know what that is, imagine the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and then pretend they’re Canadian. Because the NRF has just as much power as the ATF and are also allowed to carry guns, although none of the guys who were at the market were armed.

The MNR showed up unannounced, based on a tip from someone who had been in the market and was taking pictures of things that they deemed illegal. Their first stop was a booth run by a friend of mine which happened to have a vintage stuffed and mounted fish, which generated much consternation among the Ministry agents, despite the fact that the fish in question had been caught approximately 40 years ago. So I just now googled “Can I sell a stuffed rainbow trout in Ontario?” and the answer was a) ABSOLUTELY NOT and b) terrifying because according to their website, even if the fish is long dead, if you get caught, you can face fines up to $100 000! And I’m so happy I didn’t know that when I sold Frank, the stuffed and mounted fish that I found at the side of the road and sold for ten dollars at a yard sale over two years ago (the post where I wrote about it was called One Man’s Junk, in case you’re interested).

The MNR was there all day, going over each of the almost one thousand booths with a fine-toothed comb, and ended up confiscating not only the stuffed trout, but a variety of other animal products, including half the inventory from the booth that sells exclusively jewelry made from animal bones and terrariums containing desiccated barnyard animals. Ironically, they DIDN’T take the whale vertebrae, because apparently that’s not their jurisdiction. So I guess we’ll be receiving a visit from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries soon—do you think they carry guns or harpoons?

Hand over the fish!

Building A Better Mousetrap

Last month, I came downstairs and Ken was staring at the kitchen counter. “Did Kate do some baking last night? There are crumbs everywhere.”

I looked more closely, with my reading glasses on. “Those aren’t crumbs—that’s MOUSE SH*T!!”

The infestation had begun. We immediately got out our trusty old live trap and set it up that night with a tasty assortment of cheeses inside it. The next morning, sure enough, there was a tiny mouse shivering in the trap. “Never mind, little Mickey,” I told him. “You’re going to a lovely field to live out your days.” And that’s not a euphemism—Ken really did take him to the park and set him free to frolic in the long grass.

That night, before we went to sleep, we set the trap up again in case Mickey had a Minnie. But in the morning, instead of another mouse curled up in the trap, there was mouse poo all over the counter—and the cheese inside the trap WAS GONE. “Are these mice learning from each other’s mistakes?!” I asked.

“Don’t worry,” said Ken. “I have an idea for a better mousetrap.” So he put together a contraption with a seesaw made out of cardboard and doweling and positioned it over a large wastebasket. “See,” he said, “when the mouse walks out to get the cheese, the cardboard will tip and it’ll fall into the basket.”

And it worked! The next morning, there was a wee rodent in the bottom of the wastebasket. “Minnie, I assume,” I addressed it. “Don’t worry—you’ll be reunited with your other half soon.”

That night, we set up the basket trap again, and again in the morning, the cheese was gone and there was mouse poo all over the counter. “What the hell!” I exclaimed, infuriated. “How did it get the cheese and not fall in?!”

“I guess it’s a smarter mouse than the last one. Do you want me to just buy a snap trap?” Ken offered.

“No!” I exclaimed. “Unless you do it without telling me and then don’t tell me what happens. You know how much I hate killing things. You have to promise to keep it a secret.”

But before we resorted to a kill trap, Kate decided to try her hand at building a better mousetrap. It was the same principal as Ken’s but with the addition of a toothpick to securely hold the cheese so that the mouse couldn’t just reach out and snatch it from the safety of the counter. Of course, the first night, she got involved in an online game and forgot to set it, but the NEXT night, it was in place and ready to execute our clever plan. Unfortunately, as clever as we thought we were, the mouse was smarter. The mouse had absconded with the cheese but left behind an extraordinary amount of poo. “Should we let Ilana out of Kate’s room at night?” Ken suggested.

“But what if Atlas finds out? He’ll try to eat HER before she eats the mouse.”

It seemed we were at an impasse, then Ken went out shopping and came home with something called The Tomcat. Its claim to fame was the following:

Ready To Use
Child Safe
Captures Up To Ten Mice At Once

The side of the box equally sang the praises of its sleek design that “blends into surroundings”, its “reliable, highly sensitive trap door”, and the fact that it was “strong and durable” as evidenced by the accompanying picture of someone dropping a can of peas onto it.

“Phew,” I said. “I have full confidence in the Tomcat. I shall sleep well tonight.”

And in the morning, I rose with a smile on my face, ready to greet several of the tiny evil geniuses that were causing me to bleach my counter on the daily. And what did I find? An empty Tomcat with a hole chewed through it, no cheese to be seen, and mouse poo everywhere. So much for strong and durable. Maybe they should have tested it on actual mice instead of a can of peas. And as much as I hate to do it, unless any of you have a better mouse trap idea, Ken will be keeping secrets from me for a long time.

Hole-y mousetrap, Batman

A Room With A View

Last year, the empty lot next to us was sold. Not much happened for a long time, but suddenly one day in February, a whole whack of building machinery and guys in hardhats showed up and started leveling the ground.

“Weird,” I said to Ken. “They’re not digging out a basement.” And while that might not seem strange in some parts of the world, here in the area of Ontario where I live, it’s extremely uncommon to NOT have a basement, unless you have a cottage or a very old house like mine with only a partial, low-ceilinged horror movie basement and crawlspace.

A few days later, they started framing the structure. “Weird,” said Ken. “The front door looks like it’s about twenty feet in the air.” And while having a sky door might not seem strange in some parts of the galaxy, it’s extremely uncommon to NOT have a door that you can access from the ground. In fact, my house has 5 doors that are at ground-level.

So Ken and I watched with a combination of incredulity and amusement as the house next door began to grow. And grow. And grow, until it was over three stories tall. The lot itself is very tiny, and the house takes up most of it, and for our neighbours who live on the other side (who made the misfortunate error of selling the land to the Jolly Green Giant in the first place), it completely blocks out not only their view but all sunlight—the only thing they can see from their porch is the new house. And into it, because there are several windows that overlook their property. “Well,” I said to Ken rather smugly, “at least it’s not blocking our view to the corner. And we don’t have to worry about them watching over US because of all the beautiful tall trees along the property line.”

And then, the other morning, I got a message from Ken to call him as soon as possible. “What’s wrong?” I asked, concerned, because he never asks me to call him unless it’s something really important, like forgetting what’s on the grocery list. There was a distressed silence. Finally, he spoke. “I went over to the museum for a meeting this morning, and by the time I got back, all the trees were gone. ALL OF THEM.”

“WHAT THE F*CK??!!” I yelled. “ALL OF THEM?!”

Apparently, all the trees on the lot line except the maple at the corner were technically on the new owners’ property by about two inches, so they took it upon themselves to bring in a cutting crew and took them all down in a matter of two hours. According to one of the construction workers that Ken spoke to, the new owners want to put in a pool and the trees blocked their view and created too much shade and this is what I look at now when I’m on my front porch or in my yard:

They wanted a view, huh? Well, I hope they like naked, middle-aged humour writers.

In other news, the new literary magazine is going very well (although it’s keeping me super-busy), and I’ve had a lot of awesome submissions. But I’m always on the lookout for more (hint hint)…

My Big Announcement; Stuck In An Elevator

A few weeks ago, I was driving somewhere and thinking about things, as one does, and I thought to myself, ‘I would love to start my own online literary magazine.’ And even though it seemed like something far-off and maybe not possible, I currently work/volunteer as a submissions reader for another online lit mag, and I had some knowledge of how it was set up. But it had always been a dream of mine to have my own publication, and I kept thinking and thinking about how cool it would be, and by the time I got home, I had pretty much fleshed it out enough that I could explain it to Ken, complete with the name. And then, I was talking to a friend who does website development, and she said she could help me set things up, including not just the website but all the social media (you can see her on the masthead). So now (drumroll please), I am super-excited to announce the launch of DarkWinter Lit, an online literary magazine for short stories and poetry. And we’re currently open for submissions (no fee). I know a lot of my followers and fellow bloggers are writers, and I’d be thrilled if any of you wanted to honour DarkWinter Lit with your submissions. In fact, I already have two pieces of flash fiction from a terrific writer friend of mine, Cecilia Kennedy of Fixing Leaks And Leeks—she graciously offered the two stories to me so that there would be something awesome to read when the site went live. And she fits our mission statement perfectly, which is this: “We want your weird, your traditional with a twist, your humour, your dark thoughts, or your elation. We’re open to anything—just make it interesting. Make us think.”

I won’t be publishing full-length books or chapbooks, or anything in hard copy—it’s strictly online, and you can find it, and the submission guidelines, here at darkwinterlit.com

And why ‘DarkWinter’? Because it’s a combination of the last two names of my characters in The Seventh Devil and the sequel The Devil You Know, as well as the name of their ghostbusting, demon-exorcising business. But more importantly, DarkWinter Lit is a beautiful dream of a cold, dark night, illuminated by hope and wonder.

Aside from that momentous announcement, I was also trapped in an elevator this week—well, at least for a brief moment. You see, Kate has started to work at the antique market with me, and on Wednesday, one of the vendors came to her and said, “I need my bins brought down from the third floor to the second.” So off Kate went, with me hot on her heels:

Me: You don’t know how to run the elevator—you haven’t been trained!
Kate: It’s an elevator, Mom. I think I can figure it out.
Me: It’s not an ordinary elevator. Let me show you. This is my wisdom!

So we went back to the freight elevator and she got the gate up, then we went inside.

Me: See? First you need to put the gate down. And now we push this button and hold it until it gets almost to the third floor and you hear a ‘click’. When you hear the click, you let go of the button. Don’t get close to the edge!!
Kate: Mom, calm down. I’m not stupid.

We got to the third floor. She opened the gate and we loaded the vendor’s bins. Then she closed the gate. I could hear voices below on the second floor—it was our second-floor staff member Vivian. “We’re on our way down!” I shouted. I pressed the elevator button to go down and…nothing happened. I pressed it again and still nothing. “Vivian!!” I yelled down the elevator shaft. “We’re stuck in the elevator!”

Kate: Sigh.
Me: Oh my god! What should we do?
Kate (lifts up gate and gestures): We should get out.
Me: OK. Thank you for saving our lives.

Apparently the gate wasn’t quite on the track and once we got out and Kate pulled the gate down from the outside, it went to the second floor quite easily without us in it, and Kate stayed upstairs to help the vendor while I fled to the safety of the main floor. Then later, Vivian came by the till on the first floor:

Vivian: Did they get your daughter out of the elevator yet? I hear she’s still stuck in there.
Me: What??!! Oh my god!
Vivian: Haha. Just kidding—she’s fine.

Moral of the story: I hate elevators and my daughter is a hero.

Also, our power has been off for 24 hours and I’m posting this from my phone before the battery di…

Interview With Bad Juju, I Have A Clean Face

This past April, I joined my friend Jude Matulich-Hall, author of The Eversteam Chronicles, as a guest on the first episode of her new video podcast called “Bad Juju & J Bone Presents…” I was her first guest last year on the original iteration of the show, called Titles, Talk, & Tipples, and you may remember that we had a lot of fun, thanks to the tippling, although we did talk about books. This time, the show has expanded quite a bit—here’s the synopsis:

“In this episode you’re going to see some incredible photography by Suzanne’s daughter Katelyn Whytock, hear some poetry and excerpts from Suzanne’s written works, and get a peek into her new books coming out in an interview I recently had with her. Storytime isn’t just for kids! You’ll also get some adult storytime with Bad JuJu as she reads Suzanne’s short story “What’s My Name?” from Feasting Upon The Bones (Potters Grove Press), see a vintage film by Georges Méliès, another short film with Bad JuJu & J Bone, and some creepy, kooky fun interspersed throughout.”

Just like last time, it WAS a lot of fun, especially seeing Jude as her alter-ego Bad Juju reading my story accompanied by Gnossienne 1 by Erik Satie, a piece of piano music I’m completely obsessed with right now. So if you have some time, watch it and give it a like and/or subscribe—I know she’ll appreciate that as much as I appreciate her promoting my work. Here’s the link–I didn’t embed it so that she’ll get the views on her channel:

https://youtu.be/Ykswsj6m3Pk

As I’m writing this, sweet little Ilana is lying on the chair next to me, basking in the sunshine. Sadly, sweet little Atlas is in the kitchen behind a baby gate because he still doesn’t know what to do with her. We’ve been keeping them separated, giving Ilana the run of the upstairs, but the other day, she was sitting in our bedroom window enjoying the spring air when Atlas suddenly appeared (somehow the gate downstairs got moved). He rushed in and before I could do anything, he tried to jump up and sniff her, causing her to freak out. By the time I had yelled to distract him, she’d managed to rip a large hole in the window screen in her desperation to escape, but was able to retreat to her own end of the house before he realized she was gone. It was time for a conversation:

Me: Look what you’ve done!
Atlas: Not me.
Me: Well, if you hadn’t charged at her, it wouldn’t have happened. Leave her alone!
Atlas: But is squirrel. I chase squirrel.
Me: She’s not a squirrel. Squirrels are black.
Atlas: Is black.
Me: She’s black and white. She doesn’t look anything like a squirrel. Stop chasing her.
Atlas: I love her.
Me: You have a weird way of showing it.

And speaking of weird ways to show admiration, the other day one of our more “quirky” customers was standing at the counter. Suddenly, he looked over at me, where I was helping a woman decide on a ring, and yelled across the store, “Hey! You have a clean face!” I kind of muttered “Thank you,” and he followed up with, “Are you married?!” at which point, my young boss told him very sternly to stop harassing the staff. Clean face? I guess that criteria is as good as any other…

My Van Blog

For about the last six weeks, I’ve been noticing a strange phenomenon in my comments folder—well, my SPAM comments folder anyway. Apparently, and without me having done anything to deserve it, I’ve become the darling of the van world. That’s right—vans. People with vans ADORE me, if the comments I keep stumbling upon are any indication. For example, ‘Benz Camper Van’ is amazed by me. “Free Bird Camper Van’ feels that I made some really good points. “Cargo Van Conversion’ has bookmarked my site, and 2021 Mercedes Benz 200 High Roof V6 4WD Cargo Van’ called my post “Spilling The Beans”, where I discuss my hatred for coffee, an outstanding share. And there are, quite literally, hundreds of similar comments, all from avid readers who live in vans. Some of them are so excited by my posts that they’re buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each other in gratitude for having shared my writing. ‘Camper Van Graphics Ideas’ told me I was cool, and although I already kind of figured I was, it’s still nice to have it verified by an objective third party. Many of my new fans love my colours and theme, and despite the web browser compatibility issues and duplicate comments that some of my fans are reporting, it seems that everyone is thrilled by my posts, regardless of the topic. Well, everyone except for ‘Sprinter Camper Vans’ who was disappointed by my blog and called me an attention-seeking whiner. I tried not to take that to heart, especially in the face of such overwhelming adulation from the rest of the van crowd.

This picture is blurry but if you click on it, you can read it.

But I’ve been dying to know what prompted the outpouring of goodwill from van aficionados. I haven’t actually owned a real van, just one of those mini-vans that we bought when Kate was little, and here is the only evidence, albeit minor, of my van ownership, and it took me half an hour of searching through old photo albums to find it.

My sole experience with a camper van was travelling somewhere, and I can’t even recall where, with a childhood friend and her family. The van they had was the type with those large floor to ceiling windows, but for some reason, the trip to wherever we were going and then back home again seemed to happen in the middle of the night, because I don’t remember any scenery at all. In fact, the only thing I remember is that they kept playing the same weird song over and over again. It was called “The Snakes Crawl At Night”. As a child, I assumed the song was actually about snakes crawling around at night, since the only lyrics that I remember to this day are “The snakes crawl at night/That’s what they say/When the sun goes down” and at the time it seemed like the creepiest thing in the world. But then, like, right before I typed this sentence, I googled the song, and it’s by Charlie Pride, and the song is about a man whose wife is cheating on him and then he SHOOTS HER BOYFRIEND AND GETS THE DEATH PENALTY. And I have to seriously wonder what kind of people think EITHER version is okay to play on repeat in a camper van full of children. None of my new fans, I’ll bet.

At any rate, I’m going to bask in the glow of my new-found camper van fame. Maybe if I play my cards right, I’ll win some kind of award, like the What Van? Award and join the ranks of other premiere bloggers like Fiat Ducato, who I assume is a famous Italian writer.

In other news, I have something super-exciting on the horizon, which I can’t tell you about yet, but suffice it to say that I’ll have a big announcement before the end of the month. No, I’m not expecting, as an elderly woman asked me a couple of weeks ago at work, simply because I was wearing a flowy top, to which I replied, “Well, I’m 56 and have no uterus, so that would be a minor miracle.” No, this thing even better than having someone flatter me by assuming I’m young enough to still bear children. Or a close second, anyway. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, Happy Mother’s Day to the moms, step-moms, foster moms, sisters, aunts, and mentors out there. You all deserve to be spoiled on this special day!

That’s Not My Name

The other day, I was standing at the counter at work with my colleague, the Wiccan healer. She had just returned from a two-week absence due to covid, and was quite anxious to know if my recent mammogram had, indeed, revealed the issues that she had predicted. They didn’t, as you’re aware if you read my last post, and she was bummed out over the whole thing, but brightened up when I told her I was pretty sure that there was an old cast iron fireplace in a back corner booth with a nasty aura. She was just about to go cleanse it and perform a smudging ceremony (no, she’s not Indigenous and actually uses an aerosol “smudging” spray that she gets from a Chinese importer), when the anti-masker/anti-vaxxer/Flat Earther who works on the third floor walked by the counter. And as he walked by, he looked at us, made a flappy gesture with his hand, and said this: YO YO BITCHES!

Now, I’ve been called many things in the workplace. For years when I was teaching, I was Mrs. Craig-Whytock. Then when I went to the secret agency, I was Suzanne, or Boss on occasion. I’ve been called Sweetheart, Hon, or Honey by those I know better than others, and currently, one of my employers tends to forget my name and calls me Susan. There was also the time that a student got really mad at me for kicking him out of summer school for being stoned and called me a f*cking *sshole. But never, I mean NOT ONCE, has a person I’ve worked with ever called me a b*tch (at least to my face). I stood there speechless, while the Wiccan laughed.

Me: Did he just call us “bitches”?
Wiccan: Yeah, haha. What a guy.
Me: I have no words.

Then, about an hour later, the same guy walked by us again, and this time, he mimed tipping his hat, and said, “M’Ladies” and I’ve never been so confused in my life, but I guess that’s par for the course when you work at a minimum wage job in customer service? And now I have to come up with a clever comeback that works for all occasions. I’m thinking about screaming, “Yass Queen, come through!!!” at him unless any of you have a better suggestion.

In other news, now that Kate’s cat Ilana is officially adopted into our household, I can finally share pictures of her with you. She’s two years old but tiny as a kitten, and absolutely adorable. She’s very affectionate and super-purr-y, especially if you give her treats, which I do all the time, and which she’s grown to expect, so now every time I go in Kate’s room, she comes running to ‘Nana’ and tries to climb up my leg to get a Frisky. Atlas doesn’t quite know what to make of her—his only experience of animals as small as Ilana is squirrels in the backyard, which he chases with gusto. Luckily, the squirrels can escape to the trees and Ilana has her cat tower. We currently have the house divided up with baby gates—hopefully, they’ll get used to each other soon.

Silver(be)ware

Last week, I brought a box of silverware home from my booth because the knife holder thingy had detached itself and I wanted to repair it. The silverware and the box are heavy, so instead of lugging it all the way back to the antique market, I decided to post it on Facebook Marketplace for $70. The ad was a picture of the silverware, the box, the hallmarks etc. and the description read as follows: “Gorgeous 1928 hallmarked Bruckman German silverware. 12 dinner forks, 8 dessert forks, 8 teaspoons, 7 large spoons and 1 large serving spoon, and 11 knives with never-rust blades. Comes with box. Located in Drumbo Ontario.”

Two things happened as a result. First, I was inundated with all the usual stupid questions:

Is it silver?
Is it silverplated?
How many pieces are there?
How old is the set?
Is it English?
Where are you located?
Is it sterling?

I was asked that last question several times, because apparently there are people out there who think you can buy an entire set of solid sterling silver cutlery for $70, and not the ten grand it would actually be worth. So I updated the ad to include the rider, “Obviously, based on the price, this is high quality silver plate, not solid sterling.”

The second thing that happened was that I realized that there are a LOT of people who think you can buy and sell priceless objects for veritable pennies (or even free), based on the ads that some people are posting:

1) This is a picture of a piece of wood with the word “undies” written on it in what looks like black crayon. The description reads, “If you turn this down you clearly dont know art.” After considering for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that people who DO know Art are aware that he regularly runs out of underwear and is reduced to begging for ten dollars’ worth of it on the internet. But the description is a little ominous. If I DO turn the request down on the principle that Art is a grown-ass man and should get a job to fund his foundation garment issues, is he going to come after me and drag me out to an underwear store, forcing me to buy him a pair? And for ten dollars, it will be only one pair—have you SEEN the cost of undies these days? The whole thing seems a little aggressive to me.

2) Of course, the opposite of aggressive is passive-aggressive, and I think this ad fits that bill perfectly. While it SEEMS incomprehensible, I think it’s just a very clever way of getting sh*t out of your house without having to move it yourself, like “If you want this free thing, I’m not helping you move it, but you and your friends can come get it. By the way, I have a sore back, so don’t blame me for expecting you to do all the work, I mean this thing is FREE after all.” But the best part was that at first, I looked at the ad really quickly and thought that Louis meant that the buyer and their friends would need to carry it on their backs, and I know it’s free, but you can’t MAKE people do tricks for you without a little more incentive. Like, throw in a “free away” couch or something, you know, sweeten the pot.

3) Then we go from aggressively passive-aggressive to quantum mechanics. Apparently this is not just a simple mirror, it’s Schrodinger’s Mexican Punched Tin and Talavera Tile Mirror. Currently, it’s in a large box where it is simultaneously free and not free. But seriously, why do this? If you don’t want to give it away, put a price in the box that asks you for the price instead of being so ornery about it, like “It’s NOT FREE, BRENDA. I KNOW IT SAYS FREE BUT IT’S NOT. GODDAMMIT.”   

In other news, good news that is, I had my regularly scheduled mammogram on Thursday morning, and the results came back yesterday, congratulating me that my boobs are still just fine. I wouldn’t have thought otherwise, but I work with a woman who styles herself as a Wiccan healer and a few weeks ago, my shoulder was really bothering me, so she offered to do a “Wiccan healing therapy session” on it at work. This involved me sitting in a chair and her breathing deeply, waving her hands around and then pressing them down on my shoulder. During the “treatment”, she suddenly stopped and asked, “Do you have any problems with cysts in your breasts?”

I said no, and she continued very ominously, “I’m detecting quite a few on the left. You should get it checked out.” And while I don’t believe that anyone, even the MOST qualified Wiccan healer on the planet could magically detect a boob issue, she DID cleanse the back corner of the antique market of the dangerous presence that she detected back there. Well, she THINKS she did, but *whispering voice* it’s still there