My Week 39: I Am A Daredevil (kind of), and How To Get Out Of Setting Yourself On Fire

Monday: I may or may not be a daredevil

On Sunday night, T and I left for a mini-vacation to Blue Mountain Resort. Ken couldn’t come, because he’s a big baby, and way too honest to take sick days off work when he’s not actually sick. I didn’t have to do that of course; I took two days off in exchange for working two other days the next week that I didn’t have to, being technically off for the summer. Another reason why I love my new job. Anyway, we arrived Sunday night, then got up nice and early on Monday morning (bearing in mind that 10 am is “early” for T), and planned our day. I was all gung ho to try a lot of the different activities and prove that I was adventurous. Yep, that was the plan. But here’s how it went down:

The Ridgerunner: This is a roller coaster type ride. You get strapped into a car which is attached to a mono-rail type thing, and then you get pulled on a 75 degree angle up the mountain. When you get to the top, you go back down in a series of dips and gyres at around 45 km. per hour. That might not seem very fast, but believe me, it is, when it’s just you and blind faith that your car is NOT going to break off the track and smash into the mountain. I had done this one already last year, and knew what I was in for. T and I made a “no brake pact” in honour of our uncle/brother-in-law who passed away recently, and by the time I reached the bottom of the hill, I was a little hoarse from the involuntary screaming. But it’s all very safe, and the people who run it make you watch a video first, then check your seatbelt and the car to make sure everything is functioning the way it should. Which just shows you how times have changed. When I was a kid, Blue Mountain had something called the Slide Ride. This was a concrete chute that went down the mountain, and the cars ran freely in the track, kind of like a crazy-ass bobsled run. You had a hand brake that, in theory, would slow you down by grinding on the concrete, but it was a theory in the same vein as Fred Flintsone’s feet being able to stop his dino-car. There was no age or height limit, and kids would fly out of the cars or off the track all the time. I don’t even remember being told to wear the seatbelt. The attitude back then was less “safety first” and more “you probably shouldn’t smoke on this ride—you’ll need both hands to brace yourself against impact when you hit the curve and launch into the air”. Anyway, the Ridgerunner was a blast, and I got off laughing.

I stopped laughing when T convinced me to try something called the “Apex Bag Jump”. While this may sound kind of like a fun, bouncy castle-ish thing, it’s actually a set-up where you jump off a high platform onto something akin to a stuntman’s gigantic airbag. From the ground, this didn’t look so bad. Then we got up on the platform, and the very enthusiastic attendant told us we had a qualifying jump first before we could jump from the higher towers, and explained that the proper way to do it was to take a running leap off the platform from something that looked like the plank on a pirate ship, then cross your arms in midair and land in a seated position. Are you f-ing kidding me? I am NOT a multi-tasker. Plus, it was WAY higher than it looked from the ground, probably 30 feet up at least, with each tower higher than the previous one. T went first though, and after a couple of false starts, he leapt off the platform and landed perfectly. The attendant gave him a thumbs up. Then it was my turn. I stood at the edge, looked out over the bag, and knew how people felt when pirates made them “walk the plank”, only the metaphorical sword poking me in the back was my pride. So I swallowed my terror, ran and leaped into the air. When I landed on the bag, the attendant called out, very cheerfully, “Oh, almost! You’ll have to do it again!” T was like “you can do it, Mom!”, so I gave him a grim smile and trudged back up the tower. When I got there, I said to the attendant, “I need you to do me a favour. No matter what happens, I want you to tell me I DIDN’T qualify. If I have to do this from higher up than I already am, I will have a heart attack. Please. I’m begging you.” He looked momentarily confused, but agreed to say that I couldn’t qualify. After several false starts, and with T shouting encouragement, I jumped again. As I landed, I heard the attendant call out, “Oh too bad! You didn’t qualify. But your son can have all your tickets, so he gets extra jumps!” So in the end, it worked out OK, except that T overheard the attendant say to me, “Actually, your form was fine—you would have qualified for the next level”, and he was like, “What?!”, but he forgave me for being a big wussy. And I was able to take a picture of him in midair, jumping off the highest tower, which was pretty cool.

But then we came to the next activity on the list—the Timberland Treetop Challenge. This is an activity for crazy people. It involves helmets, harnesses, carabiners, hooks, and other assorted mountain climbing type gear. You put it all on and then you climb a 40 foot tower, and traverse a course that includes rope bridges, tight ropes, 2 by 4 swings that dangle in midair that you have to step on to get to the next platform, balance beams, ziplines with angled landing pads, and other insane sh*t. And you do all this while you’re attached to a thin wire over 50 feet in the air. I managed to climb up the tower, and when I dragged myself up over the edge, my fear of heights came back full force. Well, let me clarify—I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of falling FROM THEM. I looked at what was ahead of me—planks of wood that were swaying back and forth, leading to a platform 30 feet away—then I looked behind and considered the likelihood that I would be able to climb DOWN the tower. I had no choice but to go forward. By the time I reached the first platform, my legs felt like rubber, but I soldiered on. At one point, I was hanging off a 20 foot wide cargo net, my upper body and shoulders burning with the exertion and my feet scrabbling for purchase, when it occurred to me that this probably wasn’t the best activity for a woman in her late 40s who never works out. When we got to the end of the first course, another enthusiastic attendant named “Josh” said, “See? Wasn’t that great? Now you can do the second course.” Surprisingly, by that time, I was so desensitized to the fear that I said, “Yeah, all right.” So T and I did course 2 and 3. When we were finished, Josh was like “Wasn’t that fun??!!” T and I both agreed that No, it wasn’t fun. But we felt a great sense of accomplishment, and I have the bruises to show for it. And as T pointed out, if we were ever in a burning building, we knew that we were capable of shimmying out onto a ledge high above the ground and leaping into a firefighter’s net. Another worst case scenario taken care of. Huzzah!

Ironically, the scariest part of the whole trip was when I was accosted by a deaf panhandler in Booster Juice. He handed me a card that instructed the reader to “purchase it for whatever amount you think is fair”. Well, I didn’t WANT to purchase it, so I put it down on the counter and shook my head. At which point, he started looming over me in a very unfriendly fashion, and yelling at me in sign language. I know he was yelling because he was mouthing some pretty inappropriate language. I panicked and ran out without my drink, looking for T, who was waiting for poutine up the street. The bizarre thing is that I deal with panhandlers all the time in Toronto, and they’re pretty much always really pleasant, even if you don’t want to give them anything. They know how to market themselves for a big city clientele, unlike these entitled resort hobos.

Overall, it was a great trip though—T and I spent a lot of time just people-watching, inventing names and occupations for strangers. My favourite is still “Guido and The Smoke”, two Jersey Shore-looking guys, one of whom (The Smoke) we decided worked in a bar. The other, Guido, was a professional mini-golfer who was going through a career crisis because he had just been beaten on the Blue Mountain mini-putt course by The Smoke’s 5 year-old son, who was now celebrating his victory by dancing around in the fountain in front of Wild Wing. Guido was shoeless, sitting on the steps of the fountain, and wiping his eyes, while The Smoke, who was shamelessly smoking in defiance of the No Smoking sign directly in front of him, kept coming over to pat him on the shoulder in a gesture of manly comfort. Or maybe he didn’t “qualify” for the bag jump—it happens.

Saturday: How to get out of setting yourself on fire.

So yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States, which is affectionately known as SCOTUS, which, I’m sorry, is a little too close to “scrotum” for my taste, legalized gay marriage. So no more sombre marriages, y’all! No, I kid. Anyway, apparently there is an evangelical pastor down in the States who declared a couple of weeks ago that he would SET HIMSELF ON FIRE if the ban on gay marriage was overturned. And guess what? It was! Now, I haven’t heard what his plan is yet, but I’m pretty sure he was just bluffing, having that typical evangelical arrogance that the Supreme Court justices were all dicks like him. But wait—what do you do when you say you’re going to do something, and now you’re having second thoughts? Especially if it involves self-immolation? Cuz that is definitely not the same as missing a party because you’re tired. So here are a few ideas for how to NOT set yourself on fire when you said you were going to.

1) Set myself on fire if GAY MARRIAGE was legalized? What? I thought they said NEIGH Marriage. People should NOT be allowed to marry horses—it’s just wrong.

2) This humidity! All my matches are so damp—I couldn’t light a fire to save my life!

3) Last night an angel came to me and said, “Don’t set yourself on fire over this. Hold out for marriage between humans and aliens from other planets. (whispers) It’s coming.”

4) I was speaking metaphorically. And now I will burn this headshot of myself. It was taken during my early figure skating career, when I was definitely NOT gay.

5) I was only kidding! Did you take me seriously? Dude, I am SO sorry.

6) I can’t set myself on fire because I recently learned that I am also gay. And now I will be marrying my long-time friend and companion, Larry.

7) Apparently, there are bylaws in this city against burning trash. So sorry.

8) F*ck you, I’m moving to Canada. Wait, what?

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My Week 38 – The Hottest New Pick-up Spot, Observing a Roofing Crew

Monday: The lengths lonely men will go to

Earlier this week, I posted on Facebook that I thought there was nothing creepier than men who hung out in the women’s underwear section at Marshall’s. There were a lot of funny comments, especially from people who assumed I meant Ken. But he defended himself staunchly and the scandal soon abated. The bigger issue, though, is how I came to be in the underwear section at Marshall’s. Not that shopping for underwear is unusual, but I normally do it once a year, buy 25 pairs of the same thing in different colours, then I’m good to go for a while (ie technically, I would only have to do laundry 15 times a year). But now that I’m dividing my time between home and Toronto, I’ve had to also divide my lady wear. I keep them in two wooden boxes in my walk-in closet—one for upper garments and one for lower. When I first moved in, I just kept them on an open shelf, but then I had some friends from work over who wanted a tour (my condo is 624 square feet so it didn’t take very long). As they passed the walk-in closet, the door of which was wide open, I realized to my horror that if anyone looked inside, my “intimates” would no longer be fit to be called by that name. So I hastily shut the closet door—nothing to see here, folks!—and got the wooden boxes for storage. The problem is, the boxes are on the top shelf and I can’t actually see into them, so I just feel around and grab what I need. Unfortunately, on Monday morning, I reached into the box, rummaged around, and discovered that the box was empty. Apparently, I had miscalculated the ratio of underwear to days in the week. I had 10 minutes to get dressed and get to work, so I was stuck and my options were severely limited, as you can well imagine. I won’t tell you the decision I ultimately made—I leave that up to you and what you would do in similar circumstances. Which leads me, literally, to the underwear section at Marshall’s, having decided that some back-up items were an absolute necessity. I went through the racks, but the trouble with places like Marshall’s and Winners is that the selection is sometimes pretty sparse. I know I’d have better luck in a big mall, but I can’t stand the Eaton Centre with its noise, and all the crazy people who stand outside trying to sell you things, get money from you, or try to convert you to their cults (yes, I’m talking to YOU, Scientologists). At any rate, as I was perusing the limited goods, I realized that there were at least two men just HANGING OUT around the racks, one on one side, and the other near the window. Now, the lingerie area at Marshall’s is in the far corner, so it’s not like these guys got lost on their way to power tools or something, and the only other woman there was very elderly, and obviously not married to either, or both, of them. And it got me thinking—is this, like, the new pick-up spot? It makes sense, I suppose—you can tell a lot about a woman based on the type of underwear she buys: thongs, for those who might be a little adventurous, or just can’t stand too many layers of fabric on their posteriors (I once had a friend who said she wore thongs because her underwear “always ended up in her butt crack anyway, so why not just minimize the bunching?”), boy briefs for the sporty sisters, regular briefs for the traditionalists, and of course, granny panties for those who prefer comfort to style, or are actually grannies. So maybe these guys were playing the smart game, looking for someone compatible in a kind of weird, psychologically astute way. Or maybe they were just lonely creeps, fantasizing that someday, a woman would hold up a pair of frilly panties and ask, “Hey there, hot stuff–what do you think of these?”, and it would be the start of a beautiful relationship. Can you imagine 10 years down the road, when the kids ask, “So how did you and Mommy meet?” Who’s to say? All I know is that it made me really uncomfortable, like every time I started to reach for something, I imagined an intake of anticipatory breath and shifty eyes following my hand to see where it went. Ick. Next time I’m going to Victoria’s Secret, where the guys who hang out there actually work there, wear eyeliner, and help you find stuff in a “not looking for a hook-up” kind of way.

Friday: The hole in the roof next door

When I first moved into my condo, I was initially alarmed by how high up I was, and the fact that I had floor to ceiling windows made me a little dizzy. But I soon learned to love the view—I can see the sun rising over the lake in the morning, and the city lights are gorgeous at night. But the best part is that my condo directly overlooks the roof of the building next door, which, when I moved in, featured a quite lovely roof garden with raised boxes of shrubberies, lighted paths, benches, and so on. Then around the beginning of March, I looked out and saw a crew of workers who were starting to dismantle the whole thing. I was initially dismayed, but not long after they ripped it apart and took it down to bare concrete, they started laying down new rubber membrane and then patterned paving stones. I’ve had ongoing hope that one day it will be an even more beautiful rooftop garden. But the PACE of the workers is starting to concern me. There are 4 men, and they arrive around 7 am every day, and they’re gone by the time I get home from work. And so far, they haven’t even finished LAYING the paving stones. On Thursday night when I got in, it seemed that most of the stones at my end of the roof were in place. Except for one spot, where there was a hole with a single paving stone missing. I assumed they had left it because it was quitting time, and that it would be easy to finish up the next morning. Holy Hannah, was I ever wrong.

On Friday morning, I got up, and the crew was there. They’re too far away to really identify but there are 4 guys—let’s call them Bill, Frank, Bob, and Monty. Over the course of the next hour, as I was getting ready for work, I was fascinated by their activity—or lack thereof:

7:02 – Bill, Frank, and Monty are wandering aimlessly around the roof. Bob comes out of the porta-potty. (I have NO idea how they got a porta-potty up there.) I go into the bathroom and wash my face.

7:05 – Bill is staring at the hole. Frank is leaning against the wall, having a smoke. I put in my contact lenses.

7:07 – Bill is standing IN the hole. Frank is staring at him. I wash my hair.

7:10 – Bill and Frank are BOTH standing in the hole. It’s a tight fit AND they’re facing each other. I dry my hair.

7:15 – Frank is standing in the hole. Bill is about 10 feet away, lying on his stomach facing the hole and using his thumb as a gauge. For what exactly, I have no idea. Monty is hovering nearby. No sign of Bob. I pour out some cereal and go back into the bathroom to put on some make-up.

7:20 – Frank is out of the hole, and Bill is once again in it. He’s jumping up and down. Frank observes him carefully. I put my cereal bowl in the sink and apply mascara.

7:22 – Frank and Bill are kneeling on either side of the hole. They are facing each other and look like they are genuflecting. Perhaps a small god lives in the hole. I brush my teeth.

7:24 – Monty is standing in the hole. Frank and Bill observe him carefully. Could it be a time-travel portal? Maybe that explains what happened to Bob, whom I haven’t seen in a little while. No, wait—Bob has just come out of the porta-potty again. So much for the time-travel theory. Unless the porta-potty IS the portal. Hmmm. I go into my room to get dressed.

7:29 – Monty and Bill are standing next to the hole. Bob has made his way over, and seems to be instructing Frank on how to kill an insect by stomping repeatedly on it with his foot. He stomps, then looks encouragingly at Frank, who then stomps a little himself. They continue this for several minutes. I pack my lunch.

7:33 – Bob and Frank are still “killing insects”. Monty and Bill are now both lying on their stomachs across from each other, facing the hole, and both are using their thumbs as gauges. Again, for what, I have no idea. I get my bags ready to leave.

As I leave, Bill is once again IN the hole. Monty, Frank, and Bob are observing him carefully. I have hope that, based on the efforts of the morning, the hole will be filled by the time I get home from work.

4:30 – I arrive at my condo, anxious to see what progress the crew have made. Not only is the hole still visible, there are now at least 14 other holes where once there were none. It’s going to be a long summer.

My Week 37: The Real Story Behind the Couch, Weirdness, and Mistaken Identity

Monday: I get a new couch…well, new to me anyway

On Monday, I had to take my recycling downstairs. I don’t have a lot, just cereal boxes and plastic bottles, that sort of thing, but my building has this crazy garbage chute system that doesn’t accept things like that. It has three buttons—one for fine paper, one for “organic waste”, and one for regular trash—and you have to open the door to a tiny, heavily deodorized room, push the right button, then open the chute and toss your bag in. There is no light in this room—there’s a sign that says it’s to save power, which I find ironic, because on the TOP of my building there’s this huge beacon that was designed by some famous artist which is continually lit up in vibrant colours that coordinate with the current temperature. Like, blue for when it’s really cold, red for when it’s hot, green for when it’s foggy—you get the idea. So you can pretty much tell what the weather is like from the beacon colour, except that you have to be OUTSIDE to see the beacon, which means you already KNOW WHAT THE WEATHER IS LIKE. Redundant is what I think, but I’m not a famous beacon designer. Anyway, I digress. When I have actual recycling that can’t go down the actual garbage chute, I have to go down to what I refer to as the big garbage terminal. This is a giant room the size of an actual bus terminal, where the building’s garbage dumpsters are located. This room simultaneously terrifies me and fascinates me. It’s more heavily deodorized than the garbage chute room, but nothing, no matter how powerful, can mask the smell of the garbage. The main access is through the “Pet Spa”, which no one ever uses, and in its dim light, it looks like a creepy operating room. When you actually get to garbage central, it’s always deserted, so you kind of wander around in there, looking for the right dumpster and worrying that someone might be lurking behind it. BUT, the room is also the place where people put stuff at the end of the month when they move out and don’t want to pay to take it with them. When I moved in, I got a great floor lamp for my condo that had been left down there by the previous occupants. So every once in a while, I put myself through the ordeal of the big garbage terminal, just to see if there are any other treasures awaiting. (I should clarify at this point, that these things are not IN the dumpsters, just sitting there on the floor. Ken and I HAVE taken things out of dumpsters before, but that’s another story). And this past week, I struck gold. When I got back on Sunday night, I remembered that I wanted to get rid of my Corn Pops boxes (it’s a healthy AND fun breakfast, y’all), so I wandered downstairs. When I got there, the room was full of all kinds of things, so I spent a good few minutes poking around and checking it out. Then I saw it. A cream-coloured, leather loveseat. I circled around it—there was seemingly nothing wrong with it. “This would be perfect for my condo,” I thought. “But wait…how the hell would I ever get it upstairs?” I stared at it for a few more minutes, but it didn’t leap up and offer to carry itself, so I left the room, giving it several lingering and longing glances.

The next night, I was sitting and watching TV, no make-up, old glasses on. I had been out with a friend, and may or may not have had a few drinks, but I’d been thinking about the loveseat all day, and the unfairness of someone else getting it, or it going to the landfill, and the more I sat there looking at the empty space in my condo, and in my heart, that the loveseat could fill, the more pissed off I got. Until finally, about 10:15, when I said to myself very aggressively, “You go get that goddamn loveseat! Do it now! Before you sober up!” So I got up, threw some clothes over my pajamas, and went storming downstairs to make sure it was still there. Screw the roof beacon—there was my loveseat, still sitting in the garbage terminal, like a beacon of furniture awesomeness. I marched into the lobby and said to the concierge, “There’s a piece of furniture in the garbage room that I want. Please unlock the back of the elevator for me. And by the way, I usually look much prettier than this.”

He laughed and said, “Sure thing. And by the way, so do I.” None of this seemed at all unusual to him, but then he told me on the way to the garbage room that he “was new” and it was his first night shift, so he probably thought that crazed, somewhat boozy women demanding furniture at 10:15 at night was just par for the course. Anyway, he went to unlock the elevator, and it was my job to get the loveseat into it, judging by the way he didn’t reappear. I gave it a shove with my knee, and it moved a few inches. This was a good sign. But I was done with subtleties. In a Herculean show of sheer strength of will, I leaned down, picked one end up, and started SHOVING. And it started SLIDING. I slid it all the way to the elevator, and discovered the concierge still waiting. Together, we got it into the elevator standing up on one end, and he and I bid each other good night. When I got to my floor, it was no problem to tip it out of the elevator and continue shoving it down the hall to the door of my condo. Then, I was suddenly stymied by logistics. How was I going to actually get it THROUGH THE DOOR? It was too wide to shove through, and I wasn’t strong enough to pick it up and angle it. I stood there, panting from exertion, wondering if I would just have to abandon it in the hallway after all that work, when the door down the hall opened and my neighbour came out. “Is everything all right?” she asked.

“Oh sure,” I replied. “I’m just trying to figure out how to get this couch into my condo.”
“No problem,” she said. “My husband and his brother can help.”

Yes, just like that. So out they came, picked it up, and put it in place in under 30 seconds. I should just point out that these are the same neighbours whose baby sometimes wakes me up in the night, so I didn’t feel guilty watching them carry the loveseat in. They left, and I was finally alone with my new loveseat. I looked at it, and it looked at me. I walked over and gave it a good sniff. It smelled fine. Then I had a horrible thought. What if it had been abandoned for reasons OTHER than it being too expensive to move? What if there was something living in it? (Does anyone else remember the “Big Bang Theory” episode when Penny finds a chair on the street, and it turns out to be a rat house?) But the only thing I could do at that point was to go to bed and see what happened in the morning. I shut my bedroom door tight against intruders and went to sleep. When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I carefully opened the door, and peeked out. All was quiet. Later that day, I bought leather cleaner, and gave it a thorough going over with that, and soapy water as well, just to make sure. I was having a friend over for dinner, so this would be the true test. It might seem kind of mercenary, but there was NO WAY I was sitting on it until someone else had tried it out first. When she arrived, I poured her a glass of wine and directed her to make herself at home. She sank into the loveseat, tucked up her feet, and said, “Ahh–what a comfortable couch!” I smiled—and breathed a sigh of relief.

Thursday: I have encounters with several strange people.

It’s kind of ironic that I’m writing on this topic when I imagine that the concierge of my building AND my neighbours probably thought that they’d had their own encounter with a strange person on Monday night. But I came across some weird people myself last week, and the top three deserve to be given the attention they’re due.

1) On Tuesday, I was in Starbucks. I wasn’t GETTING anything, because I don’t drink coffee and their hot chocolate sucks, so I was waiting for a couple of colleagues. I was just standing there, and a guy came over to put sugar in his coffee. He stirred it, then turned, looked at me right in the eyes, took a deep sip while still staring at me, and said, very enthusiastically, “Yummmmm!!” Then he rolled his eyes back in a swoon-y kind of way. It was super strange, so I just gave him a little half-smile, and turned away. Now, I’ve been known to do the same kind of thing with wine, but only to people I actually KNOW. Then another woman came along and he started talking to her as I scuttled away from his coffee creepiness. It occurred to me later that maybe he thought I was his wife or something—you know how you’re in the grocery store or something and you see someone out of the corner of your eye and start talking to them about cauliflower and it turns out NOT to be your husband but another random guy? Anyway, that’s what I’m HOPING it was all about.

2) On Wednesday, I was shopping at the Metro, and I passed by a woman who gives me the total creeps. I’ve seen her before, and I still can’t figure this one out. Before I get into details, let me clarify that she is NOT wearing a hijab or a niqab, and she dresses in very low-cut tops so I don’t think she’s Muslim. She walks around the underground mall wearing a tartan scarf tied OVER HER ENTIRE FACE. It’s knotted at the back of her head, and her entire face, INCLUDING her eyes, is covered by this black, red, and white wool tartan scarf. But her hair is visible. Not only does she look like something out of a horror movie, I don’t know how the hell she sees anything. I tried it at home with one of my own wool scarves, and I was bumping into furniture and whatnot. But I’ve seen her a few times, and I just don’t get it.

3) I went to the Dundas theatre on Thursday with my brother to see the new MAD MAX movie. It was in the VIP theatre, which has amazing reclining lounge seats and bar service. After the movie, which was amazing, I went into the bathroom. There was a girl in there who was doing “sexy poses” in front of the mirror. I totally get this—there’s nothing wrong with being caught pretending to be a porn star. But she kept doing it, even after it was obvious that I saw her. The whole time I was washing and drying my hands, she was making sexy, pouty faces into the mirror, and swivelling her hips provocatively, like I wasn’t there. I tried really hard NOT to snicker, because she wasn’t very good at it. As I left, she was still performing for her imaginary strip club audience.

Honourable Mention: The honourable mention for weirdness goes to the girl in my condo building who quite often gets on the elevator at the same time as me, eating a giant hot dog. Perhaps you don’t think that’s so very weird, but when I say “the same time”, I mean 7 o’clock in the morning. It’s a footlong in a bun, covered with ketchup, and all the way down, in this very small elevator, standing very close to me, she just gnaws away at it. It’s kind of nauseating, actually. Give me my Corn Pops any day.

Funny Anecdote of the Week: Yesterday, I went with my sister-in-law to pick up my 5 year-old nephew from school. When we got there, we peeked in the door. He didn’t see us, but one of his little friends did. “Hey,” he called out, “your mom’s here…..AND your grandma!” Just for the record, I’m only a couple of years older than my sister-in-law, but it HAD been a long week.

My Week 36: Mickey vs. Mighty, Caitlyn Jenner, Raven Gets Her Due

Sunday: Mighty Mouse Versus Mickey Mouse

Ken and I were driving back from the cottage and we had been talking about comic books, and what could be done with old ones (eg: using them to decoupage the drawers of dressers, which is one of my new, crazy ideas that I may or may not ever do) and I started thinking for some weird reason about Mighty Mouse.

Me: Do you think the Disney people sued the people who created Mighty Mouse?
Ken: I don’t think you can copyright a mouse. There are only so many different ways to draw a mouse.
Me: Yes, but why a mouse at all? He could have been a different type of vermin altogether.
Ken: I guess because it’s alliterative.
Me: Well, they could have made him a rat. Raunchy Rat. Rambunctious Rat.
Ken: Really Fast Rat.
Me: Sure honey—that’s the spirit. Racy Rat. See, there are all kinds of superhero names for rats, and they don’t infringe on copyright. Even if rats ARE really gross.
Ken: All I know is, I used to come home every day from Kindergarten and watch Mighty Mouse while I ate lunch. It never occurred to me that he was a rip-off of Mickey Mouse.
Me: Well, all I know is, the only difference between Mickey and Mighty is that one of them has a cape.

But then I did some research and it turns out that Mighty Mouse is WAY more awesome than Mickey Mouse. For one, it’s not just a cape—it’s an OPERA cape. Because Mighty Mouse doesn’t just speak—he sings operatic arias in a very deep, non-mouse-like baritone. TO THE NAZIS. When did Mickey Mouse ever battle the SS? There was the “Barnyard Battle” but that was World War ONE soldiers NOT the Nazis. And there was no singing. Just little Mickey squeaking away at the bad army guys. The Nazis were so intimidated by Mighty Mouse that they named a tank after him. It was a sh*tty tank by all accounts but it’s not Mighty Mouse’s fault that the Nazis were crap tank builders… I think it’s pretty apparent at this point that historical accuracy is NOT my forte. But I’m sticking with my original premise—Mighty Mouse is like Mickey to the power of 5. I’m not great with math either, but I think that’s a lot. So take THAT, Disney Corporation.

Wednesday: I consider whether being a woman or man is more awesome

Ken and I were talking about Caitlyn Jenner, and I said, in a kind of grumpy way, that it was OK for HER, because she got to be a woman after all the hard stuff was done, and that being a woman wasn’t as simple as putting on lip gloss and deciding what colour corset to wear for your Vanity Fair cover shoot. But Ken said that I was being judge-y, that Caitlyn Jenner probably knew that, and that it wasn’t easy being a man either. I agreed, after snickering just a little, that being a man was probably hard too. But I said I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be a man because being a woman is amazing, despite everything, and it was no wonder Bruce Jenner spent all of his life wanting to join our club. Then Ken said, Wait, that’s not fair, being a man is amazing too, so I challenged him to tell me three things about being a man that are better than being a woman. He didn’t even have to think—right away he gave me this list: Peeing outside, taking your shirt off, and not worrying about ANYTHING. And I said, Gosh, I can’t imagine WHY Caitlyn Jenner would have wanted to give all that wonderful stuff up. Then I reminded him of the following: I can pee outside, but it’s just icky and hard on the quad muscles. I can take my shirt off legally, but why the hell would I want to? Frankly, most men shouldn’t either. Last summer, I drove by a 90 year-old man on a riding lawnmower. He was shirtless and bouncing along the grass. You know how there are certain things you wish you could “unsee” but you just can’t erase it from your mind? That was one of them. And finally, yes, Ken doesn’t worry about anything. That’s because he has a wife who WORRIES ABOUT EVERYTHING!! How the hell does he think anything ever gets done in our house?*

(*Obviously, this is satirical. I couldn’t manage without Ken, who does more than his fair share of hard work around here. Although it’s true that he never worries about anything because I do all that FOR him.)

Friday: Raven gets her due.

I got home and Friday afternoon and Raven was sitting in the living room. She had her back to me, and refused to look at me.

Me: What’s wrong? I haven’t seen you all week and this is how you greet me?
Raven: I read your last blog.
Me: So? Didn’t you think it was funny?
Raven: Funny? FUNNY!? That’s like the 4th time you’ve written extensively about that oaf Titus. You know what I get? POO. Every goddamn time, you talk about my poo. I’m fed up with it.
Me: Well, you poo a LOT. But I take your point.

So I feel compelled to write a little something about Raven. Which is hard, because, aside from the pooing and her keen literary analysis skills, she doesn’t actually do much (sorry, Raven, but you know it’s true. For example, you just spent 11 hours lying on the back of the chair in the living room). But she DOES have some tricks and little quirks that endear her to us:

She comes when you call her. Most of the time. Other times, she just looks at you like, “What?”

She will meow at you until you follow her, then she will lead you to the bathroom and let you know what she needs with a series of glances. The other day, she beckoned me forth, and when we arrived, she sat down in front of the litter box. She looked at me, then looked at the box dolefully. I looked at her. Then she looked at the box again and I realized it needed to be cleaned. Which I did, resulting in her promptly using it again WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM. No sense of dignity, that one. (And notice I didn’t mention the poo). She also does the same thing with the water bowl and the food bowl.

She will jump up onto your lap if you pat your knee, then jump down when you stand up. You don’t even have to say anything—she just GETS the force of gravity.

She likes to play this game where, when you walk behind her, she starts to run away from you like she thinks you’re chasing her. Even when you say, “I’m not chasing you—calm down!”, she still keeps playing.

She waits until you stand up from your chair then jumps into the warm spot. Then when you try to sit back down, she won’t move. You pretty much have to sit AROUND her, or perch on the edge of the seat to avoid squashing her.

She refuses to go outside. You know how some cats lurk by the door and try to dart out any chance they get? Not Raven. Once, she accidentally wandered out onto the front porch when the door was left open. When I saw her, she was just sitting there looking confused and scared. Then she saw me and ran back INTO the house. Yep, definitely not a nature lover.

I think her best trick, though, is that when she’s really happy to see you, not only does she purr, but she leans up and gives you little kisses on your face. I don’t mean licking—I mean little pecks with her muzzle that let you know that she loves you. And we love you too, you crazy, poopy cat.