My Week 99: Jet Lag Grumpiness, The Tragically Hip

Jet lag makes me grumpy. I’ll be the first to admit that, or maybe the second, as Ken is well aware of the fact that I’ve been a little pissy this week. The poor guy has a bad cold and slept on the couch the other night because he was coughing and didn’t want to wake me up. My reaction?

Me: What the hell are you doing?
Ken: Um…whuh?
Me: How many times have I asked you NOT to use the couch cushions as pillows?! They’re expensive, and you’re making them all squishy!
Ken: But I—
Me: NO, Ken. You need to stop treating the couch like a flophouse. Use your own damn pillows. It’s not like you don’t have 6 of them all cluttering up the bed and sh*t.
Ken: *weak cough, sneeze* Sigh.

At any rate, I hope he forgives me for my pillow rant, although it’s true that he has like a thousand weird pillows on the bed that he just can’t sleep without—unless he’s on the couch. The fact is that I’m in a continual state of grogginess, thanks to the 6 hour time zone change, and as I get older, I find it harder to readjust my body clock. But Ken wasn’t the only one who felt my ire this week. I hope you’re prepared for this, because I’m about to vent. Here’s the list of 4 things that are REALLY grinding my gears this week:

1) Telemarketers who can’t even be bothered trying.

Twice in the last week, I’ve been the target of a completely uninspired, or blatantly bulls*t phone sales pitch. I’m not sure what’s going on—maybe it’s the brutal heat we’re experiencing in Canada, but people aren’t even TRYING. The phone rang yesterday. We don’t normally use our landline, but the caller ID said “C. Becker”, so I thought it might be, like, a normal human person. I answered the phone:

Me: Hello? HELLO? (sounds of talking in the background).
Guy: What? Oh hi. Mrs. __________? (mispronounces my last name)
Me: No, it’s _____________.
Guy: Haha. Right. Sorry. So….this is just the duct cleaning people calling.
Me: The duck cleaning people?
Guy: No, ducts. You know, like your furnace ducts and stuff. So, we’re having a promotion.
Me: Ah, sorry. We heat totally with wood.
Guy: No problem! Thanks!

“Just the duct cleaning people”. Is that seriously how a company expects to make money? And why the hell are their sales agents using their own damn phones? Anyway, I had his name and phone number on my caller ID, so the other day, I randomly called him back. Don’t worry; I blocked my number first. I didn’t get to talk to “Chris”, which is what I’m calling him, but I left this ominous message on his answering machine in my best Count Dracula voice: “Would you like your ducts cleaned?! Mwah hahahaha!!!” Then I hung up, turned around and realized that K was staring at me.

Me: The duct cleaning guy…
K: I condemn your actions.

But it still wasn’t as bad as the other day, when I answered the phone and a guy with a VERY heavy accent said, “Hello. My name is John Smith and I’m calling from Windows. There seems to be something wrong with your computer—“, and I said, “F*ck off” and hung up the phone. Then I felt terrible, because I’m usually really polite to telemarketers, but how stupid did he think I AM? Now I’m worried though, because when we were in Iceland, I wrote most of last week’s post on a netbook using Windows, and when we came back to Canada, the netbook crashed. All I could do was call up the post on Word, then retype the whole thing, which took me hours. So maybe that’s my karma for being all swear-y at John Smith, and now my Windows might really be f*cked up.

2) Olympic Sexism.

Like many people, I’m disturbed by the level of sexism in the current Olympics. There have been many articles written on the subject regarding women’s achievements being downplayed or overshadowed by constant references to what they’re wearing or who they’re married to. And while I agree with all that, I also think that there are a couple of sports in which women are their own worst enemies by not saying “Screw this.” The first one that comes to mind is Gymnastics. How can you seriously expect people NOT to make a distinction between the genders when you have such a different approach to the floor routine? The guys are all serious and badass and tumbling around, and when they finish a run, they take one weird swivel-y step to turn around. The women, on the other hand, look like they’re trying out for Little Miss Gymnastic Universe—they do their routines with perma-smiles, and shimmy their shoulders and shake their pre-pubescent-looking booties for the crowd in between THEIR tumbling runs. I don’t get it. At one point, I was like “Shouldn’t there be a pole somewhere on that mat?” These women are all INCREDIBLE athletes—why is it the expectation of their sport that they act like pageant princesses? Do they lose marks if they don’t look pretty and sexy? Dump the glitter and gyrating, and bring women’s gymnastics into the 21st century. And don’t get me started on the seeming necessity of the women’s Beach Volleyball team wearing bikini thongs compared to what the guys wear. They claim it’s comfortable and allows them to play better—maybe having sand in your lady parts is a great incentive to win. And just for the record, I’d have absolutely no problem with any of this if the guys were similarly dressed in thongs or glitter or whatever. In fact, it might make me MORE inclined to watch men’s Beach Volleyball.

3) Kidbashing.

This one has been making me grumpy for a lot longer than a week, but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound. Is it just me, or are other people sick as f*ck of all the childbashing that seems to be de rigeur in the last little while? My social media outlets are jampacked with “50 Reasons Why Being a Parent Sucks”, or “10 Things I Hate About My Kids” or “Why Being a Mom Is Crap”. From Twitter hashtags to nasty memes, this whole cyberbullying of our children has to stop. Being a parent is AWESOME. There. I said it. I’m deeply sorry that I don’t want to cash in by appealing to the frustrated parent in you all, but I actually LIKE being a mom. My daughter didn’t drive me to drink (I did that all on my own, thank you very much). She didn’t give me gray hairs (do I have any? I’ll have to ask my hairdresser), and I would never dream of embarrassing her by openly mocking what she does on the internet. Sure, I talk about her, but it’s with affection rather than mean-spiritedness. You know what she DID give me? Laugh lines. Because kids are hilarious. But you’d never know this from some of the negativity aimed towards parenthood lately. I actually read a post by someone who described being a parent as being akin to living in a barren wasteland with an empty soul. WHAT?? All I have to say to that is “Grow the f*ck up. Did you really think that your life would stay EXACTLY the same as it was before you had children? Did you think you could still ‘party with my ladies’, have your semi-annual girls’ weekend, or continue to hit the bars on a Friday night? If so, then hire a nanny and stop complaining.” I’m not wholly unsympathetic—I understand that spending time with the wee ones can be a little overwhelming at times, and when I was raising K, there were certainly occasions (few, I have to admit) where I needed to vent. You know who I vented to? My mom. Or a good friend. Or Ken. I didn’t share my thoughts and feelings with thousands of strangers on the internet where my momentary self-doubt would be archived forever, and where my negative thoughts about childrearing could be seen by my child at a future date. The worst part is that it’s making younger women fearful of becoming parents. I read an article the other day by a journalist who was considering having children, but after reading some “mommy blogs”, she was so scared off that she was re-thinking the whole thing. The most ridiculous thing I read lately was by someone who was so unhappy about being a mother, and the worst part was that her husband got to go out working and be with adults. But then he would come home and leave his underwear on the bathroom door handle, and ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE, she would have to put his underwear away. My first and only thought was, “Why the HELL are you picking up after a grown man?! Did you know that after a while, if you don’t pick up after him, he’ll have no clean underwear and will be forced to do his own laundry like an actual normal human person?” And now this poor guy feels like a dick because everyone on the internet knows he hangs his underwear on a doorknob.

Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can rightfully complain about being a parent. It really is the best gig in the world. You get to spend time with someone who is NEVER boring, and you get to teach them all the stuff they need to know. When you repeat “Can you say Mama,” over and over again, you’re creating neural pathways and networks. When you say “No, that’s hot—danger!”, you’re developing logic and reasoning. And when you say “Play nice and share,” you’re contextualizing the social construct. You’re a f*cking scientist, that’s what you are. So start embracing your inner Ph. D.—the internet, and your children, will thank you.

4) People who try to screw you over on Facebook buy and sell sites.

Ken and I are still trying to offload a lot of the furniture we had at the cottage we sold recently. The best way has been by using local Facebook buy and sell sites, but it can be frustrating at times. Most people are great—they come when they say they will, they give you the money, and they take away your stuff. Then you get the people who take two days of constant messaging and questions like “Is it in good condition?” (no, I posted it because it’s a piece of crap) to finally arrange a time to pick up an item. THEN they suddenly want to know if you’ll take half the asking price. You say No, then they come over when you’re out and try the same sh*t with your unsuspecting husband. But he’s no dummy (because you told him what the price was and he knows better that to barter on his own) so they leave empty-handed, having wasted everyone’s time. People like that are jerks. Enough said.

5) Amid all the grumbling this week, there HAVE been some good moments. Ken and I repaired the broken down antique settee that I got a garage sale and it looks great. I made risotto for the first time and it turned out almost OK. I bought groceries and it didn’t cost me a small fortune as it would have in Iceland. I saw Lisa, my Lancome lady, and she gave me a lot of free stuff. Which brings me to the thing that made me laugh my ass off this week. I saw my parents yesterday, and I gave my mom some peach-scented foot lotion, Calvin Klein body lotion, and lipstick that I got from Lisa. She called me last night:

Mom: I hope you don’t mind, but I gave the lotion to your Dad.
Me: No, that’s fine…
Mom: He’s decided to become a chick magnet so he needs soft skin.
Me: I—what?

So ladies, beware. If you see a really cool old Scottish guy who smells like peaches, you’re in trouble.

Saturday Night: The Tragically Hip


Last night was the final show of the Tragically Hip’s final concert tour. The lead singer, Gord Downie, has incurable brain cancer, and rather than fade away, he’s going out in fine Canadian style by bringing the country together. You might have seen the memes about Canada being closed for the night because our national broadcaster, the CBC, was showing the concert live across the nation for those who couldn’t get tickets to be there in person. Free. No commercial breaks. 3 hours of song. So that we could all embrace the band whose music was the soundtrack to so many of our lives. Hundreds of thousands of people watching all at the same time, some at huge parties with massive screens, some at home with the people they love, watching a man give everything he had left to the nation HE loves. It was inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time. In a year that we lost Bowie and Prince, two other icons of our youth, it seems incredibly unfair that Gord Downie, man, machine, poem, should be lost to us as well. And when the time comes, we’ll miss him fully and completely. Just wait and you’ll see.

Here’s the link to one of my favourite Hip songs—Nautical Disaster.


10 thoughts on “My Week 99: Jet Lag Grumpiness, The Tragically Hip

  1. Linda says:

    Well, said, darling! You’re bang on with everything. I fully and completely agree 😊

    Man, that concert was awesome. I was singing and bopping along right here at home; every song Gord Downie sang evoked a different memory and feeling for me. Very few songs of today’s so-called music does that for me; The Hip are classic that way.

    While I am always proud to be a Canadian, last night I felt a different kind of pride watching this incredible band perform their incredibly Canadian songs. I couldn’t help but feel how distinctly unique we are as a country. I mean, the CBC helped us shut this nation down for one evening and joined us all together in song. There was no nastiness, no racism, no hatred, no sexism, and all that other shitty stuff bombarding us. Instead, we were united in courage, admiration and love. It doesn’t get any better than that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree–yet another reason why Canada is such a great country. The Hip are everyone’s band from west to east coast, and last night proved it. I think we can all flash back to points in our lives where the Hip was playing in the background, cementing that moment in time for us. Kudos to the CBC for being the most caring national network on the planet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The second most heartbreaking part of Gord Downie’s farewell is that he’s not better known to those of us south of the border. We Yanks barely recognize the wealth of talent that has emigrated here from the Great White North, let alone the amazing performers who never cross over.
    And in my mind that relates to the Olympics in this way: back in 2002 during the opening ceremony I heard an American commentator say it was nice that small countries sent athletes “even though they have no chance of winning”. I was furious. The only athletes with no chance of winning are the ones who never compete. The odds in a competitor’s favor may be small but they all have a chance.
    With that in mind I hold out faint hope that Gord Downie’s cancer will go into remission. The odds may be small but there’s still a chance.
    And I also believe the male beach volleyball players should wear tight thongs. Speaking from my knowledge of male anatomy it would make them better players and more focused on the game. When a guy wears baggy shorts things tend to move around, which can be distracting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t win if you don’t play–true for the Olympics as much as anything else in life. I was always amazed that the Hip never became very well-known south of the border, when Justin Bieber was so famous. There was a time when it was almost embarassing that the Biebs was a Canuck, although he seems to have toned it down recently. (He shot one of his latest videos in Iceland–our landlord at the b and b made us watch it, and he was very proud of it.) We’re all praying for a miracle up here for Gord, but in true Downie fashion, he’s using his own tragedy to raise money and awareness for brain cancer research.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. like Sara...but with a d says:

    Why do the floor routines look all cheerleader-y? Not that there is anything wrong with being a cheerleader (I was one for 5 years growing up), but in every other event they just do the stuff and then floor becomes a show. Weird.

    Also, I love my kids, and I love being a parent. It can be awesome, like last night at dinner we had a discussion about the Butterfly Effect, the best part was my 10-year-old brought it up. It always amazes me when they know stuff that is totally separate from me, things that I never taught or showed them. It is like this neat “oh you are your own little person” moment and it always seems to catch me off guard (like the first time they sing along with a song I have never even heard before). I talk about them on my blog, but not in a negative way, just in a this is their personality and this is how we do things because of it kind of way. Is parenting hard? Yes. Do you sometimes want to bang your head against a wall in frustration? Of course. Does the enormity of the task sometimes seem like something I am completely unprepared for? Oh, Abso-frickin-lutely. Sometimes I just look at them and think “um, well guys, I hope I am doing an okay job and you both grow up to be well-rounded and productive members of society. You know they just let anyone be a parent, right?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think parents who are that self-reflected are always good parents. I totally relate to that moment you described–I felt it so many times myself. And now that my son is about to go to University, he really is his own person, and hard as it is, I have to separate myself from him and hope I prepared him well for the world.


  4. I never thought much about the difference between the male and female gymnasts, but you’ve got a point. Incidentally, I was so disappointed to hear that the phone call you got was from the duct and not the duck cleaning company. As it happens, I have this duck that suffers hygiene problems, and…

    Liked by 1 person

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