My Week 268: In Space, No One Can Hear You Drinking Wine

The other day, Ken and I were watching the news and there was a story on about the International Space Station. It was due to receive a shipment of supplies, among which was 12 bottles of fine French wine. “See,” I said, “I could totally be an astronaut if there was wine involved.” And then the story continued to explain that the astronauts wouldn’t be DRINKING the wine—it was an experiment to see how wine AGES IN SPACE. First of all, does anyone actually age wine? Aren’t you just supposed to drink it right away? I mean, the only time I EVER aged wine was when I had a bottle of Chardonnay and somehow it rolled under the couch, and I didn’t find it until we were re-arranging the furniture. And let me tell you, a Chardonnay that’s been lying next to a heating vent for three years pretty much tastes like cat piss. Well, at first anyway—then you get used to it. (Just kidding—I threw it out after the first glass).

At the wine store where my family “makes” wine, the owner is always telling me off for not filling the bottles high enough, because “too much oxygen will get in and, over time, will spoil the wine”, and I’m like, “How long do you think this case is sitting around for? Cuz I’ll be back next month.” And I put “makes” in quotations marks because our role is to order it, pay for it, then come back after 4 weeks and bottle it. What happens in between, I have no idea. All I know is that we show up at our appointment time, and put the wine in the bottles like a well-oiled Rube Goldberg Machine, with me filling the bottles, Dad corking, Mom as the label affixer extraordinaire, and Ken melting the foils on. We have it down to a fine art. (Fun Fact: I couldn’t remember the name of the Machine initially, and all I kept thinking of was a “RuPaul Machine”, but that would involve us the four of us being in drag and throwing shade at each other while we worked, and MY GOD, wouldn’t that be f*cking awesome?).

At any rate, as soon as we heard about the wine being aged in space, I said, “Well, I guess I couldn’t be an astronaut after all if there’s no wine. Watch—I’d get caught sneaking it and NASA would send me home on the next Russian shuttle” and Ken laughed and said, “That’s the ONLY reason?!” and he was right. Here are three other reasons why I could never be an astronaut:

1) I hate countdowns.

I’m the kind of person who thinks counting down is stressful. Like, when they say, “3, 2, 1, Blast-off!!”— do we blast off when we SAY “Blast off” or right AFTER we say it? And I know that some people HATE it when you ask questions for clarification and will get irrationally angry at you (*fake cough* NASA *fake cough*), but if I’m pushing a button that will launch me into space, I should probably know the EXACT moment to do it.

2) I abhor a vacuum.

I’m very much like nature in a lot of ways. For example, I have done several Facebook quizzes and know that if I was a fossil, I would be ammonite, if I was a dinosaur, I would be a Triceratops, and if I was a flower, I would be a lily, which is a weird coincidence because my first name is Hebrew for Lily. Anyway, just like nature, I hate vacuums. They are extremely noisy and yes, I know that a space vacuum is completely different, but I’m sure I would hate it too.

3) There are no Fluevogs in space.

Fluevogs are very fancy shoes, with only around 300 made in each style, and I have just discovered them. A couple of weeks ago, some of the women I work with went on an expedition to the Fluevog store, but I had to catch the train and couldn’t go. The next day they all came in wearing these outrageously cool shoes, all in different styles and colours—I heard someone once describe Fluevogs as the kind of shoes you would wear to an Alice In Wonderland Tea Party, and it’s true. I was super-jealous, and I wanted a pair too, but there was no way I was getting to the store anytime soon, so I checked the local Facebook Buy and Sell site and wouldn’t you know it? There was a pair in my size being sold for HALF PRICE by a woman who was a mutual friend of one of my friends, which meant we were almost sisters, and her house was on my way home from the train station. She’s only worn them once and they were gorgeous, so I bought them. When I got home, I showed them to Ken who said, “Aren’t those heels a little high? How are you going to walk in them when you have arthritis?” Silly Ken. You don’t WALK in Fluevogs. You just stand there feeling glorious. I don’t think NASA would appreciate me wearing pose-y shoes with my space suit, and I sure as hell couldn’t do a space walk in them, but DAMN they are f*cking fabulous. My Director saw them and called them “Bathroom Shoes” because you wear them somewhere special where you only have to walk to the bathroom and back in them. But wait—if space is a gravity-free environment, I COULD probably wear them all day.

So hey, NASA, if you’re interested in a middle-aged woman who’s ready to drink all your wine, is named after a flower, and who is prepared to drive your spaceship in the most kick-ass shoes you’ve ever seen, give me a call in 3, 2, 1…

My Week 267: Testing Myself

A few months ago, you may remember, I was at my doctor’s. He has the worst bedside manner ever, but during this particular conversation, he got very animated; in fact, he got more excited than I’d ever seen him, because I had asked about a colon cancer screening kit:

Me: I’m really sorry but the requisition you gave me 3 years ago expired. I know I should have taken care of this sooner but–
Doctor: No! Don’t worry about it! Because there’s a new kit, and it’s EVEN BETTER than the old one!!
Me: So I can get one of the new ones?
Doctor: YES! Call the office on Monday!!

Well, Monday came and Monday went—in fact, many, many Mondays came and went—but I finally called the office last week and asked for one of the new kits. The receptionist said it would arrive in a couple of days, and when I came home on Thursday, there was an appropriately brown envelope waiting for me. I opened it up and Ken and I examined it:

Ken: There’s only one test tube! Aw, you’re so lucky!
Me: Um, why?
Ken: My kit had 3. I had to do it three days in a row.
Me: Ugh! As if one day isn’t bad enough.
Ken: You could do it tomorrow.
Me: No, I’ll wait until the weekend when I can be sure that I’ll be in my own bathroom, and not in the bathroom at the train station.

And on Friday morning, I WAS in the bathroom at the train station, and it seemed like a real missed opportunity. But then on Saturday morning, it was time. The brown envelope contained the following: a folded up piece of tissue paper, a little ziplock bag containing a vial that had a tiny spatula attached to the cap, an instruction sheet, and another pre-paid return envelope, this one yellow. Ken and I have been binge-watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, which is an AWESOME show, so when I said, “OK, it’s time”, Ken’s immediate response was, “Good luck. And DON’T f*ck it up.”

So I went upstairs and looked at the instructions very carefully. They were absolutely bizarre, and a little juvenile, but easy to understand, as you can see:

When I came downstairs later, Ken asked, “Well?”

Me: It was really stressful.
Ken: Why? Did you put the paper in the toilet first like it said?
Me: Yes. And then I went. It was a really good one. Almost too good.
Ken: Because?
Me: Because you have to swirl the spatula around in it, and then put the spatula back into the vial, and the opening is REALLY narrow, and there was a lot on it, so I had to keep trying to wipe off the excess so that it didn’t get on the outside of the container.
Ken: *laughs hysterically*
Me: I didn’t imagine I would be spending Saturday morning leaning over a toilet full of a steaming pile of poo, worrying about offending some unknown lab technician with my clumsy vial-handling skills. Also, the instructions were very unclear about where the wiping took place in this whole process, so I had to improv that part. I can’t believe you did this three days in a row.
Ken: No wonder your doctor was so excited.
Me: And now I’m worried that I did it wrong because my poo didn’t look like the one in the picture, and I just did kind of a whimsical swirl in it but this picture shows the person swiping from side to side, and maybe I really did f*ck it up.
Ken: Sashay away.

And quite possibly I AM overthinking it, but 23andMe sent me a SECOND DNA KIT because I hadn’t done the first one right, and all that involved was spitting into a test tube. I don’t know what it’s like where you all live, but I’m in Canada, so this is free, and there are some poor lab techs out there who must have to deal with hundreds of poo vials a week and I just want to make their lives a little easier. Maybe I’ll spray some perfume on the envelope as a goodwill gesture.

Last week, my niece was very proud that she was good in math, and this week I was also proud of my math skills (until I talked to Ken):

1) My director called me in to discuss my budget. “I know it’s right,” I said, ‘because I used a calculator”, and she said, “Good job.”

2) I was on the train, sitting with my friend Max, and he was mad because all the stores are now decorated for Christmas, and holidays are just an excuse to sell stuff. “Did you know,” he said, “that yesterday was National Sandwich Day?!”

Me: Did you have a sandwich in honour of this special day?
Max: No, I did not.
Me: Personally, I prefer Pi Day.
Max: What kind of pie?
Me: No, like 22 divided by seven. I think that’s on July 22nd.
Max: (*looks it up*) It says here it’s on March 14. That’s a Saturday.
Me: Ooh, then it could be a whole Pi weekend, because Pi is 3.1415. What’s Pi for anyway?
Max: I think it’s to calculate the area of a circle.
Me: Why would you ever need to do THAT? Just buy enough floor tile to make a square and trim stuff away. Is it some theoretical bullsh*t thing, like Schrödinger’s Cat?
Max: No. It’s probably for things in nature, like calculating area in the ocean.
Me: Like what, how big is the Bermuda Triangle? Oh wait, that’s a triangle. I think you use a different formula for that. It’s the Pythagorean theorem.
Max: Are you sure?
Me: Andre! Andre! How do you calculate the area of a triangle?
Andre, The New Train Car Attendant: You use the Pythagorean theorem.
Me: See? I told you I was good at math.
Max: Happy National Vinegar Day, by the way.

3) And then Ken read the above and said, “What are you talking about?

Me: It’s the Pythagorean theorem. A squared times B cubed or whatnot, and some other stuff gives you the area of a triangle.
Ken: No, it doesn’t! That’s what you use if you don’t know the length of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle. And it’s A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Your whole train car sucks at math.
Me: Then how do you calculate the area of a triangle, if you’re so smart?!
Ken: Height times base divided by two.

Me: Shantay, you stay.