A Magnetic Personality

It’s been a fairly busy week, and what with the lockdown, I haven’t done much outside of work. I DID watch a few things on Netflix and rented a couple of movies, which were kind of hit and miss. Now, this isn’t a movie review site but I’m happy to give you a very succinct lowdown of some of my viewing choices:

Wonder Woman 1984: Pile of crap
Tenet: WTF was that?
Bridgerton: Oh yeah. Damn.

I was excited to find out last night that the second season of Blown Away, the glassblowing competition show, is now on Netflix. And while that doesn’t sound very exciting, there’s a surprising amount of drama and tension, especially since the contestants are working with fire and molten glass—I definitely recommend it. Ken once did a glassblowing course and here are some of his pieces. He also made the wooden vase on the right:

But one of the highlights of the week was finally having a virtual Zoom appointment with an orthopedic surgeon about my shoulder. I deliberately wore a tank top underneath a baggy cardigan in case he wanted to virtually examine it. But he didn’t—he just asked a bunch of questions, then said he was sending me for an MRI. His next question really flummoxed me:

Surgeon: Do you have any metal in your body?
Me:
Surgeon:
Me:
Surgeon: Suzanne? Are you frozen?
Me: No, I was just thinking about it.

And if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that two things were going through my mind simultaneously.

1) DO I have any metal in my body? How would I know that? I did a mental catalogue and came to the following conclusion: I have fillings in my molars that look kind of silver-y, I have earrings but they can come out, my toenail polish has glitter in it and that can easily be removed, but this is JUST WHAT I KNOW. I mean, I could have metal in my body without even being aware of it. When I told Ken this later, he laughed and asked how that would even be possible, but here’s a scenario:

Dude 1: And after the anal probe, the aliens left metal in my body.
Dude 2 (gasps in horror): That’s awful!
Dude 1: I know, right?
Dude 2: Now you can never have an MRI!

I mean, I don’t believe in alien abduction, mainly because I don’t believe that any alien life form in its right mind would travel hundreds of years across several galaxies in multi-generational ships just to stick a camera up Bob’s ass. But there are other ways you can unknowingly have metal in your body, like did I accidentally swallow a penny when I was a kid and it’s lodged somewhere in my intestines? Also, I’ve had several surgeries—did one of the doctors leave something behind? And then I talked to my dad, who’s a former machine shop teacher, and he said that when he had an MRI, they made him get an eye scan in case he’d ever gotten a metal shaving in his eye and hadn’t realized it. So see, you can never be sure about metal—it’s sneaky.

2) The other thing that went through my mind at the same time, obviously, was what it would be like to ACTUALLY have metal in my body, like what if my arms could transform into forklift arms or something, like a Wolverine, you know? I’d be walking down the street and hear a cry for help and see an old lady (well, older than me anyway) lying trapped beneath a stack of wooden pallets that had just fallen on her, and my forklift arms would shoot out and rescue her by removing the pallets one by one. It would be a slow rescue, but it still counts.

And then Kate just read that over my shoulder:

Kate: Forklift arms? That’s a terrible power. Go to Professor X with that, and he’d show you the door.
Me: No, he wouldn’t. It’s just as good as Wolverine, I mean what’s his power? Spikes shoot out of his hands? You can’t lift sh*t with those.
Kate: He’s also immortal. And you don’t need forklift arms to lift stuff when you HAVE ARMS.

But I still want forklift arms, despite the mockery. And of course, the other big question everyone asks when you tell them you’re having an MRI is “Are you claustrophobic?” I started to get worried because from what I understood, the MRI machine is a giant magnet that they stick you in. Last night, I woke up around 3 am as per usual, and lay there thinking about it, and when I imagined myself in a tight cave, I did get a little panicky. But then I googled pictures of MRI machines and they look more like very thick donuts, and you lie in the hole. So as long as I can get out either end, I think I’ll be fine. Then the best part, and I’m being completely sarcastic here, is that they called and my appointment is at midnight. Midnight? I don’t have to worry about feeling claustrophobic—I’ll be asleep. Unless the giant magnet triggers a hitherto unknown genetic mutation involving forklift arms…

 

Things That Are Like Other Things

This Christmas, Ken put something amazing in my stocking. We’ve always given each other stockings full of socks, chocolate, wine, and other small cool stuff, and this year I was excited to receive a pen. That might sound less cool than I’ve made it out to be, but wait! It’s not just a pen—it’s also a screwdriver, a level, and a ruler. It is, in fact, a “4-In-1 Pen Tool”, and if that isn’t the best thing that is like another thing, I don’t know what is. Now, no matter where I go, I can measure something, check if it’s level, repair it, or write down an interesting fact about it. Because multi-tasking is an art, and things that are like other things are a multi-tasker’s best friend.

 

For example, if you’ve been here before, you know that I LOVE gummy vitamins. They’re multi-coloured, taste just like gummy bears, and are the best of both worlds. The first thing I get to do when I get up in the morning, even BEFORE I eat my yogurt, is have some candy. And it was recommended by my doctor! I NEVER used to take vitamins before, on the grounds that they tasted bad (except for Vitamin C tablets, which taste like oranges, or just like the baby aspirin they had when I was a kid. I used to sneak baby aspirin every so often because they were so delicious–I could fall off my bike and bleed half to death because my blood was so thin, but it didn’t hurt at all), and I didn’t really care about thiamine or niacin or dioxin or whatever. But now, I take vitamins every day because it’s fun AND healthy.

And that got me thinking about a) things that are like other things that make me happy, and b) things that SHOULD be like other things. So here is my list:

1) My newest favourite thing which is like another thing is ‘Pants That Are Pajamas’. Now that I’ve been working from home for almost a year, I have several pairs of these. Some people call them ‘Yoga Pants’ but I don’t do yoga, unless you count a vigorous stretch to grab a wine glass from the cupboard. ‘Pants That Are Pajamas’ allow me to easily transition from Business Casual to Nightwear with very little effort at all.

2) If you’ve ever flown, you know that your seat cushion turns into a flotation device. Which begs the question (which I think I heard first from Jerry Seinfeld) ‘why doesn’t the plane just turn into a cruise ship if it lands in the water?’ I know this is totally possible, because my next favourite thing which is like another thing is a bus that turns into a boat. We went on a bus tour in Ottawa a few years ago, and after we’d driven around for a while looking at the Parliament buildings and whatnot, the driver suddenly announced that we would also be cruising the harbour. Then we drove down a ramp, STRAIGHT INTO THE RIVER. I was totally freaking, but Ken was like, “Don’t worry–the wheels turn into propellers and there’s a ring underneath that inflates.” I responded very calmly with “Liar! We’re going to drown!” and Ken said, “They ADVERTISED this. Why are you acting all surprised? Don’t you remember?”, but I reminded HIM that first, I thought they meant we would get OFF the bus and get ON a boat, and second, I may or may not have been enjoying a very nice Sauvignon Blanc the previous evening when he pulled out the brochure and was waving it around, saying, “Ooh, this will be fun.” But you know what? Once I got used to the idea that my bus was now a boat, and the bus driver was now a sea captain and I could refer to him as ‘Skipper’, I really enjoyed the whole experience. Kate, of course, remained calm throughout the entire tour. Or maybe she was bored. Mainly because the tour consisted of just looking at buildings. But still, the Bus-Boat was very cool.

3) Canes that become swords. Okay, technically, they don’t BECOME swords, they just have swords in them. It would be awesome to be hobbling around, all decrepit-like, then suddenly whip out that sword like a superspy ninja when the need arose. I also love canes that double as flasks for alcohol, because who DOESN’T want to crack that bad boy open when no one’s looking? It would have made my Bus-Boat trip a hell of a lot more interesting once we were on the water, that’s for sure.

4) Sporks. This is two handy things in one–a spoon and a fork. Take it one step further by sharpening the plastic edge, and you have a sporfe: a spoon, fork, and knife all in one, which I just invented. Actually, this might have already been invented, most likely by a prisoner, who stole a spoon from the canteen and turned it into a weapon to shank his cellmate with first, then ate the guy’s pie and ice cream after. Wow, that got dark kind of quick for a fun plastic utensil.

5) Closed Captioning. This allows you to watch TV and read at the same time, so all those people who think reading is a more intellectual pursuit than Netflix can get stuffed.

Okay, so I’ve listed some things that are already other things, so here are some ideas about things that I WISH were other things:

1) Protein shakes that taste like Bailey’s Irish Cream. Wait, does Bailey’s have any protein in it? If so, we could just cut out the middle man, drink the Bailey’s, and then go work out. Many years ago, I had a recumbent cycle, and I used to pour a big glass of wine, turn on the TV, and cycle for a few kilometres. It was hardly like exercising AT ALL, and I broke even on the calories.

2) A bookshelf that is a door. I’ve been bugging Ken about this for a while now, trying to get him to think of a place in our house where we could put a bookshelf that is, in reality, the door to a secret room. There are a couple of spots where we could do it, but Ken thinks it would be really complicated to build. What a baby. I mean, I’m no engineer, but I do have a 4-In-1 pen, and I think it’s definitely possible.

3) A pen with a Tide White Stick on the other end. This is great for people like me, who are fairly clumsy and wave pens around for emphasis, inevitably getting ink on their clothes. But see, with my invention, all you’d have to do is flip the thing around, erase that blob, and you’re good to go. Combine it with the 4-In-1 Pen and you wouldn’t be able to keep them on store shelves—they’d be snapped up faster than toilet paper in a pandemic.

Ultimately, I am the QUEEN of multi-tasking. Whether it’s eating, drinking, working out, or just relaxing, I’ve got a pen for that.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

We’ve had Atlas the wonder dog for almost 7 months now, and over that time, he’s accrued a variety of nicknames. When he’s being sweet, he’s Puppy Dobkins. When he’s being rambunctious, he’s Killer MacGee. Under a variety of circumstances, he’s Buddy, and then of course, right before Christmas, he was, for a brief time, OHMYGODYOUJERK when I discovered that he had somehow gotten my car key fob off the top of the cabinet by the door and had chewed it up so badly that it no longer worked. I had to replace it to the tune of $130, and didn’t they all nod knowingly at the car dealership when I told them how it happened? But sometimes, just for fun, I’ll say to him, “Hello, Georgie. Do you want your boat back? Would you like a balloon? We all float down here,” and he just looks at me questioningly and goes back to barking at the recycling bin or THAT poodle from down the street. I am, of course, doing a very fine impression of Pennywise The Clown from the movie IT (played by Bill Skarsgard, not Tim Curry), based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It’s such an excellent impression that when I did it the other day when Ken was in the room, and once again, he didn’t laugh or even comment, I got quite frustrated.

Me: What the hell, Ken!
Ken (innocently): What?
Me: Why don’t you EVER laugh when I do that?
Ken: Do what?
Me: That’s a really good impersonation, and you never laugh!
Ken: Who were you impersonating?
Me: Pennywise The Clown!
Ken: I think you think your impersonation is better than it is.

A little while later, Kate came down, and we (I) insisted that she listen to my very fine impression of Pennywise and give her opinion. After I demonstrated it for her and finished with a flourish, I asked her what she thought.

Kate: How candid would you like me to be on a scale of 1 to 10?
Me: So 1 is totally honest and 10 is a complete lie?
Kate: Yes.
Me: What would 10 be?
Kate: You were amazing.
Ken: (*laughs hysterically*)
Me: Well, Atlas thinks it’s awesome.
Atlas: I don’t, but you always give me a special cookie after you say it.
Me: Sigh.

Because I do a lot of good impersonations. When I was still teaching, every year for the Christmas skit, the teaching staff had to take on the personas of different musicians. One year I was Lorde performing Royals, another year I was Taylor Swift and had to sing Love Song, which I did to thunderous applause.

See? I look exactly like her. I still have the wigs from both performances, and every time I hear either song, I’m transported back to the stage. My favourite impersonation, and I’ve told the shortened version of this story sometime in the past, was the year I got drafted into a group doing KISS and was nominated to play the role of Paul Stanley, the lead singer. I went out and bought a curly black wig, some cheap leather gear at the second hand shop, and found some platform boots at the back of the closet. Another staff member did my make-up and the resemblance was remarkable as I lip synched my way through Rock and Roll All Nite with other staff members looking equally KISS-ish and awesome.

Then, just as we had finished our set, the snow started coming down like crazy, and since it was the last day before Christmas holidays, all the students and staff were sent home early. At the time, I had a very sporty low coupe, and it didn’t have winter tires, so as I was rounding the corner towards our house, I suddenly got stuck in the snow. I couldn’t move forward or backwards, and while I was literally half a block from home, I couldn’t just leave the car in the middle of the road. But then I saw a pickup truck coming so I got out and waved it down. The truck stopped and the guy got out and stood by his front bumper, looking very nervous. “Oh hey!” I called out to him. “I’m stuck. Can you help push me out?”  

He just continued to stare at me, and that’s when I realized that, while I’d taken off the wig, I was still in full KISS makeup. I had to explain to him that I’d been doing a KISS impersonation and the whole time he was pushing my car out, he stared at me suspiciously. And I think that’s because he was convinced that I WAS Paul Stanley and wanted my autograph. Because I’m THAT GOOD AT IMPRESSIONS, KEN.

And then, in a strange turn of fate, Ken just showed me the most bizarre video I’ve ever seen of a clown that looks just like Pennywise singing Royals by Lorde. It’s like my life has come full circle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBmCJEehYtU&ab_channel=PostmodernJukebox

Spilling The Beans

The other morning, I came out of my bathroom. Slight tangent: to clarify, I was styling my hair, because I haven’t had it cut since last March. My hair is very fine and thin and the downside of growing it out that it also takes longer to make it look nice. I would get it chopped off right now, except that Kate is growing hers out to, and I’m trying to be supportive. And to support ME, Ken and Kate got me a very expensive hair straightener for Christmas which I could never use on short hair, so I’m stuck until the damn thing is paid off. Anyhow, I came out of the bathroom and sniffed the air:

Me: Ken! There’s something burning!
Ken: I don’t smell anything.
Me: Were you cooking something? Seriously, it smells like something was on fire out here!
Ken: I don’t know what you mean. (*sniffs air*) Nope, smells fine to me.
Me: You seriously can’t smell that? It’s like when the fireplace motor almost went up in flames!
Ken: It must be your imagination.
Me: It’s worse over here by your office—wait a minute. Do you have a cup of COFFEE in there?!
Ken (abashed): Maybe…

Now, this may shock some of you, but I hate coffee. I mean, I really despise it. The taste and ESPECIALLY the smell. In fact, one of the reasons I married Ken in the first place is because he DIDN’T drink coffee. I’ll admit, I went through a strange phase in university where I drank coffee and smoked cigarettes, but all my friends were doing it, so chalk it up to peer pressure. Once I graduated, that fell by the wayside, and I haven’t had a cigarette OR a cup of coffee in over 35 years. And I really thought Ken was on the same page as me, but when we went into lockdown last March, suddenly he became a coffee drinker. I put up with it for the first few mornings, but one day, the stress of lockdown combined with the outrageous smell of burning garbage caused me to have a complete meltdown and scream, “NO! No more coffee if you want to stay married!”

I’ll be the first to admit that I may or may not have overreacted, but Ken, being the good soul that he is, switched from the deadly bean to green tea. At least for the time being, apparently, and now I have to wonder how long he’s been sneaking around behind my back, having cups of coffee when I was out getting groceries or driving to our antique booth in Delhi.

But it’s not like I eschew hot drinks or caffeine altogether—in fact, I drink copious amounts of green tea myself, and Ken and I have a ritual on the weekends where I get up and make us both cups of hot chocolate. I just have never understood how some people are so obsessed with coffee, although I know that caffeine is addictive. But there’s caffeine in LOTS of other things, so why are the lockdown lineups outside of Tim Horton’s or Starbucks twice as long as the liquor store? It simply confirms my theory that coffee also contains opium. There’s no other explanation for anyone wanting to drink something that smells like Satan’s breath and tastes like Satan’s *sshole.

And I know I’ll take a lot of flak for my anti-coffee sentiments, but aside from that, I’m a pretty nice person, and I will always make a cup of coffee for my dad, because he’s my dad.

Also, Happy New Year. I don’t do resolutions or retrospectives, especially not this year. The only thing I’m hoping for is that 2021 is better than 2020, not just for me but for everyone. Even the coffee drinkers.