Getting Rusty

I’ve been feeling a little tired lately for a variety of reasons—I’m getting older, the days are getting shorter, but mostly because I ran out of iron pills. “So why don’t you buy more?” I hear you ask, and while you’d think that would be an easy solution, it’s apparently not, because I’ve gone to three drugstores in my area and none of them sell the iron I like. No, they’re NOT gummies, unlike all my other vitamins and supplements, but they do come in a soothing green and gold bottle from a brand that I get regular grocery store points with. But for some reason, all the iron is currently behind the counter, causing me to have conversations with pharmacists who are guarding it zealously, as if the conspiracy theorists are spreading around the rumour that sticking iron pills in a blender and then giving yourself an enema with them will cure you of Covid (it won’t, and please don’t tell people that you’re doing an iron cleanse because mydangblog told you to):

Me: Where’s all the iron?
Pharmacist: Back here with the narcotics.
Me: OK, weird. But I need some.
Pharmacist: Did your doctor prescribe it?
Me: No. You don’t need a prescription for iron.
Pharmacist: Well, did he tell you to take it?
Me: No! Can I just have some iron? Here’s the kind I normally take. (shows picture on my phone)
Pharmacist: Well, I don’t have that kind. Here, this is the same.

So that night, I took the new iron pill with my glucosamine, and only AFTER did I look at the bottle:

Me: Holy sh*t. I think I’ve made a dreadful error in judgement.
Ken: What’s wrong? Did you apply to that acting job at the Hallowe’en farm?
Me: No, I just took one of those new iron pills. My old ones were 28 milligrams each and this one is 300 milligrams! Am I going to rust?! Am I magnetic now? (googles ‘What happens if you take too much iron?’) Oh my god, it says here that taking more than 40 mg of iron a day can lead to organ failure, seizures and, death! I haven’t even retired yet!!

I went to bed that night terrified, and then I couldn’t sleep because I’d taken so much iron that I wasn’t tired. So to amuse myself, I surfed Facebook Marketplace and found these weird ads:

Ad that says We don't fish anymore

Of all the public announcements you could make, this is the strangest. Apparently Werner, at the age of 65, has become a vegetarian, or has given up being a pescatarian, or just wants to give the fish a chance, and felt the need to tell the world, as one does. He doesn’t look very happy about his decision, and I wonder if the “we” was really just his wife who was like “Werner. I hate fishing. We are no longer fisherfolk,” and Werner was like “But I love fishing,” and his wife was like “Not anymore you don’t.” Still, if we’re posting random angry proclamations on FB Marketplace, look for an ad of me looking super-pissed off with the caption “I JUST TOOK TOO MUCH IRON”. But I wish poor old Werner the best of luck in his new, non-fishing life.

Ad that says Free Bees

Hard pass. I don’t care if they’re free; in fact, how would you even SELL bees? Like a nickel a piece, or 5 bucks for a…(googles ‘What is a group of bees called?’ Swarm, Cluster, Bike, Ball, Colony—there are a LOT of names for bees)…bushel? But I don’t want bees—they’re sting-y little f*ckers and I’m sure they’re just as happy as I am that we have a long-distance relationship.

Ad that says Small Child Box

How small do you think children ARE? And is that a ladybug or a face with giant polka-dotted ears? See, now that I’ve said it, you can’t unsee it. Either way, I’m not interested in it even if it’s free because that box is NOT big enough to store a child, even a small child. Now, a bushel of bees might fit…

That’s The Entrepreneurial Spirit

As some of you may be aware, I’m retiring from the secret agency at the end of September which, by my count (not that I’m counting) is eight work days away. And while I love my job, I’m still happy to be finally entering my golden years. But the problem is, I’m incredibly worried that I’ll be bored. Yes, I know I have some books to write, and there’s the antique booth to keep stocked, and weekly submissions from the literary magazine that I volunteer with to read, but there are still a lot of hours in the day, and if you know me at all, you know I HATE being bored. I recently signed up to a couple of online job sites, looking for something fun and part-time, you know, but all they send me are either things that will be as, if not more, demanding than my current position, or sound boring AF. And they keep asking “Are you qualified for this position?” like how the hell should I know, and why are you sending me jobs where speaking Italian is a prerequisite? Today’s crop included a lot of jobs involving math, and isn’t their faith in my numeracy skills adorable?

Ken: So the guy at the tree nursery said he’d sell the Lions Club 50 trees for 1000 dollars.
Me: That’s a good deal, like…$20 a tree. Hey, I just did math in my head! I’m really good at math!
Ken: Yes. Yes, you are, honey.
Me (pulls out phone): Where’s that ad for the part-time accountant?

Also, there was a faculty position to teach Introduction To Neuropsychology, but I think to take a job like that, you need to know what neuropsychology is aside from ‘weird brain stuff’. There WAS an intriguing post for ‘Collections Specialist’ and I was thrilled for a minute because, as you know, I collect a LOT of things, but it’s actually just a euphemism for shaking down people over the phone to get them to pay their debts, and I’ve never seen the word ‘delinquent’ used so much in one ad. Ultimately, I think I need to give up on these sites, because I never know what the jobs are, and I spent a lot of time the other day coming up with various configurations of meats, cheeses, and condiments to demonstrate my creativity, only to discover that “Sub Stack Developer” was not quite what I imagined it to be.

But I’m not a quitter, so I’ve decided to use my entrepreneurial spirit and come up with my own jobs, positions that are a LOT more fun than “Mobile Truck and Coach Technician” or “Procurement Operations Specialist” (which is code for professional kidnapper, obviously):

1) Travel Advisor

This is not the same thing as a travel agent. No, what I’ll be doing is using my extensive experience as Queen of Worst Case Scenarios to help people who are thinking of travelling:

Client: So I’d like to go hiking.
Me: Terrible idea.
Client: But I really want to go.
Me: Fine. Don’t stand on the edge of any cliffs.
Client: Ooh, good thinking.
Me: And don’t clamber around on rocks. Your ankle could get caught in between two of them, and then you’d have to chew your leg off. Also, get some bear spray.
Client: Excellent advising. Here is fifty dollars.

2) Boredom Specialist

Me: I see that you are the Synergy Group, Boring Division. I’m here to help you spice things up.
Guy working on my street: That’s not what that means.
Me: So your division isn’t boring?
Guy: Well, yes. It IS boring, but–
Me: Then you definitely need my help. I suggest a clown costume, the bigger and redder the nose the better. Also, two words—glitter cannon.
Guy: Lady, leave me alone. I need to do boring.
Me: Fine. Be boring. But don’t say I didn’t try. And on that note, you owe me fifty bucks.

3) Pet Detective

I actually saw that job title come up the other day, and I was super excited at the idea of combining two of my favourite things–solving mysteries and pets. And this was even better because it was solving mysteries ABOUT pets. The position involved ‘striking up conversations and sharing stories with fellow pet owners about their animals’ and it sounded EXACTLY like what a good detective would do:

Me (striking up conversation): Hello. Might I ask you a couple of questions?
Pet Owner: Why certainly.
Me: (holds up photograph): Have you seen this cat anywhere? Her name is Miss Whiskers McGee. She was last seen in the company of your bulldog.
Bulldog (running): You’ll never take me alive!
Pet Owner: Bowzer! What have you done?!

And I had just gone through the closet and found one of Ken’s old fedoras and a trenchcoat when Ken pointed out that the job was with the Blue Buffalo Pet Food Company and that ‘Pet Detective’ was a glorified pet food salesperson and I was like “How in the name of Nancy Drew is that doing detective work?!” But then the other day, our neighbour’s cat escaped from their breezeway and they asked us to help find her. We didn’t–she was hiding in their basement ceiling–but if it happens again, I’m definitely wearing the fedora and trenchcoat. In the meantime, though, the search for something interesting and fun continues. I’ll keep you posted.

Rendezvous With Destiny

A few years ago, Ken and I bought kayaks. I’d been watching the Canadian Tire flyers for weeks, waiting for a sale, until finally, they dropped the price on the model we wanted by $100 apiece, making them very reasonable. So I called Ken, and we agreed (after he refused to take time off work and go first thing in the morning because he’s just mean) that we would get them the next night. I was worried that they’d all be sold out, but luckily we were able to get one for each of us. Then the problems started. Our neighbour had had his kayaks stolen from behind his cottage, where they were CHAINED UP, so how were we supposed to retain possession of ours when they were just either sitting on our trailer or lying on our lawn? Ken didn’t share my fear of kayak thieves, which just made things worse, because he insisted on driving places with them, and leaving them unattended while we did stuff like grocery shopping or going to restaurants. And there they were, in the trailer, like shining green beacons of adventure-ness, secured only by a rope and a couple of knots. Here’s a sample of one of the MANY conversations we had about the kayaks:

Me: We can’t just GO into Staples. We have the kayaks on the trailer. Someone could take them.
Ken: No one’s going to take them. It’s broad daylight.
Me: Some of these people look really sketchy. Don’t park next to the guy with the pick-up truck!!
Ken: Right. Because he’s going to untie the kayaks, put them in his truck, and drive away BEFORE we come back out from buying labels.
Me: He looks like he enjoys water sports, KEN…What about those guys over there?
Ken: They have bicycles. What do you think, they’re going to tie them onto their bikes like a pontoon?
Me: It could happen. Stop mocking me.

You can replace the word “Staples” with “Zehrs”, “Canadian Tire”, the gluten-free bakery in Paris, and the Lighthouse Restaurant in Port Burwell, because we dragged that trailer around with us for a few days before we even put the kayaks into the water. Despite my worries though, no one stole off with them in the night. Or in the parking lot. Then on the weekend, we finally had the chance to try them out. We took them down to the Otter Creek and carried them to the water. Ken steadied my kayak so I could get in. It wobbled from side to side and I sat there, feeling panic rising but while Ken was getting himself sorted out, I tried a few hesitant manoeuvres, and started to feel more balanced. As I turned around to tell Ken I thought this might be OK, he stepped into his kayak. As he settled himself into the seat, the kayak wobbled one way—he tried to re-balance but overcompensated and TIPPED HIMSELF RIGHT INTO THE CREEK.

I yelled, “Oh sh*t! Ken!” but all he could do was flail around in the water, his hands on the creek bottom, trying to extricate himself from the kayak shouting, “Cold!! So cold!!” as he struggled to stand up (luckily, we were only in about two feet of water at the time). Thankfully, he had put his wallet, cell phone, and camera into a ziplock bag, but it was now floating downstream along with his paddle. “Get the bag and the paddle!” he cried, and I was like, “Me? You’re kidding, right?” I had just seen my beloved husband, who was MUCH better than me at both watersports and balancing, dump himself into a freezing creek—how was I supposed to start chasing down his stuff if it meant having to lean over the side of the kayak to get them?

But then my desire to get a picture of all this chaos outweighed my fear, and I needed his camera to do that, and that doesn’t make me mercenary, just practical. Anyway, he managed to get upright, and pulled his kayak out of the water. Then there was the problem of DRAINING the kayak, which was full of water. Well, I guess people must capsize this particular brand of kayak A LOT because we discovered that there was a plug in the prow, specifically designed for draining. But there was a silver lining to all of this, because while I was waiting for Ken to recover, and get all the water out of his kayak, I had a chance to paddle around and get more comfortable.

And now I’m having déjà vu because last weekend, we went kayaking, again on the Otter Creek. Now that we’re both kayak pros, it was a beautiful trip, but then the unbelievable happened when we pulled the kayaks out of the water:

Ken: My camera!
Me: What?
Ken: The ziplock bag fell out of my pocket! Quick, get me a paddle!

Me: I TOLD you to wear your fanny pack!

But it was too late. The ziplock bag, and in it, the exact camera he had almost lost a few years ago, bobbed downstream with the quick current, then disappeared. Almost like it was meant to be, like we had unfinished business with the Otter Creek. It wasn’t one of his good cameras, and he’d cleared the SD card out the week before, so all we were missing was pictures of me in the kayak and some trees and clouds. Luckily, we already have lots of those.

Alternatively Speaking

On Friday night, Kate and I were watching a show called What If, the premise of which is that Marvel has pretty much exhausted the ubiquitous iterations of its universe and in order to keep generating income, has resorted to a fantasy-like series that asks things like, “What if the dude from Black Panther was the dude from Guardians of the Galaxy instead?” or “What if Groot was a raccoon and instead of saying ‘I am Groot’, all he said was ‘I am Raccoon”?

Me: I have one. What about “What if Spiderman was bit by a badger instead, and then he would be Badgerman?
Kate: That’s ridiculous.
Me: No it’s not—think about it. Badgers can climb and they’re lightning quick. I bet they could catch thieves better than a spider could. Ooh, it says on google that their favourite food is earthworms. Badgerman, Badgerman, catches thieves just like worms, look out! Here comes the Badgerman.
Kate: Is his wife named Honey?
Me: Obviously, KATE.

And here’s another one: what if Batman and Robin were a couple?

Robin: Where are you going?
Batman: The bat signal is all lit up and whatnot.
Robin: Always with the damn bat signal. What about me?!
Batman: Here’s fifty dollars. Go buy yourself something pretty and I’ll take you out for dinner after I kill Superman.
Robin (under his breath): Like that’s going to happen.

Or…what if Aquaman couldn’t breathe underwater?

Aquaman: Help! (gurgles) Help!

It was a very short episode. But why have I been so bored that I’m inventing alternative superhero universes? Because Ken just got a new job. But wait, I hear you ask. Didn’t he just retire? Isn’t he supposed to be devoting all his energy to rebuilding the side porch? And the answer to both those questions would be yes. However, the other night he came skipping into the kitchen, very pleased with himself, because the local hot air balloon company—yes, THE LOCAL HOT AIR BALLOON COMPANY—had seen his application for ‘ground crew’ and he had a trial run the next morning at 6 am.

Me: Ok, but promise me you won’t get your foot tangled in the rope and then get dragged halfway across the countryside dangling in the air before falling into a pond.
Ken: I think maybe you saw that in a movie. But there are other people to untangle me if that happens.
Me: IF? You mean WHEN!

So the next morning, he left for his new job, and I lay in bed stressing that he might float away, or that the other balloon guys might be mean to him, or that he would get lost taking one of his ‘shortcuts’, or any number of other worst case scenarios. Of course, none of that happened, and he came home excited because the owner had given him the balloon handbook and now he was an official member of the crew, which meant twice a day, weather permitting, he helps set up the balloon, chases it in the crew van, then packs it away. And while he’s enjoying his new-found employment, I’m feeling the pressure to get a cool new job too when I retire in 3 weeks, especially since I reached out to James Gunn about my idea for a Suicide Squad sequel featuring my superhero Heavy Metal, and he has yet to respond. Alternatively, maybe something where I get to drive a forklift…


Creative Wednesday: A Great Review

Thank you so much to award-winning writer and blogger D. Wallace Peach for a wonderful review of Feasting Upon The Bones! Diana is incredibly supportive of authors and the blogging community and if you’re not following her, you should be! You can read all of her reviews here: Myths of the Mirror August Book Reviews: Part 2 , or the one specific to Feasting below: