57 Skidoo

Candlelight is the best light

So it was my birthday on Friday. I’m old enough that I don’t get particularly excited about my birthday anymore (that’s a lie–I can’t wait to open my presents and this year, Ken got me really beautiful earrings and took me on a wine tour). But I’ve reached the age where a little retrospection is required–in fact, it happens without any effort at all. So in honour of my birthday, here are some of the things I’ve discovered now that I’m 57:

57: You now have a favourite mirror because “the lighting is good”. In fact, there are three mirrors in my bathroom at home and two at work, but I only look in one of each of them because the wrong lighting makes me look like…I’m 57.

57: You worry about your teeth. You ask the dentist, “So are my teeth doing ok?” and he looks at you like you’re weird, but you have this feeling deep down that maybe they’re planning a mutiny and you have three different toothbrushes that you use based on how your teeth feel on any given day.

57: You reply, when people ask what you’d like for your birthday, “I would like for things not to hurt so much.” It would be great to be able to sleep through the night without getting up to take an Advil.

57: Your parents take you out for dinner and you drink a LOT more than them, but it’s ok.

57: You NEVER mean ‘ducking’ and autocorrect finally give up and stops trying to convince you that you meant ‘ducking’.

57: You have 27 pairs of reading glasses at a variety of different strengths and you can’t find ANY of them at any given time, and every time you ask, “Have you seen my reading glasses?”, you’re met with raucous laughter.

57: You get unreasonable angry that the barn being built on your way home STILL isn’t finished and you exclaim “When are they going to finish that f*cking barn?!” (That is a very specific example but it happened tonight so I included it.)

57: You now have a good ear and a bad ear.

57: You can stay up as late as you want. But you can’t.

57: You can sleep in as late as you want. But you can’t.

57: You’re pissed because you still don’t get the seniors’ discount.

57: You give thanks for every day that you have because, best case scenario, you have about 25 years left, 30 tops, and you’re terrified of dying and you keep calculating how much time you might have left so it’s good to make the best of it all.

57: You’re neurotic but happy. Life is generally good, the lighting is generally good, the wine is always good, and you have a wonderful family.

In other news, I finally got a couple of hard copies of the Arabic version of my second novel The Dome, and who would have thought that I’d be an internationally published author at 57. Cool.

Batter Up!

Recently, Ken has taken a part-time job at the local gas station. It’s a great gig—it’s a thirty second walk from home, he only works four hours a day, and most people pay at the pump so he’s not run off his feet. In fact, the only downside is that his shift is 5:30 to 9:30. IN THE MORNING. Now, he loves it, being an insanely early riser and all, but it’s been hard on me. You may remember that our house has been experiencing strange events, from doors being left open, to taps running, to the dog staring at the basement door and growling—and while things have gotten slightly better, which is to say that I haven’t needed to enlist the neighbours in a house search lately, I and especially the dog are both a little jumpy. The other morning, Ken left for work but forgot to close the door to the family room, which meant Atlas was free to roam the house. He decided to pay me a visit and announced himself by leaping onto the bed and staring into my face:

Me: Huh? What’s going on?
Atlas: Nothing. Just came for snuggles.
Me: Okay. Be quiet though.

Then five minutes later, he suddenly lifted his head, started to growl, and ran out of the room barking. He wouldn’t stop, and it was making me really nervous so I finally had to get out of bed and found him at the top of the stairs, hackles raised:

Me: What are you doing?
Atlas: Noise. Downstairs.
Me: Go look.
Atlas: No, you go look.
Me: YOU’RE the dog. And YOU started this. Go see!
Atlas: Hard pass.

At which point, exhausted and fed up, I went back into the bedroom and grabbed the baseball bat I keep under the bed. And why do I keep a baseball bat under the bed? For the exact same reason I keep a hammer in the drawer of the bedside table. I also have both a hammer and a baseball bat in the bathroom, and a hammer in the family room, as well as two large oars in my office. I don’t have either a hammer or a baseball bat in the kitchen because in the kitchen THERE ARE KNIVES. And all this is because I am the Queen of Worst-Case Scenarios. In fact, one year for Christmas, I bought Kate a book called “The Little Book of Worst-Case Scenarios”, and I forced her to read it so she would know what to do under different circumstances, for example:

a) Being chased by a bear (make yourself look as large as possible and scream loudly to let the bear know you could take it in a fight. Don’t run—unless you’re with someone who’s obviously slower than you).

b) Accidentally driving a car into a river (find an air pocket, wait for the car to be submerged, then open the door and swim to the surface). Kate was like “I’m seven years old–why would I ever drive a car into a river?” I DON’T KNOW, Kate. But if you plan for these things, you might SURVIVE them).

c) Playing in a bouncy castle that suddenly becomes untethered and begins to float away (which apparently happens more often than you think, prompting our local school board to ban them from school property. They also banned dunk tanks. Because of all the dunking).

And Kate has learned her lessons well, because a few weeks ago, she came home for the weekend, and after she left, I went into her room to re-make the bed (because I’m weird and like things a certain way). As I was moving the pillows to one side, I found a knife under one of them. I smiled, put it back where I found it, and said to myself proudly, “That’s my girl.”

Anyway, I have assorted weaponry in the house just on the off chance that Atlas is correct for once and there actually IS an intruder in the house.  Here’s the scenario:

We wake up in the middle of the night to strange noises coming from downstairs. Ken offers to investigate. He puts on his housecoat and goes down with the dog, who is clearly agitated but too much of a chicken to go see by himself. I wait, wracked with fear. There are shouts, commotion, then nothing. The intruder has tied up both Ken and the dog, and is taunting them as he steals our stuff, mainly clocks and paintings of Paris because he’s a robber with good taste. I quietly get the baseball bat out from under the bed and sneak downstairs. The intruder has his back to me. Ken sees me, but luckily, he’s gagged so he can’t do what he would normally do and say something like, “Why do you have a baseball bat?” At this point, I swing, connect with the intruder’s head, and down he goes. I free Ken and Atlas, put back my clocks and paintings because I’m weird and like things a certain way while Ken ties up and gags the intruder, and then we call the police. Ta dah.

But to make a long story short, I went downstairs with my baseball bat in hand, but as usual, there was no reason to sound the alarm. I came back up, slightly unnerved from the experience to find Atlas fast asleep in my spot. He’s the worst guard dog ever, but he’s very warm and snuggly.

Congratulations To Us All!

When I first started blogging, there was a plethora of “Blogger Awards”. Over the past 8 years, I personally have been nominated for the Liebster, The Sunshine Blogger, The Mystery Blogger Award, The Golden Bloggerz Award, and several more. Now, this doesn’t make me special—from what I understand, a lot of people got nominated and a lot of those people viewed these awards as bothersome or annoying and that’s because those people probably have LOTS more to write about than me, and I always looked at these nominations (did anyone ever actually WIN an award?) more as a fun way to generate content in a week where maybe nothing funny happened. But lately, there have been no nominations, and it’s either that my content is boring and non-inspiring, or that these awards no longer exist. I follow a LOT of other bloggers and there’s been nary a whisper of an award to be had, although I just did some research and found a blog written by someone who got nominated in September for a Liebster and wrote an ENTIRE post about how much she hates the Liebster award. And it was a loooonnnnngggg post where she actually tagged the person who nominated her, and that person was VERY unhappy in the comments. Next time, just say thanks and move on, lady.

At any rate, considering the dearth of awards lately, I’ve decided to invent my own. It’s called the Fandangly Award, and here’s how it works:

  • You can award it to yourself whenever you don’t have anything else to write about. Like maybe you’re a humour blogger but you’ve had a sh*tty week and you don’t have anything funny to work with. Easy—just award yourself a Fandangly–but you can say it came from me if you’re shy.
  • Ask yourself as many questions as you want and then answer them, either seriously or humorously. Here’s an example: If you were to invent your own reality show, what would it be? Here’s my answer:

The show is called Stick It To Me and in this show, the competitors have to make everything out of popsicle sticks and the host is Alex Trebek and yes, I know he’s dead but he’s still the best at hosting everything.

Alex Trebek: All right, contestants! This week’s challenge was “Iconic Buildings”. Donna, what happened here?
Donna: Well, Alex, I tried to recreate the Eiffel Tower, but as anyone who’s ever participated in a team-building exercise knows, popsicle sticks aren’t stable at great heights, especially when all you have to attach them together is masking tape.
Alex Trebek: That’s a shame. Bob, tell me about your structure.
Bob: I built a scale model of the Globe Theatre.
Alex Trebek: Didn’t the Globe Theatre burn down?
Bob (*lights match ominously*): That’s right, Alex.

  • Encourage other people to award themselves Fandanglies. I want this sh*t to catch on.
  • Press ‘publish’.

And now, in honour of me receiving my first Fandangly (applause and cheers ensue), here are the questions I’ve asked myself and here are the answers:

1) Who is your favourite drag queen and if you were a drag queen, what would your name be?

I have two current favourite drag queens and I’ve met both of them. The first is Kylie Sonique Love, the first transgender woman to win a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I met her at a performance and at the end, I was able to go up to the stage and tell her how much I admired her. She took my hand and thanked me. It was awesome. The second is a British drag queen named Lady Camden. Ken and I did a meet and greet and she was there. I got to stand next to her and holy sh*t, she’s tall and gorgeous. And she’s also kind and lovely to talk to. If I was a drag queen, my drag name would be Mabel Syrup, because I’m Canadian. You can tell I’ve given this some thought.

Me and Kylie Sonique Love

2) Which customer at work creeps you out the most?

The middle-aged man who buys a certain type of doll designed for teenaged girls. He is so obsessed that the owners have him on speed dial and if a new doll comes in, they call him and he shows up immediately. And if you make the mistake of calling the dolls “Bratz Dolls” instead of the kind they are, he loses his mind and makes you say the proper name. I don’t want to think about what his house looks like, and I’m gonna bet he’s single.

3) Have you set fire to anything lately?

This might seem like a strange question but I’m sure you all remember the time not long ago when I was trying to get a picture for my literary magazine and almost set my neighbourhood on fire. And the answer to the strange question is unsurprisingly YES. On Friday night, I was making a brandy peppercorn sauce to have with the steak that Ken and I had treated ourselves with. I cooked the butter, onions, and peppercorns, then turned off the burner to add the brandy. Why did I turn off the burner? Because three times previously, I have created a brandy inferno in my kitchen so this time I was exercising extra caution. But when I turned the burner back on, everything exploded yet again. I screamed and Ken ran over, pushed me out of the way to grab a pot lid to smother the kitchen conflagration, and simultaneously threw it over the flames and turned the burner off. Luckily, no harm was done, my lashes and brows are still intact, and the brandy was successfully reduced, albeit a lot more quickly than it should have been.

The Fandangly Award. Because you deserve something nice.

Please feel free to use this very professional graphic.