My Week 126: February is Too Hot, Canadian Politics Are Getting Severely Abnormal

sun

Saturday: Global Warming

This morning, I had a hot bath, then I washed my hair with hot water. Then I started to dry my hair with a hot hair dryer (wait—it WILL get funnier). After about two minutes, I was sweating and unhappy. “WTF?!” I may have yelled to no one in particular. “Why am I so HOT?!” So I did what any normal person would do under these circumstances. I called Ken.

Me: Ken! I’m too hot!!
Ken (from other side of the house): Open your balcony door then!

So I took his advice and opened the door to the balcony off my bathroom. Why is there a balcony off my bathroom, you ask? Well, my house is over 100 years old, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my bathroom used to be something else, just like my kitchen used to be a bedroom, and my media room used to be an old woodshop with a giant cistern underneath it which I try NEVER to think about while I’m watching horror movies. Anyway, I opened the door, and a huge square of sunlight hit me, accompanied by a draft of warm air, making me feel even hotter, and more miserable. And while this wouldn’t be unusual during other months of the year, THIS IS F*CKING FEBRUARY. FEBRUARY—the month of winter doom in Ontario, where normally it’s 19 below instead of 19 above (for my American readers, that’s like plus 70 vs. minus a gazillion—I’m not great at math or exchange rates, obviously). So, to anyone who believes that global warming is a hoax perpetrate on us by the Chinese, let me assure you that there were no Chinese people in my bathroom, and that things are way too warm for February. I asked everyone yesterday on the way home from my mom’s birthday party what they thought about global warming:

Me: So what are our thoughts on global warming?
Ken: Do you mean “climate change”? Because technically–
T: Dad, are you mansplaining global warming to Mom?
My Mom: It’s extremely cold in England right now, so I don’t know about “warming”.
Ken: CLIMATE CHANGE. That’s why it’s called “climate change”.

At any rate, whatever you want to call it, this warm weather in February is a real problem. Yes, I know it’s lovely outside. Yes, the weather continues charming. However, it’s just not fair for a couple of reasons. I live in both the country AND the city at any given moment of the week, and warm weather this early is a real problem in both settings.

The country: I pulled into the driveway yesterday, and my lilac trees were budding. I actually yelled at them, “No, stop it! Next week, we’ll be back to minus 10, and those buds will die! Don’t be fooled by this crazy warm sh*t!” Warm weather in February only sets us all up for disappointment—let’s face it, there are still at least two more months of snow and ice before we get to the “real” spring and summer. The current temperature is just creating false hope, hope that we really don’t live in an area of the country where there are only two seasons (No, not “winter and construction”, like a lot of people will tell you): Summer, and the rest of the miserable year. The last thing I want is for all my trees and flowers to start budding and then have those buds killed by the next frost. Trees—they’re so gullible.

The city: You’d think a warm February would be glorious in the city, but no. First, it takes a slow thaw for all the garbage to disappear. Right now, all the melting snow is revealing a multitude of cigarette butts, food containers, and for some reason on my street corner, about 200 old lottery tickets. The street cleaning machines won’t be on the roads for at least two more months, so we’re stuck with sidestepping all the crap until at least April. But even worse is the detritus of the human bodily kind, which becomes more noticeable the hotter it gets:

Me: Oh my god, why does it smell like pee out here?!
M: Why WOULDN’T it smell like pee? This is downtown Toronto.
L: If it didn’t smell like pee, how would we know where we are? How would we find our way back to the office?
M: We’d totally lose our bearings. We’d be wandering around all afternoon, not sure where the office was.

And see, this is a conversation that I would normally have with my work partners in May or June, but it was just a few days ago. I should probably clarify though—it’s the subway station that regularly smells like urine and our office is right in front of the station entrance. So the smell of pee is to us as breadcrumbs are to Hansel and Gretel. Except no pigeon wants to eat THAT.

Long story short—I cannot rejoice over this weather. I feel like the polar bears must when they’re stuck on an iceberg that broke off and is floating in the middle of the Arctic Ocean—which is to say, completely disoriented, baffled, and hungry (because I never eat breakfast until I finish writing). And the weirdest thing is, I don’t even LIKE the cold. In fact, I HATE winter with a passion, but winter is an absolute necessity because I hate mosquitoes even more, and a mild winter results in way more mosquitoes than normal. So f*ck you, global warming and your impending plague of locusts. Me, I long for ice and snow until at least March Break.

Sunday: No, YOU’RE the weirdo.

Last week, Conservative Leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, the new queen of white nationalism, held a rally at a Christian college against a motion proposed in the House to strike a committee to look into Islamophobia and other forms of racism on the grounds that it’s “against Free Speech”. Not sure how she’s making that leap, but as she likes to boast, “I have 22 letters after my name. They’re all great letters, the best letters, in fact. I have all the important letters.” Actually, if you take away all the letters that don’t mean much, like the initials of the political party she’s a member of and whatnot, there aren’t that many. I myself would have MORE than 22 if I included not only my degrees and professional affiliations, but my Twitter handle, my official title of “Perpetual Ruler of the Ensuite Bathroom”, and my stripper name, which is Perky Cyrus (the name of my first pet and the street I lived on as a child—try it for yourself. It’s fun). Anyway, she introduced herself and then said, “It’s great to be in a room full of SEVERELY NORMAL people!” And I was like WTF, Lady? What is “SEVERELY NORMAL”? And yes, I have to keep typing it in cap-locks, because that’s how she said it—like it was all in capital letters, because the SEVERELY NORMAL don’t recognize how “special” they are unless you yell it at them. But before I go on to discuss what SEVERELY NORMAL is, I’d first like to say that Kellie Leitch is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of someone who is highly educated, but despite that, is as stupid as the people who think global warming is a hoax perpetrated on us by the Chinese. Oh, she’s cunning, I’ll give her that, but “cunning” and intelligent are not always bed-fellows. She’s cunning AF because, as a Member of the Canadian Parliament, she didn’t object when the exact same type of motion against Anti-Semitism was presented last year in the House. And she didn’t hold a rally for SEVERELY NORMAL people at a Christian College when the same type of motion regarding Islamophobia was passed by the House last October. But now that the leadership race for the Conservative party is heating up, suddenly she’s the poster girl for “Canadian Values”, and whining about free speech over a motion which she knows damn well is only to strike an exploratory committee? Well, unfortunately, she’s currently second in the polls behind Kevin O’Leary, that weird little wannabe Donald Trump (you might know him from the TV show Shark Tank), who lives in Boston and hawks blended wine on US shopping channels, and who believes that being rich is great because it makes poor people look up to him and become inspired to work harder, and that union leaders should be thrown in jail. That these two people are currently at the top of the polls for the leadership of a major political party should scare the sh*t out of the rest of us completely normal people, because Canada is supposed to have one of the most educated populations in the world, yet all those people who attend Leitch’s rallies, and espouse her brand of “Canadian Values” seem morbidly uninformed and earnestly believe her when she tells them that they are not “the fringe”. Um…Yes. You are. All I can say is this though: You can be SEVERELY NORMAL and believe Leitch’s appeals to the lowest common denominator of hatred and mistrust, or you can be just be a regular Canadian who believes that no one should be discriminated against and that we’re all happier, healthier, and ABSOLUTELY normal when we start using our brains and stop listening to idiots who confuse SEVERELY NORMAL with “extremist white nationalism”. But you just know that her cunning plan was that the people who follow her are going to start embracing the term and start using it as their Twitter handles, like @BobSEVERELYNORMAL and wearing ball caps that say Make Canada Great Again. Me, I don’t want to be severely anything. I just want to be Canadian. But it’s all good—it’s not as if someone like her could EVER become the Prime Minister, right?  There’s been no other country where someone got elected by lying to people and using hateful rhetoric, right? No other candidate for the leadership of a country got to pull this sh*t while the other candidates just sat back and watched, and the media snickered while the ratings were high until suddenly it was too late, right? Oh, wait…

 

My Week 125: Trudeau Meets Trump, Trump’s Spice Girls, Celebrity Spouses

Thursday: Throw Back Thursday with a Twist

trudeau

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about an imaginary first meeting between our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the not-yet-elected US President, Donald Trump (My Week 64). Looking back on it, it’s kind of weird how accurate I was, but now Trump really IS President (who’d have guessed?), and Justin Trudeau really IS meeting with him on Monday. So I thought I would revise the previous post to catch up with events:

Donald: So what am I doing here again?
Aide: You’re meeting with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. He’s here to talk about the relationship between Canada and the US.
Justin: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Trump.
Donald: So what, you’re like the King of the Arctic or something?
Justin (laughs gently): No, no, I’m the Prime Minister of Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russian in terms of landmass. It’s the world’s most educated country, and it has more lakes than all the other countries in the world combined.
Donald: What the f*ck ARE you, a geography teacher or something?
Justin: Well, I do have a working knowledge of geography. For example, the Balkan States definitely exists. In fact, though, I used to be a drama teacher.
Donald: All actors are overrated, especially that Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I don’t give a sh*t about the Balcanadians. Save the drama for your mama, pretty boy. Now, what exactly do you want?
Justin: Well, Canada is the US’s biggest trading partner, so I think it’s time that we discussed some issues relating to trade.
Donald: Well, I have a lot of issues–
Justin: Mm, yes, I’ve heard.
Donald: –but what I really want to do is bring American back to the Americans and dig it out of the hole that Muslim from Alaska put it in.
Justin (confused): Are you talking about President Obama? He’s not Muslim and he’s from Hawaii.
Donald: That’s what the Democrats would HAVE you believe. Anyway, I have a deal for you. It’s a great deal, because I’m the best at deals.
Justin (puzzled): What kind of deal?
Donald: I’ll agree to keep NAFTA the way it is if you agree to force all Canadian stores to sell my daughter’s clothes.
Justin: What?!
Donald: And my wife’s jewelry.
Justin: I don’t have the power to do that. Can we just talk about trade?
Donald: OK, FINE. Baby Spice!! Get in here. Bring the rest of the gang!
Justin: Why are you being so derogatory about your colleagues?!
Donald: Derogatory? What? Those are terms of affection. I decided to nickname my closest friends after the Spice Girls. Ah, here they are. Ok, Justine—
Justin: It’s Justin. I don’t want an “affectionate nickname” from you.
Donald: Anyway, this is Baby Spice…
Sean Spicer (whispers): The struggle is real.
Donald: And Scary Spice…
Steve Bannon: Your country is mostly white, right?
Donald: This, of course, is Posh Spice. She donated a LOT of money to my campaign, so naturally that qualifies her to be the Secretary of Education.
Betsy DeVos: Play dead.
Justin: I beg your pardon?
Betsy: For when the bears attack and you don’t have a gun. What, did you go to public school or something?
Donald: And meet your new Ambassador to Canada, Sporty Spice!
Sarah Palin: Yah, hi. I only tweet five words at a time.
Donald: And I, of course, am Old Spice. I’m on a boat!
Justin: Mon dieu! C’est incroyable.
Donald: Why are you talking Islam talk?!
Justin: I was speaking French. Canada is a bilingual country. Now can we just discuss trade? Can you tell me where you stand?
Donald: I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, really want.
Sean Spicer: So, tell us what you want. What you really, really want.
Steve Bannon: I wanna, I wanna—
Betsy DeVos: Really, really, really wanna–
Sarah Palin: Zig a zig. Yah.
Justin (rolls eyes): I feel like we’re not making much headway here. Why don’t I introduce you to some of MY colleagues? This is Harjit Sajjan, my Minister of National Defence.
Donald (sotto voce): You know he’s wearing a towel on his head, right?
Justin: That’s a turban, Mr. Trump—he’s a Sikh.
Donald: How did he get into my country?! I thought I banned him!
Justin: What?! NO. He’s a trusted member of my cabinet!
Donald: That’s what JFK said about Lee Harvey Oswald, and look how THAT turned out.
Justin: I don’t think JFK EVER said that, and I find your comments ludicrous and divisive.
Donald: Fine. But I’m still going to call that guy “Curry Spice”.
Justin: Your attitude is as ridiculous as your travel ban.
Donald: What’s ridiculous about it? It’s keeping out the bad hombres.
Justin: Aside from the fact that it’s racist, the countries you’ve banned haven’t committed any terrorist acts on US soil!
Donald: Well, I could hardly ban countries where I have hotels and whatnot. That would be a conflict of interest!
Justin: All right—I think we’ve all had enough. I’m going home.
Donald: Yes. Go back to that condemned row house you call an official residence. The Winter White House is better. It’s the best official residence. It’s a golf club for rich white people. I’d call it a metaphor for the state of US politics right now, if I actually knew what a metaphor was.
Justin: 24 Sussex Drive isn’t a “condemned row house”. It’s a historical monument. I lived there as a child.
Donald: Holy sh*t, you’ve been Prime Minister since you were a kid? Why the hell have I never heard of you until now?
Justin: No, no, that was when my father was elected Prime Minister. There were others in between. Remember the guy in the sweater vest?
Donald: It rings a bell, although I don’t remember his name. By the way, speaking of elections, I heard you’re taking some flak about changing voting.
Justin: Ah yes—my electoral reform promise. I just couldn’t get consensus, and it seemed silly to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a referendum to decide an issue that really isn’t that imperative to many Canadians.
Donald: While I don’t understand your big words, I DO understand how to take attention away from your problem. Just do what I do. Tweet something crazy, and then pass the most outrageous executive order that Scary Spice can think of. Does your daughter have a clothing line? How do you feel about banning hockey?
Justin: Or I could just say I’m building a wall between Canada and the US.
Donald: Ooh, good one! That might just work!
Justin: Sigh. Let’s hope it does.

Later:

Harjit Sajjan: So, was it just me, or did you “really wanna” punch him in the face?
Justin: You have NO idea.

Friday: We discuss our celebrity spouses

It’s an unwritten rule (or maybe it’s written down somewhere, like in the Bible or People Magazine) that it’s perfectly acceptable for a married woman or man to have a celebrity husband/wife. AND a celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend. Isn’t that like extra cheating, you ask? You’re already married, then you get to have a pretend husband, then you pretend-cheat on BOTH of them with a pretend boyfriend?! Well, yes. But it’s OK, because it’s not like I’m EVER going to meet Idris Elba (husband) or Benedict Cumberbatch (boyfriend). My celebrity husband used to be Johnny Depp, but then he got all alcohol-y and started doing only movies where he was dressed all weird and sh*t. I could have made my peace with Captain Jack Sparrow and his “young Keith Richards” vibe, but that Mad Hatter? Yuck. Could the guy possibly do a movie where he’s NOT dressed in a stylized costume? Coincidently, I just now, while Googling Johnny Depp’s Imdb page to see if he’s done anything normal lately, read an article in the Guardian by a woman who also claimed that Johnny Depp was her celebrity boyfriend, and I was appalled. Not only was Johnny cheating on me with her, she knew a LOT more about him than I did, and her reasons for breaking up with him were a lot more compelling than my “he makes stupid movies now” excuse. Also, I learned that he spends $30, 000 a month on wine. And I totally don’t get that, because I drink a lot of wine, and even in a particularly souse-y month, I never spend more than around $135 (which is what a couple of cases costs at Wine Kitz, where Dad and I “make” our own by ordering it and then putting it in bottles after 4 weeks). So how much wine are you DRINKING, Johnny Depp?!

Anyway, then I got concerned that maybe Johnny was cheating on ME with a lot of other ladies out there, so I researched “Johnny Depp is my celebrity husband” and sure enough, he was being puh-lenty unfaithful. Then I saw a link for a Playbuzz quiz that said it could tell me who my REAL celebrity boyfriend was, so I took it. There were only 5 questions, one of which was “Blonde or Brunette”? So the field was pretty open, apparently. After I answered “Brunette”, the little swirly thing swirled and then it came up with Zac Efron. No, Playbuzz—just NO. If anything, Zac Efron would be my celebrity SON. And that would be cool, but don’t tell T. “Won’t he see it here?” you ask. No, dear Reader, because the one person who DOESN’T read my posts is my own actual son. So maybe I DO need a celebrity son. I’ll bet Zac would read everything I wrote and say, “Hey Pretend-Mom, you are SO funny!”

So the other day at lunch, a bunch of us from work were discussing upcoming movies and other things, and I said I was totally pumped to see The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King’s novels and starring Idris Elba, so like two of my absolute favourite things all rolled into one. And then one of the women said, “Oh Idris Elba—he’s my celebrity husband.” And I was like, “No. NO. He’s MY celebrity husband! He’s been mine since I saw him in Luther.” Then another woman countered with, “No, he’s mine. He’s been MY celebrity husband since The Office.” I was immediately chagrined because I didn’t know that Idris Elba had even been on The Office, but I immediately offered to throw down with either of them. Then I took it back, because they’re both really nice people, and I still have Benedict Cumberbatch all to myself. ISN’T THAT RIGHT, LADIES?

Then I was telling Ken all about this, and he was like, “Am I allowed to have a celebrity wife?” I told him of course he was.

Me: Who would be your celebrity wife then?
Ken: Ummm. I don’t know.
Me: You can pick anyone. Who’s a movie star that you really like?
Ken: I can’t think of anyone.
Me: What about that woman who was in the movie we saw last night?
Ken: No. Oh wait—I’m going to say Nicole Karkic.
Me: Who the hell is Nicole Karkic?
Ken: She’s on The Weather Channel. She’s smart and she really knows her weather.
Me: You can’t pick someone from The Weather Channel!
Ken: Why not? You said I could pick anyone. There’s also that meteorologist on CTV News—she’s very reliable.
Me: OK, then…

I guess I should consider myself lucky to be married to a man who appreciates a woman who’s climate-savvy, instead of being all about her physical looks. Me, I also appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s…intelligence.

My Week 124: Obsessed with Rats, Other Wildlife Encounters

Wednesday: I become obsessed with rats

rat

On Tuesday, one of my colleagues arrived at work. “God,” she said. “As if the subway isn’t gross enough, this morning there was a HUGE rat running around on the tracks. Ugh.” And I was like, “A rat?! You saw a rat? Wow—I’ve never actually seen a real rat before.” And then I got strangely jealous of my friend and her rat experience, and started feeling sad about it, like it was completely unfair that I never get to see rats. Now, if you’ve ever actually seen a rat yourself, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you, mydangblog? You’ve seen squirrels, haven’t you? They’re essentially rats with bushy tails, so get over it.” But no—squirrels aren’t the same thing as rats. For one, nobody ever looks out their window and says, “Aww—look at all the cute rats scampering about the front yard. Ooh, that one’s got some garbage!” I know that there are a lot of people who have pet rats, and from what I’ve seen from TV and the internet, they ARE pretty cute, but I’m talking hardcore, scavenging wild sewer rat here, the kind that people are referring to when they say “rat-infested”. Don’t get me wrong—I have absolutely no desire to have a colony of rats take up residence in my house or under my shed or whatnot. I know that actually happens to people and apparently, it’s not very pleasant. I just want to see one with my own eyes, so when people say “Ugh—so gross!”, I won’t immediately think “Ratatouille” and be like “But they’re so cute and charming….”

And it’s weird that I’ve never seen a rat, because I’ve lived in the country for over 20 years, and I’ve yet to encounter one. Ken admitted to me a few years ago that one morning he was going down to the basement and saw a rat basking on one of the steps in the sunlight coming through the window. But before he could do anything (like call me down so I could SEE IT), our dog grabbed it and—well, things didn’t bode well for “Sneaky Pete”, which is exactly what I would have called him once he became my pet. I sometimes wish Ken hadn’t told me about it, because it suddenly raised my hopes (“There was a rat on the basement steps this morning—“) and then dashed them almost immediately (“—and Byron killed it.”). As far as I know, there were never any more rats in the house, so now I will never be able to understand the saying, “I smell a rat” because I don’t know what RATS SMELL LIKE. Thanks, Ken—you should have just kept it to yourself.

And having lived in the country for so long, I’ve certainly had my share of animals in the house. Here’s a list from a much earlier week, which many of you might not have read, since it was posted over two years ago:

Bats: The best kind of animal to have in your house is a BAT. That sounds really crazy, but honestly, they aren’t so bad. Bats have sonar, which is a fancy way of saying that they can tell where you are and won’t fly into your face or hair, which is always a plus. The other day, we were eating dinner, and Ken suddenly said, “A bat just flew by the doorway.” I had my back to the kitchen at the time, so I said, “What?!” and turned around in time to see it fly past the doorway again. I ran into the corner with my dinnerplate, while Ken went to investigate, but he couldn’t tell where it had gone. He also found it pretty amusing that I was freaked out, but not enough to make me stop eating my dinner from the corner of our breakfast room. Well, I was hungry. At any rate, we searched the house, but it seemed to have disappeared, which was bad news, because I was NOT going to bed with a bat in the house. We had also just taken apart a piano, and I became irrationally convinced that the bat had been living in the piano, and I wouldn’t go near it for the rest of the night. Finally, around 11 o’clock, I went downstairs for one last glass of wine (wild animals always make me want to drink), when I saw it hanging quietly on a curtain. Ken came down, and cool dude that he is, he just wrapped it in a towel and let it out the door, while I drank wine and made squeamish sounds. (Speaking of things that should be kept to oneself, Ken then told me that the bat was back the next day. Apparently, Ken came out of the shower, and Titus was running around the kitchen trying to catch it. So he opened the door to our courtyard, and flapped his arms at it until it flew outside. Ken did a great job of imitating both himself flapping and Titus snapping his jaws and going Rar, rar, rar, but I still REALLY didn’t need to know.)

Mice: Mice are OK, and if you read My Week 16: Jimmy the Mouse, you’ll know that they can become elevated to almost pet-status in our house. But I can’t say too much more, because if my sister-in-law even thinks that I’m writing about mice, she will NEVER read this post, and a) I like her feedback and b) I don’t want to traumatize her even more than Jimmy the Mouse did. Enough said.

Raccoons: Raccoons are vicious beyond belief if they have babies. Once, I had a really bad cough so I was sleeping in our guest room. At one point during the night, I woke up to what sounded like an elephant moving furniture around in our attic. It was unbelievably loud and scary and possibly human, but the attic door locks from the inside-the-house side, so I figured that if it was a serial killer, he was pretty much stuck up there until Ken dealt with him, and I went back to sleep. In the morning, I told Ken about the noises, and he said he would investigate. I was taking a course at the time, so I told him I’d call him at the break and he could tell me what he found. When I called, Ken sounded a little distracted.

Me: Where are you right now?
Ken: In the attic.
Me: What did you find? Please tell me it’s a rat.
Ken: No…I’m staring right now at a very large mother raccoon and six newborn baby raccoons. She’s kind of hissing at me.
Me: I’m going to say back away slowly. Don’t break eye contact. If she goes for you, run.

Eventually, after several misadventures, and a lot of damage, including a hole chewed right through our roof (raccoons aren’t the brightest apparently, and can’t see their own offspring in a shoebox at the bottom of a TV tower), we caught her in a live trap. Ken had to carry her in the trap out of the attic, and through the house in order to get her outside. She was going insane, snarling and trying attack the bars—I could tell Ken was a little intimidated by the way he was holding the trap as far away from his body as possible, and walking VERY quickly. We decided to take her and the babies down to the river flats where they could live happily ever after, but then we realized we had a major problem—what if, when we opened the cage, she tried to attack us in a fit of vengeful rage and ripped our faces off? Ken had the great idea of using the cardboard box the live trap came in, putting it against the trap door, and letting her out into the cardboard box, which might disorient her long enough for us to jump back in the car and make a clean getaway. So we did that, but she somehow missed the cardboard box. I don’t know what happened next because we were both already back in the car, having run for our lives. Ken went back later to get the trap, and both she and the babies were gone. I hope they had good lives down on the riverbank.

Squirrels: The absolute worst thing to have in your house, or anywhere near it, is a squirrel. Oh, but squirrels are so cute, you say. No, as I’ve stated previously, squirrels are simply rats with bushy tails, and even worse than having them cavorting on your lawn is having one in the house. A couple of years ago, I got home from work, and was puttering around while T did his homework upstairs. I walked into our back family room, and as I passed the couch, I distinctly heard something sneeze. I looked around, and couldn’t see the cat or dog anywhere, so I figured it was either my imagination or some weird old-house noise. But then when I came back the other way, I heard a sneeze again, and this time there was no doubt that it was coming from BEHIND THE COUCH. I just lost it—I ran upstairs, got T, and made him look behind the couch with a flashlight while I cowered around the corner in the kitchen.

Me: Can you see anything? Please tell me it’s not a raccoon.
T: I can’t see anything yet—HOLY SHIT, there’s something back there!!!!
Me: What?! What?!
T: I think it’s an owl!
Me: An owl?! How the hell did an OWL get in our house?!

So I called Ken on his cell phone—he was about 5 minutes from home, and I made him stay on the line with me until he arrived, based on a bizarre belief that if he kept talking to me, the owl would leave me alone. Anyway, when he came in, he took a look and very calmly announced that it wasn’t an owl, it was “only” a squirrel. This was a new experience for both of us, and while Ken pondered how best to get it out of the house, I poured a glass of wine and stayed on the other side of the room. Finally, he decided the best thing to do would be to open the door, push the couch away from the wall, and let the squirrel make a run for it. It did, but not after doing a couple of mad circuits around the room, trying to run up the wall, and falling back down (which I think stunned it a bit). Finally, it saw the open door, and took off. You’d think it would have been happy to escape and would have gone into hiding, but NO. It ran up a tree and spent the next ten minutes telling us exactly how pissed off it was that it had fallen down our chimney and ended up behind our couch, where apparently, it was very dusty.

And it’s even weirder that I’ve never seen a rat, because now I also live in the heart of downtown Toronto where there are ALL KINDS of strange wildlife, including some of the human variety. The other night, I took the subway to the Art Gallery to meet my sister-in-law. It was a good twenty minutes underground, and I spent the whole time staring fixedly through the window at the tracks and tunnels, hoping to see one of these amazing subway rats. But no such luck. Then we were driving back to my condo, and I saw movement in the street in front of us. Could it be?! But as we got closer, her headlights revealed something that looked like a medium-size dog scurrying along the sidewalk. As it squeezed underneath someone’s garage door, we realized it was a gigantic raccoon. Let down again. I don’t understand  it—last month, I got to pet a stingray and almost got bitten by a shark, but I don’t ever get to see a rat?! The guy next door told Ken last week that he was pretty sure he had rats living under his shed—maybe it’s time to pour a glass of wine and investigate. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

My Week 123: A Wine Tour, A Dog’s Purpose

Saturday: We go on a wine tour

Last weekend, out of the blue, Ken said, “Hey, why don’t I take you and your dad on a wine tour?” And I was like, “Hells to the yeah!” because Ken doesn’t really like wine, so he’s happy to just drive and take cool photographs like the one I’m using today. Dad was down for it, because who wouldn’t want to spend an entire day drinking wine? Well, maybe some people, but not us. We set off for the Beamsville Bench with a plan to hit at least 5 different wineries. Now, if you’re unaware of this, Ontario is a great wine-producing province, but the vast majority of the really good stuff cannot be found in the LCBO, the super-controlling entity which is the only place in town to buy alcohol, and where small wineries have to pay a lot of money and produce a lot of wine to get on the shelves. I shouldn’t say “the only place in town” though, because there’s also the corporate “wine shoppes” in some big grocery store chains that only sell Vincor wines, or what I like to call “Vincorps”. Vincor is the eighth largest wine producer in the world and trades on the stock market, unlike the independent wineries, who just hope that people will come to their tasting bars and maybe buy a bottle or two. This isn’t to say that corporate wine isn’t good, but there’s just no sense of adventure like there is on a tour of independent wineries—as you will soon see.

First stop: Peninsula Ridge.

Don’t be put off by the seemingly oxymoronic name—the main house IS on a bit of a hill, and the Niagara Peninsula is around SOMEWHERE. Peninsula Ridge is one of our favourites, mostly because they’re generous with their samples. 4 tastings for $5, which sounds like a bit of a cheek, but if you buy a bottle, they waive the tasting fee. Dad and I were in our element, while Ken wandered the property taking pictures. We’d been there before, and Dad and I started reminiscing:

Dad: Remember that Meritage from a couple of years ago?
Me: The one where the tasting notes said the flavour on the palate was “leather and pipe tobacco”?
Dad: And it tasted like someone had strained it through an old wallet?
Both: HAHAHA!
Girl Behind Counter: ?

She didn’t seem to know a lot about wine, but she kept offering to let us try other stuff, and by the fourth sample, we were pretty much old friends, as so often happens on these outings. We left with four bottles (I’m drinking the Sauvignon Blanc as I write this) and a decidedly warm glow.

Second stop: Angel’s Gate

Another strange name, as you won’t see any angels hovering about, but there ARE very large gates. Angel’s Gate is another tried and true place, but the serving sizes are somewhat less than generous, and the tasting fee is only waived if you spend $50, which IS a bit of a cheek. It was harder to tell if the wines were good, since we were only given a scant mouthful, but the server was friendly and knowledgeable, and conceded that, if we spent $50 combined, which seemed pretty likely, she’d waive the $5 apiece tasting fee. At one point, I looked up and realized that high above the bar, there was a door leading to a balcony which had no railings—it was just a plinth sticking out into the air. I asked the woman about it, and she said, “Oh, we’ve been doing some renovating—the offices are up there, but the door’s locked from the inside.” I was like, “Thank god, because I can’t think of a worse combination than a balcony without railings in a place where people can get drunk.” Which is maybe why they only give you a splash rather than a slosh. We each bought a couple of bottles, while Ken wandered around taking pictures, and I realized that after she rang mine in, she quickly scanned a bar code on the counter next to the cash register. I’d been to the eye doctor last week, and was happy to hear that my post-laser surgery eyes were better than 20/20, so I could clearly see that under the bar code, it said “Tasting Fee”. I called her on it, and she quickly took it off my bill. Thanks, laser beams. Besides, that was never $5 worth of wine—maybe $2.25 tops.

Third stop: Mountain Road Wine Company

It wasn’t quite noon yet, and Ken was insisting that we go somewhere that we’d never been before, which was tricky because we’ve been to most of the wineries in that area over the years. Then we passed a sign outside a small, red tarpaper barn that said, “Mountain Road Wine Company”.

Ken: Let’s go there.
Me: It’s a broken down lawn mower shed!
Dad: It looks like there’s a dirt road leading somewhere. Maybe the winery’s down that way.

We drove down a laneway that was littered on either side with old cars, appliances and heavy machinery. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a T-shirt that said “Paddle faster. I hear banjos,” and that’s how I was feeling. Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Oh—they got to the end of the lane, and it was a magical, wonderful place with amazing wine!” And you would be sadly wrong. The “winery” was in the walkout basement area of a bungalow. The proprietor was watching Netflix on his computer when we walked in, and he looked totally shocked to see us.

Owner: Oh. Do you want to sample the wine? I have a 2005 Chardonnay. Or a 2006 Chardonnay.
Me: Uh…I’ll take the 2006?

When I related this to T, he said, “But isn’t old wine even better than new wine?” and I was like, “Well, you’d think.” But this isn’t necessarily true of white wine anyway. The guy who owns the place where Dad and I make our own wine keeps saying, “Fill it all the way up the neck! It’ll oxidize if you don’t drink it after a couple of months, and then it won’t taste as good!” A couple of months? Oh, silly wine man—you don’t know me at all.

There was literally nothing for Ken to take pictures of, outside of an old cement mixer, so he hung out while we tried Mountain Road’s wares. It seemed like maybe the sampling bottle had been open for a loonngg time, because the aftertaste was “squirrel rubbing its ass on an oak tree”. But I felt bad, mostly because the guy’s hands seemed a little shaky when he was pouring the samples, like we made him nervous or something, so I bought a bottle, hoping that ‘fresher might be better’. Later that night, I opened it, thinking that I might as well drink it myself because I sure wouldn’t serve it to friends. After the first three sips, I poured it down the sink. Ken was like, “Why did it take you THREE sips?” Well, maybe I was hoping it would mellow out, but it just kept getting nastier. When I looked Mountain Road Wine Company up on Trip Advisor, there was a similar review to mine, so I’m not the only one who heard banjos. (Just so we’re clear—I’m not saying “Don’t go there yourself.” Maybe squirrel ass oak tree is an acquired taste that I’ve yet to acquire, like beets.)

Fourth stop: Ridgepoint Wines

I love this place, mostly because the owner, a huge jolly Italian guy, always seems to recognize me. I don’t know if he really does, but it’s either a great vibe or I’m a memorable lush. Also, the restaurant there is excellent. We were hungry for lunch by this point, so we postponed the tasting for something to soak up the alcohol. Dad had a pasta soup kind of thing, we shared a charcuterie, and Ken had pizza, which he swooned over and said it was the best pizza he’d had in ages, which is saying something because Ken had pizza three times last week. The wine we had with lunch was wonderful as usual, and we came away ready to face at least two more places…

Fifth stop: Calamus Estates

It was dimly lit. There was wine and it was tasty. I bought some.

Sixth stop: Sue Ann Staff Wines

I think there was a dog. Also, wine…yum…bought…

Last stop: Home

Me: How the hell did we get here so fast?
Ken: You both fell asleep the minute we hit the highway.
Dad: Yawn…are we back already?
Ken: Sigh.

Wine tours, and my husband, are the best.

wine-barreks

Titus and I discuss films

Me: So have you heard all the controversy about that movie “A Dog’s Purpose?
Titus: What does that mean?
Me: “Prolonged public dispute, debate or—“
Titus: I know what “controversy” is. I meant a dog’s purpose. Is it a looping GIF of a dog eating, sleeping, and pooping? Because I’d pay good money to watch that.
Me: No, it’s about a dog who brings joy to its owners—
Titus: We aim to please. You’re welcome.
Me: —by being reincarnated over the course of 50 years.
Titus: Reincarnated as a dog EVERY TIME?! That sucks. After 50 years, I’m hoping to reach at least naked mole rat level.
Raven: Naked mole rat? WTF?
Titus: Naked mole rats are like superheroes. They can’t feel pain, they’re immune to cancer, they live for the equivalent of 600 human years and they look like scrot–
Me: No! Stop. Anyway, back to the movie. Apparently, someone leaked footage of a handler trying to force a German Shepherd into rushing water, even though the dog was obviously terrified.
Titus: But why not just get another German Shepherd who LIKES the water? No one would know the difference—they all look the same anyway.
Raven: That’s so racist.
Titus: No it’s not! All dogs of a certain breed look alike. Whenever I walk by Skippy from down the block, even I’M not sure which one is me. Lemme see the video….ooh, that’s not nice.
Raven: Dogs are such big babies. It’s only a little water.
Titus: Says the one who’d rather use her own spit than take an actual bath.
Me: Anyway, PETA’s condemned it.
Titus: I didn’t know pitas could do that. I thought they were just luscious snacks.
Me: Not the bread—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Titus: Really? That’s a thing? Ok, I want steak for dinner or I’m calling them.
Me: Here’s the phone. Knock yourself out, Mr. Slappy Paws.
Titus: How about we compromise, and you share a little of that wine you just bought?
Me: Stop drooling! Gawd! You’re getting the cat wet!
Titus: And THAT’S my purpose.

My Week 122: Racists Are Stupid, Spoiler Alerts

Friday: Racists are stupid.

So I’m probably not telling you something you don’t already know about racists with THAT title. I just wanted to reaffirm it for all of us. Oh, I’m sure there are some of them who claim to have high IQs, but still, they’re stupid in the ways that matter. On Friday night, Ken and I were watching TV and a show called “Marketplace” came on. It’s kind of an investigative news show, and it’s on CBC not Fox “News”, so you know it’s totally legit, because the CBC never lies. I think that’s actually their motto or something. Anyway, the show hired actors to portray white supremacist/neo-nazi types (by the way, spellcheck just told me to capitalize the “n” on nazi but I’m not going to, because nazis don’t deserve capitals. Then spellcheck tried to autocorrect the “n”, and now I’m worried about you, spellcheck.) They had fake T-shirts printed which said things like “White Power”, “White Pride World Wide”, and “Make Canada Great Again”, then they went to three places to see how many Canadians would buy them. First, they went to Alliston, Ontario, the home riding of current Progressive Conservative Leadership candidate and alt-right queen, Kellie Leitch. She’s the one who wants to screen immigrants, refugees, and visitors to Canada to make sure they have “Canadian Values”, values which, as evidenced by Marketplace, many Canadians don’t have themselves. Several people in Alliston bought the shirts, and Marketplace tried to interview them afterwards, without much success, except for one woman who said, “If you want to come here to support Canada, then support Canada—live our way. You know, if you’re not happy with it, keep it to yourself, celebrate your own way but don’t change who we are or what we stand for.” And Ken and I were like “Huh? Who is she talking about?” And this is why racists are stupid. The first thing I did when she said that was look up “Are immigrants to Canada happy?” According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, of the 43 immigrant groups who’ve come here, only 3 said they weren’t as happy as they were back home. One, Columbia was discounted, because they weren’t really happy in Columbia either. The other two were New Zealand and The Netherlands. So, is this who she’s referring to? Does she think wind turbines are the insidious Dutch way of trying to convert us to their crazy windmill religion? Or does she believe that New Zealanders want us to start speaking their own weird language (which is English, but maybe she thinks it SOUNDS foreign)? I jest, of course—you and I both know that, although she didn’t say it, she meant non-white people.

Another intellectual giant explained his purchase in this way: “Different races are trying to change our way of life that’s been going on for hundreds of years”. HUNDREDS. Canada has only been around since 1867, so is he talking about the Neanderthal way of life? I could understand this logic if he was a member of the First Nations, but no, he was just a stupid person. This whole idea of “Our way of life/don’t change who we are” is, again, alt-right propaganda. It usually rears its ugly head around Christmas, where social media is full of memes like, “If I say Merry Christmas, how many people aren’t afraid to say it back?” The answer is NO ONE. It’s CANADA. The Southeast Asian guy who owns the gas station on the corner of my small town had free coffee for all his customers on Christmas Day. The Muslims in the International Language School I used to run gave us Christmas cards before the holidays. No one is trying to change your way of life, scared white lady. Except maybe the atheists. After Christianity, which makes up 67% of Canadian religious affiliation, the next largest, and growing affiliation, is non-belief at almost 25%. All those other religions you’re so worried about make up 7.2 % of Canada’s population.

The second woman who bought a shirt said this gem: I am anti-immigration. I believe that we have to worry more about ourselves. Close the border completely. Don’t let anyone in. It’s MY opinion.

When the reporter questioned her further, she said she had nothing against non-white people; in fact, she “has a lot of coloured friends”. Somehow, I doubt that, just like I doubt her ability to get herself dressed in the morning without a little help. As I always say, her level of stupidity is so deep that I would get the bends trying to come up from it. I don’t know how long she’s been in Canada, but she should be happy that people didn’t have that attitude when HER ancestors came here. Could you imagine what Canada would look like today if the founding fathers had said, “OK, we’re good. No one else gets to come in”? We’d be a nation of 30 blind guys with no hands and tiny penises. Also, there would be no Tim Horton’s. Again, do your research, silly girl. Canada has a declining birth rate. Without immigrants, we will have no skilled workforce within 25 years. If you really want to close the border, you better start having lots of babies. But this is the thing that Kellie Leitch won’t tell you: Canada already has a very stringent screening process for immigrants, starting with “Find out if you’re eligible to immigrate to Canada”, which I just tried to fill in and pretty much failed because it kept telling me to fill in a particular field, which I did, but it kept saying to do it again and again until I gave up. So guess what, Canada? This 37-year-old single dude from Azerbaijan will NOT be immigrating any time soon. (I’m not sure where Azerbaijan is—it was just the last country that started with A and it sounded cool).

I was watching SNL last night, and the host, Aziz Ansari, referred to the new phenomenon, the “kkk lite”, people who don’t dress in creepy costumes but who hold the same kind of attitudes. Except until now, they just pretended NOT to be racist. Now, they feel empowered to buy racist T-shirts in public, and say “It’s MY opinion,” like they have the right to be morons. I was on Twitter yesterday, and I saw Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed “white nationalist” or “kkk lite” guy, get punched in the face while he was being interviewed by reporters. First, why the hell is ANYONE interviewing this douche-canoe? Why does anyone care what the little weasel thinks? Second, he looked really hurt, not physically but like EMOTIONALLY, after he got cold-cocked, like he wanted to cry because he couldn’t believe it had happened. Personally, I can’t believe it doesn’t happen more OFTEN. And the fact that he didn’t believe he deserved to be punched in the face for being a racist twat tells you how stupid he is.

Imaginary conversation with the kkk lite.

Me: Why are you dressed like a cheap-ass ghost? You know Hallowe’en isn’t until October, right?
kkk guy: I’m not a ghost. I’m a wizard. A grand wizard.
Me: Whoa there, Hogwarts. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. You haven’t done any magic yet. Can you turn lead into gold? Where’s your wand? Is it hiding under your Ikea bed sheet?
kkk guy: Ergh. Immigrants are taking all the good jobs.
Me: What? You can’t even do a card trick. You’re a sh*tty wizard–an immigrant could do YOUR job better.
kkk guy: Please don’t punch me.

But it’s not all bad. For every racist who bought a T-shirt, whether it was in Alliston, downtown Toronto, or Barrie, Ontario, there were plenty of other people who confronted the actors to tell them they were offensive, called the police, or yelled at them to f*ck off with their racism because “This is Canada.” Let’s hope so. But what I really want to know is this: if Kelly Leitch, through some bizarre set of Trumpian circumstances, does become the Prime Minister of Canada, will she also deport people who don’t adhere to the values of tolerance, freedom of religion, and equality like the idiots on Marketplace? Now, THAT would be smart.

(Just for the record, I compiled all the information above by researching it on something called “the internet”. I wish people would use it more often, before they say stupid things like, “Immigrants are taking all the good jobs”, or Kevin O’Leary will Make Canada Great Again.” It’s already great, thanks.)

Saturday: Spoiler Alert

spoiler-alert

In more television news, Ken and I were watching a show last night, and a trailer came on for a new 6-episode mini-series about a female doctor who kills people with a hypodermic needle. The show is called “Mary Kills People”.

Me: Way to give away the ending.
Ken: Well, the whole commercial showed her killing people. It’s not like the title was the REAL spoiler here.
Me: Couldn’t they leave just a little bit to the imagination and call it “Mary May or May Not Have Killed People”?
Ken: At least we don’t have to watch it now.
Me: It’s such a dumb title. Can you imagine if the first Star Wars movie was called, “Luke Blows Up the Death Star”? What would be the point of seeing it? Why would anyone read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ if it was called Elizabeth Marries Darcy? I like the trailer for Cardinal better.

“Cardinal” is another new 6-part series, but I have no idea what it’s about , except that there are two detectives investigating a murder in a cold town somewhere. The trailer doesn’t show much, except the one detective says to the other, “I’m happy to be working this case with you,” and then a block of ice containing what looks like a body is pulled out of a frozen lake. See, THIS is how it’s done, because at the end, I was like “What?! I need to watch this show and find out what happens. And who the hell is Cardinal? Is it the guy? Is it a bird? I need to know.”

It’s a certain fact that people HATE spoilers. Have you ever just seen a fantastic movie and you want to share it with a friend, so you only tell them the beginning? And then they say, “So what happens at the end?” and you have to first confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will NEVER see it themselves, because you don’t want to be the one who spoils it for them? Have you ever accidentally given away the end of a book, and had people look at you like you just kicked a puppy? There are people who deliberately give away the endings of movies just to be a dick, and they’re hated more than racists. And probably get punched in the face more. In fact, I think the only way Donald Trump’s supporters would turn against him is if he finished every press conference with “And by the way, the head in the box was Brad Pitt’s wife. Such a great movie.” So the people who decided to call the series “Mary Kills People” are not very astute, in my books. Unless…maybe the series isn’t really about a female doctor who kills people. Maybe it’s just a ploy to get SOME people to watch because there’s nothing better on, and then those people will be all like, “OMG, it was SO good! I can’t tell you what happens, but it’s not what you expect…Oh god, I wish I could tell you! Are you sure you’re never going to watch it?!” And maybe the body in the lake in Cardinal was put there by a female doctor named Mary. Don’t tell me. Don’t spoil it.

My Week 121: I Want My Dang Cookies, Titus And The Golden Shower

Friday: I don’t get cookies

On Friday, we decided to pop down to Loblaw’s to pick up some snacks. By “we”, I mean my two work partners, L and M, who are always game for a trip to this magical, wonderful place. The big-ass Loblaw’s is remarkable for a variety of reasons. First, it has a Nutella Cafe. An actual coffee bar, where you can buy pastries made with Nutella, and only Nutella, and where it takes three servers 10 minutes to make you a latte. Now, if you don’t know what Nutella is, it’s kind of like peanut butter except that it’s made with hazelnuts and chocolate. So, more like cake icing really. The big joke a few years ago was that the Nutella company was trying to promote its spread as being the perfect breakfast food for children. Just smear it on some white bread, and you’ll be good all day. While Nutella may taste good to some people (not me—I think it’s kind of gross), the problem is that the main ingredients are as follows, in the order they appear on the label: Sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa powder. So, not actually very nutritious or healthy. Peanut butter is shaking its head, like, “You should have just stayed a fun food like me. At least I never pretended to be all vitamin-y and sh*t.” The best part is how Nutella tries to hide the fact that it’s junk food. If you go to their website and click on “Inside the Jar”, you end up in a circular search which leads you from “Inside the Jar” to “Our Ingredients” back to “Inside the Jar. Nowhere can you see an actual list of what the hell is ACTUALLY inside the jar. On the “Ingredients” page, all you get is a PICTURE of the jar with the accompanying text, “We choose only the freshest raw material, carefully selected according to a sustainable sourcing and a great attention to their quality.” Many years ago, Monty Python did a sketch called “Crunchy Frog” about an investigation into the Wizzo Chocolate Company, whose boxes of chocolates contained some disgusting ingredients, including, obviously, frogs. When questioned by the police, the owner says this: “We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and cleansed in the highest quality spring water…we use no artificial additives or preservatives of any kind.”

(Cop: Don’t you even take the bones out?
Owner: If we took the bones out, it wouldn’t be crunchy, would it?!)

So, what are you hiding, Nutella?! If you’re really made with nuts, you SHOULD be crunchy.

Anyway, this post is not about Nutella (even though it seems like it just was). No, this post is about how I’m mad at Loblaw’s, even though it’s got a huge Joe Fresh, a liquor store, live music, a Medical Clinic, and at Christmas-time, the middle of the store becomes a giant gingerbread house. It also has the only self-serve checkouts that don’t make you “call the attendant” every time you use them. But on Friday, I needed to get some cash back so I could buy wine on the train (it’s a LEGITIMATE REASON, thank you), and I had to go to an actual human cashier. I should mention here that the other great thing about Loblaw’s is that you can get a points card, and rack up enough points to regularly take $20 off your groceries. I always have my card ready, because I will actually buy things I don’t really need just for the points. So, there I was in the Express Checkout line, all happy because it was Friday, I was getting the little half-cans of Pepsi that I love, and I was getting me some points. The cashier was super-slow and seemed kind of out of it, though, and it took 10 minutes to get through three people with less than 16 items each. Finally, I got my groceries checked through, and let me just remind you that I had my points card in my hand. There’s a sign above every cashier that reads, “If I don’t ask you for your PC Points card, you get a free bag of PC Chocolate Chip cookies.” Everyone knows this. It’s a long-standing and honourable tradition, and 99.9% of the time, the cashier asks. But on Friday, the woman slowly turned to me and said, “That’ll be $10.77.”

Me: Do you want my points card?
Cashier: Oh. Can I have your points card?
Me (excited): Do I get a bag of cookies?!
Cashier: I asked you for the card before you gave it to me.
Me: Uh…no you didn’t.
Cashier: *blank star*
Me: Really?

Well, I needed to get back to work, and a bag of cookies wasn’t worth causing a fuss over (even if they WERE chocolate chip), so we left. I told L and M about what happened:

Me: I’m so pissed. That woman looked me in the face and outright denied something that we both knew was true!
L: So you’re mad about not getting the cookies that you couldn’t eat anyway?
Me: It’s the principle, not the gluten. Besides, I could have taken them home for Ken. Or shared them at the office.
M: You should write a strongly-worded email.
Me: Meh. I’ll just blog about it.

I DID tweet to Loblaw’s, and their response was that they would share my experience with the store manager, and “sorry for the inconvenience.” I should have tweeted like Donald Trump though: INTELLIGENCE INSIDERS NOW CLAIM THE LOBLAW’S COOKIE PROMISE IS A ‘COMPLETE FRAUD’. SAD! Oh well, at least no one peed on me. And in the heart of the big city, just as it is in Trump Tower, that’s not always a given.

Saturday: Titus gets the third degree

Me: Hey! Who’s a good boy? Who’s a silly fella? Where’s your hippo?
Titus: Whoa! Slow down there, lady!
Me: Why? What’s wrong?
Titus: What’s with all the questions? Is this some kind of interrogation?
Me: No, I—
Titus: Why are you so interested? Do you think I’m hiding something?
Me: ARE you hiding something? The puppy doth protest too much, methinks.
Titus: What could I possibly be hiding?
Me: Gosh, I don’t know. Maybe something like the New Year’s Day Incident perhaps?
Titus: Ken should never have hidden all those little chocolate bars inside his new socks. I’m only canine, you know.
Me: They were nice socks!
Titus: And tasty, too. Anyhow, let’s deal with your questions one at a time.
Me: OK. Are you a good boy?
Titus: I try to be. It’s not my fault if you leave food lying right out in the open, inside hosiery or on top of the stove.
Me: “A” for effort, then. Are you a silly boy?
Titus: Hells, yeah. Wait, you said “sexy”, right?
Me: I rest my case. Finally, where’s Hippo?
Titus: I’m afraid I can’t discuss that with you. It’s part of an ongoing dossier that may or may not be unsubstantiated.
Me: Did you PEE on him?!
Titus: It was an accident. It wasn’t like he paid me to do it. Who in their right mind would do something like THAT?!

hippo

 

My Week 120: Search for a Roommate, The Liquor Store, T and I Discuss Religion

Tuesday: The search for a roommate ends

A little while ago, I found myself in an unusual position. No, this is not a weird sex story, so get your mind out of the gutter. What I mean by that is, “in a situation that I have NEVER dealt with before”. I needed to find a roommate. And before you jump to any more hasty conclusions, Ken and I are just fine. However, in case you’ve forgotten, I work for a secret agency in the heart of the big city during the week, and come home to Ken’s loving, and sometimes sarcastic, arms on the weekend. It was a great arrangement—I have a condo in the city and a house in a lovely small town where the Jehovah’s Witnesses can easily find me. Everything was fine, until just recently, when I accepted a permanent position with the agency, which means they will no longer cover the cost of my urban housing. And that’s OK—I’m thrilled with the whole thing, considering that I work with wonderful people and my position is very stimulating (In an INTELLECTUAL way! God, what is wrong with you people?!) And the best part is that I never have to go back to work with the small but horrifyingly toxic group of people that I used to have to spend most of my day with.

Bob: You’re so mean. We don’t like you.
Marcia: Yeah. You think you’re so great with your “professionalism” and sh*t.
Me: Um…aren’t we all adults here?
Bob: What’s your point? Oh, and if you don’t add me on Facebook, I’m filing a grievance against you with the union.
Me: Sigh. I can’t even.

So it’s a win-win situation, except for the fact that living in the heart of the big city is excruciatingly expensive. I looked into moving into a cheaper condo, but anything cheaper was further away, and the cost of the subway every day offset any savings I might have seen, because right now I live literally across the street from my office. It’s the best commute I’ve ever had in my life. Plus, I really like SkyLab. Being 300 feet above sea level helps put things into perspective. Or not. The other day, for example, I was looking down at the street, and I saw someone walking the weirdest looking dog. Then suddenly, it flew away, and I realized it was a pigeon. Anyway, I decided that the best thing to do would be to get a roommate for my second bedroom. I never use it anyway, and a roommate could help with the rent. That way I could stay where I was. But how do you find a roommate? Was there a magicky noticeboard in the heart of the city where trustworthy people could be found? Well, just like “The Club”, it was elusive. Then I was messaging with a friend who said, “You can advertise on the university Facebook pages—people are always looking for rentals there.”

Great idea, right? So I went to one of these pages, and right away, I saw a girl who was looking to rent a room. I immediately messaged her on Facebook and she sounded super-excited. She said she’d come at 1 pm that Thursday to see the place. Wednesday night, I cleaned the condo from top to bottom because I wanted to make a good impression. I made arrangements to take a late lunch, and I popped over to my lobby around 12:45 to wait for her. At 12:50, she messaged me to say she wasn’t coming. WTF? I had CLEANED!! What was wrong with kids today? After fuming for a bit, though, I suddenly realized that maybe it was my fault. First, some of you may remember me railing on about how I was fiddling with my name on Facebook a while ago, hit the wrong button, and the next thing I knew, my Facebook name was Mydangbog. No, that’s not a typo. At least not here. Yes, I had spelled my own blog name incorrectly, and according to Facebook rules, I couldn’t change it back to my own real human name for 60 days. Well, it was embarrassing at the time, but my friends got used to it, and I didn’t give it much thought after a while. Second, for a laugh, I had changed my profile picture to a shot of me when I was 17 years old, and going through what the kids today might call my “Goth phase”. Third, right after the young lady had initially messaged me, I changed my profile picture to a photograph of the garden house that Ken built me years ago. It’s a barnboard structure, out in the middle of our lawn. So, OK, here’s the deal: You’re 18 years old, and you’re contacted by someone with an incomprehensible name who looks like a vampire. After your initial message, the person changes their profile picture to an isolated barn in the middle of nowhere. If that doesn’t scream “potential serial killer”, I don’t know what else does. The only way I could have made things worse is if I’d started sending her random GIFs of Charles Manson laughing. (I just googled this, and there’s actually a website called serialkillergifs.tumblr.com—Imma save that for future reference). So I forgave her. After that fiasco, I was finally able to change my name back, replaced the barn with a picture of me wearing a tiara (because nothing says “normal” like a middle-aged woman wearing a crown) and got permission to post my own ad on the university’s Facebook site. I got several responses right away, and ending up meeting a very nice student doing a co-op term until the end of April. So if it doesn’t work out, it’s not forever. Well, as long as she never looks in the freezer.

Friday: The liquor store

On Friday, I went to the liquor store. This is the opening line of all my favourite stories. Anyway, I went with T, who’s 18 and a half. But the liquor store has instituted this ridiculous rule that unless you’re 19+, you’re “not allowed to handle alcoholic products while in the LCBO”. LCBO is the name for the only place in Ontario where you’re allowed to buy alcohol (except for The Beer Store, which is the provincially-licenced…well, beer store). T looks like he’s at least 19, but I’m a rule-follower, so there was me trying to juggle a 12-pack of Smirnoff Ice coolers and a bottle of wine, while he wandered after me saying, “Just give me the case of Smirnoff—no one’s going to know.”

Me: It’s a stupid rule. I’m complaining.
T: Oh god—you promised you would stop harassing random store clerks with your “complaints”.
Me: I’m not harassing anyone. I’m just pointing out how stupid it is. (To cashier) This is a stupid policy. These things are heavy and I’ve had to lug them around the store and HE’S not allowed to help me.
Cashier: There are buggies when you come in. And baskets.
Me: Putting all this in a basket doesn’t make it any lighter.
T: God no, please stop.
Cashier (sighing): Do you have air miles?
Me: Don’t even get me started on air miles. So, let me just clarify. If I put this in the basket, is he allowed to TOUCH THE HANDLE in order to carry it out to the car, or is that still considered “handling alcoholic products”?
Cashier (exasperated): You’ve paid for the products. They belong to you. He can touch them now….
Me: But we’re still technically in the store—
T: OMG, just stop. She can’t do anything about the policy. She’s just a cashier.
Me: What? I’m simply pointing out how ridiculous this is. I was POLITE. I didn’t swear at anyone.
T: THIS time.

It’s a stupid rule. I stand by that. Good job I didn’t tell her the coolers were for T.

Here’s a sign with even weirder rules. Guess where it comes from:

weird-sign-smaller

 

Sunday: T and I discuss religion

Earlier this morning, I was driving T back to uni. He was scrolling through his phone and said, “Hey—there’s this really funny thread about which religion is the weirdest. Someone just posted, “the one where there’s an invisible man in the sky who’s really interested in what two people do in bed.”

Me: Haha. Scientology is weirder though.
T: What’s Scientology again?
Me: The one where they believe that everyone on Earth descended from aliens that landed on Easter Island in metal tubes. One day, the Supreme Lord Naboo will return from the Underverse to reclaim them.
T: I think you’re mixing in a bit of Star Wars and Chronicles of Riddick there.
Me: Scientologists, Necromongers, whatever. Anyway, Scientologists are kind of like Mormons, but without the orgies.
T: Orgies?!
Me: Isn’t that the point of polygamy? Orgies were the reason a lot of religions got invented. Seriously—watch Sister Wives. I could never be a Scientologist though—I couldn’t follow a religion that didn’t believe in modern medicine.
T: I think you’re talking about the Christian Scientists.
Me: Aren’t they the same thing? I always get confused by the “science-y” part of their names. Although none of them are really scientists when you think about it. Science Fictionists, maybe.
T: People have always believed in some crazy sh*t. Look at Greek mythology.
Me: I know, right? Let’s talk about Uranus.
Both: Mwahahahahaha!

Yep. I raised him right.