My Week 236: Highway to Hell, Dancing in the Closet

So starting this past Thursday, I am once again working off-site, which means that my morning commute has changed quite a bit. Instead of leaving my condo, going down in one elevator, crossing the street, and going up to my office in another elevator, I now have to drive on the world’s worst highway for an hour and a half. This is an estimate—the time can change depending on the stupidity of other drivers and something that traffic reporters insist on calling “volume”, which is just a nice way of saying there are way too many f*cking cars on the road. I won’t bore you with the details—I’ve written plenty about the Highway of Hell in the past. But Saturday morning’s commute was the worst thing I’ve ever had to do.

It was pouring rain, and it was 6:00 am, so also pitch black out thanks to Daylight Savings Time. I had thought initially about taking the back way, but Ken was listening to the traffic report and there was an accident on one of those roads. It involved a cattle truck. There were cows on the road. Literal cows. Of the Holstein variety. So I had no choice but to take the highway. I knew I was going to have problems about ten minutes into the drive to GET to the highway when it was raining so hard that I couldn’t see the lines on the road, but I thought I would be OK. I was wrong. I pulled onto the on-ramp and was immediately hit by the spray of a truck barreling past. I don’t know how HE could see anything, but he was going like a bat out of hell—a blind bat to be exact. I started driving and thought, “I need to get off this highway now” but I couldn’t see well enough to even figure out where any exits were, and in a horrifying twist of fate, I had left my cell phone at home in the charger, so I couldn’t even do what any normal person would do, which would be to call Ken. So I carried on, hunched over the wheel, terrified that at any moment, I would either go off the road or be hit by a transport truck. I did this for over an hour. In the pouring rain. In the dark.

I can’t even describe how I felt—the closest feeling would be the time that my gas fireplace started making a loud grinding sound and black smoke started pouring out of it, and I thought the house was going to blow up. My knuckles were white, my shoulders were screaming with tension, and I couldn’t even cry because I knew if I did, the visibility would only get worse.

Finally, I got to the convention centre’s access road, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I pulled into the parking lot, put the car into park, and then, just as I thought my ordeal was finally over, a GIANT F*CKING SPIDER chose that exact moment to swing down from my visor. My reaction was to scream, and then I became convinced that I actually HAD died on the road and I was now in hell. Let me clarify that I don’t normally have a fear of spiders but I was really stressed out and this one was black and hairy and the size of a quarter and I didn’t have any Kleenex to catch it with because at a stoplight 5 minutes prior, I had used the only tissue in my possession, then I rolled down the window and surreptitiously tossed it out onto the road on the grounds that paper is essentially wood fibre and natural and whatnot, and NOT litter, but now I was obviously being punished by the environmental gods. So I grabbed my wallet and tried to whack the giant spider out the window but I missed and it fell off its creepy webstring and seemed to disappear perhaps into my boot, which caused me to scream again and jump out of the car, stomping my feet vigorously because as you all know, if a spider is in your boot, the most appropriate thing to do is crush it into your sock, because why the f*ck wouldn’t I want a spider corpse in my boot all day? But when I took my boot off, there was no spider, which means it’s still hiding somewhere in my car.

So to make a long story short, I need to buy another car.

And now, to relieve the tension, here’s something a little more funny. As I was getting dressed this morning in the dark, I tried to turn on my closet light, but I was too tired to do the dance properly. I hit the closet light with a pair of underwear to activate the motion sensor, and remembered something I wrote a long time ago, which will explain what I mean by ‘dance’:

One Friday night, I came home from Toronto. I went into the walk-in closet to get changed, reached up to pull the chain on the light to turn it on, but couldn’t find it.

Ken: The chain broke this week.
Me: How do I get the light on then?
Ken: I installed a motion detector light bulb.
Me: But I’m IN the closet. Why hasn’t it come on?
Ken:  You have to come out of the closet. Now walk to the right, along the side of the bed. Now walk to the left and move towards the bathroom door. Take two steps forward, then hop one step back on kind of an angle.
Me: What?
Ken: You did it wrong that time. Try it again. This time, make it more of a 30 degree angle instead of a 45 degree angle.
Me: Can’t you just get another chain?
Ken: No, this is much better. Oh, by the way, when you’re finished, you have to shut the closet door. If Titus walks past, he triggers the light and it will wake you up.
Me: I didn’t realize Titus could do Country Line Dancing.
Titus: Pivot, Turn, and Quick-Ball Change! Yeehaw!
Ken: You’ll get used to it.

Ken was right. Now, if I want the closet light on, I just hum “Achy, Breaky Heart”, the magic takes over, and it’s all good.

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My Week 235: Home Alone

For the past few days, Ken was at a conference in one of our western provinces, and I had to come home early to take care of Titus, which meant being in the house by myself, something I despise. Even in Toronto, I have a roommate because I hate being alone at night (also, the rent is outrageous and I couldn’t afford to live there without her). When I first moved to Toronto, my condo was paid for by my company because I was on temporary contract, so I didn’t have a roommate, and it was awful. I came home from work every night and literally searched the entire condo, which didn’t take long because it was only 600 square feet. Still, I would call Ken while I looked in the closets, under the bed, and behind the giant column in the corner where only a very thin robber could squeeze. I don’t know what I thought would happen if I actually DID find someone—put Ken on speakerphone and have him sternly order the intruder out? Say “You’ll be sorry when my husband gets here–in two hours”?

It’s even harder at home because we have a very large, late 1800s Victorian house with a full walk-up attic, and searching it would take a really long time. There are 6 doors leading to the outside on the main floor alone, and a balcony door upstairs, although I doubt a burglar would bother climbing up to the porch roof when there are SO MANY DAMNED ACCESS POINTS ALREADY. Before I go to bed, I make sure ALL of them are locked, and that all the outside lights are on. And then I’m locked IN the house, which creaks and makes weird sounds. Oh, it’s not haunted though—I used to live in a house that was haunted and this one definitely isn’t, which is one good thing at least, and if you’re interested in the haunted house, you can read all about it in My Week 69: Ghost Stories.

I was talking to one of my aunts last night, and she hates being alone in the house too.

Aunt: Is everything locked up?
Me: Yes. I double-checked. And I can lock myself in the bedroom now—there’s a hook on the inside of the door.
Aunt: What kind of weaponry are we talking about?
Me: A baseball bat in the bedroom, another one by the toilet in the ensuite, and a hammer on the window ledge.
Aunt:
Me: Too much? I know it sounds crazy.
Aunt: Oh no—I was just wondering why you didn’t mention the pepperspray.
Me: Damn! I left it in Toronto.
Aunt: I keep mine in my bedside table.
Me: Ooh, good thinking.

It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one in the family who is well-armed.

But wait, I hear you say—you’re not BY YOURSELF; you have Titus. Well, let me relieve you of any delusion you may have had that Titus can be counted on in a crisis. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that he has no problem with intruders in the house—our doorstep has been crossed by bats, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and he has batted nary an eyelash. In fact, the last time a squirrel got in the house, I was convinced it was a burglar, and as I was creeping towards our family room with a giant knife in my hand, trembling with fear, he lay on the living room couch and barely lifted his head when I shrieked in horror at the sight of the tree rat climbing my wall. In fact, the only time he DOES lift his head is when we’re lying in bed all locked in and cozy, and suddenly he pretends to hear a noise and jumps off the bed:

Me: What?! Why are your ears up?
Titus: I thought I heard something.
Me: Like what?
Titus: Oh, uh, like a…hey, open the door and I’ll go see.
Me: Don’t lie. I’m not letting you out of here.
Titus: But I’m bored!
Me: It’s 3 o’clock in the morning!! How are you ‘BORED’?! Go the f*ck to sleep like a normal dog.
Titus: OK, ok, I’ll stay in here. Can you at least put Netflix on?
Me: Fine, but no cooking shows—I don’t want you drooling on the bed.
Titus: Is there any wine left?
Me: What do you think?
Titus: Lush.

Who’s the lush?

As you can see, he’s not much use in the watchdog department. For all his formidable size—100 pounds of extra-tall black Lab—and intimidating bark, he’s pretty much a big suck. But I’m sure if there WAS someone in the house, he’d be all over them. Especially if they had wine.

Here’s a quick, funny story for you:

Once, when I was teaching, my class was studying Lysistrata by Aristophanes. The students were seniors and it was an academic class, so the kids decided they wanted to act it out. Authentically. If you know anything about early Greek theatre, all the parts were played by men, and they differentiated between the sexes using masks, and because this was a comedy, the ‘men’ were also identified with exaggerated fake phalluses and the ‘women’ with exaggerated fake boobs. So on the day of the performance, the students all dressed up, with the girls taking the male roles and vice versa, just for fun. So there they were, all wearing togas made out of bedsheets, Hallowe’en masks on their faces, the girls swinging long balloons and pool noodles strapped around their waists and the boys strutting with balloons and basketballs tied to their chests. Just as the largest boy in the class said his line in excellent falsetto, “Indeed, I believe I could—I practice the kick-dancing!” and demonstrated thusly, the classroom door opened and my new principal walked in. She stopped and stared:

Principal:
Me: We’re doing a play.
Principal:
Me: It’s Greek…
Principal: I needed to talk to you about something but it can wait.

She left, and as soon as the door shut, the whole class erupted in laughter. I didn’t know what would happen next, but when I saw her again, her only comment was, “It looked like they were having a good time.” I mention all of this now, because I was reminded of it last week when I yelled the word “Herpes!!” across the aisle to a colleague just as one of the big bosses was walking by. She also stopped and stared, and I explained that it was something I was reading. I showed her and she laughed, kind of like “Ah. Ha ha ha” and walked away. Sigh. At least I didn’t say ‘penis’ again.

My Week 234: Up On The Roof

As many of you know, I’m from a very small town, but I work in Toronto, so during the week, I live downtown in a condo. I’m on the 34th floor. I have a balcony but I never go out there, not because I’m afraid of heights but because I’m afraid of falling FROM them. But the view from my windows is always very interesting, because I can see into other buildings as well as being able to look down on other roofs, and I’ve seen some crazy stuff. One of the buildings opposite had this naked mannequin in the window for the longest time. Once in a while, it sported a jaunty fedora, but it never wore pants. EVER. I’m just glad I had the posterior view because looking at mannequin junk every day would be very disconcerting.

Look at my bum!

 Last week, I was looking out my bedroom window, which overlooks another building. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but I’ve never actually paid attention to the thing that I suddenly noticed and am now absolutely befuddled by. Take a look at the picture below. It shows the side of a building with a beautiful mural celebrating singers and venues in Toronto. There’s also a rooftop which features a ladder.

Ladder to nowhere

 Now think about the ladder. What is the deal with that f*cking ladder? It comes out of a brick wall, goes down and then along the roof, then suddenly stops. It’s not high enough to reach the next level of the roof, and it’s above the door in the brick. If you look closely you can tell that it doesn’t go INTO the brick—it’s just attached to it. It’s either performance art making a statement about the futility of life or a very poorly designed roller coaster.

When I first moved to Toronto in 2015, I lived a different building on the 27th floor. I was initially alarmed by how high up I was, and the fact that I had floor to ceiling windows made me a little dizzy. But I soon learned to love the view—I could see the sun rising over the lake in the morning, and the city lights were gorgeous at night. But the best part was that the condo directly overlooked the roof of the building next door, which, when I moved in, featured a lovely roof garden with raised boxes of shrubberies, lighted paths, benches, and whatnot. Then around the beginning of March, I looked out and saw a crew of workers starting to dismantle the whole thing. I was initially dismayed, but not long after they ripped it apart and took it down to bare concrete, they started laying new rubber membrane and then putting down patterned paving stones. I had ongoing hope that one day it would become an even more beautiful rooftop garden. But the PACE of the workers concerned me. There were 4 men–they arrived around 7 am every morning, and they were gone by the time I got home from work. And after a month, they hadn’t even finished LAYING the paving stones. One Thursday night when I got in, it seemed that all of the stones were in place. Except for ONE SPOT, where there was a hole with a single paving stone missing. I assumed they had left it because it was quitting time, and that it would be easy to finish up the next morning, but I was wrong.

On Friday morning, I got up, and the crew was there. They were too far away to really identify but there were 4 guys—let’s call them Bill, Frank, Bob, and Monty. Over the course of the next hour, as I was getting ready for work, I was fascinated by their activity—or lack thereof—as you can tell by this chronicle which I have named “The Tale of the Hole”:

7:02 – Bill, Frank, and Monty are wandering aimlessly around the roof. Bob comes out of a porta-potty. (I have NO idea how they got a porta-potty up there.) I go into the bathroom and wash my face.

7:05 – Bill is staring at the hole. Frank is leaning against the wall, having a smoke. I put in my contact lenses.

7:07 – Bill is standing IN the hole. Frank is staring at him. I wash my hair.

7:10 – Bill and Frank are BOTH standing in the hole. It’s a tight fit AND they’re facing each other. I dry my hair.

7:15 – Frank is standing in the hole. Bill is about 10 feet away, lying on his stomach facing the hole and using his thumb as a gauge. For what exactly, I have no idea. Monty is hovering nearby. No sign of Bob. I pour out some cereal and go back into the bathroom to put on some make-up.

7:20 – Frank is out of the hole, and Bill is once again in it. He’s jumping up and down. Frank observes him carefully. I put my cereal bowl in the sink and apply mascara.

7:22 – Frank and Bill are kneeling on either side of the hole. They are facing each other and look like they are genuflecting. Perhaps a small god lives in the hole. I brush my teeth.

7:24 – Monty is standing in the hole. Frank and Bill observe him carefully. Could it be a time-travel portal? Maybe that explains what happened to Bob, whom I haven’t seen in a little while. No, wait—Bob has just come out of the porta-potty again. So much for the time-travel theory. Unless the porta-potty IS the portal. Hmmm. I go into my room to get dressed.

7:29 – Monty and Bill are standing next to the hole. Bob has made his way over, and seems to be instructing Frank on how to kill an imaginary insect by stomping repeatedly on it with his foot. He stomps, then looks encouragingly at Frank, who then stomps a little himself. They continue this for several minutes. I pack my lunch.

7:33 – Bob and Frank are still “killing insects”. Monty and Bill are now both lying on their stomachs across from each other, facing the hole, and both are using their thumbs as gauges. Again, for what, I have no idea. I get my bags ready to leave.

As I leave, Bill is once again IN the hole. Monty, Frank, and Bob are observing him carefully. I have hope that, based on the efforts of the morning, the hole will be filled by the time I get home from work.

4:30 – I arrive at my condo, anxious to see what progress the crew have made. Not only is the hole still visible, there are now at least 14 other holes where once there were none. It’s going to be a long summer.

So many holes…

And it was a very long time before that roof was finished—if you want to know what happened next, check out My Week 94: Sexy Roof Time.

I’m actually moving home at the end of April to start commuting  to work daily by train. I’m really excited about it, but I WILL miss the views.

My Week 233: All The Weird Things

It’s been a strange time lately, a time when all the weird things are happening. If you read The Mystery of the Tip Sheet on the Table, I should tell you that was only the “Tip” of the iceberg, haha, and I apologize for the terrible pun, but I’ve certainly had some experiences in the last three weeks that have been completely outside my wheelhouse, and most of them have to do with the magical world of math. I call it “magical” because there are formulas, and also whenever I see someone solve an equation, I squeal excitedly and exclaim breathlessly with child-like wonder, “How did you do that?!” Here are the 5 strange things that have beset my life recently:

1) I applied for a job closer to home. I love my current job, but I have to live in the city during the week, and it’s getting pretty sketchy downtown. The job was kind of the same as what I do now, I thought, and to be honest, I didn’t really want to change jobs immediately, but at the bottom of the job posting it said that eligible candidates would be put in a pool for future positions, and that seemed like a great opportunity. So I applied, and lo and behold, I got an email about an interview. And at the bottom of the email was a description of the interview telling me that I would have to prepare a presentation for the interview panel. On MATH. My first reaction was, “Did they even LOOK at my resume?” Because I have a lot of qualifications and experience, none of which have anything at ALL to do with the numbers or adding or dividing or whatnot. The closest I’ve ever come to doing math professionally was teaching Life of Pi. And then it said at the bottom of the description that there would be a TEST at the end of the interview, and I was like, “What? A MATH TEST?!” because nowhere in the job description had it even mentioned math at all, and it seemed pretty obvious by then that they probably already had someone for the job, someone who was, perhaps, good at math. So when the place called me to confirm that I got the invite, I actually had to ask the woman, “So is the test at the end a math test?” because if it was, there was no point in going, but she said she didn’t think so, that it was probably a “scenario”. Which it was. And ironically, I totally ROCKED the math presentation, but I blew the “scenario” which was writing a letter in response to someone who was very angry. I responded the way I normally would—no, not by saying “Take a f*cking step back”—but in a professional way which is “Please provide more information to help me understand your anger.” It turns out though, that apparently I was supposed to direct them to a variety of different websites where they could explore their feelings themselves. Ultimately, it was not fun, but I DID get put into the pool for future positions, mostly on the merit of my math presentation, which is another one of life’s great mysteries.

Isn’t it magic-y?

2) I went to empty my blog spam folder, which usually contains about 30 comments about Nike shoes or Viagra, and there were 1, 167 spam comments in there. They were all for CBD oil (derived from marijuana). So I emptied the spam folder, and three days later, there were another 2, 000 messages, again for CBD oil, and all I could think was “Someone REALLY wants me to get high”. But then I did a little research and it turns out that CBD oil isn’t psychoactive, so I’m not sure what’s going on there, but the Viagra people need to step up their game.

3) I had to go by myself to do a presentation (this time on my actual work instead of magic-y math sh*t) to a group of around 60 people. I don’t enjoy standing up in front of people at any given moment—I don’t even say much in meetings when I’m sitting down—but someone had to do it, and I was that someone. I stayed in a hotel the night before because the weather was supposed to be lousy for travelling the next day. I decided to order some Swiss Chalet chicken, and then stay in for the night watching the Oscars. I called up Swiss Chalet and asked for delivery, but when the woman gave me the total, I realize I didn’t have any money so I said, “Oh, I don’t have any cash on me. Will the guy take Visa or is there something else I need to do?” and then I realized to my horror that it sounded like I was offering to instigate a porn scene where the lady doesn’t have money but offers to “take it out in trade” with the nubile young delivery man. Luckily, you can pay for Swiss Chalet over the phone,  and a very sturdy older lady came to my hotel room, so no worries there. But then, incredibly, the hotel TV had 54 channels and not one was showing the Oscars, so I ended up watching porn. No I didn’t. That was a joke. I ended up watching a Flip or Flop Nashville marathon.

The presentation the next day went OK, except for the snarky guy sitting right in front of the podium who kept muttering under his breath and rolling his eyes, which was very distracting. At one point, he raised his hand to angrily complain about how hard it was to use a particular report, and I felt like saying, “Well, toilet training is hard too, but I assume you’ve figured that one out.” Instead I just smiled and said, “Here are some websites you can use to explore your feelings about this issue.”

4) Then I got back to the office and was asked to start supervising, in addition to my own team, another team whose job revolves completely around MATH. My reaction again was “Have you even LOOKED at my resume?!” And now not only do I have to try and understand math in English, I also have to try and understand it in FRENCH, because we have two official languages, and math is hard in both of them. At least the people are nice and don’t roll their eyes at me.

5) On Tuesday, I raced to get dinner finished and get ready for bed so that I could be all cozy on the couch in my pajamas in time for my favourite new TV show The Launch (it’s Canadian). I made it with a minute to spare and yelled to my roommate, “Come on, it’s almost starting!” Then I went up and down the guide and couldn’t find it on anywhere. “I don’t understand” I said. “Are they on hiatus already” and my roommate said, “Isn’t The Launch on Wednesdays?” and I said “Yes,” and she said, “Today is Tuesday”, and this is what too much math does to you. So we resigned ourselves to watching The Voice and I was trying to figure out Instagram when I realized my young cousin was starting some ‘live’ video thing so I clicked on it. He and his friend were talking, then suddenly he said, “Hi Suzanne”, and I shrieked and threw the phone down and said to my roommate, “Oh my god, can he SEE me?!” She started laughing hysterically and explained how your name comes up at the bottom so that people know you’re watching, and it reminded me of the first time I tried to send a fax, and panicked when the paper went into the fax machine because there was a phone number on the back of the form that I needed. The secretary at the school also laughed hysterically just like my roommate and explained that the paper would come back out once it had been scanned. “Did you think the fax machine magically transported the actual paper to the person you’re sending it to?” she asked.  “Of course not—that would be ridiculous,” I said, but in my head I was like, “Yes. Yes, I totally f*cking did.” Because faxes are magical. Just like math.

(I just had a short story published in the inaugural issue of a terrific literary magazine called Slippage Lit. It’s called Perfect Food, and if you want to read it, click here: https://www.slippagelit.com/perfectfood)

 

My Week 232: The Mystery of the Tip Sheet on the Table

Something very strange happened to me this week, a mystery worthy of Nancy Drew, and if you’re familiar with the intrepid young detective, you’ll be happy to note that, just like Nancy, I was wearing pearls, and my handbag matched my pumps. Because nothing screams “I can solve crimes better than the Hardy Boys!” like wardrobe coordination. If you come here often, you’ll know I’m quite frequently beset by mysteries—there are so many, including The Mystery of the Mouthguard on the Landing (still unsolved), The Mystery of the Box of Porn on the Porch (it was the wife of the local church deacon—who’d have thought?!), The Mystery of the Salt in My Hair (we’ll never know), and more recently, Who The F*ck Is Daniel: A Netflix Original.

But this one? This one is freaking me out more than all of them put together. Here’s the scenario:

On Wednesday, I was working late, trying to create one Excel spreadsheet by cobbling together the information from about three others. I was having a terrible time so I wandered out of my office and found that there were a couple of people on our floor. I asked the first woman if she knew anything about copying and pasting into Excel, and she replied, “Mais non, pas vraiment—I tink you jus’ ‘ighlight de cell and right-click” (she’s very French, as you can see). I made my way back to my office but on the way, I realized that one of my team members was still working, so I asked her. She was a little more familiar with the hidden ways of Microsoft so she came back to my office with me and we kind of stared at it for a while, and then she said, “I really tink you jus’ ‘ighlight de cell and right-click comme ca” (she’s also French, obvs), and she did it, and the cell moved. So I thought I was all set, but ultimately it didn’t work for reasons which will bore the sh*t out of you, and this preamble is already too long. I finally resorted to individually copying and pasting each of about 150 cells. Then I went home.

The next morning, I opened my office door, and there, right smack in the middle of my table was a “2013 Excel Tip Sheet”. And I was like, “Aw, I work with such nice people!” I went to thank the first colleague and she looked puzzled. “Non, it was not moi,” she said. Then my team member arrived and I brought the Tip Sheet out and said, “Thank you so much for this—it was very thoughtful” and her brow furrowed and she said, “It was not moi.” And then another team member said, “Don’t you lock your office when you leave? How did someone get in there to put it on your table?” and I had a sudden epiphany that made my blood run cold. Someone HAD been in my office! But it was still locked when I arrived on Thursday morning, so how could this have happened?!

The evidence.

And it was terrible because, first and foremost, I LOVE my office. It’s my sanctum sanctorum, my beautiful refuge. It’s bright and airy, and big enough to hold team meetings in, and I have plants and a mini-frig and assorted antique boxes and my signed Gary Numan poster on the wall. It’s the best office of all of them, except for the senior exec. offices. It’s a fact, although sometimes it sounds like I’m bragging. For example, the other day, a new manager started. We needed to have a joint Skype meeting with our director so we had to decide whose office to use:

Me: So do you want to use yours or mine?
New Guy: It doesn’t really matter.
Me: We should probably use mine. It’s big and it has a window. You can see the CN Tower.
Other Colleague: Haha—are you bragging?
Me: No! It’s just that mine is really bright and comfortable. I have 3 screens and those nice wheely chairs…
Other Colleague: So braggy…
Me: No, I…
New Guy (looks around his own small office with no windows and only two screens): Sigh. Yours is fine.
Me: Do you like cappuccino? I have a Keurig.

But now, my office had been violated and I was beside myself. And to make matters worse, we all decided that the only way anyone could have known about my Excel problem was if my office was also BUGGED. Someone has heard all the crazy things that happen in there, which is mostly me having fairly mundane meetings, me singing off-key, me swearing at the computer, and me whispering, “Math…so much math” under my breath (which is a story for next week). And while the idea that we have an office spy and I need a cone of silence seems outlandish, it’s more logical than any of the other solutions I can think of:

1) My office is haunted by a software-savvy ghost. This is highly doubtful because I was given no assistance whatsoever with the Adobe debacle of 2017.

2) I’m being anonymously gaslit (or is it “gaslighted”?). Again, doubtful. I’ve been gaslit before, and it wasn’t anywhere NEAR this helpful:

Bob: I never said that.
Me: You said it to my face yesterday.
Bob: No, I didn’t. You’re imagining things. What are you going to accuse me of next? Telling everyone you suck at Excel?!
Me: You did that last week…
Bob: Maybe you shouldn’t have taken me off FACEBOOK!!

3) The only person who has a key to my office is someone on the cleaning staff. Could it have been a helpful custodian who also moonlights as an IT trouble-shooter and overheard me swearing at my computer? But if that was true, wouldn’t there have also been a cheery sticky note attached to the Tip Sheet that said, “Have an Excel-ent day!”?

But I’ve formulated a secret plan. I have an antique cheese box on the table that contains individually wrapped chocolate squares. I keep it filled in case any of my co-workers are in need of a quick pick-me-up, and I can use this to my advantage. No, I am NOT going to poison the chocolates—I’m a detective, not a serial killer. Instead, I’ve carefully counted the number of chocolates in the box. When I get to work on Monday, we’ll see if any have been taken over the weekend. And if the spy happens to be reading this—do you have anything on how to do a Google Hangout?

My Week 231: A Tribute To A Lovely Floof

Sunshine kitty.

I’ve written a lot over the years about Raven, our little Persian cat. Unfortunately, she passed away last week at the age of 14. I went back over some old blogs and found this one, and I’ve revised it a little as a tribute to her. She was lovely and sweet, a bit of a diva, and we loved her very much..

June 6, 2015

I got home on Friday afternoon and Raven was sitting in the living room. She had her back to me, and refused to look at me.

Me: What’s wrong? I haven’t seen you all week and this is how you greet me?
Raven: I read your last blog.
Me: So? Didn’t you think it was funny?
Raven: Funny? FUNNY!? That’s the 4th time you’ve written extensively about that oaf Titus. You know what I get? POO. Every goddamn time, you talk about my poo. I’m fed up with it.
Me: Well, you poo a LOT. But I take your point.

So I feel compelled to write a little something about Raven. Which is hard, because, aside from the pooing and her keen literary analysis skills, like most older cats, she doesn’t actually do much (sorry, Raven, but you know it’s true. For example, you just spent 11 hours lying on the back of the chair in the living room). But she DOES have some tricks and little quirks that endear her to us:

She comes when you call her. Most of the time. Other times, she just looks at you like, “What?”

She will meow at you until you follow her, then she will lead you to the bathroom and let you know what she needs with a series of glances. The other day, she beckoned me forth, and when we arrived, she sat down in front of the litter box. She looked at me, then looked at the box dolefully. I looked at her. Then she looked at the box again and I realized it needed to be cleaned. Which I did, resulting in her promptly using it again WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM. No sense of dignity, that one. She also does the same thing when her water or food bowl need to be replenished.

She will jump up onto your lap if you pat your knee, then jump down when you stand up. You don’t even have to say anything—she just GETS the force of gravity.

She likes to play this game where, when you walk behind her, she starts to run away from you like she thinks you’re chasing her. Even when you say, “I’m not chasing you—calm down!”, she still keeps playing.

She waits until you stand up from your chair then jumps into the warm spot. Then when you try to sit back down, she won’t move. You pretty much have to sit AROUND her, or perch on the edge of the seat to avoid squashing her, and then she taps you on the back so that you’ll reach around and pet her. In the winter, she likes to crawl under the covers, squeeze up right against you, and fall asleep purring, which is very soothing.

She refuses to go outside. You know how some cats lurk by the door and try to dart out any chance they get? Not Raven. Once, she accidentally wandered out onto the front porch when the door was left open. When I saw her, she was just sitting there looking confused and scared. Then she saw me and ran back INTO the house. Yep, definitely not a nature lover.

When I come home at the end of the week, the second she hears my voice, she starts meowing from wherever she is in the house, and runs to greet me. Then she stops just outside the kitchen to avoid being trampled by Titus, who is also very excited and most likely yelling, “This is the best day EVER!”, and she waits for me to pick her up and cuddle her.

I think her best trick, though, is that when she’s really happy to see you, not only does she purr, but she leans up and gives you little kisses on your face. I don’t mean licking—I mean little pecks with her muzzle that let you know that she loves you. And we love you too, you crazy, poopy cat.

RIP Raven. We’ll miss you.

Full coat, but she preferred being clipped.

My Week 230: Gaffes and Guffaws

Gaffes

So if you know me at all, you’ll know I’m prone to gaffes, blunders, faux pas—whatever you’d like to call it, I regularly have super-embarrassing moments either of my own making or someone else’s. This week was no different.

1) On Monday, I was in a meeting. We were having a discussion, and towards the end, just to emphasize my own position, I made a statement in which I somehow used the word ‘penis’. I can’t give you a lot of context because I work for a secret agency and this was something that would be considered part of the secret, but rest assured, it wasn’t particularly necessary for me to have used that particular word IN that context. Anyhow, I realized to my horror that I had just said the word ‘penis’. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that word; in fact, I have an absolutely adorable video of my son at two years old, running around the house naked and yelling, “Look at my penis!!” which I will for sure be showing at his wedding. But it’s just that I was in mixed company, and it was a rather high level meeting. So I did what any normal person would do—I said, “Wow, I’m so sorry—I can’t believe I just said ‘penis’!” Because if saying it once is bad, saying it twice will make a situation infinitely better. One of my male colleagues said, “That’s OK—I’d stopped recording” and I was like “You were RECORDING?!” because then I had to think, ‘My god, what else did I say?’ The meeting was pretty much over by then, so I stood up and turned to ostensibly stare out the window, but the truth was that I was trying not to laugh in that hysterical way that people laugh when they’re hoping they don’t get fired for saying ‘penis’ in a meeting. Twice.

2) On Tuesday, I went out for a little retail therapy. There’s a tiny store across the corner from work that sells really cool clothes—I don’t know what it’s called, but I just refer to it as “the store at the bottom of the escalator” and everyone always says “Oh yeah—I know that place.” I went in and found a few things that I liked and went into the change room. The change room is actually a tiny, triangular closet and the mirror is on the OUTSIDE of the door, so you have to put the clothes on, then go out and see what they look like. So I struggled to get all my winter clothes off, and then struggled to put on pants and a top, and then opened the door and almost hit a woman who was literally just standing there. So I said, “Excuse me” so I could look in the mirror. It was hard to see myself with her blocking my view, but I caught a glimpse and I looked ok. Then I said, “What do you think?” hoping that she would take the hint and realize I was trying on clothes, and she looked at me and answered, “Meh.” MEH?! What the f*ck, lady?! So I said, “You don’t think this looks ok?” and she looked me up and down, shrugged, and said, “No, not really.” And I was like, ‘Screw you!’ (in my head, because she was bigger than me), and I bought the outfit anyway. Then I wore it to work the next day, and when I went to the bathroom and caught sight of myself in the mirror, I realized she was right.

3) I pretty much completely forgot Valentine’s Day. I went home on the train a day early because I was working off-site on Friday, and Ken picked me up from the train station. We both said “Happy Valentine’s Day” to each other and I thought that was the end of it. Then I walked in the house and there was a huge bouquet of flowers, a card, and gifts waiting for me. And I didn’t even have the wherewithal to say “Oh damn—I forgot your card and present in Toronto!” Ken looked at me expectantly, and all I could do is sigh and say, “I’ll make dinner.” Luckily, the local grocery store still had cards the next day, because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a belated Valentine’s day card. But I do love you, Ken, even if I get sidetracked and forget important occasions like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, the fourteenth anniversary of the day we met, the seventeenth anniversary of our first date, and whatnot, because you’re awesome at remembering for both of us.

4) I got an email from one of our senior execs while I was off-site yesterday, and I was doing something else on my laptop, so I used my phone to reply. When I signed off, my phone autocorrected my name so that it said, “Thanks, Suzo.” I hit send before I realized it, but now I’m hoping that he thought I did it on purpose and that he starts a trend by referring to me as Suzo all the time, which is much cooler than ‘the weirdo who says penis a lot’.

Guffaws

Here are three things that made me laugh insanely:

Terrifyingly realistic for a zombie baby.

1) This ad was posted on our local Buy and Sell page. Take a moment and do what I did. Look at the picture and description and think about ALL the babies you’ve ever known, and consider the great discrepancy between the ad and reality. This is the kind of doll that lives under your bed and crawls out at night to chew your arm off. The only detail I’m interested in is “Does it eat brains?” I mean, what kind of life are you living if you think THAT is a life-like representation of a small child?!

2) Ken and I were in an antique mall a while ago, and I saw this suitcase. “Have Wang, will travel”, am I right? Am I juvenile? Obvs.

Sounds like a fun time.

 

3) In the same antique mall, I saw this old box. I started laughing and said to Ken, “Cold punched nuts? That is indeed a special screw—that’s some real S and M sh*t right there!” and I kept snickering like a twelve year-old and the people wandering behind us with a small child probably wondered how I manage to hold down a job. I wonder that sometimes too. Penis.