My Week 200: Where It All Began

This week is my 200th blog post, at least in its new form. I know a lot of you have been following me for a while, but I don’t know how many of you have been here from the beginning. In fact, I think the only people who read the first couple of weeks were related to me. So to celebrate, here, in all its glory, is the very first week. Bear in mind that this was almost 4 years ago. I don’t know if I’m funnier now than I was then, or vice versa but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

October 4, 2014

So I’ve decided to change things up a little bit because I’m not currently a mentor and don’t have a particular protégée that I can practice my educational mentorship on, so I’m turning this blog into a reflection up* the things that happen to me either in real-life or sometimes in my head, which are often even weirder. I can’t rename this blog because a) I am not that technologically proficient and I just spent 15 minutes trying to reset my email for this stupid site and I still don’t think it worked and b) educationalmentorship is kind of an ironic title in a lot of ways.

So here’s some of my week.

Wednesday, also known as the day I realize I really can’t tell stories orally that well.

So I was sitting around with a couple of colleagues and we were talking about how people use the comment tool on almost anything now to slag people for very minimal reasons and say some pretty nasty things because they think the internet makes them anonymous even when their names and pictures are RIGHT NEXT TO THE COMMENT. I launched into what I thought was a very clever tale about how I’m a member of a buy and sell group on Facebook, and how recently a local candidate for town council was totally taken to task when someone posted a warning about break-ins in the area, and he commented that part of his election platform was to help prevent crime. (On a side note, he was very vague and I don’t know how he’s going to prevent crime unless he means he’s going to prowl the streets of our town at night like some badass ninja vigilante). Anyway, I described the nasty backlash he got “for trying to exploit the situation to win the election” and I ended with something like “it was too bad, really.” Then I realized that my colleagues are looking at me a little blankly, almost expectantly, liked there should be more to the story, and then I also realized that my story had no real thesis, which everyone knows a good story should have, and that I’d missed the most important element to the story, the plot twist, which was that the poor guy is only 19 years old and it’s his first foray in the political arena and he probably didn’t realize that people on buy and sell sites can be very fickle. I should just give up on trying to contribute to conversations altogether, and focus on writing things down, which is, of course, my thesis, and the conclusion to this story. Tada.

Thursday

Did I really just encourage my students to smoke pot?? No. I. Did. Not. It was a total accident that can be explained in this very convoluted way. I was talking to my grade 12s about Titus Andronicus, Act 1, and two characters, brothers, who are trying to become emperor. In what I thought was an attempt to make things relevant, I said that Rome deserved a strong leader, and that just like Rome, so did Canada. I pointed out that the one brother was a lot like our Liberal candidate for  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in that he was relying on the goodwill of the people to get elected, just like Bassianus in the play, and that our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper was very much a Saturninus figure because he was relying on the fact that he was the “elder statesman”. Then one of the kids commented, “Justin Trudeau’s only platform is to legalize marijuana”, and I said, “See what I mean? He’s like the fun candidate, and Stephen Harper is the guy who won’t even admit to smoking marijuana and he’s a pretty grim guy in his sweater vests and all. He should really live a little.” And suddenly everyone was laughing, kind of hysterically, and I had this horrible epiphany that I might have just implied that marijuana and “living a little” should go hand in hand, which is totally not what I meant to do with a large group of 17 year olds. So I tried to clarify that I didn’t mean to say it like that, but the kids just kept laughing, and I kept digging myself into a deeper hole, until finally I just said, “Don’t do drugs. I don’t recommend them”, which sounded in retrospect not a great thing to say either. But it seemed to calm them down, and we moved on with the lesson. Will  I spend the next few days worrying about whether I get a call from an irate parent who is either upset about the marijuana thing or doesn’t like that I called Stephen Harper “grim”? Absolutely.

Saturday

This morning I was in the staff bathroom at the school where we have International Languages on Saturday mornings drying my hands with the hand dryer because a) I had just washed them and b) I was freezing and the heat was awesome when I noticed a can of Febreze air freshener on top of the paper towel dispenser labelled “Alaskan Spring”. So I sprayed it because I’ve always wondered what spring in Alaska smelled like (does it really smell kind of like stale Old Spice cologne? Has anyone been to Alaska? If so, can you clarify this?) when it occurred to me that maybe other people had used it BEFORE they washed THEIR hands, and then I got all germaphobic-y and had to rewash my hands all over again. Yep. The thesis of this story is that you should always spray room freshener in a public bathroom BEFORE you’ve washed your hands, then you’re good to go. Or that Alaska smells like someone’s grandfather.

*Yes, I know that there’s a typo in the introduction. It’s there for a reason. Or maybe two reasons that are inextricably linked. While I was typing this blog, Ken came in and wanted to talk to me about something, I don’t know what (because I was typing, you see?). Ken is always going on about how people can’t really multi-task and then he was like, “Can’t you listen to me and type at the same time?” And then I made the typo, which just proves that a) no, I can’t multi-task KEN and b) it’s ironic that he’s always telling me that I can’t multi-task, then he insists that I do it.

*July 22nd, 2018

Happy Birthday to my amazing daughter K, who just turned 20. Yes, I am now the mother of a grown-up adult type person. To celebrate, we took her and her girlfriend, the lovely V, to Niagara Falls, where I am currently writing this bit on my phone. Last night we played Glow in the Dark mini-golf and I paid $35 for a hamburger, which pretty much sums up the Niagara Falls experience if you’re ever thinking of coming here. But the kids are having fun and that’s the main thing.

Black and White Challenge Week 3: Happy Birthday, K!

My Week 80: Thing That Are Like Other Things, The Serial Killer Upstairs Strikes Again

Monday: I ponder things that are like other things

On Monday, I was really excited, because I’d gone to the drug store and discovered that a particular vitamin company was now making “gummy” vitamins. They’re multi-coloured, and taste just like gummy bears, and I thought, “This is the best of all possible worlds. The first thing I get to do when I get up in the morning, even BEFORE I eat my Corn Pops, is have some candy. And it’s all perfectly healthy!”  I NEVER used to take vitamins before, on the grounds that they tasted bad (except for Vitamin C tablets, which taste like oranges, or just like the baby aspirin they had when I was a kid. I used to sneak baby aspirin every so often because they were so delicious–I could fall off my bike and bleed half to death because my blood was so thin, but it didn’t hurt at all), and I didn’t really care about thiamine or niacin or dioxin or whatever. But now, I take them every day because it’s so much fun.

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

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

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

3) Sporks. This is two handy things in one–a spoon and a fork. Take it one step further by sharpening the plastic up, and you have a sprorfe, a spoon, fork, and knife, which I just invented. Actually, this might have been invented first by a prisoner, who stole a spoon from the canteen and turned it into a weapon to shank his cellmate with first, then eat the guy’s pie and ice cream after. Criminals value their dessert, am I right?

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

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

2) A small TV that looks like a book. This is so all those stupid Facebook memes about “positive people versus negative people” will stop judging me. How is watching TV one of the characteristics of a negative person? Unless all you watch is Criminal Minds, the Republican Debates, and Two and a Half Men? Me, I like my PBS, which is essentially the same as reading a book, only without the eye strain. Plus, I put on the closed captioning, so I AM reading. Suck it, Facebook.

3) A pen with a Tide White Stick on the other end. This is great for people like me, who are fairly clumsy and wave pens around for emphasis, inevitably getting ink on their clothes. But see, with my invention, all you’d have to do is flip the thing around, erase that blob, and you’re good to go.

4) A laptop that repels mosquitoes. A long time ago, Ken had an Ipad cover that smelled like black licorice. Whenever I wanted candy, I’d just smell it and my craving would be over (of course, NOW I just eat vitamins). Why can’t laptop companies create a lid that’s injected with citronella? That way, you could surf the net outside in the summer, and not swell up from bites or die from absorbing DEET into your skin. Can you hear me, Apple?  Who wouldn’t want to buy shares in that sh*t?

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

Tuesday: The serial killer upstairs strikes again

So if you read my essays on a regular basis, you’ll remember that I’ve had an ongoing issue with the person who lives above me in Toronto. He likes to hammer. Not like MC Hammer, which would be fun and cool and very ‘pantsy’–he likes to hammer things in his condo. I’m convinced that he’s building a secret room in his unit to stash his victims until he bores of them. The last time he was hammering, the concierge stupidly told him that I’d complained about it, and he came to my door to “negotiate a schedule”. He claimed he was “laying a floor”, and I apologize for the copious use of quotation marks, but I had trouble believing him, since he’d been making these types of noises for a long time, and I’d complained on three separate occasions. Let me just say, for the record, that my building is pretty sound-proof; I never hear anything from the units around me, so he must be really going to town for it to even register down in my unit. Anyway, the other night, he woke me up around 4:15, hammering sporadically until 7:00 am. I’d like to emphasize that these condos are barely above 600 square feet in dimension, so how many f*cking renovations do you need to do, d**chebag? And if you’re that bored at 4 in the morning, you could watch TV, or pleasure yourself. Or pleasure yourself while you watch TV, if you have those ‘special channels’. At any rate, the next day, I called the building manager and left a message. I’m terrible at voice messages, and I left something that was very lengthy and convoluted, and in retrospect, probably sounded a little diva-ish, so I ran it by my work partner:

Me: I called the building manager and left a message.
L: What did you say?
Me: Well, I just explained the situation. But I said the guy “seemed to have a penchant for nocturnal home renovations”.
L: Oh my god, did you actually say, “a penchant for nocturnal home renovations”?
Me: I know, right? I got flustered, and it just slipped out.
L: How does THAT just slip out?
Me: My brain’s on overdrive. I’m really tired from all the f*cking hammering.
L: You should have just said THAT.

The next morning though, I got an email from Colette, the manager, telling me that she’d sent the guy a “Notice of Noise Violation Letter”. Then I got worried, because he’s going to know it was me. But Ken installed a chain lock on my condo door the last time he was here, and just because I’m Canadian doesn’t mean I have to open the door in the first place if he shows up again. I can just pretend I’m not home. And it’s been pretty quiet since then, which I hope doesn’t mean he’s laying in wait for me in the parking garage. If anything happens to me, you’ll know who to look for first.