The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

So I’ve been working from home this past week and it looks like I’ll be there for a while longer. I don’t mind—I’ve worked from home before and I know how to pace myself and structure my day. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s been an easy transition—changes in routine have always posed a challenge to me. In fact, any kind of change can throw me into a tizzy—take, for example, Daylight Savings Time:

Ken: So I went around the house and changed all the clocks…
Me: What do you mean, ALL the clocks?!
Ken: I set all the clocks to the right time. It took me ages to fix the ones in the downstairs bathroom. There’s like fifteen of them.
Me: YOU CHANGED ALL THE TIMES ON MY VINTAGE CLOCK COLLECTION?
Ken: Hahaha. Just kidding.
Me: If only that was even remotely funny, KEN.

Because the whole point of the collection is that each clock presents the time when it finally stopped for good—it’s PERFORMANCE ART, KEN. And then the other day, Ken decided that he wanted to fix the ceiling in one of our guest bedrooms because there had been a leak a couple of years ago that caused a seam to bulge. I insisted that he cover everything with drop sheets because of the plaster and whatnot, assuming that he would leave everything just the way it was underneath. BUT NO. It turned out that he took everything off every surface and put things randomly in drawers, and when it came time to put it all back, I just about lost my mind until I remembered that I had photographs of the room and could recreate it exactly as it was.

As you may remember, I’ve written extensively, maybe even obsessively, about the bathroom stalls at work and which one is my current favourite at any given time. So, in honour of working from home, and being able to keep things as normal as possible, I present to you the bathrooms in my house in order of least to most favourite. (You’ll notice that they all have toilet paper. I was at the grocery store yesterday, and there was a skid of bulk TP that came 30 rolls to the pack. The limit per customer was 2, and there were actually people carrying 60 f*cking rolls of toilet paper home. How much do you sh*t, anyway? I stood there for a moment, contemplating the skid, but didn’t buy any because I currently have lots, and I really hope I’m not going to be pissed off at myself in a month. Anyway).

This bathroom is nice, but it’s narrow and far away from my current office space. Also, like Stall 1 at work, a ghost lives in it. This is the same ghost that opens the cupboard doors in the adjacent bedrooms. Also, you can see there’s a small sliding door in the wall—there was a vent pipe inside that led into the closet in the bedroom directly behind the bathroom. Last year, we were cleaning out the bedroom closet and realized the pipe just went directly from the bathroom into the closet floor and stopped there, so we pulled it out and discovered the most bizarre collection of things under the floor of the closet that someone in the past had thrown down the pipe in the bathroom, obviously not realizing that it wasn’t a MAGICAL pipe. There was a pair of boy’s underwear, a love letter written to the son of the previous occupant (“Hi Jordan, If you lik me, rite back” with a heart drawn in crayon. I guess he didn’t “lik” her since he threw the letter into the magic pipe) and a couple of condom wrappers, so maybe he changed his mind at some point? The weirdest thing was about 9 pairs of old panty hose, and I can’t even begin to explain THAT, having not owned a pair of panty hose for over twenty years, long before we bought this house.

This bathroom is very utilitarian, housing the laundry facilities as well. However, the knee-to cabinet ratio is a little tight for me. This is “Ken’s bathroom”. It has a nice shower, but I’m a bath girl. The last time I used the shower was the day I ran a gas-powered pressure sprayer over my foot. Ken carried me screaming into the shower to get the dirt out of my flayed toes because it was the closest bathroom to the incident. So it’s very handy in a medical emergency.

This is the bathroom where I keep the infamous vintage clock collection. I wrote a while ago about clocks, so you’ll remember that I have a lot of old clocks that don’t work scattered around the house, but this bathroom is where space and time converge. Also, I made that toilet paper holder out of an old piano stool base and a curtain rod, and at the time, people thought it was very ostentatious, but given the fact that toilet paper is currently as rare as rhodium, I think it’s a fitting tribute. I like this bathroom well enough, and it’s close to the back family room where we watch movies. You can dash to the toilet and still hear the dialogue if you keep the door slightly open. Much better acoustics than a movie theatre bathroom and much cleaner.

This is MY bathroom, and it’s the best one in the house as far as I’m concerned. It’s like Stall 5 at work, if Stall 5 was never used by anyone but me. It’s technically an ensuite for the master bedroom but it belongs to ME. It also has a balcony that you can sit out on in the summer, which is random for a bathroom, but this whole house has been reconfigured several times over the last 114 years, and apparently the bathroom used to be a kitchen when the upstairs of the house was 2 apartments. Ken and I just renovated it a couple of months ago. Originally, the walls were covered with giant damask roses, which I loved but which Ken CONSTANTLY complained about, so I finally gave in when we found all those doors for free at the side of the road and he proposed that we create a wall of doors. My favourite thing is the stained glass window panel we just installed, and which I promised to take a picture of, because last week when I introduced you all to Captain John Crapper, my friend Bryntin from O4FS wondered why the toilet was in the corner, and a couple of people asked to see the whole room. So here you are. In my favourite bathroom. A constant in a sea of change.

Also, if you’re wondering why on earth we have FOUR bathrooms for two people, let me just say that our house is in a very small town far from the city, and when we bought it over 15 years ago (when Kate was still at home), the price was incredibly low compared to what we could have gotten for the same money in town. Once we both retire, we’re hoping to turn it into a bed and breakfast, or a writing/photography retreat. As long as nobody moves my stuff or changes my clocks, it’ll be great.

My Week 179: Keynotes, Plants Vs. Babies, and Dog Olympics

This past week, I went to an educational conference. Overall, it was pretty good, but there were a couple of things that stood out. First, the opening keynote speaker was a Canadian actress who is fairly well-known here as a TV personality. But she’d just written a book, so the conference organizers must have thought that she would have the appropriate gravitas for such an occasion. Apparently, no one vetted her speech ahead of time, and frankly, it was bizarre. I’ve never actually been to a conference of any kind where the keynote said “F*ck”, “pussy”, or “blowjob”, let alone had to sit through a 5 minute rant about Donald Trump, the relevance of which, at a conference for Canadian professionals at 8:30 in the morning seemed a tad out of place. But she DID come up with some creative new nicknames for the American president, aside from the “Pussy Grabber in Chief”, including “Cheeto Benito” and “Orangini Mussolini”. Then things got REALLY uncomfortable when she started referencing the “goddamned patriarchy”, the #MeToo movement, and how badly men oppress women, like the younger man she was dating who broke up with her because she was losing her eyesight. It was pretty intense—half the audience was guys, and I’m sure most of them were looking around like “I didn’t sign up for this, but if I walk out now, someone might lob a stiletto at me”. It really was the strangest experience, and had virtually nothing to do with the topic of the conference. Luckily, the luncheon keynote on the last day was Indigenous activist/broadcaster/author, Candy Palmater, who was incredibly inspiring, and didn’t reference either Trump OR blowjobs.

Second, there were a LOT of people at the conference, and while that might seem self-evident, the trouble was that many of them had no idea of either personal space or how to navigate any space at all. People would stop suddenly in the middle of hallways, stand in huddled groups in the centre of doorways, and walk like snowplows on the highway. If you know me at all, you are aware that I am just a titch OCD. And when I say “just a titch”, I’m understating it just a titch. And while I’m not sure what a “titch” actually is, it must be a real word because Spellcheck is not underlining it in that passive/aggressive way that Spellcheck has. Anyway, I don’t like being touched by strangers in the same way that other people don’t like being punched in the face, so in the line-up for lunch, I thought I was going to lose my sh*t, thanks to the number of people who bumped into me because space was so tight.

Third, while waiting for a session to start, I was stuck behind a woman who was the most melodramatic person I’ve ever eavesdropped on. She was freaking out about several things, including her new house (“It’s SOOO unfair that we have to put all our money into the house when we could be spending it on other things”), her hair (“I just don’t know what to DOOO! Should I let it grow or cut it short?!”), and finally, this gem:

Dramatic Lady: Babies are TERRIFYING!!
Sympathetic Companion: *makes soothing noises*
Dramatic Lady: I mean, I’m TERRIFIED of having a baby! It’s not a plant or a dog—it’s a CHILD! You give birth to it, and then you’re expected to TAKE CARE of it!! And NOBODY tells you how to DO THAT!!

I actually snickered out loud, but she was so caught up in her own hysteria that she didn’t hear me. But I was like, Seriously? Thank GOD babies aren’t plants, because I’ve killed so many plants over the years it’s not even funny. I even killed a cactus once (I overwatered it). But I did pretty OK with the baby I had. And if you can take care of a dog, you can take care of a baby—it’s not much different. Well, the underlying philosophy of love, nutrition, and hygiene is comparable. Also, we teach dogs to do tricks, and we do the same thing with our kids. Like teaching your dog how to give a high five isn’t technically much different from saying, “Oh look, Grandma—we taught the baby how to clap!” But the icing on the self-absorption cake was really when she finished with, “I just THANK GOD that my husband was in foster care for so many years. He’s diapered so many babies that he’s not worried about it AT ALL!” And then she got up, and I realized that she was pregnant. I wish I’d gotten her name so that I could send her a plant to practice on.

Luckily, I’m better with babies.

The Olympics

Titus (leaping onto the bed): Watcha watching?
Me: The Olympics.
Titus: Oh yeah, we have those too.
Me: You mean, like agility trials or something?
Titus: Ha! No—agility trials are like the Commonwealth Games of the canine world. No, I mean Dog Olympics.
Me: What are some of the events?
Titus: Well, there’s the Barking—
Me: Dogs bark all the time. How is THAT an Olympic event?
Titus: People WALK all the time, but you still have medals for it. Besides, there’s a real technique to barking. You’re judged on volume, pitch, and sustained howling. There was a huge scandal last year when the Borzois were caught doping with Vick’s VapoDrops.
Me: Wow. OK, what are some other events?
Titus: Well, there’s Staying Upright on Ice, Find the Toy, The Butt-Sniffing Challenge, and my favourite, Moguls.
Me: Dogs can ski?!
Titus: Well, technically it’s just dogs falling down hills. But it’s fun to watch.
Me: Are there any team events?
Titus: There’s the Steeplechase. I wouldn’t want to be THAT cat. Oh, and there’s Curling, but the rocks are made out of Milkbones so the games don’t last long.
Me: That’s an improvement. High five! Ow—you hit me in the face.
Titus: Sorry. You should have taught me to clap.

Getting psyched for Barking.

 

My Week 154: Driverless Cars, The “Good” Tea Towel

Last week, I was crossing the street at Yonge and College, trying simultaneously to avoid the taxi that wanted to run over my toes and the screaming man in the pink mini-kilt with the pigtails, when I heard a loud voice behind me say, “You know, I feel really sorry for kids these days.”

“Why’s that?” his companion replied.

I looked behind me. They were two guys in their mid-30s, wearing business suits. I braced myself for the usual bullsh*t about how today’s youth have a) no work ethic b) no social skills c) are entitled b) don’t respect their elders and so on, and got ready to roll my eyes hard enough to make that taxi back off. But I had totally misjudged the savvy pundit, who continued with “It’s a shame that, with the invention of driverless cars, most young kids today will never know the real pleasure of driving.” He continued on, reminiscing about his first car and the thrill of getting his licence until we had parted ways, me into the Tim Horton’s across the corner, he into parts unknown (but probably a very tall office tower).

I thought about it for a minute, and I was like, “Yeah, he’s so right.” Kids who are born today will never know the joy of being the ‘captain of their own ships’, in the same way that they will never know a world without the internet, or without the threat of global environmental disaster hanging over their heads in the same way that nuclear disaster hung over mine (although thanks to the assholes who are currently in charge of both the US and North Korea, kids today have to worry about THAT too. Well done.) But then I thought about it some more and started to wonder if driverless cars weren’t such a bad thing after all, and that kids really wouldn’t be missing that much. I mean, face facts—driving is a pretty dangerous business. Hurtling along at over 100 kilometres an hour (60 miles an hour for my US readers) inside a thin metal box within a few feet of other people in the same situation, it’s sometimes unbelievable that any of us survive it at all. Airplanes, which are basically flying cars, aren’t allowed to be within 3 miles of each other horizontally, and 1000 feet vertically, but I’ve got some d-bag riding my bumper on the 401 despite the signs telling you to keep at least 2 chevrons between you and the next car. When you actually think about it, driving is scary AF, and the fact that we actively encourage our children to learn how to do it and get their licences is pretty bad parenting, like “Hey Jimmy, it’s that wonderful time for you to learn how to battle the forces of humanity, nature, and fate. Hope you remember how to parallel park!”

Personally, I can’t believe the driverless car wasn’t invented sooner. I mean, cars are a necessity in Canada, where there’s a LOT of land and you have to travel pretty far to find people and jobs, and such, but where there just aren’t enough roads, so we spend A LOT of time trying to calculate the fastest route to go anywhere, and watching Google maps closely for that red line that tells you that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. I’ve written plenty about the ludicrous nature of driving back and forth to Toronto, and I could totally appreciate being able to read or surf the internet while I was stuck on the four lane parking lot known as the 401,or more affectionately, the “stupid f*cking 401”. But what I really want to know is this: will driverless cars obey the rules of the road, or will you be able to override them so that you can drive as stupidly as you do when you’re actually behind the wheel yourself? Because there’s always going to be that one guy who drives on the shoulder to pass, or cuts you off, or tailgates you, and if he can still do it while he’s watching a Youtube video, then what’s the point?

The only real requirement I have for a driverless car, aside from obeying the rules of the road, is something I like to call “Roadkill Alert”. The car should be able to sense whether there’s an animal about to cross the road in front of you and stop you, or shoot out a firecracker or something as warning. Last year, K left the house about 10 pm to drive back to her university residence. Less than five minutes later, she called the house. I answered the phone to hear her say, “I just got hit by a deer.” Her voice was shaking. Ken had just taken Titus out for a walk, so I stood on the porch and screamed at the top of my lungs, “Ken! Come home! K’s had an accident!” From a few blocks over, I heard him yell, “I’m coming!” and he was back at the house in under 30 seconds. K was only a couple of kilometres away, but it felt like forever until we got there. When we arrived, there were two pickups trucks who had stopped to help, and the police were already there. I grabbed K and hugged her—thank god she wasn’t hurt—but there was a deer shaped dent in her buckled hood, and the deer itself was lying at the side of the road. It was a buck with huge horns, and all I could think was 6 inches higher and it would have gone through the windshield. I won’t go into details, but the police took care of the situation, and the local guys offered to take it away. The car was a write-off, but whatever—it’s only a thing.

Bottom line, the deer came hurtling out of the dark and K couldn’t avoid it. So yeah—make sure those driverless cars have long-range sensors on them. And I don’t want to hear any of that sh*t about “When I was a kid, we drove into deer all the time and LIKED it. These kids today are just sheltered wussies.” Personally, I’m waiting for someone to finally invent the Star Trek transporter. Then we can say, “These poor kids today will never know the real pleasure of travelling at warp speed…”

The Good Tea Towel

I have a problem. It’s not a big problem, but it’s a problem nonetheless for someone like me who’s just a little OCD. Here’s the back story: Because the new owner of my previous condo was a total dick and illegally evicted me, I had to find a new place to live. Toronto is hideously expensive, and the only place I could find close to work in the timeframe I had was a 2 bedroom place. The rent on this 800 square foot box in the sky is $2400 a month, so the only way I could afford it was to get a roommate. I did, and she was lovely, but there was one problem. She kept using the good tea towel, you know, the one that’s for show. It was white and black, in a ‘Paris’ motif, and it hung from a hook in a spot that was obviously chosen for its display properties. There was another tea towel, a plainer one, that was close to the stove and sink, and simply screamed out, “Use ME!” Yet my roommate kept using the good tea towel, until it was no longer ‘good’. I would come back after a weekend at home to find it hanging all crumply and stained. I would wash it and then replace it, and put the other tea towel in a more convenient spot, but my roommate had a penchant for using the good tea towel and I didn’t know what to do. Why didn’t you just tell her, you ask? Because that would be the most ridiculous conversation in the world, like “Can you not use this tea towel? It’s for show.” How do you say that without coming off like some weird kitchen textiles fanatic? And while this may seem like a first-world problem, imagine if I had two goats. The first goat was really stylish and it was the one that I kept to impress people about my taste in goats, and thereby advertise my savvy in the goat business. The other, less attractive goat was the one I used for milk and whatnot. Imagine now, if someone slaughtered my display goat. Am I now supposed to use the milk and meat goat to make my kitchen look pretty?

And why is this a problem NOW, you ask? Because my previous roommate has gone back to school, and I have a new roommate, who also seems very nice. But I just bought new display tea towels, and I still don’t know how to have that conversation with a stranger. At home, it’s no issue:

Me: See that new tea towel I just bought? It’s for show. Don’t use it.
Ken: OK.
Titus: If it doesn’t involve food, I’m pretty laissez-faire. You know me…

After 27 years of marriage, Ken understands that a) I’m weird and that b) the tea towels we actually use can just be put in the cupboard or drawer or whatever, and he can complain all he wants about the possibility of it getting “moldy”, but we both know that won’t happen, Ken. Yet I don’t know this new girl very well, and the last thing I want is for her to tell her friends, “I can use anything in the kitchen that I want, except for this one particular tea towel. Also there are five cutting boards—one for vegetables, one for meat, one for cheese…you know what? F*ck this—I’m moving out.”

Sigh. Kids today will never know the pleasure of a fancy, just for show, tea towel.

 

My Weeks 150/151: Travelling Dangerously on the Queen Mary 2 and Throughout the U.K.

I’m on a boat!

Well, I WAS on a boat. Then in a car, then on a plane, and now I’m back. I hope you didn’t miss me too much—it’s the first time in years that I haven’t made my weekly journey into the absurd. Even when I had surgery last year, I wrote something ahead of time, and had Ken post it for me. This past week though, anyone who could have figured out my computer and hit “upload” was actually with me. Plus, I didn’t have anything new to tell you until I got back. Which is now. So fasten your seatbelts and secure the overhead bins—things are going to get slightly humorous.

So, as you know, I like to live life on the edge. And while maybe it’s usually the edge of sanity, or reason, the fact is that I’m pretty much a daredevil when it comes to travel, which I will get to in a minute. As you may or may not know, I’ve been away the last two weeks, having taken the Queen Mary 2 over to the United Kingdom with my whole family, parents, siblings, and children included. Then we all split up and went our separate ways, with me, Ken, and K going first to Wales and then to Scotland. It was an excellent trip—let me break it down for you. First, the boat (which my dad keeps telling me is a “ship” not a “boat”, so if you’re extremely old and extremely rich, the Queen Mary is definitely the “ship” for you. Unfortunately, I am NEITHER, so it was an interesting experience to be on that particular BOAT, DAD, haha.)

Part One:

Things I liked about the Queen Mary 2:
a) Like most cruise ships, it was decorated like an upscale brothel, which made me feel very risqué.
b) The beds were comfortable and you could stay in them all day if you wanted to.
c) You could get breakfast brought to your cabin instead of having to get dressed, and it didn’t cost anything extra.
d) The food was OK. There was always bacon, and I mean real bacon, not those weird-ass slabs of pan-fried ham that the Brits think is bacon. Silly Brits.
e) There were two guys who played the piano and told jokes, and they were so funny that I saw them twice.

Things I didn’t like about the Queen Mary 2:
a) You could stay in your bed all day because there was literally nothing much else to do that was interesting or didn’t cost you a lot of extra money. The lectures were either on war, politics, or Broadway musicals, and the other “seminars” were sponsored by the Spa, as in ‘Come to our session on Botox and hear an expert talk about why it’s so great and then you can get a discount on a costly Botox treatment’, or by the Art Gallery, as in ‘Come to our session on this unknown artist and then you can buy his extremely expensive painting of emoji-faced lollipops for a significant discount’. The other activities all had costs associated with them, like the red wine tasting entitled, “Syrah, Shiraz? What’s the difference? Find out for a nominal fee of $120”. 120 bucks for a flight of 6 small glasses of wine? For that price, I can wait until I get home, buy 10 full bottles and find out for myself, so Que Syrah Shiraz to you. There were also art classes for a fee, and a variety of other things you could do that all cost extra. Why is that a problem? Because whenever there was any activity for free, it was a MOB SCENE. For example, there was a free rum tasting at the duty-free liquor shop one day, and people were rioting like it was the only Red Cross water truck in the middle of the desert. And yes, obviously I was there because it was FREE RUM. Just as I was about to get my tiny plastic cup, a guy beside me whined that he’d been waiting for twenty minutes and still hadn’t gotten any. I was like, “Here’s the line-up, mate. Try standing in it.” Because I’m CANADIAN, and we are extremely OCD about line-up protocols, which a lot of other countries aren’t and it makes me crazy. I firmly believe that the inherent understanding of how to line up in an orderly fashion is what makes a culture civilized, and the Fall of the Roman Empire can be directly traced back to their inability to queue properly.
b) The ship’s House Band was a group known as “Purple Haze.” Mostly because they covered the whole ship with a fog of Motown and cover songs. They weren’t actually bad if you like a reggae version of Justin Beiber’s ‘Love Yourself’—they were just EVERYWHERE. In the lounge after breakfast—Purple Haze. Poolside at lunch—Purple Haze. In the ballroom during afternoon tea—Purple Haze. In the very sad little disco that no one ever went to because most of the passengers went to bed at 10 pm—Purple Haze. I swear if the ship was ever sinking, it would be to the “fine musical stylings of Purple Haze”.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad. It was a very relaxing crossing, and the best part was that our whole family was together for the journey. And seeing K all dressed up for dinner was pretty cool.

Part Two:

I am a total f*cking badass when I’m travelling and here’s why:

1) Despite the fact that I’m severely allergic to shellfish, I wandered the beaches of Wales and collected seashells. This doesn’t sound dangerous, but the last time I did that in British Columbia, I picked up some shells then accidentally chewed on my cuticle (not so much an accident as part of an OCD thing), and then my lips swelled up. So now, if I want to collect seashells, I’m literally TAKING MY LIFE IN MY OWN HANDS, and have to consciously avoid putting my fingers in my mouth until I can wash with soap and water, or else risk having to use my epipen. I live my life on the edge, folks.

2) I am deathly afraid of heights, but I still climbed up ruined castle towers and stood on ramparts that were 100 feet in the air. Did I have a full-blown panic attack at Harlech Castle when I realized that I was on the top of a stone wall with no guardrails and at any moment some unruly British child could run past me, causing me to lose my balance and fall to my death? I may or may not have. (I did). But I still crawled back to the stairs like the daredevil I am instead of crying like a big baby.

3) I defied the tide and clambered over jagged rocks to make my way to a private little alcove half a kilometre from the main beach at our bed and breakfast in Wales (which is called Kilsaran House and it was amazing). I had no choice really—K and Ken announced they were doing it, and I had to go along or be left behind to worry about them dying. I figured if I was with them, I could scout out the worst case scenarios before one of them fell off a tippy rock or poked a jellyfish with their fingers. I spent the whole time with one eye on the ocean and one eye on the rocks that threatened to break my ankles. But we made it there, and I was glad I went with them, because who else besides me was going to shout “I forbid you to climb that cliff!” or “That crab might not be dead so don’t pick it up!”

4) I made an old man give me a chair, all by my bad-ass self. In fairness, I HAD the chair, and he tried to take it away, but I was like “Out of my cold, dead hands, elderly English dude!” I should probably provide a little context—on the “ship” (there you go, Dad), they had trivia competitions 4 times a day, and because it was one of the few activities onboard that was actually free, EVERYBODY went. Except it was held in a small pub with limited seating, so people got pretty testy about the chairs, especially since you could play in teams of 6 and the tables and chairs were arranged in groupings of 4. So this particular time, I asked a guy if he was using one of his chairs, and he said no. I was in the process of moving it when this big old man came over and pulled it out of my hands. Seriously. He was like, “Oh, I have this chair,” and I was like, “Um, I asked for it first, but whatever” and I let go. Because I’m Canadian, and a chair isn’t worth being a dick over. But my sacrificial, and slightly sarcastic attitude made him feel  bad, so he gave it back to me. Score one for the good guys.

5) Driving in the UK is enough to earn anyone the moniker of ‘madcap heroine’. Of course, I wasn’t actually driving—I was the navigator, having never learned to drive a stick shift. I mean, why have a dog and bark, am I right? But the Brits drive on the wrong side of the road (yes it is, don’t argue), and the bulk of my job was yelling at Ken “Stay to the left!” Also, the “roads” in the UK, especially in Wales aren’t really roads at all, at least not by Canadian standards. What they call a major roadway in Wales is what we call a “tractor path” here. For example, the so-called road to our first bed and breakfast went through a gravel parking lot and out the other side, then became a one-lane walking path with little spots to pull over in case someone was coming in the other direction. The directions we were given said “go past Hunter’s Fleece Cottage, then follow the track downhill for 100 yards” where there was an almost sheer vertical drop. Getting back up was a treat, with Ken gunning it in third gear and hoping to hell that no one was coming the other way. The best part was when the GPS would announce, “Take the next left onto A725” and it would SOUND like a real road, but it would be one lane, pinned in on both sides by rock walls, and suddenly there would be sheep.

I was a kick-ass navigator until the day that Ken decided to defy the GPS and plot his own route:

Ken: I took a screenshot of the way I want to go. Where do I turn next?
Me: How do I turn the Ipad on?
Ken: Push that button. Where do I turn?! I need to know now!
Me: Where’s the ‘You are here’ arrow? How do I know where to turn if I don’t know where I am?
Ken: We started from New Steddon Road. Where do I go next?
Me: The map goes sideways if I try to figure out which way is North.
Ken: I don’t need North! I just need to know where to turn! God, I forgot how bad you are with maps!
Me: I’m not bad with maps! You can’t just give someone a screen shot of some streets, not tell them where they’re starting from, and expect them to calculate your route! I’m not a GPS, you know.
Ken: Fine, just program the GPS then.
Me: OK. Where are we going again?
Ken: Sigh.
K: What’s going on?
Me: Just go back to sleep. I’ve got this covered.

Two other minor proofs of my bad-assedness: I walked through the haunted corridor of a castle. It wasn’t—I have plenty of experiences with ghosts (see My Week 69: Ghost Stories) and there wasn’t one there, despite the place being featured on some reality show where a woman swore there was electromagnetic energy and an angry ghost who wanted to strangle people. Also, I ate haggis. If you’re Scottish, you have to. I just love being descended from a culture whose national dish is so disgusting that you have to force yourself to eat it, but you’re so stoic that you do it anyway. My Scottish cousin Lynn put it this way: “I keep trying it because I want to like it, but it’s so gross”. So there you go. I’m a devil-may-care, throw caution to the winds kind of gal who’s happy to be home where I can use a hair dryer in my own bathroom and eat the best national dish of all–poutine.

Next week, I’ll tell you about some of my favourite places from the trip, but for right now, I’m still kind of jet-lagged. Plus, my head thinks it’s 5 o’clock instead of noon, so time for a nice glass of wine–maybe a Syrah…

My Week 141: OCD Much?

Wednesday: OCD much?

Last week, I was looking at Facebook, and someone had posted an article about one of the many Kardashian creatures and her apparent OCD. The Kardashian in question is “Kloe”, and maybe she thinks she has OCD, but I took one look at her refrigerator and freezer, and I was like “No. Just no.” Because her refrigerator and freezer made MY OCD flare up like fireworks on Victoria Day. First, her refrigerator was JAM-PACKED full of stuff. And maybe it was organized by type, but the pickle jars were all squished up against each other (who the hell needs 6 jars of pickles anyway), the salad dressing was nestled up against the mustard, and there was no satisfying equi-distance between ANYTHING. But the worst part was that there were 6 butter sticks which were NOT stacked evenly, and the margarine tubs were on a tippy, nay, haphazard angle. Lady, just because you have six cans of Red Bull lined up in a row doesn’t mean anything other than you’re probably more wired than most people. Also, the sheer amount of stuff in that refrigerator mostly proves you’re some kind of self-indulgent shopaholic with more money than brains. Then I read on about how she takes several boxes of Oreos and tosses them into jars. Jars! You’re taking Oreos out of their neat straight rows and dumping them willy-nilly into glass containers, where the cookie dust gets all over everything. And what if some of them break in the process? Now you can’t even eat them.

So I was irked. My own OCD isn’t even that bad on most days—in fact, you might not even notice it, unless you look around my house and realize that all objects of décor are organized in patterns of fives (and sometimes threes or sevens), or you’ve watched me put groceries on the conveyer belt in a symmetrical fashion according to size and shape and with one inch of space between all items, or you’ve seen me in the bathroom washing my hands simply because doing that fills me with a sense of profound relief, or you’ve noticed that my thumbs are bleeding because my dermatophagia (which thank goodness is limited to my cuticles) is out of control right now and I’m not sure why.

Ken barely notices my own ‘quirks’, but a couple of weeks ago, it became VERY apparent, when I came home from Toronto and went into my bathroom:

Me: WHAT THE F*CK?!
Ken: What’s wrong?!
Me: The little clock goes on the right! The RIGHT!! Why can’t she remember that? It’s not difficult! There are only two directions—right and left. The little clock always goes on the right!! At a certain point, you’ve got to think she’s doing it on purpose!
Ken: Sigh.

The “she” in question was our new house cleaner. Now, before you start lumping me in with the Kardashians, like I have so much money that I can afford a maid, let me clarify that she only comes in once every two weeks, just to do the basics. With me in Toronto all week, and only seeing Ken on the weekends, the last thing we wanted to do was spend all day Saturday cleaning the house. Plus, I have to write, and dusting gets in the way of that. Obviously, a dirty house is a problem for me, hence hiring someone to help out. The cleaner is young and relatively inexpensive, but also apparently oblivious to the order of things. The first week that she came, she had left the cupboard in the kitchen in total disarray, causing me to have a small breakdown. “She moved EVERYTHING!!” I cried to Ken. He kindly suggested I get out the photographs so that I could put everything back. Yes, photographs. I take photographs of the way I’ve arranged things so that I know how to put them back, just in case. It’s especially helpful at Christmas, when I want to place ornaments in the exact same position as the year previous.  So I spent a good hour putting things back where they were supposed to be. Now, of course, I’m used to the fact that every other weekend, I’ll come home to subtle disarray, but there’s also some stress-relief involved as I re-order my world and then stand back and admire the renewed symmetry.

I think a big part of the problem is that I don’t like strangers touching my stuff, so hiring a stranger whose sole job is to touch my stuff was bound to be a problem. One that I’m slowly getting used to. But this past weekend, Ken and I had a garage sale, so you can only imagine how high my stress level shot up, as stranger after stranger wandered around my yard, picking up things and putting them down in different places than the ones I’d assigned to them. It took all I had not to follow people around, re-arranging behind them, or not yelling, “If you don’t want to buy that, can you please put it back where you found it?!”

Plus I hate how judge-y people are at yard sales:

Woman: Will you do better than $20 dollars for this table?
Me: It’s from the late 1800s, so no, I’m sorry.
Woman: But the legs are a little rickety. Will you go $15?
Me: No, sorry.
Woman: Hmph. Then I’ll pass.
Me: No problem. Can you please put it back where you found it?

Seriously. An antique side table worth 5 times the price and she passed at $20 because the legs were a little “rickety”. What, was she planning to sit on it? Otherwise, it was just fine as a table. But we did sell a lot of stuff, including Frank the stuffed fish whose story you can read about in My Week 34. A woman came very early, and bought a lot of things for exactly the price we were asking and never haggled once. She admired Frank, who we’d pulled out of the shed to put by the side of the road on the grounds that neither of us REALLY wanted a dead fish in the house, so I told her she could have him for free. She loaded all of her purchases into her car, then suddenly she came back to the house. “Here,” she said, holding out a $10 bill. “That’s for the fish. I know he’s worth a lot more.” When we protested that no, she could just have him, she insisted, and tucked the bill into a glass on the table. “Don’t argue,” she laughed, and then drove away.

The other best part of the morning was when my aunts came for a visit. After looking around for a while, one of them asked if she could dig up a little bit of Solomon’s Seal from my garden for hers. They both disappeared for a minute, then my other aunt came around the corner of the house with the plant hanging out of a bag.

“Hey,” I yelled. “That crazy woman is taking plants from the garden!! Lady! Those aren’t for sale!!”

Then I realized that some of my prospective customers were looking at her, as she blithely made her way to the car. “Do you want me to stop her?” one man asked, concerned.

“No,” I laughed. “She’s family. It’s all good.” Because family is ALLOWED to touch my stuff.

My Week 104: Some Stories Should Never Be Told, A Mysterious Visitor

Wednesday: There are some stories you should never tell.

On Thursday afternoon, one of my coworkers came over to my department. “Do you want to hear a funny story?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” I said. “I love a good story.”

“OK,” he started. “So I had this graph—“

“I’m stopping you right there,” I said. “There is NO funny story that starts with ‘I had a graph’.”

But he persisted, and it turned out that the story WAS pretty funny, involving him and an editor who disagreed on the information in the graph to the point where my colleague removed the original of the item in question and sent it back to edit. 5 minutes later, the editor came to his desk to ask him if he knew what had happened to the first copy. When he feigned innocence and said, “No”, the editor pointed to the recycling bin under his desk and asked, “Isn’t that it right there?” because he had tossed in the blue box FACE UP. His only resort was to say, in mock surprise, “How did THAT get there?!” I don’t think the editor was fooled for a second—they’re a wily bunch.

I realize that you’re probably not laughing as hard as I was when he told me the story, mostly because there’s a lot that gets lost in translation between a story that you try to write down after someone tells it to you. My colleague DOES tell a good story, graphs notwithstanding, unlike other people I’ve known, including myself, who is renowned for being “just not that funny in person” as I am when I’m writing. It put me in mind of the end-of-year staff breakfasts we used to have in my previous workplace, where one of the VPs was always invited up to give his “Top 10 Funniest Moments” of the school year. They were always, without exception, anti-climactic and often lacking any discernible punchline.

VP: So we caught the young couple in the throes of amorous foreplay in the middle of the football field. The girl’s mother, naturally, was furious. So much so that we had to call Child and Family Services. I hope that group home they sent her to was nice…

VP: The young man was so high that he couldn’t stop laughing. At least until the police showed up. Then it was just tears, tears, tears…

tree-of-life

Yep. The guy did NOT know how to tell a story. Like the tattoo artist the other day that K and I went to (my fifth—the Tree of Life, and K’s first, a cool graphic she designed herself). It was a reputable parlour, but the artist himself was a little off kilter. I went first, and he regaled me with stories about his Chippendales dancing days, where he claimed that “he didn’t have the body like the rest of the guys, but he had the best moves”. I was like “Uh huh” as I was clenching my teeth. Then when he was tattooing K, he launched into this gem:

Tattoo Guy: My sixteen-year-old stepson just got his first girlfriend.
Me: Oh, that’s nice.
Tattoo Guy: Yeah, I found a condom wrapper on the floor of his room.
Me: Gosh.
Tattoo Guy: So I said, “Where did you get a condom from, anyway?” And he said, “I found it on the path.” So I told him, “NEVER use a condom that you found on the path.”
Me: Words to live by, that’s for sure.
Tattoo Guy: I know, right?

And just to cement the fact that he really was slightly off-kilter, he tattooed the top bit of K’s tattoo on an angle, noticeable enough that K has to get it fixed, much to her dismay. As K said, “He was essentially just tracing lines—how could he have f*cked it up that badly?” My response? “Just look at the US Election campaign.”

But it occurred to me after all the weird storytelling this week, that there are other storystarters that really can’t ever be funny. Here are my top 5 things which, from my personal experience, will never lead to a good laugh:

1) Here’s a funny story—you know the sound a cat makes right before it vomits…?

A long time ago, we had a cat named Chaucer who would puke on an almost daily basis. We had him tested for all kinds of things, but there was nothing discernible wrong with him. Yet almost every day, he would announce the upcoming projectile with an unearthly yowling. Then we had to race around the house looking for him, trying to put something under him before he ruined yet another carpet. We were having a dinner party once, and we were just in the middle of appetizers when the conversation was interrupted by “OWLLLLL, MEOWWWWWLLLLLL, MRONNNNNNGGGGGG !” Everyone looked terrified. Ken leapt up and ran out of the room with his napkin. I took another bite of salad and said, “It’s just the cat. He’s going to throw up. Sigh.” This went on for years, until our dog died (the same dog I wrote about last week who used to leave his food in his bowl all day). After a few weeks, we got another dog who ate every piece of kibble in under 10 seconds, and miraculously, the pukefest stopped. Then one day, we heard Chaucer sounding the alarm and found him next to a piece of dog kibble that had rolled under the counter. Turns out that he had been eating the dog’s food every day for years, and it made him sick every time he did it. Cats are stupid in general, but Chaucer was dumber than most.

2) Here’s a funny story—so there was no wine left…

This is always a tragedy. The only way this story will ever be funny is if it ended with you finding more wine. I was at a wedding yesterday, and there was an open bar, which sounds fantastic, but all they had was hard liquor and tropical coolers. It would have been tragic, but then I realized that there were wine glasses on the table. And at dinner, the servers all came around with multiple bottles of wine and I was overjoyed. But the white wine was a Muscat, which is supersweet and almost undrinkable, and then I was sad again. It was an emotional rollercoaster, let me tell you.

3) Here’s a funny story—I was at this strip club last night…

No. The only time I was ever at a strip club was when I went, ironically, to a Chippendales show for a friend’s stag-ette party. The guys came out, all sweaty and gyrating, and the women went wild. But then the guys starting shoving T-shirts down their sweaty pants and throwing them to women in the crowd. My OCD hygiene issues kicked in full force and I literally had to leave, running and dodging as I went. The ONLY good thing about that night was that the doorman asked me for ID. (I related this story to my tattoo artist/former Chippendales dancer and he responded with “I know. We used to be so much more classy.)

4) Here’s a funny story—it occurred to me when I was reading the Bible…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never found anything about the Bible, New or Old Testament, remotely funny. Maybe because of all the smiting and death and sh*t. And that’s a total lie, because I can find humour in everything, but people who are very Bible-y don’t have the same light-hearted attitude. I remember once writing about how I saw a billboard that said “Take Jesus on vacation with you”, and I wrote what I thought was a very funny post about what would happen if you DID take Jesus on vacation with you, like to Great Wolf Lodge. But I had a couple of readers who were devout Catholics (like there’s any other kind, haha) who were like “That’s not funny. Jesus would never go down a waterslide.” And I was like, “But all the water would be holy”, and they were like, “Just stop.” Luckily, they unfollowed me BEFORE I wrote about the high diving Jesus on the church door across the road (see My Week 63 for reference—or irreverence).

5) Here’s a funny story—I was looking at the roof and a squirrel came out…

This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. This actually happened to me when we owned a cottage. This entitled squirrel decided that she owned the place and she was super-intimidating. I started calling her “Charles Manson” until Ken pointed out that she had two rows of squirrel boobs, so I changed her name to “Squeaky Fromme”. One day I looked up at the roof, and saw her halfway in and halfway out of a little hole under the eaves. I started screaming, and she took off. Later, Ken and I were sitting on the porch—I had my back to the driveway. Suddenly, I heard a noise, like a demon muttering, and I turned around—Squeaky was actually sneaking up on me. She had taken up residence in our attic, where she had some babies who were also little dicks. We finally live-trapped them all and drove them out to the country (this, unfortunately, is not a euphemism—Ken was all like “Oh, we can’t just kill them…” and normally I would agree, but that squirrel had devil-eyes, to borrow a phrase from the great Tracy Morgan).

I’m sure you all have story starters that will never be funny—I have a lot more but Ken wants to go shopping so I have to wrap this up. As a side note, I asked Ken to think of a story starter that would never be funny:

Ken: Ummm…
Me: You can’t say ‘death’.
Ken: Oh. OK, what about “So I was in the hospital waiting room…”
Me: What did I just say?
Ken: Right.

Thursday: Mysterious visitors in my condo

When I came back to Toronto after my extended vacation/recovery from surgery, I found a rolled up piece of tinfoil on my coffeetable. I didn’t know where it had come from, but Ken had been there with me for a couple of days in August, so I asked him if he’d left it there. “Maybe,” he said. “Did it look like a chocolate wrapper?” It kind of did, so I didn’t give it more thought. Then, a couple of weeks ago, when I went back for the week, it was really hot. I’d had the air conditioning on the night before, but I shut it off before I went to work. When I came back, the air conditioning was on full force, and I got a little worried. After searching my condo, which took about 20 seconds since it’s only 600 square feet, I was still worried. But then I realized that I was probably being ridiculous—what kind of intruder waits inside your condo all day for you to come home and at some point is like. “Gosh, it’s hot under this bed—I should turn the air conditioning on while I wait”? When I told Ken, he was like, “Come on—you probably just forgot to turn it off. Don’t worry—just keep the chain lock on when you’re home.”

But then the other night, I got ready for bed. I turned off all the lights and put the fan on. I fell asleep, but a couple of hours later, I woke up like a shot for some reason. Then I realized that the hall light was on, and the FAN WAS OFF. I freaked out and did what any reasonable person would do—I called Ken. But he didn’t answer, being that I thought the clock said 5 minutes to 11, but it really said 5 minutes after 1. I searched the condo again, even more worried because, thanks to Ken, my chain lock WAS on, which meant that I was potentially LOCKED IN with someone nefarious who hated both the dark and cool breezes. So there I was, phone to my ear, ringing and ringing, while I flung open closet doors and threw aside bed skirts. Nothing. Finally, I just went back to sleep, still a little freaked out. Ken messaged me in the morning to ask why I’d tried calling him at 1 in the morning and I answered, “Here’s a funny story—”

My Week 75: Ken is Weirder Than Me, Is That a Light Sabre in Your Pocket…?

Sunday: Ken is weirder than me and I can prove it

I realize that I have my own quirks. I’m sure I do, even though I’ve sat here for several minutes trying to think about what they might be. OK, here’s one—I might be a tad “obsessive”. Two weeks ago, I lost the back of an earring in my bathroom. I looked all over for it and couldn’t find it. It wouldn’t have made much difference except that it was a rather expensive, sterling silver earring back, specially designed to screw onto the earring post instead of just slide onto it. The last time one of them fell off, I stepped on it and crushed it. When I went to the jewelry store for a replacement, the woman asked if I wanted white gold or sterling, and that there was a price difference between the two. I asked how much the gold one might be, and was shocked—Ken and I could have gone to the Keg for that price. So I went with the silver, which cost the equivalent of Swiss Chalet for a family of four. Needless to say, when I heard the earring back drop onto the floor, I had a moment of panic. Which only increased as it became obvious that it had disappeared into some vortex of hopelessness under my bathroom vanity. I got down on my hands and knees, but I have sensitive knees and the wooden floor is hard, so I ended up lying prone, sweeping my arm back and forth under the vanity, hoping that I could feel it. Nope. Then I systematically moved all the furniture in the room and swept underneath everything. Nope. Ken got a flashlight, and looked into the far reaches of the baseboards. Nope. I got my hair dryer and blew it underneath the vanity. All I got for my efforts was dust bunnies. I went back to Toronto that week, very put out, and creating plans in my mind for how to best find the earring back. OK, I realize that this is probably the most “first world” problem that I could possibly have, but imagine if, instead of me, a government employee, and the missing object, an earring back, I was a farmer, and the object was my goat. No one would think twice if I was obsessing over the fact that my goat had mysteriously disappeared from a small, locked room. But I had a clever plan that would surely turn up my goat. When I came home last weekend, I got the vacuum cleaner out, and put the toe of a pair of panty hose on the end of the nozzle. I only have one pair of panty hose, having refused to wear them for the last 18 years on the grounds that they make my legs twitchy, which is maybe like another quirk. These nylons were from a Hallowe’en costume that I’d worn for my birthday party, and they were all glittery. I’d put them on and within 5 minutes, I was regretting having skin. At the end of the party, I may or may not have torn them off, wadded them into a ball, and flung them into the far reaches of the closet, screaming “F*cking panty hose! I hate you! I hope you die!” Anyway, Ken also thought my plan was pretty good, and watched supportively while I sucked up more lint with my clever contraption. Finally, I went to clean the nozzle. “Eureka!” I yelled, my heart soaring as I saw something silver in with all the hair and dust. Ken said, “Did you find your earring back?” “Well,” I answered, heart sinking again, “I found AN earring back. This one looks like it’s been under there for about 20 years.” I have as yet been unable to locate my goat, and Ken is now convinced that it must have fallen down the hole around the sink pipe. Now though, every time I go into the bathroom, I look around in hope. Hope which is immediately dashed as I realize that my goat/earring back is gone forever.

IMG_2561[1]

Anyway, back to Ken. I may be obsessive about things, but Ken is weirder than me. This simple trip to the grocery store is my proof.

1) On Sunday after lunch, we decided to get groceries. As we were leaving, he turned the outside lights on. “How long do you think we’re going to be gone for?!” I asked. He claimed it was just force of habit, but I worried that it would attract burglars. “Oh look,” the burglars will say. “Their outdoor lights are on. They must be away from home for a LONG time. Let’s go steal their stuff.” When I told Ken that, he scoffed and said that Titus would scare off any burglars. Titus just laughed and said, “Hey man—this tail wags ITSELF.” And while I have no idea what that means, I now know why our electric bill is so high. (As a side note, while I was writing this, someone came to the door, and Titus barked like crazy then sat in front of me protectively while I talked to the person, so maybe I’m wrong about the whole burglary thing. And I’m baking him special cookies today as a thank you.)

2) As I got into the SUV, I looked back at the house and realized that there was a large, plastic bag on the roof of the porch. “Hey, Ken,” I said. “There’s a large, plastic bag on the roof of the porch. How the hell did it get up there?”

Ken: It was probably the wind.
Me: What? There’s no way the wind could have blown it up there. Do you know anything about this?
Ken: Um…
Me: What did you do? What’s in the bag?
Ken: Dog poo.
Me: Why in the name of God is there a large bag of dog poo on the porch roof?!
Ken: Well, I was scooping up Titus’s poo in the yard, and I thought I’d try throwing the bag into the garbage can from over by the fire pit. I aimed a little high, I guess.
Me: When was this?
Ken: Thursday.
Me: Why the f*ck is it still up there?!
Ken: The ladder’s all snowy. I was waiting for the weather to get warmer. Don’t worry—it’s not going anywhere.
Me: I can’t even. Get it off there today.

3) Then, as we were on our way to the grocery store, Ken insisted on taking his fancy shortcut, which is intersected by the train yard. Every single time we go that way, we get stopped by the slowest f*cking train in the universe. Sometimes they even just stop on the tracks. I’ve asked Ken why he always wants to take that route, and he claims that it’s “usually faster”, which is what I call “a lie”. If I had a dollar for every time we had to turn around and go a different way, I’d have enough money to buy another earring back.

4) Then we got to the grocery store. Instead of going to the normal, human cashier, Ken always wants to use “self-check-out”. Self-check-out is the single most inefficient thing ever invented, even worse than a salad spinner (because the lettuce is NEVER DRY ENOUGH). We have never once been through the self-check-out where we haven’t had to “call for an attendant” because I didn’t put the item in the bag properly, or the scanner can’t read the bar code, or God forbid, we have a coupon. As usual, this trip was no different because Ken tried to rearrange the items in the old, reusable bags that he makes us use because it’s “better for the environment”, and it freaked the machine out. Then we had to wait for a human cashier to come and reset the scanner. Seriously, let’s cut out the middleman and just use the human. The worst part about the self-check-out is at the end, where the machine has the nerve to say, “Please indicate how many bags you wish to purchase.” I don’t WISH to purchase ANY bags, frankly. But Ken won’t let me lie and say “Zero”, even though I tell him it’s semantics, and that if the machine would simply say, “How many bags are you using?” I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Nah, I still would.

5) We were finally on our way home. Ken decided to take the highway. It’s literally one kilometre (which is like .6 of a mile), but when I looked over, I realized he had the cruise control on. For ONE KILOMETRE. I said, “Really? You can’t keep your foot on the accelerator for two minutes?” But Ken is convinced that cruise control is better for the vehicle—less wear and tear on the engine. This is one of his many “theories about cars” that make me give my head a shake. Like, you can’t have the windows down if you have the air conditioning on. I’m like “Why? It’s not like we’re paying for the air conditioning, and I like the combination of cold air on my feet and warm air on my shoulders.” But Ken insists that it puts “strain on the engine”. I think he’s just making it up, and sometimes just to bug him, I’ll put down the window when he has the air conditioning on. Then, when he turns the air off, I put the window back up. Then he puts the air back on, and I put the window down again. Then…well, you get the idea. I’m fun and annoying all rolled into one little package.

6) I can mock all I want, but Ken’s best quirk is when we finally get home, and it’s really cold, and he says, “You go on ahead and open the door, and I’ll bring the groceries in.” Because he might have some strange affectations, but he’s the greatest husband ever. He does all the heavy lifting, in more ways than one, puts up with my earring back obsessions, and he never complains when I write about him. Of course, he hasn’t read this yet…

Thursday: K gets a light sabre.

I called K’s cell on Thursday night, and she answered on speakerphone:

Me: Where’s your dad?
K (distracted): What? I don’t know…
Me: What are you doing right now? What are those noises?
K: It’s my new, awesome light sabre.
Me: Please. Tell me all about your “new, awesome light sabre”.
K: It’s airplane grade aluminum, polycarbon blades, and LED lights.
Me: How much did it cost?
K: __________ dollars.
Me: What?!! Are you joking?!
K: It’s totally worth it.
Me: Holy sh*t. If you can afford to spend that kind of money on a light sabre, I’d better be getting a really amazing Mother’s Day present.
K: Yeah, for Mother’s Day, I’ll let you touch my light sabre.
Me: Honey, I changed your diaper for two years. Your “light sabre” and I are no strangers.
K: Oh my god, Mom! My light sabre is NOT a euphemism.
Me: No, but it would be a great pick-up line: “Hey baby—want to come back to my place and see my light sabre…”
K: Mom, stop! That’s—oh sh*t, I just hit the dog with it.
Me: Well, as long as you don’t cut off his paw and tell him that you’re his father.
Titus (in background): K’s my father?! Best day ever!!!
Me: Sigh. Tell your dad I called.

I came home last night, and K showed me the light sabre. She wasn’t lying. It is pretty awesome, but I needed to get one thing cleared up:

Me: Why doesn’t it retract?
K: Because it’s not actually a REAL light sabre. Obviously.
Me: So long as we all understand that, I’m good. Use the force, Luke. Find my earring back.