Wigging Out

Last week, I mentioned that Ken had worn one of my wigs to a meeting and that I was planning to wear one during a virtual meeting to which my friend Elaine from Elaine’s Blog asked to see me in it. I did indeed wear it for “Wig Wednesday” where I encouraged my team to wear wigs for our daily check-in (some of them did—it wasn’t just me, you know). Here’s how I hoped I looked:

Here’s how I really looked (difficult to be cute when all your best reading glasses are back at the office):

But I’ve always loved wigs. I grew up in an era where it wasn’t unusual for women to wear them frequently, and every department store had a wig department, with all kinds of exotic looks that a young girl could fantasize about. My mother had at least two wigs that I remember, and my brother and I used to put them on, jump on the beds and pretend we were rock stars. And by “rock star” I mean Donny and Marie Osmond, who were very popular at the time. Being the eldest, I always insisted on being Donny, relegating my 5 year-old brother to the role of Marie. But he had a great singing voice, and it was a hell of a lot higher-pitched than mine. My brother has a very nice baritone now, but I still sound like a bagpipe-playing duck caught in a trap. We were too young to listen to actual rock, of course, whose musicians all looked like they WERE wearing really bad wigs. I remember going with our mother to visit one of her friends who had an older son. He took us to his bedroom and showed us a KISS album. “This is the best band ever,” he informed us solemnly.
“They look like girls,” we giggled.
“You’re a fag if you don’t like KISS,” he told my brother. We didn’t know what that exactly meant, but it sounded like he was being insulting so I defended my brother the way only an eight year-old can. “No, he’s NOT,” I said, and we left him alone with his precious “men wearing wigs and make-up”. And I’m glad I live in an era now, where your sexual orientation is no longer the fallback for musical criticism. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Back to wigs. In retrospect, I’ve had a lot of wigs. When I was a teenager, I had a long ponytail hairpiece that I wore on fancy occasions. As an adult, I’ve had more than one hairpiece that made my hair, which is thin and fine, look like it had a substantial bun at the back (not unlike the hairpieces that hipster guys used to give themselves the dreaded “man bun”). Then, I branched out into “musical theatre”, which is to say that I began to take part in the Christmas assembly at the school where I used to work. Every year, the staff there lip-synched the songs of contemporary or well-known music stars. The first year I did this, I played the role of—guess who?! The lead singer from KISS. Full face make-up and a curly, long black wig, complete with a black leather costume and platform boots. It was an exhilarating experience, and now I know why KISS did it for so many years. Then we were sent home due to a terrible snow storm. I got my car stuck in a snow drift a block away from my house and flagged down a pick-up truck to help push me out. When the guy got out of his truck, he stopped and stared at me kind of fearfully, at which point I realized that I’d taken off the wig, but was still in full KISS make-up. “I was in a play,” I tried to explain, but I think I would have been more believable if I’d been wearing the wig.

Over the years, I’ve donned a long brunette wig to play Lorde, the blonde wig seen above to sing along to Taylor Swift, and “gotten my wig on” for Hallowe’en on several occasions. But I’ve never actually bought a full wig just to wear. Until a couple of years ago, that is. I’d gone out for dinner with a friend, and we may or may not have indulged in the $5 drink special more than once. On the way back, we went into the underground shopping mall near my building to get some wine. Then we passed the Wig Store. We were window shopping and talking about how much fun it would be to try on a couple, when the owner came out. “Come into my shop! I have something that would really suit you,” she enticed us. Well, being as tipsy as I was, I wasn’t hard to convince. The next thing we knew, she was pulling hair off plastic lady heads, whipping out hair nets, and getting us to try on all kinds of things. When she popped the “Cleopatra” over top of my own short hair, I was sold. Of course, “Cleopatra” is a bit of a misnomer, unless the Queen of Egypt had blonde highlights, but I knew I had to buy that wig. And I did. “What are you going to do with it?” my friend asked. “I’m going to wear it home on the train on Friday and surprise Ken!” I said, which seemed like a great plan at the time.

On Friday, at the end of the day, I was starting to get a little nervous about my plan. Would it be obvious? Would people think I was weird? I took Cleo into the bathroom and maneuvered it onto my head. It was a little harder to adjust than when the wig shop owner had done it, but I finally got it looking symmetrical. When I came out to get my bags, a few co-workers were still there. “Wow!” said one, “It looks so real!” “Your husband is going to LOVE it!” said another. This made me feel a little better and not quite so self-conscious. On the train, when the drink cart came around, the female conductor did a bit of a double-take, mostly because I order from her every week. “I’m wearing a wig today,” I whispered. “That’s OK,” she said, like I was asking her permission, but she did assure me that it looked very natural. So I tipped her, which I don’t normally do, because technically she’s not a waitress, and because the train is such a big rip-off in the first place. 

When we finally got to the train station, I saw Ken through the window. I couldn’t wait to see the look on his face. And sure enough, when he saw me, he looked away, then back in confusion, then surprise. And then he frowned.

Me: Do you like my new look?
Ken: What are you doing?
Me: I wanted to surprise you.
Ken: Oh…
Me: What do you think?
Ken: Yeah, I don’t like it.
Me: You get that it’s a wig, right?
Ken: I like your hair short, though.
Me: It comes OFF. It’s a WIG. My normal human hair is still underneath.
Ken: Oh. It makes you look really different. I don’t like the bangs…
Me: Never mind.

I understand Ken’s reaction because he does the same thing when we’re out shopping. If I see something cool and ask him if he likes it too, he always says “No”, even if he does like it, because he’s worried that if he agrees with me, I’ll buy it. It’s taken 30 years to get him to understand that I just like to window shop. So I think he was concerned that if he said he liked the wig, I’d never take it off. We’d be like 90, and in a retirement home, I’d still be wearing “Cleopatra”, and all the old guys would want to “play Bingo” with me because I had the best hair. At any rate, I kept it on until we got to the store where K worked. Her reaction was a little more favourable—she laughed pleasantly, hugged me and said it “looked good”. And then we got home, where Titus met me at the door.

Titus: You’re home! This is the best day ever!
Me: Do you notice anything different?
Titus: Is that Swiss Chalet chicken?! Can this day GET any better?!
Me: So nothing?
Titus: Your hair grew. Give me some french fries!

Looking For A Jay-Oh-Bee

The other morning I was driving to the train station and listening to the radio for the road report because here in Canada, we’ve moved from last week’s warm weather, known fondly as “fool’s spring” to this week’s “second winter” which would account for all the snow we’ve gotten over the last few days.

Morning radio is a lot of boring talk, interspersed with a little music, and a LOT of commercials. And it’s a strange mix of ads for lawyers, bankruptcy trustees, tax accountants and something called ‘Sell-Off Vacations.com’ and I can’t help but wonder if the target audience is mobsters:

Big Jimmy: The fuzz are closing in. What are we gonna do?
Mack the Spatula: I’ve been listening to the radio and I have an idea…

Anyway, I was driving and switching back and forth between stations (I have a cool thingy on my steering wheel that lets me do that with my thumb) trying desperately to find some actual music, when I heard a commercial for a recruitment agency. They detailed the advantages of signing up with them, and then said, “Start a new career now at Zip Recruiter.com/Canada. That’s Zip Recruiter dot com slash See-Eh-En-Eh-Dee-Eh” and I was like WHAT?! Of all the things in that web address to be more specific about, you chose to spell out the name of the country we LIVE IN? So you assume that the person can spell ‘Recruiter’ but not the most phonetically obvious country in the world? I mean, it’s not like we live in Kyrgyzstan or Azerbaijan or even Britain (which sounds like it should be spelled ‘Brit-in’). In fact, I think the only country that would be even easier to spell than Canada would be Finland. And let’s not even get started on that slash, like WHICH SLASH? The forward slash or the backwards one, because personally, I would want more information on THAT and especially where to find it on my keyboard since one of them is under the question mark, and the other can be literally ANYWHERE. And frankly, if you can’t spell the name of the very country that you live in, I think you have bigger problems than not being able to find a new job.

I had mostly put it out of my mind, except to randomly shake my head every once in a while, until yesterday, when it occurred to me that I might indeed need their services. I was working from home, and I got up early to start working on a report for a 10 o’clock phone meeting, and let me just emphasize PHONE here, as in, the people you are meeting with can only hear your voice. I called in at the appropriate time and told my director that I’d been working on a doc that I could email for her to look at. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “I just figured out how we could all look at it together in Teams—let me send you the link. When you get it, just click on it” and when I clicked on the link the screen opened and there I was, ON CAMERA, in my housecoat, not wearing any makeup, my hair standing up all over the place, because I WAS WORKING FROM HOME so why the hell would I be all fancy?!! So I kind of screeched and ducked and said, “I didn’t know this was a video link” and I heard laughing and someone gasp, “Oh my god” and then my director said, “Click on the video camera icon and it will turn the camera off” but I couldn’t find the icon at first so I had my thumb over the camera lens on my laptop until I was able to locate it, which I finally did while everyone else waited in silence, and now I think I need a new job.

And because I DO know how to spell Canada, I figured I had a leg up on all the other applicants so I headed over to Zip Recruiter to see what they had for me. The first thing that caught my eye was Private Investigator. I think I’d be great at that because I read a lot of Nancy Drew as a young girl and my shoes always match my handbag. Also, I’m really good at solving mysteries and I have the reflexes of a middle-aged ninja.

Me (leaping out awkwardly from behind a door): Aha!! It was YOU who ate the cake that was on the counter!!
Titus (nervously licking icing off his whiskers): You’ll never be able to prove it!
Me: Prove it? Ha! I saw you do it with my own eyes!
Titus (confused): Then why didn’t you stop me?
Me: (whispers): Because you looked so cute and happy…plus I filmed the whole thing with my phone so I could post it on Facebook.

Is there cake?

OK, maybe I wouldn’t make the best detective, which was a shame because it came with full benefits. Another job that piqued my interest was Video Game Developer. I don’t know what kind of technical skills you need for that, but I have lots of ideas that I could give to someone to make a game with. My current favourite is The Commuter. In this game, you have to get from the train station to the subway in under five minutes, while avoiding the following obstacles:

  • The university student who stops at the bottom of the escalator to post a selfie on Instagram.
  • The two elderly woman who are drifting back and forth erratically while discussing their cats.
  • The line-up at Pastry Hut that stretches across the concourse.
  • The group of teens playing hacky sack right in front of the doors.
  • The man who can’t find his subway pass and is blocking the turnstile.
  • The people who apparently don’t work and who can see the subway coming but are in NO HURRY TO GET DOWN THE GODDAMNED STAIRS.

It’s a very stressful game actually, and I don’t know how much fun playing it would really be. I do it every day and I don’t enjoy it at all if I’m being honest. So maybe my video game ideas aren’t the best. I was getting a little discouraged in my job hunt so instead I just put the word “Fun” in the Zip Recruiter search bar and waited excitedly to see what came up. The first job on the list was “On-line Math Coach”. And now all I can think is that a) Zip Recruiter is the most f*cked up job agency on the Pee-El-Eh-En-Ee-Tee and b) from now on, I will get completely gussied up when I’m working from home, just in case.

Cereal Killers and Other Stories

So tonight we’re all going to see a very well-known comedian, and I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, because every time I watch one of his specials on Netflix, he does a whole bit about something that I’ve written about, like once I did a post about revolving doors and escalators, and then about a month later, I watched one of his shows and he was talking about the exact same thing. And I was like, “Hey, he plagiarized me!” But then I realized that his special had been taped two years before, and then all I could think was “Hey, great minds think alike!” or as my dear old dad would say, “Fools never differ”. So right now, I’m hedging my bets, and if Jim Gaffigan talks at all tonight about cereal, or ninja utility tools, or Gumby, or MY DOG, I’ll know there’s something weird going on. Weird-ER any way.

Cereal Killers

I was at the grocery store today and realized with absolute certainty that the end of days is nigh. No, it’s not because of politics or pandemics, or even pollution. No, it’s because of this:

Yep. It’s cereal that tastes like chocolate glazed donut holes, or as we call them in Canada, “Timbits”, and all I can think is “Dear god, why?!” I mean, when I was a kid there were sugar-y cereals, but at least they didn’t pretend to be anything other than cereal. I remember begging my mom for some Captain Crunch, and then being disgusted by how sweet it was and also how long it took to get my upper and lower teeth to unstick from each other. There was Trix and Lucky Charms of course, which had weird-ass marshmallows in it, and Count Chocula for the Goth kids, but it was still mostly cereal. When I got older, I ate Froot Loops a lot (guess how many years it took before I actually looked at the box and realized it wasn’t FRUIT Loops?) and switched to Corn Pops when I had to take gluten out of my diet. Now I just eat yogurt and a lot of gummy vitamins, which is like healthy candy. But TIMBITS cereal? What has the world come to when parents will be feeding their children bowls of chocolate donuts for breakfast? (You can also get it in Birthday Cake as in Happy Birthday, I Got You Clogged Arteries!). And then I Googled “Chocolate Donut Cereal” and THERE ARE MORE! Kellogg’s has “Donut Shop” cereal and Captain Crunch has “Choco Donuts”. So I guess Tim Horton’s is just jumping on the bandwagon. The delicious, apocalyptic bandwagon.

Batman Should Have One Of These

I was recently at a presentation at the secret agency and the people who were presenting brought us swag and it was the best swag ever. There was a cool canvas laptop bag, notepads, those silky things you clean your glasses with, and this crazy utility tool:

It’s like the perfect tool if you’re a ninja on a picnic. You can open bottles and peel sh*t, and then silently slit your enemies’ throats with the box cutter. I could have used one of these when I was trying to MacGyver my broken toilet. The only thing it doesn’t have is an Allen key, which is a bit disappointing, but so is anything you have to put together with an Allen key.

I’m Gumby, Dammit!

When I opened my Christmas stocking, I found a little Gumby in it.

Me: Why did you get me a Gumby for Christmas?
Ken: Because we were watching Saturday Night Live the other night and you were like ‘Oh my god, I f*cking LOVE Gumby’.
Me: I was talking about Eddie Murphy.
Ken: Oh. Look, you can adjust his arms and legs. You can put one hand on his hip to make him look sassy.

Anyway, I took Gumby to work and put him in my window, with his arms in the air and his face pressed up against the glass like my office was an insane asylum he wanted to escape from.

A little while later, I heard a sound like “Whoa!” coming from the cubicle across from my office where the Very Nice Gentleman I work with sits:

Me: What’s wrong?
VNG: I just looked up and your Gumby is staring right at me. It’s a little disconcerting.
Me: Do you want me to move him?
VNG: No, I’m sure I’ll get used to him…

Now I need to get a Pokey (as the actress said to the bishop).

This Dog

Ken is an extremely talented photographer and he got this shot of Titus outside in the snow.

So there you are. I’ll be updating this post tomorrow after the show, and if Jim talks about any of this sh*t, I’ll let you know.

Update:

 He started to talk about Tim Horton’s and I slapped Ken and said, “See?!” but he just talked about how many stores there are, like they’re the stop signs of Canada, and didn’t mention the cereal, so it’s all good.

Also, one last thing. I hate to ask favours but if any of you have read my latest novel The Dome and liked it, would you mind leaving a short review on Amazon or Chapters Indigo or Goodreads or whatever? I know a couple of you already have, and it means the world to me. If you don’t want to, no problem—I know it’s not everyone’s thing.

Terms Of Endearment

On Tuesday, I was walking down the aisle of cubicles heading towards the kitchen with a male colleague, Brian, and we were talking about a presentation we were planning. I was carrying my lunch plate with the intention of washing it in the sink, and as I did that, we continued talking. I was done with the plate at the same time that the conversation ended, and I don’t know if it was the domesticity of the situation or whatnot, but as I put the plate in the drying rack, I said, “Super. Thanks, honey.” Cue the sound of a record scratch.

Me: Oh, wow, I think I just called you ‘honey’.
Brian (laughing): Yes, you did.
Me: Sorry—it kind of slipped out.
Brian: It’s perfectly fine. I call the people on my team ‘honey’ all the time.
Me: OK, well as long as it didn’t bother you.
Brian: Not at all!

Because you never know, right? But then on Thursday, Brian and I were continuing our conversation about the presentation and as I walked away, he said, “OK, thanks honey!” There was a pause and then he peeked his head out of his cubicle and called after me:

Brian: Hey, I just called YOU honey!
Me (laughing): I know!
Brian: See, I told you I call people that all the time.
Deep Male Voice From Another Cubicle: IT’S TRUE. HE DOES.

So now I don’t feel as bad and also I think Brian and I have to get married. Sorry, Ken.

And when I told Ken this story, after reminding me that I was already married, he confessed that he was having trouble with terms of endearment at work too. Mostly because we’ve been binge-watching Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Ken: It’s really hard not to walk into a room and greet everyone with ‘Hey, queens!’
Me: Or be like, ‘Bitch, we need to discuss that budget variance report, okurrrr?’
Ken: Or leave a room yelling, ‘By-eeee!’
Me: Yass, babe. I was so tempted to put ‘Sashay Away’ on the light-up marquee in my office just for fun.
Ken: Girl, you know you better don’t.
Me: Bitch, please!

At any rate, it got me thinking about those affectionate names that people have for each other, like sweetie and honey and baby, and how very few people ever call me Suzanne:

  • Ken calls me “Honey” 99% of the time. The other 1% is when he’s mad, and then he refers to me as “Buddy” in an incredulous kind of way, like “BUDDY! Really?! Come on!” I can’t remember the last time he actually addressed me by name but that’s OK, because I’m pretty sure he knows what it is.
  • My dad and I greet each other with “Hello, dahling!” When I was younger, he called me “Sugarplum”, which I also loved.
  • My mother generally calls me “Sweetheart” or “Ooh, you cheeky monkey!” When I was little, her affectionate nickname for me was “Squeeg” like a squeegee. Neither of us know why, but I always liked it.
  • Katelyn calls me “Mom”. She said “mama” for the first time at around 3 months (she was a super-early talker and was speaking in two-word sentences by the time she was a year old), but that quickly morphed into just Mom. I think there were a couple of months where she might have called me “Mommy” but it didn’t last long. When she was little, I called her “Baby” all the time to the point where she began to refer to herself in the third person as Baby and would say, “Baby up” or “Baby tired” or “Baby agrees with Nietzsche—if the taste of these strained green beans doesn’t kill me, they will definitely make Baby stronger” (ok, she didn’t actually say that, but when she was two, she actually DID say, “When I gwow up, I will be a bus dwiver and I will dwive all the children to the beach and they will pway in the sand and I will pwotect them” and I said, “Have you been reading Catcher in the Rye AGAIN?”) Then she started pre-school and one morning, she turned to me and said, “Don’t call me baby anymore. I’m a big girl now”, and it kind of broke my heart, but I stopped.
  • One of my aunts, who is only a few years older than me, calls me “Kiddo” which is cool because I’m 54 and it makes me feel young. My other aunt calls me “Suzie”. She’s the only person in my entire life who’s ever shortened my name, and I let her do it because she’s adorable and I love her. If anyone else does it, they will get throat-punched.
  • A lot of my virtual friends called me mydangblog, or MDB (or Suzune, thanks to an unfortunate cake incident), and it’s very cool to have a secret identity like that.
  • I have been lobbying for literally YEARS to be called Player One. At this point, I don’t think it’s happening, but I’ll keep trying.

At any rate, I’m very lucky to have people in my life who refer to me with terms of endearment instead of nasty slurs. I asked Titus about nicknames because he never really calls me anything:

Me: So what do you call me in your head?
Titus: Player One, of course.
Me: You do?! Wait—are you only saying that to get a cookie?
Titus: Obviously. In my head, I just call you ‘Mommy’.
Me: Really? Awww. That’s why you’re the bestboi.
Titus: Cookie?
Me: Of course, honey.

Originize! and a Poem About Clocks

Earlier this week, I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by my friend Tom from Tom Being Tom, who is an amazing blogger and human being, and I love all of his dogs almost as much as I love him. He nominated people based on the names of Santa’s reindeer and I got Dancer, which was OK, but if I’m being honest, I wish he would have invented a new reindeer named Player One, who would have supplanted Rudolph at the head of the sleigh team due to her speed, and also it would have made up for my sadness over the fact that my fantasy hockey team, which is also called Player One, is currently at the bottom of the league. I think. Because the hockey app on my phone stopped working and I can’t access the standings anymore, but no one at work is approaching me ominously and saying oddly sexual things like, “Don’t get too comfortable being on top”, so I assume I’m no longer a threat to JEFFREY.

Anyway, as part of the award, I have to provide my origin story and offer two pieces of advice to new bloggers. First my origin story, which is nowhere near as cool as like, The Avengers or whatnot:

About 5 and a half years ago, I was going through a hard time at my previous workplace because of a group of extremely nasty people, so to save myself and my sanity, I started focusing on the funny things that were happening each week, and started writing them down. I already had a WordPress site that I’d been using professionally, but I completely revamped and reinvented it so that I could share my humour with the world, which also explains why the blog is mydangblog but the domain is educationalmentorship.com—I can’t for the life of me figure out how to change it and I quite often forget that Educationalmentorship is actually me because it sounds way too professional and fancy. But being able to do that, to shove aside the negativity and revel in life’s absurdities, is what drives me to write. Even though I’ve changed jobs and now I work with some truly awesome people, I still write the blog because humour is important to me.

Two Pieces of Advice:

1) Whenever you are full of self-doubt, picture yourself as a supermodel on a catwalk. Play the song “Cover Girl (Put The Bass In Your Walk) by RuPaul in your head. Then walk down the street, or down the aisle in your office like the fierce f*cking queen or king you are. I do this regularly and it’s amazing how effective it is.

2) If your dog tells you that he hasn’t been fed yet, don’t believe him—he’s a notorious liar and just stole half a chocolate log cake off the kitchen island when you were out buying an antique stained glass window, then claimed it was “the fairies” when you accused him of eating it. Ignore the specificity of this piece of advice—I’m sure it’s true of all dogs.

(Nobody said the advice had to be about blogging. Here’s an actual piece of blogging advice: Write because you love doing it, not for any other reason.) And now I’m supposed to nominate other people, but some of you don’t like awards (weirdos, but I love you anyway) and some of you have a bunch already, and there are so many of you who are wonderful, so here’s my challenge: Post your own origin story and two pieces of random advice, and say that I made you do it.

On Friday, I was getting ready for the day, and I looked up at the clocks in my bathroom. They both said 11:34, and it completely freaked me out. Why? I hear you asking. Shouldn’t the clocks both be telling the same time? And the answer would normally be yes, but in this case, one clock works and the other DOES NOT. And isn’t it an amazingly strange coincidence, or a harbinger of doom perhaps, that I happened to look at both of them when they were showing the same time? Or maybe it was a good omen, I don’t know. At any rate, nothing particularly good or bad happened the rest of the day, and also don’t judge me for not getting ready for the day until almost noon, because I’m ON MY HOLIDAYS.

But then I started looking around the house at all the clocks. It’s a very large old Victorian house, built in 1906, complete with a front staircase AND a back staircase, which is apparently fascinating to young children who will spend hours doing a circuit involving going up the front stairs, running through the upstairs of the house, going down the back stairs, and running through the main floor of the house. Then repeat. I know this because over the last few days, we’ve hosted several children who all took tremendous delight in this activity which, I have to admit, is pretty fun and I do it myself on occasion. In fact, I did it on Saturday as I was clock counting. You may be surprised, and somewhat alarmed (best pun ever) to learn that I have 43 clocks in random places around my house (and I’m not even counting phone, computer, microwave or TV clocks). 16 of them work, and 27 do not. 1 of them was actually just in a drawer. And out of the 27 that don’t work, I found two more that had stopped around 11:34-ish, and another two that had stopped at 6:57, which looks frighteningly like 11:34-ish from a distance. I should probably mention at this point that I collect vintage alarm clocks and most of them are wind-up, and do I have time to wind up 27 clocks? No, I don’t. Plus all that ticking would drive me crazy. But why are some of my clocks fixated around the 11:34-ish mark? Is that when the ghost in my house died? I may never know, but anytime something either wonderful or terrible happens, I’ll be sure to look at one of the working clocks to see what time it is.

Me: What time was it when you ate all the cake? I know it was you, so stop trying to blame “the fairies”.
Titus: Fine, fine. You left at 11:30. It was a few minutes after that.
Me: Are you feeling sick yet?
Titus: A little. I’ll probably throw up tomorrow morning, say around 11:34.
Me (whispers): Harbinger of doom…

Here’s a poem I wrote about clocks:

Unwound

Clocks that don’t work
Have a certain charm.
They remind us
That time is a construct,
An imposition on our freedom.
When clocks are silent,
They can’t tick down our days.

My Week 249: Who Is The Elusive Shane? Titus Gets Punchy

Who is Shane?

This question continues to plague me. A little over two years ago, I received a company cell phone, one of the perks of being a permanent employee at the secret agency. It’s just a simple iPhone–it doesn’t have a built-in Geiger counter or tear gas cartridges, nor does it change my voice to sound like Batman or provide me the gift of super-hearing. It DOES have Google Maps and a calculator, so that’s almost as good as an Industrial Satellite Laser, and you might have guessed that I watched a lot of James Bond movies as a kid. At any rate, I got this phone, and I also immediately started getting random text messages (these are actual screen shots from my phone so if you’re having trouble reading them, click on them to enlarge). The first was an invitation for a boat ride of some kind.

 I didn’t know what “SocaSweetness” might be, but the liberal use of numerals for letters, abbreviations, and the overenthusiastic exclamation marks were a surefire indication that it was going to be a very loud event, and most likely NOT for me. The next message was the first indication that someone named “Shane” was somehow connected to me, and that his friends were a jolly, if perhaps prone to “blazing”, group of people.

LMFAO

And for those of you who don’t know, “blaze”, according to Urbandictionary.com, means “smoke weed”. Shane henceforth was known as “Blazefordayz Shane”. I’ve written about Shane before—his girlfriend who excoriated me for not answering her numerous Facetime calls, his mother who scolded me for never texting her back (TEXT ME BACK SHANE!), and his many friends towards whom I’ve become quite motherly:

Don’t text and drive!

Shane has nice friends.

Of course, my favourite was the Warehouse Job episode, which I wrote about previously in My Week 226: All About The Bordens.

But the other day, I was at People’s Jewellers, a well-known jewellery store chain, and the store clerk asked for my phone number to check the status of my protection plan. I gave it to her and she looked perplexed. “Shane Brien?” she said. “From Brampton?” And I gasped audibly and replied, “BlazeforDayz Shane is REAL?!” She looked at me confused and I said, “Oh sorry—that must be the person who had the phone before me.” See, in my mind, Shane had become a mythical figure, a sort of pot-smoking, Soca dancing Bigfoot—it never occurred to me that he was an actual human person. And then I had an epiphany. I could use my keen skills of detection, and the wonderful world of social media, to finally identify Shane once and for all. So I engaged my “little grey cells” as Hercule Poirot would say, and headed straight to Facebook.

Do you know how many people on Facebook are named Shane Brien? Or Shane Brian? Or Shane Bryan? Or Shayne…you get the picture. There are a LOT of them. But I could easily narrow it down by excluding any of them who lived outside of Ontario (which was a shame, because there’s a lovely Shane Brian in New Brunswick and I wish him and his adorable girlfriend all the best in life). Anyway, I tried to narrow it down a little further by a process of elimination based on their profile pictures:

1) Shane Brien, standing in the middle of an icy highway in Northern Ontario. I don’t think MY Shane likes the cold. It would be too hard to Soca dance when your extremities are frozen.

2) Shane Brien, tiger-striped kitty cat. Does having a profile picture of a sweet floof detract from your semi-gangster image or is the cat just a decoy?

3) Shane Brien, no profile pic, but underneath it just says ‘Prison’. Now, MY Shane may flirt with the law, but marijuana is legal in Canada; besides, Shane’s mother would kill him if he did anything criminal. And so would I.

4) Shane O’Brien. That sounds Irish. I don’t think Shane is Irish. Also there’s an NHL player named Shane O’Brien and he is now officially my top pick for next year’s hockey pool. He will be my secret weapon, allowing me to defeat the even more mysterious and even more elusive Jeffrey, who won this year’s hockey pool while I came in a shameful 12th.

5) Shane Brien, Contractor, Advanced Warehouse Structures. Shane…warehouse job…I’d say it looks like the pieces are falling into place, except this Shane has 3 kids and I don’t remember his girlfriend saying anything about children. In fact, I believe her exact words were, and I quote, “You better not be with that Angela.”

And because the store clerk at People’s insisted on changing the name on the phone number to mine, I can never go back to the store and try to find out more information. Maybe I should have accepted the invite to Vegas. Shane and I would have had a blast.

Vegas Baby!

Titus Gets Punchy

Alarm goes off.

Me (*stretching*): ERGH. Time to get up.
Titus: NO.
Me: Oh my god, you just punched me in the eye!!
Titus: It was an accident–I was trying to high five you. Where are you going? Stay in bed.
Me: No! I have to see if my eye is OK!
Titus: You’re fine. Stop being a baby. Besides, eye patches are all the rage this season.
Me: I don’t want an eyepatch! OWW. If you scratched my cornea with your germy paw, I’ll be so mad.
Titus (whispers): I just wanted you to stay home with me. I’m sorry.
Me: Sigh. I love you, buddy.
Titus: You’ll look awesome with an eyepatch. Like an angry pirate.
Me: ARRRR.

My Week 240: Moving On

I’m exhausted. I just spent the last week packing up for my move back home. If you didn’t already know this, 4 years ago I was offered a temporary position with the secret agency, but it was a very long way from the small town where Ken and I have lived for over 15 years. They were willing to pay for a condo, so I moved to Toronto for what I thought would be a very short time, which turned into a permanent position (where they no longer paid for the condo and I had to pay for it myself–the monthly rent was twice the cost of my mortgage) and a very LONG time. Every Sunday night, I took the train into Toronto, and every Friday afternoon, I took the train home. It was yucky. Finally this Christmas, and after discovering a morning train that could get me to work in under an hour and a half, Ken and I decided I should commute every day instead of living in a neighbourhood that I like to call “the last place that God made”. I had to wait until the end of April though, because I’d committed to taking on a co-op student, a lovely girl who had already lived with me twice, and it didn’t seem fair to make her find some random weirdo to live with for her last work term (and yes, perhaps I am also a random weirdo, but I’m HER random weirdo).

*Side Note: Here are two reasons I’m sad about moving. First, not more than a week after I posted about that weird-ass ladder on the roof next door, I looked out the window and saw this:

Where’s the damn ladder?

And now I will never know what the ultimate plan is. Second, the two guys across the hall just got a Golden Retriever, and I will never get to babysit him.

But moving is bullsh*t. Everyone knows that. In fact, I can’t understand why people don’t just live in the same place until they die because moving is so horrible. Even though my condo was under 800 square feet, it was absolutely f*cking amazing to me the sheer quantity of stuff that I’d accumulated over 4 years. And I’d already had to move once already, after I was illegally evicted from my first condo because it was sold and the new owner was “anxious to move in”. So I had to find another place to live and MOVE TO IT. One week after I moved, I was on the local realtor site and I saw my old place for rent again for $250 more a month than I’d been paying. So I called the real estate agent who was leasing it:

Me: Hi there. I’m wondering about the condo you have advertised.
Agent: Oh so sorry—it just leased.
Me: That’s very interesting, because you just illegally evicted me from there last week.
Agent: Uh…I’m going to have to call you back (*click*).

Long story short, I filed a lawsuit, and they settled out of court. But I still had to move. And now, I was doing it by choice. I decided that it wouldn’t be fair to Ken to make him drive into the heart of downtown Toronto with U-Haul, so I hired movers. There are a lot of moving companies around, and some of them have pretty weird names as we all know. Here are ten:

1) The Burly Boyz
2) The Box Brothers
3) The Happy Haulers
4) My Ninja Movers
5) Rent-A-Son
6) The Rampaging Removers
7) The Shifty Shifters
8) Uncle Bob’s El Cheapo Movers
9) You Pack ‘Em, We Stack ‘Em
10) Your Friend With A Cube Van

Some of those names are actually made up—you have to guess which ones are real moving companies. I think my favourite was ‘In and Out Movers’ because it sounded just a little dirty. At any rate, after looking at review sites, I went with a company called “Two Men and a Truck”, which seemed a fairly self-explanatory and not very creative. But they had a five-star rating so I booked them. In the meantime, I had to start packing all my sh*t up, which sounds easy, except that almost every night last week, I was taken out for a farewell dinner by friends, which involved drinks, and which rendered me not particularly interested in packing. Finally, on Thursday night, I realized I needed to go hard at it because the movers were coming on Friday morning. But I had one problem—there was way too much stuff. Luckily, I had placed an ad on the electronic bulletin board in the elevator of the building. I hadn’t had any takers, when suddenly on Thursday at around 5 pm, I got a text from ‘Joseph’, who was interested in my couch, lamp, and coffee table. He lived two floors up and offered to come down right away. I was a little nervous—what if he was like The Serial Killer Upstairs (whom I had written about a couple of years ago) and instead of wanting my furniture, he wanted to make a lady-suit out of me? The only weapon that I hadn’t packed was a fork that didn’t go with any of my other cutlery (where the hell it came from is one of life’s mysteries, and we all know how we feel about THAT ONE FORK) so I put it in a convenient spot on the counter. I was worried for nothing though, because Joseph was more interested in my furniture than me. He was Swedish, or some kind of young Scandinavian country-type, and he took a few things, telling me that he “loved glassware and lighting”. He also had a roommate who would be home shortly and he would tell ‘Daveed’ about some of the other things I had, and let me know if they were interested. Sure enough, around 9:45, I got a second text telling me that he wanted some more items:

 

I was pretty exhausted, and also a little perplexed about having two strange young men in my condo at 10 o’clock at night, but that concern was outweighed by the feeling that I had badly underestimated the number of boxes I told the movers I would have (“Ten-ish,” I said. “You fool!” you say.), and I really wanted to get rid of some more stuff. Joseph introduced me to ‘Daveed’, who was also apparently Swedish-y. The two of them were setting up an “outdoor space” on their balcony and were delighted by everything they saw (imagine that they are speaking with charming Swedish accents, which I don’t know how to write—I can only do French and Russian):

Joseph: Daveed. Daveed! This will be perfect in the outdoor room!
Daveed: For plants, yes! And look at this wine rack—I can grow vines around it!
Joseph: Daveed! What do you think of this desk? Could you use it outside?
Daveed: Oh yes! It will be perfect for when I am at the computer!

After a few trips up and down the elevator, they had enough for a good start on the outdoor room, we bid each other goodnight, and I went to bed. Guess what time I woke up in a panic about all the things I still had left to do, and the fact that I was short at least two boxes? If you said 4 a.m., you would be absolutely f*cking correct. But then the movers called around 8:30 and asked, “Do you need any boxes?”
“Maybe a couple,” I answered casually. In the meantime, Ken messaged for me to call him so that we could discuss how I should tell the movers to pack everything:

Me: What are you talking about?
Ken: You need to tell them to put everything that goes upstairs in last so they can bring it out first.
Me: You seriously want me to mansplain moving to PROFESSIONAL MOVERS? Hard pass.
Ken: But there are some things that have to go in the front door and some things that have to—
Me: You know what? You can tell them yourself when they get there, but I’m gonna bet they know how to do this, and for the money I’m paying them, I’ll also bet they’ll do whatever you want.

The movers were right on time, and there were THREE of them in the truck. The driver explained that I got a bonus man because it was Friday, and if there was ever a more random reason than that, I can’t think of one. But they were super-efficient, wrapping everything in blankets and taping it all up. Then they were gone and I was left with an empty condo. The landlord was coming over at 11:30 to get the keys, so I cleaned up everything until the place was spic and span, and much cleaner than the previous tenants had left it. He arrived, and I proudly said, “I’ve left everything very clean!” at which point, he went over, opened the oven door and looked inside it, the one place I HADN’T CLEANED. Then he looked at me rather pointedly, and I said, “It was like that when I moved in.”

When I finally arrived home on Friday night, SOMEONE was very happy to see me:

Titus: You’re home! This is the best day ever!
Me: Guess what, buddy? I’m going to be home EVERY night from now on!
Titus: WHUUUT?! HOME COOKED MEALS EVERY NIGHT?! Ooh, I think I just peed a little!
Me: Ok, ewww. But what are you talking about? Ken knows how to cook.
Titus: Yeah, if you like ‘Wonder Weiner’ twice a week.
Ken (from the other room): Wonder Weiner is awesome!
Titus: Can you make that steak with the peppercorn cream sauce? I’ll just wait by the oven…

Ah, home sweet home. And now I have to unpack.