My Week 169: Appointment to the Toy Bench, Napanee, Meeting Giggles

Appointment to the Toy Bench

This week, the internet was ablaze with outrage over Donald Trump’s latest appointee to be a district court judge. Anyone that the Human Dumpster Fire appoints to ANYTHING is typically underwhelmingly qualified to even be town dogcatcher, but Matthew Peterson was a spectacular example of a dude who shouldn’t be allowed to go to the corner store alone. What kind of judicial appointee has never taken a deposition by himself, let alone never actually tried a case? Say what you want about Justin Trudeau, but he just had to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, and the guy he picked, after a lengthy consultation process, is an actual, highly experienced judge and NOT a guy who thinks “getting to bang a gavel would be fun and whatnot”. OK, Peterson didn’t actually say that, but he might as well have, since even HE didn’t seem clear about why he should be appointed. The guy is so dumb that he didn’t even have the courtesy to act embarrassed that he was so blatantly lacking any kind of courtroom experience. But it’s typical of what’s happening in the U.S. these days, and I won’t make my American friends feel any more sh*tty about it by pointing out the other horrors. Instead, I’ve created a scenario fit for the holiday season. It’s called “Appointment to the Toy Bench”.

Santa: I’m not sure what’s going on here. One of the elves retired, and I have to replace him, but I just got told that the American President is demanding that I take some chosen appointee.

Chief Elf: The American President? Why would Hillary Clinton do THAT?

Santa: No, not Hillary—it’s the loudmouth on the naughty list who lost the popular vote. He seems to think that he can run Toyland too…oh dang, here he comes.

Trump: Hello, Santa Claus. I hope you got the message about my appointment to the Toy Bench. I make all the best appointments. My appointments are so awesome—it’s a pretty wild scene.

Santa: Well, I got an email—it took a while to translate it from Russian, but if I understand it correctly, you’re trying to appoint an elf to replace Twinkles, who recently retired. I have to tell you though, we already HAVE a replacement. His name is Tiny.

Trump: You mean “Itty Bitty” Tiny? That guy’s a loser.

Santa: Why are you calling him “Itty Bitty”? He’s Tiny.

Trump: I know, right? I’m giving him one of my fun nicknames, like the way I call Hillary “Crooked” or Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”. I think I’m going to call you “Eskimo Boy”.

Santa: That’s extremely offensive, not only to me but to the Inuit peoples.

Trump: In your what? Stop stalling, Fat Man, and interview my appointee. His name is Frank and he’s a yuuge donor to my campaign.

Santa (under breath): Fine, if it will get you out of here, so I can get back to making toys. (out loud) Bring him in.

Frank: Yo.

Santa: Hello, Frank, is it? You seem a little large for an elf…

Frank: Elf? What the f*ck are you talking about?

Trump: Never mind his size. He’s a close personal friend who has never grabbed anyone’s…”toys” inappropriately and definitely does NOT need to hide out here until the stink wears off.

Santa: Sigh. OK Frank, tell me a little bit about your experience. How long have you been making toys?

Frank: I don’t make toys.

Santa: You’ve never made a toy?

Frank: No.

Santa: Do you—can you put the cigar out? This Pole has been non-smoking even since it turned out that my pipe was making the elves sick.

Trump: You can’t say “Pole”. It’s a forbidden word. So is “polar”—it reminds too many people of dying bears. FAKE NEWS!!

Santa: Anyway, Frank—do you even like children?

Frank: No. Children are stupid.

Santa: Then why do you want to take this job?!

Frank: It’s a lifetime gig with full benefits. Plus, I hear the lady elves are smokin’.

Santa: Enough! I refuse to hire this naughty person. Tiny, the job is yours.

Tiny: Wheeee! Time to make some toys for girls and boys!

Trump (tweeting): “Eskimo Boy Santa REFUSES to hire Qualified Frank and gives an important post to Itty Bitty Tiny who is a FAILING loser. SAD!!! LOSER!!!

Santa: Sigh. Get out of here. And just so you know—all you’re getting in your stocking this year is coal!

Trump: Excellent! Coal is the new solar power.

Frank: I got the job, right?

Santa: Fake news.

So long, Frank!

Two Quick Stories:

1) A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Napanee. Never mind where it is. Just know that it took me three hours to get there by train. When I finally arrived at 8 pm, everyone ran out of the train, got into their cars and left. I looked around. The train station itself was closed, the lights off. The parking lot was deserted. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius. I had the number of a local cab company so I called them. The dispatcher was really pissy, and when I told her I was going to the Hilton, she said, “Hampton. There’s no such thing as the Napanee Hilton,” and I was like, “OK, I guess I’m going to the Hampton.” She replied that the cab would be “at least 20 minutes”. I had no choice, so I said “Fine” but I was wondering exactly how big Napanee was if it took that long for a cab to come to the train station. In the meantime, I did what any normal person would do—I called Ken.

Me: It’s freezing and the train station is closed. I forgot my mittens.
Ken: You forgot your mittens?! What am I always telling you…
Me: It’s really windy and dark. There’s a bar across the street and it sounds dangerously rowdy.
Ken: Stand in the shadows where no one can see you.
Me: A) I’m not a vampire and B) I don’t want the cab to miss me. Just stay on the line.

At any rate, the cab finally showed up, a little over 20 minutes later. The driver, a jolly older fellow, got out and looked at me:

Driver: What are you doing? Why didn’t you go inside?!
Me: The station’s closed.
Driver: No, it’s not. Didn’t you read the sign on the door? You go in and the lights are on the left. You just have to remember to turn them off when you leave.
Me: It was too dark to read the sign on the door.
Driver: Well, you’ll know for next time.

The cab ride to the Hampton took under two minutes. He charged me 10 dollars. Napanee, everyone.

2) Over the last three weeks, I have been obliged to attend meetings where I watch a man fill in a very long flow chart. It can be super-suspenseful, because sometimes he has to move one of the boxes in the flow chart, and then we’re all like, “Where will he put it?! What will happen now?!” The other day, I looked up and realized that there was a sign on the door at the back of the room that said, “No Exit”, and I was like “Preach.” But sitting there in silence for hours on end has made me a little giddy, and on Thursday, I was in another meeting, and one of the directors said, referring to a new software app, “Touch this and then it happens” and I almost yelled out, “That’s what SHE said!” I mean, I actually had a moment where I seriously considered saying it and wondered if everyone else would laugh. But I didn’t say it—I just tried not to giggle uncontrollably. As one does.

Merry Christmas from your favourite elf.

My Week 135: Leo Causes a Rift in the Universe, the Maple Leafs Save the Galaxy, and Other Musings

Things that make me go Hmm….

Last week was a long week, what with me getting up at 5:00 am and battling traffic to get into the GTA every day, working until 5, and then battling traffic to get back home again. I thought to myself, “If I had to do this every day for the rest of my career, I would gouge out my own eyes. And go on disability because of the blindness.” That might sound dramatic, (like when I said the other day that I didn’t want to go to lunch in the rain because “I don’t dry well”), because if worse came to worst, I could just quit, but that’s how much I absolutely f*cking hate driving on the 401, which gets more and more absurd every year, with traffic slowing down randomly and creeping along simply because of “volume”, which is radio-traffic-report lingo for TOO MANY GOD-DAMN CARS ON THE ROAD. And believe me, I would take public transit, if there was any available to my off-site work location. I would ride a BURRO ON A DIRT ROAD to my work location if that was possible (and if it got me there by 7:30, but burros are notoriously tardy, so…)

At any rate, I had a LOT of time in the car to ponder the state of the increasingly bizarre world. And it IS bizarre. And becoming more so every day. Why is that, you ask? Well, let me tell you exactly why, based on a theory developed by me and my work partner L one day early last year (I can’t remember who exactly said which bit, but this was an approximation of the conversation we had one gloomy day after Donald Trump was gaining traction in the polls:

Me: The world is going crazy. It’s like living in “backwards land”.
L: I blame Leo.
Me: Leonardo DiCaprio? Why?
L: When he finally won the Oscar for Best Actor, it ripped a hole in the universe.
Me: You mean like, an anomaly that destroyed the fabric of time and space?
L: Yup. It opened a portal into another dimension.
Me: Which will allow Trump to win, because that’s what has happened in a parallel universe?
L: Exactly.
Me: But “The Revenant” WAS pretty good.
L: Not THAT good.

And while we both have maybe watched a little too much Dr. Who, the theory makes sense. After Leo got his Oscar, celebrities started dying, Brexit happened, and Trump became the President-elect. And that’s just a drop in the bizarro bucket. I googled “the strangest things that happened in 2016” and got like over a thousand hits. When I did the same for 2015, I got 5 hits, and then “Weird and Wonderful Things that Happened at the Zoo”.

So yeah, 2016 was an anomaly, and although, right now, 2017 is like “Hold my beer”, because it’s just as f-ed up frankly, I think we’ll be seeing a course correction soon. Right now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the play-offs. The last time this happened was 2004, the year that the Mayans predicted the world would end. And it didn’t, because the Leafs made the play-offs and closed another time/space rift that occurred in 2003 after Roman Polanski won an Oscar for best director, subsequently allowing George W. Bush to win a second term (and apparently Meryl Streep gave Polanski a standing ovation—this is true because I checked with Snopes.com. And now I think Meryl Streep also has something to do with all of this, like she’s an interstellar, cross-universe traveller whose only job is to stir sh*t up like she did in 2003, and again at the 2017 Academy Awards where she slammed Donald Trump and started a war with North Korea. OK, that hasn’t happened YET, but who knows if it’s all part of her insidious plan?). Long story short, I am convinced that world events are simply the machinations of the dastardly Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences trying to mess with the space/time continuum. Luckily, we have the plucky heroes of Canada’s favourite hockey franchise, there to win the hearts and souls of the galaxy. They might never attain the Stanley Cup, but what’s that in the face of saving the universe?

Other Weird Things:

The Carlton Cinema audiences don’t understand drama:

The Carlton Cinema is very close to where I live in the city, but I have to stop going there, because the audiences are f*cking me up and making me think I don’t understand movies. A couple of years ago, my brother and I went to see a film there, purportedly a drama, but the audience kept laughing so hysterically that I got all stressed out. I asked my brother, who has a PhD, what was so funny, and he said, “I don’t know.” Then a while ago, within the same two week period, I saw both “Split” (M. Night Shyamalan’s film about a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder who kidnaps three girls), and “Get Out” (a psychological thriller by Jordan Peele). In both cases, the audience members at the Carlton laughed their asses off at every single scene, and I was soooo confused. Until last night, when I re-watched “Split” with Ken, K, and her girlfriend, and NO ONE LAUGHED, stupid Carlton Audience. You need to grow up.

When Doors Don’t Open:

Yesterday, Ken and I went out for Round Two of stool shopping (when I was finished writing this post, I asked Ken to read it and tell me if I needed to add anything, at which point he said, “A ‘stool’ joke. You really missed an opportunity for humour there.” OK, honey). At the third store, we approached the doors and they didn’t open. I stood there, completely befuddled and disoriented, until Ken said, “You need to pull the handle. Welcome back to the 1900s.” It was like the time the battery on my car fob died and I had no idea how to get into the car, until Ken reminded me that the key would still open the lock on the door. His timing was impeccable, because I was seriously considering just smashing the window in so that I wouldn’t be late to work.

As a side note, we didn’t find any stools AGAIN, which prompted me to say very loudly and angrily, “F*ck stool shopping. I have some fabric and a staple gun. Let’s just fix the ones we have.” Which we did, and I didn’t even need the fabric because once Ken repaired the broken seats, I got out-voted by everyone who thought the leather still looked really good. Even though I was like, “What do you want, this old leather, or this REALLY beautiful fabric?” and then I was accused of “being manipulative” and “trying to sway popular opinion with my adjectives.”

My Bluetooth Speaks Better Italian than Me:

The other day I needed to call a co-worker to tell her I was running late because of highway “volume”. I tried using her first name twice, but the Bluetooth Lady in my rental car just kept saying, “Do you mean ‘Margaret’? Do you mean ‘Marion”? (those are my aunts), and I was like NO!!! So I said my co-worker’s full name, but because her last name is Italian and the Bluetooth Lady was already struggling, I said it phonetically. And then the Bluetooth Lady said, “Do you mean _____?” and pronounced her last name with a perfect Italian accent, like she was schooling me or whatnot. And I was like “if you can figure this out, why did you have so much damn trouble with a perfectly easy to understand FIRST NAME and then claim you couldn’t understand my commands?!” She would fit right into the Carlton Cinema crowd.

Insects as Art and Neil Hedley:

This morning, Ken and I were watching the news (on CBC, because I no longer watch CTV since I got into a Twitter feud with a dude named Neil Hedley, who’s an announcer with some radio station called Zoom-a Radio, which I have never even heard of nor listened to, like most people, I imagine. The fact that CTV chooses someone like him with zero political knowledge and the thinnest skin possible makes me dismiss them as a serious news source. My Twitter feud with him started when Trump tried his initial Muslim ban. The news anchor asked Neil why he thought that Trump had only targeted 6 countries, to which Neil replied, “Maybe he knows something we don’t know. He’s the one who gets intelligence briefings.” So I tweeted to him that perhaps he had fanned the flames of racism by implying that the six countries were guilty of something more than NOT having oil or Trump Towers, and he just went off on me like the baby he apparently is. And he never did clarify what he meant, although he claimed I “missed his point”. Of course, the very next week, he made fun of Eastern Canadians by mocking them with a stereotyped accent but I left it alone on the grounds that he really is too stupid to bother with. People like that will never be self-reflective, only defensive. Kind of like what’s happening all around the world right now.) Anyway, Ken and I were watching CBC, and there was a story about a woman who has a new exhibit in an art gallery. Her “art” is pinning insects to the walls of said gallery in different patterns. Real insects. Dead insects. That she buys on Ebay. The art gallery owner was ecstatic and claimed that her exhibition was “perfect for Canada’s 150th birthday”. I said to Ken, “If I went to a graveyard and dug up a bunch of corpses, and laid them out in a Fibonacci sequence on the floor of the Art Gallery of Ontario, I could be famous too.” The Canadian Mint also put out a special $3 coin to celebrate our 150th. Not a coin worth $1.50, which might make SOME kind of sense, but no, three bucks. Except it costs $19.95 to buy one.  But if you think insects and nonsensical monetary denominations are yet another indicator of a world gone mad, just remember that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the REAL Guardians of the Galaxy, and one day they will save us all. Go Leafs Go.

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

Thursday: Throw Back Thursday with a Twist

trudeau

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

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

Later:

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

Friday: We discuss our celebrity spouses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday: I don’t get cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday: Titus gets the third degree

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

hippo

 

My Week 111: Another Magazine Christmas, The US Election True Colours

Monday: Another Magazine Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not the time of year when stupid people vote for orange misogynists (see below), but the season when decorating magazines, with still over a month to go, start telling us how to organize our homes for Christmas. Last year, it was all about entertaining guests—this year it’s how to “Unwrap your signature holiday style”. I love it when anyone assumes that I actually HAVE a style to unwrap, like there’s a part of me just DYING to run into a forest and gather evergreen boughs and sh*t. The explanation under the headline was “If determining your home’s holiday look is your own personal nightmare before Christmas, fear not. We’re here to help.” Personal nightmare?! Aren’t we getting a little dramatic here? Because the nightmares I have focus on people dying, the house burning down, or nuclear war (let’s all pray that Trump knows the difference between “tweet” and “launch”), not so much whether people appreciate my decorating style. But the magazine thoughtfully provided a list of 10 questions to help me determine exactly how to discover my “festive style” by giving me four choices—A, B, C, or D, and then adding up the choices to correspond with a style. Here we go:

1) Which winter wreath would you hang?

I chose D, the “Feathery Evergreen”, except that I would forgo the peacock feathers and bow, and add twinkle lights. Now it looks just like the wreaths that Ken and I hang in our windows every year. We keep them in a closet under the stairs along with the twenty extension cords we need to make them light up.

2) Choose the prettiest gift wrap.

While “Snowflake Chic” and “Golden Glamour” were both very fetching, I myself am partial to “Last Year’s Leftovers” with a side of “”Scotch Tape and a Bit of Ribbon”.

3) What’s Your Must-Watch Christmas Movie?

I’d only seen one out of the 4 choices—“A Christmas Story”, which is so wonderfully random with the leg lamp and the pack of dogs that continually appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc. As for the other options, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is way too morbid, “A Muppet Christmas” is way too Muppet-y, and “Love Actually” doesn’t even have Christmas in the title, so who the f*ck cares? MY must-watch movie is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Not the live action film, which is ridiculously over the top, but the original animated classic, which I can recite almost verbatim, having watched it every year since I was old enough to remember. It’s tradition, and I don’t care if it messes up my style score.

4) Which candles will you set out this season?

While “a selection of unscented tea lights and votives in mercury glass containers” sounds quite glam, I’m gonna go with NONE, because as I previously mentioned, one of my personal nightmares is having the house burn down, and candles are tiny fires that aspire to be bigger ones, in my book. Don’t get me wrong—I HAVE candles. I never light them; I just dust them.

5) Which wallpaper would you use for an accent wall?

What? Now I’m putting up wallpaper?! Go to hell.

6) Select a pair of holiday pajamas

OK, this I can get behind. I’m going to pick…a “monogrammed crisp white button-down nightshirt and matching pants”? Nooo. “A long sleep tee featuring a flamingo donning a Santa hat”? Nooo. Ok, these choices are NOT appealing to me. I shall choose the reindeer patterned flannel pants I bought last summer on sale, accented with a Joe Fresh tank top in “used to be crisp white but then I washed it with a black hoodie and now it’s kind of grey and I wear it to bed”.

7) Your Christmas tree is…

Whichever one is closest to where we parked the car at the tree farm. Fortunately, the magazine’s option D is “An imperfect long-needled pine, chopped fresh from the forest”, so WINNING. Except for the long-needled part (we prefer blue spruce, even though trying to hang ornaments on it is like being tortured by having spikes driven under your nails). Also, by “chopped”, I’ll assume you mean “chain-sawed”. The best part of this question is the picture of a “life-like” tree that you can buy from Canadian Tire for $500. I can get a whole decade’s worth of real trees for that price, imperfect though they may be.

8) Pick an ornament.

One of the choices is a felt ketchup bottle. It’s thirteen dollars. I can’t even. Personally, I only use vintage glass ornaments from the early twentieth century, and none of them are shaped like fast food.

9) Choose a Christmas card to send out.

I would do that if I could ever remember to actually send out Christmas cards in time for them to get to people. So while I love the “Paisley Reindeer Card” ($7, Hallmark. Yes, for ONE card), I usually end up buying a box of whatever’s left at the local convenience store, and taking them with me when we visit family. Nothing says “love” like hand-delivery, am I right?

10) How do you usually spend Christmas Eve?

None of the options seemed quite right, so I made up my own. Being with my family, enjoying good food and drink, listening to beautiful music, laughing and hugging, and being grateful that the house isn’t on fire.

When I tallied up my score, I’d gone rogue too many times to establish a Christmas style. I wasn’t “Formal Elegant”, “Colourful Eclectic”, “Fresh Contemporary”, OR “Rustic Country”. And I’m good with that, because all of these trappings of consumerism are not what Christmas is about anyway. To quote the Grinch:

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!”

“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”

“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

grinch

Tuesday: The US Election Colours

On Tuesday, I watched the US election, as so many people did. I had already predicted that Trump would win about two weeks before the big night. How did I know, you ask? Well, I have a terrible habit of reading the comments section of articles, and the hatred and stupidity out there is palpable. You couldn’t even post a picture of a kitten riding on a baby giraffe without a Trump supporter yelling “That giraffe is taking away jobs from Americans”, or “That kitten is too cozy with big government and should be shot!” The blind refusal on the part of Trump supporters to accept the reality of his incompetence, their disdain of logic and truth, and their ability to excuse ANYTHING he did in their quest for change is what brought this about. The bread and circuses of Trump’s act was just the right blend of the exploitation of fear (I’m gonna build a wall to keep the rapists out) and abstract concepts that his followers parrot, but don’t understand (“She is a career politician and part of the political class, which means that she is likely to perpetuate the croniest, clientist, State-capitalist status quo.” That’s an actual quote from some guy on an article about Hillary Clinton. You can just hear all the Trumpers yelling “Yes!! Lock her up!!” even though I doubt that most of them know what it means or whether it’s relevant to her ability to govern).

Anyway, early in September, after my True Colours training, I actually analyzed both candidates based on what I perceived as their colours. I didn’t post it then, and It’s probably moot now, but here it is, just for fun. By the way, it was before all the p*ssy-grabbing::

“Friday: I use True Colours to analyze the US election

On Friday night, I was watching the news and the breaking story was that Hillary Clinton had said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters were a “basket full of deplorables” due to their violence, racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. She didn’t say ALL of them, just half. And Trump’s campaign organizers got up in arms and claimed that she had insulted millions of Americans whose ONLY fault was that they hated blacks, Muslims, gays, uppity women, and most people in general. But now that I’m an expert in True Colours, I did an extensive analysis of the situation, which is to say that I looked in my binder. Here’s what I see from up here in Canada:

Hillary Clinton is a Green. She’s not super-warm and fuzzy on the exterior, and she’s driven by logic, facts, and a disdain for irrational behaviour and incompetence. When she says “Half of Trump supporters”, she’s accurate. You can disagree all you want, but all you have to do is look at the comments section of ANY article about the election or anything else Trump-related for that matter, to realize that many of the millions of people who support Trump have a tenuous understanding of reality. Not ALL of them—just half. Maybe a little more than half. Or, to quote Trump, “a lot”. I think what she really wanted to say though was “a basket full of crazy”, but being a Green, she was conscious that “crazy” is insensitive. See, people think that Greens often appear unemotional, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Greens see the big picture, and they care about THAT as much as anything else. As a fellow Green, I can tell you that I hate racism in any form, not because I’m all sad about it and sh*t, but because it doesn’t make ANY logical sense to look down on an entire race of people because their skin has more melanin in it, or because they believe in one God or five gods or no god at all. If we all treated each other equally, the world would have more peace than war. That’s the big picture, and Greens can see it.

Donald Trump, as far as I can tell, is an Orange (in more ways than one), and apologies to all the great Oranges out there. But Trump is impulsive, dramatic, pays too much attention to performance versus product, hates structure and responsibility and is super-sensitive to criticism (little hands, anyone?). Unfortunately, he, and many of his followers, don’t possess any of the really positive Orange qualities, like courage, generosity, optimism, and good humour. When Clinton pointed out what we all already know about MANY of Trump’s supporters, their reaction was typical and predictable and simply proved her right: “What is that b*tch talking about?! How dare she criticize us? I’m going to post mean comments about her on the internet. And I’m going to call her Crooked Hillary because Trump told me to.” Trump’s supporters are just like him in the way they approach everything, including their general hatred of the world that is not theirs and the fear that giving to others will take something away from THEM. Actually, I think there has to be a new colour for people like them, people who mock others when they’re suffering, people who want to put up a wall instead of build a bridge. George Orwell, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, said this about a wall: “The first thing that we demand of a wall is that it shall stand up. If it stands up, it is a good wall, and the question of what purpose is serves is separable from that. And yet even the best wall in the world deserves to be pulled down if it surrounds a concentration camp.”

At any rate, whatever Clinton’s flaws are, and let’s dispense with the false equivalencies here, because nothing she’s done is ANYWHERE NEAR the crap Trump has pulled over the last 60 years (I’m giving him credit for the first ten), I’d much rather have a Green at the helm—they’re less likely to start wars or meantweet about overweight people—but I’m sure worried that people will buy into Trump and his bullshit. Maybe that should be the new colour for Trump and his ilk—Brown.”

There you have it. It’s over now, and if change was what people wanted, they certainly got it. But I doubt that it’s going to be in the way they thought. Only time will tell.

 

My Week 109: Hallowe’en Histrionics, Trump’s Alphabet, Plants to Kill

Thursday: Hallowe’en Histrionics

The things that people get all “up in arms” about these days is starting to astonish me. The most recent, down below our southern border (does that sound a little innuendo-y? Maybe it’s because so much of what is happening in the States has to do with sex and a lot of hot air) is about emails. People are all like “Oh My God. Emails. How dare anyone use their own private secure server to send emails?” Me, I worry, because I send work emails from home sometimes, and a lot of what I do is confidential, so if Wikileaks (which sounds like some kind of STD, honestly—like, “Have you been experiencing any Wikileakage from your private area?”) ever hacked my email, they might well expose the fact that I told someone they needed to add a semi-colon and maybe a “direct quotation to spice things up a little”. The same kind of astonishing stuff that’s in Hillary Clinton’s emails. Of course, “confidential” is not quite the same as “classified”, and as Donald Trump pointed out, “Hillary wasn’t smart enough to know that the C stood for classified”. Which tells us one more really important thing—that Donald Trump knows SOME of the letters of the alphabet. Not all of them, mind you, and of course in HIS alphabet book, the letter C stands for something quite different.

Reporter: Mr. Trump, can you recite the alphabet for us?
Trump: The alphabet is a great alphabet. I can recite the alphabet like you wouldn’t believe and it’s going to be great. “A” is for “A lot”, “B” is for “Bigly”, “C” is for—
Reporter: Wait! Is “C” almost the same as what “P” is for?
Trump: You know it! Grab them by the c—
Reporter: Back to you, Bob!

At any rate, the false equivalency of emails versus sexual assault is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the Facebook post that happened to appear on my newsfeed on Thursday, ONLY because my brother had commented on it. It came from a woman he knows who was railing on about how unfair it was that her kids weren’t allowed to wear Hallowe’en costumes to school. Seriously. With everything else that’s going on in the world, THIS is what you choose to complain about? How unfair it is that your kids can’t dress like robots or sexy nurses or whatnot and this is, like, depriving them somehow? Did the school say they also weren’t allowed to dress up at home and go get candy from their neighbours? Of course not. My brother, who has a PhD, made some sort of sensible comment about my nephew’s school, where they can wear orange T-shirts and have a parade or something. I don’t have a PhD, so I simply commented “Pubic School? HAHA!” because she’d spelled “public school” wrong, and it made me laugh more than the ludicrous nature of the post itself. But then I deleted my comment on the grounds that people HATE it when you point out their spelling mistakes even more than when you point out that their arguments are absurd. But here is why the WHOLE THING is absurd, for anyone who still thinks that schools suck for not letting kids dress up for Hallowe’en:

1) Hallowe’en was originally a festival celebrated by the pre-Christian Celts, so yes, a very small group of people in a very small area of the world. The Celts believed that November 1st was the beginning of the new year, and that on New Year’s Eve, October 31st, the veil between our world and the spirit world was at its most thin. The spirits of our loved ones could enter our plane, but so could demons. To ward them off, the Celts disguised themselves to avoid being harassed by evil spirits. Walmart was not involved back then, but mass marketing has turned this simple festival into a multi-million dollar extravaganza which apparently, some people, even if they aren’t of Celtic descent, feel entitled to.

2) Hallowe’en is one of many strange days that mass commerce has co-opted. Others include the feast day of St. Patrick, the feast day of St. Valentine, and the day designated as the birth of Jesus. Let’s start with St. Patrick’s Day. Would you want your children to go to school dressed as leprechauns and drink beer on March 17th? Why not? St. Patrick’s Day, or at least his feast day, has been around almost as long as All Hallows Eve—why not make schools responsible for THAT too? And what about Valentine’s Day? A lot of schools don’t allow Valentine ’s Day parties and such, and I agree because St. Valentine was BEHEADED for secretly performing marriages, something which Hallmark fails to mention. If you really want a traditional Valentine’s Day party, it wouldn’t involve cards with puppies who have hearts for eyes, or pink Jello shooters. It would be more about sadness and death. Just saying. And Christmas? Christmas is just great. Shut up about Christmas. There are presents and twinkly lights, which I think Jesus would approve of, although I also don’t think it should be celebrated in schools (See reasons 3 and 4). But it seems these days that stores move directly from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day to Canada Day (why not—it’s celebratable) to Hallowe’en, then we start the circle of life all over again. Next, they’ll be trying to figure out how to make money from Remembrance Day. Candy poppies, chocolate crosses, and decorating the lawn with tanks perhaps?

3) Hallowe’en is f*cking expensive. This is the main reason that schools have stopped allowing Hallowe’en parties, among other things. And I say this directly to the moronic woman who also posted a comment on Facebook decrying the “immigrants who have ruined it for everyone.” I can’t even respond to that because it’s at a level so far below rational thought that you’d get the bends when you came up from it. Immigrants have NOT ruined Hallowe’en. What “ruined” Hallowe’en, and other festivals, was the expectation that people should spend extraordinary amounts of money on costumes and candy and decorations. A lot of people simply can’t afford those things when they’re trying to put food on the table and pay the rent. It’s really hard on kids to NOT be able to participate in things at school. This is the same rationale that rightly stopped many schools from having Valentine’s Day parties, because buying Valentine’s Day cards or bringing cupcakes for the whole class is also expensive and absolutely not necessary. Kids have it hard enough without having to feel sh*tty that they can’t afford a cool costume or treats for the class. I just saw an ad from IKEA that said “Make yourself a last minute Hallowe’en ghost costume with one of our sheet sets. Only $49.99!” Even I can’t afford to ruin a $50 sheet set by cutting eye holes in it. Enough said.

4) Newsflash: You can celebrate whatever the hell you want in the privacy of your own home but stop expecting schools to embrace your sh*t. When I was a kid, I don’t remember EVER wearing a costume to school, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t go out trick or treating that night. And my mom reminded me that the worst thing about Valentine’s Day, which WAS observed in schools for many years, was being the kid who DIDN’T get any Valentine cards. Not that SHE didn’t—she was so sweet that EVERYONE gave her cards, I’m sure. But if you’re the kind of person who says, “My child’s popular so I don’t have to care about all those other kids”, then maybe you’re the reason why schools had to start sending home lists of ALL the kids in the class so that no one would feel left out.

Now don’t get me wrong—I love Hallowe’en, and I usually dress up to greet the little trick or treaters that come to our door in the evening. And as I said, just because it doesn’t belong in schools doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it if we want to. Worship bacon and eggs—I don’t care, so long as you’re not hurting anyone else or expecting the school to celebrate “All Day Breakfast Day!!”, although that WOULD be awesome. Hallowe’en is great because it allows people to break out of their shells and be the superhero or sexy firefighter they’ve always longed to be. Everybody’s getting in on the act now, even pets. I know a lot of people who are buying costumes for their cats or dogs, so I asked Titus how he felt about it:

Me: Do you want me to buy a Hallowe’en costume for you this year?
Titus: What the hell is Hallowe’en?
Me: You know—when kids come to the door and we give them candy.
Titus: Candy? You mean “sparkly kitty treats”?
Me: Disgusting. And for the last time, stay away from the litter box. No, I mean ACTUAL candy. The sugar kind.
Titus: Also acceptable. So what kind of costume were you thinking about?
Me: I could buy you a troll wig and you could be “Dog-ald Trump”.
Titus: The other dogs would think I was an idiot. Try again.
Me: I have a construction helmet and a reflective vest around here somewhere. You could be a construction worker.
Titus: You mean a SEXY construction worker.
Me: Maybe we should stick to something simple. How about just wearing a cape and a witch hat?
Titus: You mean a SEXY cape and a—
Me: Stop it! It’s not about being sexy.
Titus: I can’t help it. It’s in my nature. Check me out…
Me: Oh god—what IS that? Sexy ghost?.
Raven: Sweet Jesus, I’m living with a porn star.
Titus: You know it, baby.

titus-ghost

Friday: I get a new fern

If you’ve been following this site for a while, you’ll know I love plants, but I’m terrible at taking care of them. Still, my intentions are good, and it’s not my fault if they don’t ask for things like water or light. Communication is the key to a healthy existence after all, and plants can be strangely quiet and sulky. At any rate, my favourite plant is the fern, which for some reason, I always call a “willow” in my head. Last week, my aunt posted a picture of a willow, which is to say “fern”, on Facebook that she found in the brush yard of her town. A brush yard, for those of you who are wondering, is what we call the place where you can drop off your branches, leaves, and other garden trimmings to be mulched by the township. Anyway, she found this beautiful fern that someone had just thrown away and wondered if anyone wanted it. I immediately posted “Me!! Me!!” which caused Ken to post, “Don’t! You know she’ll just kill it!” And that’s nonsense, Ken, because I will love it and care for it. Then my aunt dropped it off at my house, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s huge, like f*ckiing prehistoric, like it came straight outta Jurassic Park and a diplodocus should be nibbling on it. We all just stared at it for a while, trying to decide where to put it.

Me: It’s bigger than it looked in the picture…
Ken: If you kill this one, it would be like mass murder.
Me: I won’t kill it! I don’t think I CAN kill it. It’s bigger than the both of us. This fern would survive the zombie apocalypse.
Ken: Or a nuclear winter. I’m putting it in the dining room.
Me: OK, but you can’t forget to water it.
Ken: Me? You’re the one who wanted it. You take care of it.
Me: FINE, KEN. DON’T HELP.

But because everyone was riding me about how I “kill plants” and whatnot, I took a picture of my new fern and another fern I had that I was trying to bring back to life, and I posted them on Facebook with the caption “OMG! What happened? It was fine an hour ago!” My aunt replied, “That better be a joke unless Titus ate it, which is entirely possible.” And now I know what to do whenever I kill a plant. Just blame the dog. The sexy, ghostly dog.

big-fern

dead-fern

My Week 105: Business Class, Trump’s Clown Car, Dirty Pencils and Other Stuff

Friday Night: I have insomnia for many reasons

I got home from Toronto on Friday night after a fairly non-eventful train ride. I was seated next to an elderly woman who immediately pulled out a book—always a good sign, because while I’m too kind to NOT talk to strangers on a train and often find them very interesting, I was tired and just wanted to do a little reading of my own. Also, the bar cart came by almost right away, and no one raised an eyebrow when I asked for TWO white wines. I always follow that up loudly and wearily with “It’s been one of those weeks” so that I won’t get judged by my fellow passengers for being some kind of middle-aged “Girl on the Train”—the fact of the matter is that normally the week is fine but I’m just extremely thirsty. The conductor never seems to care, but this time though, he chuckled and said, “Good idea—I won’t be back for a while.” So there I was, nestled into my reclining pleather seat, headphones on, book open, happily sipping away. Right before my station, I DID have a nice conversation with my seat partner, who was 76 and going to visit her twin sister for their birthday. Then Ken picked me up, we had Swiss Chalet take-out, watched a little TV, then went to bed. So you see, it should have been a great night for sleeping. But no.

I woke up at 2 am like a shot. I don’t know why. I had a headache and I was thirsty, so I went downstairs for a juicebox and some Advil (I’m sure right now you’re thinking “What the f*ck? This is the most boring sh*t I’ve ever read!” Just wait—it might get funnier). I got back into bed, and I lay there. And lay there. And lay there, getting more pissed off. Because every time I started to doze off, something would happen to wake me up again—Ken would snore and I’d have to hit him, Raven would start punching me in the back, Titus was having some kind of weird dream that made him twitch and snort, then it was raining and I felt compelled to get up and verify that fact for god knows what reason. Then the worst thing happened—suddenly, Titus jumped off the bed, went out into the hall, then FELL DOWN THE STAIRS. Under normal circumstances, he sounds like a herd of elephants going either up or down, but this time, the only way I can describe it is to say it sounded like a herd of elephants collapsing in a heap and then tumbling to the bottom. I screamed, “Titus!” and Ken, like the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, said sleepily, “Titus went downstairs.” Then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep while I ran out of the room. I turned the lights on and there was Titus at the bottom of the stairs, blinking and looking a little dazed. I was like, “Oh my god—are you OK?!”

Titus: I’m fine. Nothing to see here…
Me: What the hell were you doing?
Titus: I was going downstairs. Duh. How much wine did you drink on the train, anyway?
Me: Why were you going downstairs?
Titus: I was bored.
Me: What do you mean, bored?! It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. Why weren’t you sleeping like a normal, human—I mean, a normal dog? Wait a minute—were you sneaking down to look for food?
Titus: I may or may not have been thinking about the French fry you may or may not have dropped on the floor…
Ken (from the bedroom): What are you guys doing?! You’re keeping me awake!

Well, Titus seemed fine and managed to jump back up on the bed quite agilely, so no harm done. Except that I was now WIDE awake, with no hope of sleep on the horizon. All I could do was lie there and think about all the things that week that had perplexed, baffled, and annoyed me. Because unlike most weeks, it actually WAS one of those weeks:

Sunday: I forgot to buy my train ticket back to Toronto until late Sunday afternoon, and by that time everything was sold out except Business class. I was initially mad, but then I thought , hey, it might be nice to upgrade just this once, even if it IS double the cost of a regular ticket. There must be perks, or why would anyone pay for it? Turns out, because they’re idiots. First, there’s no Business Class Lounge in the train station where I depart from, so take THAT off the list. There IS a large handicapped washroom, and a vending machine, but it’s still not very lounge-y (mostly because the toilet doesn’t flush properly and is always clogged toilet paper, and the vending machine only sells Coke). Second, Business Class is supposed to get Priority Boarding. When the train pulled in, I made my way up to the door of Car 1 with another older guy in a suit. We waited. The door to Car 3 opened and a female conductor got out. She yelled something at us, and gestured. The older guy said, “Just wait—sometimes it takes them a minute to open the Business Class door.” But the female conductor kept yelling and gesturing, so I finally said to him, “She works this train a lot—she’s not very nice, so I’d pay attention to her or she might just “forget” to bring the bar cart by.” And he said, “You’re right, she might—we better go down there.” At which point, we had to wait BEHIND all the other Economy Class riders before we got on board. Priority boarding, my ass. Third, the conductor for Car 1 was actually standing right next to the door when we finally made our way down the aisle to the end. And the luggage rack was a third the size of the regular racks. I said, “Where am I supposed to put my suitcase?” and he JUST SHRUGGED. And I was like, “Seriously. There’s no room here.” So he slowly reached up and moved a gym bag off the second level and said, “There you go.” I said, “I can’t lift this up that high” and he just looked at me. So I turned around, threw my stuff on my seat, and deadlifted my f*cking suitcase up, with him watching. In Economy Class, they ALWAYS help with luggage. It was like I was in Reverse World, where you pay more for sh*t but get less for your money. And even though he came by 4 times with the bar cart and offered to “top me up” every time, I still didn’t forgive him. So what exactly is the bonus of Business Class, you ask? Well, apparently you get dinner and free booze. So, essentially I paid an extra $45 for a $7 glass of wine, and food that I didn’t eat because it was 8:30 at night, and who the hell thinks, “I’d better hold off eating at a normal human time cuz I’ll be getting a yummy box of train food right before bed”? I’m buying my train tickets a week ahead from now on, just to be sure.

Monday: I watched the US Election debate. I don’t know why people hate Hillary Clinton so much. I’m from Canada, and from here, she seems pretty OK. Unlike her opponent, Donald Trump, who is quite frankly, the most stupid person I’ve ever seen on television, and if he wins the election, American has just turned itself into a giant clown car with Trump at the wheel. And that put me in mind of those rival car commercials—Matthew McConaughey for Lincoln and Kit Harrington for Infiniti, where they both drive around and Matthew says profoundly strange things which lack context, and Kit recites William Blake poems. I imagined Donald Trump in his clown car with America in the back and he was like, “Ok you guys, shut up. Shut Up! Now, listen to me. “Mary had a little lamb— No, wait, what am I saying, it was a HUGE lamb. It was the hugest lamb ever, like I can’t even tell you how bigly that lamb was, it was so huge. I always have the biggest lambs and the greatest too, because I’m going to make lambs great again. And my lamb has the whitest fleece, you wouldn’t believe how white its fleece is, and it’s white because I’m smart, like the smartest person in American, smarter even than those guys on Jeopardy, like I could win Jeopardy forever, and always get Final Jeopardy, because my lamb is the best lamb. And if you say anything mean about my lamb, I will wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and tweet about how fat you are.” Yes, America, this could be your next Commander in Chief. Just pray he hits “Tweet” and not “Launch”.

Tuesday: I was watching The Voice. I love the singing, and the way the coaches banter and tease each other. However, on Tuesday, during one such witty exchange with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton pointed at his jeans and jean jacket and referred to it as a “Canadian tuxedo”. And I was like “WTF Blake?!” I have never in my life heard that expression, and it doesn’t even make sense. I live in a small town, and also the biggest city in Canada, and I can count on one hand the last time I saw a guy wearing a jean jacket ANYWHERE, let alone to a fancy occasion. The Canadian tuxedo is like every other ACTUAL tuxedo, except that it comes with thermal underwear, a bib for when they serve the poutine, and a special pocket for your loonies and toonies. If you’re going to perpetuate stereotypes about Canadians, Blake Shelton, make sure you get them right.

Wednesday: I really wanted to go for a swim, but I still can’t because I just got a new tattoo (and had an old one redone) so I can’t put them in water for too long. I was bemoaning the fact that I was missing the exercise, and my co-worker said, “How long is the pool?” I only do the breaststroke, and I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it other than to say “It’s about 9 strokes of the breast.” And now swimming sounds kind of dirty, or kinky, and maybe I should just use the treadmill.

Thursday: I went to Loblaw’s and saw Old John on the way. I asked him if he wanted anything, and he asked for a loaf of white bread and some Cheez Whiz. I was only in the grocery store for literally 10 minutes, and when I came out, he was gone. This has happened before, but the last time it was orange juice, and I could drink it myself. But now I had ten dollars’ worth of gluten and cheese glue, and what the hell was I going to do with THAT? And could I find another homeless guy to give it to? No! The one night I have a veritable feast for someone, they’ve all decided to find another street to panhandle on. Talk about inconsiderate. I finally found someone the next morning outside the drug store, all wrapped up in a sleeping bag, so I gently set it down next to him, because I didn’t want him to wake up and be like “Cheez Whiz? Um, no thanks.” And of course, now I’m worried about Old John, because the last time he disappeared, he was in the hospital. He better show up next week, and when he does, I’m buying him some bread and Cheez Whiz and he can damn well eat it. I’m not mad at HIM, of course. I’m mad at the company that charges $6.99 for a jar of something that tastes like sh*t, and he loves it but he can’t afford it. And on the other side of the coin, Casa Loma, one of Toronto’s big tourist attractions, has been turned into a Hallowe’en House of Horrors at a cost of 1.5 million dollars. 1.5 million dollars for Hallowe’en, when there are people who can’t afford bread and slimey cheese. Trick or treat.

Friday: We’ve been making powerpoints for the last three weeks to train people with. I hate powerpoint, but by now, I’m the f*cking Queen of powerpoint, having made so many that my desktop is a slideshow nightmare. By Friday, we were getting a little giddy about what we were doing, putting in random pieces of clip art, colouring our fonts in weird colours, and just getting all crazy in the way that secret agency workers often do. You know you’ve had enough when this is the conversation:

L: We need to take out that pencil guy graphic.
Me: But he’s cute and happy. He reminds me of the Microsoft paperclip, but not quite so smug and patronizing, you know?
L: Look at his pencil tip. It’s not appropriate.
Me: It DOES look kind of dirty, the way it’s down between his legs. Who would design something like that? Children use this program!
L: Pedo pencil needs to go.
Me: I agree. There must be a non-sexual pencil out there somewhere.

pencil-person-cartoon-hi

So there you have it. And remember, I didn’t say it WOULD get funnier; I said it MIGHT get funnier. And now I’m going back to bed with a glass of wine.

 

My Week 64: Donald Trump Meets Justin Trudeau, Titus–Weapon of Mass Destruction

A Challenge

This week, our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was subjected to the infamous MacLean’s magazine “60 second” pre-interview interview, where the interviewee is asked several questions in rapid-fire succession and has to answer in under a minute. Justin did well, from my perspective, but there was one gaffe regarding the existence of the Balkan States. I didn’t really notice, since I have ZERO knowledge of world geography, but other people were a little up in arms, including a lot of Balkan people, and my own beloved brother. He’s not a huge fan of Justin Trudeau, and he emailed me from the airport with his own short but hilarious pseudo-interview of the new Prime Minister. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing an short excerpt here:

Q:  What about great explorers? Do you have a favourite?
A:  Well, my kids love Dora. She seems pretty cool.
Q:  Now, about those Baltic States…have you settled on a favourite yet?
A:  I sure have! I think that Latviania is totally awesome.

He then suggested that I do my own MacLean’s style interview with Justin this week, but I couldn’t do it, mostly because A) I like Justin Trudeau, and B) my brother already did a pretty stellar job. But there was a lot of potential for humour here, and as a result, I decide to recreate (or create, actually) the first meeting between Justin Trudeau, politician and person extraordinaire, with Donald Trump, neither of those. So here goes:

Donald: So what am I doing here again?
Aide: You’re meeting with Justin Trudeau, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada. He’s interested in meeting with all the candidates for the American presidency. Just to be fair.
Justin: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Trump.
Donald: So what, you’re like the King of the Arctic or something?
Justin (laughs gently): No, no, I’m the Prime Minister of Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russian in terms of landmass. It’s the world’s most educated country, and it has more lakes than all the other countries in the world combined.
Donald: What the f*ck ARE you, a geography teacher or something?
Justin: Well, I do have a working knowledge of geography. For example, the Balkan States definitely exists. In fact, though, I used to be a drama teacher.
Donald: All actors are gay, and I don’t give a sh*t about the Balcanadians. Save the drama for your mama, pretty boy. Now, what exactly do you want?
Justin: Well, you’re currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. I was just interested in your campaign platform, you know—what are your issues?
Donald: Well, I have a lot of issues–
Justin: Mm, yes, I’ve heard.
Donald: –but what I really want to do is bring American back to the Americans and dig it out of the hole that Muslim from Alaska put it in.
Justin (confused): Are you talking about President Obama? He’s not Muslim and he’s from Hawaii.
Donald: That’s what the Democrats would HAVE you believe. Anyway, who else have you met with?
Justin: I met with Jeb Bush…
Donald: Putz!
Justin: What?
Donald: Jeb Bush, not you.
Justin: Oh. Also, Ben Carson…
Donald: Ass! Again, Ben Carson, not you.
Justin: Why are you so derogatory about your colleagues? I quite liked Carly Fiorina… Donald: Woman! Again, Fiorina, not you, Justine.
Justin (rolls eyes): I feel like we’re not making much headway here. Why don’t I introduce you to some of MY colleagues? This is Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport. He used to be an astronaut, which is pretty cool. And this is Harjit Sajjan, my Minister of National Defence.
Donald (sotto voce): You know he’s wearing a towel on his head, right?
Justin: That’s a turban, Mr. Trump—he’s a Sikh.
Donald: So deporting him, then?
Justin: What?! NO. He’s a trusted member of my cabinet!
Donald: That’s what JFK said about Lee Harvey Oswald, and look how THAT turned out. Justin: I don’t think JFK EVER said that, and I find your comments racist and divisive.
Donald: Fine. But don’t come crying to me when he sneaks into that condemned row house you call an official residence and tries to blow you up in your bed.
Justin: 24 Sussex Drive isn’t a “condemned row house”. It’s a historical monument. I lived there as a child.
Donald: Holy sh*t, you’ve been Prime Minister since you were a kid? Why the hell have I never heard of you?
Justin: No, no, that was when my father was Prime Minister. There were others in between. Remember the guy in the sweater vest?
Donald: It rings a bell, although I don’t remember his name. Nice hair, though. By the way, have I told you my plans for my OWN official residence? I’m building a new Trump Tower on the grounds of the White House. Ivana is turning the White House into a retail store for her clothing line. Or is it Ivanka? Or Melania? Or Marla? God, I love the letters “I” and “M”. That’s why I’m so pissed at the Muslims. Islam stole my two favourite letters of the alphabet. What’s yours?
Justin: I like all the letters of the alphabet equally.
Donald: Jennifer Lawrence or Jennifer Lopez?
Justin: Uh…I’m a fan of theatre AND music…
Donald: No kidding, Justine. Scandinavia?
Justin: That’s a thing—wait, this is starting to sound really familiar. Are you working for MacLean’s magazine, by any chance?
Donald: Is that like Vogue or Cosmo? Oh hey, look who’s here! It’s my running mate, Kanye West!
Kanye: I’m the greatest living rock star!
Justin: You picked Kanye West to be your potential vice-president?!
Kanye: I named my new baby “Saint”. Saint West. (drops mike)
Justin: OK. First, where did you even GET a microphone from, and second, that wasn’t a dropworthy moment.
Kanye: Start learning the words to “Golddigger”, fool. It’s your new national anthem. Justin: Oh my God, I need a drink.
Donald: Attaboy. Just be drunk all the time. It works for me.

Friday: Titus, weapon of mass destruction

Titus has been having some issues of his own lately, mostly involving damage and injury to both people AND household items. Last month, he enthusiastically jumped at K, and they cracked skulls hard enough to give K an actual concussion, confirmed by our family physician. Then he punched Ken in the head during a particularly exciting wrestling match, leaving Ken with a large gash on his forehead. Living in Toronto has exempted me from much of the carnage, although he DID whack me in the face the other day while trying to give me a “high-five”. But apparently, he saved the best of himself for the moment I came home for Christmas holidays. Yesterday morning before Ken left for work, he told me this:

Ken: Titus threw up this morning.
Me: What? Is he OK?
Ken: I think so. He ate breakfast, then he had “sexy time” with his dog cushion. I think he just got carried away and overdid it.
Me: Oh god—I didn’t need to know ANY of that.

Later though, he was acting a little weird. I came back from an eye doctor’s appointment and was in the middle of making lunch, when he wanted to go outside. I let him out, and saw him do some “business”. 5 minutes later, he wanted out again. More business, this time “number two”. He should have been good for the next couple of hours, but no—within 5 minutes, he was back at the door again. I told him that I wasn’t running a flophouse, and it wasn’t a revolving door, so he could just stay in for a while. He looked at me strangely, then threw up all over our breakfast room. I mean ALL OVER. Piles and piles of ALL OVER. I freaked out and put him outside where he did it again. So I did what any reasonable person would do—I called Ken.

Ken: Hey. I’m driving back from lunch with some people from work. You’re on speaker phone.
Me: Titus is really sick. Come home! I’ve never seen so much vomit. It’s like he’s been saving it up for DAYS. The rug by the patio door is a complete write-off.
Everyone: Ewwwww.
Ken: I have to work until 7 tonight.
Everyone: No, you don’t, Ken.
Ken: Ok, I’ll be home soon.

Right before Ken came home, the phone rang. It was a telemarketer. Within the next two minutes, the following happened:

1) The telemarketer tried to convince me to sign up for an On-Star plan for my car.
2) Titus started to heave by the door.
3) I screamed into the phone, “Titus, NO! Not THAT rug too!”
4) The telemarketer said, “Pardon? Were you talking to me?”
5) Ken came walking towards the house.
6) I screamed “Titus! Go outside!” and I opened the door and pushed him towards Ken, but he wouldn’t budge. I said to the telemarketer, “My dog is about to throw up. I can’t talk now.”
7) The telemarketer offered to call me back AFTER the dog had thrown up. I apologized to the telemarketer for screaming in her ear.
8) Titus vomited all over the floor.
9) Ken said, “Why are you on the phone when the dog is puking right in front of you? You don’t even drive the car enough to pay for an On-Star plan. It’s not worth the money.”
10) I informed Ken that I had no interest in discussing the prudence of an On-Star plan at that moment, because I was too busy cleaning up dog puke. I believe my exact words were “What the F*CK, Ken?!!”
11) Ken took Titus outside.

We still have no idea what caused this extraordinary episode. For dinner, I made him steamed rice (Titus, not Ken), and he seemed to be fine. Today, I made him homemade natural dog cookies, and he drooled excitedly. Things seem to be back to normal. Except that I’m down one small Persian rug, and I felt so bad about the telemarketer that when she called back, I signed up for a hardware update. The universe works in mysterious ways.