Sunday, December 25, 2005

Live From Toronto - It's Christmas 2005!

(Jason writes in BLUE)

So when I wrote earlier about "just 2 more sleeps", I was being optimistic. Stupidly, doggedly, optimistic. No such sleeps, but lookey, Christmas came anyway. It's a little sad to be up all alone at 3am in the wee hours of Christmas day; I suspect that even Santa is back home and safely in bed at this point.


The house looks beautiful. Superficially, it actually looks clean and orderly (if you keep the door to the spare room shut tightly). The garlands are hung a little crookedly (that's what I get for delegating them to Jason and his staple gun) but let me tell you this: I bought some beautiful tumeric plates that offset my new chili red ones, plus a new table runner and bold gold napkins that are to die for...seriously, my table settings will make you cream. It almost seems sacrilegious to eat on this table!

So I am up, alone, and contemplating getting a head start on my meatballs which will have to slow cook for 8 hours. Jason is in bed having wet dreams after I assured him that Sugar Plum Fairy was just some big-titted girl's stripper name. I just want to shake him awake and pile his mountain of gifts on top of him. We are so bad at keeping secrets from each other that keeping presents a surprise is a real challenge. Already he's given me a few: a fleece hoodie, The Penelopiad, and the collector's edition DVD of A Christmas Story (seriously folks, if you haven't seen it, do - it's a holiday classic).

4:31am The tedious part of meatballs is done. Now when I get up (for real this time), I'll just have to make the sauce and then throw them in the crockpot. Oddly, even the smell of two meats frying away in heaven did not rouse Jason from his sleep.


5:55am Okay, pie's done. Looks delish. I put it in the bar fridge where hopefully it won't get poked at. I had to use the mix master 4 separate times, and Jason still sleeps. What a kid. We'll both be glad to have such a good jump on all the food prep later, but I guarantee Jason will say something to the effect of : But I didn't get to lick the beaters!


8:58am After tossing, turning, and reading another 50 pages of The Cunning Man, I decided sleep was not for me, so I woke Jason up at 7:30 and we had Christmas right there and then. I poured strong mimosas, and he opened his stocking impatiently, eager to get to "the real presents." By 8, he was drunk, sugar-high, and half-buried beneath a mound of wrapping paper and bows. Now that, my friend, is Christmas.

I fought off the challenges of both champagne on no sleep, and one-handed unwrapping (someone has to yield the camcorder, right?) to reveal my bounty - among which, I found the Chuckies that I asked for one million times!

Wholly Crap! It's Christmas. The one day a year where no one calls me a "gourmand" because I had thirds and fourths of dessert. Also, the presents rocked! There was everything I asked for and stuff I didn't even know I wanted. From an iPod to Booze to Simpsons DVD Seasons to PS2 games, it was awsome. There wasn't a package of socks or tighty whities anywhere. Thanks Jamie!!

Mother-in-law called to say she fought off tears opening her gift. After I basked in the warm glow of giving a good gift, I realized: she's coming for 5 damn days. Shit.

Meanwhile, Jason really got into the Christmas spirit by playing one of his new video games, where I witnessed some carjacking, cop killing, prostitution, and bmxing all rolled into one. Lucky me.

She's just jealous it's not a two player game.

10:05am Tired. Very tired. Going to bed for nap. Jason insists on staying up so he can "play with his toys."

Figured out the iPod and downloaded crappy music. Well, crappy according to someone I know.

1:45pm Up, but still tired. However, el turkey beckons. Must give him intimate bath in all the right places. Oh my!

Now I'm jealous.

4:52pm Chez my grandparents, we always had Christmas dinner at about 4:30pm. They're seniors, you see. Once we had to hold dinner until almost 4:45 and my grandfather nearly fainted from hunger and anticipation. Today we'll eat on our terms, when our bellies are ready for it. And as for 4:30pm, well, that was a great time for sex.

Enough said.

7:33pm Realized that Jason neglected to remove the turkey's neck.

8:06pm All told it took about 7 hours of hard labour to cook the meal, and about 20 minutes to consume it, 15 minutes of queasiness over not having made even the slightest dent in the mounds of food, and 4 hours to groan about having over-eaten before I started eating again. I parched myself in the kitchen, so I gulped down wine a little too enthusiastically. I dirtied my new hoodie. Wished my Nanny a merry Christmas. Indulged Jason. Had to remove my pants because the fridge just didn't have enough room for all the leftovers. Had to admit a certain satisfaction since the meal turned out perfectly, all seventy kabillion courses of it, and not even any lumps in the gravy, thankyouverymuch.

10:23pm Drunk. Still full, probably because I'm trying to give the leftover curds a good home. Decided mountain of dishes will still be there tomorrow. Dessert has not been attempted (well, at least not by me). Watched Jason play with some of his new toys. Must go to bed soon - so much hard work, so little sleep. Between the drunkenness, the bellyful, and the exhaustion, my body has become dead weight. Earlier, I worried that I might have to live out the rest of my natural life sucked between the sofa cushions.

6:13am Ah, welcome boxing day, day of boxes, day of dishes and leftovers and hopefully rest. I dropped into bed just after 11, fell almost immediately asleep (which I have not done since I was 7), and slept like the dead for 2 solid hours before overheating (winos sweat a lot in their sleep, but the sweat is sweet like wine). Left the bed and have not been back since.

I think it's safe to say that Christmas was a success. Coming from a large and boisterous family, I am unused to such quiet celebrations, but I must say that I rather enjoyed it. We made our own schedule, we unbuttoned our pants without fear of recrimination, and best of all, we left the mess until later. It was a cozy day and predict I will be tempted in the future to keep all Christmases to a party of 2. But towards the end of the night, with food for 20 more piled high in the fridge, at least half a dozen loads of dirty dishes piled in and around the sink, wads of discarded wrapping paper still crinkling underfoot, and delicious sweet potato still undigested in our stomachs, we couldn't help but turn to each other and ask, So, what are we doing for New Year's?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Just 2 More Sleeps.

I've mostly been too busy to notice that Christmas is coming. As per usual, I managed to get my holiday cards out in good time, but it's all down hill from there.

I blame the move, mostly. I couldn't put up the decorations on the 1st (following tradition) since it didn't make sense to put it all up for a few days, tear it down, pack it up, move it across the hall only to unpack it, put it up for a few more days, and then tear it back down and pack it away until next year. So I elected to only put it up in the second apartment...only...once I got here, I just kind of plunked down boxes willy nilly and then plunked down myself in complete and utter exhaustion.

The decorations are still not up.

I did some holiday baking, when I was able to uncover both the ingredients and the oven (oddly, the oven was the harder one to find). Also, I managed to get my Christmas shopping done well ahead of schedule, with gifts wrapped and in an ugly pile (NOT UNDER A TREE) for Jason, and the rest shipped off to family many kilometers away.

So I wondered to myself what I could do to put myself in the holiday mood. When I was a kid in school, we would colour pictures of the baby Jesus, and glue macaroni to green construction paper and call it an ornament (my mother still hangs these mouldy offerings in her tree faithfully each year), and learn songs that irritatingly still occupy mucho space in my head today (au petit trot s'en va le cheval avec ses grelots....). My mother would attempt to pile her 4 daughters on Santa's 1 little lap for the classic family photo and then she'd tell us how Santa really doesn't like milk and cookies nearly so much as he likes Doritos and daiquiris (coincidentally my mother's favourites also).

But, it's safe to say that none of these things were doing it for me this year. So I did what any sane person would do: I bought a colouring book, a box of 96 crayons, and I rented Tis The Season to Be Smurfy. It was just like I remembered it. Smurftastic.

Last night (or rather, earlier this evening, as it is 4:41 am and this little girl has still not seen her bed, except for a brief romp which was completely sleep-unrelated) Jason took me to the Lindsay Lights, a smurftacular display of lights and music which is actually just the work of 2 dudes with some time on their hands and their parents' sprawling yard at their disposal. For some reason, we actually drove half an hour outside of the city to see that, which meant that we then had to use the all-night grocery store to get everything but the turkey (the butterball has been defrosting all week), and then we had to go on a fevered search for booze because apparently we're both unwilling to face the holidays sober.

So now we are set to encounter the great unknown: Christmas for 2. Oh, we'll have food enough for 12, and liquor enough for 20, but there'll just be me and Jason. What, oh what shall we do?

If we don't hit the mimosas too hard, we may attempt to blog the day (otherwise we'll never know how we spent it). But there's also a high probability that Jason will incur yet another severe beating thanks to his knack for getting me "practical" gifts, although after last year's lashing, you'd think he'd understand that hair products are not smurfaroonie for Christmas.

Whatever December 25th means to you (and even if it means nothing at all), I wish you love and peace and pie.
And remember: syphilis is not a Christmas gift.
Be good; Santa's watching.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hello. My name is Jamie; I'm a Canadian and I hate hockey.

So help me god.

When we moved to Toronto from Ottawa, our new landlord actually thought it was important to warn us that we should cheer for the Senators very quietly if we didn't want to be knifed.

No problem.

My IQ is like, oh, 100 points too high to think that hockey is any way, shape or form, entertaining. I mean, it's just a bunch of guys who would otherwise be unemployed, and most of whom are too dumb to tie their own skates, smashing into each other on ice. It's just ice capades on steroids really, and with dumber costumes and less attractive men. For most of these numbskulls, the drunk tank is their second home, and yet we arm them with blades and big sticks, and then sell tickets at 200 bucks a pop to see who can have the most teeth knocked out. Frankly, I think fans of hockey are not much smarter than the players.

But hey, that's just me. Just because I think literacy and culture are more worthy pursuits than watching a neanderthal chase a tiny black puck doesn't mean that anyone else does. For the most part, it's easy enough to stay oblivious to the whole hockey thing. I avoid the sports page and any drinking establishment where a large proportion of the patrons wear jerseys, and I do okay. Except when I go home.

Like many Canadians, I come from a mixed family. Some of them (inexplicably) like the Habs. Some of them (fervently) like the Leafs (there are Canucks and Sens fans in the mix also, but these teams are mostly peripheral). This has created a rift in the family that gets particularly nasty during match-ups and play-offs. My sister is a die-hard Leafs fan. Her life's ambition is to marry Mats Sundin. Her bedroom looks like the Leafs giftshop had explosive diarrhea in it. My grandfather, who is also a Leafs fan, pretends to be a Canadiens fan just to rile her up. There have been tears at Christmas dinner because of this.

As for myself, well, I can think of about a kabillion things I'd rather do on a Saturday night than sit in a ratty recliner eating pork rinds and drinking cheap beer, and screaming at the TV because the damn ref isn't calling icing on the other team.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I did it again.

After swearing it off, and swearing a bunch, I still did it again.

I moved.

If anyone finds the tendon I am missing from my left arm, please forward it to me immediately.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Because I Can

I'm trying to grow a handlebar mustache.

It's harder than it sounds.

I've been at it since October, and I think I'm finally starting to make some progress. Not that you can tell. No stubble yet. No whiskers. No 5 o'clock shadow, or 4 o'clock shadow. It ain't even noon yet as far as my upper lip is concerned, but I'm not worried. I have a plan: I am on a serious diet of black olives, stout beer, raw garlic by the head, and green bananas, and it's really starting to work. So far I've only sprouted hair on my chest, but I figure my face has got to be next. I'll be stachin with the best of them soon.

I know it's hot, but try to control yourself.

Why am I growing a mustache, you ask? Well, the answer is simple.

It's proof. Proof that I really can do anything I put my mind to. Proof that will sit prominently on my face like a furry dead rodent of enlightenment for all the world to see.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jason Doesn't Fart.

I realize this probably sounds like heaven to many of you ladies who complain about disgusting, stinky husbands, but let's think on this subject just a little further:

1. Jason does not fart. DOES NOT FART.

2. Jamie, a very demure and genteel lady, admittedly farts on occasion. Tiny, adorable baby farts that Jason refers too as "toots" because apparently that's more ladylike.

Now do the math.

1 + 2 = I am the farter in the family!

Dear God!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Who at Hunt Insurance Wants a New Asshole?

So, our auto insurance just went up, like 230% unexpectedly.

I am ripping.

In fact, I am way more than that.

A prize to whomever can best define my anger.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I am a selfish bitch.

Sometimes, I tell Jason he can pick the movie/restaurant/sexual position. "Your choice" I tell him, as if I am a nice and generous person.

His face clouds over. He knows I am neither nice, nor generous. He declines my offer. "No, no, your pick," he'll insist, but I am steadfast. I make him pick.

And so he does.

And if he picks wrong, as in, picks anything other than what I was secretly hoping he'd pick all along, I will pout.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Can't sleep. Need sleep. When will I sleep? Please let me sleep. Can't live without sleep. Not sleeping makes me crazy. Cranky. Sleepy.

Can't sleep. Haven't slept all week. Cheese in bra still a mystery. Workin hard. So hard I can't even put the g in 'ing'. My poor archless feet groan in protest: the blisters have blisters. So many meetings, so many limp handshakes. Bought some red dishes. Too trendy? I like em. Also too busy to put the 'th' in 'them'. Considering red stemware - but how much red is too much red? Agonized over this problem so long I considered calling mother-in-law for a second opinion. But didn't. Saw Santa at the mall. And Frosty. And the Grinch. And SnowWhite. Since when is SnowWhite part of Santa's entourage? Got a courtesy invite from upstairs neighbours. Had to explain concept to Jason: no, dear, they don't really want us to go, they just don't want us to complain about the noise. And yet, 8 straight hours of loud Hindi music made us want to complain anyway. But we didn't. My blisters were oozing and I couldn't manage the stairs. First snowfall mercifully melted the next day. Car died, had to get a jump. Stayed up all night reading The Secret Life of Bees. Stayed up all the next night reading Atonement. Don't even remember reading Heart of the Matter. Bought some new lingerie. Receipt literally reads "Panties! Panties! Panties!" but this failed to cheer me up when the sleepy duckies became far too intimate with me on our first date. Missed the Christmas parade. Sad. But mostly tired. Oh sooo tired.....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Fuckfest, Foo Style

Mmm mmm, Sweet Davey Grohl:

It wasn't just my eye he caught when he went from being the drummer in Nirvana to founder/guitarist/singer/songwriter of the Foo Fighters; pretty soon, the whole world was watching.

This year, the band celebrated its 10th anniversary (boy does that make me feel old) with the release of a two-disc album that is probably their best to date that highlights Dave's unique talent of writing songs that are equally relevant as hard-hitting rock songs and quiet-but-intense acoustic ones.

Dave Grohl gets my vote for this week's Most Fuckable, not just for his impressive breadth of talent, not just for his tattoos (which make me moist), not just for being a brown-eyed boy, but also for never taking himself too seriously. If you've seen any Foo videos, you know what I mean.

And, as luck would have it, this week they're playing Saturday Night Live, so be sure to tune in. And if they happen to play their recent single D.O.A., we'll all know it's meant for me. If that's not exciting enough, the show is hosted this week by none other than a veteran of the Friday Fuckfest, the delectable Jason Lee!

Fucktwat of the Week:

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's almost too easy to pick on Courtney Love. I mean, she's a train wreck teetering around on 2 pasty-white legs. But come on, isn't that half the fun of the Friday Fuckfest? I think so.

Also, being the arch nemesis of Dave Grohl, she falls into the role a little too well. You may remember that way back in the day, she was married to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. In fact, the song Heart Shaped Box was written for her:

Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on Angel's Hair and baby's breath
Broken Hymen of your highness I'm left black
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back

Now, if you're thinking that those lyrics don't sound like the typical love song written for a beloved wife, ding ding ding, you're right on target. When Kurt Cobain committed suicide, he was in the process of divorcing Courtney. Now, as the ex-wife of a dead bandmate, she seems to think she should have control over the Nirvana songs, as opposed to say, oh, Dave Grohl, who was actually part of it. Tale as old as time, eh? Courtney is just a bleached blonde Yoko who knows the court system a little too well.

She's been in, and out, and in, and out, and in, in, in, because she just can't keep her nose out of the blow. Her husband killed himself, her bandmates (Hole) gave up a multi-million dollar career in music just to get away from her, and her daughter has been taken away. Besides the cocaine, she also has a hard time not assaulting people, including her fans. So, after Hole broke up, she released a solo album, and nobody cared. Ever since, she has stretcher out her 15 minutes of fame with a sure-fire 3-step process:

1. Have extensive plastic surgery:

Maybe it's just me, but if you go around saying you're addicted to plastic surgery, shouldn't your face not scare children anymore?

2. Flash your boobies:

I mean, they're not even nice for crying out loud!

3. Get arrested. A lot.

So, who wants to cleanse the palette with a little Bea Arthur after all of that nastiness?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sheep Go To Heaven, Goats Go To Hell

Reasons why it's likely I will burn in hell:

1. Just yesterday I claimed that I was God. A tarot card reading then confirmed it.

2. I get annoyed by Jason's sneezes. I realize a more traditional response would be sympathy, or at least concern, but honestly, every time he starts sneezing, it grates on my nerves.

3. I covet Harry Potter. Even though he's like, 12. He's totally gonna be a hottie.

4. I don't wear my wedding rings when I go out with the girls. Actually, I don't wear them, period.

5. I routinely judge people on: what fruit they eat, where they get their hair cut, what books they have (and have not) read, and whether their pants are hemmed at the right place.

6. I don't apologize. In fact, I am adamant that I have never been wrong.

7. I get paid to lie professionally. I enjoy it.

8. Eavesdropping is one of my favourite hobbies.

9. I've practiced magic. In fact, I took a whole class where magic was referred to as a religion; I made my own candles in order to cast spells. I've been to a fortune teller. I've read palms. All of which is referred to as "prostitution against God" in the bible, which I refuse to capitalize, and have routinely critiqued.

10. The last time I was in the vicinity of a church, my elbow spontaneously combusted.

11. Of all the delicious, indulgent sex that I have ever had, none of it has ever been for procreation.

12. I am prideful and arrogant. Mostly arrogant, but for a good reason: I'm just plain better than everyone.

13. I once made a pact with the devil, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

14. I am a glutton. I drink 3 bottles of wine when technically I'm "drunk enough" after the first 1 1/2.

15. I'm greedy as hell. I take up all the bed, and the last Oreo, and Jason's favourite hoodie.

16. I routinely pray to a Troll doll. I believe it makes me a better bowler.

17. I believe that Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, Sunday afternoons are for sex, and Sunday nights are for poker.

18. I covet my neighbour's house. I mean, dude, he has a pool AND pink shutters. Life is SO not fair.

19. Sometimes I don't wear undies.

20. I want it all, but I don't want to work for it. I believe in delegating and profiting from the hard work of others. I live for sloth. I roll in it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

First Impressions

To commemorate the 1-month anniversary of our move, I have compiled a list of observations made living in a new place where we know absolutely no one:

1. On Thanksgiving Day, we found it funny to find that one mall in all of Canada remained open, that being The Pacific Mall. If you are unfamiliar with the Pacific Mall, all you need to know is that it's "the largest Chinese indoor mall in all of North America" - and they're not kidding. The mall contains no known brands - no Gap, no Toys R Us, no Body Shop. But there are over 400 stores, each of them more like cubicles than actual retail spaces. Many sell only a few products, and can fit only a couple of people at a time. And though it was almost 9 on Thanksgiving (Monday) night, the place was hopping. In fact, we had to wait a very long time to make a right turn into the place, during which time Jason played "count the Toyotas" but then got bored when he realized it wasn't much of a challenge - they're all Toyotas. There were a few different kareoke bars, lots of unfamiliar spices, and an awful lot of stores selling DVDs of movies I'm pretty sure are still in theatres (if you're not Asian, you can only purchase these if you're accompanied by an Asian friend...otherwise, expect to purchase a blank CD). Anyway, we were packed like sardines on an escalator, which is a big no-no for me, but we were unable to find stairs, when Jason remarked "Do you realize you are the only blonde in this entire building?" That was eerie, but not so eerie as when we realized that Jason had to duck in order not to whack his head on the light fixtures which, though lovely, were hung so low that anyone over 6' could not safely pass below them.

2. Our first weekend here was Jason's birthday. I made him chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. In doing so, I managed to set off the smoke detector. Luckily, it was 11:30am, so I don't think I woke anyone out of their beds, but I felt guilty that this was what I, the new girl, would now be known for. Setting of the fire alarm is particularly bad because:
a) When ours goes off, everyone's goes off.
b) Our apartment has no less than 4 sprinklers built in (keep in mind, it's a pretty small space). No one has told me just how sensitive these sprinklers are, and I really don't want to learn the hard way.
Anyhoo, I continued to feel embarrassed about this incident for about 3 days, until someone else set all the alarms off. We were still asleep that morning, and in our only half-awakened state, we immediately began opening our windows and fanning the air...for quite some time until we realized that this made no sense whatsoever. And a week after that, someone set them off at 12:30 at night. So we've been here a month, and we average 1 alarm per week, only one of which was caused by me. Phew.

3. We soon learned that we lived in "Phase 1" of a new composting endeavour - every week the city picks up our recycling and composting, but only picks up trash every two weeks, and even then, we're only allowed 1 bag of trash. At first I thought this was just a crazy Markham thing, but have since discovered that it doesn't encompass all of Markham at this time, but it does seep down past Steeles, so I have no idea who all is included in this exclusive Phase 1, but I think it's safe to call us all the "guinea pigs." Not that I mind. I am rather fond of the effort, and Jason and I are not great trash producers to begin with. Plus, knowing that they currently transport 50 000 tonnes of trash down to Michigan every year, I can kind of see where they're coming from. However, when the landlord was explaining the green bin program, I was greatly unsettled every time she'd list the compostables: tissues, food waste, nail clippings. But each time she came upon nail clippings, she'd look at me and lick her lips. I mean, you'd be frightened too, right? Anyway, these green bins come with their very own instructional DVDs, which claim the bins are rodent proof. No word on whether they're landlord-proof though, so we secure ours with bungee cord. Just in case.

4. The neighbours around here have complex names, at least to me. Guess how long it took me to learn those names? Actually, I still would not know them had I not finally seen them in print. I was beginning to think that these would be nodding-neighbours only. The best Jason could do was recall with some vagueness that "the girl name sounds like a car." Generally speaking, Jamie and Jason are not hard names for North American tongues, but we do wonder whether they struggled as much with ours as we did with theirs. Jason has also informed me that we probably smell like kraft dinner to them. Neither of us can remember the last time we ate that crap, but apparently this is our lot in life. You see, this particular area is known as one of the few places in North America where white people are the minority. Being from Ottawa, I am used to French and English. Here, there is no French at all, and few signs in English. There's a whole lot of Cantonese though, which made looking for stamps wayyyyy more of an adventure than it's ever been before!

5. As you know, I love to go on looong walks. However, out of the last 20 walks, I've gotten lost a good 19. There was one time I didn't get lost, but that's primarily because it started raining before I reached the end of my street, and I had to turn back. Luckily, the bread crumbs hadn't washed away yet. But every other time, I get lost. Not hopelessly, hug-a-tree lost, but just the kind of lost where I don't know where I am. I try to keep Steeles and McCowan as reference points, but if I get onto a street that loops, boy am I in trouble! My inner ear prevents me from knowing my North, South, East, or West. Especially west. That one's a real bugger. Getting mildly lost is one thing, but I've also gotten in the habit of walking right by my house, unnoticed. You see, I live in a large neighbourhood full of cookie-cutter houses. Every single one of them looks the same, and there are thousands of them! Once, I was strolling along happily, when I noticed that someone had the same ugly trash bin that we do. And then I noticed that our address was printed on the side of it. In my handwriting, with my Sharpie. And then I noticed that it was indeed my house that I was standing in front of. I felt like an idiot. I am an idiot.

6. As mentioned above, Jason and I are in the minority here. I thought I had encountered pretty much every accent there is, when I worked with tourists for the government. Boy was I wrong. I have this one acquaintance, Ricardo, who I somehow manage to bump into on a regular basis. He's a talker, and I'm a talker, but lord almighty, I have no idea what that man is saying.
Ricardo: Wha wha wha
Jamie: Pardon me?
Ricardo: Wha wha wha
Jamie: Um, what?
Ricardo: Wha wha wha
Jamie: Oh. 5 o'clock.
Seriously. I have this 2-whats-rule, and if I can't decode it by then, I just throw out an answer, and hope it applies. In all probability, this is what our conversations consist of:
Ricardo: Can you believe this weather we're having?
Jamie: What?
Ricardo: This weather. It's so warm, can you believe it?
Jamie: What?
Ricardo: This weather!
Jamie: Oh. 5 o'clock.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Toronto Public Library, Unite!

When moving to a new city, my first real concern is: where is the library? Is it lame?

Of course, the answer to these questions vary by location. For example, the downtown location in Ottawa on Metcalfe is awesome. The Gloucester version sucks: they had no Nabokov. None whatsoever. What kind of library is that?

The Cornwall library is actually pretty good for Cornwall (of course, it's consolidated, so there's only one branch). Still, they had all of 1 work of Stephen Leacock's. You know, Stephen Leacock, Canadian comedic genius and author extraordinaire? How can any Canadian city library have only one volume of his work for all of its 50 000 residents to share? This my friends, is a tragedy of libraric proportions.

Now, at the time of my move I was in the middle of reading The Brothers Karamazov, which was as good as I had anticipated, having very much enjoyed The Idiot, even though I still believe that all the great authors of yesteryear, Dostoevsky included, would have greatly benefited from an editor. But I didn't quite finish it, and I had to send it down the chute before I left town.

For the past month, I have relied on the stockpile of store-bought books I gathered up before the move. However, the pile was running low. Finally, during the last half of A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, I began to sweat (and not just because I hate the Joyce). The last time I didn't have a book on the go was May 2001, and it didn't go well. Those 3 days were the worst days of my life; days I cared not to repeat.

But when I went through the awful process of sifting through Toronto's 99 branches to find the one closest to me, I made a disheartening discovery: my "local" branch not only keeps inconvenient hours and operates only 5 days a week, is actually closed for carpet cleaning for the next 3 weeks. Not good.

So we decided to try the Markham Public Library instead, so off we went to the closest branch, following signs marked 'library', into a building named 'library' and through a door labeled 'library', where we found...well, NOT a library. Just a room full of people, and not one book in sight. How did that happen?

Well, obviously we must have walked into a bus driver's symposium because the people were as friendly and helpful as all get-out (please note: extreme sarcasm was used during the making of the preceding sentence. I have found the bus drivers in this city to be extremely rude. In fact, rude does not quite cover the feelings I have toward them.)

Anyway, we finally tracked down a library that really was a library. And I finally got a copy of the Dostoevsky. And I finally remembered where I was at in the story when I left off (book 9, chapter 6). So all is well, except for one small thing: how will I ever remember where to return it?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Today I Love This Country

Well, I love this country on a pretty regular basis, BUT.

Only in Canada will you find the Prime Minister doing a cameo role on a silly little sitcom like Corner Gas.

Good for Paul Martin.

I'm already a bleeding heart for life, but I'd say his 30 second spot probably did more to up his likeability factor than all the million dollar ad campaigns he's launched combined. Maybe you're not such a snob after all, Paulie.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Today I Hate This City

Fuck Toronto.

Well, mostly the people.

Well, mostly the bus drivers.

Well, mostly this one guy who touched me inappropriately and called me sweet heart.
Not cool.
TTC, be prepared to feel my wrath.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What do you get when you cross the Friday Fuckfest with Ask Jamie?

Jamie's Lusty Guide to Better Sex: answering all the burning sex questions you asked, and some you didn't.

Note: there IS a difference between burning sex questions, and sex questions about burning. In the case of the latter, see a doctor.

Junebugg has the distinguished honour of getting us started today. She's the "heavy petting" portion of today's post, if you will. She asked: At what age are you too old for sex?

I'll be the first to admit that everything I know about senior citizens and sex, I learned from the Golden Girls.


Now, I know that traditionally, Blanche was the sexy one, but personally, it's Rose that always did it for me. I mean, there's just something about a dumb blonde. Am I right? And there are some definite advantages to doing it with an older chick:

a) You can't knock her up.
b) No more worrying about "that time of the month."
c) Every night can be a one-night stand when senility is a factor.
d) They're pretty easy - at their age, the pool of available men has shrunk, so even ugly dudes have a pretty good chance of scoring.

Of course, nowadays the Golden Girls would hardly be considered old. 60 is not old. 60 is still kicking. The Gilmore Girls are the new Golden Girls.

So at what age are you actually TOO OLD for sex?

Well, that depends.

For women, never.

For men, about 4 minutes after death. Not counting rigor mortis.

However, there are some things that should come with mandatory age limits:

1. body glitter
2. hooker boots
3. speedos (although frankly, these should be shunned by even young hard-bodies)

So there you have it: have sex until you die. Be proud of your graying pubes. Embrace your wrinkled but experienced body. Sex will keep you young at heart.


Next up: Becky Bumblefuck asks: With the advent of low-rise pants, ass-crack for girls is the newest phenomenon. Is this good? (Compare and contrast to the widely accepted bad-view on boy ass-crack). For bonus credit, include photos.

Ass crack is bad. All ass crack is bad.

Note to Avril Lavigne: your ass crack is particularly offensive to me. Nothing will get you slapped with my much-feared Fucktwat stamp like a generous dose of your chubby little ass crack.

As I was saying: butt crack is bad, in all shapes and forms. Even if your ass crack is the most (or only) impressive cleavage that you have, keep it covered. You may think you have a cute ass. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. But all ass crack reminds us of the original crack. Every crack may as well be this one:

Way not cool. Fortunately, there's a new and innovative product on the market to help combat this unappetizing phenomenon. It helps keep pants where they belong. It's called a belt. Maybe you've heard of it? Get one. Wear it. Keep your pooper to yourself. Case closed.


Shane asks the bravest question of all: For you, what is 'in love'?

The fact is, I'm really not into the lovey dovey stuff. Jason and I started out as just 2 kids who liked to screw. Now, years into the marriage, we're still just 2 kids who like to screw. The only difference is, now I will very occasionally consent to cuddle for a couple of minutes afterward. And that, for me, is in love.


Finally, demented Jorge poses this awkward question, that is probably none of his business, but far be it from me to turn anyone away: If I was to depart on an airplane leaving Toronto for London, and a friend was leaving Mexico City to Tokyo on a slightly faster airplane, what would be the acceptable age to remain a virgin until provided that I was a single Chinese amish woman?

Now, I don't have a lot of experience with any of those components, so I gathered round a smattering of my Chamish (chinese-amish) girlfriends, and took a random sampling of their opinion. Popular (unanimous, in fact) consensus was that virginity should be preserved until marriage.

However, I could not help but sense a palpable surge of sexual energy in the room. Prim and proper on the outside, I believe that these girls are real tigers underneath the bonnet and long skirts. Now, I'm not saying that all amish women are closet sex fiends. All I'm saying is this: where I come from, if a power outage lasts more than 2 hours, there will be a marked baby boom 9 months later. Amish people live with no electricity at all. They don't watch TV. They don't gamble. They don't bake special brownies. They're not even allowed to paint each other's toenails. wouldn't surprise me if they found some other way to entertain themselves. So Jorge, in the unlikely event that you woke up this morning a Chamish woman, keep this in mind: it's always the quiet ones.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sex is Damn Funny

The incident: So, Sunday morning we were having a little sumfin sumfin that turned out to be a memorably funny episode. I managed to contain myself for only a few seconds, and then collapsed into a fit of giggles. Jason collapsed soon after, pinning me face-down between him and the mattress. With every giggle I risked aspirating more mattress, but it was impossible to stop.

And then we had "one of those days":

Scene 1: the grocery store
Context: sale on Pepsi; limit 12 per customer

Jason is quickly burrowing into the cart, trying to make room for the 12 2L bottles of Pepsi that are impossible to pass up. He hears an indistinct thud, but keeps on task clearing space. When he turns around, he finds his wife with a pained look on her face. Her right leg is buried knee-high under Pepsi.

Jamie: Didn't you hear the bang?
Jason: I heard a bang, but I didn't imagine that it was you!
Jamie: I'm ALWAYS involved when there's banging!

Of course we dissolved into laughter all over again at that. A fellow shopper not only shot me a very dirty look, but she actually placed her hands over her daughter's ears. Sheesh. Now my foot is bruised and throbbing, and I can't help but remember how look it took to heal from an eerily similar Perrier episode earlier this summer.

Scene 2: our bathroom
Context: mounting a rack on the back of the door for towels and such

Jamie: I hate screwing! I'm so sore from screwing I'll never screw again.
Jason: (on the phone, unbeknownst to Jamie), Um, yes Mom, that's Jay...she says hi.

For some reason, Jason has a real knack for calling people right before I say something very incriminating.

Scene 3: a little store that sells old records, movies, etc
Context: Jason has just flipped to a DVD he thinks I'll get a kick out of, The Pickle

The Pickle just makes me frown. It reminds me of a month ago, when we were in this new city looking to rent a new apartment, and we drove by a mall that mysteriously advertised The Pickle Barrel. For the next week, I dreamed of the barrels filled with pickles, dreamed even of sample pickles on sticks, adored this little pickle store...until we actually moved, and to my chagrin, discovered that The Pickle Barrel was just a restaurant and nothing special at all.

Jamie: I'm not impressed, considering the recent episode I had with a disappointing pickle.

Ohmigod, how did that one even come out of my mouth? We laughed so hard I'm surprised we weren't kicked out.

Scene D: Yorkdale
Context: aggressive salesman darts out of nowhere with sample moisturizer

Jamie: (emphatically) No thanks.
Jason: Oof. Shut down.
Jamie: Well you know I don't like it when random men squirt their stuff on me.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Waxing Philosophical

I hate cleaning. I really hate cleaning. I consider this to be one of life's great ironies because I really hate when things are dirty. This presents a problem for me, because I often find that I spend 5, sometimes 6 hours in quiet contemplation of whether I will hate it more to get off my duff to clean, or to sit in filth a moment longer. Luckily, somewhere in that 5th hour, my old friend laziness will visit and make the decision for me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Fuckfest - Its Triumphant Return

"Objectifying Men Since Earlier This Year"

Fucktard of the Week:

Martin Campbell

Not familiar with the name? Yeah, me neither; I had to look it up. This just goes to show you how cheesed off I am at him - I am allergic to looking things up. But since this man is chiefly responsible for the downfall of the James Bond franchise, I do deem him this dubious honour.

That's right, Martin Campbell is the fucker who cast Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. Let me go on record to say that it was a HUGE mistake to replace Pierce Brosnan in the first place. That man is smooth, debonair, and capable of removing panties with just a cock of his sexy eyebrow - everything a 007 should be. Now, I have nothing against this Daniel Craig guy in general, he's not even on my radar. But a Bond he is not. Who is this guy? A brief overview of his history reveals much blandness: it includes forgettable small movie roles, and embarrassingly, quite a few made-for-TV ones. The guy leaves me cold and bored. James Bond should make you tingle. James Bond should make you either want to be him, or be with him. This guy just makes me yawn.

James Bond? The James Bond? He looks to me more suited to play 'guy in street #3'. Bleh. I am so underwhelmed by this choice that I fell asleep 3 sentences ago. There's no mysterious air. There's no mischievousness, no sense of danger, no boyish charm.

Original: Bond. James Bond.
Daniel Craig: James Bond. But you can call me Jim.

Original: Shaken, not stirred.
Daniel Craig: Do you have iced tea?

Original: No more foreplay.
Daniel Craig: Just hold me.

Well, I think you catch my drift. Maybe Daniel Craig is an okay guy. Maybe he loves puppies and helps little old ladies cross busy intersections and conserves water. But I still think he is the worst thing to ever happen to the James Bond franchise.

The thing that really breaks my heart is knowing how close it came to anyone else. Any-fucking-one else.

They passed on Ewan McGregor reportedly because he's too short. What a load of crap. Ewan would have made a much better Bond - he's devilish and cocksure. Too short? There is one lousy inch difference between Ewan and Daniel, and if they succeed in casting Angelina Jolie as the new Bond Girl, they'd both be screwed anyway.

Hugh Jackman was rejected for being too sensitive and penetrating. James Bond, apparently, is not a thinker. This is true enough, but at least Hugh has a certain level of suaveness that is sadly lacking in Daniel.

Colin Farrell was deemed to be too sleazy, and who can argue with that? James Bond is NOT a womanizer, he's a ladies' man, and yes, there is a BIG difference. He's a lovah baby, and when he leaves the next morning, at least he doesn't leave behind disease. But at least Colin looks like he could successfully bed a woman; Daniel looks like the kind of guy who has clammy hands just thinking about the goodnight kiss.

Eric Bana (the dude from Hulk) was dismissed as "not handsome enough". Ouch. Apparently the producers conducted Daniel's auditions over the phone because no such parallels were drawn.

This week, 2 very special mini fuck-yous go out to both Ian and Jorge, who earn the distinction for having led me to believe that a relatively safe choice was being made: Mr. Clive Owen. Now this guy was a great choice. This guy gives me that achy feeling that my loins deserve for sitting through another James Bond movie. He's dark and brooding and enigmatic. This guy makes me believe that there may be life after Pierce. This is a Bond I could get behind...and better yet, I'd like to get under him. Ian, Jorge, you let me down! Whatever happened to Clive?

Of course, I still say that Quentin Tarantino had it right (and frankly, how many times in my life will I ever say that?): he wanted to direct the new movie, Casino Royale, and he backed Pierce to continue in Bond's shoes. I have to admit, that is a movie I would have paid my $12 to see. I think Tarantino would have breathed some new life into a franchise that has suffered from poor writing and lack of imagination of late, while keeping Brosnan, who really epitomizes the Bond role. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

Unfortunatly, no one did. Craig it is.
Sorry folks.

Most Fuckable of the Week:

I didn't have to look far for this week's inspiration, because this is the guy who made James Bond into the bankable stud he is today: the venerable and incomparable Sean Connery.

Oh that accent, the way he rolls his r's so sexily on his tongue...the confident grin, the piercing looks. They broke the mold with this guy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Happy In A Better Life

Two years ago, I had everything going for me: I graduated from university the same week I celebrated my first wedding anniversary. I got a job in a field I loved and looked forward to starting the next chapter of my life. But right before this new chapter would begin, I got sick. At first I thought I had a sore tail bone, but when I woke up one morning with an oozing, open sore on my back, we quickly realized that something wasn't right.

The next 2 months are hazy for me because I was pumped full of pain meds - "the worst pain you can live through" is what my doctor called it. Two surgeries later, Jason was struggling to work enough to support us both and be home enough to take care of me and deal with the guilt that was eating at him. And they fired him for it (we missed the new compassionate leave laws by a year). We thought that this would be a good time as any to start over, and so we headed to our hometown, Cornwall, where Jason believed I would get better care and we could think about settling down.

We'd wanted to try Cornwall before I fell ill; we thought that it would be a good move real-estate wise but wanted to test the waters first. So maybe we would have ended up there whether I got sick or not. All I can say for sure is that I was heavily drugged when we made the decision, and within 3 little days, our lives were flipped upside down.

After the infection was drained from my back, the danger subsided and I wasn't "sick" anymore, just in an awful lot of pain. What should have been a fairly simple procedure didn't quite turn out that way. My doctor told me to expect 8-12 months of rehab. When you're 22, that seems like eternity. At first I had a nurse at home with me to clean the crater in my back, but soon it was just me and The Hole.

We called it The Hole because that's what it was: the doctors took about 2 golfballs worth of flesh out of my back. The hole had to remain "open" for several months so the scar tissue would fill in from the bottom up. What an agonizing process. As you can imagine, a hole in your back really limits your mobility. Some days I was trapped in bed, unable to move. Eventually the hole filled in, but the pain remained. I was shuffled between doctors a long time.

A year passed. Just a few weeks ago, I had a piece of scar tissue removed that was trying to poke its way through my back (which, believe me, makes sitting a nightmare). Anyhow, I feel fine these days. I expect to live with some pain all my life because the skin is weak, but unless I aggravate it, I have been able to forget about it for the first time in a year and a half. Ahhhh.

But still, The Hole stole a year and a half from my life. That's a long time. It felt even longer in Cornwall. It felt longer in Cornwall because it's a small town where nothing ever happens for the under-60 crowd. It felt longer because we'd left all of our friends behind. It felt longer because the job market is limited and Jason made half of his Ottawa salary. It felt longer because for the majority of the time, I was unable to work at all, and then when I felt up to it, it was pointless for a person of my experience and education to expect to find a job. There were none. There was nothing. But Cornwall felt particularly long because of the family situation.

Cornwall marked the first time in my married life that I was living in the same city as our family. You might think we'd see them more often living within a couple of kilometres of each other, but you'd be wrong. We saw each other maybe once every month or two. This was fine; we were all busy people (except for me; I layed in bed and bid goodbye to my waist).

I made a mistake. I revealed a weakness. I expressed disappointment that my life had derailed. I cried in front of my mother once. And once was all it took. Based on that one little visit, my mother and my 3 sisters decided to take my life in their hands. They diagnosed me: depressed. Severely depressed. They had me on suicide watch.

Of course, I assured them that I was not depressed. I was disappointed. I felt justified in being sad at my helpless situation. But depressed? Not likely. Jason and I still found something to laugh about each and every day. I had a hole in my back, but gosh, that's not everything. We had a lot of good days. Jason smirked at the mere suggestion that I could be depressed, as would most of my friends. I have the perpetual smile. I have more exuberance than most rooms can contain. I have passion where no passion even belongs. My family chose not to see any of this. The chose not to believe me, or Jason. They judged me based on one bad day, and never even visited on any of the good ones.

That summer, in addition to poverty, restlessness, frustration, and The Hole, I had to deal with my family. My mother covertly planned to get me "help". She anticipated my refusal, so she began planning on ways to kidnap me to a doctor's. She tried to involve Jason - asked him whether I talked about wanting to die, even. When Jason told me about this, I almost had a meltdown. My mother may as well have had her hands tightly around my throat, because I couldn't breathe.

My family didn't visit. I didn't receive pleasant phone calls or happy emails. I was simply put under the microscope. They spied on us. If they thought Jason and I had had a fight, this was further proof of my depression. If I slept in, or left the house without makeup, or took more than 3 rings to answer the phone, it was noted and counted against me. This put Jason and I under enormous pressure, and eventually I was so upset about subjecting Jason to my crazy family that I seriously wanted to set him free. He sat me down and said to me: "For better or worse; in sickness and in health." And that's that.

But over the next year, the relationship between myself and my family has been strained at best. I don't know how to forgive their actions. How can I sit and eat dinner with people who would have had me committed given the chance? Had they been motivated by concern, I could deal with that. But they weren't interested in my health or well-being, they just seemed to take pleasure in finding or imagining imperfections in my life.

A few months of this had me going out of my mind. Imagine if your whole family just decided out of the blue that you were crazy. It's enough to make you crazy if you weren't already. Jason tried to reason with them, to no avail. He said explicitly: Jamie is fine. The only thing that is not fine, is you guys. But they believed I was forcing him to say these things, you know, gun to his head and whatnot, and were unconvinced.

Eventually I had to cut the ties to save my sanity. I was at my wit's end. I don't to this day know what I ever did to deserve that kind of persecution. I haven't spoken to my family in almost a year now. I can't handle being judged constantly. I don't know how to be part of a family who will only ever think the worst of me. The only contact I have had with them is from sporadic emails from my sisters, the extent of which usually boils down to "you are a horrible person." Finally, Jason blocked their ip address, preventing them from writing to me anymore. But we knew that whether or not they could write me harassing, malicious emails, they were still keeping tabs on us. We knew that our only option was to move.

And so here we are, away from probing eyes at last. I mourn the loss of my family, but I don't see how the relationship will ever be mended. If they suddenly woke up contrite, I might forgive, but I don't know how to forget. I don't know how this story ends. I do know that my mother wants to love me conditionally. And I know that if it has conditions, it just doesn't feel like love to me. I think I deserve more, but I also know that more is not a choice: take it as it is, a bitter pill to swallow, or take nothing at all. Who can teach me to forget? Who here knows the secret?

I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't live under the disapproving gaze. We picked up, started over once again, away from the countryside, straight to the city, where here, for the first time in a long time, I could take a full, deep breath once again. We were downtown near Queen St. before I finally found my fresh air.

I think I can be happy here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not Any More

She bags your groceries, and always remembers to put your eggs on top.

She sits beside you at Thanksgiving dinner, laughing thinly at your bad turkey jokes.

She drives the neighbourhood kids to soccer practice in her Volvo.

She sits in class quietly and turns in her reports on time.

She shops with you, and gives good advice, and loves apple martinis.

She writes a blog that you read. You think she's funny and insightful.

But you don't know her; not really. You have no idea.

There are stories she doesn't tell, not even to herself. She has lied to you, to her friends, to her family, so many times that she can't keep them straight.

She has more concussions on file than a football player. She was lucky to regain consciousness at all last time.

She goes home to plaster a hole in the wall that was made when he threw her there.

She wears long sleeves because of the burn marks, not because she's cold.

She's tired because she got locked out of the house, barefoot in the snow again last night, not because she stayed up too late watching Law & Order.

She smiles at strangers because she's terrified of being transparent.

She lied about the scar on her leg. It wasn't from figure skating.

She doesn't cry at movies because even death doesn't seem all that tragic to her.

She believes that maybe it is her fault, that she is that stupid, that she does deserve it. She is ashamed.

She has learned to keep secrets well. She has learned to flinch at shadows. She has learned which foundation covers bruises the best. She has learned to fall asleep on a pillow drenched with tears.

The one thing she won't ever learn is to forget.

Don't be a victim of silence.

Purple Ribbon

October is domestic violence awareness month in the U.S. and child abuse prevention month in Canada - both are worthy causes.

If you are an abused woman, seek help. Keep asking until you get it. It is never too late to get help.

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, contact your local children's aid society immediately. Many cases go unreported. People hesitate to report possible abuse because they aren't certain or want to wait to see what happens.

Do not wait. Children die while you wait for concrete evidence.

It is not your job to be certain. It IS your job to help protect the innocent in your community. Make the call. A trained social worker will then visit the family in question and make the judgment call. You have done your part.

If you think someone may already have called, call anyway. A file is opened for every phone call received. If more than one phone call is received for a certain child, the urgency of the visit will increase.

Don't be afraid of retribution; your name will not be revealed to the family and your anonymity will be protected.

It's every day people who make the difference.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Happy Bloggaversary to Kill the Goat!!

Today I wish The Goat a very happy 1st anniversary. Yes, this day in history just one short year ago, The Goat was just a baby lamb. Oh wait. That's another thing. The Goat was a kid. A kid goat. It was in its infancy, anyway.

Not that it's quite an adult yet. No grown-ups here. It's maybe a teenager, or a tween-goat. A twoat, if you will. Complete with attitude, pimples, and excessive masturbation.


Just so you know, the traditional gift for a one year anniversary is paper. Here is a list of the paper gifts I would love to receive:

-50 dollar bills
-100 dollar bills

The Goat has had an exciting year:

239 posts written
198 657 words written
76 000 visitors (since mid-Feb)
12 days accident-free!*
1 1/2 of my famous Big Fat Chewies cookies consumed during the writing of this post

*accident refers to bloodshed upwards of 1 quart; less than 1 quart is classified as an 'oopsie', which are not counted unless they leave scars.

During the past year, I have gone through 3 computers, 2 apartments, 2 keyboards, and roughly 1.3 billion brain cells. My most popular search results are consistently for

a) goat sex
b) fuckfest
c) girls wearing thongs

None of which have been my finest moments (although I still maintain that I do not regret the goat...she was hot). I hope The Goat has many more fine moments to come.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

La Vache Qui Rit

I am lying in bed. Jason is sitting on top of me, poking me in the belly.

Jamie: Ach. I am such une vache.

Jason: No you're not, you're un princesse.

Jamie: Une princesse. And yes, I'm that too, but still. I just wish you were into chubby girls, that would make life so much easier.

Jason: I am into chubby girls!


Jason: Hmm. I see now that that was the wrong answer. What I meant was, I love all the girls.

Jamie: You love all the girls? That's comforting.

Jason: No, no, no. I meant, I love all you girls.

Jamie: All us girls? What girls are those?

Jason: You! Just you! I love you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dear U-haul,

You suck.

I believe it takes a pretty soulless person to rent a barely safe truck to a person who has never done you any harm, but to charge an arm and a leg for it, well, there's just no word for that.

Last weekend, I paid $520 for the "privilege" of borrowing a truck for 3 days. Except I did not receive it for 3 days. I was told, when I left a generous deposit, that I could pick the truck up at 9am on moving day. The night before, a nameless individual informed me that I could possibly be driving for up to 1 hour to pick up this truck. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with your business. It's renting truck to people who are moving. People who are moving have other things to do than to chase after the thing you have already promised to provide for them. But on the moving day itself we were given the "good news" that a truck would be available for us right here in town - but. Ah, BUT. But, we'd have to wait several hours before we would have access to it.

Now, when I rented the truck, someone immediately said to me "Are you sure you want to go with Uhaul? 80% of their fleet just got pulled from the road for being unsafe." Funny that you didn't mention this when you were counting my money. But when you did mention that our truck was in the shop that very morning, I found it worrisome instead of comforting. After all, we would be driving this thing, packed to the gills with our beloved belongings, and towing our car behind it, nearly 600km. I shouldn't have to worry about the road-worthiness of a truck that we just broke the bank to rent.

Now, perhaps if I had received the truck as soon as it was done in the shop, our story would have ended there. That didn't happen. It didn't happen because u-haul is a greedy beast, and they thought, 'hey, we're already getting $520 out of this old clunker, why not try for more?' And so you rented out the same truck twice in one day. And you let the other lady have it first. And when she returned it 7 hours after it was promised to us, and on empty, it was our problem because "pick up times cannot be guaranteed". Right. Tell me, wherever did you find print tiny enough for that clause? Does it really seem reasonable to you that some other person's move ate into ours?

Luckily, thanks to some back-breaking labour, we were able to load the truck up in the dark that night and our move was not much delayed. However, it was when we hit the road that nightmare really began.

Before we pulled out of the u-haul parking lot, the lady told us, nay, swore to us, that the transmission had recently been fixed, and that for some odd reason the clunking noise persisted, but that the mechanic had guaranteed that "it would not fall out on us." Obviously, this made me feel much, much better. Until we got onto the highway. And then, for the next 7 hours, we were treated to the lovely sound of metal grating against asphalt at high speeds. Mmm. Just what my u-haul induced migraine needed. But I thought to myself, no problem, I'll just sleep on the way up since I had to pack long into the night and thus did not get nearly enough sleep to feel up to unpacking when we arrived. But did I sleep? No, I did not. Not a wink. You see, it is almost impossible to get comfortable when you are fighting to breathe. The thing is, when a seatbelt is crushing your windpipe it does not allow for optimal sleep conditions. Interesting, isn't it? I thought so. Especially since the truck, which was rusty, dirty, older than me, and probably wouldn't pass a safety test despite the sparky transmission job, did not look very trustworthy in the first place, rendering my seatbelt pretty much my last line of defense. All kinds of worst-case scenarios flashed through my mind.

Thanks to my husband's patience and good driving, we reached our destination more or less safely. Jason had a crick in his neck from ducking to see under the chips in the windshield, but what the hell, it's not like you need to see very well to drive 30 feet of machinery through downtown Toronto.

We unloaded the truck as quickly as our arms and legs would allow us, mindful of the growing dusk. Normally we would be more kind to our muscles and take things slowly, but the lady at the u-haul place had frowned on our driving the thing after dark since there were no lights on the back of the trailer and shockingly, she had no replacement bulbs on hand. Shucks. I credit my husband for pulling us through. He was strong and quick and encouraging even when I thought I would throw up from being exhausted. By 8 o'clock we were done. The truck was empty, and ready to be returned.

All we needed to do was to hitch the trailer onto the truck, and drive it to the depot. Or so we thought. Turns out, the hitch was broken. Fancy that. It only tooks 2 hours in the pitch black in a new city where we knew not one soul to figure out how to make do with defective equipment. We were quite pleased with this new development, as I'm sure you could imagine.

So, blackened with grease and tired to the bone, we climbed into the cab of the truck, back to the seatbelt that actually chafed a layer of skin off my neck to the point of bleeding, and headed for the return point. As mentioned before, we had just moved. I think this is worth repeating because u-haul apparently has no idea to whom it is renting its trucks. We moved. To a new city. Therefore, it would have been nice, helpful even, if the u-haul lady would have been willing to tell us where exactly to drop the thing off. However, it was Friday, and as I said, we had been put off until quite late, so I guess she was itching to get home. She was unwilling to look it up, so she told us to just bring it anywhere. So, despite the fact that the good people of u-haul had already delayed us by more than 8 hours, we had to cut into our loading time to research a u-haul place in a foreign city, and plot it out on an unfamiliar map.

Since the broken hitch had set us back 2 hours, we were infact driving down unknown streets without tail lights. Is there a patron saint for unlukcy u-haul renters? It would have been nice to know. But finally, we saw the u-haul signs, and we pulled the truck into the lot. Jason ran inside to drop off the key, but he came back out shaking his head.

The man inside informed him that this location did not accept equipment. In fact, it wasn't a u-haul place at all, never had been, despite the signs and ad in the yellow pages. It was listed as one, but wasn't one.

Sorry, my bad. I obviously should have just assumed that u-haul just lists some red herrings just to butt-fuck their customers a little more.

Of course this guy is unable to provide us even with directions to a new place, so we had to drive around Toronto, in the dark, with a 30 foot truck and trailer, looking for a phone book. It was after 1am before we found an appropriate location and believe me, if words and wishes came true, anyone who has ever been affiliated with u-haul would be pushing up daisies today.

rental for a truck that almost killed me: $520
gas for the truck that almost killed me: $180
knowing that that which does not kill you only makes you stronger: priceless? I think not. We paid $700 for a harrowing, stressful experience, and I am NOT happy about it.

Here's hoping that the following search terms will help spread the u-haul hate: I hate u-haul, u-haul almost killed me, Toronto uhaul, u-haul hell, don't rent from u-haul, boycott u-haul, u-haul is unsafe, uhaul sucks, u-haul is the worst thing that ever happened to me, u-haul is evil, George W. Bush owns u-haul, Ontario uhaul, u-haul can kiss my ass, u-haul is dangerous, u-haul rents damaged trucks, Canada uhaul, uhaul is bad, renting from u-haul is like renting from Hitler.

p.s. As dearest Ian points out, the most impressive feature that u-haul boasts of is its luxurious cloth seats, which I bet are not that luxurious on the best of days, but in our case, the truck was so old that the stencilling was actually reduced to "clot eats". Yummy, eh?

Other angry u-haul customers (because you know I'm not alone):


After a month of communication, this is what I receive on November 21st:

Dear Mrs. Jay,

Thank you for your communication received.

We apologize that your move did not go as you planned.

This is to inform you that we will not be reimbursing you for any part of this rental.

Based on the feedback provided, we consider this matter resolved.

Donna Sweeney
U-Haul Company Scarborough, ON

I'm sure you all can imagine my pleased response to this email.

And that's all you'll hear from me - lawsuit pending.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Happy Turkey Day

It's great to give thanks and gorge one's self on pumpkin pie, but this long weekend also brings a celebration of a different kind...

happy birthday to the biggest turkey of them all,

my husband.

To Jason on his birthday:

I know you are WAY TOO LOADED to read this right now, but I sincerely hope that your second quarter-century is as fun-filled as your first was.

Enjoy your special day, and I'll see you later about your spankings.

p.s. Sorry the streamers were so crappy. I couldn't find the tape.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Free Stuff For Sale

So we moved. To Toronto. For no apparent reason. In a u-haul that had no shocks.

This is our story.

A short blonde woman was going stir-crazy living in small town Cornwall, Ontario. She began dropping hints to her husband, such as "I want to move", "let's move", and "get me out of here before I kill us both."

Eventually the husband, who we'll call Jason, began to think that maybe his lovely wife wanted to move or something. So he put out feelers, thinking it would be mighty responsible of him to find a job and a home before striking out. But the beautiful and luminescent wife, who we'll call Jay, said something to the effect of "NOW!!!" and so they pilfered boxes where they could, and packed up all their belongings, rented a truck that did not look road-safe, and went.

But not smoothly. Oh no, they did not go smoothly.

First, they encountered the universal packing problem. Too much stuff, too few boxes. Where had all this stuff come from? When a couple gets together, they bring their stuff together. He had stuff, and she had stuff. At first, her stuff, pink and frilly, sat uncomfortably beside his stuff, plaid and ugly. But eventually his stuff and her stuff co-mingles. It becomes just general stuff. A year or two into things, the couple will take a look at their stuff and decide what should go, and what should stay. Mostly, his stuff will go. They find that although they have 2 copies now of the same Smashing Pumpkins albums, neither of them owns a frying pan. So the couple goes out into the world and buys new stuff, jointly. They outfit their home with all the essentials: linens, cookware, decor, appliances, etc. Then they decide to get married, and people bring them gifts to celebrate the engagement. Then there are bridal showers, to which people bring gifts to celebrate. And the wedding, to which people bring gifts to celebrate. And even though the couple has been living together for years now, therefore obviously having at least one of all the essentials, people give gifts of towels and towels and more towels, and pots and pans, and sheets, and other stuff that the couple neither needs nor has room for, but must politely be grateful for nonetheless.

And then, over time, the stuff they bought and the stuff they were given gets together and multiplies. And then one day, the couple will move. And they will want to place their heads inside the nearest oven for fear of all this stuff.

Yes indeed. This is what happened to Jay and Jason.

Previously, they lived in a spacious 2-level, 2-bedroom townhouse in Ottawa. It had its own storage room, laundry room, walk-in closet, balcony and patio. Jay and Jason filled this space quite well. When they moved to Markham, however, they discovered that there are no apartments or townhouses for rent there. All renters live in basements of large houses in massive subdivisions. These basement apartments come in 2 varieties: large and disgusting, or small and clean. Jay and Jason thought long and hard on this subject: was it better to possibly contract some sort of fatal disease from the mouldy carpet in one's dwelling but have room for the 87 pairs of shoes that Jay insists she cannot get rid of, or to live in a hole that is literally smaller than the walk-in-closet at the last place? They mulled and mulled, and then chose the option that would allow them to shower without special shoes.

However, once they had all their boxes towering over them in the tiny new apartment, they began to regret this decision. Jay and Jason are 2 people: Jay, and Jason. They own 37 bath towels, 4 beach towels, 10 hand towels and most puzzling, 22 face cloths. Jay and Jason do not have a linen closet in which to put all these towels. They have 7 casserole dishes; 3 sets of sheets for a single bed, though they do not have a single bed; a barbecue and patio set though they have no patio; an air-conditioner that is much too big for the basement-sized windows; 18 mixing bowls and 7 decorative bowls; camping gear out the ying yang; exercise equipment that actually can't even be assembled in such a small space...well, you get the idea. Their stuff has given them migraines. There is no floor space. Every available surface area is piled high with stuff. Jay's friends are on suicide watch based on the clutter alone.

Anyone need a fax machine? Porcelain doll? Doggie-sized leather coat trimmed in leopard print? Folding lawn chairs? 25 leis? Wedding dress? PS2? Please?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Why The Box Fixation?

Well, besides the fact that I have a slight obsession with all things container/storage/rubbermaid related....

the world's most ethnically diverse city just added two more scoops of plain old vanilla.

So there you have it. Jason and I will be officially installed in Toronto by Saturday afternoon, and I shall be back up and posting regularly soon after that.

Until then, we are currently recovering from a gruelling 20 hours on the road to hunt for apartments, from which we came home much poorer, but with a set of keys to the world's smallest apartment in what was perversely referred to as a "basement suite."

Thursday: pack like a mofo
Friday: load trucks like packing mules
Saturday: fake an injury to get out of unloading truck
Sunday: greet hunky cable hookup guy in my flimsiest peignoir
Monday: recover from claustrophobia induced from world's smallest apartment
Tuesday: tell you guys all about it in detail you never knew you needed to know!

Wish us luck.

This just in: no internet or cable until October 9th. Yikes. Same with the phone. Someone will come to install between 8am and 11am for the first; 2pm to 5pm for the second. Sorry Jason, guess you can't have your Chucky Cheese birthday party after all.

Monday, September 26, 2005

1. Dudes, the OC premiered, and no one told me? Okay, so I missed last season's finale for the same reason. I am TV-disorganized. And don't even say the word Tivo to me, unless you have no further use for your kidneys, which I will punch into pancakes. Anyhow, I caught this week's episode (well, I accidentally taped it, but that totally counts). And I was watching Ryan and Marisa "do it", and I realized that I was watching child pornography. I mean, they're high school kids, which means they're minors. They ain't legal. So if I watch minors perform sexual acts, well, that's what perverts go to prison for. Yikes.

2. So, we're hoarding boxes. Okay? That's just a premise you'll have to accept for this next bit to make sense. Jason and I went for an evening walk, and we stopped by the grocery store to get Jason a 50cent Kit Kat because somehow he just knew that his blood sugar was dangerously low. So anyway, for the last month or so it has been my policy not to give the grocery store my business unless I could bring my food home in boxes, and there are several times during the week when there's slim pickins as far as boxes are concerned. But there was an abundance of boxes on this particular night, so I took 2. Yes, 2 boxes to carry home Jason's chocolate bar, which he actually ate before we even reached the sidewalk. Whatever. But then we had to carry these suckers home. So I fiddled annoyingly with mine until Jason offered to take it too (it was small enough to fit inside of his). But on the last leg of the walk, Jason was exasperated by its awkward size, so I took them back. And almost instantly, like half a dozen cars drove by, where none had been before. And Jason just couldn't deal with all these people seeing me carry home a box (which, I'm sure most people would assume was not empty), so his pride made him take them back. Heh. I love male pride!

3. My grandparents are dealers. Their current stash is large enough to get them busted not just for possession, but for trafficking, even though they're very careful and "only sell to people they know." But the law is tightening its belt, and the simple precautions of yore just aren't enough these days. Just last week, a total stranger knocked on their door to inquire as to how good a take they had on them. My grandparents denied knowing anything about it, and got rid of him quickly. Still, they're getting a bit too old for these shenanigans. My grandfather is thinking about selling off his equipment and giving up the business altogether. This is unfortunate, because they were never in it for the selling; they just enjoyed it recreationally. And not to be selfish, but man, I really loved being able to get the stuff for free! And I'll miss all the paraphenalia around their house, and the cute set-up they had for packaging the stuff themselves, and the scales for measuring, and the mysterious packages in the freezer. Good times. When I was a kid, I even went on runs with my grandfather. Those were some of the best times we had together. Even my grandmother, who often complained about the dangers of his going out by himself, will end up missing it in the end. And I think that we all took comfort in the fact that old fishermen never die, they just smell that way.

4. If the bible was really meant to be read, I think that:

a) they would have hired editors - at least 85% of it could have been cut, no problem.

b) they would have taken out the awkward phrasings, particularly the 'thou didsts' and the 'thou mayest nots'.

c) they would have planned for a happy ending. No one likes a downer. Bonus points if you leave some wiggle room for a sequel.

5. Jason has this thing where rims really bother him, and it seems that there are more and more cars with really ridiculous rims. I mean, if you drive a car that costs less than a good bottle of wine, you don't need rims. No, scratch that. You don't need rims no matter what kind of car you drive. Especially the twirly kind. You look like a goof. And what's even more annoying, is that Jason cannot stop himself from pointing out and mocking each and every specimen of this. EVERY one, and believe me, we live in a town of goofs. They may be on welfare, relying on other people's charity to clothe their kids, and getting evicted 3 times a month from roach-infested holes in the wall, but they have money for 3 things: fast food, beer, and pimping out their 1986 Ford Tempo. Classy.

6. Jason's grandparents recently had a trip out East, and they took the route that goes through Maine, and took some sort of high-speed catamaran to save them 6 hours of driving time. They had to drive like mad to make the boat on time, which left at 4pm and required them to be checked in by 3. But after a series of unfortunate events, they did not arrive until 3:59 which would mean losing their money, having to stay in a hotel, and losing a whole day of vacation. But for some odd reason, they were allowed to board the boat. Why? Well, it seems that on that very boat sat the elusive Richard Hatch, Mister "Oops I forgot to pay the taxes on my million dollar Survivor prize" and just then, the law had finally caught up with him. So, as he was arrested and led away, the boat was delayed, and Jason's grandparents now owe a debt to the fat naked guy that America loved to hate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Uldukis has lived more than nine decades and though she is small and withered, only common sense indicates that this will be her last one. Her mind is sharp, her body is still a vehicle, if a slow-moving one. Her room in the nursing home is small and cramped with 93 years worth of accumulated stuff: photographs of a husband who has been dead nearly thirty years; knick-knacks from dozens of mother's days; primitive preschool paintings, yellowed and curling around the edges, done by grandchildren now in high school; books so numerous that her 6 shelves don't hold them all, so they line the walls at least waist-high, an awkward kind of wainscoting.

It is painful for Uldukis to tie her shoelaces because her knuckles are swollen from arthritis, but she is meticulous about her appearance. She never leaves the confines of her room without a brooch, a silk scarf tied around her neck, and at least 2 barrettes holding back her thin white hair. She is among the oldest residents of her nursing home, but also among the liveliest. She has made many friends during her 25-year stay, and has since watched most of them die. Thank goodness for these friends, though, because despite having 2 sons, 1 daughter, 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild all living within 100 km, she rarely has a visitor.

On this frigid November day, Uldukis is going out. She bundles up in a long coat the colour of an eggplant, and tiny gray boots that you would have otherwise suspected belonged to a child. The senior's van drops her alone at a department store and she gets herself a shopping cart more for its support and aid in walking than for its intended purpose.

Uldukis has shopping to do; Christmas is fast approaching. She wields the cart around the store, the creaky wheel crying only slightly louder than her creaking bones. Every step is an effort, but she works hard to hide it. Uldukis is a proud woman. She is conscious of her decrepit appearance, and even more conscious of the disparity it has with the way she feels. Inside, she is still the caring mother, devoted wife, beloved school teacher, determined cancer survivor (twice), and strong matriarch which defined her all these years. But when death approaches, no matter how subtly, it wipes away all that has come before. Uldukis knows that she has no place in the world. Uldukis knows that she has hardly even a place in the very family that she founded. Uldukis knows she is forgotten.

Forgotten, yes, but Uldukis does not forget. And so she is shopping for a family that she rarely sees. A picture of her great-grandchild burns inside her wallet. She loves him fiercely even if she hasn't met him yet. He's almost 2.

She selects a gift for him first: a conservative woman, her instinct is always towards the practical. She picks out an outfit for him, and closes her eyes to remember how big a 22 month child would be. The clothing is of the sturdy, every-day kind, the kind that will withstand wear, and washing, and life. To balance out the gift, she guides her wobbly cart to the toy section, where she is instantly overwhelmed. Of the many, many things that line the shelves, she recognizes almost none of them as actual toys. And so she goes for what she knows best, a book.

Uldukis teeters around the store thoughtfully picking up gifts for all her family members. Several hours into her shopping, she spots a store employee who is setting up a display of sale merchandise. Uldukis trudges over to her, and asks for her help. She has several blouses in her cart, and she is trying to read the care labels in each one. Her failing eyesight is helped by the giant magnifying glass that she has brought with her for this very purpose, but it's not enough. The employee greets the tiny old woman with a smile, but she works in merchandise, behind the scenes, and this isn't her job. But there are no sales associates around, and so she does her best. Uldukis has several questions stored up: which colour do “the young people” prefer? Is it probable that her grandson would want a movie on the disc, rather than the tape? Where can she find the tea towels?

The store employee spends the next 3 hours following Uldukis around. Uldukis is so delighted with the company that she invents questions just to keep the shop girl from leaving. She boasts of her family members, and wants the girl's honest opinion on whether her grandson's girlfriend would like particular set of earrings. Even the young girl is exhausted by the time every person has been crossed off Uldukis' list, and her shift has ended long ago.

The girl waits with Uldukis in line at the cash, afraid that Uldukis's short arms won't reach to the bottom of the cart, and aware that she should probably be saved from all the bending and lifting anyway. Before she can get away, Uldukis asks for a favour: will she call the nursing home to let them know that she needs to be picked up now?

The girl calls, and the nurse who answers is gruff. She seems angry at the hassle. The girl aches for her little shopping companion, and the life she must lead, always feeling like an imposition even after such a formidable life.

Uldukis and the girl wait together at the entrance for the nursing home van to arrive. During the long wait, Uldukis shyly hands the girl a gift- a box of chocolates that she has purchased to say thank you for all her help. The girl feels the prickle of tears behind her eyes as she refuses the gift, and tells Uldukis that the pleasure of her company has been reward enough. Uldukis likes this answer so much, she grabs the girl around the waist, and holds on tight.

Finally, the van arrives. The driver is a somewhat friendly man, though he has the annoying habit of talking about Uldukis as though she isn't there.

“Uldukis sure is a generous gift-giver” he notes, as he loads the packages. “Last year all the presents sat wrapped in her room well past Christmas because her family never took her home for the holidays. They sat there until the end of March, when we had to call her son because she had a minor stroke.”

When Uldukis is ready to go, she reaches up to the girl, a virtual stranger, for a hug. The girl hugs her as fiercely as she dares embrace such brittle bones, surprised at her feeling. Uldukis waves at her friend-for-an-afternoon as the van pulls out of the parking lot.

The girl is so moved by this woman that she makes a point of visiting Uldukis before Christmas, and the visit is so well-received it is repeated several times that winter and spring. In fact, when Uldukis quietly passes away in her sleep that June, the department store employee has been her sole visitor that year. The Christmas gifts, so lovingly bought and wrapped brilliantly, are still piled in the room where Uldukis took her last breath.