Friday, January 27, 2006

Party Animals

Day Five: Plague of the Mother-In-Law Continues

It's been a long 5 days at this point. She's not a bad person, but she has two major flaws that make spending time with her a little less than bearable:

a) She tells bad jokes. Very bad jokes. The kind of jokes that you can hardly even tell are jokes because they're so unfunny, except for the fact that she raises her eyebrows at you in just such a way that conveys that she expects lots and lots of laughter. For example, at the CN Tower she went on and on about the job of the elevator operators having its 'ups and downs'. Har har. As if that joke hasn't been around since the invention of the elevator itself.

b) She whines and complains about everything. She seems to think that everyone is delighted to hear her health updates every 30 seconds. She is constantly tired, hungry, and headachy.

Every second thing out of her mouth was beginning to grate on our nerves, and we had no real way of alleviating any of our annoyance, so we'd just squeeze the hell out of each other's hands when we were hearing about yet another complaint or cornball joke.

And yes, I did sprain a couple of fingers when Jason crushed them as his mother told us that Toronto had too many friggin stairs.


Since Sunday was complainy day, we cut it short and went home, which sucked. Our brilliant plan was to keep her occupied at all costs...also, wandering around museums gave us the chance to get "lost" in exhibits, and steal some moments to ourselves.

Monday was zoo day.

We were there at 9:30 in the morning. The air was brisk, but otherwise it didn't feel much like a Canadian wintery day. However, the zoo website did assure us that visitors and animals alike were invited indoors during the cold months.

But when we got there, we walked 10 minutes through the deserted grounds, just to find 2 lazy polar bears who didn't seem to understand that we'd paid $75 to gape at them. Surely for that price we were entitled to some activity?

But no. These bears wallowed in their case of the Mondays and I immediately began to sweat, even in the barely-above-freezing temperatures. I mean, we'd allotted at least 3 hours of zoo time, and if it continued to suck this much, I would have to pull out some other activity from my ass to keep us all from killing each other.

Finally, luckily, we found the Americas pavilion, and headed in where I hoped that either we'd become highly entertained, or there'd be a badly-supervised bear den where I could test my pushing skills.

The biggest problem with the Americas pavilion at the Toronto Zoo is that to get to see anything cool, you always have to walk through a leafy area that houses loose birds. And I am afraid of loose birds.

I won't even go into pet stores for fear that there will be a parrot with an open cage. The idea of a bird, even a very friendly one, swooping at my head just stops me cold. So if this picture of Jason with the Victoria Crowned Pigeon looks blurry, it's because I was keeping my eye on the scarlet-headed blackbird. That guy looked shifty.
After the Americas, we visited Australasia, where I was left alone with this guy: a tree kangaroo. He looks kind of cute and cuddly, but I was pretty sure this was just a cleverly deceptive facade and that since there was no cage or glass between us, he could pounce on me at any moment.
I was fully prepared to unleash my sweet, sweet ninja skills on him if need be, but I was pretty sure that his tail would spell my defeat. I just can't compete with shit like that.
Anyway. He never did attack, as it turns out. And I relaxed a bit for the other guys...I liked this wombat. I wouldn't want to run into one in the bush, but as long as he's enclosed and I'm enclosed, I was feeling pretty good about things.

And I saw a very sweet looking wallaby, who I feel a great kinship for since my marsupialization surgery. The wallaby had his own pet - a bunny. Actually, the bunny seemed freakishly large to me. I think I would feel safer with the tree kangaroo than the bunny.

Jason made friends with a lot of animals. I know that supposedly humans come from an apish ancestry, but I think this picture makes a very strong case for us coming up from out of the water. If you're having trouble distinguishing, that's Jason on the right, and the jumbo gourami on the left. I think.

So by this time I was feeling a bit better with the zoo, even though I kept a healthy fear in me the whole time. When we'd walk up to an exhibit, you'd really have to look for the animals. So I knew that I was looking for lions, but when I actually realized I was looking at lions, it startled me. Every time. Dude, lions. Those fuckers are huge! Plus, it was a bit disconcerting that the zoo is less than 10 minutes from my house. If they ever get out, they're coming for me, I just know it.

We did not see any actual grizzly bears at the zoo, because as you know, they're hibernating right now. We also did not see any zebras because if the sign is to be believed, they are currently "under construction."


We saw the cheetahs at play (remind me to never play with cheetahs) but we were unable to spot Chloe, the one-eyed cheetah. We also saw the giraffes, who were being kept separated because apparently the boy giraffe will smell the girl giraffe's pee to check for "fertility" and then want to jump her giraffe bones.

Actually, a lot of animals were getting a little sumfin sumfin at the zoo on Monday morning. We saw some randy turtles. They look like they're playing a weird stacking game when they mate. Apparently they blow bubbles under water to seduce each other.

Mr. and Mrs. Warthog, pictured here, have obviously been married a long time because there were no candles or rose petals when we interrupted them mid-coitus. And apparently Mr. Warthog is one of those guys who finishes no matter what comes up - even with the appearance of unexpected guests.

Actually, the most disturbing part is realizing that all it takes is half a bottle of wine before we dissolve into our warthog selves, noises and all.

And unfortunately, I can't even blame this picture on any wine. Animals just make Jason excited, I guess. This hippo was located near the African Savanna exhibit, where I was surprised to learn that "traditional" African fare comprises of Pizza Pizza and Beaver Tails. All these years my mother's been telling me that poor African babies are starving, and finally the zoo tells me the truth! Oh the things you learn when you leave the house.....

Okay, so the Savanna was good, but the African Rainforest was great! That's where we met Charles, a very dignified lowland gorilla.

I could have paid my money just to sit and watch him all day long. He had very soulful eyes. Charles shares his habitat with other gorilla friends, but Monday morning must be his alone time. He just sat right in front of us and stared right back.

So now I have 2 favourite monkeys!

One of these guys is highly educated and a brilliant artist.

Unfortunately, I'm married to the other one.

Charles not only paints in his spare time, but he sells his artwork for charity. Does that maybe make you feel just the smallest bit inadequate? Inferior?

Charles is something else.

I could have stayed in the monkey house for ages, but I'm glad we left enough time to visit the Indomalayan exhibit, where we met this tapir.

Now, I admit that I had never even heard of such an animal before this visit. He has a small trunk like an elephant, and his toes click like a tap dancer when he walks. He's quite large, and he sprays piss like a hose, which we witnessed over and over until suddenly I began to wonder if perhaps if he so directed it, the spray might actually reach us....and so then we left. But I shall always remember the tapir, although not fondly.

I liked the marmosets for sure, and the macaques.

I was pretty relieved that the hyenas slept through our visit.

I was thoroughly creeped out by the komodo dragon, who can apparently take down horses, goats, and water buffalo!

And I was sad to know the story of Kartiko, a gentle orangutan who met his end because a thoughtless family threw cookies into his exhibit.

In the end, we spent more than 4 hours at the zoo, and had it been slightly warmer (or had Jason and I not had Miss Complainy 2006 in tow) we would have spent loads more time making the longer treks to other domains.

But I must say, I really liked the zoo, even if it did smell "poopy" an awful lot - the rhino is not a considerate host. I even took home a monkey of my own (well, besides Jason I mean).

Then we raced to the train station to make sure MIL got the hell out of Toronto right on time - and of course the subway system encountered 3 separate problems, forcing us to ditch it halfway there, flag down a death-car (aka, taxi) and risk death just to be mother-free.

It was totally worth it.

We had 5 whole days off, but I have never been so lonesome for my husband. It's kind of shocking really, how much we like it to be just the 2 of us. No wonder we won't have children! We hate sharing our time with anyone else. We went home, totally tuckered out, and I immediately had a drink and did not put the glass into the sink. I peed with the bathroom door wide open. Jason took off his pants, and we sat on the couch so I could hold his penis and let out the string of swear words that I have been holding inside of me for far, far too long.

Ah. That's better.

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