Friday, April 28, 2006

The Jamie and Jason Show, Episode 3: When Nature Attacks!

In preparation for our days off, I attempt to realign my sleep schedule to something more user-friendly by staying up for 36 hours at a time. Thusly, I went to bed exhausted at 6:15pm on Tuesday night, hoping to sleep through the night.

I didn't quite make it.

But I did sleep until about 3, which is an unbelievable stretch of sleep for me.

In a fit of good will, I let Jason sleep on without me.

Until 5:30.

At which time I woke him up with breakfast in bed, which softens the blow. Not that the blow needs much softening after 11 hours of sleep. Fucker.

We were out of the house bright and early and headed for the Phyllis Rawlinson Park in Richmond Hill. We took the scenic route, accidentally, but being up before the sun means you have lots of time for mistakes. Unfortunately, we found the park.

The park can kiss my ass. I mean, if your idea of an outdoorsy day includes about 5 minutes of walking and 3 minutes of goose watching before you head back to your car, then by all means, make a date with Phyllis. I, however, was not impressed. We traipsed about through the 'boardwalk' (note: a couple of planks strewn about does not a boardwalk make), and the 'celebration forest' (note: it was neither worth celebrating, nor a forest), the only nature we managed to commune with was the mud that Jason somehow kicked up onto his brand new white hoodie. What kind of ass wears a brand new white hoodie to walk in the woods?

Jason, that's who (note: this is not a gratuitous butt shot, because it illustrates my point - my, what an ass).

So with time to kill and energy still burning in our legs, we took the opportunity to get lost in Richmond (as if we had the choice) and serendipitously found Richmond Green, a lovely park sandwiched between two very busy streets. So with the romantic sounds of 80 km/hr traffic serenading us, we took the time to play.

Though the bugs were humongous, we contracted very little in the way of West Nile, rest assured.

On our way back to Scarborough, we discovered just how far we'd gone astray - about $70 in gas astray. Yikes.

Not to worry, we thought, drinks with Paul will make all of our troubles disappear.

We thought wrong.

Not that the drinks didn't work. They did. But we didn't have them with Paul. Paul stood us up (confidential to Paul: fuck you).

So we spent the afternoon touring Toronto's greatest thrift stores. Though we rarely buy anything, I like to look. I like to look at all the crap that people have so "generously" donated - like, for example, the t-shirts that say To The World's Greatest Dad! Ahem. I beg to differ. I think the world's greatest dad would not throw away precious childhood gifts. This so-called world's greatest dad was probably all like "Kids, this was a crappy gift. What daddy really wanted was a new set of golf clubs and a bottle of Jimmy Beam. "

Another great t-shirt was one for Shirley's Baby Shower. Now, I can understand getting rid of this piece of crap. As if you'd ever wear that again...chances are, you weren't thrilled to be at the stupid shower in the first place, let alone being made to wear itchy bargain-basement imitation cotton. That's fine. But please, tear it up into rags, use it up, wear it down, THROW IT OUT. Do not for one second think that someone wants to buy this crap. Even poor people don't deserve a Shirley's Baby Shower t-shirt! Note to salvation army: even at the low, low price of $3.99, I don't think this merchandise is going to be a prime mover.

Anyway, after a day spent in fine weather, I was thirsty. In fact, I was craving my yummarrific Summer Cocktail, the exquisite taste of which I dream about all winter long. I always assumed the recipe for this cocktail would die with me, but just this once, I'm going to share it here, between friends. Take copious notes. This blog will self-destruct in 14 days.

Jamie's Summer Cocktail:

1. Drive or walk to the closest 7-11.

2. Buy a 40 oz Slurpee in your favourite flavour.

3. On the way home, use ridiculously large straw to sip drink (by the time you reach home, you should have emptied nearly 10% of Slurpee).

4. Use vodka to refill Slurpee to 100% capacity. Stir with ridiculously large straw.

5. Enjoy.

Hits the spot. My cocktail is guaranteed to become this summer's rage - so classy that the umpteen weddings I'm required to go to will surely be serving during that annoying lull between the photos but before the receiving line. It's that good. Not even the trite email from Paul excusing his absence could affect me under the influence of this cocktail (confidential to Paul: nature doesn't have the internet, dumbass).

Now what with the early start time, and the excessive busy-ness, and the alcohol consumption, I was bushed. Barely made it past dinner time. Was in bed shortly after 8.

Woke up the next day raring to go, at 4:30 in the morning.

Went to the 24-hour grocery store to lay in supplies for a picnic lunch.

Spent the morning exploring Toogood Pond in Unionville. After the disappointing bitch Phyllis, we were pleasantly surprised by Toogood. There were some really amazing ecosystems to admire, and an astonishing amount of wildlife to consider. There were kilometres and kilometres of trails to walk, and Jason had to sustain himself with moon pies several times.

Luckily, my stomach was a little emptier, or else I never could have handled the obscene graffiti that we found sadly marring the park.

Oh wait. Did I say obscene? Because I meant lame. Totally lame (note to petty criminals: get a job, you lazy bums). But seriously, this was an awesome park and we were glad to see other people taking advantage of the fine weather. When we grew tired of the pedestrian circuit, we went "off-roading" into the woods. I managed to shame Jason into crossing a river on a fallen tree with one simple sentence "The Jason I knew 5 years ago would have done it." Actually, the Jason I knew 5 years ago had way more sense than that, and he never would have fallen for that trick. Man I love this kid. So easy to screw around with his head.

We mucked around like nobody's business, managing not to fall down the steep cliffs into the very cold water, though it was tempting. I would have been happy to muck about all day long, had it not been for one small thing.

Snake!!! Jason found it highly entertaining that by the time my stupid brain registered that a snake was slithering over my boot, I already had 2 feet solidly in the air, and was making a Ho!Ho!Ho! noise that he had never heard before (note to self: stop screaming like Santa Claus).

So we trekked back to the car, and I, still shaken from the snake incident, needed to be consoled. No problem, we thought, we'll forget all our troubles over a nice cuppa with Paul.

We thought wrong.

Not that the cuppa wasn't nice. It was. But we didn't have it with Paul. Paul stood us up, again (confidential to Paul: you are no longer our friend, so fekk off).

So what we did instead was to console ourselves with a picnic lunch in "Historic Unionville" (note to potential picnickers: history not included).

And then we went bra shopping. It's funny how bra shopping makes me wish I was a B-cup, and at the same time makes Jason particularly glad that I am not.

And then we went to donate blood (see a pattern here? yeah, me neither), and there was a small "incident" that required us to cancel our evening plans for downtown and stay in instead, not even partaking of the yummy Jamie Cocktails (Jamocktails, if you will).

We almost stayed awake to 9pm. Jason slept for 12 undisturbed hours; I watched him sleep for most of these. It was great. No, really. It was. It was a great weekend, even if it was actually a weekmiddle. And only 2 days of recovery before we do it all over again. Who's free on Sunday?

(as always, additional pictures can be found at Picture This)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blood Donation Day

When they ask if you've ever received money for sex or drugs, Jason likes to tell them that sometimes I get shopping money afterward.

Also, he worries that they'll take too much blood and he'll be erection-less later that night.

I mean, not really actually worried.

Just "worried" in the way that he says it to me a lot. Enough to get on my nerves. Enough to make me hope that they will take too much. But they don't. They're not as vindictive as I am.

Also, to his chagrin, Canadian Blood Services are meeting at the mall today. No Blood Mobile for Jason. Only the cookies will make the trip worthwhile.

Oh, and the saving a life part too. Nominally.

This quickie post has been brought to you by the letter S.

S for the "super-fun-happy-turbo-busy-mid-week-weekend" we're having.

Stay tuned tomorrow for "Mother Nature Attacks!" and other fun stories.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Always a Bride, Never A Bridesmaid

Do you know who's getting married this year?

Everyone, that's who.

Literally everyone EXCEPT me.


That face is not happy or smiley. It's frowny. I hate to be left out.

But seriously. Everyone.

It's pandemic.

I have been in the Sears wedding registry department so often they started issuing me a paycheque.

What the hell is in the water this year?

Ohmigod, DO NOT answer that. I may have to die a raisin's death, dehydrated and withered due to the fact that I will never again swallow a single drop of water that may or may not contain...well, you know. Ew.

But weddings are not just about hideous dresses and shoes dyed to match. They're not just about new toasters and dancing the chicken.

Underneath all the tulle, all the sugared almonds and kisses from Aunt Myrtle, lays the true meaning of weddings: cash. Er, I mean, love.

Yes, love.

Two people meet, enjoy screwing, and throw a huge party to celebrate this fact.

Take my grandparents, for example.

This is them on their wedding day in 1951, with confetti in their hair.

They met on a blind date, arranged by her sister. Pa was instantly attracted, I imagine. Nanny was a dish! Nanny always said it wasn't his height that attracted her (note her flats...a point of contention for over 50 years now!), so it must have been his motorcycle.

Motorcycle? My grandpa? My Pa drives a Buick. He often wears slippers to do so. He has a big beer belly and needs suspenders to keep his pants up. He wears little sweater vests and peaked caps. He sings songs about mares eating oats and doesn't eat steak because his dentures are too dull. Nanny and Pa cheat at cards and fight over cribbage. They make pickles together. They volunteer at Meals on Wheels and bowl together every Tuesday afternoon. I cannot imagine them zipping around town on a motorcycle. It makes me blush to even try.

They never really got engaged. My Pa pointed at a bunch of rings in a store and asked which one she wanted. They were married 3 months later; my Nanny was 19 years old, and Pa just a little older. They honeymooned in Niagara Falls.

We took this picture on their 50th anniversary, 3 kids and 9 grandkids later. 50 years is a long time, but this summer they'll be celebrating #55, which is even longer, if you hadn't noticed. They're beyond gold (in fact, they're "emerald"). And all because of that motorcycle. Would I even be here today if my Pa hadn't upped his sex appeal with a Harley? This is one of life's mysteries.

These are my parents on their wedding day in 1979, also with confetti in their hair.

They met at Tim Horton's; my father was a trucker, and my mother served the coffee. She was attracted to his quiet demeanor, especially in comparison to the much cruder sorts that mill about in coffee shops. My mother was 16. She saw that this suitor was much more serious about the relationship and broke it off, but not for long.

Like my grandmother, she is still waiting for her proposal. He simply showed her a ring in the parking lot of Tim Horton's, and at the ripe old age of 18, my mother became a beautiful bride. She was a baby. They too honeymooned in Niagara Falls.

But my father wore a ruffled tuxedo, hexing the marriage from the very start. They were not destined for happiness. She wanted 12 kids, he wanted 2. They "compromised" and had 4 (note to young couples: this is a shitty compromise), and probably only that many because my father badly wanted a boy. They never got him.

Instead they got 4 girls, who despite the divorce, loved to try on their mother's bridal gown and sigh over themselves in the mirror, imagining how bells would chime in their own futures.

My parents never rode a motorcycle. I only remember them in mini vans. What's the difference? Both couples look happy in their wedding photo. I find the shy smiles on both my mother and grandmother to be strikingly similar. Did my mother wear flats, or not? Did they carry the same flowers? Did they both dine on chicken? After the births of many babies, what causes one marriage to fail where another succeeds? This too is one of life's mysteries.

This is me on my wedding day, 2002. No confetti, just a lot of hairspray called "Cement".

We met when I was 14, in high school. We were just friends despite a few intense moments that never should have happened as we were both seeing other people, or lots of other people, as the case may be. Then I hated him. Then I fucked him. Then we got married. It's a love story for the ages.

We got engaged not because we ever intended to marry, but because I wanted the ring. He proposed to me in bed. I said "of course I will" and a year later, we did, surprising everyone, but most of all ourselves. I was 20 when we married...practically an old maid by my family's standards. We married in the sunny tropics and did not honeymoon in Niagara Falls. I did not wear flats. We did not eat chicken. We do not ride motorcycles. We did not bear children.

What will the future hold for us? Will we dance the funky chicken at our 50th wedding anniversary? This too is one of life's mysteries.

But I can tell you what we will be doing this summer: we'll be lugging around gaily wrapped toasters and toasting our friends, hoping that they too will beat the odds, that they will have happy marriages, that they will have the life together they imagine when they say "I do."

Friday, April 21, 2006

R.I.P. Favourite Finger

It was a hot and steamy shower. The body wash smelled of kumquat and kiwi; the shampoo was lathered on thick. The showerhead was on a favourite setting, massage, but friskiness between the two bathers was kept to a minimum because the two lovers thought they had all the time in the world.

But they were wrong.

Dead wrong.

Little did they know that a strange but lethal weapon had been lurking in the dim corners of the shower stall the entire time, just waiting for the perfect opportunity for total and utter destruction.

"Eek! I'm bleeding!" shouted the short one.

"Where are you bleeding from this time?" asked the taller one, unsurprised.

"Fuck! I just shaved off my finger!" yelled Jay, offering up the bloody stump where her hand used to be as evidence.

The sight of so much blood surprises Jason, surprises him so much in fact that instead of feigning concern, he says "Holy shit, how'd you do that?"

Jay, swooning bravely in pain, is not so much in pain that she neglects to punch her husband for such a callous remark. With her good hand, of course.

And then the two, Jay clutching her throbbing finger, and Jason, clutching his throbbing jaw, watch a surprising amount of bloodied water swirl down the bathtub drain.

Out of the shower, Jay is unable to dry herself, and Jason takes certain liberties despite the urgency of the situation. Both are secretly glad that blood is pooling on their ugly, ugly bathroom mat. Both are glad it can finally be guiltlessly thrown out.

"What do you want to do?" asks Jason, who immediately feels like an oaf for asking such a thing.

"Get back in the shower" says Jay, without any irony. Suddenly, Jason feels like less of an oaf.

"Back in the shower? But your finger!" thunders Jason, believing himself to be the voice of reason, but also believing that little things like reason rarely get in Jamie's way.

"Well, I still have shampoo in my hair, and I've only shaved one leg!" Jay shouts, appalled.

"But it nearly killed you the first time around!" shouts Jason, appalleder.

But of course they get back into the shower anyway, because Jamie wills it so, and Jason gently rinses the shampoo from her hair while Jay courageously struggles to keep her bloody stump raised above her heart to stem the bloodflow. In truth, the bleeding is not quite so bad at that, but also in truth, Jay is a bit of a dramaqueen.

Out of the shower once again, Jay displays her famous love of hospitals by refusing to go to one.

"Maybe it's not so bad" she mumbles, inspecting the damage. The fingertip is intact. However, the razor somehow managed to slit a hole through her fingernail and slice into the flesh underneath.

Lady Gillette, oh how I despise thee. How can anything so sweet, so pink, so plastic, shed so much blood? Pink plastic is the stuff of Barbie Dream Corvette and lawn flamingos. Pink plastic should not aim to maim. Why hast thee forsaken me?

Before Jay can put up a respectable fight, Jason dials the telehealth phone line, and speaks to nurse Brian. Nurse Brian will tell them if a trip to the hospital is necessary or not.

Jay, weak from loss of blood (or, maybe, just maybe, weak from the earlier consumption of 5 and a half martinis), can only hear snippets from the conversation:

"No, I don't know how she managed to shave through her fingernail. It was a disposable for crying out loud!"

"Yeah, that's her. I'm sure her file is quite thick. She bleeds a lot."

"No, the razor seems to be fine."

Jamie is so outraged that Jason and Nurse Brian seem to be more concerned with the razor's well being than her own that she nearly faints...or well, passes out. Whichever.

At the hospital, Jay is fairly certain that all the doctors are smirking at her. She is fairly certain that the doctor is writing incriminating statements about her in her permanent medical record, but when she inquires, the information is firmly denied her. In a parade of gauze and iodine, Jay marches up and down the halls shouting "Attica! Attica!" and no one really knows why. Jason, however, is content to sit back and enjoy the view afforded by the paper-thin gown that doesn't tie up in the back.

Jason is able to transport her back home, sedated. Her finger is mercifully unrecognizable underneath the copious amounts of sterile bandage. Any talk of her former finger nail, "lacerated nailbeds", stitches, or pink safety razors, send her spiraling into a woozy tailspin.

So she lies in bed mourning the temporary loss of her finger, her favourite finger, by far her most useful finger. She made all her favourite gestures with this finger. She expressed many of her favourite emotions with this finger. And now, drowned in gauze, it has lots its ability to intimidate and threaten. It looks like a big fluffy white marshmallow, as harmless as...well, as harmless as a Lady Gillette.

The Culprit:

Lady Gillette is so heartless she doesn't even have the decency to appear contrite. Premeditated, you ask? Yes, we ask ourselves that too. Either way, Jay has resolved to go "au naturel" until safety razors actually become safe.

The victim:

This finger is not the finger it once was. It may be months before the damage is repaired. Despite the fact that Jay was forced into a tetanus shot, Jason prays that lockjaw will settle in anyway, because without it, he's in for an awful lot of complaining.

The solution:

Temporary at best. It still doesn't properly convey my malicious intent, and will do an even poorer job of it should lockjaw set it and deprive me of my beloved obscenities.

But as you can see, I am determined to get through this with the grace and dignity you've become accustomed to here at Kill the Goat. Now go, and leave me to my pain and grief. Do not feed guilty about enjoying your weekends as I spend mine bedridden and practically delirious from the two children's Tylenol I'll take before bed. Just try to think of me fondly, remember me whole-fingered as in better days, and above all...beware the lurking lump of plastic in your showers. It's not as innocent as it looks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My Baby Takes The Morning Train

I know this will come to a shock to most of you, but the vile truth is that Jason works for a living. He sets his alarm 3, 4, sometimes even 5 times a week, gets up early on at least half those occasions, puts on pants (real pants, not pajama pants, but real pants, the kinds with zippers and belt loops and such) and goes to work.

I am not exactly what you would call a big fan of work. I strongly suspect that I am deathly allergic to it, and therefore I try never to be in the same room as work. Occasionally someone who doesn't know me very well will assume that I work, or that I am at least willing/capable of it, and perhaps may even suggest that I do a little something for them. This is why I get manicures. "I just got my nails done" is a get-out-of-work free card that works every time. Unfortunately, manicures cost money, and for those of us born without a trust fund, work is usually the pesky way to earn the stuff. It's distasteful, but true. Luckily, I happened upon a fail proof method for tricking others into earning money for me:

1. purchase push-up bra
2. see #1

Not everyone hates work; some go quite willingly. These people are clearly stupid. They have fallen pray to the relentless brain-washing of the global marketplace. These people, the "bosses", put you through the humiliating job-application process so that you'll feel grateful when you obtain a job you don't want at a pay rate you can barely live on.

Anyhoo. Jason is one of the above psychotics who do not loathe their work. He will tell you some crap about accomplishment, and self-worth, and blah, blah, blah, but between you and me, there are 2 basic reasons why Jason likes going to work:

1. At work, unlike home, he is the boss. He makes his own decisions. He tells people what to do, and they actually do it.

2. It gives him 8 Jamie-free hours per day, 5 days a week. Despite the fact that at work he deals with constant muzak, 100+ cranky employees, complainy customers, phone calls, emails, shipment, delivery, staff meetings and a thousand other distractions, he calls work "his quiet place."

But like all worker bees, he comes home to his Queen. His Queen, potential big-money-maker.

He never fails to ask, after his day at the office, "Did you write a best-seller today?"

I've never answered yes yet; most days, I can only say that I've written to his grandmother, and potentially she'll send another $12 cheque and a plea to keep Jesus in his heart on his next birthday.

But he's not discouraged. He believes.

He dreams of becoming a kept man. He calls me his "little investment"; he puts in a few solid years of work now so that I can stay home and write, and barring an alimony-free divorce, he'll be retired by the age of 30 with no more pressing constraints on his time than an 8-car garage filled with classic Jags and Beamers waiting to be rebuilt.

To his credit, he never tells people that I don't work. He actually refers to my writing as work, which, on the days that I eat Fritos and paint my toenails, makes me feel just a tad guilty. And I wonder how long he'll be so generous about our arrangement. When he turns 30 and our ability to eat still depends entirely on his paycheque, won't he start thinking that maybe it's time I pull my weight?

And then what? I have no skills! I have no experience! Resume is a dirty word to people like me.

And where did I get my princess presumptions anyway? My father was a trucker, for gawd's sake!

So basically, I'm screwed. I have roughly 4 years to either:

a) Leave Jason, poor schmuck, for a sugarier daddy.

b) Convince Jason that his manhood depends on his ability/willingness to provide.

c) Write a serious money-maker or exploit some other get-rich-quick scheme.

Unfortunately, many of these options sound a lot like work. Except for writing, of course. I happen to like writing, but only when I can write at my own pace. "Art should not be rushed" I say, but what I really mean is "I should not be rushed." And certainly, I have no idea how to write "popular" fiction, and have no particular inclination to do so anyway. The most highly printed material is The Bible, but it's been done to death. The second most printed piece is the Ikea catalogue, and frankly, I think I'd have a better chance with the religious stuff.

So there you have it, Jason.

Don't quit your day job.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Bunny Has Left the Building

Jason was lucky enough to procure himself a nice 4-day weekend, and then generous enough to give it away. I had suggested that since we would not be visiting family, perhaps one of the other managers would appreciate the opportunity. Of course, someone was all too eager to accept...but not for actual Easter purposes. Turns out, he had a hot date. His first hot date in 8 months.

"Oh, so you won't be going to church, then?" Jason inquired of him.

The guy paled ""

"Well then I don't think you should get the day off," Jason admonished.

The guy blanched before Jason admitted he was just fucking with him.

So instead of a holiday weekend, we dealt with this mess: Tuesday on, Wednesday off, Thursday on, Friday off, Saturday on, Sunday off, Monday on...whew. It's not so much the hassle than the fact that I can never remember if I should be waking up alone in bed or not.

The first Easter Jason and I were together, I got jewelry. The next 6 netted me nothing. "Except," Jason reminds me, "for the joy you get seeing me discover hundreds upon hundreds of chocolates." Oh right.

This year I hid 281 pieces of chocolate: big ones, small ones, caramel ones, peanut butter ones, slightly obscene ones. All the good hiding places were taken after the first 13, and I quickly morphed from the happy hippity-hop of the Easter bunny to the evil clop of the 3-horned devil woman. Meanwhile, Jason slept in bliss. Fucker.

Running solely on Diet Pepsi fumes after a solid 32 hours awake, the last 5 of which were spent kneading dough (ow, my freakin ulnas), I finally grabbed Jason's hunting bucket and headed for the room.

"Wake the fuck up" I told him, pleasantly. "It's Easter, goddammit, get your ass in gear."

He hunted like a trooper, I tell you. And in the end, 278 chocolates were found; 2 are still missing, one rolled under the furnace where it is probably meeting a bubbly fondu-like death as we speak.

And then, for the rest of the day, Jason repeated his 4 favourite words over and over and over and over:

"Can I eat this?"

"Can I eat this?"

"Can I eat this?"

"CAN I EAT THIS!?!?!?!"

So my new Easter tradition involves allowing him to burn the roof of his mouth severely on the first loaf of bread that comes out of the oven, and then secretly relishing his tears for the rest of the day as he contemplates all the delicious food he is too sore to eat. This may not catch on in other families, but I think it's a keeper at our house. An alternative to this tradition may involve raw lamb, but something tells me that puddles of chocolatey vomit all over my kitchen floors may deaden my appetite as well.

After supper, Jason's Momma called. She has a knack for calling as we're about to crack open a third bottle of wine, with hillllllllllllllarious results. Jason has the uncanny ability of chatting inanely with his mother while communicating with me via increasingly enthusiastic eye-rolling. Jason recounted the blow-by-blow of our herbarific Easter meal, which Jason's Mom found to be very non-traditional. Of course, her idea of traditional includes ham, potatoes, and macaroni salad, to which Jason shouted "A fine feast for the plebs!"

Hehe. Plebs. That's like, practically my favourite word. I taught him that. I also taught him to be a snob. It's tough to teach a boy who will wear buckets on his head to be a snob, but he's learning. In fact, it's illegal for me to publish the word he called her when she confessed that she was reading a Danielle Steele.

All told, it was a fun, funny weekend, barring that one incident with the new neighbour whom we've not yet met but who now knows where and how I wanted Jason's penis "in the next 5 minutes or else." And after we sizzled, we baked. Baking with Jason is an exercise in patience; baking for Jason is an exercise in futility. No matter what I bake, or how much, it may as well not exist because it's already gone. I baked an apple pie on Thursday. He ate half for dessert, and half for breakfast the next morning. For Easter we baked a white chocolate raspberry swirl cake. It's too bad I liked it because I sure as hell will never get another taste.

"Can I eat this?"

"Yes, Jason, if you can find room for it in your tummy, you can eat that."

Even after 8 pounds of chocolate, 4 lamb chops, and a loaf of bread, he found room not just for a piece, but for two. And if I'm not mistaken, I can hear the familiar noise of someone raiding the fridge right now...and I doubt he's in there for the cauliflower.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Easter: Not Just For Kids Anymore.

Two summers ago, my mother desperately needed my help and she didn't even know it. Her kitchen was calling, no, crying, for a clean sweep. As it happens, I am a fabulous clean sweeper, which means I can ruthlessly assess the usefulness of every item in my or anyone else's house, and mercilessly throw out every last thing that serves no real purpose. My mother's kitchen served no real purpose.

Since the dawning of ages, mankind has mocked my mother's cooking. She knew how to make 2 things: charred black crap, and boiled potatoes. And that's what we ate every single day until my mother discovered the frozen food aisle, and then we feasted on the likes of chicken nuggets and tater tots. The frozen food aisle was for a long time the best thing to ever happened to our family.

I had a sneaking suspicion that underneath the burnt stuff, my mother might actually be harboring the likes of chicken, steak, or pork chops, and I strongly suspected that these things, - called meat, as it turns out - might be unearthed if only my mother stopped using the warbly pots that were too warped to sit straight on the burner and had no less than 30 years worth of accumulated scorch marks on the bottom and no handle left except for a nub that was too hot to handle and too weak to even try.

So I clean swept her kitchen, starting with those pots, and including jars of NutriSystem milkshake powder that expired in 1993; pieces of tupperware that were lidless, stained, and disfigured from too many micro-waves; dusty mugs featuring gouges so large they had been mangling the lips of coffee drinkers for generations; 7 out of the 8 sugar bowls I found scattered throughout the cupboards, reasoning that since my mother appeared not to keep sugar in the house, she probably didn't need all 8; and no less than 37 knives that came in varying states of disrepair: some were so dull they couldn't slice through water, some had lost their handles, some were so rusted I believed them to be ancient artifacts unearthed from the backyard, but no, my mother assured me they dated from no further back than my great-grandmother's wedding shower.

My mother, for some reason, was particularly attached to the 37 knives she no longer used, and I had to fight tooth and nail to have them tossed. However, the one thing that my mother did see fit for the garbage I immediately plucked back out. It was this:

Okay, okay, it's nothing special to look at. It's a piece of 80s artisan crap. It's ugly and it's hand made and I would never look twice at this thing because it's the kind it kitchsy crap I'm allergic to. BUT, it was made by my mother's hands. She painted it in her early 20s and it has been a part of our family's Easter since as far back as I can remember. My mother was always very generous about hiding chocolates around the house for us kids, but every year, this egg would sit on the kitchen table, and on Easter morning it would be filled with candy that my mother assured us was the Easter Bunny's concession to grown-ups and was to be eaten by adults only.

So ugly or not, I remembered this egg fondly and was appalled that while she had held on for dear life to a motor-oil sponsored calendar from 1988, she had so cavalierly thrown out the closest thing our family has to an heirloom. And then I found this:

For more than 2 decades that egg sat filled with parents-only chocolate, and I never looked too closely at it. But the day it ended up in the garbage was the day I discovered that it had been a very early present from my mom. Since there are only 2 names on the egg, that means it is probably circa 1983, which dates it back to the Easter-bonnet picture from yesterday's post. I don't ever remember having seen the inscription before then.

My mother would have been 22 years old, which is a few years younger than I am now. It gives a small ache to my heart to picture this young woman at pottery class making a present for her 2 babies, who were probably spending the evening at grandma's house. It's hard to imagine that your parents were ever young, were ever anything like you. But this egg reminds me of how young she was when she had her kids (she had 4 kids under the age of 5 just weeks after she turned 26). Certainly, she spent her early 20s differently than I am. She was pregnant most of the time, she changed diapers (and washed diapers...she didn't use cloth exclusively, but she did use them), she nursed 4 kids and 1 husband through the chicken pox, she made bland boiled potatoes every night, and went to PTA meetings when she could.

I see myself hanging on to immaturity as best as I can, romping about in puddles and hiding eggs for my husband, and it contrasts violently to my mother, thrust into maturity. That little egg on the table was the only tie to her young womanhood. While she spent time find 4 dresses, 4 pairs of frilly socks (or white tights, depending on the weather), 4 pairs of dress shoes that didn't pinch our toes, 4 Easter bonnets in colours we wouldn't fight over, I am spending the same time in my life doing things far more self-indulgent.

Yesterday, Jason and I decided to try our hand at decorating eggs, something neither of us had done before. I bought a kit that promised "swirls of dazzling colour" but actually netted "blobs of baby-shit green." First we emptied the eggs of their contents via the very interesting blow-the-egg method. Then we bobbed some eggs into the disappointing dye, hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but instead being incredibly unsurprised by the less than dazzling results. Then we abandoned the dye (well, after bathing in vegetable oil to rid ourselves of the water-soluble mess), and used markers and paints instead. We made margaritas and laughed all night long at our lack of artistic skills, and it struck me how differently this night was for me than it must have been for my mother at her pottery class.

It would have been a rare night off from the kids, but it was not spent with her husband. Married 4 years at this point, I don't ever remember my mother and father laughing together, or going out of their way to share time together. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that my father isn't my (or my mother's, or anyone's) favourite person, but even in the days before divorce and disaccord, I don't remember them as a happy couple.

She was 22 years old. She must have had hopes and dreams. She must have wondered about her future. As she hid eggs for us to find the next morning, I am certain that she loved her kids, but I wonder if she loved her life. I wonder if she felt like she was living for herself, or for her kids. I wonder if she ever felt regret, or if she felt trapped, or if she ever cried alone, frightened of what she'd gotten into. We spend an awful lot of time living in very close quarters with our parents, but do we ever really know them?

This Easter will be just for Jason and I. I haven't spoken to my mother in 15 months, I think. Some days I really miss her, and some days I remember why we aren't speaking and I hurt all over again, and some days I don't think of her at all. But through the marvels of garbage-picking, the egg has been salvaged and sits in my house now. I look at the egg and I remember what it meant to my family, and I feel closer to her now than I have in years.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter comes but once a year, but the chocolate you eat will stay on your hips forever.

What the hell ever happened to the Easter bonnet? When I was a kid, all 4 of us little girls (my sisters and I) would line up in our fancy dresses, with our little white socks with the ruffle trim folded down over our patent leather shoes, and my mother would curl our bangs just so, thus ensuring that our hair would be worthy and do justice to our Easter bonnets.

This picture was taken in 1984 when there were still only 2 of us, and only 1 of us had hair enough to curl, but by god we wore our bonnets, with all the frills upon it. We were the grandest ladies at the Easter parade. I sometimes think that my sisters and I were the last kids to ever wear the Easter bonnet because I haven't seen it since.

Another Easter staple of my childhood was the poncho. The Easter poncho (hand knitted, of course) was especially exciting because we certainly didn't get to wear it just any old Easter. No, it had to be a very mild Easter indeed where we would be granted permission to wear the Poncho instead of the dreaded "dress coat" that we'd been wearing to church all winter long. You see, my mother was one of those militant types who strongly believed that if we didn't wear coats, we would all die messy, phlegmy deaths. So the poncho was a treat. It meant spring, and relief, was here.

We always hunted for eggs in the morning, even when we were all cranky teenagers and we didn't wake before noon anymore. This being Canada, we only hunted indoors, but my mother must have hidden hundreds of eggs around the house, some of which were never found, and are probably still rotting in dark crevices of that old house today (don't worry - we never used real eggs as some families do; we were strictly into chocolate). I never found as many eggs as the others because I am not a morning person and not particularly industrious either. Not to worry; my mother always insisted we dump the eggs into one communal basket and "share". Hah.

We often would receive small presents in addition to chocolate.

In 1990, as you can see, we received neon sunglasses. What you can't see is that we also got neon sandals to match. Styling. Often we would receive some "spring" toys, like bubble wands, skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk, and butterfly nets (which, though we never caught any butterflies, we often came home with toads, much to my mother's dismay).

This was also the Easter that my baby sister, then 3, caught the chicken pox and generously gave it to my father. While the rest of us ate ham, the two of them soaked in a baking soda-bath that didn't do much to relieve the itching. The rest of us tried to feign sympathy as we strutted about in our ponchos, caught toads, and pretended to eat all the chocolate.

When I was a teenager, I began to think that perhaps 13 lbs of chocolate was not the best thing for my waist line. Ingeniously, my mother took it upon herself to hide fruit that year. Of course, it's much harder to hide a watermelon than a tiny chocolate egg, and the results were as preposterous as you are imagining. I also had little use for frog-catching paraphenalia and my bonnet days were over (as I was then going through a bit of a mohawk phase), so my mother started me on my Easter purse collection.

It's so fuzzy and pink, could it be anything other than an Easter purse? I think not. It's also so impractical that if I didn't limit my usage of it to 2 or 3 days per year, it would either drive me mad, or turn into Easter garbage. It didn't come with money, it came with "cotton candy" pink hair dye inside - just the perfect colour to for ushering in spring.

This is my best-loved Easter handbag. The pastel beading reminds me of an Easter egg. This one I "inherited" from a deceased woman who had no further use for it. I've since seen other antique Goldco bags on ebay, but I've yet to see this exact one...and yes, I do wish I had the Easter bonnet to match.

These days I have relinquished my role as Easter egg hunter because I have become the Easter egg hider. No, I don't have children, but I do have a husband who missed out on some key elements of his childhood and as long as they involve chocolate, he is more than happy to relive them. If we're brave (or drunk), we may even try our hand at dying some eggs, because frankly, the stain-to-furniture ratio has been appallingly low lately, and let's face it, now that I've posted the neon glasses, what's left for next year? I'll turn out my famous Easter cakes and keep none for myself, watch Jason blow up Peeps in the microwave, and maybe, just maybe, I'll go outside without my coat.

Please feel free to share your own Easter memories/plans/traditions in the comments section.

And remember, real men hunt with a bucket, not with a basket.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Best $75 000 I Ever Spent.

When I first went to that great institution of booze, blow jobs, and brainwashing, er, higher learning (called University), I moved into a glorified hole optimistically named Residence. Ah, residence, hallowed place where I showered in special shoes, drank Crown Royal for supper, and learned 101 more uses for shaving cream.

I lasted a month.

Which is not to say that residence was too much for me. The truth of the matter was, someone just couldn't live without me. So he threw caution to the wind and "rescued" me from the mysterious stains of Stanton Res and whisked me off to a comparatively luxurious apartment (read: a shoebox that cost as much as a 7-bedroom home, but which we loved anyway).

In some ways, that month spent living communally was one of the craziest I've ever survived. We wore beer steins on lanyards (in those days the University actually provided you with a plastic beer mug to wear around your neck - it meant beer at half price in the Byward Market); we collected pictures of topless Sunshine Boys, scissored out of the local news rag; we saved each other repeatedly from the dusty bowels of the research library and from the nerdy Carleton engineering students who tried to grope above their league. We lived intimately among strangers and became fast friends.

And then, as quickly as we had moved all of my shit up 8 flights of stairs (of course the elevator was out on moving day!), we moved it back down. Jason and I rented a big truck we couldn't drive and made 3 stops in 2 cities, covering several hundred kilometres during which it was often touch-and-go for my goldfish who weathered the move in a margarine container in my lap.

After 13 exhausting hours of hauling furniture in the rain (uphill both ways), we craved only sleep (and maybe some chicken), but instead we were treated to a going away party thrown by the 8th floor. Of course, people from several floors up and several floors down came too. I was hungry enough to eat an ox, but instead I had a very stiff rye&coke (well, whiskey and diet pepsi, actually), you know, the kind that you mix yourself in 40oz cups on my empty stomach, and then another, and then another.

And then a funny thing happened. A rainbow fell out of my mouth. Well, maybe not a real rainbow, but the vomit was so colourful it sure looked pretty. I spent the entirety of my own going away party on the floor of a public washroom. It was a multi-stall facility, but apparently I locked the main door and for the next several hours, as I fell in and out of consciousness, friends would politely knock and inquire as to the state of my rainbows.

Meanwhile, Jason had not quite reached the rainbow stage. However, he had reached the "it seems like a good idea to climb into this shopping cart and let other people race me" stage. He ripped a really expensive pair of pants that night.

When the sun was coming up and very few people remained standing, I bid them all adieu. I somehow managed to leave my toilet-fortress in order to thank my guests for such a fond farewell, but what I did not so adeptly manage was to stand on my own 2 feet. Soon I found myself splayed on the floor, my sexy backless dress failing me in every way imaginable (but please, for the love of god, try not to imagine this).

Long story short, the next day I resolved to start wearing underwear again.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Futility of Recycling

Apparently Michigan was getting fed up of dealing with our stinky Toronto garbage, or else our rotting heaps were getting too hefty to haul all the way to Michigan, but either way, the powers that be decided that they were spending too much money on stuff we don't even want anymore.

This sparked a renewed recycling initiative in the GTA. To reduce the amount of waste we threw to the curb, the city implemented a compost program in addition to the recycling program. To discourage us from cheating, they limited garbage pick-up to one bag per household every 2 weeks. Now, normally I wouldn't mind. I have always been a first-rate recycler. So every day Jason asks me "what is this?" and I tell him which box to put it in - brown, green, or blue. The rules are impossibly complicated, and the garbage men are finicky. If you don't tape up your cardboard in just such a way, then their superior garbage morality prohibits them from taking it. The grocery stores around here sell special bags for your compost, made of supposedly special plastic that looks the same but certainly costs more, but you don't have to use them, and in fact if you have more compost than fits in your compost bin, then you must put the additional stuff in clear plastic bags, while the green compost bags that you paid extravagant amounts for are of no use.

Still, we persevere. Jason hasn't caught on, of course. He doesn't know where coffee grinds go, and it doesn't make sense to him that a foil plate is recyclable while tin foil is not. It doesn't make much sense to me either, but luckily I have a knack for remembering senseless things.

Our upstairs neighbours, however, are hostile to the idea. If we don't fill our compost bin to the top, then they see this as an invitation to load it up with their own garbage. In fact, on a few occasions, we've caught them putting our compost in our garbage, and putting their garbage in our compost. That is, until one of other neighbours stole our compost bin, because these things cost money to replace you know, and obviously the city thinks that even though they've imposed on our very lifestyles just to do this crazy thing that is useless anyway when your neighbours are insane, but they think we the taxpayers should continue to pay out of pocket for the privilege of sorting through our own trash.

Now, I could deal with all of that, if it wasn't for this:

Do you know what they do with my recyclables? The cardboard, which I have lovingly collected, grudgingly sorted and assembled, and crankily tied up with tape or string, is taken away, reverted to pulp, and sold away so it can be turned into a recycled paper product.

My plastics are melted down and made into new plastics.

My compostables, which include very personal things like tissues, dirty diapers, and nail clippings, are piled into a dung heap where they eventually become fertilizer.

The city makes money on converting my trash, and then it sells it back to me AT FULL PRICE. I am paying money for the pleasure of re-receiving my own garbage. I think we citizens should be charging them to come get our valuable shitty diapers and half-eating apples. This stuff is pure gold, baby, and we're giving it away! And even worse, we're buying it back! And we don't even get a price break!

If this is not the definition of pure insanity, then I don't know what is. Citizens, it is time to take back our refuse! Demand a fair price for the goldmines in our glad bags. For years they have pretended that garbage pick-up was a favour bestowed upon the taxpayers, but now we know the truth! Garbage is a booming economy, and we're giving away our stocks for free! We are the shareholders of our own slop. Unite, fellow garbage producers, and make your garbage work for you.

And remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - MY ASS!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

International Ball Dropping Day

Sure we like the horny geese, and washing the car, flirty skirts and flip-flops (though I still do my walking in boots, thankyouverymuch), and being out in the nice weather (at least until it's sprinkler time again) - but we also like spring on behalf of Jason's balls, which believe me, appreciate it more than you can know.

You see, though I complain immensely about the cold, cold weather outside, I cannot help but invite it in. I resent having to wear a coat out of doors, but indoors, I MUST be wrapped in a blanket in order to be comfortable. This means that all winter long, the windows have been wide open. The average temperature in my house is somewhere below freezing - I know this because every morning I have to defrost the shampoo before I use it. We can often see our breath fog up the frigid air as we speak. The furniture tends to collect frost overnight. The upside is that during winter, we don't have to pay to refrigerate our meat, because in essence, our apartment becomes a meat-locker, and Jason and I are the prime cuts. I like it that way.

Jason, however, is a warm-blooded creature, and functions best if his blood is still warm enough to flow through his veins. He becomes incensed on the mornings where I have to revive him, even when I tell him that blue lips are sexy. He finds it painful to urinate peesicles, and inconvenient to wear more than 8 pairs of socks at a time. Complain, complain, complain! That's all he's done all winter long (well, except for January, when he caught pneumonia, and all he did was shiver and wheeze). Personally, I think Jason is just a big baby, but I'll give him this: I have missed his balls. In the transitional period of October, his balls just shrink in reaction to the cold, but by November, they tuck themselves back up into his body and hibernate there. Once inverted ball syndrome has set in, those suckers will not descend until the warm weather is assured.

Jason, of course, blames me. Me! Me, his favourite testicle tickler, his cajones caresser, nut nudger, scrotum stroker. Me! Life is so unfair. Frankly, I think the cold is only a convenient excuse. I personally think the disappearance of his balls has more to do with his recent interest in emo music and the amount of time spent preening in front of the mirror.

However, discussing the situation with Kim, we decided it would be "nice" of me to encourage their descent, and that perhaps with the help of the blogging community, we could get those suckers down for good.

So, towards this end, I propose this: if you have any pity for Jason's balls, you'll link back to this post, and maybe tell your own readers about his missing appendages. Feel free to include any male that you know who's also been suffering sans scrotum these past few months. The linking part is easy, this second part will require a bit more effort, but please, think of the balls! You know in Finding Neverland, the audience claps to show that they believe in fairies...well, Jason's not a fairy. Just a man without his balls. So instead of clapping, I ask you to cross your legs. Cross them right now, and cross them good, and for the love of balls, think happy testicle thoughts. Go!

Go forth in peace, and spread the joy that is International Ball Dropping Day. If you've done me the favour of a link, be sure and let me know (comments, email, trackback) and you'll have earned yourself not just my thanks, not just Jason's balls' freedom, but a link and a mention in the section below. Then we can visit each others' sites and revel in the ballsy love.

Testicle Power!

Visit Kim's ode to this happy day.

St. Jude does her saintly duty - does this make her the patron saint of testicles now?

John heats things up with spring fever.

Nicole bemoans Jason's fate under her toilet-humour-du-jour.

Warcry Girl helps us Spring Forward!, and even offers an anthem.

Michelle offers up In Search of Big Balls, which makes me a little nervous. How big is BIG?

DB writes about another man's balls in I Must Be Nuts.

Thank you Candace for taking part.

Better Safe Than Sorry wishes Jason success and thermal underwear.

Vince lends his sympathy.

Ellen has the balls to remind us of her own story.

Antipo promises to send only her "perviest" readers, for which I am eternally grateful.

Junebugg lends moral support - kind of like an emotional jockstrap, if you will.

Therese provide an 'unrelated' note.

Fairydragonfly hears my plea for help.

Tupperfan chimes in with his original take on "teabagging".

Bud Buckley takes a time out from singing to send me a link.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Has Sprung, So Sayeth I.

Well, okay, the calendar says it too. But screw the calendar. The calendar doesn't make it so. The sky might still shit down snow as hard as ever, and the calendar couldn't do a damn thing about it. But when I decide spring is here, I break out the flip flops and start dragging Jason across the countryside and if spring doesn't like it, spring can just kiss my butt.

We went to the Milne Dam Conservation Park that snakes around Rouge River, which Jason took issue with because it's not so much "in the bush" as an "urban park" which is not as naturerrific as we would have liked, but when you live in the city, you have to be thankful for any grass or trees you get.

Jason calls the roots "nature's staircase" which is sweet until they try to trip you up, which, if you're me, they absolutely do. For some reason we took the path less trampled, which led us down a very steep slope that culminated in the world's tiniest ledge, where we used only our big toes to shimmy ourselves across. Somehow, I managed to cross this treacherous bit, and when we were on firmer land, I toppled over, ass into mud, hair into brambles, and then I just kind of kept rolling down until my left side found wet. "It's okay," I shouted "spring is in my pants!"

And I had the pleasure of carrying around a sopping amount of spring for the duration of our hike.

The geese were honking like mad. I could only imagine how painfully horny they were based on these honks, which I assumed were the equivalent of a weathered-looking 40 year old woman squeezed into pleather, body glitter spread across the cleavage of her sagging bosom, looking for love in all the wrong places. Or they were just honking. It's hard to tell.

It was a sort of fabulous day in the end, even if I did come home with bog cultures in my pockets. There weren't many other people out save for a couple of cute men who held hands when they weren't bird watching so we had nature (or the urban version of nature) to ourselves. It was a little soggier than usual, and certainly more brown than green, but a breath of fresh air all the same.