Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Squirrel Nurser

Steve and Lola are looking out the kitchen's east window. Staccato tails twitch back and forth in tandem - something is definitely up. I figure it's our resident chipmunk taunting them from below the window.

"What's going on guys?" I ask, giving them both a scritch behind their ears before looking down.

My hand cames up to my mouth. Not a taunting chipmunk. A dead squirrel. A dead little squirrel. Flat upon our gravel driveway.

"Oh no," I say.

"What? What is it?" David asks from the loveseat.

"There's a dead squirrel outside."


We allow a silent moment of commiseration to make its way through the room. I look back out the window.



"Not dead. It's not dead!" I watch as the supposedly flattened squirrel struggles up before lurching to drag itself under our Honda Civic.  "Oh, buddy. Not there. Don't go under the car. It's not going to be safe under the car."

"Leave it be," says David. "Heather, do not touch that squirrel." (One episode with feral kittens and subsequent rabies shots and I'm no longer given a lot of leeway with wild animals.)

"I won't. It's mother might be around."

I wait. I wait an entire 17 minutes before I go out and lie on the driveway, feeling the gravel leave its imprint on my stomach. Squinting, I can see the squirrel tucked in by the front right tire. It's still, not making a sound. If it's dead I'm going to have to move it so that we don't inadvertently squish it's little squirrelly corpse. I shudder at the thought.  I look around. No mother squirrel anywhere.  Our driveway is not close to any real foliage - no overhanging branches - just three car lengths of gravel. 100 feet to the south, the bottom of the yard has trees and then 100 feet to the north there are more trees.

I go back inside.  I sit. I try to read.  I play Scrabble on Facebook, comment on some posts before I walk nonchalantly towards the dishtowel drawer.

"Don't you even think about it," says David.

"If it's dead, I don't want it to get squished."

"If it's alive, you're going to get bitten."

Temporarily deaf, I grab a tea towel and head back outside. The squirrel has crawled out from under the car and is again lying flat on the driveway. It doesn't even twitch as I approach.  Using the dishtowel as a makeshift glove I scoop up the squirrel. It barely struggles. I cradle the towel against my chest. This is bad. Wild animals don't like to be touched - it's letting me touch it. This sucker is going to die and I'm going to see it happen.

"Uhhhhh... David? Can you, uh... would you grab another towel and maybe the cushions from the storage unit?"

David sticks his head outside, takes one look and rolls his eyes. He then disappears for a moment before coming back with a hand towel from the 1/2 bath.  He's shaking his head as he pulls the outdoor cushions out and places them on the outdoor sofa. I very gently wrap the second towel around the first one and lower myself onto the sofa. The squirrel doesn't move. I open the tea towel and look down.

I touch a finger to its head. Nothing. I contemplate asking David for a miniature hand mirror so that I can check that it's still breathing, when it shifts slightly. Still alive.

"Would you grab me a syringe with some water?" I ask. The squirrel opens its eyes, giving me a paralyzed look of horror. "It's okay buddy. We're just going to get you some water so that you don't become squirrel jerky." My suggestion doesn't seem to impress it. 

"If I were a syringe, where would I be?" David asks. 

"Maybe in the first aid kit?  Oh, or maybe above the stove where the pet pill crusher is."

He returns with the syringe.

The squirrel lets me drop water into its mouth before burrowing down into the tea towel, nuzzling into my cleavage and closing its eyes. I look down at him and I swear to God, my boobs start to tingle. 

"Oh, good God," I say.


"You know how when I see a nursing Mom, my boobs get all tingly and I feel like I might actually have milk?"

"You're not."

"I am."

David winces. "Uhhhhh... You, uhhhh... You're not..."

"Dude, I'm not going to try and nurse a baby squirrel. I'm just saying that my boobs are going all maternal on me. Besides, if we're being 100% frank here, this sucker wouldn't get 1/8 of my nipple in its mouth. Plus... squirrel teeth."

"Just when I think you won't go past a line..."

I enjoy a squirrel nap in our backyard before Rissa and her boyfriend name the wee rodent Edwin Von Lichtenstein. We foster Edwin for the weekend before David transports him to a Wildlife Centre where he is placed with other adolescent squirrels. This was his last feeding before we said goodbye. Godspeed Edwin.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Anorexic Caterpillars

Rissa is taking up all the space in front of the bathroom sink - arranging her eyebrows.

"Excuse me hon," I politely request - reaching for the taps so that I can wash my hands.

"Sorry..." She scoots out of the way, allowing me full tap access, before returning to the mirror with tweezers in hand.

Moments later, I remember having caught a whiff of my armpits as I left the bed. They really need a good wash... with soap.

"Excuse me," I repeat, reaching for the soap at the edge of the sink.

"Sorry..." She twists her body to allow me entry to the water once more, while somehow managing to maintain full facial focus in the mirror.

As I dry my pits and hands, she moves back to glue herself against the vanity - sheer concentration on her face as she landscapes the browal region.

I'm not going to ask a third time, it would just be mean. I reach under her for the toothpaste and toothbrush and covertly turn on the water.

"Sorry, sorry," she says, stepping back again, giving me full use of the sink so that I can spit. "I just can't see if I'm farther away from the mirror and if I have my glasses on then I can't control the tweezing /slash/ makeup process." She has now grabbed her eyebrow pencil and is applying it with determined precision.

"Ahhhhh... Totally makes sense when you put it that way. I do find it strange though that the only makeup you apply is to your eyebrows."

"It's all because before I grew them out* I used to have anorexic caterpillars for eyebrows," she says, now pulling clear eyebrow gel from its tube. "With really LARGE heads."

I snort.

"It's true! Remember? They used be all anemic and anorexic... Like caterpillars trying to fit into a dress from three years ago, but finding out it's way too tight and they end up looking like this..."

*To encourage her anorexic caterpillars to have a healthy BMI - Rissa spent our European vacation last year growing them out over a three week period - where only strangers could watch the process.

Monday, August 21, 2017

VERY deep thoughts.

"You look like you're having deep, introspective thoughts," says David. We sit with Rissa, waiting for her first university tour.

"Hmmmm...?" I am, indeed, lost in thought - imagining a future where my daughter is not a daily presence.

"You're looking very deep," David continues.

I snort.


"All I can think now is that I'm DEEEEEEEEEP."


"Like I have a very cavernous vagina."

"Argh..." Rissa shakes her head.

"Like a...?!?"

"I have hidden depths!  My vagina is so deep, it's contemplative. Great pub name - The Contemplative Vagina. There'd be lots of deep pinks and roses. "

"Uhhhh...." David guppies.

"My vagina philosophizes."

"No it does not, and you may not share its philosophy with anyone on the tour!" states Rissa.

"How deep is my love, how deep is my love..."

Go to 0:49 to get to the punch line.

Husband and daughter might give themselves brain aneurysms from eye rolls at this point.

"I really need to know... but can one really measure a cavernous vagina?"

Rissa is now banging her head on the back of her Adirondack chair.


"Ouch," says Rissa. "You'd need to take off the pointy bits."

"And a protractor for the angle.  To get a full picture. It'd be useful in women's studies. WE COULD CHART THE G-SPOT!"

"No we cannot," from Rissa.

"Next time I'm at airport security I'm going to volunteer for the full body scan and request a print out of the results."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Destruction of Generation Z.

It might take a village to raise a child, but God forbid if you actually attempt it in North America. 

Parenting in the new Millennium seems to have taken on the Three Monkeys approach: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. 

Parents have become myopic helicopters hovering over their children's playgrounds, test scores and job interviews. The result? You can't swing a selfie-stick without hitting an entitled, self-serving Millennial or Gen Zer who is in no way ready for the real world. Basically our generation is fucking over our children's generation  - all in the name of supportive parental love.

I never thought I'd become that vintage dinosaur.  "Back in the day..." if any of my parents' friends saw me fucking up, I'd get called out on it and after I took that deserved tongue lashing, I'd get to tell my parents what I'd done. Now? Our village is more apt to speak up about strangers' kids than friends' kids. When a child's safety is in question? Folks mobilize. That kid left in the backseat - the child teetering on the edge of the sea wall? Emergency Services are called and the parents are virally shamed. But with friends' kids? When their kid is behaving abominably, when they themselves are sucking at their job? Surreptitious, eye-rolling silence.  You don't mess with other people's parenting. It's the unspoken rule. "Darling, it just isn't done." 

Why not? Why can't we tell our best friend that their kid is a whiny asshole? In the nicest way possible, of course. Why aren't we speaking up? Why do we not call out our friends' bad parenting choices - when they allow their 7 year old to take them hostage because they don't want to cause a public scene? When they do their kid's homework so that little Morgan gets her 'A.'

Isn't it our job as parents to raise contributing and functional members of society? Can't we help each other do that? We're not supposed to be their best friends, we're supposed to teach them not to be dicks. For every autonomous young adult, it seems as if there are three more absolute dicks beside them. 

So, no, your kid doesn't get a ribbon just for showing up. Mediocrity isn't something that should be celebrated. Having a cell phone active in class is not a requirement. Your kid is in school, learning - if it's an emergency the office will contact her! Didn't you see Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Please don't call to negotiate with potential bosses when your kid fails at a job interview. You're ensuring that they will NEVER be considered for employment. Don't text your 19 year old every five minutes while they are at their summer job - they are fully capable of putting in a full day's work without communicating with you.

Kids need to fail to thrive. They really do. Failure will help them learn. They need to be able to regroup on their own. Allow them the opportunity to make mistakes in safe ways, like not studying for a quiz and roiling in the "12% OF MY FINAL GRADE!" panic when they get that D+. Sure, you can proofread their essay, but don't rewrite it for them. They can do it. I promise you. Kids are resilient. They're smart. They can multi-task, plan and figure shit out. They're the future -  please, for the love of all that's holy in the universe - don't fuck it up for all of us.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The tilted tata - using transformational positioning to achieve a youthful bosom

"Do you think we can take tasteful pictures of my breasts?"

David perks up. "Most certainly."

"For public consumption?"


"You know, for my blog..."

"Ummmmm..." His mouth opens and closes. "Don't get me wrong.  I am ALL for your breasts being on display. But... why do you want to have tasteful breast pictures on your blog?"

"I want to discuss breast balance with visual aids."

"Ahhhh... Might I say again... I am all for your breasts and your right to proudly display them in the public domain... I just worry that if you have pictures of your breasts on your blog that you will then get blocked because of nudity... frankly, because of nipples. Breast health sites get blocked because of the nipples."

"Well that's ridiculous.  They're just nipples. On breasts. Which 50% of the adult population has."

"And I reiterate, I am all for them being out there."

"It's not like I'm filming myself having sex - I'm not going to be playing with my breasts in the pictures."

David had not anticipated this escalation. "Uhhhhh...."

"I just want pictures. I want to compare the breast balance."


"Yes, comparative balance.  When lying on your back, most middle-aged breasts C cup or higher, pretty much slide into your armpits. I have discovered that there is a particular ribcage roll combined with torso tilt that gives the appearance of youthful firmness so that your breast - because it only works for one breast at a time - resembles a vintage jello mold."

"Is that what you're doing when you say 'Look at this! Look at this!' in bed?" David asks.

"Most of the time, yeah."

"I think for this particular post to work, and by that I mean so that you don't get blocked and you don't get a bunch of whack - pardon the pun - jobs stalking you, you'll have to take euphemistic pictures."

My eyes light up.  "That I can do."

As I'm gathering up my visual aids, David comes back into the room with his phone in hand.  "I found a level app that should help, lie down on the carpet."

That right there? That's why our marriage works.

With this app placed on my chest, we discovered that a
16 degree ribcage roll  with 3 degree torso tilt helps
 my breast achieve faux firmness. The level that
resembles a breast? An unexpected bonus.

Friday, June 30, 2017

And that's why you need to know your prices...

If I'm walking funny today, it's because I've been well and truly fucked. $13.38 folks.  I spent $13.38 on 1.365 kg of gluten free flour.* I thought I was doing the right thing, I really did. I thought that buying all purpose, gluten free flour at the Bulk Barn had to be cheaper than getting the Robin Hood all purpose gluten free flour at No Frills. It's BULK for fuck's sake!

Yes, I should have known better.  I've been burned by the Bulk Barn before. I've come out with a handful of pecans and a bill for $17.72, I've spent $25 to decorate a $5.25 gingerbread house. 

Used to be that I'd buy 5 different types of gluten free flours/starches at the Bulk Barn and mix 'em all up at home in my big-ass mixing bowl - rice/corn/sorghum/potato/tapioca residue coating my already pasty white body.  After filling glass jars with my newly amalgamated all-purpose flour, I'd jump into the shower - a gluten free, sticky mess. But lately, I've been lazy. Like teenaged sloth lazy. I've been buying the Robin Hood flour at No Frills during my regular shop for an astonishing $6.49 for 907 g.  

"Highway robbery!!" 
I would say to myself every time it landed in my shopping cart. Though the ease, and frankly, cleanliness, of not having to mix the flours on a Sunday morning before a batch of homemade pancakes was totally worth it. It'd given up my bulk mix dreams.

But last night, I had to go to the Bulk Barn anyway. You know, for macaroni cheese sauce and apparently... popcorn salt, because it caught my eye and I'm in a constant state of salt craving.  Before I knew it, I was sashaying down that gluten free aisle.  I'll just look, I thought. I'll comparison shop. Trouble is, because my middle-aged/peri-menopausal brain can no longer retain information, I couldn't remember the Robin Hood cost per 100 grams (even though I specifically looked at it on Monday at the grocery store), nor could I actually remember how many grams were in Robin's relatively tiny bag.

Turns out? Big Baking has beat Bulk. That Robin Hood bag of gluten free flour with xanthan gum already mixed in? It's 20 cents cheaper per 100g than buying bulk flours at the Bulk Barn. I would have actually SAVED money, had I spent that money at the grocery store.

Paying through the nose for specialty ingredients and then paying an extra fucking $2.76 at a place that is supposed to save a gal money?!?

*calming breath*

Okay. It's only $2.76 more. Put into my evidently hormonal perspective, it's less than a Fleur de Sel Lindt bar on sale at Shopper's Drugmart. I'm still saving money by baking from scratch even with Bulk Barn's exorbitantly priced, ready-made flour melange. That flour in my cupboard will be able to make at least four pancake breakfasts, several dozen cookies and assorted other baked goods - which if I were to purchase already baked, gluten-free goods, would be 2 boxes of Wow's Key Lime cookies. Don't even get me started on what a pre-made loaf of bread 1/3 the size of a regular  loaf of bread will cost you, I just got my blood pressure down.

*For those who believe that gluten free is just a fad/scam and doesn't really have an effect on people and I could be saving many dollars simply by not using gluten free flour in the first place?  Watch me eat a hotdog in a white bun.  I'll be high after 3.5 minutes. It will last about 1/2 an hour and then I start crying. It's a favourite thing for my boss to watch at company BBQs.

Friday, June 23, 2017

lyrical opposition

"I've figured it out!!" I exclaim.

"You have?  That's great!" says David.

"Figured what out?" asks Rissa.

"It's 'take-a-chance, take-a-chance, take-a-take-a-chance-chance!"

"Runh?" from Rissa.  

His interest now piqued, David stops mid-sandwich prep.

I clarify. "I'm playing ABBA on repeat in the car. I've never been able to sing along with the boys' part for "Take a Chance on Me." So I was listening really hard today and I've got it.  And though it seems as if it's 'take-a-chance, take-a-chance, take-a-chance-chance-chance' in actuality it's not 'chance-chance-chance.' There's another syllable in the phrase and only two 'chances'.  It's 'take-a-chance, take-a-chance, take-a-take-a-chance-chance'! "

David and Rissa are looking at me like I'm nuts. Disbelieving eyebrows grace David's forehead. "Nu-unh," he says.  "It's 'take-a-chance, take-a-chance, chick-a-chick-a-chance-chance.' "

I take a moment to try it out his way.  "Yeah, it works rhythmically, but why would it be 'chick-a-chick-a-chance-chance'? There's no 'k' in 'chance'."

David is stymied for a moment.  He immediately googles the song.

"It would be if chicken were singing the song," Rissa pipes in.

The sounds of ABBA fill the kitchen. We all close our eyes and listen, tilting our heads to one side, ensuring complete comprehension of syllables.  After a couple of verses we turn it off.

"It could be either/or," I say.

"Yeah," says David.  "Take-a and chick-a are very similar."

"Don't discount if chickens are singing it," says Rissa.