Thursday, December 8, 2016

The alarm cat





Oh, for the love of...

Meow... meow...meow...meeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwww.

I look over at the clock.  7:17.  What the?   CRAP!  I stagger out of bed, open the bedroom door and face Minuit - the most irritated cat in the galaxy.  She squints at me with her perpetually rheumy eyes.


We have one of those false dawn clocks.   It begins emitting a relaxed glowing light about 35 minutes before you actually have to wake up.  The glow eventually gets brighter and brighter and then the tweeting bird sounds go off.  (I'm not even kidding.)  This morning? No glowing light.  No tweeting birds.

"David."  I shake his shoulder.  "David. Love.  It's 7:17."

He sits bolt upright in bed, wild-eyed.  "What the?!?"

"You didn't set your alarm love."

"Hey I know, I didn't set my alarm."  He's blinking up at me - a dazed, bed-headed owlet.

"You have to thank Minuit, she was our alarm."

Minuit is standing in the doorway scowling at us.  David exits the bed.  "Thank you Min..."   Perpetually terrified by any motion in the household, Minuit tears across the upper landing before hiding under Rissa's bed. "...nuit."

Rissa is in the bathroom getting ready for school.

"Daddy didn't set his alarm," I say, yawning while wiping the sleep guck from my eyes.  I grab my toothbrush.  "Minuit's the hero - she woke us up."

"I wondered what she was complaining about," says Rissa.  She looks over at her bedroom doorway where Minuit is now skulking.  "Good job Alarm Cat."

David, clad in work wear, is doing the Frankenstein shamble to the bathroom.  Minuit immediately bolts back under Rissa's bed.

Standing in the bathroom doorway, David runs his hands through his hair.  His hair is slightly greasy and up in all directions. "Aw man!  I was supposed to have a shower this morning." 

I hand him the baby powder.  "You'll have to powder it up love."

"Right."  He dumps about 1/4 of a cup of lavender-scented baby powder into his hand and rubs them together before dragging his hands through his hair.  Rissa and I look at him and look at each other.  David appears to have tripped and fallen into a kilo of coke - powder on his collar, the front of his shirt, under his nose, on his forehead.  His hair is covered.

I head tilt, indicating the faux cocaine fallout zone. "Dude.  You're Bright Lights Big Citying it."

"Well I can't see in the mirror, you girls are taking up all the...  Sweet!  I look like Doc Brown."

He keeps rubbing the powder through his hair.  I grab a facecloth so that he wipe up the excess from his clothing and face.

"Nothing like Cocaine Thursday," David says, blending in the last of the power into his hair.

"It's perfect after Hump Day," Rissa agrees.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The reason for all those baby/kitten/puppy videos #2016Election

The stress of the 2016 Presidential election has my lower intestines in Stevedore Stopper knots.  I'm not even American.  The outcome of the election won't really affect me as someone north of the 42nd.  I mean, apart from all the anti-Hillary Republicans who are threatening to move to Canada should the Democrats win and the anti-Trump Democrats/Independents who are threatening to move to Canada should the Donald win.

If Trump wins and he builds a wall across the US/Mexican border - it won't affect me.  If Hillary wins and it turns out there are even MORE emails that she didn't safeguard appropriately -  it won't affect me.  If Trump wins and throws Hillary into jail - it won't affect me.  If Hillary wins and raises taxes on wealthy Americans - it won't affect me. If Trump wins and he repeals the Clean Air Act - it won't... wait a second...  If Hillary wins and there is a Second Revolutionary War - it won't... uh... I'm really close to that northern border.

It's the end of the world as we know it!! 
Deep cleansing breaths, deep cleansing breaths... 

Hey everyone look! Baby ostrich racing cars.

And these are ANIMALS jumping on TRAMPOLINES!

Kittens and puppies with babies!

Dogs meeting kittens for the first time.

It's a baby who laughs when you tear paper!

And then if you really start freaking out and you need to take control back - channel your inner Jesse Jane McParland.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

And that's why you shouldn't exercise.

Me - this morning.

It is before breakfast. It is before work. I am on the treadmill - watching Daredevil on Netflix.  Moving at 3.5 miles an hour on an incline of three.  'Cause if I don't do it before I go to work, it will not happen for the rest of day.  And if I don't move my ass, expending energy and calories, I will not sleep well - which, tomorrow morning, will result in a tired Heather sporting a fetching side of petulance.

Every morning I'm on that treadmill. At the 5:00 minute mark I start swinging my arms wildly forward for a minute.  At 6:00 minutes I do the arm equivalent of a deep lunge to the side - targeting (at least in my lay-person, inner trainer's mind) my back boobs.  I don't know if it's true, but I can kind of feel that area moving around when I try it, so I figure that something must be going on. I repeat these actions every 5 minutes until I hit 40:00.

YEAH!  Last one!  I whip those arms forward.  THIS.  IS.  GOOD.  I'm sweaty and I've burned up (I squint at the display in the half-light) 276 calories. Only 5 more minutes then I can cool down for 5 minutes.  YEAH! I AM AN EXERCISING GODDESS!!

I swing those arms a little higher.  As I'm swinging them back, my left arm somehow catches the wire from my ear buds, ripping my left ear bud from my ear.  Even before my arm has finished its swing, the right ear bud joins its partner in ferocious solidarity right before the tablet leaps off the treadmill ledge, landing on the belt.  I dodge the tablet, grabbing the arm rails for balance, but can't help but watch as the tablet is propelled off the treadmill into the piano behind me.  As I remain fixated on whether I've just killed the tablet, my feet leave the treadmill belt and I find myself parkouring to avoid crushing the tablet, while still clinging to the arm rails. 

On the upside, I got a real good stretch of my arms before letting go.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Snakes don't have legs

"So if they're asking do I have experience working with animals, does that mean REAL experience?   I mean, I have three cats," says Rissa.

"Yes, you do have three cats," I reply. "And don't discount the dogs that we've had."

"But do they mean experience like squeezing a gopher's anal glands?"


"Or like, I've seen a bunny... once?"

"I don't know..."

"Or is it please collect my horse's urine?"

"Where are you...?"

"Or can you spout general animal information like 'snakes don't have legs' ?"

Snort.  "I say put it all down.  You never know where you might be placed."

"Right.  Code of Conduct.  Okay...  Okay...  Okay...  WHOA!!!  What about lighting fires?  Why don't they specify lighting fires?  That seems like a no-no in addition to the no drugs, alcohol and serious behavioural problems." 

"I think that pyromania might fall under the serious behavioural problems."

She's already moved on.  "Under gender I'm going to say 'squirrel' for you."

You can bet that whomever ends up with her for a summer exchange is going to be entertained at the very least.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heart of Darkness Dance Party

"OH MY GOD!" Rissa exclaims.

"What?" I ask, glancing up from my e-reader.

"This," she says, indicating her book.  "THIS. STUPID. BOOK."

"What are you reading?"

"Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  ARGH!"  The book has fallen from her hands and banged her on the head.

"Dude.  Careful."

"It's not me!  IT'S. THIS. STINKING. BOOK."  She holds it out to me.  "It's not weighted correctly. You see this?  This here?"  She's indicating the first 6th of the tome.  "This is the actual book. 77 pages.  You see this?" She indicates the other 350  pages.  "This is the part where it explains to you why those 77 pages are worth reading!!"


"You shouldn't have to have FIVE times as many pages explaining why the book should be read!!!"

"I have to concur."

"Right?!?   It's a 77 page monologue. GAH!  And I have to read 10 pages tonight. He just keeps talking and talking and talllllking.  I'm not going to make it."  She brightens for a moment.  "I'll   have to have a Heart of Darkness Dance break every 2 pages."

"That sounds like a plan."

"Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack should do it."

Never underestimate the power of a good soundtrack when played on your Crosley portable record player at 45rpm.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gilmore Girls Meltdown

"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!" wails Rissa.  "WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!!!" She is flailing, face-down, on the couch.

"Yes we will honey."  I smooth her back.  "We've got 77 days."

"And 95 episodes!!"  How are we going to watch 95 episodes in 77 days?!?"

"Easy.  One episode a day, with 18 days where we watch two."

"But then it'll be like work and we won't enjoy it.  We'll resent it! WE CAN'T RESENT THIS!!!"

"Some days we can binge watch - like 8 episodes."


She's panicking.  To her this is a seemingly unattainable goal. To me this is a perk, nay, a privilege.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa there chickadee...  Say, 5 weekends of the next 12, we watch 8 episodes each weekend - so that's 40 episodes of the 95 which means then we only have to watch another 55 episodes over the remaining...  69 days. That's only (insert mental gymnastics here) 3/4 of an episode a day on those days.  If we watch 12 episodes each of those 5 weekends, that's 60 episodes of the 95, leaving us with only 35 for the remaining 69 days - a mere 1/2 an episode each day.   Sooooooooo easy...."

To say that Rissa shoots me a 'baleful' eye would be an understatement.

David takes a different tack. "I'm sending you both a link to the must-see episodes - there are only 19."

Rissa immediately runs to grab her phone.  "We've already watched three of these!" she crows.  "No - five!!  No wait - SEVEN!!! WE'VE WATCHED SEVEN EPISODES!!!  We only have to watch 12 more and we'll have the gist of everything."  She reclines back on the couch, completely relaxed.

"See?" says David.  "Now you only have to watch 12 and you're good to go.  No stress at all."

"Oh, we're going to watch all 95," says Rissa.  "Those 12 are our backup."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sticky thighs in the City of Lights

Our first day in Paris, we get a lay of the land from the massive seasonal Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde. We can see EVERYTHING from there!  Paris has turned us giddy.  "We can go there, and there... and THERE!"   Paris at our feet!  This is fantastic!!

Within  30 seconds of alighting from the ride we realize that  downtown Paris sports wide open spaces with concrete and cobblestones and palaces - all acting as the most stunningly architectured heat conductors/reflectors - I'm going to say it - in the world.  Wilting in the blinding sun, Rissa and I (in our fish-belly white glory), desperately seek out the tiniest scrap of shade that can be found in the lee of Parisian lamposts.

"DIBS!"  I yell - trying to morph my skeleton to the shape of the shadow.  Rissa stands in the lee of me, so she's good to go.

As a family we find ourselves ill-prepared.  Our plans for Paris had not been indoor plans.  We were going to head out each day in a different direction and just walk. We were going to explore - see the 'real' Paris - the Paris of the people.

As we walk back to our Air B&B flat in the 8th - I begin to rethink our Parisian plans.

"What are you doing?" asks David, watching me walk.

"I don't have a thigh gap," I explain, looking like I've just spent an afternoon riding the mechanical bull at the Rock 'n' Horse Saloon.


"Skirt. Thighs. Chafing. I under-powdered."  I am already anticipating macaron-sized heat rash on my inner thighs.  "I shouldn't have worn a skirt.  Or I should have packed the travel size baby powder in my bag."  I milk the physical comedy for a bit longer before I stagger and give up.  "Cover me!"


"Cover me!"  I heft my skirt and grab my slip, tying the front and the back together to create emergency bloomers.  I walk around a bit.  "Not bad.  I don't know if it'll get me 10 blocks back to the flat, but if it doesn't hold, I'll just pretend that I'm a bull-legged Charlie Chaplin."

Later, that evening, we arrive at the train station for our trip to Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, and I realize we have forgotten the travel sized baby powder... again.   I just had to wear a chi-chi dress.   But we're going to a chi-chi Palace, a chi-chi dress is totally appropriate. Having liberally applied powder, I think I'm good to go, but given Paris's heat, it's still not enough. 

Luckily, there is a pharmacy still open at the station.  "Avez vous poudre pour bébé?" I inquire, after having spent a good five minutes searching the baby aisle looking for anything resembling baby powder.   Dude looks at me like I'm nuts. "Que désirez-vous?"  "Uh... poudre de... um... what is baby powder when it's not baby powder - talcum?"  "Ah!  Poudre de talc!"  "Oui!"  I give him a huge thumbs up.  He goes to the back section that houses all the heavy duty drugs and comes out with a box of talcum powder.

"Success?" asks David, upon my return.

"Success!  Now we just need to locate a salle de bain where I can powder these gams!"

An item of note: you have to pay .75 Euros to enter a bathroom in Paris. 
I hang my bag on the back of the door and open the box, which contains a plastic bag full of talcum powder. I look like I have about a 1/2 kilo of coke.  I examine the box again.  There are no perforations, no place that I can tear away to conveniently fold the remaining cardboard over which provides wee little holes so that when I open my 1/2 kilo of talc I can tap-tap-tap it without ending up looking like I've decided to do performance art in a Parisian bathroom.
I tear into the corner of the plastic bag with my teeth and dump a toonie-sized amount of talcum into my left hand.  1/4 of a cup of talcum lands on the floor.

Another item of note:  when I go into les toilettes I am wearing this:

Yes, there is a ginormous crinoline under the dress

I balance the bag precariously on the round toilet paper dispenser and lift my skirt, attempting to navigate through my crinoline to my naked thighs.  I don't succeed.  This is a two-hand job, so to speak.  But seeing as one hand is covered in talcum, and I'm wearing navy blue, that's not an option.  I try again.  I fail.  I am now stuck in a Parisian toilette, more than enough talcum at hand to solve my sticky thigh issue, but unable to powder.   I contemplate getting Rissa to pay .75 Euros to come in and hold my skirt up.  That's when I start giggling.  After another failed attempt, I lean my back against one wall of the stall, put my right foot on the opposite wall and fluff my crinoline and skirt up, holding them to my chest with my chin.  It appears that given the ferocious Parisian heat, the amount of powder that I have in one hand can only really do one thigh.    Still holding my garments under my chin, I manage to pour more powder into my hand and powder the other thigh.  I'm snorting to myself as I wash my hands.

"All good?" asks David as I step out.

"No problem.  From now on, when I say something is impossible?  Remind me of this."