Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm bringing clumsy back



My adolescence was so much fun the first time around, I thought I'd give it another go.  That's me trying to pretend like I have any say in what's happening now.  It's not so much a choice, as an involuntary action.

I've had a week folks.  Oh, have I had a week.  A week that's transported me back through time to my eleventh year.  (Although, to be frank, my clumsy has enjoyed several  renaissances throughout my life - often hormonally related.)

CLUMSY 1
Enjoying leftovers.  I'd made schnitzel with mashed potatoes the night before - this was lunch-time the day after.  Delicious schnitzel all coated in gluten-free breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  I'd actually salivated while it was warming in the microwave.  I got too excited.  I ate too fast.  The strength of my jaw was too great.  I took a chunk of flesh out of the left side of my tongue that had me instantly weeping.  I tried to let out a few colourful expletives, but they were garbled by  my poorly functioning tongue.

"MU...ER  ...U...ER!!  ...EEET ER..FL.... EEEEEE...US!!!"

"What did you do?" David and Rissa chorus.

"I IT Y ONGUE!!"

I showed Rissa.  She jumped back a step.  "Uh... Mummy?  That's not good."

"IT OT?  Y?  UH OES IT OO IKE?"  I went to the mirror.  I had flaps of skin hanging off the side of my tongue.   (3 days later the already-forming scar tissue is a sight, let me tell you.)

CLUMSY 2
Putting cheques in the safe at work.  This is usually a ZIP-BOOM task.  Somehow between the ZIP and the BOOM I managed to slam the ring finger of my right hand in the door.  I danced the pain dance for a good thirty seconds before even looking at it.  Just the tip.  Thank God it was just the tip. (Insert your own joke here.)

CLUMSY 3
Same day.  I'm leaving work - actually on time for once.  So proud of myself - I was going to get stuff done upon my return home.  I reached for my jean jacket, did a matador's cape flourish, throwing my hands up to catch the arms holes and ... put my neck out.

Addendum
Unloading the dishwasher this morning, I attempted to cradle the cutlery tray in my arm when I stabbed myself in the boob with a paring knife.  Blood loss is thankfully minimal.

I thought these things came in threes.  Does that mean that I have two more in this grouping, or that I'm just an over achiever from the first grouping?












Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Failure in Kitchen Design Promotes Weight Loss!!!

We don't have a kitchen 'work triangle' per se.  It's more a kitchen 'assembly line.'  Our kitchen sink is 21 feet away from our freezer.  It goes like this:  Sink, drawer unit, stove, dishwasher, fridge, old kitchen island, new butler's pantry and then you get to the freezer in the closet of our foyer.


Why would we have an upright freezer in the closet of our foyer, you ask?  Because that's where it fit.  Why don't we have a traditional fridge with freezer, you ask?  Because in our very compact new kitchen, we were trying to scrape together every inch of usable space, and with my refurbished 40" wide HOT POINT stove having already stolen a good 6" (there's a joke in there somewhere),


I required a fridge that was only 24" wide, was counter-depth, didn't cost us thousands of dollars, and actually held more than 8 cubic feet of food, which is what most of the smaller fridge/freezer units end up giving you.  Plus, if I'd gotten a wider fridge, there wouldn't be room for our old island, which I refused to part with.  The domino effect of our appliance planning was far-reaching.

All this to say that the ergonomics of our kitchen are a bit... off.  It mightn't be so bad, but we actually need to go to the freezer. FREQUENTLY.  After decades of badly managing hypoglycemia - I've finally bitten the bullet and I'm avoiding gluten.  So I spend twice what a normal person would pay, for half the bread and I have to store the bread in the freezer so that it doesn't get all moldy if you leave it out for more than 5 minutes.  The toaster... is by the kitchen sink.  The kitchen sink is 21 feet away from the freezer.



This is my morning:

Tromp, tromp, tromp down the stairs.  Yawn and stretch at the bottom.  Turn right and walk to the freezer.  Grab bread from freezer and tromp over to the toaster.  Remove two slices of bread from the bag, pop them in the toaster and then tromp back over to the freezer and deposit the loaf back in the freezer. Yes, I could take the slices of bread out at the freezer and save myself one trip, but that never seems to occur to me until I've already walked over to the toaster. Plus I'm a slow waker-upper and I can guarantee that in my somnambulant state I'd have the freezer door open for longer than is prudent while I was trying to reseal the bag. We were thinking of throwing the toaster on the old kitchen island to get it closer to the freezer, but then the fridge is hinged the wrong way so you'd have to become a contortionist to get to the butter and condiments.  We can move the toaster to under the microwave - beside the fridge on the other side and save 7 feet.  David has a drill at the ready to bore its way through the microwave shelf. 

Making a martini is challenging.  The booze and cocktail shaker are in the butler's pantry, right next to the freezer.  The ice is in the freezer.  We're good so far.  The cut-crystal glasses that I prefer to drink my martinis in?  Are in the cupboard next to the sink.  Why aren't they, too, in the butler's pantry?  Because up until last weekend, we weren't loading any more glassware into the butler's pantry on account of fact that the floors in the new house are too bouncy and the shelves of the pantry aren't thick enough to really support the weight that's already on them, which means that even walking by the pantry created the potential for glasses doing their own rendition of Buffalo Jump.  Now that the pantry is securely shimmed and attached to the wall - I can move some of those swanky glasses over and save myself the travel time.

So that just leaves us with making juice with water from the sink, defrosting frozen meat in a sink full of cold water, cooking with frozen vegetables using... you've got it... sink water... Each activity still requires traversing the 21 foot span from sink to freezer.   There are no problems foks, only solutions.  I am determined that this will be a pro - not a con!  I will do deep lunges every time I make the trip.  My ass and thighs will be spectacularly toned in this poorly organized house. 


Monday, April 28, 2014

How David started the latest sex trend

"Quick!  We have to distract them!" David says.

"How?"

Suddenly it comes to him.

He lifts up his shirt, wets his finger, draws a cirle around his nipple, all the while singing Barnum's Circus March.  "Do-do-doodle-doodle-do-do-do-do...."

He whispers, "It's called 'CLOWNING.'  Depending on the patterning around your nipple - it will be act as a code."

***

"And this was some sort of espionage dream?" I ask.  It's bright and early Saturday morning.  David has just demonstrated 'CLOWNING' to me.

David's eyebrows are low on his forehead.  "Yes... I think... Wait!  Wait!"  He fights for memories, as one does when attempting to share the surreality of a dreamscape to another person.  "We were also filming it!"

"You were filming yourself, playing with your nipples, while singing Entry of the Gladiators?"



"Yeeeeeeesss.... but," he's rubbing his forehead now.  "I can't remember why it was so important now... It was some sort of Rickrolling thing...."

"Rickrolling?"

"Yeah, where someone sends you a video link, but instead of sending you to the video described, you end up going to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give you Up."




"But this was somehow part of a secret code?"

"Yes."  He is definite now.  "Yes, it was.  And when you watched the video the code became clear to you."

"I'm going to get mileage out of this."

"Yeah, yeah."

***

ps.  

Since Saturday morning (when I first heard about this new trend), I have personally 'clowned' over a dozen times.  I have clowned David another dozen.  When I am 102 I will still be doing this.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Panic-struck spackling...

It seems like such a good idea when I'm lying in bed staring at the ceiling. I look up at the outline of where the closet had been.  I see the damage of the torn-asunder drywall plugs - the drilled screw holes, the decimated drywall.  Why had it been bothering me so much?  Yes, there were 43 holes in the wall of various sizes, but I had spackle - it could be fixed!  I had this!  I leap from the bed with vigor.

"I've figured out what I'm going to do today!" I share with David.

"Excellent!"

"I am going to spackle our bedroom ceiling and wall!"   I can barely contain myself - this was going to be great.

"Fantastic idea!!  I think I know where the drop sheets are.  I'll go grab them for you."

I don't know why, but my vigor wanes a titch at the word 'drop sheets.'  I shake it off.  No worries!  I am set to go!  I grab the spackling tools in one hand and bend down to lift up the spackling tub...

You know when you expect something of a certain size to weigh a certain weight?  My shoulder isn't dislocated, per se, but my old shoulder separation does sing out an operatic "WHAT THE FUCK!?!?"  I look down at the container.  16 kgs... I do some quick math in my head... double it plus a bit - so that sucker weighs in at a whopping 36 lbs - ish.  I just tried to pick up a toddler with one hand.  My other hand is still full of spackling tools.  "David!!!  Would you mind grabbing the spackle for me?"

"Not a problem."  He shoves three drop sheets into my waiting arm,  (why would I need three drop sheets?) and hefts the spackling into the bedroom.  "You okay?  Do you want me to....?"

"Nope!  I'm good!  I've got this!!  You go ahead."

David heads downstairs to hook up the sink in the 1/2 bath.  We are the King and Queen of dividing and conquering - we are going to get so much done!

So one drop sheet goes over the headboard and the bedside tables and then the other one goes on top of the bed...  I look around at the outline of the old closet which buts up to the temporary curtains that close off the new closet...  I guess that the other drop sheet should cover the clothing rail to protect the clothes from drywall dust...


That's when the panic hits.  Sure, now, for the next hour or so I would be scraping old nasty bits off the wall, and then I would be layering the spackling over the damaged areas... but after that... after that... the spackle would have to be sanded. I lie down on the bed.  We were going to make drywall dust.  Lots and lots of drywall dust.  In the bedroom.  I was going to have to move all the furniture out and all the clothing... but the carpet would still be on the floor!  Could I carefully rip out the carpet so that it could be relaid?

"How you doing?" David asks from the doorway.

I look over, the whites of my eyes gleaming in panic - I'm hyperventillating a bit.

"Whoa!  Whoa!!  It's okay!"

"NO!  No, it's not!!!  There is going to be dust all over this room!!  Everything's going to have to come out!!!  Where are we going to put it?!?  Maybe we could lay all the clothes over the  bookcase in Rissa's room..."

"Heather!  WHOA!!  We're not going to sand today!"

"We're not?" I sniffle.

"No.  No sanding.  We're just filling holes today and then later, in the summer, we'll smooth out everything..."

I lose focus, because I'm looking at the 43 holes in the wall and ceiling.  Smooth everything out??  SMOOTH EVERYTHING OUT?!?  We were going to have to use an entire tub of spackling to fill those areas, how in God's name were we going to smooth it out?

"Heather!"  In the 1940's drama version of this scenario - David gives me a sharp slap across the face.

"It's okay," I say.  "It's good.  It's all good."  I take a deep breath.  "I've got this."

"You sure?"

"Oh yeah, no problem."

2 hours later, I have done a rough plaster coat over the entire bedroom wall.  Sure, there was only damage to an 8 foot by 8 foot area, but by rough plastering the entire wall - I have ensured that the wall NEVER has to be sanded.  The ceiling, yes, but we can put sheets down and can tape plastic around the closet to protect the clothing and it is, after all, low-dust drywall compound.  Panic folks, it's the mother of invention.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I now understand my husband...

He'd suddenly gone all grumpy.  We were installing the chrome cup pulls in the kitchen and by 'we,' I mean him - 'cause he was hogging all the tools.  He had two drills, two screwdrivers and was hoarding all the bolts.  I had a cardboard template of the new cup pull and a pencil.  I took off the old pull, lined up the template to conceal the old holes, drew my little circles and then David went to town.  Or he was going to go to town before he realized that he had to use three different drill bits and he'd already fucked up one hole.

He was also probably sucking up my nearly apoplectic mood on account of the fact that when we went downstairs to find the right sized drill bits, we'd discovered that the spring rain of the last few days had left about 3 inches of water in our basement - which should have been sucked away by the sump pump, but said sump pump had apparently committed hari kari.  We found this out because our neighbours who own the other half of our semi-detached home - witnessed its demise as it ripped itself out of the wall on their half of the basement.  Bright side?  The cats hadn't been in the basement to cover themselves in mud since we moved the kitty litter upstairs before the weekend, and our neighbour's dad knows enough about sump pumps to install a new one.  Nevertheless, I had that wild look in my eye and David put the bottle of scotch in front of me as soon as we got upstairs.

David began prepping once more to drill the new holes for the cup pulls, so I decided to put on the chrome knobs on the upper cabinets.  It became immediately clear that the template we had used originally to drill the holes for the upper knobs was... inaccurate.  Two knobs up and my OCD nearly gave me a stroke.  Almost every hole on the upper cabinets was mismatched.  Off just enough to make me wince and bang my head on the island.



"FUCK IT!!!"  I sang out.  "We will not worry about this now.  No knobs tonight!"

David looked a titch frustrated with me.  He was going to try to use job-finishing logic, I just knew it.  I headed him off at the pass.  "NO!  No knobs!  Because if we put these knobs up, then we'll have to adjust all the cupboard doors and that will take forever, and if I come downstairs to an entire wall of uneven knobs I WILL FREAKING LOSE IT!  So NO KNOBS!!!"

He was well on his way to grumpy after that.  It just got worse when he started installing the cup pulls.  I didn't understand why he looked like he was going to throw each of those drills and screwdrivers through the wall, until (after I hemmed the closet curtains in our bedroom during my cooling off period) I finished the last four cup pulls myself.

Because our kitchen drawers are a mish-mash of new drawer fronts on old uneven drawers - they are a little finicky.  The old cup pulls were not the same size, nor the same mounting centre dimensions as the new ones.  We had to hide the old holes, which meant that we had to drill the new holes slightly higher and slightly closer together.  The cup pulls themselves had to have one size hole for the attaching channel, but the bolts had to have another smaller sized hole drilled, and where the old drawer front was coverd by a new drawer front, the bolts themselves had to be ever-so-slightly countersunk.
 

Old Pull
Old Pull's holes
New Pull with smaller mounting centres
New Pull's Template
Drill Bit to fit bolt size
Large Hole, Small Hole
Change to bigger drill bit to fit cup pull channel,
but don't use too much pressure or...
oh for FUCK'S SAKE!!!


Large hole, larger hole

After much cursing - the finished product

Only six tries it took me to get the first cup pull done. I am recuperating with scotch.  I now understand my husband. 




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mor Mor goes on an adventure...


Where does your 68 year old mother like to shop?  My Mom's a pretty typical grandmotherly/motherly type.  She bakes cookies, knits sweaters, sends cheques for Rissa's RESP.  Rissa has a cute pet name for her.  She calls her Mor Mor,which means 'mother's mother,' in Danish.  My Mom has a grey pixie cut and shops at Sears.

"Ooooh," says my Mom.  "I went on a shopping excursion!!!"  (Since she has beeen retired, Mom has allowed herself to shop. After decades of frugality and with the house finally paid off, her paltry Canada Pension Plan has given her new-found spending freedom.  She goes to shoe outlets and housewares stores.  She putters on the main streets of summer getaway towns, she'll take a gander at an art gallery and stop and get a plain black coffee at a cafe.)

"Really?" I ask expectantly.  "To where?"

"To Wicked Wanda's."

Wicked Wanda's is a sex shop in Ottawa. She'd been thinking about going  for a while.  Probably for an entire moth.  She'd recently learned of its existence and had decided that it was a 'mustn't be missed' shopping destination.  My Mom is my hero.

"Annnnnnnd....?" I queried.

"It was veeeery interesting.  Everything is very shiny now."

"I'm sure it is."  The last time my Mom had gone to a sex shop was probably three decades ago.  She and my Dad had gone together and he'd turned on a vibrator that rested on one of the glass shelves and couldn't get it turned off.

"Anything, uh... catch your attention?"

"Well there were lots of very colourful things, to be sure," she said.  "And the staff was very helpful.  There was a lovely young girl who was very informative."

"Did you come out with anything?"

"I did! Have you ever heard of Kegel Balls?"

My eyebrows raise.  "I have."

"Well, in the 70s they would have been Ben Wa Balls, but now they are Kegel Balls."  She gives her tradmark guffaw of laughter.  "I now have Kegel Balls!"

"Annnnnd....?"

"They certainly make you feel interesting down there."

"That they do."

p.s. After my failed trampoline excursion, a friend gave me the exact same brand of  Kegel Balls for my birthday.  "Look  what Narda got me Mom !"  "Oooooh!  They're just like mine!!!"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Would the real Dance Moms please stand up?

I know... I know... I just ranted about this.  However.... What I saw over the past weekend warranted an update.

So... picture something similar to this,  but with 6-10 year old girls wearing special-ordered versions of this inflatable costume and dancing to....


BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY

I'll give you a moment and let that sink in folks...

There were probably 12-15 little girls in this dance number.  Which means that their dance teacher, AND all of their parents signed off on these costumes AND the theme of the routine.  Almost 24 hours later, and I'm still gobsmacked.  In bad taste on so many levels. Thank God the judges gave it the lowest mark of the morning - if they hadn't, I would have had to stand up and incite a riot.

In Dance of the Sugar Plum Sluts, I voiced my concern about 15 year old girls wearing fishnet seamed stockings as part of their costume.  Imagine if you will, 10 year old girls wearing fishnet seamed stockings... shaking their asses for the audience...  to the applause of their parents, 'cause that's what happened yesterday morning.

I recently was in a show where I wore seamed fishnet stockings.  TO BE SEXY ONSTAGE.  I had several men tell me that they were giving me a standing ovation, while still sitting.  Men and women alike become aroused by the appearance of seamed stockings.  You know why?  Because seamed stockings basically draw the eye right up to a gal's ass - which, when you want someone to be salivating at the sight of your ass and imagining what it would be like to become intimate with it, is great, but when the wearer of the seamed stocking doesn't even have pubic hair yet - should cause horror.

I'm not saying that all these dancers should be going the Shirley Temple route - not that their parents would know Shirley Temple if they fell over her, but a little less Tits  & Ass would be awesome.  I was thrilled when one of the judges gave a special award to a number and specifically mentioned 'age-appropriate' choreography.    More than a handful of routines over the weekend had choreography that was not age-appropriate.  There was a group of  competitive 16 year olds dancing to Fever who were so freaking hot they had me wanting to have sex with them.  All these kids are under 18.  Can we please agree that no audience member should want to have sex with any of them?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

I don't think I've really lived until now.

Says Rissa.



This morning, Rissa experiences our friend Leslie's homemade jam for the first time.  She has two pieces of toast - each sporting Leslie's gourmet jam.  Strawberry balsamic on one, peach bourbon vanilla bean on the other.

She sits for a moment in front of her plate of toast.  "I am about to have a jam moment Mummy."

"Excellent.  You won't be disappointed."

She takes a bite, and then another, and another...

"This... this..."  Rissa's eyes are wide with pleasure.  "I have never experienced anything like this in my life.  This is the best jam ever.  This jam gave me an epiphany - you know what it was?  To eat more jam.  It was a jampiphany!!  You know when the end of the world will be?  When we run out of these jams.  I am now a jam connoisseur!  Eating these jams has opened a whole new world of opportunities!  Jamportunities!!!  What am I going to do when the jam runs out?!?"

She hyperventilates for a moment.

"What if you make the jam Rissa?"

"...Maybe... But I think maybe I would prefer to receive the jam, rather than make it myself."

"What if you became one of those judges at the county fair and only judged the jam?"

She gasps with excitement.  "That would be THE BEST JOB EVER!!"

It's the little things.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happiest cats on earth...

Toms and Kittens, Strays and Collared, the Curious and the Curiouser... Step right up!!!  We welcome you to the Best, the Brightest the most BREATHTAKING of playgrounds!  A veritable

CAT CARNIVAL!  
Mainzer Cat Circus circa 1950s
   

Never in your cat lives have you experienced such Magic, such Mayhem, such MAGNIFICENCE!!! Stare for hours at the mouse-sized holes in the floors!  Hide in the floor joists!  Taunt your furry sibling through the unhemmed wall of curtains in the bedroom!  Balance precariously on the standing drywall.  We have it all and it can be yours!!  Demand food whenever you want - there are no bedroom doors to dampen your yowls.  All this, PLUS an unfinished basement that's as close to being outside as you can get!

Channelling Fred Astaire - Steve and Lola sing ...

Heaven
I'm in heaven
And my heart beats
So that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find
The happiness I seek
When we're out together
Playing hide and seek...
at 3:00 a.m...
In the bedrooom closet curtains
That you just hung
So that you didn't have to see all the crap,
But now you have to put up over
Top of the curtain rod because
The rustling is so loud when we play
That you threaten to decapitate us..

Adding bedroom doors has now become a priority.



 


Minuit, not quite back to her old self, still  prefers to enjoy the Hannibal Lector basement for the most part.  Pleased to say though, that last night she came up on her own steam to interact with humanity.  It's only taken three weeks.




Monday, April 7, 2014

Hadn't counted on the wet season.



It didn't really come as a surprise that it's dirty.   The basement, I mean.  Seeing as its floor is comprised of dirt and gravel.  And seeing as the foundation leaks a titch, it should also have come as no suprise that the dirt part of the basement has a tendency towards muddy after a good spring rain storm.

If there were only humans living in our home, it wouldn't be an issue.  You know why?  Because all three humans residing here are not going to cavort around in the dirty, gravelly, wet basement.  Our feline housemates, on the other hand, live for that shit.


Paw prints. Frickin' cat paw prints, all over everything!  Seems as if Steve and Lola have discovered the creek that runs through the stone foundation when it rains heavily.  (Not Minuit, because she's still mostly just lying on the heated blanket that David put down 'cause he was worried that she might die while lying on the cold tarp we have down there because she still refuses to come upstairs.)  Where the creek hits the dirt sides and floor, Steve and Lola had their own Grauman's Chinese Theatre moment and imprinted their way into immortality.  Then, with those same wet paws, they danced their way up the basement stairs, all over the new sofa bed, across the living room floor, through the foyer - circling back through the living room, then again through the foyer to eventually end up in the kitchen where they planted themselves on the off-white (now beigey-brown, kinda looked they've wiped their asses on them) stools in the kitchen.  I'm so glad that I had washed the slipcovers of the stools two days prior.

It's like they deliberately explore the dirtiest, dustiest, cob-webbiest corners of our  cellar and then share their journey with us, usually on the cleanest, close-to-white thing they can find.  We basically have dirty dogs - without the unconditional affection and obedience.  So we either a) have to find a way to miraculously coat our entire basement in concrete or a near facsimile thereof to eliminate the dirt, or b) we have to move the kitty litter upstairs, so that they won't get dirty in the first place.  Option a) will probably run us into the tens of thousands of dollars.  Option b) it is!!   We just have to find a place where we can carve out some room for three litter boxes.  Although if Minuit does kick the bucket, we would be down to two...

I'm going to lose my under-the-stairs closet - I just know it.  I'd been so jazzed about having a place for the vacuum and recycling to live...  and the shopping bags and shoe racks and extra folding chairs... and cleaning supplies.  I just wish that cat shit didn't smell so much like, well, cat shit.  If it smelled like lavendar and ylang-ylang it could just go in the 1/2 bath, but with 3 cats doing their business daily?  I don't particular relish the idea of sharing that particular olfactory experience in a somewhat public space.  I could say that I'd keep the litter pristine so the stink would be manageable - but I'd totally be lying.  Cleaning the litter is not at the top of my daily chores list.  I hate that job and I hate how the cloud of kitty litter dust coats my very soul after I've done it.

Wait!!  WAIT!  We build a false floor for under the stairs!  The cats go in underneath the false floor and on top of that could still be used for storing other stuff!!!  We'll rig up an elaborate trolley system with remote control to get the litter boxes out of the closet for cleaning ease...  With a motion-sensor light so that they don't have to crap in the dark... and automagic odor neutralizers!  David's a genius at problem solving those kinds of things. Maybe he can somehow Tardis the under-the-stair cupboard and find us that extra space!  'Cause I'm telling you right now that if the muddy footprints aren't dealt with - my tenuous hold on sanity may well leave me. I can't guarantee the cats' safety if that happens.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Does this look infected to you?

It's spring.  Honest-to-God, grass-greening-up spring.  Warmer air, buds on the trees and... cats.  The cats are outside once more.  Lazing on sidewalks in sunbeams, trotting up to you when you "puss-puss-pussssss...", rolling around on their backs, begging for a tummy rub.

There I am, walking back from the bank - I'd already had my cat fix twice on the way there.  Stooping to pet a tabby and some sort of Maine Coon mix.  I am a pretty happy kitten myself as I walk home.  Whisting off-tune, I spy the same Maine Coon cat on the other side of the street.  Maybe I can get a double dose of kitty love. 

"Hey sweetie..."  He saunters over to me and "prrrrrrrrowls" his enjoyment as I scritch him behind his ears.  Poor beast is matted beyond belief.  He has a couple of shaved spots where his owner has attempted to rid him of the worst of them.  He rolls on his back and I rub his tummy (just the way Steve likes it). 

When a cat bites you?  Really bites you?  They really give no warning.  One minute I'm rubbing his tummy the next I have two massive teeth marks in the heel of my hand.  Maybe he didn't break the skin...  It was probably just... Nope, there's actually torn skin... and blood.  I'm bleeding.

Oh crap!  Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!  David is going to kill me if I have to get rabies shots again.  Shit.  Oh shit.  The cat doesn't have a tag.  He's wandering the neighbourhood - I have no idea where he lives.  The cat is winding around my legs and 'prrrrrowling' at me.  I absent-mindedly reach down to scratch him... maybe if I don't rub his tummy... will I NEVER learn?   I take a breath.  I look at him.  He's not rabid.  He doesn't look rabid.  Plus, somebody shaved him, he must belong to someone and if he belongs to someone, they probably got him his shots.  Right?

I'm formulating my excuses as I walk home.  I sneak in the house - maybe David's not downstairs.  I go over to the sink and rinse out the punctures.  Still bleeding a bit. 

"Ummmm, Rissa?"

"Yes?"

"Could you go upstairs?"  I lower my voice.  "Up in the white cabinet in one of the cubbies is some hydrogen peroxide..."

"WHAT DID YOU DO!?!"

"Shhhhhhh.... nothing.  Nothing's wrong.  I just need some..."

"Daddy!  Mummy's injured herself again!"

David comes into the room.  "What did you do?"

"Nothing!"  I hide my hand behind me. 

He raised his eyebrows and gives me the look.

I roll my eyes and present my hand.  "I'm sure he wasn't rabid.  He was shaved in spots - that means he has someone who shaves him!"

David takes a breath to berate me and then closes his mouth.  He knows there's no point.  He knows that I will never give up touching stray cats.  It will never happen.

"Rinse with the peroxide."

"Yes David."

"If you start foaming at the mouth, I'm putting you down myself."


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

House of the Raising Shims


Certain things become apparent only AFTER you have moved into your new home.  It comes down to this: Love is blind.  When you fall in love with your new place, its character, its quaintness, its nooks and crannies - you have blinders on.  With these 'in love' blinders, you can see no faults.  It is only upon taking possession of the house that we realize the living room walls are covered in painted, lifting wallpaper - noticeable now, because the walls are empty.  No to worry!  Quick faux fesco finish and those walls become a 'feature'!

Every single floor in the new house is uneven. I swear to you that, other than the threshhold to the master ensuite, I didn't notice any floor issues the 4 times we were in the house before we took possession.  None.  And yet... and yet after we own the house, it quickly becomes apparent that we need to buy shims in bulk.   "Quick, hand me a shim!" 

David and I begin to argue about the relative nature of 'level.'

"Do you want it level to the walls?  To the ceiling?  To the floor?"

"What I want is to look at a piece of furniture against a wall and not think I'm in a Dali painting!!"

We planned a nice long 2 week overlap between the closing of the new place and the sale of our old place for our very small renovations.  We would take March Break and turn it into a family project.  WE HAD  LOTS OF TIME.  (Sorry, I need to stifle hysterical laughter for a moment.)

We didn't have that much to do in the new house before we moved in.  We were being conservative in our renovations.  We were tackling them ourselves.  (With some very generous help from friends and family, and tradespeople to do the tricky bits.)  We were taking a 1 bedroom with ensuite and 2nd floor loft family room and turning it into a 2 bedroom with a common bathroom... 

... and we thought we'd shift where the master closet is to utilize all the space under the eaves... and we might have decided to move a cellar egress door to create a traditional door to the basement so that the cats would be able to navigate down the non-conforming-to-code stairs...  and we were putting up an entire wall of upper cabinets in the kitchen...  and we were laying floor... and intended to eliminate the separate 2nd floor laundry to open up a wall so that the common bathroom could have more space...  and we needed to bump out a closet on the main floor to house an upright freezer, washer/dryer and treadmill...  and we were going to create a wall of repurposed antique windows, which we would then frost/etch/cover with stained glass so that Rissa would have some privacy...  and we were going to add custom cut angeled doors to the sloped ceilinged bedrooms, because there weren't any.  No problem.

Strangely enough, in that 2 week overlap before we moved in, not one of those jobs was actually completed in full.  Go figure.

The bathroom is 'mostly' done.  The fixtures are in!  And we can shower - so WHOO-HOO for that!  We need to finish the drywall, tape and mud and put on the beadboard wainscotting and chair rail and then paint - but at least we can shower!  In keeping with no floors in this house being level, the floor of the old laundry room and the floor where the new shower/tub combo resides, has about 4 inches of level disparity.  Step between those different floor levels and you're in for a wild ride.  It's not quite the beginning of the Leviathan, but if you've had a nightcap (or 6 - you know, to cope with living in a home during renovations), it's close.   I'm just going to pretend that we're living on a houseboat.  That's why nothing's level.  We've even added a waterproof light fixture over the shower so that we can really immerse ourselves in our 'marine' bathroom.

The new closet in the bedroom has clothing rods, but nothing to hide them from view.  The flooring in the living room and foyer is done, but not the 1/2 bath.  The upper kitchen cupboards are up, but still need a coat of paint... and handles.  The closet on the main floor needs to be taped, mudded - and something to cover it.  The wall of windows, the privacy doors and the door to the basement?  I'm thinking that will happen in the summer.

And yet, with every box that we unpack - the floor space increases.  Smaller jobs are getting done.  We mostly got the office area settled on Monday night, and last night David made a microwave shelf to get the appliance off the counter.  We hung the curtain rod in front of the main floor closet - I have no fucking idea where the curtain rings are,  but they'll turn up as soon as I buy new ones.



I'm looking out our kitchen window, towards the back yard and there's some sort of gnarly tree (which I hope will be a flowering apple) and a little group of bushes with our bench and some haphazard flower pots beside it.  This morning, there are two blue jays poking around in the mostly-revealed spring grass.  I couldn't see this view from our other kitchen window - it was always too high to get a good look at the backyard.  I had to get on my tippy-toes to enjoy the green.  And now, here I am, typing with a view.  It's going to be okay.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dance of the Sugar Plum Sluts...


These girls are 9

So there I was... watching the baby sluts dance...  It was not, as might be inferred, the END OF DAYS - nope, that wasn't it.  Dance competition season had begun.  The last time I endured this was 5 years ago, when Rissa did a couple of group numbers at the age of 9.

I thought we were safe, this time around, I really did.  I told David, who came late to the party, that this year the dancers were mostly wearing clothes and weren't too slutty.

Hubris.  That's what it was.

No sooner had we sat down in the theatre (waiting for Rissa's group to dance), when pint-sized hip-hoppers clad in next to no clothing, all began shaking their little asses to the delight of their parents.  At least, I'm hoping it was their parents who, when these delightful little divas started doing the ass popping move, hooted hollered and cat called.  I hope to God that it wasn't some random pedophiles off the street who thought they'd found their own personal Heaven.  (Media Alert: ANYBODY can walk into a dance competition.) The booty-poppers were in the mini class - which means that they were 5 - or younger.  David and I shared looks of horror.  These wee little bits of spandex and sequins danced with this subtext:

"Hey, look at us grind our little asses!  See us shake our non-existent boobs!  We are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!!  Doesn't it just make you want to..."

"I swear to you," I said.  "This is the first that I've seen of it at the competition."

"My eyes!" David said.  "I need to wash out my eyes!!"

Then the Irish Step Dancers came out.  They were 15. Their costume: barely there, sparkly mid-torso shirts missing an arm, leatherette booty shorts and, wait for it... fishnet stockings with a seam up the back.  'Cause you know... that's what Irish dancing is all about.  Sex.  The fishnet stockings are there, I guess, because they were fishing.  Fishing for... sailors.   The girls were fabulous dancers - very precise, synchronized beautifully... and all I could think was "WHY ARE THEY DRESSED LIKE STRIPPERS?"  David turned his head so violently to avoid looking at them (and going straight to hell), that he almost broke his neck.

Dance schools have dress codes.  Really fricking serious dress codes.  You have to 'bunnify', you have to be covered, no jewelery, you can't look sloppy.  At least not until it's competition season and then apparently you're allowed to look like a $25 hooker who gives blow jobs in the drive-thru of an all-night Tim Hortons.

It can't just be us, can it?  Please God, tell me that David and I aren't the only parents who don't want our daughter graphically sexualized!  Rissa's 13, and if I discovered her doing the choreography that some of these 7 year olds were doing?  I'd be bringing up the dance studio on child pornography charges.  Over the weekend, I watched young girls performing to these songs:


I'm a Good Girl - A jazz solo by a sassy little 13 year old who basically did a burlesque number. Don't get me wrong - I love a good burlesque number - LOVE them - hell, I'd love to do one myself.  What I don't love?  Is watching a 13 year old offer her boobs up to the audience as something akin to the dessert section at all-you-can-eat buffet.

Put Your Grafitti On Me danced to by a group of 10 year olds in sequined bras and panties, splaying their fingers all over their bodies - basically indicating where they'd like their full-body bukkake.


The topper?   Flaunt - danced to by a  trio of 13 year olds who did a lot of gesturing to their own tatas and hoohas before they finished the number off by grinding their asses.  The lyrics of this song are:

Don’t you, don’t you wanna wanna
Don’t you, don’t you wanna wanna
Don’t you, don’t you wanna see me flaunt what I got?

Baby, come a little closer
Come and get to know me
And what I got?

Baby, won’t you come and see me?
Won’t you come and be with me?
See what I got

‘Cause what I got is what you need
What I got is what you need
What I got is what you need
It’s what you need
It’s what you need, so

Don’t you, don’t you wanna wanna
Don’t you, don’t you wanna wanna
Don’t you, don’t you wanna see me flaunt what I got?

"NO!  NO, I DON'T!!!  You're 13!  WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS??  Put on some fucking clothes!"

I'm not a prude.  Read my posts about sex, you'll see.  I love sex.  I read tonnes of erotica, I enjoy off-colour smut.  Have done, since I was in my early 20s.  My daughter is 13.  I am not comfortable with her being thought of as a sex object.  I don't want her to become accustomed to receiving applause for popping her booty.  I don't want her to think that being clad in next to nothing in public doesn't have consequences.   Yes, in a perfect world, we should all be able to run around naked and nothing would happen.  Yes, the human body is just skin with hills and valleys defining our primary and secondary sexual organs.  It shouldn't cause such riot.  But it does.  We can pretend that the world has changed, but it hasn't. For millennia men have been schooled to believe that women's clothing and behaviour can warrant a Get Out of Jail Free card...  Yes, it's 2014, and yes, it's still happening.

So how about this?  Let's just let our daughters... dance.  In clothing that allows them to move without sharing their asses with the world;  to music that empowers rather than subjugates.  Can we please be vigilant parents, protecting our precious progeny - allowing them the time to grow up?  'Cause here's the hard truth folks:  Your little girl, who used to skip around the dance studio in innocent abandon, pretending to be a butterfly?  That little girl, when she dances all 'grown up', is going to have random strangers in a crowded theatre wanting to fuck her. And if you're cool with that?  You need to re-examine what it means to be a parent.