Saturday, 22 August 2020

Jamie vs The Wedding Speech

Dear sister,

It’s been almost a year since you got married, and I’ve been slow about posting the wedding speech I did for you. So as your first anniversary approaches, I thought I’d help you relive your wedding with my small contribution to your big day.

Doing the speech at your wedding was an absolute highlight and honour for me. It made me realize that I love a microphone and an audience, and that high following a great performance. 

Oh, and your wedding was cool too.

So here is my speech for posterity. Although it is missing bits, because some comedy gold was dropped on me at the last minute and I had to improvise...the fact that there were an obscene number of Jamie’s at your wedding gave me one hell of an intro, and dad getting pulled over by the cops for going to slow despite trying to rush home for a panicky Mexican food poop, were all just too good not to use.

So thank you for giving me a stage, for trusting me to roast you enough to make you cringe but not cry, and for the literal standing ovation that night and massively supportive comments afterwards from people I’d know for years, and many I’d never met. 

I absolutely had a blast writing this for you and watching your face during those moments where you figured out where I was headed before the rest of the guests, and despite this knowledge, you also knew that you couldn’t stop me. I loved every single moment. 

Happy anniversary sis. 

Hi everyone, I'm Jamie 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kendra’s sister.  We don’t look much alike, but if you close your eyes and just listen, we’ve been told we sound almost identical. Friends, boyfriends, and even our parents have gotten us confused over the years, which of course we exploited at every point possible, so don’t feel bad if you think you hear Kendra across the room and it turns out to be me.  You wouldn’t be the first, and probably won’t be the last. (***cheers from the old friends in the crowd who actually made this mistake a number of times)

Besides being her sister, I’m also Kendra’s maid of honour, making it my job to talk her off ledges, make sure the back of her dress isn't tucked into her underwear, and to basically help her get to today. 

But because I’m her sister, it’s now also my job to make sure that I share as many childhood stories as I can within a reasonable speech time frame.  

Now at this point that I should tell you that I was going to put up some pictures, but Kendra and Robert basically refused to let me have any sort of screen. To be fair, this was probably a very smart choice on their part, but still, now you’ll have to use your imaginations. Think of this as the audience participating aspect to the traditional wedding speech. 

For example:

Here I would have put up some beautiful art work done by Kendra. Now you’ll have to just take my word for it that it didn’t suck. 

Kendra has always been very artistic….again, you’ll just have to trust me.  She can create art out of basically any medium available, and once painted a tree mural on our wall that I’m convinced was the selling feature of the condo years later. 

I have a picture of this masterpiece, but you can’t see it.  

But Kendra had humble beginnings.  Her first attempt at non-conformist modern art was drawing on a foggy mirror after a shower. At 10 years old, she had realized that if she drew a picture on the mirror with her finger, it would appear again later in the steam from the next  shower.

So…..14 year old me finishes a shower and reasonably expects to see nothing but my own reflection in the mirror, but what 14 year old me sees instead...and no, I promise you will never guess this if I gave you infinite chances to guess. And it also wasn't a penis.....she wrote:


I know…

Three things here. 

One: OJ Simpson wasn’t, and still isn’t dead. 

Two: my sister watched too much news?

And Three:  Kendra somehow managed to do fake news before it was mainstream.

Besides her obvious artistic tendencies, Kendra has always had incredible physical prowess. She is a talented skier, she enjoys running, and is literally a world class paddler (PSA:  never call it rowing, or she will drown you) 

But like her art, her athleticism began much more humbly. When she was younger, Kendra wasn’t capable of walking like a human being.  For reasons only an 8 year old can understand, her and her friend wanted to be horses. Not to RIDE horses, but to BE horses.

At this point, Kendra probably doesn’t want me to elaborate on what I mean, so I will.  

This means offering to hitch yourself up to large logs in order to pull them like draft horses. It means perfecting your horse sounds. It also, more importantly, means walking and running on all fours, because real horses don't walk on two legs.

But this 4 legged walking doesn’t come easily, it takes practice and dedication. And they got good. And my dear sister, who excels in most things, also excelled in this. 

Over time, the two girls developed a loping kind of canter, a smooth-ish walk, and an ungainly but surprisingly quick gallop, all of which were done on all fours. And they were faster than you think. 

Again, since I can’t show you, you’ll need to imagine a young version of Kendra decked out in multi-coloured spandex, no small amount of neon, and a fanny pack, posing on all fours like the horse she believes is her spirit animal. The picture is out there…..

But for me, the best part of this was that over time they performed these moves so frequently that they would forget what they were doing and just drop into horse stance. Literally ANYWHERE.

 I would be walking home from school with Kendra and suddenly she would drop to all fours and run. Any time she ran there was at least a 40% chance that she would end the run as a horse.

The most memorable time was at the local ice rink. We were at public skating, just going around in circles and I guess at some point we achieved critical horse speed.  Out of nowhere Kendra dropped automatically into horse stance and tried to run. 

As you all know, ice isn't famous for it's traction, and horses don't wear ice skates. 

And just to make sure I wasn’t creating fake news, I googled it I can tell you that there are no horses on ice skates, although I was surprised to learn that there was at least one that roller skated. His name was Jimmy, and was quite famous in Ohio in the 1950’s.  

I would have put up his picture here, but you know. 

Anyway, these things, combined with not actually being a horse, created unsurprising disaster. My agile little sister face planted on the ice after taking about 2 to 3 loping attempts at a gallop in public. She wasn't hurt, and I enjoyed watching it immensely. 

Much like I’m enjoying retelling it now.  

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

Kendra also has a memory rivaled only by that of an elephant. No matter how insignificant the screw up, she will remember it.  I only mention this because she has been holding a grudge against me since she was 6.  

We were walking home from school one fall.  Kendra was picking up leaves, and I was making sure she didn’t walk into a tree while paying attention to the leaves.  She had a very singular focus in those days. 

She found a leaf she liked, which was basically like every other leaf on the ground, but she wanted this one. Instead of carrying it herself like a normal person, she assumed I was a willing pack horse and gave me the leaf to carry for her. 

It’s a well known fact in our family that my hands don’t generally stay still.  I will shred paper table clothes, play with crumbs on my plate, and apparently, I also unconsciously shred leaves that are handed to me for transport.  As she was off searching for more leaves identical to the one I was holding, I decimated the one she’d given me. 

Now, in my defense, I want it on the record that I did not do this intentionally, but the leaf was gone none the less.  And she has NEVER let me forget it. Ever. It comes up at least once every major family holiday, including when she told it at my wedding. 

But she will tell the story much differently than I do. The difference being that my version is true, and hers is a drama worthy of an academy award.

Click, a picture of Robert and Kendra together on top of a mountain has just appeared on your internal screens. It’s lovely. If only we could all see it…..

And so we’ve reached the part of the speech where as the maid of honour I’m supposed to say nice things about the groom. 

Robert, Rob, Bob, Bobert

Despite our weird habit of constantly trying to out-insult each other at every possible opportunity, I want to say welcome officially to the family.  We’re very happy to have you here. I for one appreciate that we can verbally abuse each other on a regular basis without mortally offending one another. It’s something I look for in a brother in law, and to date,  you’re the only one who’s had the ability to keep up with me. Well done. Although you may want to vary your insults a bit, some are getting a bit uncreative old man.

But I’ve known Robert for what has actually become a fair number of years now, and for those of you who’ve also known him for some time, you may remember that he used to have much longer hair. 

After meeting him for the first time, my uncle pointed out that in large part due to this mountain of hair, he looked a lot like the painter Bob Ross, who is well known both for his wild Afro, for painting happy little trees, and for turning mistakes into birds on canvas.  

Once again, you’ll need to close your eyes and imagine a split screen with an older picture of Robert side by side with one of Bob Ross. See….it’s uncanny. And I have a point to all this….

Ok, next slide. Nope, there isn't one. Maybe in your head? I'll leave it up to you.

Now imagine a Bob Ross painting, it’s trees, and mountains with a little lake between the peaks.  It’s probably dusk, but without the mosquitoes. And in the distance there are a couple of birds because at some point along the line, there was a paint splatter that was later reworked into….buzzards or something. 

It’s toast time. 

Kendra and Robert,

In the years that you have been together, I’ve seen each of you grow as individuals and as a couple. You’re both equally stubborn and passionate, which does make for some interesting battles over how much spice to add to a dish, the pros and cons of wearing plaid to a wedding, or which craft beer is better. It’s adorable and irritating in equal measure. 

Always keep in mind that marriage can have a lot of ups and downs, and it’s important to be honest about that. It’s not always easy, and you will probably have times where you consider the cost effectiveness of changing the locks while the other one is out. Don’t. But feel free to consider it. 

You will both make mistakes. You will both say things that you regret. And you will both feel tired and wonder what on earth you are doing together.   

But rather than letting those difficulties get the better of you, channel Bob Ross. Together you can turn your problems into happy little trees and your mistakes into birds, because that is marriage.  You take what each other brings to the canvas and you make a masterpiece together.   Congratulations

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Me vs A Legacy of Dead Animals

***This post has a few pictures of dead and/or mostly dead animals. You've been warned. ~J

About a year after we moved, my mother told me that she was surprised by how well I was doing living in a small town, and even more so on a rural property. Apparently when we had told her and my father that we were moving out of the city, they'd silently conferred and given me 6 months before I table flipped and came back to civilization.  Oddly, she was very specific about giving ME 6 months before I lost my mind....she evidently felt that my husband was more suited for rural life???

Well, 6 years in, and I feel like I won some unspoken battle of wills. I also don't recognize what I've become.

When we first moved, finding a spider in my house was grounds for a burning.  I will fully admit to emptying a can of raid into a spider nest just to be sure they were well and truly gone. As a child, when we went to our cabin, my sister and I would have my parents do a "spider check" every night, and failure on their part was not an option. Wildlife was fine...when viewed from afar, and preferably on the other side of glass.

Fast forward to now.
I have been keeping a dead bobcat in my freezer.
My life is a Planet Earth blooper reel. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Since moving to our little piece of forested paradise, I've had to become a little more ok with the nature around me. For example, the spiders that I would not suffer to live, are now ok as long as they are small-ish and remain on the ceiling. My children name them. Our current kitchen-dwelling ceiling spiders are called Fluffy and Blacky.  I do have a more limited tolerance for spiders on bedroom ceilings, but even those standards have greatly relaxed in the last few months. I take much more offence to the moths, as they eat holes in my clothes, and arguably the spiders help with mitigating their existence. Initially I tried to combat the spider epidemic, but having a wood stove means a constant need for wood, which in turn means things coming in on the wood. I like being warm more than I hate spiders, and so they are inevitable. I learned to tolerate.

And so we moved up the size scale to mice. I never had to deal with mice in the city. They just never came up. There were zero times where I laid in bed and wondered what that scritching noise was.  But we moved to a forest and mice became a thing. A constant, unstoppable force of nature. In the home we rented before buying our current house, having mouse traps out was just an everyday standard. The first time I found a full trap, I was horrified that this was something I had to deal with now. And I'll be clear, I didn't deal with it well. Emptying traps was solidly chiseled onto my husband's job list.

These days, mice don't usually make it into the house. Only one has that we know of, and it didn't stand a chance, as our two cats and dog spent an evening stalking it mercilessly (and a bit joyfully). Generally, they only make it as far as the garage and meet their end. This is fine, and I've considered staking their little heads out in front as a warning to others who want to try and breach our defences.

But sometimes our mouse traps work...differently...than I'd like.  Follow me up the size scale again. 

This past summer I caught a lizard in a mouse trap. It was still alive, albeit unhappy, so we released it.  As we were taking the trap back to reset it (the mice never relent) we happened past another one of the traps. This one held an absolutely furious snake, which I'm fairly sure had been going after the lizard that I had just released.  We released the snake and off it went. The next morning, the same stupid lizard that had only caught it's leg the first time, had come right back in and repeated it's poor life choices of the previous day, however this time it hadn't been so lucky.

Dead animal bingo: Small Rodents - check, Reptiles - check
What's next?

Right, birds.

I will say that having a bird fly into your window isn't that uncommon. It happens a lot here, despite attempts to put up stickers and dirty kid handprints to signal that this isn't a fly through zone.  That said, having a hawk fly into your window so fast that you honestly thought your giant picture window was going to shatter....well that's a bit more rare.

I can only imagine that while this bird was very aware of its own speed and magnificence, it was maybe less aware of its surroundings than it needed to be. This beautiful, but idiotic bird, ricocheted off the window so hard that it partially decapitated itself, and the force of the hit sent this now very dead bird flying sideways onto our back deck in a spectacular fountain of arterial blood spray. To complicate this already unplanned for situation, it was August and hot, so we had to get outside as fast as possible to wash the rapidly drying blood spatter off the window, deck, and side of the house before it baked on, all while keeping the dog from coming up to claim what he clearly thought was his new toy. 

It just sat here and died
And if the birds aren't flying into the window, they just settle down by your front door to die.  I guess this was some kind of idiot grouse? It just showed up one day, and then later that same day it was no more.  Less blood spray at least, but no fewer dead birds that the dog still feels should be his. Live in the country, they said.....

And no, I'm not at the cat yet. Which means, yes, somehow there's more. *sigh*

I mentioned our dog earlier. He's big, he's brown, and one of his favourite activities is finding bones. This could mean stealing bones from neighbour dogs (which he does frequently and with skill I wish he'd direct to more useful endeavors, like listening when I call him), or it could mean running out into the forest and helping us to add to our ever increasing collection of dead animal bits. 

A few months ago he very proudly came trotting around the side of the house with this:

This one is quite dead
It still had fur. Wonderful.

And of course, it didn't stop there. We (and again, I say we, but I mean my very tolerant husband) bagged the leg and got rid of it.

My dog brought back another full leg. He was a little salty that we'd gotten rid of his first leg, but he was equally proud of himself for having a stash to work from. And so we got rid of leg #2.

Now I will admit that this pushed my limits a bit. I feel like up until the point where my dog dragged a fully intact deer leg and kindly left it in the middle of my stairs, I'd dealt with most things with a kind of aplomb that past Jamie would not have been able to manage. But this was pushing it somewhat.

And then the entire lower jaw of his prized carcass made an appearance in our yard. And it had teeth. And for some reason the gory, cloven-hoved nightmare was tolerable, but the jaw with teeth? Nope, I'm out.

But I wasn't out.

Because what is the next logical step on the ladder of dead animals? We'd had rodents, reptiles, birds, large guessed's PREDATOR TIME!

This winter we had a cold snap. During this time my neighbour sent me pictures of a little bobcat sitting on her porch just kind of...hanging out? In any case, it was pretty odd behaviour for an otherwise solitary and elusive predator, and it was seriously freaking her cat out. It was interesting, but otherwise the event came and went with little more than passing curiosity. 

A day or two later my husband sent me a text with this picture and very little explanation. 

Also very dead

Turns out that the bobcat that had been hanging out at our neighbours house, probably because it was cold and hungry and then had chosen to make its way into our woodshed to die.  

This NEVER happened to city-dwelling Jamie. SHE never had to deal with dead predators in her yard.  I can truthfully say that there has never been one time in my life prior to moving here where I had to seriously consider how to dispose of a body. NOT ONCE. 

This alone was pretty fucked up. I had a dead bobcat in my woodshed. But more importantly, I had a dead bobcat that I now needed to get rid of, and it needed to be done in a way that would not see the dog bringing it back to us in a further state of disrepair.  

And so like the good procrastinators we are, we put it in a wheelbarrow (it's still winter, it'll keep) and went back inside to ponder the situation for a few days.  I felt like someone should know this happened so I called the conservation officer, because that seemed like something they would want to know about.  Turns out they did not care at all. They wanted me to hurl it into the back 40, but given the aforementioned dog, that didn't seem like a great plan. So we did nothing for a while longer. 

And we continued to do nothing until I went to work with a picture and story of my new cat. My boss took one look and asked if he could have it. You want my dead bobcat? Yes. Why??? To stuff it. Oh. 

Anyway, then I (read again: husband) had to put a small dead bobcat in my freezer so it didn't go bad while my boss got a permit to have it taxidermied.  

For almost 4 weeks, I had a bobcat-cicle just hanging out in my deep freeze. That is not normal. Normal people do not have deceased cats IN THEIR FREEZERS.  That is not something that happens. What (and I can't emphasize this enough) the fuck is happening here? I live in the Bermuda Triangle of dead animals. 

This week, finally, my boss got the approvals he needed to take possession of said dead bobcat, and I could thankfully get it out of my house.  That said, I had to get it out of the freezer first. When it had initially gone it, it was....somewhat pliable. But now picture if you will, the act of trying to get a cat into a carrier....all 4 feet braced against the edges, fighting the inevitable. Well, I had a frozen version of that, and this frozen feline was not keen on being liberated from it's new home.  Eventually me and my frozen cat got to take a ride in my car where it then got to go live in the freezer at work for a while. After all, the only thing worse that a dead frozen bobcat, is a thawed one. 

So now my little dead bobcat will be finding a nice warm home as a flatter, rug-like version of itself. I have requested naming rights though....I'm thinking Cleopatra. 

And I feel like city Jamie would be equal parts proud and horrified by the new me.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Me vs Camping

I've been camping for as long as I can remember. I grew up participating in things like Girl Guides and Scouting where we camped at least 3-4 times a year. Our family camped for two weeks every summer in various locations around the province, and now as an adult we take our kids camping.

My style of camping, however, has morphed quite a lot over time into something that is less tenting adventure, and more of a solid, animal attack reduction enclosure.

For years our family camped in a tent until one fateful trip when my mom declared at two in the morning that we would never tent again. To be fair, it had begun raining around one am, and the term "torrential" doesn't do it nearly the justice it deserves. I would consider using "biblical downpour" instead.  This meant that for all future trips we rented a tent trailer, because somehow adding the term "trailer" to it made it less tent-y.

Me trying to look organized while not doing that
Camping with my parents was amazing, and I have so many great memories from those trips. My mother has to be the single most organized camper that has ever lived, and I'm constantly struggling to achieve that level of tidyness when camping.  I haven't yet and don't truly expect to.

Those family trips were an organizational polar opposite to camping with Guiding or Scouting. I mean, of course it threw 5-8 teenages at a campsite with limited oversight....what could possibly go wrong? There are days I look back and wonder how we didn't get eaten by a bear or simply die of exposure. We were the worst campers. We had a blast, but the stupidity was unparalleled.

When camping with Guides, for example, you were not allowed to swim or play in the water unless you had a certified lifeguard. We never had that. Ever. But of course the closest campground, and our location of choice, was right beside a huge lake with beautiful creeks running into it, and on a hot summer day, this was torture. We were early teens and our leaders were amazing. They (perhaps imprudently) gave us a fair amount of freedom, and we took it happily. On the day in question, a couple of us decided that we would go for a hike; we let them know our plans and headed off. The only rule was: don't go in the water.

 Along the way it got hot and we decided that it wouldn't hurt if we just stuck our feet in the creek for a harm, no foul. No one would even know...until my friend fell into the creek.  There's very little hope of playing innocent when you return to your site dripping wet.

Although looking back this girl was a bit accident prone.....she once walked into the cross beam of a swing set and broke her nose, burned her hand fairly badly on a lantern, and fell into (another) river all in the same night. Just saying.

She also provided me the most ridiculous camping anecdote I've ever heard. 

Before I impart her wisdom, however, you need to know that I love being outside, sitting around campfires, hiking, and hanging out with friends, but I hate being outside in the dark. The peaceful forest turns into a nightmarish playground where every sound it a lurking animal waiting to pounce. It keeps me up at night. Every night.  Being in a camper, even our tiny trailer that is almost as old as I am, is a huge improvement over a tent, but I still hear every sound. And I will wake you up to ask if you hear it too. I'm not sure what I think that will accomplish, but it happens anyway.

And just so we're all on the same page, tents are not protection. They are a light film allows you to pretend that nothing is out there, because you can't see it. A toddler with a sharp stick could take out a tent wall....a bear would have exactly zero difficulty getting in. 
Our toddler showing off
the tent/bear take out container that she could
easily demolish if she put her mind to it

But I digress.  It was on a camping trip with my friend that I heard something crashing around in the bushes. We'd long since gone to bed, and she was, I assume, sleeping. I was not. I was imagining the thousands of blood thirsty creatures that were screened from view by our pathetically small tent. And I may have been a little concerned. 

So, because misery loves company, I woke her up to tell her we were going to die.  She sat up, looked me dead in the eye and said "There's nothing out there. All nocturnal animals go to bed at midnight." And then she went back to sleep.

Ummm....I have a question about the definition of nocturnal.

But amazingly, at the time I didn't, and so I shrugged and went to sleep. Teenage logic is stupid. 

And so, if you're ever camping and wonder if you're safe in the forest at night, just remember, as long as it's after midnight, you'll be fine. All the nocturnal animals have gone to bed. 

Sweet dreams.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Me vs Being a Horse?

My sister is getting married soon, so I thought what better time to relive some warm sisterly memories than right now.

As I've discussed in the past, my sister is revoltingly talented. What she wasn't as a child, however, was capable of walking like a human being.  For reasons only a 9 year old would understand, her and her friend wanted to be horses. Not to ride horses, but to BE horses.

And what does being a horse encompass you ask? Let me tell you. It means offering to hitch yourself up to large logs in order to pull them like a draft horse. It means perfecting your horse noises (Neigh!). It also, more importantly, means walking and running on all fours. Horses don't walk on two legs after all.

And so they practiced. And they got good. And my sister, who excels in most things, also excelled in this. Over time, the two girls developed a loping kind of canter, a smooth-ish walk, and an ungainly but surprisingly quick gallop, all of which were done on all fours, with legs and arms extended to their fullest. There were times when I truly believed that my sister could move faster on four legs than on two.

As an older sister, the single best part of this for me was that over time they performed these equine feats so frequently that they would appear to forget what they were doing and just drop into horse stance. Anywhere. Literally ANYWHERE.

I would be walking home from school with my sister and suddenly she would drop to all fours and run.  It seemed  like anytime she started running like a human, there was at least a 40% chance that she would end the run in horse mode. From where I was standing, it was a completely subconscious choice to do this, and it was absolutely hysterical.

My unqualified favourite time this happened was at the local ice rink. We were at public skating, just going around in endless circles when it happened. I guess at some point we achieved critical horse speed, because out of nowhere my sister dropped automatically into horse stance and tried to run. 

Now if you've ever experienced ice, you'll know that it isn't known for it's traction. Horses, as a rule, also don't often wear ice skates. Ice, combined with skates designed to glide on ice, and the act of not actually being a horse created a trifecta of disaster which saw my sister face planting on the ice after taking about 2 to 3 loping gallops in public. She wasn't hurt, and I enjoyed the spectacle immensely. 

I can tell this story now, because my sister has not been a horse in years, and recently got back from winning a world championship medal with Team Canada's women's paddling team. I'm very proud of her, but I also like closing my eyes and remembering that while she may be athletic and talented now, there was once a time that she tried to run like a horse on the ice and failed spectacularly. Neigh!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Me vs The Utter Joylessness of Adulting

So it's been a bit more than a cup of coffee since I've sat down to write anything. I've got a thousand reliable excuses, but the reality is I'm just tired, frustrated, and binge eating m&ms while watching Netflix.  

I think a large part of it is that adulting has been steadily chipping away at the armor of my sanity for the last 4 years. In all my time as a homeowner, I've never had even half of the problems we've had since moving here, and it's breaking me down.

I'll caveat this by saying that I realize that my complaints are for the most part solidly first world problems....except the water issues, those throw me down a few "world" levels. We've been very fortunate to be healthy and generally happy as a family. 
That said, our problems are still problems. They're still draining emotionally, physically, and financially, and it sucks.  

Besides being set upon annually by ants, ticks, wasps, mosquitoes, and a very persistent bear intent upon tearing apart my garden boxes one by one, the house itself seem to dislike having people living in it.

The water situation feels barely liveable some days. We're constantly fighting sediment gumming up 
fixtures and appliance, and have had what feels like endless water depletions, as one tap or another won't shut off because some bloody part of it has been worn down by grit.

We do have enough water to basically run the house, but the well we dug to increase the capacity went...poorly. (read about the unstoppable shit show here), and we've decided to give up after paying some jackass more money than I care to think about, for what amounts to an unsightly pipe in my yard. At least we have sufficient water for the house. Small miracles.

We also decided recently to get a high quality (read: expensive) filtration system so that the water doesn't smell and taste quite so terrible, and the persistent sediment is removed. I've had more fart showers than anyone should have to endure, and I'd like to come out of the bath feeling cleaner than I went in for fuckig once.  It would also be lovely if the water coming out of my tap didn't kill fish.  I don't even like fish, but I feel like if the fish can't survive in the water, I probably shouldn't be consuming it either.

The system went in and for a glorious 2 weeks I had relaxing, fart-free showers. It was the best of times....and then it ended. The $&%$ing system began leaking just enough to be defective, but not wrong enough to get the repair guy in quickly. So for a week and a half I just changed out the towels at the bottom of the tank every couple of days so it didn't form pools. Eventually the guy made it back into town and "fixed" the system, however to date, the tank still leaks and for reasons that I can't explain, I'm back to fart showers. 

And then one deceptively quiet evening, three large wall tiles gave up the ghost mid shower. They came right off fucking the wall in my hands. It seems they'd been loose for some time, as behind them was a colourful selection of mold and moist drywall bits. Of course now I'm terrified that I've been inhaling mold spores for the last few year.  I've also developed a cough.  I'm quite surprised I'm still alive.
And as one would expect, the builder has politely requested that we pound sand.

But it doesn't end there....

Our first camping trip of the summer saw the fridge in our trailer, which had worked flawlessly all last year, conk out in a very permanent way. The toilet also backed up, and I can't begin to explain how that happened, as it's basically just a hole you shit in with a tank underneath. 

We also got rid of a lot of our garden, as I can't keep plants alive (which is a whole issue in and of itself), and we had a beautiful rock fountain put in. It is stunning (and just to be clear, I have no complaints about the person who put it in). 
And it worked for about 3 weeks. 
Again, for reasons that escape me, the pump does not pump. You plug it in and exactly nothing happens until you take it OUT of the water, at which point it sputters back to life. Put it back in the water and it goes completely dead. This is roughly the EXACT GODDAMN OPPOSITE of what a WATER PUMP is supposed to do. 

And my cat just puked on the carpet. I'm not even making that up. 

I quit.