Tuesday 15 December 2015

Me vs Big Snarly Cats

You may have noticed over the last year or so, that I take exception to a rather large number of the resident population of animals in the area where I live. I’ve touched upon my disdain for the local road lemmings (deer), the mice, the spiders, and the bear (although I can’t really hold it responsible for wanting my delicious food waste), and I just want to put it out there that I don’t hate animals.

If I lived by the ocean, nothing would give me more joy than to watch whales and dolphins jump in the waves. I could watch river otters play for hours. They make me think of little cats…..except they like the water, aren’t nearly as pretentious, and are generally bigger than cats, ….but that time my cat fell in the bathtub, he did roll around a lot, which was kind of otter-like.  

Not cougars, but they still have
sharp bits
I like house cats. I have two, and despite waking me up at all hours to receive love, walking over my pillow with their cat litter paws, and meowing in front of my kids doors in the morning because they’ve figured out that I will leap out of bed to feed them so the kids don’t wake up, they’re lovely. I even like the resident marmots, and their less portly relatives the ground squirrels, despite the ankle-breaking holes they dig all over the yard. Being a ground squirrel is what I imagine being on amphetamines must be like…hyper alert, running everywhere, and yelling (chirping, but I envision it as yelling) at anything that comes near you.  

But, and I’m sure many will agree with me here, I don’t like cougars. It’s not even actual cougars that I dislike, but more their desire to eat people (read: me) that they every so often display. I realize that this isn’t terribly common, and there are a lot of other nasty things out there that can end me, but I’ve had cats that bite me a lot and it hurts like fucking hell, so I don’t think getting eaten by a much larger cat would be any improvement.

Cougars eat meat, and I’m meat. This is pretty straightforward.

Bears, being the other large animal of concern out here, will eat meat as well, but I picture them as more open to food that doesn’t fight or run much, like berry bushes and logs filled with bugs. This being said, don’t go out of your way to piss them off by giving them a hug (it’s a bear-hug in name only), or try for a selfie with a grizzly (It happens. Morons.), but in general, I’m just not as worried about them. This is probably due to the fact that bears don’t really try to hide. They bumble along making an ungodly amount of noise and eat whatever is easiest to get. Mostly my garbage. Cougars, however, stalk you, because they are motherfucking lions.  

Mountain lions.

Basically it’s like we’re in Africa being stalked by regular lions, but these ones have an extra vector: they can hide in trees and jump down on your unsuspecting head. That’s freaky shit when you’re out in the woods trying to enjoy nature.

Not a guard dog, but at least he's pretty
In response to this threat (real or imagined) I got a dog. I thought that he would offer some protection, or at least warning when it comes to these apex predators in the area, however I am not convinced he actually does.  While he sticks to me like glue inside the house, the jackass takes off the moment the door is opened and returns hours later with a deer bone from a stash he found months ago. And the last time he encountered a bear on a walk, he completely failed to notice it, and he generally won’t go outside right now because it’s cold. Not a terribly useful protector.

This brings me to a hiking trip I was a part of on Vancouver Island a few years ago. A couple of hours into the hike our group came across a sign that warned hikers to stay in groups of 3 or more, as cougars were in the area and would stalk you if you were alone. Our group was had about 10 hikers, no problem. Unfortunately the 10 of us were split into three separate groups: The fast people, the slow people, and the middle person: me. I was my own group. Of one. Which, for those keeping score, is less than 3. This immediately made the cougar warning the scariest sign I’ve ever seen.

Happily I didn’t die, though I don’t know if it’s because there were no cougars around that day, or because I was talking in three different voices so any cougar in the area would think “Hey, there’s a group of 3 happening down there. Maybe next time”. Yeah, that’s right, I’m that awesome.

The strangest part of this paranoia I have about cougars is that unlike the deer whom I would happily see eradicated from the town limits (they can go live in the forest, not in the DQ parking lot), I don’t actually want cougars to be killed; I just don’t want them near me or my family. The sad part, and back to the idiotic deer again, is that the cougars come into the town because of the deer, and then have to be put down because they pose a threat. I really wish this didn’t happen, because despite the Jamie-eating capabilities of these animals, they are beautiful. In pictures. That were not taken by me.

So to summarize, deer suck, cougars are pretty, and I would like to avoid being eaten. 

Saturday 5 December 2015

Me vs The Wedding or The Reason I Got Stuck in The Shirt

A while ago now, I told the story of how I got stuck in a piece of traditional Indian clothing - The Churidar Kurta or How I Got Stuck in a Shirt.

This is part two.

I’m going to try to make this story entertaining. At the time it was anything but, however I feel like I need to tell it anyway. Some kind of catharsis maybe, or at the very least a cautionary tale for the rest of you.

After outfitting myself in Indian clothing, I felt ready, and even excited to experience the larger than life wedding that my coworker had been planning and talking about for months. She had something insane like 1000 guests attending, and how could that not be amazing to see? The scale sounded impressive.

And it was impressive, just not in the ways I had imagined.

When Husband and I got there, the first bombshell was that in the temple men and women could not sit together. There was a men’s side and a women’s side. This was uncomfortable…..but at least I eventually had my other coworkers to sit with. My poor, extremely tolerant husband would have to sit by himself on the other side of the room with 500 men he had never met before, to share a cultural experience that was surprisingly confusing.

As we stood around waiting to go in, my coworkers arrived. I was a bit taken aback by their outfits. They had all spent a lot of time talking about the fancy saris they had purchased for the event, yet no one was wearing them.
So, stupid me, I asked why not? Most fell silent, but the oblivious one piped up that the saris were for the reception the next day. Duh. Why wouldn’t you know that?….oh wait, you didn’t know about the reception?

Well, shit.

We all stood silently for a moment, letting this information sink in. Ever so carefully, I asked What reception? Isn’t that part of this event?  The question was answered by the sound of crickets and darting, terrified eye contact between the rest of the group. It wasn’t hard to deduce the answer on my own.

But seriously, why would I have known that?!? It had not occurred to me that these two events were on two different days, and the invitation hadn’t indicated anything. I thought we went from wedding to reception like every other wedding I had been to, not: oh sorry you’re only invited to the (painfully long) ceremony but you can’t come to the (much more enjoyable) dinner/dance part. Thanks asshole.

Trying hard to hide that I was dying inside as I’d realized, very publically, that I had been excluded from the main event, I grabbed Husband and staggered off into the parking lot to regain some composure.

I take some solace in the fact that as I left, they were all at a loss for words, and looked like a collection of flaccid, useless dicks waiting in the parking lot for something to come along and save them from what had just happened.
It was very awkward.

No, it was more awkward than that.

These proceedings may have coloured my opinion of the bride and her event, but I returned to the group, hiked up my big girl panties, and carried on into the venue to tolerate the rest of the day.

The ceremony itself was strange but interesting, and I lost myself for a while in the colours and singing going on around me. There were no chairs and everyone sat on the floor, and as far as I could tell, there was no definite start point to the ceremony. The singing/chanting was going on when we walked in and then suddenly the wedding party was walking down the aisle.

I use the term “suddenly” only to convey that there was no notification to the gathering hoard that she was coming. We turned around and there was the bride. No preamble, no notice, just bam! There she is! But don’t interpret that to mean that she came in with any great speed. I think we sat on the floor for at least an hour listening to the chanting (which, to be fair, was beautiful) before she made her way in.

I tried very hard not to be mad and hurt during this time, but the obvious exclusion from the event everyone else was attending made it hard to really enjoy myself. And then my ass got sore, and I was pretty much done with the whole sitting-on-the-floor shit. Plus, we had been there for well over two hours at this point, and it really didn’t look like it was slowing down.  I also had to pee, and there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I was walking down that aisle in front of the incredibly large group of people, while the bride and groom were still up there, possibly committing some irreversible cultural faux pas.

Lucky for us, our group of wedding goers included another woman who attended the temple. She looked around at our panicked, confused, white-girl faces, and matter-of-factly got up and said we could go now.

Wait, what? The bride and groom were still up there…should we really just up and leave? Apparently yes, you do, that’s normal. According to her, the ceremony would go on for hours, and we could go now.  My ass was happy.  I waved desperately at Husband who was sitting on the boy’s side, and pictionaried to him that we could escape.

Husband and I made it through the lunch that was offered…he likes Indian food, I do not, and eventually hit the magic point in time where you can leave without appearing to run screaming from the building. Basically, it was half a day of time and babysitting costs that I can never get back.

Overall, the cultural part of the experience was interesting, albeit long. (So. Fucking. Long.) I don’t think I’d be overly inclined to repeat it, however I think it’s important to try new things - even if those things turn out to be less like the experience you had anticipated, and more like an unending hell in which you are painfully aware of your social exclusion.

In the end the part that really irked me was that I had given the bride money as a wedding gift, which apparently wasn’t required, given that I hadn’t been invited to the part of the wedding that socially required a gift. Figures. At least I got a thank you card. Not sure it was worth it.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Me vs Cat Reproductive Liberties

Both of my cats are wandering around the house wearing cones of shame following the loss of their respective girly-bits and cat-nuts. The shame cones are all the more appropriate given that last week I found myself spending an unreasonable amount of time yelling at the male cat to stop fucking his sister. 

Those are words I just didn't think I would ever put in combination. 

But I did, and now he has no nuts and she will never again experience shark week (which I've concluded is the perfect way to describe a period). 

And then my brother in law pointed me towards this: Neuticles

What is that you ask? Well, apparently if you are sad that your precious puppy snowflake no longer has a full and robust ball sack to lick at his leisure, no berries to accompany his twig as it drags across your legs when he climbs over you, you can remedy the situation! And YES, you can spend an ungodly amount of money to do so!

Fake balls are no longer just for trucks! Now you can pimp out your dog with his own set of truck nuts.

Do they come in cat sizes? Yes. Yes they do. Because of course they do. 

So now that you can't un-know that, have a great night. :-)

Thursday 12 November 2015

Me vs Spiders

It’s fall.

As all of us know, fall is a time for obligatory pumpkin carving (despite living in a place where no one will ever come trick-or-treating), dying tree leaves (which are often confused with trees that are losing their leaves because I’m slowly killing them), and pumpkin spice everything.

It is also the time that the spiders come out in force.

I’m not na├»ve, I know that there are always spiders, but fall brings them into the house in numbers that rival a locust plague. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we are bringing in firewood which is home to the little fuckers. Secondly, it’s becoming ass-bitingly cold out, and they like it outside about as much as I do. It’s warmer in here, so here is where they come. One that level, I can’t really blame them. Still, I won’t suffer spiders to live inside my house.

Outside they can commune with nature all they want; inside, Mr. Spider, I expect you to die.
Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to squish them, I require more elegant (read: hands-off) methods like a vacuum, a spider-eating cat, or a shit-ton of raid.

For years I couldn't handle any spiders. Little ones were as bad as their larger counterparts. As a child my sister and I wouldn’t go to sleep in our family's cabin bunks without my parents doing a “spider check” first. These days I would still like them to do that, but I’m not taken nearly as seriously.

Then I lived in a basement suite. Basement suites should come with a warning that you will be sharing the space, but the other tenants will not pay rent, they will creep you the fuck out, and they will bite you if given half a chance.  This suite was the first place I had lived that didn't come with a dad who would take care of the offending arachnids for me, however it wasn't until I did my first load of laundry that the scope of the problem really made itself known.

After sorting our clothes into nice little piles, I gathered up the load and tossed it into the washer. I happened to glance in and saw this hideously large spider trying to crawl out. This was a special kind of hell for me, as I had absolutely no idea how to solve this problem (see paragraph about being unable to squish). So I opted out. I slammed the washer door shut, turned on the machine, and refused to go back into the room for the next 4 hours.

I have no idea what I thought was going to happen, but I wasn't convinced that it was dead after being put through a wash cycle. It was big. For all I knew, it was a thrill seeker and would enjoy the spin cycle for the ride I imagined it would be. I was taking no chances.  As such, I took reasonable precautions and emptied the wash into the dryer using salad tongs.

There was no sign of the spider as a whole, but I picked bits of leg out of my lint trap for the next month. That was the first of many giant spiders, and frighteningly not the only one that ever went through the washing machine.

We became very adept at tracking and eliminating them, but one of our cats really upped his game when it came to spiders. He would come running from anywhere in the house if you said the word "spider", and would make short work of them.  He didn't play with them, he just ate them. Yum. Unfortunately, my other, less athletic cat also loved spiders, and would deposit them on my chest as I was sleeping. Let me tell you how unhappy it makes me to wake up to a large, dead (thank fuck) spider sitting on my blanket, frighteningly near to my face.

The cat-eats-spider method (when properly executed) worked well for your average house spider, but I was a bit concerned that the big ones would fight back, and that the cat wouldn't win. I was also convinced that they were hobo spiders, which are toxic bite. The small spiders seemed more manageable, and if the cat didn't get him, it wasn't the end of life as we know it. The big ones, however, always became the most important, terrible, and critical thing in the world as soon as you saw it.

Once you see a spider that big, it has to die. If you lose sight of it, you will rip apart your entire house to find it. You will. And you should. Otherwise, fire is really your only remaining option. I tended to go on pre-emptive strikes into the garage with my can of raid. If I got them in there, they wouldn't be able to breach the perimeter and make it inside. The most frightening part of these expeditions was that unlike the small spiders that died immediately when you raided them, the big ones didn't. It took them a surprisingly long time to succumb. Creepily long.

After Husband and I left the spider-y confines of the basement suite and bought a house, we thought we'd gotten away from the worst of the spider army. Then we decided it would be a good idea to do some landscaping in the back yard.

It basically went like this:

Lets take down these scary old stairs. What could go wrong....

Well fuckity shit. That is a spider condominium in there (pictures really don't do the endless layers of spider filled webs justice).

I don't think I like that. Nope. Don't like it.

Aaaannnnd, let's unload an entire can of raid into this smorgasbord of terror. Yup, a whole can should maybe do it.
And then we watched the 25 or so giant spiders run in every direction. I lost track of most of them, so I'm hoping the raid did it's work eventually, but at least I know I got a few. Husband had to stop all work on the backyard for half a day because the fumes were so bad that he didn't want to work out there anymore. I told him it was fine....that's the smell of winning. It smells like flowers.

Basically the moral of this story is spiders are tolerable if they are outside, barely, but if they are the big ones, kill them until they are dead, location be damned.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Me vs Turning Back Time

Ahhh, it's the morning after daylight savings callously sets the clocks back, and while sticking to the theme of moving time backwards, I think that my post from last year still applies.... read it here

And to all you parents out there who don't ACTUALLY gain anything, I understand and empathize. Good luck and may the force be with you, or whatever gets you through the next few days.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Maverick Meowkowski

I'm sitting here trying to write a post while Maverick Meowkowski (yes, he has a last name according to my 6 yr old) plays with the cursor on the screen. It's really complicating my creative process. It's also leaving an ungodly number of smudges on my screen. Luckily he's cute.  Irritating, but really cute. 

It's also not helping that I'm spending more time zooming my mouse pointer across the screen to see him chase it, than actually writing. And he's purring, so that means I can never stop. Not getting a lot done tonight.

Maverick Meowkowski in his recharging state

Thursday 15 October 2015

Me vs Sweet Sweet Sleep and the Reason I Don't Get Any

When I was young I had nightmares frequently (I still do, but that’s another story…literally). Because of this, I often crawled into bed with my parents because my thinking at the time was that they were the only ones in the house qualified to deal with the epidemic of witches outside my window.
My parents handled this with a grace and tolerance that I wish I could demonstrate with my own kids.
I do not cope well with lack of sleep, and that is probably understating it somewhat. I have been known, on occasion, to become so mad at Husband because he falls asleep instantly, that I will wake him up so I can tell him that I’m awake and furious. And when I say “wake him up” I mean kicking him until he becomes conscious. He deals with this better than I would were the situation reversed.   

Enter kids.

My youngest can’t get out of his room at night, so unless he wakes up crying, he’s fine. My oldest, now six, is a different story. For the last few months she wakes up every few nights (usually on nights where I have to get up early to work the next day, of course) and comes into our room looking to crawl into the bed. Always on my side.


This is what a sleeping
kid looks like. 
I try to be kind, gracious, and loving, but what usually comes out of my mouth as this child hovers inches from my face waiting for me to notice her, is a garbled, sleepy, grouchy What?!?. Her answers range from I had a nightmare (legitimate…climb into bed) to My eyes won’t let me sleep (Nope….go the fuck to bed)

I can put up with nightmare recovery, but my eyes won’t let me sleep translates to I’m awake and now this is your problem. Well now I’m also awake, and I want to say mean things to you, which as your parent I shouldn’t, but I still want to.

I love my kids, but I don’t like anyone or anything when I’m woken up in the middle of the night after it’s taken me 2 hours to fall asleep in the first place. The dog used to wake up and bark at night. I would have happily made him into a rug. The fact that he grew out of that habit has allowed him to 
survive to this point.

This feels a bit like parent fail because I should like snuggling with my kids all the time, however at 2 am my brain doesn’t roll that way. It focuses instead on: I’m hot, I’m getting kicked in the stomach, and I’m pretty sure I’m never going to sleep again, and this it the 34th night in a row that this has happened. And now that I’m awake, I’m also hungry.

To add insult to injury, it’s not just me that she wakes up; two kittens who want to play, and dog who thinks it’s time to get up for breakfast, all spring to life the moment my darling daughter glides into the room to announce how not tired she is.. Cruelly, however, Husband usually sleeps through everything, and on the rare occasion that he does wake up, he’s back to sleep within moments. Bastard.

And so while I should be in bed happily enjoying sleep, instead I’m awake jotting notes for this piece because I’ve effectively rage-quit my bed for the night and set up shop on the couch, because it was either that or lay awake in bed planning the perfect murder.

Sweet dreams.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Me vs Anniversary Gifts and Alcohol

I was getting drunk with my parents last weekend when we made a rather entertaining discovery regarding the gifts that tradition says we should get our partners on each wedding anniversary. Most are outdated or weird (Optical goods for the 48th or Conveyances for the 32nd), but one is so mind-bogglingly stupid that I felt it needed some attention. 

My stunning parents on their wedding day, 44 years ago
My parent’s 44th wedding anniversary is fast approaching, and in our inebriated state, we decided we should look up what the official gift for the year was supposed to be. I can’t account for how or why we decided to do this, suffice to say that it just happened. We were not sober.

We all knew the major ones:
The 1st anniversary is paper, or as I like to look at it: deciding not to get each other gifts because you’re still using cheques (or “paper”) to pay off the wedding debts. The 50th is gold; You’ve earned it, go spend some money. The 60th anniversary is the diamond anniversary, which I only know because the Queen of England recently celebrated her diamond anniversary of being a figurehead overlord for a country that I could drive across in a day but that still took over most of the world throughout the course of history.

And that’s about it.

The shell goes with the
prawn anniversary
My mother took out her phone and began drunk-dialing google to find out what tradition dictated was appropriate for our upcoming anniversaries. This was information that up until that point I hadn’t known I’d needed. And like an internet cat video, it didn’t disappoint.

She started with Husband and I, who are heading towards our 8th year of marriage.  Evidently 8 years of bliss can and should be commemorated by bronze or lace.  This is fine, except I heard prawns rather than bronze, so as far as I’m concerned, the 8th wedding anniversary will now forever be known as the seafood anniversary. Nothing says I love you like dead crustaceans.

The 44th anniversary gifting recommendation makes prawns look romantic.

Leading up to the 44th, one can look forward to such delights as “land” on the 41st(…this is very vague), improved real estate (….um, put a shed on the land?) for the 42nd, and travel for the 43rd.  These are good. I would not complain about a vacation house and a trip to Thailand after 40-odd years of marriage. These would be really nice gifts. Maybe by then I’ll be rich enough to actually afford them. Or maybe a picture of one of them.

And then the 44th year arrives, and with it the coveted bag of groceries.

Yes. That’s right. Tradition dictates that my parents, after 44 years of wedded bliss, should exchange bags full of food. This is how I imagine that exchange would go:

Here honey, I got you something.

*Hands my mother a Safeway bag full of condiments, pasta, and assorted veggies*

*My mother slowly accepts this bag as if touching it is going to cause her to contract a venereal disease*

You’ve really gone all out this year sweetie. I guess I’ll go start dinner.

*My father is never seen again*

Happily, my dad is smarter than this. And fair warning, if Husband showed up on our 44th anniversary and handed me a bag of kraft dinner and sauerkraut, there would be no 45th anniversary, and

no one would ever find the body.

Basically, I can’t think of much that is more insulting than gifting someone a bag of work, which is more or less what groceries are. Here babe, go put these away and make me some dinner.

My wedding flowers, because pictures
in posts are good
As far as I’m concerned, gifts aren’t even necessary, so please, just don’t. Really, if you value our marriage, never show up with food in a bag unless it has been cooked by someone else, and we’re going on a picnic.

In our intoxicated state, this was all hysterically funny. I mean, what an absolute failure of human brain function sat down and thought yes, a bag of groceries would be the perfect way to say I love you on this special occasion! Some poor person was obviously having a stroke when they came up with this. Or they had recently gone through a divorce and wanted everyone else to suffer.

And while we’re on the topic of all things wedding anniversary related, did you know there is a 100th year anniversary? For those of you who think you may ever actually achieve this mile stone, please make sure you keep to tradition and get your loved on a 10 karat diamond, as you are supposed to. They will probably be too old and feeble to actually wear a 10 karat diamond, as the weight of it will likely be too much to lift, but that’s not really the point.   

I feel like this is not only is this a lazy repeat of the 60th diamond anniversary, but who in the living fuck actually achieves this milestone? And more importantly, HOW OLD WERE YOU when you got married in the first place to make it to 100 years of marriage, let alone just to survive that long?
Husband and I almost 8 years ago

Well of course this required some research…and by that I mean the internet and 2 minutes of skimming a webpage or two.  According to Wikipedia, the longest marriage is just shy of 90 years, and the couple was married in 1925 (born in 1905 and 1912). It looks like they are still alive (again, believe what you want from the internet), but that would make them around 110 and 103 years old, so I’m not sure I trust this completely.

Anyway, in summary, try harder than a bag of groceries if you make it to your 44th wedding anniversary, or the chances of making it to your 100th decreases even more dramatically….unless of course your partner really, really likes sauerkraut.   

Friday 18 September 2015

Me vs Climbing Up a Wall

Back in the day...
Since having kids, Husband and I have not been able to get out rock climbing anywhere near to as often as we’d like.  Back in the glory days we climbed indoors at least twice a week, outdoors whenever we could, and had rock-hard climbing physiques. (Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, and more wishful thinking than actual truth)

My oldest on the wall
While my oldest is finally starting to enjoy climbing, and is able to follow basic safety directions when the mood strikes her, the youngest (who just turned two) may as well be a lemming looking for the nearest cliff to jump off of. His desire to do whatever it is he’s doing knows no bounds and the only way to have him acknowledge you is to scream “CAKE” at which point he may look in your direction briefly. Not ideal when he’s heading off into the rattlesnake-infested bush while you’re halfway up a rock face trying to get his attention.
My smallest climber

So when both kids went away for two weeks to hang out with grandparents, Husband and I figured we’d take the opportunity to get some climbing in. In theory, this sounds good. In practice, it could’ve gone more smoothly.

First, we had to put the trip off for the first week the kids were away because of my unfortunate encounter with the step stool who was being kind of a dick sitting in the middle of my kitchen. My toe didn’t allow me to put my regular shoes on, let alone the foot prisons that are climbing shoes. (As I write this weeks later, my toe still aches. Fucking step stool.)

We finally headed out to the bluffs after work one afternoon, when my toe said it was ok. It was a nice day….in OUR town.  The weather at the wall (a few towns over) was a little more suspect. There were gloomy looking clouds but no rain, so we set off.

For some reason that I’m having problems rationalizing now, I went first up the trail. And by trail, I mean goat track. An overgrown, bushy, grassy, goat track.

Now, I was intellectually aware that snakes existed in Skaha park, but I’d never seen one and therefore I imagined that they wouldn’t dare come out to ruin my happy place. Not true. Snakes are assholes, and I swear they take some kind of macabre pleasure in coming out to ruin my day.
Just as I was about to put my foot down on the path, the slithery bastard went shooting out from under the tuft of grass I was going to step on, and rocketed off the path and into the underbrush.

I had a heart attack.

Once I had recovered from that heart attack, I got curious and peered into the bush to see what kind of snake it was, because, you know, stupidity. Jerk had a rattle. I was pretty much ruined for the rest of the hike, and Husband had to take the lead. I wanted a stick. A big one.

But we pressed on because we’d come all this way, and besides, the snake was back there and I wasn’t going back there again. Ever. This would make the trip home…difficult, but this was a problem for future-me.

And then it started to rain. And then it started to rain more. And then the thunder came.

Me: Honey, maybe this isn’t the best time to climb a rock face with a bunch of metal gear strapped to your mid-section, you know, given the thunder storm developing immediately over us?

Husband: It’ll be fine.

Me: Um, I’m pretty sure that’s the same line of reasoning everyone uses just before things become not fine.

Husband: It’ll be fine.
And up he went.

Luckily by this point the worst of the storm had moved beside rather than directly over us, however it was still perhaps the most intense thunder I’ve ever heard. It was almost constant, with only 30 seconds or so between rumbles. This gave the impression of climbing in a war zone, with bombs going off around us regularly.

The sun in the background is a total lie.
I'm also aware selfie sticks are ridiculous, but this
is the only way to successfully capture this view.
Please forgive me.
We both eventually made it up and down the climbs without suffering an untimely death due to lightening strike, and managed to avoid snake bites for the duration of the trip. The weather eventually granted us quarter, and it turned into a reasonably nice evening. 

That said, Husband’s pants were not so lucky. Their life ended right there on the mountain when he, though some feat of gymnastic prowess, managed to tear the ass out of his pants. 

I chose to be kind and didn’t make him get out to fill up the gas tank at the gas station on the way home. I did, however, forget his pin code and locked out his credit card.

It was a good trip.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Me vs Jem....thanks Netflix

I've been reliving my youth watching Jem and the Holograms on Netflix over the last couple of days with my 6 year old (who now sings the theme song on a loop), and I've made a couple of observations about what was once my favourite show as a child: 

1. Jem/Jerrica pretty much pushes her boyfriend Reo to cheat with herself at the beginning. He resists at first and then goes ahead anyway, because why the hell not? For some reason that I can't fathom, this isn't a problem for Jem, and she actually feels bad for not telling him who she is. This is confusing and stupid.  

2.  It seems like almost every episode has Jem in at least one, if not multiple, life threatening situations. Bombings, car accidents, fires in the recording studio, gargoyles falling off of buildings onto your photo ops, kidnapping, catastrophic property destruction......who knew being a Battle of the Bands contender was such a daily struggle for your life and well being. I had no idea. 

3. The Misfits should have been arrested approximately 62 times within the first 5 episodes. They are destructive, and on more than one occasion very nearly commit manslaughter. If any group or individual pulled as many dick moves of sabotage as they did, they would be in jail.

4. It occurs to no one to call the police about the Misfits and their management company's very definite criminal behaviour. Wouldn't this pretty much solve all the problems? The scheming is almost painful to watch, and blatantly stupid, however no one seems to think that consequences beyond losing the above mentioned Battle of the Bands are necessary.  

5. The music is just bad. I can still sing along to it, but whereas that used to be something I was proud of (like the ability to lip sync convincingly to Ice Ice Baby), now it's just sad. 

As a connoisseur of children's programming (which I've apparently become since having kids) I have to say that I would give Jem at best a 3 out of 10, most of which is given due to nostalgia, and not due in any part to quality. 

But it's still better than Caillou or Max and Ruby. Those shows were shit out by a parent-hating sadist who wanted to watch the world burn.

To summarize: Go read a book.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Me vs Surviving Disneyland

We’ve decided to take our kids to Disneyland this fall. It’s not the first time for us, and I’m big enough to admit that I love it. I go because it’s fun to watch the kids experience the magic, and because I love the rides.

The first time I went I was probably around 6 and my sister was 4 or so (I’m guessing….I’m terrible at judging the passage of time).  It was one of the best vacations because we were totally surprised by it. For Christmas, just before the trip, our feature gift was this tiny little plane with a bunch of Disney characters in it. 

I was a kid and therefore unimpressed by this weirdly underwhelming toy that I apparently had to share with my little sister.  Not ideal. Tucked into the toy, however, was a note which I’m pretty sure my mom forced me to read myself, and after stumbling through it, I fixated on the word Disneyland. 

Glass shattering shrieking, the kind that only young girls can produce, followed.

The trip was great. I took particular pleasure in taking my dad on the fastest rides I could find so he could pretended to hate going on them (or at least I assume he pretended).  My mom preferred the mind-numbing rides (It’s a small world after all…..), and more or less refused to go on any of the roller coasters, saying that was something she didn't/wouldn't do.  

Challenge accepted. 

My dad, sister, and I convinced my mom to try out the log ride. We claimed that it was a tame (read: boring) drift down a "lazy" (coma-inducing) river. We neglected to mention the waterfall drop at the end. That was fun…not sure mom shared our enthusiasm. That was fun too.

For all those times that you
need to scratch in style  
I remember getting stuck on the Jungle boat ride in front of the tribal display and listening to their drum song for the better part of an hour. I also remember somehow convincing my parents to buy us ridiculous Daisy Duck hats with huge plastic bills. Not sure how we missed the terribleness of those hats, but we were blind to it at the time. And my sister just had to have a Minnie Mouse back scratcher….because really, who doesn’t need one of those?

My sister, however, still likes to point out that at night, back in the hotel room, she was relegated to a crib and when it was time to go to bed my 
parents draped a yellow blanket over the crib so she would go to sleep.

Like a bird.  

The psychological injury she claims to have sustained from this appears to have no durational limits, as we still hear about this pretty much anytime Disneyland is mentioned.  (I’m still laughing about it, she still glares at me when I do)

Now jump forward in time a lot….

Husband and I decided to head to Disneyland before going ahead with the whole having kids thing. It was a great time that involved long days of riding roller coasters and staying out late (something I don't get to do a lot of now).
This is what Husband looks like when
he's not sick

The only problem was that on the second to last day, Husband got food poisoning, or Norwalk, or some other terrible illness that makes you regret your entire life for about 48 hours. He was too sick to leave the motel room.

This put me in a bit of an awkward position: Stay with Husband and help him through his illness, or 
go to Disneyland by myself.

Both had drawbacks. Disneyland is NOT a place you go by yourself unless you want to look like a pedophile. It’s for couples, and families, and groups of friends. On the other hand, the thought of spending a day cloistered in a room with an audibly sick person didn't make me think happy thoughts.  And so off I went.

Disneyland by myself.  That was one of the more unusual experiences I’ve had. Everyone looks at you. Some with pity, some with curiosity, and some who look at you like you are obviously a deeply disturbed individual because why the hell would you be here alone?  It’s like a kids water park or a petting zoo….unless you actually have kids with you, it’s weird (and creepy) to be there by yourself.

On the flip side, being a single rider is fantastic. You get to lap the idiots in line waiting to sit beside someone they know when honestly on most rides it doesn’t matter. You’re in it for the ride, not the stimulating conversation with your seat-mate.  I probably screamed a little less when I didn't know the person beside me, but that's about it. 

For some rides being by yourself does make a difference though. The Grizzly River Run has 8 or so seats that are placed surprisingly close to each other in a circle formation. The ride also allows for a fair amount of down time between waterfalls, which leads to uncomfortable drifting silences and awkward small talk with strangers who aren’t sure if you’re crazy or not.

By the end of my day, I got really good at powering from one ride to the next with my headphones in, and pretending that my partner was waiting with my imaginary kids while I went on a grown up ride. Definitely a strange way to spend a day at Disneyland, but probably better than being stuck in the room all day…. sorry Husband. 

The most recent trip to Disneyland was with our daughter, who had just turned 3. I wasn’t sure she would really get it at that age, but she LOVED it.  I spent more time than I care to think about waiting in line to see the princesses, and she almost made Husband sick making him take her on the flying rocket ships over and over again.

The trip was amazing -  no one got sick, no one looked like a creeper, no one was stuck on a ride that got tribal chants stuck in your head for hours, and the It's a Small World ride was shut down for repairs for the duration of our visit. Perfect. 

And to this day my daughter constantly asks when we are going back. Now I can finally give her a date.