Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paying It Forward

Today's post is a tad out of the ordinary for me. And by that I mean there will be no mention of projectile vomiting, penile implants, anti-zombie guinea pigs, or Joanna, my BFF from the Czech Republic.

No, my friends, today's post is in the interests of helping out a fellow human being, namely a 4th year honours student who is currently working on her honours research paper. She asked me a while back if I would help her out by posting some pertinent questions to my readers in the hopes of getting some answers to questions surrounding the theme of  what the possible impact there is on children's leisure participation if both parents are working.
So, basically, your answers will make or break this poor student's year. You don't really have a choice now but to answer them, do you. You're welcome.

Just post your answers to each question in the comments section, and I'll forward them on. And thanks very much for helping out! Look at it as paying it forward, or as staving off a most certain vodka and cranberry binge.

  1. Approximately how many hours do you work per week in a paid position? In your household, what is the total number of paid work week hours of the primary caregivers (i.e., 2 parents as primary caregivers; single parent in the household as primary caregiver)?
  2. How many hours of leisure time do you have during the week? For example, based on Statistics Canada 2006 data, the national average for adults is approximately 5 hours per day.
  3. How many children do you have 2 years old and younger? Aged 3 to 5? Over 5 years old?
  4. How many of your children participate in organized sports; competitive or recreational?
  5. If they do not currently participate in sport, could you list some of the reasons why?
  6. Do you feel there is a link between parents' work week hours, their amount of leisure time, and children's participation in organized sports?
  7. This information will be used in an undergraduate student research assignment; do you give permission for the student researcher to use some of your answers as examples, if applicable? Anonymity is assured.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Earth Ten Minutes And The Rabid Guinea Pig Carnivores

 Whoever came up with Earth Hour needs to be blamed for the chaos. And all the deaths, not to mention the rabid chipmunks wandering the streets blindly at 9 p.m. Saturday night. Well, I didn't actually see them, but I know they were out there. I could hear their chatter clearly.

There is something a bit frightening and disconcerting about a neighbourhood that is suddenly silent and dark, when normally windows are lit up, televisions are on, and lives are lived. It's almost like Armageddon has silently passed through, killing everyone in its path. We were living The Road , a book I  recently finished reading, and we were about to get chopped into tiny little bits by cannibalistic people who looked dead but were actually alive, sort of like zombies, but the opposite. I'll call them Anti-Zombies. This was actually going through my mind as I looked out the window, trying to find some light, any light, on our street.

If there's one thing I've noticed about Dee recently, it's that he is becoming very world-aware.So I blame him for all of this insanity. Because otherwise, we would have ignored it entirely, and gone on with our merry Saturday evening lives of watching Saturday Night At The Poker Salon, playing Wii NHL Hockey, and hitting each other with pieces of furniture and raw pork tenderloin.

But no, Dee had to put his oar in and get all in our faces about how we had to abide by the "Earth Hour rules" and turn off all energy-guzzling amenities INCLUDING THE TELEVISION AND PVR AND LAPTOP!! because if we didn't, the world would blow up and die in ten years and then where would be?!

Dead, I said. Obviously.

So, Mr. Handsome then said it was all just a ridiculous ploy for the government to seem like it really cared and was actually doing something worthwhile and meaningful for the people, and then he pointed out to Dee that if he just turned the damn light off in his room when he left, more energy would actually be saved than by turning off every damn electrical appliance for only an hour once a year. Touche, Mr. Handsome.

To which I assumed meant that the government was in on the whole Anti-Zombie movement that was afoot. Not that I didn't expect it.

Dee shrugged, and then proceeded to turn off all the lights and the television. Then he came over to me and started unplugging my laptop, and I began to scream and flail my arms and legs and blood started spewing from every orifice in my body. So he left me alone.

After a few minutes, Dee decided an hour of total silence and darkness was a really really long time, so he decided that perhaps having "just the television and the Wii on" would be acceptable. But nothing else, he added, looking over at me with evil in his eyes.

Hence, what is known as Earth Hour elsewhere in this world is apparently known at our home as Earth Ten Minutes. Because that is all we can clearly handle without killing each other with rolling pins, Wii-motes and just about anything else that is not nailed down to the floor (which would leave just about ... everything).

Yes, this family is all going to go to hell because we cannot live without power for an hour a year.

Dee then decided that having only the television and the Wii on would be acceptable in terms of Earth Ten Minutes, so he and Mr. Handsome proceeded to play a raucous game of hockey while I read blogs. The rest of the house remained semi-dark for another five minutes or so, until I realized I was starving, so I had to turn on every light on my way to the kitchen so that I didn't fall over a chair or dog bowl, or a person. Also, so that I could find that last piece of Limburger cheese in the fridge.

Yes, actually, my eyeballs really do look like this in the dark.

As I was making my way back into the living area, I happened to look over at the guinea pigs, Furry and Mo. They live in a big, homemade cage in a corner of our dining room, and they're very cute.

Meet Furry and Mo:

Furry is on the left, Mo on the right. Furry is six years old, which is quite old for a guinea pig. We adopted Mo after Cuddles passed away about a year ago. Mo is a wannabe rebel, Furry is her leader.

I could barely see the pigs because of the lack of light. As I waited for my eyes to become accustomed to the dimness, I noticed that something wasn't quite right in PigLand. So, in order to ensure safety in the home and for my family, I stepped up a little closer to get a better look.

And this is what I saw:

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Evil abounds, clearly.

That's right! The pigs had joined forces with the anti-zombie chipmunks outdoors and were in the midst of surreptitiously invading our bodies, ready to pounce on our necks at any moment and rip us to tiny little shreds of human matter entirely for their consumption.

Alive, and yet, somehow not, the guinea pigs were no longer herbivores, but were now obviously carnivores, murderers of the worst sort, apt to do whatever it took to get a chunk of human flesh in their jaws. They're nasty at the best of times, so getting any closer to them was just asking for it. I was going to get Dee to deal with them, but at the last second, decided he was a bit too young to go near the knife Mo held.

It was the strangest thing, but once I turned on the dining room light, and took the sharp knife away from Mo, they seemed to calm down and go back to eating their hay and pellets. I didn't bother mentioning it to Mr. Handsome or Dee because I didn't want to frighten them, especially Mr. Handsome. He doesn't do well with blood.

Obviously, I'm going to have to keep a closer eye on those two. And keep lights on at all times.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Carl Helps A Girl Out

I had a bad day yesterday. Joanna from the Czech Republic would be happy for me. But then, it turned into being a pretty good day, so maybe Joanna from the Czech Republic would instead be lolling in her very own misery. Hard to say. Maybe I'll put a poll up and you guys can vote.

I slept in until 9 a.m. because I couldn't sleep the night before. I don't know why. I tossed and I turned, and I turned some more, and then I burped and probably even farted a couple of times, but still, no sleep. And then I finally fell asleep and had a dream I was in paramedic school, and I was the youngest one in the class (which is beyond hilarious, unless you're Joanna from the Czech Republic), and then I got lost during the break when I went out into the hallway to get myself a soda, and then I found a washroom, and there were all these tough girls in there, and they gave me a look, and so I hid in a stall and then I woke up and had to pee.

I got up and realized it was late and that my kids had already gone to school, and then I felt really bad because, although I sometimes don't get up in time before they leave, I sure try my best, because what kind of a mother would I be otherwise?? An even worse kind of mother than I already am, that's what kind.

So, as I wallowed in self-pity and made myself a coffee, I tried to decide whether I should go back to bed after having my coffee, or watch what was remaining of Regis and Kelly before going back to bed. Big decisions, guys. But then I remembered I was meeting my friend Bertrand for lunch, so going back to bed was no longer on the list, unless I wanted to miss out on a free lunch, which I didn't. Obviously.

Instead, I had my coffee, popped my pills, and slowly began to get dressed.

And then my bangs wouldn't work properly, so instead of swooping nicely to the side like this:
they did this:   

which is obviously totally unacceptable, so I spent 20 minutes with the stupid curling iron trying to fix them, to no avail.

Then I went back downstairs and my stomach started feeling gnarly because I had only had a coffee and my pills without any food, but I didn't want to eat anything because I was going out for lunch (see how difficult this life of mine is?), so I felt like I was trapped between two very large rocks that were slowly moving toward me, closer and closer, and I was Indiana Jones without a whip, so I went to the window to open the blinds because the sun was streaming in, and I thought that maybe that would make me happier.

Nope. It didn't.

Because this is what happened when I started opening the first blind:

And then, after pondering things for probably two minutes, I realized that the blind was actually broken, and had been broken for quite some time, which is why we normally don't use it. And then I couldn't fix it so that the bottom was all level again, and it was driving me all crazy, and I had to spend the rest of the day looking away from the window so that I wouldn't have to see the crazy crookedness of it all. And when my friend Bertrand came to pick me up, he told me I was classy with the blind all upside down and inside out like that, and that my neighbours must really love me.Yes, Bertrand. Yes, they do love me. A lot.

So, instead, I looked into a mirror, and realized that what I was wearing had a big mustard stain on it, but to change would mean going all the way upstairs and actually searching for something clean to wear, and it exhausted me just thinking about it. Not only that, but I was running out of time. So, I didn't change, and went out with a mustard stain on my top, which made me that much classier. You're welcome, Bertrand.

But then, everything changed. Because when I opened all the blinds (the others work just fine), I saw that my friend Carl was here.

Guys, meet Carl.

This isn't a real picture of Carl, but he looked pretty much like this, except he had legs and wings. Apparently, this guy doesn't. Maybe that's why he's upset. I know I would be.

I couldn't actually get a picture of Carl because when I went to grab my camera to get said picture, my battery was dead, so I had to plug it in to recharge it, and we all know that doesn't happen lickety split. So, in the meantime, I pulled out my cell phone to get a shot, and I did, but it's a really bad shot, and you can barely see the garbage on the lawn, let alone Carl. Plus, I have no idea how to transfer it onto my computer.

Carl changed the day around for me, so I owe him big.

Because when I looked out the window, Carl was at our garbage bags, pulling crap out of them and tossing them pell mell on our lawn. And I can't swear that this is true, but I am pretty sure that more than once he gazed over to Her place and taunted her. Yes! Carl is my partner in crime in My Great Plan to Totally Freak Out The Neighbours With My Garbage And Other Such Nonsense.

See what Carl did?

I took this photo with my good camera, once the battery had recharged (in case you're wondering why this photo is actually clear, and thinking that what I said above is all just a big fat lie now).

Thanks for helping with My Great Plan To Annihilate Totally Freak Out The Neighbours With My Garbage And Other Such Nonsense, Carl. You and your murder are welcome around these parts anytime you want.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This Is For You, Joanna From The Czech Republic! Thank You For Your Patronage

Today's post is in honour of a very special person. As you can tell, it's obviously a very special person because here I am posting on a Thursday, which I don't normally do. Sorry for screwing up your routines, guys. But this is important.

Her name is Joanna. Joanna's from the Czech Republic. My site stats told me so. Everyone, say hello to Joanna!

Joanna gets the prize as my first hater! Prize details to follow at the end of this post. I'm still in the midst of putting it together.

This is what Joanna told me the other day in the comments section of one of my posts:

I just found your blog via Warsaw Mommy whose blog, in turn, I clicked on via Finslippy. And, after reading for about 20 minutes, I find myself agreeing with your husband, the everso cutely nicknamed Mr. Handsome. You are not very funny, and frankly you seem like a somewhat unpleasant person who is finghting a lot of petty wars. But you seem to enjoy blogging and have some readers who like your writing, so to each his own, I guess.
Finslippy is a good blog. Check it out sometime to find out what "funny" is like.

Seems to me Joanna has a few issues, no?

Let's see...First of all, Joanna, I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog, and all the way from the Czech Republic! Awesome.

I just wanted to clarify a point you make early on. Please don't take offense when I say this, but you actually weren't on my blog for 20 minutes. It was  more like 17 minutes 56 seconds. Which is actually still an awful lot, seeing as most people kind of read a page or two and then move on. But you? You went to seven different pages, I think, and really did due diligence before making assumptions about me. Good for you! I;d just like to point out that you either (a) were purposely taking your time in reading my posts to pick out as many faults as you could, or (b) you are an extremely slow reader to have taken almost 18 minutes to read a whole seven pages. Either way, you're diligent. Always a good thing.

Another thing I'd like to clarify, which I'm not exactly sure how you happened to misunderstand in the first place, but Mr. Handsome actually does like my blog. A lot. And he thinks I'm pretty funny, as do many other people. I even know a few people from the Czech Republic who think my blog rocks. You may know them. But probably not, because you probably have a pretty difficult time meeting people, with your head up your butt like that. You might want to try being a little less judgmental. It might do wonders for your social life!

Oh, and by the way, what is "finghting"? I tried looking it up on various sites, but to no avail. I finally Googled it, and this is what I found:

You'll have to click on the image to enlarge it. Sorry about that. Very inconsiderate of me, I know.

I know I come across as -- what did you say? -- petty and unpleasant. Why yes, yes I am. Thank you for seeing past my rather crude facade of purity and gentle innocence. Not many people manage to dig so deftly and find the "real me". If you ask any of my friends, family or colleagues about me, they would all agree with you, I am sure. Because you obviously know me extremely well. You are amazing, and probably even psychic. Have you ever thought of opening up your own psychic crystal ball gazing palmistry business in the Czech Republic? It might keep you busy enough that you wouldn't have to spend your time perusing such boring and unfunny blogs such as mine. Just a thought...

So, Joanna, have you heard of sarcasm? It's defined in most dictionaries as "harsh or bitter derision or irony". It's a form of humour. There are many types of humour, Joanna. I have a suggestion for you. Maybe you could spend this weekend doing a bit of research on humour, and putting together a compilation of your findings. I'll even publish them because I'm that giving. I could even mark it for you if you'd like, or perhaps have my loyal readers give you marks, and then you might get yet another prize! Wouldn't that be swell, Joanna?

By the way, I love Alice Bradley's Finslippy. I read it all the time. And yes, it is funny. I'll agree with you there. She's been around for a while, and she's great.

But I still like my blog, and I intend to keep writing it the way I want it written. And I know people who read it and actually like it. Maybe not all the time, because that would just be ridiculous. I mean, I even dislike me at times (more often than you'd think, Joanna). And yes, my dear husband Mr. Handsome also dislikes me at times. He also dislikes my blog at times.

What everyone who comes here (well, everyone except you, that is) realizes is that you should not take me seriously when reading my crap. Because, really? Most of it is garbage. I'll be the first to admit it. Methinks you might be taking things a tad too seriously. Or perhaps you should have a swish or two of vodka before sitting down to blog read. Just a suggestion, not a judgment.

I'm glad you came to visit me, Joanna! Maybe we can get together for tea? I might be going to Switzerland in the next while, and I'm thinking maybe you could swing on down from your hometown and meet me somewhere in the middle, maybe in Lichtenschtein? I promise not to be too unpleasant and petty.

Smooches and hugs, your new BFF,


P.S. This prize was made specially for you, Joanna. Please don't take this lightly. Although I realize you might because I am quite sarcastic at the best of times, but in this case, I am not. I really mean it this time. You're very welcome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How I Saved The Country

So, as I mentioned very briefly and selflessly the other day, I totally saved a school (and probably the entire country) from definite demise, and I am now waiting patiently by the phone for the city to call and offer me an award or maybe even the Order of Canada because I obviously totally deserve it. Although, I'm pretty sure the city doesn't give out the Order of Canada. Well, they should.

Let me explain.

The other evening, I suddenly became very enthusiastic about going for a walk. Mr. Handsome, Em and Dee looked at me like I had finally gone over the edge (because they know that is totally going to happen, it's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when"), so I had to tone down the enthusiasm a wee bit and repeat myself so that I made it clear that I was totally serious. Then Dee pipes up that he'd love to go for a walk with me, after first getting a small nod from Mr. Handsome that he'd probably be okay going alone with me.

So we hooked Gryphon up to his lead and off we went.

What started out as a simple walk soon turned into a veritable adventure, one with possible cataclysmic results had we not been at the right place and the right time.

As we walked down the street, Dee and I heard an alarm go off, sort of like a car alarm. We thought nothing of it at first because alarms go off all the time, which makes me wonder why they even exist in the first place because do we not all ignore them pretty much? Yeah, that's what I thought. Very useful invention, yo.

As we neared the school, we realized the alarm may not actually be a car alarm, but may instead be the school alarm. After some careful searching and listening, Dee and I both confirmed this was indeed not a car alarm. My brain's gears then started going into overdrive and I began worrying because the alarm could mean anything: a break-in, a fire, even an Al Qaeda invasion. After some more thought, I was 85.7% sure it was the Al Qaeda and more of their dastardly deeds. We already know they've been trying to invade our neighbourhood through their surreptitious pizza and cheesy bread delivery service.

So, I decided I had to do the right thing and get the po po involved. I pulled out my trusty cell phone and called 9-1-1, which made my heart beat fast and made me feel very important and useful, like Thomas The Tank Engine. At the same moment, Dee's eyes got very large and said, "Are you calling 9-1-1?! Oh my god, we're having an adventure!"

And then he refused to leave the area because he wanted to see all the action.

So, we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Gryphon was getting impatient, because he's not much for standing in one place and waiting. He's a dog. So, in order to placate him, Dee and I began walking back and forth in front of the school while we waited for the po po to arrive. Of course, I was totally looking forward to seeing the po po, the fire department, and maybe even some paramedics, because I'm all into the healthcare field now. No, it had nothing at all to do with watching hot men in uniform try to save lives. Is that what you guys think of me?!

And then, it happened. But we almost missed it because the po po were being very secretive and furtive because one car drove up very quietly and went around to the dark backside of the school, where they stopped. Then, another po po drove very cunningly through the back field, up through the children's playground, and stopped on the other side of the building, which then made me feel like we were in the middle of an Hawaii Five-O episode and at any moment Jack Lord would come running around in his suit and save the day, of course, after thanking me profusely for calling it in.

Let me explain the relevance of  Hawaii Five-O in this instance: it was warm out, and humiddy, and that's why. The only thing missing were palm trees, and the ocean, but you can't rightly expect those in Ottawa.

Dee and I remained at our post, waiting to see what would happen. I was sure they were going to either pull out a few nasty sorts from the bowels of the school, their hands full of wooden blocks and chalk, or there would be smoke that would finally start pouring out of at least one window, and the firefighters would be there in moments. Either way, awesome.

None of that happened.

I finally saw a police officer coming around from the back of the building. 'Poodle, here's your chance,' I said to myself.

So I waved my hand and said, "Hello there!" trying to get the officer's attention.

The officer kept walking, ignoring me.

So I waved again, and said more loudly, "Hellllo there! Can I talk to you?"

The officer finally looked over, and started coming toward us. And then I noticed it was not a male police officer, all muscley and full of promise. Nay. It was, instead, a cute female, her blonde hair pulled up into a tight pony tail. She was hot.

She came up to us and asked how she could help us. And then I didn't know what I wanted to say. Then Dee kicked me in the ankle and I stuttered, "Uhh, well, I'm the one who called this in. And, and..."

The po po nodded and said there didn't seem to be anything going on inside. Everything looked intact.

So then I scrambled to say something important, something that might make the difference between these ne'er-do-wells getting off scot-free, or getting caught, and hence me ultimately saving our neighbourhood from a certain invasion, or the school from an almost certain demise.

"Well, I saw three kids come out of the field there just after the alarm went off. I just thought you should know," I told her.

She nodded sagely and then said, "Thanks," and went on her way.

And that is how I saved a school, and most probably the entire city, maybe even the country, and why I am now waiting for my award.

The award I'm getting, and the words that will be on it.

I'll let y'all know when the call comes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mr. Handsome And I Don't See Eye To Eye, Or Maybe We Do, But I Wouldn't Know Because I Rarely Know What He's Talking About

So, Mr. Handsome laughs at my blog. And I don't mean in a good way. As in, how you, my faithful readers, laugh at my blog.

Nay. I mean, the odd time he finds it somewhat amusing, but more often than not, his remark is almost -- shall we say -- condescending. And again, I don't mean that in a good way, if there is a good way with being condescending.

In simpler terms:

condescending = not good

For instance, in case you are doubting my statement above, saying, "Nay nay, sweet Mary, your husband would NEVER be condescending toward you and your blog," let me tell you this: he rolled his eyes at my last post, and said, "You're really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, aren't you?" But he really wasn't asking me a question. It was more of an absolute statement, like he was the ultimate god of funniness judgment or something equally as important and strangely unique.

Well, he may think he is, but he's not.

I mean, I probably don't even have to really talk about that at all. I could just tell you that he didn't even realize I had the garbage put on the other side of the driveway to irk the neighbours and test them UNTIL HE READ MY BLOG POST ABOUT IT. What does THAT tell you about his awareness and alertness? The man actually backed right by the garbage that morning on his way to work.

In fact, now that I think of it, perhaps his reaction to my blog post was, in reality, more of an immediate negative reaction to the fact that he suddenly realized he hadn't notice the garbage that morning, and felt really incompetent, or maybe he got very scared because he realized he had been sleep-driving again, or maybe only driving with his eyes closed (which he totally does).

He also didn't even realize the little tabby things on hot beverage lids that you get at McDonald's are made so that they stick to the top of the lid, creating an automatic hole from which to drink said hot beverage. I had to tell him. And when I did, his face blossomed like he had just seen God and the heavens above, or maybe just a really hot woman with big breasties (and that woman would not be me, obviously, because (a) I'm rarely hot and (b) I do not, never did, and never will have, big breasts).

All this to say, how am I supposed to even care what he says about my blog when he doesn't seem to even be conscious most of the time? But perhaps the better question is, WHY DO I care? Because I do, that's why.

Remember when he said he refused to read my blog any longer because he deemed it inappropriate? Well, that surely didn't last long, did it? Not even a week. Yeah, he said he started reading it again because he had hurt my feelings when he told me he wouldn't read it any longer, but that's a bald-faced lie if ever there was one. The truth is, he couldn't stand to be away from it any longer. Totally obvious.

Well, when he stopped reading my blog, I think I didn't mind as much as when he was all cynical about it the other day. So, because of this unforeseen and strange reaction of mine, I began to analyze things because that's what I do to try and understand the rather strange and awful world around me. And especially when it comes to trying to figure out my husband. He's a mystery at the best of times. Which is one of the reasons I married him, but we won't touch that topic at the moment.

"So," I say to myself, "poodle, why do you care if he thinks your blog is inane and full of crap? He's obviously wrong, because you have all sorts of people who compliment you on your blog, and tell you you should write a book, or a newspaper column, and he didn't even know not to wear white socks with dress shoes until he met you and you laughed at him."

And the answer I came up with is, I don't know. I just care. I guess it would be kind of cool if my husband actually thought that what I write is, if not awesome, than good enough. And maybe he does think it's good enough. Maybe not.

Hold on while I ask him. Go get a drink while you're waiting. Oh, and you've got some toilet paper hanging out of your pants. You're welcome.

I finally got his attention (he was very focused on taking raw skinless and boneless chicken breasts from their package and re-wrapping them in Saran wrap and foil, so I had to almost yell at him), and asked him. I said, "Is my blog any good?"

And Mr. Handsome said, "What?"

Me: Is my blog any good?
Him: What are you talking about?
Me: My blog. 
Him: Uh huh?
Me:  Well?
Him: What??
Me: Do you like my blog? Is it any good?
Him: Yessss, it is. Most of the time.
Me: Am I a good writer?
Him: Yesssss, Haven't we been over this before?
Me: What's your point?
Him: We've talked about this before. You've asked me this before. Yes, you're a good writer. Sometimes, you're a very good writer. You just sometimes write about inane topics.
Me: Oh.
Me: So, why don't you like my blog?

By this point, Mr. Handsome is probably ready to throttle me. But instead, he sighs heavily and ignores me for the remainder of the hour.

So, I guess this means he likes my blog. Right?

P.S. The whole garbage thing was moot, guys. Moot. I didn't see hide nor hair of Her. No one even came near our bags of garbage. And then, I found out that it wasn't even green bin week, so Dee had to drag the damn thing all the way back in. The stars mustn't be aligned. I haven't given up yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Passive Aggressive War Has Begun And Proverbial Fists Are Flyin'

It has begun.

The War To End All Wars.

Yeah. I went there.

Well, it was garbage day again yesterday. Notice the quality of the photo. It was done in the dark of night, as quietly as humanly possible. I was too afraid to go out onto the street to take the same shot as Em had done the week before, lest Her see me, come out and stab me in the eye with her wolverine claws. Hence, the rather poor photo quality.

I have begun screwing with The Neighbours' minds, and it makes me happy to be alive.

So, I told Dee to put the garbage on the OTHER side of our laneway Wednesday night. Yeah, the side that is still our side, but on HER side. Here, I'll show you again, from the other side of the street, in the daylight, so that you understand:

I did this for two reasons.

Reason Number 1: I was testing Her to see if she would once again move our bags over to the other side of the driveway.

Reason Number 2: I was making a point in a passive-aggressive way, which is how I roll, obviously. The point being, don't screw with me, girlfriend, because that scrap of land that looks like it's part of your lawn is actually OUR land.

By making this move, I was also telling Her that I knew all about her little game, I was onto her, and I wasn't gonna let her walk all over me and my garbage. Yeah, that's right.

Now you know not to toy with me, Her. Keep your distance with you and your wolverine claws, because what I have is MUCH more dangerous.

I have Wily Ways, not to mention children who will do as I tell them to when I bribe them, which obviously always comes in handy in situations like this.

Next: A noisy game of basketball at 1 a.m. Who's in?

P.S. I saw my first Canada Geese making their return today. Oh, happy days...

P.P.S. I might be getting an award for saving a community school. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Serendipity Or Imagination, Or How I Wish They Had Just Sent The Cheesy Bread Without All That Begging

I've been thinking a lot over the past week or so about this potential trip to Switzerland with Mr. Handsome. And when I say thinking about it, I mean dreading it. But not in a bad way.

Let me explain. Well, first of all, apparently now we don't know for certain that Mr. Handsome is going any longer. It's called government budget cutbacks, yo. He said he should know by the end of the week. Stupid government people.

But if he gets the go ahead, I then have to figure out what to do. Because although I know I've said before that I've never been to Switzerland and would love to go to the land of the hosen, good beer and dark chocolate, I also now know about the Al Qaeda.

Call me crazy. Why not? Most people do. Thing is, we've already seen them in action just last weekend with the pizza delivery WITHOUT THE CHEESY BREAD, so god only knows what else they could do. They're obviously VERY serious and mean business.
It's spooking me out, guys, and I think I may need some professional help with this. Of course, you've got to admit this kind of stuff would spook the crap outta you too. Right? I know. If it doesn't, I would have to say something is plain wrong wit you, dawg.

It's bad enough that Mr. Handsome would be going on this flight, but if I joined him, our kids would obviously be orphaned, and I know that because Em even said so, without any prompting. So it must be true. I'm now thinking Em might be psychic, so I'm going to have her tested, because imagine where we could go with that kind of talent!

This reminds me of what happened to me on Friday, the whole coincidental thing that seemingly just happens, but you know there's more to it than that. Last Friday, I had to write a HOAE test for possible entry into the paramedic program at our local college (the test is pronounced "ho-ee", but Mr. Handsome seems to think I am getting tested to become a whore, which wouldn't be surprising), and as I was driving down the street toward the college, I saw a car accident up ahead, with big flashing firetruck lights blinding me. And I immediately thought, "FIREFIGHTERS!!" and got all excited and almost smashed into a light pole, which would have been awesome, actually, because -- FIREFIGHTERS would have rushed over to me and put their hands all over me, and maybe even given me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because I would have pretended that my breathing stopped, although I'm not sure how long I could have actually continued that charade because I don't really like that blacking out feeling, and also, if I blacked out, I would have missed the FIREFIGHTERS! See? Always thinking.

Anyway, the fact there was a car accident on the same road as I was on ON MY WAY TO WRITE A PARAMEDIC TEST is clearly just one more sign that it was meant to be that I was supposed to be in the healthcare field.

But that's not all, my friends! Please read on.

So, I get past the accident (it didn't look like anyone was hurt, although I could be mistaken because I'm not a healthcare worker YET! Give me a break, guys), turn into the college, and THERE'S AN AMBULANCE sitting RIGHT THERE in the parking lot! What the hell?!?! Obviously not simply a coincidence. Then, I turn another corner to head to the building I was writing in, and yes, ANOTHER AMBULANCE! By this time, I am close to hyperventilating from over-excitement and the prospect of seeing hunky paramedics in addition to the firefighters I'd just seen!

So, all this to say that it is now entirely clear to me that both the nursing people and the paramedic people want me in their respective programs, although, so far, I have only been accepted into the nursing program. Of course, they're giving me all these little hints because it would be pretty inappropriate, and maybe even against the rules, if they just came right out and said, "Please join us. You're a perfect candidate."

Now, not only do I have to decide which program I want to follow, but I have to decide if I really have what it takes to, not only complete two years of school, but also actually be able to do the job once I graduate. Believe it or not, I tend to be optimistic, and am often not as cynical and realistic as I need to sometimes be. Having said that, I am going to the gym again, and am trying to get my health under control. I guess what makes me feel like this is "right" for me is just that: it feels right.

And, if there's one thing I tell people, it's to follow your gut, because your instincts will always be right.

P.S.  There are definitely some Al Qaeda shenanigans going on. Mr. Handsome's mother just went to Los Angeles, and two out of her three planes had BROKEN computers! What are the chances of that happening out of the blue like that?! But that's not all, folks! She just called, and she's sitting on the tarmac in Toronto, in yet another plane WITH YET ANOTHER COMPUTER THAT IS NOT WORKING! Yeah, tell me that isn't something brewing somewhere.

I told you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Al Qaeda Deliver Pizza Here, And Men Don't Know How To Have Fun (Updated!)

You'll all be very happy to know that there is no mention in today's post of my awesome neighbours! Can I hear a hooray for small miracles?! Amen. And you're welcome.

Mr. Handsome went away for the weekend, leaving me and the kids alone.all.weekend.long. Yeah. Guess I could end the post right here.

But I won't.

Mr. Handsome gets invited to this "all men's" weekend every spring at his sister's husband's cottage up in the Muskokas, and of course, he goes. Very thoughtless of him, if you ask me. And gender biased. Anyway, it sounds extremely boring because I asked him what exactly all the guys do up there for three days, and he looked at me like I was the stupid one, and said, "Poker." So I said, "You play poker for three days straight?" and he said, "Yeah," as if it was a totally normal and not obscene and very boring thing to do.

And then he added, as an afterthought, "Well, we intersperse it with some x-box," like that was obvious and nothing out of the ordinary.

And to this, I say, Men are weird. And boring.

So, as luck would have it, Mr. Handsome left the kids with me for three.whole.days. Yeah. I think I said that already.

It actually didn't go too badly. They started with the living room, and by Sunday evening, the entire house was spic and span. Awesome.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Dee spent part of Sunday with me trying to once again find the floor to his room, and Em did the bathrooms. Meanwhile, the Beatles played in the background, and all was good with the world.

I also took them to eat out Friday evening and spent way more money than anyone should spend on some overcooked pasta, so-so Caesar salad and lumpy garlic bread. The place seemed to be filled with people celebrating their birthdays, which befuddled me to no end because, really? the food ain't something to write home about, guys.

Then Saturday arrived, and I sat in my stained sweats scratching my loins when there was a knock at the front door, and I shouted for the kids to hide. And then I thought, well, it would be nice to know who it was at the front door, although my instincts were telling me it was someone either selling something we didn't want, or the Jehovah's Witnesses making their monthly pilgrimage to try and save our lives from a most certain hell.

So, I forced Dee to peek out the front window as I cowered behind my laptop, and he said it looked like it was Adonis, my brother. To which I said, "Well, is it or isn't it?" and Dee said he couldn't be sure. I think Dee needs to see his uncle more often.

Anyway, I ended up opening the door, and it was indeed Adonis, who had been biking in the neighbourhood after having dropped his car off at the dealer's to have it checked. So, I invited him in, and then realized he was just using me as a place to warm up. But, what are sisters for if you can't use them, right? Anysmellybrother, I made him a coffee, and placated him for an hour and a bit while he went on and on and on about one thing or another, and I got totally lost when he started discussing the universe and the fifth dimension and the time-space continuum with Dee.

After Adonis left, I thought I'd invite him and his wife, WoodNymph, over to watch the movie Precious on the movie channel, because I thought they needed some cheering up. Turns out it's not such a happy movie. I thought it was a comedy. Stupid reviews.

We decided to order some pizza because I really didn't feel like cooking, so I ordered online, which blew Adonis right out of the water. He was quite perturbed about the whole thing because really, what's wrong with picking up the phone and actually speaking to a real person? Which I can totally understand, and I even agree with, but I couldn't say that to him because then that would mean I was agreeing with my brother, and, well, you know, sisters can't do that.

The ordering took awhile because I kept screwing up the order, and tried to include a coupon they were offering, but it kept not working, so when I finally ordered the damn pizzas, Dee was passed out on the floor, his little ribs showing, and WoodNymph was in the throes of hypoglycemic shock. Sorry guys.

The worst was yet to come, however. I KNOW!

So, the pizza is delivered in timely fashion by this tiny man with a toque, and at first I thought he was a little elf, but his eyes were too mean to belong to an elf (because all elves are good elves), and he hands me the two pizzas, but I immediately put my wily investigative reporting skills to the test and notice that the cheesy bread is missing. I let Mean Elf know, giving him the benefit of the doubt, and he's all, "Well, you did not order da cheesy bread," and I'm all, "Well, I can assure you I did order the cheesy bread," and he gets this angry look on his face like I am screwing up his entire evening of very important pizza deliveries. So, he pulls out his cell phone, and in between heavy sighs and shakes of the head, he calls who I assume is his manager, and then hands the phone to me.

"So, like, you ordered two pizzas WITH ALL THE FREE EXTRAS, right?" the manager says, also sounding a bit put out.

"Yes, AND THE CHEESY BREAD," I add, not willing to give up on this. Meanwhile, I hear WoodNymph in the background, her voice shaky with weakness, reminding me not to let the pizza bastards get away with shirking off their responsibilities, because DAMMIT, we ordered the cheesy bread!!!

So, after a lot of back-and-forthing about cheesy bread and its worthiness, the manager says he will get someone to deliver it FREE OF CHARGE guys! as soon as they can get to it.

Yeah, that's right. I won.

So, Pizza Elf leaves, not even thanking me for the tip I so generously offered him, and then suddenly I figured it all out.
The Al Qaeda is after us. It's obvious. The lack of said cheesy bread was the telling factor. And they've obviously already taken over pizza delivery in our neighbourhood. It's only a matter of time, guys, until they take over pizza delivery OF THE WORLD!

OK, let me explain my logic in this decision.

The fact that they sent a mean-looking, elflike pizza delivery person is the first sign, because HELLO!? He's in costume, obviously. He looked quite shady to me, despite his feeble attempt at covering up with a pizza toque and pizza boxes.

Then, there's the obvious fact that he feigned confusion when I told him we ordered cheesy bread. It was a test, guys. A TEST.

The words "cheesy bread" are actually code for "get them pizza-loving bastards", and when I mentioned the bread, he must have gone a little weak in the knees.

Guys, I am pretty sure their cheesy bread contains microchip bugs.

I left the house to go pick up Em at her friend's house (where she attended a potluck, and ate scads of desserts because all the old people in the building grabbed the lasagna and pasta), and as I was driving up the road, I see the pizza delivery man COMING BACK TO THE HOUSE with the cheesy bread.

Of course, we ate it.

And now we are all sort of unknowing Al Qaeda accomplices, recording our every movement, our every word. If I were you, I'd stay away from me.

But it was all worth it because that cheesy bread was AWESOME.

Update: It's been brought to my attention that this post makes no sense. And, to that, I say, what else is new? Seriously. Like, do I make sense at the BEST of times? Exactly. Why expect miracles, is my motto.

Carry on.

P.S. Any mention of the Al Qaeda in this or any other posts does not in any way, shape or form mean that I am at all related to, or in agreement with, the Al Qaeda's form of terroristic pizza delivery service.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Obviously Have No Life, But I Still Have More Of A Life Than Mrs. Snooty McSnooterpants

Today's post is brought to you by my favourite neighbours. Thank you for supporting my site, assholes.

Today's post was actually going to be about something totally different, maybe about how it sure feels like spring around here, which is like a month early. I even saw a few flies outside the other day, which made me do a triple take while driving around town, and I almost drove into the postman who was probably in the middle of the road, so it wasn't even my fault. Whatever.

So, back to my scintillating post of today.

But before I do, I just wanted to apologize in advance for YET ANOTHER FREAKING POST ABOUT THE NEIGHBOURS. I clearly cannot help it. It's beyond my control. It's become an addiction of sorts, I'm starting to think. I might have to get help. And here is where Mr. Handsome would say, "Might?"

So, like I think I was saying, the neighbours. Here I was, minding my own business (because that's what I do), and I happened to look out the window JUST AS I SAW Mrs. Snooty McSnooterpants put a garbage bag beside our existing pile of garbage bags, and then SHE LOOKED SNOOTILY across into our driveway, MADE A SNOOTY FACE, and then walked back to her house. I immediately rose from my oh-so-comfy position on the couch (which, of course, was her first mistake in all these shenanigans), and as I neared our window, I realized IT WASN'T "HER" after all, but "HER" MOTHER!! Holy crap! Obviously a genetic malformation had taken place in that family. But, for the purposes of this post, and for the purposes of my anger, let's just say "her" and "her mother" are one and the same, because they are. I mean, they have the same haircuts, and they both have vaginas.

Meanwhile, Gryphon got up from his second morning nap of the day, and proceeded to do his Downward Dog yoga position stretch right next to me, which caused a large and malodorous 10-second fart to escape from his nethers. Awesome.

Then, I noticed (and please, notice my wily detective skills that I am quickly developing, all in an effort to ultimately learn more about the new neighbours who bought their house) that they actually don't have garbage bags out, but garbage cans. Which then made me wonder why they were disposing of a bag of garbage on our lawn? I then decided that, either (1) they had a bag of garbage that they didn't want to put with their cans of garbage, and, seeing our bags out in full sight, decided their bag would feel more at home there, or (2) they had taken our bag from one side of our laneway, and had deposited it to the other side of the laneway.

Either way, I was not pleased.

I immediately put a call in to Mr. Handsome, because I know he sometimes throws a garbage bag out at the last minute before he heads off to work, and I wanted to make sure that he indeed had done this before I went accusing the assholes neighbours of doing yet another un-neighbourly thing. Of course, Mr. Handsome was screening his calls, and ignoring me. As usual.

Before I go on, I wanted to clarify that we own the land on both sides of our driveway. On one side, we have our lawn, trees, bushes, and the odd piece of dog crap. On the other side, we have a slash of land, including two amazing pine trees, that actually looks like it's part of the neighbour's lawn, but is actually part of our property. Confusing? Yes.

And sometimes, Mr. Handsome throws a garbage bag on THAT side of the property. I don't know why, and I've given up trying to figure Mr. Handsome out. We've been together now over 20 years, and now I know for sure that he is not a team player.

A succinct and accurate photo of our driveway, replete with explanation. Please click to enlarge. And you're welcome for me putting in the time and effort into learning a new program to be able to draw on my photo. And also, I used my daughter to go across the street and take this picture, lest the neighbours were watching. Thank you, Em, for risking your life for me. You're the best. Oh, and also? That car? It's not our "real" car. So don't judge me.

Mr. Handsome finally decided to call me back.
Me: Did you put a garbage bag out this morning on the other side of the laneway?
Mr. Handsome: What do you mean?
Me: What do you mean, what do I mean? I mean what I said. What didn't you understand?
MH: What garbage bag? What other side?
Me: The OTHER side, as in, the side not normally used for setting down garbage bags. As in, the neighbour's side.
MH: Oh.
Me: Well?
MH: I don't think I did.

So, from this conversation I gathered that either Mr. Handsome had put the bag there unconsciously, since that is usually his state of being, or he hadn't. Very useful.

So, now I'm as confused as I was before, if not more so. If this garbage bag Mrs. McSnotpants dropped on our lawn was indeed hers, then why would they not have put it in their half empty garbage can instead of carrying it all the way to our lawn? The only reason I can come up with is that perhaps the bag was filled with all the odd garbage pieces Mrs. McSnottypants had picked off our lawn in the past year, and she was now returning it? Did she perhaps confuse things, and think that our driveway was actually hers? Did she possibly have a brain fart and believe we actually welcome bags of someone else's garbage to comingle with our own? Is their lawn too tidy to hold a bag of their garbage? Quite probably all of the above.

I'm going to give this a bit more thought, and get back to you. Or not. But either way, I'm angry. I might even write them a note and thank them. And maybe attach a nice baggy of dog crap to it. Or a bomb.

Next on the list: ways to really screw with their brains in an effort to make their last couple of months here the worst of their freaking lives. Oh, it's gonna be a busy spring!

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