Apparently my guilt can be assuaged with garden implements.

About 7 years ago, when I moved into the last place, I put a silly postcard on the front door:

job

It was a bit of an inside joke – nobody in the house had a “real” job, I’d just come back from travelling for months.  I still identified strongly with slacker culture. 

When we moved into our current house (the one we “own”, by which I mean the one we pay the bank gobs of money for the privilege of fixing up), I moved the postcard with us.  At least one of us still didn’t have a “real” job, and it annoyed me that my octogenarian neighbours always wanted to know why we weren’t working if we happened to be home during the day.  Took a day off?   Don’t work til 6pm?  Haha, no, check the postcardTotally forgot about that part of life.

The postcard has remained while we pasted “My dog is friendly, HONEST” and then “Baby sleeping, ring doorbell UPON PAIN OF DEATH” signs over top of it.  To be honest, it’s one of those things I’ve forgotten was there.  Certainly the ironic slacker message is no longer relevant.

To go with our grown-up house that we pay for with our real jobs, for the past few years we’ve had a nomad handyman/yard helper/whatever type of guy who shows up randomly to see if we need our walk shovelled, or our leaves raked, or our eaves cleaned out.  We give him 20 bucks, he gives us about an hours work doing things we don’t particularly want to do.  He only shows up every 6 weeks or so, and I think he only stops if he can actually SEE something that needs to be done, so it’s a very symbiotic relationship.  He works when he feels like it, making a pretty reasonable wage; we don’t get ostracized by the neighbours. (Much.)

Except last week he knocked on the door, and I was a little surprised to see him.  It was a miserable day, and there wasn’t anything that needed shovelling or tending to.  It’s spring; we’re just waiting around for things to melt.  He asked if he could scrape the ice off our walk, or at least try, and failing that, maybe he could take the 20 bucks and come back in a few days to do it?  Or anything else?  He’d leave his ice scraper.  He really needed money to put gas in the car to go see his kids.  He understood it was an imposition.

And while he was fumbling through his apologetic business proposition, he made reference to the postcard on the door. 

I realized that he had been interpreting it as a criticism of people who don’t have jobs. 

I gave him the 20 bucks, and he made an attempt on the 6-inch-thick glacier that is our front walk, gave up, and left his ice scraper, thanking me profusely and promising to return.

I went back inside and took the damn postcard down.  I was completely mortified, three years’ worth of embarrassed.  I was heartbroken that this intrepid soul, who showed up willing to work hard, who went out and found jobs when he needed them, thought we were judging him for not having a “real” job.  He had no idea that I respect him for carving out his own path, for getting out there and just doing it.  That, frankly, some days I wish I had the guts to ask someone if I could rake their lawn when I needed twenty bucks, too.

Mind you…he hasn’t come back yet, either.

Well, at least I have an ice scraper.  Maybe next time he’ll leave a rototiller, I really need one of those.

Building a blanket burrito for better Monster Protection.

When I was a kid, I was inadvertently allowed to watch some old horror movies on tv. 

Well, it wasn’t even actual horror movies, it was some kind of documentary about horror movies, but in a few short minutes, I had WAY more information than any 7-year-old should have about an impending Attack of the Blob.  I also had a sudden and deep-seated fear of Body Snatchers.

I became a little obsessed with the backs of peoples’ necks, because that is where the Body Snatchers leave their mark.  I was particularly concerned with the necks of grownups, because frankly, they were awfully confusing to begin with and who knew if they had been bodysnatched, or if they were just being grumpy?

These new fears also manifested themselves in an elaborate bedtime routine.  It began with a running leap from the doorway onto my bed, lest I touch down too close to the bed itself, thus exposing my tender flesh to any Blobs lurking underneath.  I’m sure every kid is familiar with this manoeuver, although my bed was just a touch too far from the door.  This resulted in any number of spectacular wipeouts, where I would slip and tumble to the floor, next to the bed, my wide eyes glimpsing the abyss for a split second before I scrambled upwards in a panic.

Once safely on the bed, I had a little routine with my duvet that guaranteed me safety while I slumbered.

burrito

 

It probably goes without saying that I always had to pee.

This is why I’m not allowed to tell jokes. I always forget important plot points.

A funny thing happened on the way to Nashville.  That I totally forgot to tell you about.

When I flew into Minneapolis and lined up to go through Customs, I somehow managed to pick the lineup with the most humorless looking agent available.  That’s just how my life works out.

“What is the purpose of your visit?” he droned.

“I’m going to a blogging conference.”

He raised an eyebrow a millimetre.  “A logging conference?” he said skeptically.  “You don’t look like a lumberjack.”

“Um…thanks?  No, a blogging conference?” I mimed typing.

Blank look.

“You know, on the internet?” I was really hoping this wasn’t going to turn into a cavity search.  And that he knew what the internet was.

“Do you…have a blog?” he inquired, peering at me carefully, like blogging might be contagious.

“Um…yes.  Actually, I have two,” I admitted. 

He looked at me with concern for a moment, and then stamped my papers and waved me through, clearly not prepared to deal with crazy people.

From now on?  If anybody asks, I am going to WRITING conferences.

I have no idea which part of this is the id but I think I know where the super ego is

Dear Body,

Okay, I realize I haven't ALWAYS treated you this well. It's only been in the last 6 or 7 years that I've laid off the binge drinking, eaten proper food, and attempted to exercise on a regular basis. But it's not like I was loading you up with toxic waste before. Just...less food from the "organic farmer's market" group, and more from the "as appears on the pub menu" division.

So, I can forgive the sinusitis, and the gimpy back, and the ridiculously huge varicose vein. And I have been VERY PATIENT with this whole "peri-menopause/lack of hormones" thing.

But now, you have to add high cholesterol onto that? I'M THIRTY-SIX YEARS OLD, not sixty-three. I realize that it has to do with the estrogen that you're not producing, but still. I bet you thought it was funny when the doctor told me I should be "eating my vegetables" and "trying to exercise" and "avoiding fried foods", huh?

Well, fuck you, Body. This is as healthy as we're gonna get. And if you and your stupid high cholesterol end up giving us a heart attack? Who loses, huh, Body? WHO?

Lovingly,
The Management

PS - Thanks for making the gimpy back act up right before I'm supposed to get on a plane. Seriously, fuck you.

In which I reveal what a total froot loop I really am

I made a cryptic reference to my latest naturopath visit last week, and said it was 'hopeful' (or perhaps 'positive' - I don't remember and I'm too lazy to go back and look). But I didn't really get into it because I wanted to see how it all shook out.

Well, it all shook out, so I guess I can fill you in now. Another post about my dysfunctional uterus! Aren't you excited?

Anyway. This naturopath - who isn't actually a naturopath but a 'Doctor of Natural Medicine', which means that she has essentially the same education but is perhaps less of a flake - is actually the step-mother-in-law of my friend Elle. Which means that Elle isn't related to her at all, but she does have to deal with her on a regular basis. Elle gave her this recommendation:

"I have never hated someone more in my life...that I would trust with my life."

Strong words. I don't think I particularly liked her either. She extremely abrupt and had this way of making me feel like I'd gotten the answer to her question WRONG. Um - it's not a test, lady, you're asking me about my eating habits. But she obviously knew her shit, and she was clearly not in it to bilk me out of my money. (Her parting words? "I'm not interested in seeing you again." I think I got helped and then dumped, all within a few hours.)

As a sidenote-that-will-soon-become-relevant, she had an MD traipsing around after her last week. An MD who is interested in alternative therapies. I know, right? I saw a unicorn shortly thereafter.

The upshot of the first (and last, apparently, since she's not interested in seeing me again) session was that she doesn't believe that I'm in menopause. I don't either, but it's sometimes hard to convince myself of that when I haven't had a period since DECEMBER. She felt that 15-odd years of oral contraceptives (oh, shut up, they were all very meaningful sexual relationships) quickly followed by a somewhat problematic pregnancy and delivery had left my body a little traumatized.

I don't know why. They only induced me SEVEN TIMES.

(As another aside, I just went back and re-read my epic birth story that I posted on my other blog. I'm...not actually sure I want to do this again, now.)

Anyway, add to that my work stress and sleep deprivation (sure, my kid slept through the night...once), and my body is just depleted. Of everything, especially hormones. Apparently you have to nourish your body in order for it to manufacture it's own hormones. Who knew?

She gave me some melatonin and a recipe for a warm-milk-and-nutmeg concoction to help me sleep (I couldn't seem to convince her that my toddler is trying to make me commit suicide by waking up 3 times a night at the age of almost-three). And she recommended that I begin hormone replacement therapy with bio-identicals.

What are bio-identicals, you say? Well, they're manufactured hormones. But unlike conventional synthetic hormones, they're exactly the same makeup as your own hormones. Hence the name. They have such questionable advocates as Suzanne Somers and Oprah, and there is only one doctor in this entire province who will prescribe them. He is a 4-1/2 hour drive away.

(As yet another aside, after some research I've discovered that bio-identicals are unpopular with mainstream docs because they're unpopular with drug companies. Drug companies can't patent something that has the identical makeup to someone's own hormones, you see. Therefore they can't charge the exorbitant prices they charge for name brand drugs, so they don't promote them. IT'S A FUCKING CONSPIRACY.)

(Aaaaannnnd, just like that, I've tipped my hand. I'm an eco-weirdo conspiracy theorist. My mother is so proud.)

While I am not a fan of some doctor pumping me full of synthetic hormones, I felt like this particular approach might actually work for me. But a Doctor of Natural Medicine doesn't have a place in the 'chain of command' in our health system - and how does one explain to their GP that they want a referral to THIS doctor, because they don't trust conventional medicine? This is where the lurking MD comes in - she was there for the diagnosis and totally gets it. Coincidentally, she is taking new patients. So I saw her this week, and she ordered about 9 different blood tests, and made the referral to the OBGYN.

I see him in August, shortly after returning from BlogHer. I will have to leave at 6 in the morning.

I'll keep you posted as to whether I fall asleep at the wheel or not.

Don't get drunk and try to be sexy and light a firecracker with a match in your teeth, or anything. Not that that's something I'd do. Often.

Happy Independence Day, my neighbours!

(That's the day when everyone who needs one receives a free motorized scooter and a handrail in your bathtub, right? And then you eat hot dogs and light fireworks to celebrate? Yours is such a great country. All we get is an influx of moose and maple-syrup orgies. Sometimes at the same time.)

Love, your backasswards Canadian cousin.

And the wiener is...

I almost forgot about the giveaway of the earrings. Something shiny distracted me! (I think it might have been earrings.)

In the interest of fairness, I got the cleanest member of our household to make the draw. (Really clean, he just came out of the bath.) I think if anything is obvious from this video, it's that I'm CLEARLY destined for great things in cinematography.

And MrsBear from Outnumbered Two to One is our wiener! Mrsbear, I don't have a completed dossier on you yet so please email me your address and I'll get em in the mail! Cheers!

I'm Canadian, it's not like I automatically think about terrorism.

Today I went and got my passport photos done at lunch. When the photographer showed me the preview I realized that in addition to me looking appropriately frightened and somehow frightening at the same time, my second chin probably needs it's OWN passport.

"Can you airbrush that out?" I asked the woman taking the photo.

She stared at me.

"What?"

"I'd go to JAIL." She seemed torn between amusement and horror.

"Huh?"

Oh. Oh, RIGHT.

...well, still. I would have PAID her.

Define "normal", anyway: Random Tuesday Thoughts

randomtuesday

Hey kids, it's that Tues type of day again! How does that keep happening?

So, you know what to do. Or if you don't, it's pretty simple - write a random post. Add the fugly purple button, and link up. Voila! Then go visit some of the other players in this weird little game, because they all rock.

Ready? Random!

I went for a massage today. I love massage therapy, I have chronic lower back problems. Unfortunately, the back problems stem from HIP problems, and I always balk at telling the massage therapist what the real issue is.

Because you know where the pain from hip problems manifests, right? Right, in your butt cheeks.

I don't know why, when I'm already pretty much naked and letting a stranger oil me up & rub me down, I have issues asking them to knead my ass, but I do. There's just a line there I can't cross, okay?


I have intercepted the UPS guy twice in the last week. It's either a freaking miracle, or the new guy doesn't have ninja skills on par with the last UPS delivery driver.

I'm going with "miracle", because both times he's looked rather confused that he's actually had to talk to someone.

How was your Mother's Day? Mine was great - brunch*, a card with a toddler 'signature' in it, and Iron Man 2. I even got to sleep in**.

*At home because I've spent too many years working in restaurants to enjoy or contribute to that kind of shit show.

**Read: "lie in bed listening to my kid yell and try to convince my bladder to let me remain there for 5 more minutes, because I'm supposed to be enjoying this, dammit".


If you haven't seen Iron Man 2 yet, perhaps this model of what the Iron Man suit would look like if it tried to turn into a lobster will help.

Or not.

So, Greece. What the hell happened, Greece?

According to my dad, who is a financial planner and therefore pays way more attention to these things than I do (because he actually cares), apparently part of the problem is that virtually everybody in Greece works for the government. And you can take a pension at, like, the age of 50, and if someone dies their spouse then benefits from that pension. And if THAT person dies, their children can inherit the pension. Essentially, the Greek government has been paying it's citizens just to exist.

So, one thing is clear. I should have moved to fucking GREECE.


My kid woke up at 5:30 this morning. No reason, he just felt like being an asshole I guess. Later in the day I texted Fashionista, with whom I had a coffee date, to cancel because hubby had a meeting and anyway, I was hitting a wall because X had gotten up at 5:30, what an asshole.

She texted me back: "Uh, I assume you mean HUBBY is an asshole?"

...sure. If thinking that makes you continue to like me.

It's not any worse than when I texted her on Friday to ask: did she think I should take the antibiotics I'd been prescribed, or should I hoard them for the zombie apocalypse, because they were a different kind and it was good to diversify?

Sometimes I wonder how I have normal friends at all.

That don't live in my computer, I mean. YOU guys are normal, right?

Yeah, right.

Random up!

But the collection of plaid shirts circa 1992 is still cool, right?

Do you watch What Not To Wear? I'm sure you're aware of the concept. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with that show. For someone who doesn't watch much television, I watch a LOT of What Not To Wear.

Some of the shows, the ones where they turn schlumpy women into beautiful butterflies, I love. I mean, you can tell those women are gorgeous, but they just need to update their style, or their body has changed and they don't know what to do with it, or whatever. And they're a tiny bit resistant, because who wants to be told that you look like an asshat? And that you've been looking that way for the past 10 years, and people are laughing at you. But they mostly embrace the change and end up looking fabulous.

But some of them I feel so conflicted about. The ones with women who have an extreme style, who have hair down to their knees or dress entirely in sequins or wear fairy wings and a lot of glitter. They're often young women, and as far as I'm concerned, they can pull it off. They don't have to impress top executives or try not to embarass their kids. Why wouldn't you let their freak flag fly? Why is it so fucking important that they look like everybody else?

Even the message they bludgeon people with every time is conflicted. "Dress homogenously so we can see the real you. Express your unique personality, but only within these RULES." The rebellious teenager inside me wants to rise up and punch these people in the throat. Fuck you, Stacy and Clinton, I'm totally wearing a suede hippie jacket with highland dancing shoes and I'm going to look HOT.

The other part of me, though, the broke schlumpy 35-year-old who has no idea how to dress to flatter all these bulges, really wants them to show up on my doorstep.

(That part wins.)

(Stacy and Clinton? I'm waiting.)

(And I promise to let you throw out the highland dancing shoes.)

Crying fowl

My house is a few blocks away from the city park, in the middle of which is a huge man-made lake. It's really pretty, when it's not ripe with decaying algae or your escapee dog isn't taunting you from the middle of it while you scream ineffectually from the shore.

However, for the last three nights, I have been roused from my precious slumber at 3am by ducks. What sounds like hundreds of ducks, or geese, having a waterfowl rave. Or maybe an orgy.

(A whole new meaning to the phrase "fuck a duck".)

What is the most disturbing part of this is that I can't get back to sleep again. Any kind of sleeplessness is highly unusual for me; I can sleep anywhere, anytime. But something about the nasal honking of hundreds of ducks (with maybe a couple of screaming seagulls thrown in) gives me anxiety. They sound...French.

(Uh, nothing against the french, of course. Though if thousands of them converged on the lake in the wee hours of the morning, I probably wouldn't be pleased either.)

I complained at work this morning and got informed that they were returning from their winter migration. So I guess they all have to talk about their vacation? Whether they got the all-inclusive or just did the hostel thing?

Do they have to do it at 3am, though?

I asked hubby if he would mind slaughtering the ducks on his way home from work. He works the night shift and he's driving right past there; it's not like it would be out of his way. He said he'd consider it, and then on his way out the door he said, "So what am I doing on the way home? Hitting ducks with the car?"

Because I'm not tired ENOUGH, now I have to lay awake worrying about whether he's going to drive our car into the lake while trying to be chivalrous.

Inconsiderate fucking ducks.

Although by that point I may be satisfied with a nap and a good BM

My folks just returned from snowbirding in Arizona. (For those of you not in the know, 'snowbirds' are what they call retired Canadians who winter in the southern US. I've no idea if you're meant to use it as a verb or not. Probably.) In addition to some Roswell Alien Ale beer and a stuffed armadillo for my kid, my Mom brought me a little ceramic dreambox:

Isn't it pretty? The Legend of the Dreambox is that you "write down your fondest dream on a small piece of paper, put the paper in the dreambox and place it beside your bed. Every evening as you retire and every morning as you rise, hold your dreambox and think on your dream, believing with all your heart that it is so."

Except that I have a rambunctious toddler with free access to my bedside area, who likes to open my bedside table and rifle through it (a few awkward moments out of that. There is nothing in there now, nothing). So I guess, like a lot of things, my fondest dream will have to wait until my kid is grown up.

I'll get to you one day, Clown College. One day.

I think if you know me at all, you'll realize these New Years Resolutions are about as "on time" as they'll get

I was so enamored of the "2-week Resolution" idea, I decided to make a list of mine. I'm not sure any of these will help me become a better person, but hey, it might make good blog material. (I realize I keep saying that and not following through, but these are SHORT goals. I've gotta be better at that, right? Ooooh look something shiny!)

...Plus I'm starting late so really I only have to do 24.

Jan 1-Jan 14: Oops, missed the boat. Nobody informed me.

Jan 15-Jan 28: Well, this is half over. So I'll just call this fortnight a total loss.

Jan 29-Feb 11: Design a logo a day for competition at 99designs.com

Feb 12-Feb 25: Do one nice thing for hubby each day. Valentine's and all that.

Feb 26-March 11: Eat vegetarian. This probably will entail learning to cook something vegetarian. Nachos don't count.

March 12-March 25: Go skating as much as possible. Try to learn to 'sideways stop' on hockey skates.

March 26-April 8: Practice yoga each day.

April 9-April 22: Eat one weird thing each day from the "not labelled in english" aisle at the grocery store.

April 23-May 6: Do one thing a day that is charitable or a service to others. Volunteer, carry the neighbour's groceries, donate old clothing, etc.

May 7-May 20:
May 21-June 3:
June 4-June 17: I'm putting 3 of these together and saying "Learn Japanese". Because that's when the high-intensity Spring semester happens at the university. I'm sure I won't really learn much Japanese so maybe I should call it "take high-intensity spring semester class at the university".

June 18-July 1: Walk to work every day. There's a long weekend in here, so win! for me & laziness.

July 2-July 15: Visit 8 parks we've never been to before.

July 16-July 29: Go skydiving.

July 20-August 12: Hoping to go to BlogHer. So...I'm keeping this week free.

August 13-August 26: Learn or make up at least 6 new kids games to play with my son.

August 27-September 9: Go camping.

September 10-September 23: Get on the Wii for 15 minutes a day.

September 24-October 7: Draw a comic frame a day (pencils AND inks, yo).

October 8-October 21: Take a 'photo shoot' every day, whether it's outside or set up.

October 22-November 4: Visit at least 3 haunted locations.

November 5-November 18: Be more social. Go out or entertain at least 8 times.

November 19-December 2: Get a big honking canvas and paint something, a little bit every day. (As much as I can draw, I really suck at painting. So this is a growth opportunity. Or possibly just an opportunity for everyone to laugh at me.)

December 3-December 16: <--I have no idea. Why don't you guys come up with something Christmassy for me?

December 17-December 31: Learn and make a new mixed booze drink every day.

...What? It seems like a good way to end the year, no?

Batten down the hatches

According to the Zombie Survival Guide, I am woefully ill-prepared. I don't have a crossbow. I don't have an armored car. I have a stupid dog that will bark and draw attention to us and my house will suck to defend.

(But where am I going to find a house on stilts for sale on the bald ass prairie?)

I'm sure that when I've mentioned these concerns before, you probably laughed and thought I was joking. But I'm not. I really do worry about what I'll do when the dead walk. I really do lay awake after I wake up from a nightmare, wondering whether it would make sense to build a perimeter wall.

Because if I'm worrying about that, I don't have to think about spending another day in a workplace I loathe. I don't have to dwell on how small my boss makes me feel, when he used to be a friend and all-round good guy but has somehow slowly turned into a selfish, uncaring asshole. I don't have to think about how I might turn into that same person if I can't find another job soon.

If I'm running through the mental exercise of how many cans of food I'd need to wait out hordes of the undead, then I'm not thinking about my stupid broken uterus. I'm not stressing about my self-imposed deadline for baby-making, which is horrifyingly close. I'm not gnashing my teeth about not being able to get in to see a specialist for months, someone who might not be able to fix me but at least could tell me my options.

If I'm considering a weapon for close-range combat with a reanimated corpse, then I'm not considering the range of human horrors this society could inflict upon my son. I'm not stressing about things in his future that are years away, like what school to send him to and whether to drive him everywhere and how he'll react to peer pressure. I'm not letting myself think that his weird toddler quirks might be signs of something more.

If I'm planning and worrying about something that will never happen, then I am not wasting time bemoaning things I have little to no control over.

The other day I ditched on a coffee date with my friend Fashionista, because I was so tired and crabby and I just didn't deserve to be interacting with people. She told me I was allowed to have an 'off' day, I have a lot of stress. I said I didn't think I had any more stress than anybody else.

She said, "I think you do."

And while I still don't think I have any more stress than anybody else, I'm willing to concede that yes, indeed, I do have stress.

I mean, I can NOT find a half-decent machete ANYWHERE.

Nom nom nom, Humble Pie

Since we replaced our prehistoric TV for Christmas, yesterday there was some guy in our basement, his jeans obscenely low (I imagine - I wasn't actually here), muttering obscenities while he installed a high-def line. I'm not sure why we decided to do this, since we don't actually watch that much tv, except that by our tally it would leave us with less switching of cables when we wanted to play the Wii or watch a DVD.

(What it actually did was leave us with one MORE cable to plug and unplug. Which is fucking annoying in the pre-dawn hours when you want to switch it so the kid can watch PBS and not Ice! Age!, because Curious George is less interesting and finite and Ice! Age! just goes on and on and gawd help you if you want to get his coat on before the credits roll so you can get to work on time. And you probably just should have spent the extra 5 minutes fumbling around with RCA cables because now you have a full-blown meltdown AND you're late. Again.)

Anyway.

After dinner I felt chilly so I went to turn up the heat and, lo, the thermostat was completely blank. It no longer had any power, and therefore was no longer telling my furnace to keep me from freezing.

I poked a few buttons and the thermostat did not miraculously start blinking, so I plunked the toddler in front of Ice! Age! (I'm trying to fast track that Mother of the Year award) and spent 15 minute on hold with the cable company. Because surely the wiring and snipping and drilling their tech had been doing, followed by the immediate demise of my thermostat, was not coincidence?

They said they'd look into it and call me back. So I spent the next half an hour peering at the bewildering array of wires and cables that appear to be growing through my basement. This house used to be two obviously very small suites and there are phone cables and wires everywhere that lead to nothing. Which is exactly what I came up with.

Cable dispatch dude called me back and said the tech had declared himself not responsible. Which I didn't really buy, and neither did the dispatch dude, but he said he couldn't dispatch someone on his own say-so, he'd have to escalate it to a manager.

"Okay," I said.

"It probably won't be until tomorrow," he said apologetically. A tiny pointy creature made of Panic popped up in my chest because, hello? My furnace hasn't been running in hours and it's effing cold outside, guy.

"Oh," I said. "Um, okay."

"Is your furnace running?" he queried.

"No," I said in a small voice.

"Oh," he said with more concern. "Is it cold?"

"Not yet!" I chirped with false bravado. And he kind of laughed and promised he'd have someone call me as soon as possible, and I told him I would have someone come and look at it in the meantime and not to worry.

And here is where I'm really glad I remained polite and didn't give in to my Panic and demand "better service" or shriek "My baby could FREEZE, you asshole!!" or something. Because then I called hubby at work and snivelled a little and he came home to see if he could fix it.

Turns out? My thermostat runs on batteries. Which I considered, but apparently you have to be 6'3" to be able to see how the fucking thing actually opens up. Nobody considers us shortasses when they're designing thermostats. Paul changed the batteries and - cue the angels singing - they're not going to find my frozen corpse curled around a Bic lighter after all. The timing of the tech dude was sheer coincidence.

And I'm okay with telling you guys what a dumbass I am because now I'm used to it. I called the cable company back and sheepishly explained that no, their wonderful tech guy with his proper-fitting pants did not, in fact, cut the wire to my thermostat. In fact, there IS no wire and I'm just not that bright, so they don't have to 'escalate' the matter to management, let's all just forget it didn't happen, ok?

Except I guess the message didn't get passed on, because this morning someone in Management called me and I had to explain AGAIN that, in fact, it wasn't their fault. Their tech guy walks on freakin' water, even, and I'm just an idiot. Thanks for calling.

So, yeah. Lesson learned. Always be polite to service companies in the face of a potential frozen fate, lest you turn out to be not dying after all and look like an even bigger asshole.

Or something.

Gauntlet: A short film that will only ever exist in my head*

A heavy steel door opens with a thunk, letting in daylight and silhouetting me a woman standing wielding dual katana blades. Through the opening door we can hear the faint groans of the undead.

Cut to a side view of me the woman. She is wearing heavily reinforced leather gear and a helmet with a face shield. She's almost entirely covered but we can tell she's buff. She's staring straight ahead (out the door). The last thing she does before lowering her face shield is insert iPod ear buds.

The woman steps out of the doorway. The sunlight is blinding; she's washed out. As the door closes behind her, a tune starts up on her iPod, something upbeat but incongruous with zombie slaying, like Gnarls Barkley's Run or You Spin Me Right Round. She begins a choreographed run down a whitewashed alleyway, leaping, slashing, beheading. Zombies swarm her as she keeps moving, killing with precision. Zombie slime splashes across her visor.

As the song ends abruptly she stops at the other end of the alley, breathing hard, and raises her visor. She pauses, then looks down to her own shoulder. The leather has ripped away, showing very clearly a zombie bite. Her expression does not change as she lowers her visor again, and turns back to face the door. We get a close up of her hand tightening her grip on her sword.

A shot past her hip towards the door. It opens again with a mechanical clunk. A blurry silhouette holding two swords steps into view.

Fade to white.

*Though at some point I might draw it into a comic.

The ghosts of Christmas Parties past

I went to Party Guy's company Christmas party with him. Almost everyone he worked with was older than him, which is to say, WAY older than me.

I wore a top straight out of 1993, because, well, it was 1993. The bottom half of it was sheer fabric. I could get away with it because I had the flat stomach of a 19 year old, and because I also had the mistaken impression that it was less see-thru than it was. I got inappropriately hammered - did I mention I was 19? Later Party Guy informed me, rather acerbically, that during a rousing turn of "Shout!" (Lift your hands up!) on the dance floor, I had been flashing everyone my black lacy bra.

Well. No wonder I was so popular at that party.

*********

During the years I worked in restaurants, we never had Christmas parties at Christmas. Because everyone ELSE was having their Christmas parties and we were too busy. So we had them in February. They were almost always 'themed'. One year we did air bands. Four of us choreographed a dance routine to ABBA. I wore my Leggy Blonde costume.

We didn't win for the routine, but I won for the skintight red dress with the slit up to my hipbone.

What? I said it was my Leggy Blonde costume.

*********

While dating Pilot Boy I attended a few of his Christmas parties. For one of them he worked for a company that had its main offices in another city, and we flew there for the party, which was in the banquet hall of a hotel.

He expressed regret for choosing to sit where we did. He thought the drunken antics of the other people at the table would reflect badly on him. I thought they were the most fun people there. He made us move anyway.

I latched on to the most interesting person at our new table, who looked a little frightened when I proclaimed us to be BFFs and dug up a pen to write my phone number on her hand.

Later, joking around, he piggy-backed me up to our hotel room. The key card wasn't working so, unthinking, he bent down to inspect it, slamming my head into the door frame and knocking me unconscious for a few seconds.

He put me in bed to sleep and went back to the party. In the morning I had to lay on the floor of the plane as we drove home, I was so ill from the combined hangover and concussion.

Pretty sure I hadn't flashed anyone my bra though.

**********

Years ago, at the company I am with now, we organized a video scavenger hunt, broke out into teams, and drew straws to see which poor souls had designated driver duty. Then we roamed the city filming our 'items' and stopping at every bar we saw for shooters. We gathered at the boss' house for more drinks and watched all the hunts. The boss' wife kicked us all out in annoyance at 4 or 5am.

This year, the same company took us for dinner on a Thursday night at a local pub, and gave us a $50 gift card each lest we get out of hand on the company dime. I was home by 9:30.

Aannndd...I'm okay with that. Man, I'm old.