Thursday, March 24, 2022

Do not approach the potentially rabid raccoon, do not approach the potentially rabid raccoon, do not approach the potentially rabid raccoon

Raccoons are mostly nocturnal. So if you're seeing one during the day, something is up. Ie: you might have trapped its kits in your eaves by sealing up the holes in your roof (Bring me your furry...) or... it might possibly be... rabid.

And yet... when a raccoon appears on my deck, my immediate impulse will always be to offer it afternoon tea.

"Hey there buddy! How long do you want your Earl Grey steeped?"

The raccoon today staggered across my deck and then sat on my patio sofa. I opened the door to say hello and the sucker didn't even move. Just looked at me and sort of wheezed. Not normal raccoon behaviour. At least not on our deck. It's not like I go out and feed all the random raccoons every night. They're supposed to be suspicious of humans. Unless... this particular wheezy raccoon is being fed by other people on their decks. 

While keeping one eye focused on the furry masked bandit, I google.


It had staggered onto the deck. It was seemingly oblivious to my offers of Earl Grey tea, which, while polite, had been done in my public speaking voice. It had wandered erratically over the furniture. I wasn't close enough to see whether it had discharge from its eyes or mouth. Its entire body was wet and matted. But then again, it had been raining all morning. The wheezing might be high-pitched vocalization. At present, it didn't seem to be mutilating itself. It was trying to eat a large twig on the sofa, which it could choose to use as a weapon against itself.

Our cats, Steve and Lola are very interested in the visiting varmint. Usually, when there's a strange cat in the back yard, they absolutely lose their shit, and start attacking each other, but apparently they know that raccoons aren't cats, so they're just enjoying the show: Potentially Rabid Raccoon with Twig.

Even if it is rabid, it's probably hungry, so I offer it some gluten-free Breton crackers. With flax seeds, because it'll probably like the flax oil, for its... mangy, wet coat. 

I toss the crackers towards the raccoon - who is completely oblivious and more than a little intent about holding onto its twig. It's mouth is opening and closing. Is it eating the twig? No, still making the wheezy noise and not chewing, really. It is more spasmodically grimacing... annnnnnnd... it's fallen sideways. Totally a rabid raccoon.

The raccoon slides off the sofa and staggers to the door and looks at me and the cats. Then it staggers off the deck towards the driveway. Steve, Lola and I all run to the side door. I watch as the raccoon then staggers across the road. So much staggering. Once it's across the road, I open the door and watch it offer a second matinee performance of Stagger and Fall: the Sequel.

First thing that comes up when I google who to call in our town, is a suggestion that I contact Natural Resources Canada. Seriously? I can't imagine that they have a branch close enough to deal with this in a timely manner. None of the Ontario Wildlife Rescues are close by either.

According to the provincial website they say to contact the... local police force or OPP (in case of emergency). This is not an emergency... yet. When kids start walking home from school it could turn into something emergency-like. I now have an animated raccoon attacking random children in my head. The animal control line is busy. I call the non-emergency police line. They want my details in case they need to contact me. And my birth date. Why they need my birth date has me falling down a rabbit hole of prank calls and how quickly a prank caller can come up with a mature sounding birthdate. 

In the midst of my extrapolation, Police Services say that they'll call it in and a car will be around soon. Might be time to put on a bra. I poke my head out the door again. Rocky Raccoon is now making its way towards another neighbour's house. Stagger and Fall: Part III.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Pizza, popcorn and falling up the stairs

I clutch the handrail, lifting one foot in front of the other. David follows me, really close - my personal border collie - ensuring that I don't fall. 

"I'm good," I say. I'd give a sloshy thumbs-up, but my left hand is presently holding the other wall. My feet mostly feel the stair treads beneath them. I'm only a little pukey.

I'm not generally a moron, but I overdid it. Again. 53 frickin' years old, I should know better.

I had pepperoni pizza for dinner, and then, I had popcorn with butter salt on it.

NOT drunk. Disabled.

It's almost four years since my diagnosis with Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops... which is kinda sorta Meniere's Disease affecting your ear's vestibular system, though technically it's not Meniere's Disease because that is Primary Endolymph... and I can already see your eyes glazing over. Medical, medical medical... blah, blah, blah...

I tip over. I'm on medication to stop me from tipping over. 

Most of the time it works, but every now and again, like if I have pepperoni pizza and popcorn on the same night, my ears are in the middle of the North Atlantic and my extremities either stop working or I look like I'm having mini seizures. Salt is my Kryptonite.

But... Popcorn.

So it is no shock to find myself staggering into the bathroom with David and Rissa close behind. I plunk down on the toilet, desperately needing to pee because we've discovered the protocol for an attack is getting me to drink three or four glasses of water along with an extra pill to equalize the fluid in my... medical blah, blah, blah. Eye roll.

"Oh man, I'm so sorry," I say. "Really stinky pee." 

"Thank you!" says Rissa, brushing her teeth.

"Noted," says David, around his own toothbrush.

They've both turned their heads away.

"So stinky," I say, flushing the toilet as I'm sitting. "Must be the vitamins. Vitamin B can really mess with urine." 

A side effect of looking like you're drunk is that your body also thinks you're drunk. My brain is foggy. It's going to be at least a half hour before I'm fully coherent. 

I have a horrible thought. What's if it's not the vitamins making my pee smell like that? What if it's not the pee? What if it's just me? What if this is what I smell like now? What if this emanates from ME?

"David," I yell. He's already left the bathroom.

"Yes?" he yells back.

"David you may have to smell my vagina."

"No," he says. "I don't think that I do. I promised a lot of things when I married you, but that was not one of them."

"What if this were less smelling and more just breathing near it?"


He may not have my front, but he always has my back.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Harrison Ford in my peripherals

As I'm taking off my coat and boots, Harrison Ford is in my peripherals. He's wearing a suit. He's on an airplane.

"Are you guys watching Air Force One?" I ask, stashing my wet boots next to the heating vent. 

"We are!" says David.

This proves that if there was ever a Name That Movie game show, I could rock the shit out of it.  "I can name that movie in one frame, Tom!"

We've decided to shake it up a bit and take turns picking movies. Up until recently, it was a crunchy-granola process where we would hem and haw and ask what we were all feeling 'in the mood' for and we'd find something middle of the road and all sit back and enjoy something that we had probably all seen before.  (Ocean's 11 and Red have frequent viewings in our home.) 

This week, we've moved to a movie dictatorship.  One of us decides which movie we're watching and the other two of us? Watch it. It's been working pretty well.  We've seen award winning comedies and dramas and rip-your-heart-out-of-your-chest sentimental films. All great. Until Air Force One.  This 1997 box office hit had us dumbfounded at the ham-fisted characters, dialogue and implausibility.  It totally misses kissing the corner of camp, so you can't even revel in its true awfulness.

"I just feel bad for Glenn Close," says Rissa. "This dialogue is utter crap."

"I don't remember it being this bad," says David. "I'm so sorry."

"I'm just waiting until we get to 'Get off my plane!' " I say.

"When is that? Can we just fast forward to that?" asks Rissa.

And yet, in spite of our supreme dissatisfaction with the movie, we find ourselves compelled to finish it - our eyebrows touching the bridges of our noses - as we react to generally great actors (Paul Guilfoyle, Wendy Crewson, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Bill Smitrovich, Philip Baker Hall) slog their way through a script that whacks you over the head. Every... Frickin'... Sentence. Gary Oldman, miraculously, manages to escape mostly unscathed as the Russian dissident and Harrison Ford doesn't have to say a lot of lines, and rocks out on the actiony bits, plus? He's Harrison Ford. Our favourite character? Future Postmaster General - played by Messiri Freeman who, we reckon, is the smartest person on the plane.

"She is a QUEEN," says Rissa. "I want more of her please."

When the Future Postmaster General parachutes to safety - we all applaud.

Rissa's take on it: Only upon reflection can you truly identify it as a terrible, terrible mistake.

ps. Seconds after the credits begin to roll, we cleanse our movie palates and put on the last 15 minutes of Airplane! (Which avoids the dated racist, sexist parts of THAT script.)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

What do you call it?

We're sitting at the kitchen table. Rissa is watching Sex and the City on her phone while she enjoys her cinnamon raisin toast. It's the episode where Charlotte and Trey are having a frank discussion about their nonexistent sex life. 

After all this time, I can't really remember all the plot points of the series very well, but something strikes me. "Hey," I say. "Has Trey never done anything just for Charlotte? I mean, FOR her?  Sure, he can't get it up around her, but there are a whole lot of other options. Did he not buy toys? There are so many toys. Mutual masturbation? What about cunnilingus?"

Rissa looks up at me from her toast. "Do you know you are literally the only person who uses that word?"

"What? Cunnilingus?" That cannot be an accurate statement. Plenty of people say cunnilingus.

"I have never heard that word except when you say it," says Rissa.

"What do you call it?" Maybe there's new-fangled slang that I don't know about because I'm over 50.

Rissa's eyebrows are horrified. "I don't want to call it anything with my mother."

I'm perplexed. "But why? Do you say going down on her? South of Front Street? Lady BJs?

"Okay, that may actually be worse," she says. She gets up from the table and grabs her plate. "This is what happens when I eat breakfast near you. It's like on The Big Bang Theory when Sheldon says 'intercourse' or 'coitus.' " She shudders.

"Henceforth," I proclaim. "I shall only call it Lady BJs."

"Please don't."

Saturday, December 4, 2021

I am now THAT old.

This is the week. It's the week that I bought a high-end bird feeder so that I can watch the birds from my kitchen window and I discovered that, from the side, I have jowls. 

And then, as I headed to Shoppers Drug Mart to replace my bottle of Women 50+ multi-vitamins, I realized that my level of frugality rivals that of an octogenarian. 

Recently, when I had to stay at a small pharmacy for 15 minutes after my flu shot,  I was pretty psyched to discover Canada Style at Home magazine's Christmas issue - for $6.99! It's been easily a decade since I've bought a magazine. It's a blast from the past to my early days as a stay-at-home mom when I would open a magazine and be completely transported. 

Christmas is my jam. I'm that person who, in the dead of summer, if I find a Christmas store? Frickin' ECSTATIC! If I had the start up funds to RUN a Christmas store? Done. And not one of those crappy add-your-name-to-an-ornament stores. I'm talking high end - Patience Brewster Krinkles, Kurt Adler Nutcrackers, glass-ornaments-shipped-from-Germany shit. If you want to see me in a near-constant state of animated joy, catch me anywhere between November 12 and when David and Rissa go back to school after the holiday break. 

So, my trip to Shoppers for the vitamins, that literally list me as being middle aged, is just that little bit easier because I figure that I can grab maybe four or five holiday magazines and distribute them around my home so that if I ever feel the need? I can get a quick hit of Holiday Heroin. This will be great and economical, because I'd recently been on Amazon sourcing retro decorating coffee table books which were upwards of $35 a piece. Which, I'm sure that we can all agree, is too much.

I look at the magazine rack and I'm very happy to discover that there are tonnes of Christmas magazines. Hooray!! I will just grab up... this one... to start... and... 

When, may I ask, did magazines start costing $15.99? Or $17.99? I go from magazine to magazine and the cheapest Christmas magazine on the rack was $12.99. For a magazine?!? I mean, it's just a magazine right? Printed on paper? From a large organization like Better Homes and Gardens? Or House Beautiful or Oprah? Oprah's was $17.99. What the actual fuck? It's a MAGAZINE!!!

And then I start to doubt myself. Had I completely confabulated the $6.99 price from before?? From when I was waiting to see if I'd go into anaphylaxis from my flu shot? I don't think so, because I distinctly remember thinking that $6.99 was a perfectly reasonable price to pay for that magazine. 

And then I recognize that this it one of those 'unmet expectations' moments. Where you have an idea in your head and then reality doesn't match up with it and you freak the fuck out. So, I breathe in. And breathe out. It's all good. They're double or almost triple the anticipated price, but that's okay, because I'll just buy... two... magazines then.

Except I can't. I just can't spend almost THIRTEEN DOLLARS on a magazine! I have the magazine in my fully-sanitized hands - because we're still in the midst of a PANDEMIC -  and then I put it back and then I pick it up again and replace it. I just can't!

I look like a crazy person for the entire 8 minute walk back home. Gesticulating wildly - talking to myself. "Grumble, grumble, grumble... THIRTEEN DOLLARS?!? Grumble, grumble, grumble SEVENTEEN-NINETY-NINE?!?!?" 

So I get back home and I hop onto Amazon. My logic has me believing that spending $35+ on a hardcover coffee table book is now more than reasonable. (It's not.) I start sourcing coffee table books, because if I'm spending a ridiculous amount of money - it's at least going to be a hardcovered something. But all I can find are Country Christmas Crafts and Southern Living Christmas and Christmas Baking. I don't want to do crafts, nor do I want to decorate my plantation!! And I sure as shit do not need any more holiday baking recipes. And now I can't even find that Mid-Century Christmas book that had me all fired up to get the magazines in the first place! 

But then I get a brainwave! Maybe there are discounted magazines somewhere from the clearing houses!! 


Not for anything related to Christmas decorating. 2021's issues are still all $12.99 or more. Except for Style at Home, which seems to be the only... Except for STYLE AT HOME!! I google their publisher TVA Publications, and am thrilled to discover, that they offer back issues of actual, physical, hold-it-in-your-hand, magazines!!! I also discover that Style at Home does holiday issues for both November and December!! At a crazy discount from the original cover price! Seriously, the lowest priced issues are from Nov and Dec of 2018 and they are only $1.80 per issue!!! I put 7 holiday issues (one from 2021 at the completely reasonable full price of $6.99 and then two from 2020, 2019 and 2018) into my online basket. HAH! I have foiled the magazine robber barons and their exorbitant prices!!! And then I look at the shipping. It will cost $17.07. 🤦

But you know what? Even with that shipping charge? Totally worth it. I will get 7 magazines shipped to my door in 2 days' time and if I average out the cost of everything?  $7.83 a magazine. And that I am more than willing to pay. And I will be able to peruse those festive magazines as I watch the birds from my kitchen window while doing my jowl-reducing exercises.


ps.  Did you know that they make 'decorative' books? Which aren't books at all - they just look like books? You can stack them so that they make you look either well-travelled or festive.  Guess how much they cost in Canada? Go ahead. Take a stab.  $26.77 FOR A FAKE BOOK. You can't open these books. They have no pictures of Christmas or pictures of anything at all in them!! Plus, I just looked at the dimensions, and they're not even coffee table book size. They are 7.5" x 9.25" And they charge $26.77 for a single one. You'd have to spend over $100.00 to achieve the look below!!

Monday, November 1, 2021

The brain, she don't work like she used to...

As I'm writing, I know exactly the word I want to use. It means getting up, but in a sexy, Regency romance kind of way. Sort of like unbending, something akin to having a sexy lap. The word itself? Not a fucking clue.

Any of you know what the word is? Wordhippo did not immediately find it for me. And now, I'm on the cusp of a brain aneurysm trying to find the word as it hides in my hippocampus. Yes, I can make a pun, referencing the thesaurus site that I use, but I can't remember the fucking word.

I used to have a brain that held onto the minutiae of almost every topic. Who was the female lead in Arrival? Amy Adams! Have I seen the movie? NO! But I remember her face from the movie trailers. 

UNFOLDED! I think the word might be unfolded. "Sebastian unfolded his legs and rose." Maybe. Maybe not. It's on the tip of my brain and I can neither confirm nor deny that that is the word I've been searching for.

I have incorrectly purchased shampoo. Three times. THREE. With my crazy-ass curly, brittle hair, I infrequently use shampoo. I'm a big proponent of rinsing the crap out of my scalp and then slathering on the conditioner. As a result, I go through conditioner like... hotcakes? (That phrase isn't even appropriate for this particularly analogy. If my brain was working properly, I would know the exact analogy for my conditioner usage.) 

I recently began to slather on my conditioner and I realized that it was NOT conditioner, but rather shampoo. I went to look at my XL bottle of conditioner and it wasn't conditioner, it was, in fact, shampoo. I'd just purchased the wrong bottle when I went to Shoppers. So I went back and bought the correct bottle of conditioner, except that when I got home, I had purchased the large bottle of shampoo - AGAIN. So I got a refund for the bottle and went to get the proper bottle and, turns out, I purchased ANOTHER bottle of shampoo, which I then had to immediately exchange for conditioner. This means two things: not only is my brain collapsing like a black hole, I have apparently lost my ability to read.

I was searching for my red Pixie pants a while back. The new red pixie pants that I had bought from Old Navy to replace the red Pixie pants that were old enough to look a little faded and worn at the seams. I remember wearing the new pants. I knew I had bought them, but had no clue what had happened to them. The only thing I could think of was that the new red Pixie pants had wound up in a batch of to-be-donated clothes that had gone to charity. So I ordered another pair of red Pixie pants. 

On the day that the new red Pixie pants arrived, I was looking for something in the bathroom closet, and, lo and behold! At the back of the bathroom closet - which is deep, like we-have-pull-out-drawers into-the-eaves-to-utilize-all-the-space-in-the-closet deep - I find my original red Pixie pants. Not in the front. Behind baskets. In the back, back, back of the frickin' bathroom closet! How did they get there? Did I put them there? And if so, WHY?!? Are my family members trying to gaslight me?

There was another thing that makes me certain that I'm descending into early Alzheimer's and I. CAN'T. REMEMBER. WHAT. IT. IS!! But I do know that earlier today I had identified that other thing! Because I remember thinking, HOLY CRAP! Four things are a whole fucking lot! And yeah, I joke, and many other people joke about this, but when I've lost the plot... of my own existence? It scares the crap out of me. 

Also, I just started watching Young Wallander which has a Swedish actor (Adam Gustav Justus Pålsson) who looks remarkably like a taller version of another actor, a musical theatre actor, who also does TV and film. He played King George in the original cast of Hamilton. He's in Mindhunter. He was in the original cast of Spring Awakening and had guest spots on Glee - as Lea Michelle's potential boyfriend, I think?? He's in the new Matrix movie?!? All of which... I KNOW!! I remember all of these things! But I cannot remember the dude's name. And it has me balancing on the edge of madness.

So I just looked him up. It's Jonathan frickin' Groff. Sweet merciful Moses. 

Well, at least I'll be able to sleep tonight. And who knows? Tomorrow may well come and I might have forgotten all of this. Bright side!!

Monday, September 20, 2021

All caulk, all the time...

When we moved into our house 7 years ago, there wasn't a master bedroom closet. Oh, there had been a closet, but it'd been situated in the room such that it blocked all the light from one of the two existing windows. So we'd ripped out that illumination obliterating monstrosity. In its place...? There was nothing. Ergo, there was no way to hide things behind a door, or a curtain or even a frickin' blue tarp. That was when our entire family recognized that I had an affliction. 

As I lay on the floor sobbing, my arms and legs desperately trying to absorb any emotionally grounding properties from the carpet fibres, it became immediately apparent that visual chaos makes me crazy(er).

So it shouldn't have surprised me, that in similar circumstances, I lose all critical reasoning.

This past weekend, we emptied our basement/cellar/dungeon so that we could take a long, hard look at what needs to be done, should we ever want to sell the house. Our house was built over 150 years ago. There isn't a foundation per se. There's rubble, some concrete blocks, dirt and gravel on the... let's call it a floor. At one point, in several places, the floor used to be about a foot higher. Someone had dug down, maybe for added head room? And then they never repoured a basement floor. 

This is the before:

This is the after:

Seeing this empty version of the basement? Joy.

Seeing the deck, which now houses all the crap from within the basement? Panic attack.

I should have known. I should have known by now, that THIS👆? This breaks my brain. 

David was downstairs, raking gravel and I found myself immobilized in the middle of this, unable to start purging because there is too much of EVERYTHING and IT IS EVERYWHERE. We have easily, eight different caulking guns. EIGHT OF THEM. Because why? Because in our dungeon of a basement, things have never been properly organized and categorized, so we just kept buying shit. 

There might be only two people living in our house, but we had 10 paint trays. There were bins WITHOUT LIDS full of electrical bits and plumbing bits and painting and dry walling and hardware bits. There were small appliances (that give no indication from their exteriors what their purposes are), tossed in with random trim scraps and steel wool pads, next to work gloves and twine. There were cardboard boxes that had been left to mold and rot. 

And here I was, standing in the midst of these mis-matched, unlidded, chaotic boxes of crap, unable to reach for anything on account of the fact that I was hyper-fucking-ventilating. And though all that stuff had been down there for seven fucking years and it had literally not been touched since we had moved in (apart from tools and Christmas decorations which have been used at least once a year), I couldn't just toss everything, because why? Because I was paralyzed.  

David came out to throw some stuff into the dumpster.

"How's it going up here?" he asked.

I shook my head. I suspected that if I tried to speak, I'd just burst into tears. I hate doing that.

An instant of impatience crossed his face, before he looked around the deck. And then he looked back at me. Really looked at me. 

"Hey," he said. "Hey. It's okay."

I swallowed and shook my head again. "I can't. I washed the shelves because they're just shelves. But these..." I indicated the dozens of boxes and totes. "These... They... THEY. AREN'T. ORGANIZED!"

"I know," he said, walking slowly towards me. I must have looked like a rabid coyote.

My hands came up, warding him off. If he hugged me now I'd need to be medicated.

"I can't," I said. "I know that it's ludicrous! It's fucking ridiculous! There are people in the world who have problems that are real fucking problems and I should just shut the fuck up and start tossing shit! I know that. But there are boxes that have electrical and plumbing and hardware in them and I don't know what we need to keep and what should be thrown out... because I can see it ALL!! If it was one drawer that I had to sort, I could do that. Fuck, I would LOVE doing one drawer! I excel at sorting drawers!! But this..." I gesticulated wildly with my arms. "This... This is... EVERYTHING!! And I know that ALL the tools and hardware and painting and Christmas decorations are going to have to GO. BACK. DOWN. Into that fucking basement and, and, and... by throwing out this ONE FUCKING LAVA LAMP, it's not even going to make a dent in all of our shit!!" 

"It's okay," he said. "What we're going to do is, we're going to take a break and have some breakfast." He held up a hand to stop me from arguing. "We're going to go in and eat. And we're going to have mimosas with breakfast."

"Mimosas?" I asked.

"Ish. We've got white wine, orange juice and sparkling water. After we eat, we'll go out again and you're going to sort through these three small boxes." He indicated boxes that had solvents and stain in them. "Only these boxes. You're not going to look at any other boxes."

"I'm not?"

"No, you're not. Because it makes you crazy. And we know this. And me leaving you up here to deal with all of this on your own was a bad thing..."

"But I should be able to adult on shit like this..."

"Hey." He held my face in his hands and kissed me softly. "We both know that you become unhinged when confronted with visual chaos. We both know it, but we forget - until we wind up in a situation like this and you lose your ability to cope as a human." He kissed me again. "Okay?"

"Okay," I sniffled. 

When your spouse gets you? Really gets you? Life becomes a lot easier. David's brain exists in a state of near constant logic. He reminds me to press pause so that I can see the order amidst the chaos. My brain exists in a state of near constant emotion.  I remind him to press pause so that he can see human emotion amidst the logic. Thank the Gods that we found each other.