Thursday, June 17, 2021

Middle-aged crazy woman

"MOTHERFUCKER!" I exclaim vehemently (and quietly - because I'm in the backyard and our adjacent neighbours have kids and I don't want them to start randomly yelling MOTHERFUCKER, and then attributing it to the middle aged, crazy woman whose backyard abuts theirs.)

"What?" asks David, looking up from his computer programming on the outdoor sofa

"This," I say, pronouncing the syllable with vitriol, "is not big enough." I brandish a white metal cylinder - with lid - that I purchased at Dollarama. It was going to be my "Bug spray and firepit lighter" cylinder. But the fucker is NOT. TALL. ENOUGH. The top will not close. The top isn't even close to closing. My $3.00 purchase that, a half hour before, had produced a gleeful, money-saving grin, is now the wrong size and I am obviously a moron for having purchased it!!

"You are not a moron," says David.

"Did I just say all of that out loud?" I ask.

He gives me an Aardman Animation grin with a side of shoulder shrug.

"Why don't you get yourself a drink and come out and sit in the fresh air?" he suggests. "I'll grab the smaller bug spray that will fit in this lovely new hiding container."

I stomp back inside and prepare to make myself a Caesar with the litre of Clamato that I just purchased from Dollarama along with the aforementioned failed container. I've never made a Caesar before. I'm pretty sure that there's Clamato and vodka. Which, thank the Gods, I have. I can finish off the bottle of vodka... in the freezer so that I don't have to open the new one... I open the freezer door. MOTHERFUCKER!! We already finished that vodka. When? When did we finish it? How much vodka have we been drinking? I dig into my internal calendar and think about the vodka... MOSCOW MULES! David made Moscow Mules the other night and he pours heavy. That's why the old bottle is finished.

Well, that, and the fact that we've been drinking like fishes since the beginning of the pandemic. About 6 weeks ago, I decided that I would no longer drink on weekdays because the whole "nightcap" situation was getting out of hand. This week I fell off my Radio Flyer wagon. This week I lost my mind. I've been weepy. I've been irrationally angry. I've French-kissed the depths of despair in the back of a Plymouth Duster. If I was still having my period, I would say that I have PMS, but I'm in menopause now and the lifter hills and inclined dive loops of that particular roller coaster have mostly levelled out for me.

Except for this week. This week, I have failed at EVERY. FUCKING. THING. Except for over-dramatization and hyperbole. 

I've been doing a lot of shoulders back and deep breathing this week. I've been compartmentalizing impending panic attacks. I put them way, way back... in the back of my bedroom closet, behind the filing box of old correspondence, behind the superfluous Christmas pillows, behind the clothes rail, behind the curtain, past the bed, behind the bedroom door, past the "loft space," up the stairs from the kitchen... deeeeep into my cranium, where they stop me from hyperventilating most of the time.

I went for a walk today, and when I got home, I wasn't sure where I had walked. I'd walked myself into a state of hypnosis or early onset dementia. Did I walk across the bridge? I'm not sure. Did I see people on the boardwalk? Was I ON the boardwalk? Yes, I must have been because I walked past the west beach. Did I?

Now, to be fair, I was using my wireless ear buds for the very first time today, whilst listening to Marc Maron's WTF, so I was definitely distracted by his interview with Tom Jones - which I highly recommend. Maybe that's all it was. That's why I can't remember 25 minutes of my walking route. I know where I started and I remember different points along the way, and given that there are only a few alternatives to get from Point A to Point B, I must have taken one of them, which would definitely have me walking along the boardwalk. 

And maybe, just maybe, my freaking out should be completely expected given that the mental exhaustion of living through a pandemic takes its toll on everyone. Even those of us who are fortunate enough to love our spouses and children, and love spending extra time with them... But all I really want is to be able to have play dates with people other than them now. I want to hug a person I haven't had sex with or given birth to. (I should have maybe phrased that less better.) That's what it comes down to. And for some reason, this week, on the cusp of returning normalcy in Ontario, all my compartmentalizing has caught up with me. 

Which means it's time for that drink... and perhaps instead of meeting any number of self-defined deadlines - a finished chapter, a completed outline or brand new song lyrics - I just drink that fucking drink and sit back with a Regency Romance with a side of historical smut for the added endorphin rush. Then, tomorrow, I can reboot. Because if life, right now, still isn't normal? Why should I expect to be?


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Ménage à Moi Miscommunication

I have been married for almost 23 years. Of those almost 23 years, 22.852 of them have been unreservedly, unabashedly, unquestionably happy. Relationships cannot possibly be all sunshine and roses all of the time. Once you've said your "I do's", you do not forever exist in a state of "Happily Ever After," no matter how fucking close you might come.  In spite of what observers might think, David and I, after almost 23 years of mostly wedded bliss, still come up against unexpected conflict.

Witness: Last night David and I were both reading in the living room. I got in into my head that I wanted to have some sexy time once we reached the bedroom. Given that David had just finished a LOOONG week of teaching virtual high school to disaffected teenagers, I reckoned that he might not be up for a full on bouncy-bouncy adventure, so I threw him a soft-ball.

"When we go upstairs," I said, in my most seductive tone, "I'm going to have a ménage à moi -  FOR YOU."

When I said "FOR YOU," I meant that I was going to give more than the ol' college try. I was going to make the whole situation a feast for his senses - visual, auditory, tactile, smell... what's the fifth one? TASTE!! I could have put some taste in there as well, if I'd been specific about how he could become involved. I anticipated that, shortly after the show began, his mental exhaustion would be circumvented by a visceral bodily response. However, outside of my own head, I did not specify my expectations for the main event. 

So... when I clad myself in a low-cut, figure forming, above-the-knee nightie (sans granny panties), and grabbed my... Magic Scepter, I anticipated that David would, if not immediately, then very soon after, become ENGAGED in the afore-mentioned enterprise, and would add a hand, to help a girl out, as it were. 

David didn't get the memo. And although he did have his left hand on my knee, as a warm reminder of  another person in the bed, his other hand held his phone, whereupon he was reading his latest Sci-Fi novel. This, I noticed, in the midst of the MAIN EVENT. Which, when I noticed, made it a bit more difficult for me to... land a punch. And when I finally did win on a TKO, I immediately burst into tears, on account of the fact that he'd been reading his book during, what was supposed to have been (if only in my own brain), a seduction of the senses... FOR HIM.

In our wedding vows we promised to talk to each other, especially when it was difficult. We also promised to listen to each other, especially when it was difficult. 

And as much as I knew that it would be painful to tell him that... orbiting Venus... beside him as he read - on his phone - made me feel like shit, I knew that I had to, or we'd run into this issue again. So I laid it all out there. And when we talked, he told me that he'd thought that I'd wanted 'alone' time, which meant, to him, that he shouldn't really be involved,  when, what I wanted more than anything? Was to have him INvolved. 

He abjectly apologized. I abjectly apologized. And then I promised that, from now on, I would let him in on any and all plans for self-pleasure, because even after almost 23 years, no matter how much I might want him to? He still can't read my mind. 


So next time, I'm just gonna say, "Hey there handsome! I'm heading upstairs to play some... pelvic guitar, how'd you like to accompany me with some chest harmonica?"



Sunday, May 16, 2021

ALL THE BAD WORDS

WARNING: There are bad words in this post.

*

*

*

*

*

*

"SHIT, PISS, FUCK, MOTHER FUCKER!!!" I yell, nausea washing over me. 

I have spent the last 60 minutes painstakingly placing, pinning, and subsequently sewing together the edges of outdoor fabric to a recycled zipper only to  just now discover that the ends of the zipper do not match up. By about three inches. How the fuck is that even possible? Zippers have two sides that are of equal FUCKING length!! While I angrily attempt to close the zipper, the zipper pull... comes off in my hand. I broke the zipper. The zipper pull in my hand mocks me mercilessly. I storm down the stairs in a fit of failure.

David, who has heard my barbaric YAWP, is prepared. "Hey, love," he commiserates, his voice soft and supporting, without even knowing yet why he is offering his spousal commiseration. 

"I GIVE UP!!" I yowl, flopping down on the living room floor, desperately trying to ground myself as I drag my fingers through the carpet fibers.

"What happened?" he asks, propping himself over me, availing himself of an unexpected arm workout in this endeavor.

"THE ZIPPER DOESN"T MATCH UP!!" I wail.

"The zipper?" he queries.

"THE FUCKING ZIPPER DOESN'T MATCH UP!!!" I let out a bark of near-hysterical laughter, as I jam the heels of my hands into my eye sockets. "The zipper, which I have spent FOREVER lining up doesn't match, which is fucking impossible, because it's a ZIPPER with two equally matched sides  AND..." This is where I begin to cackle maniacally... "I yanked the zipper pull off!! I YANKED IT OFF OF THE FUCKING ZIPPER!!!" I show him the zipper pull. "It won't go back on!!!"

"Oh," says David, still braced in a plank above me. "That sounds bad."

"Yeah," I say. "I've spent 4 hours so far seam ripping the old cushions, cutting new fabric and sewing Turkish corners!! I should have just bought new cushions."

We purchased our outdoor sofa in 2008. 13 years on, to save a buck or 800, I decide that I will sew new covers for the existing cushions. Did you know that good outdoor sofa cushions - JUST THE CUSHIONS - cost as much as an actual fucking sofa?!? I mean, for the price of purchasing brand new cushions for our existing outdoor sofa, I could buy a brand new loveseat and two chairs WITH their cushions!

Defiantly waging war against consumerism, I purchased bright red discount outdoor fabric last fall in preparation for recovering the cushions. It costs me a quarter of the price of brand new cushions. Over the past week I have begun my adventures in reupholstering. 

I'm not an upholstery virgin, I have "box cushioned" a 1/2 dozen times since I've owned grown up furniture. I have the old piping, the old cushion covers and the old zippers. No actual instructions for these particular covers which aren't technically box cushions, but I'm sure that my dormant sewing intuition will soon kick into high gear.

I am lucid enough to recognize that I might need to refresh my skill set. I watch some quick and dirty YouTube videos on "Turkish Cushions," "Piping for seat cushions," "Zippers for seat cushions." I extrapolate, I bob, I weave... I feel almost confident about possible outcomes. Turns out that wrestling with a 36" zipper while herding extra stiff outdoor fabric through a non-commercial sewing machine is not my forte. Hence my vitriolic outburst.

David walks me up the stairs and offers an extra set of problem-solving eyes as we face the fallout from my valiant first effort. Having him there alleviates my urge to take all the fabric and cushions and throw them out the window while speaking in tongues. By some miracle, I manage to get the zipper pull back onto the zipper. That there? A big fucking win for me. After a quarter of an hour, it seems like I've managed to figure out a path forward which involves me ripping out the stitching for half of the zipper and refolding my Turkish corners. I no longer want to sob uncontrollably. 

"You okay?" David asks.

"Y... eah... I think so."

"Do you need a beverage of some sort?"

"Yes please."

"Whiskey?"

"Yes please. TALL."

I re-tuck, I re-pin, I re-sew. It looks mostly like it should. I stuff the old cushion into the new cover and notice that the fit is... if I'm using my indoor voice, imprecise.  For it to look good, I will have to rip out the front piping... again. My face scrunches up. My inner banshee demands to be free. I force my shoulders down. I take a calming breath. And another. I eschew foul language. 

I walk calmly downstairs and message a friend who sews for the theatre. I offer her heaps of money to finish the project. She hasn't responded yet. But if she doesn't, I'm going to donate the rest of the material to our local theatre and I am buying some fucking replacement cushions. Life is too fucking short. I don't want "Death by sewing aneurysm" in my obituary.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I've ordered HOW much from Amazon?!?

As a grown-ass woman paying down a mortgage/credit line/supporting a child in university, I've managed to curb non-essential spending by online window shopping and pinning the fuck out of colourful things on Pinterest; thereby racking up my virtual endorphins rather than my Visa statement.

I have evolved in the past 30 years. I have learned to differentiate between want vs need and no longer go shopping as an activity to alleviate boredom. I shop because I need to replace winter boots, or my exercise leggings no longer have material on their inner thighs or I need to dye my hair.

Since April of last year, I have placed 121 Amazon orders. ONE. HUNDRED. AND. TWENTY. FUCKING. ONE.  Even if I eliminate maybe 24 of those for friend/family birthdays, Christmas and baby shower gifts, that is still 97 online orders! That's 8.08 orders a month. That's 1.86 orders a week!! I have ordered MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK from Amazon FOR THE PAST YEAR! 


HOLY FUCK. 

And yeah, we're still in the midst of a pandemic and yeah, maybe  a dozen times, I returned an item because it wasn't the right size/colour/it didn't feel/look/sound right. So that might take me down to  85 orders. But that is still 1.61 times a week! What the fuck have I been buying?!? 

FACE MASKS - because putting clay on one's face forces one to sit still for at least 15 minutes and not focus on the news.

POSTURE-CORRECTING BRASSIERS - because I'm looking more and more like Quasimodo with all my time at the computer.

CURLING IRONS - (plural) - because even if I'm not going out in public, there is the odd day when I want to look like I give a damn - even just for me - CAN I NOT LOOK GOOD JUST FOR ME?? - and random hanks of bone straight hair amidst the rest of the curly locks make me look crazy (er).

LOW-CALORIE, GLUTEN-FREE STARCH OPTIONS - because despite 45 - 60 minutes of cardio every single fucking day, my menopausal body does not process food the way it once did and my waist defiantly remains (grabs measuring tape to confirm)... 36 fucking inches!! I have to find a healthy way to lose "very bad visceral body fat encasing my organs" or at least that's what my GP says. "Middle-aged women with waists over 35 inches are at risk for early death due to heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes..." Which, if I wasn't already hi-key panicked about dying from Covid-19 complications due years of ignorant chemical use as a Molly Maid while in university (I can say with complete confidence that I never read a single label on a single cleaning product before I was at least 25 years of age), this whole waist-to-hip ratio thing is making me anxious as fuck. So we're taking steps to avoid that.

MAGIC WAND 'personal massager' -  because David became worried when my previous one started to smoke.

BEDDING - lots and lots and LOTS of bedding. Because we weren't able to spend Christmas with any of our family, and I got it in my head that festive Christmas bedding would make it all easier. And patterned flannel sheets would obviously alleviate angst too. And then, having new white sheets for everyone's bed just made sense, because we hadn't purchased new sheets in about a decade and the previous sheets were looking like they'd been through trauma. And really? Even with all those 'coping' purchases? I spent less than what many folks would spend at Bed, Bath & Beyond on a single set of 400 ct. Queen Sized sheets. Or at least that's what I realized when a friend told me what he'd spent on sheets.

DVDs - because we have evidently reached the end of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crave and whatever other media apps we've signed up for during the pandemic. 

BODY LOTIONS - nice smelling, luxurious, infused with fucking essential oils - because anything, and I mean ANYTHING that gets me to calm the fuck down and not obsess and over-empathize with the state of the world is a good thing.

If I could buy edible cannabis products from Amazon, I'm sure I'd be doing that too. And yes, I just checked, and other than some gummies with cbd oil - I'm out of luck there... WAIT!! I'm such light weight, that might be exactly what the Heather ordered.

A fuck of a lot of money was spent through Amazon in the last year. But I'm not sure that it was any more than what we would have spent if we'd had a vacation anywhere. Or done regular summer day trip shit. Or spent a long weekend in New York and binged on plays.

We're all fucking coping. As best we can. And right now? My coping comes from pink clay masks, my new (4 speed) personal massager and new sheets. When I can hug all my people again? I won't need substitute comfort. My endorphin rush will come from actual physical contact. And that? Will be fucking awesome. 

p.s. Our family's position of gainful employment with PAID sick days makes us so fucking fortunate. We have greater freedom and security than many others during this time. I can write a post feigning shock related to over-spending when others don't have that outlet. It's up to families like ours to give more to charities, help our friends, families and neighbours, support small businesses and independent restaurants because, right now, we can. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

My New Superpower

Our weekly pancakes aren't going entirely to plan. We don't have buttermilk on hand, and none of us feel like masking up and braving the No Frills to get it. Granny's recipe is always better with buttermilk.  

"Can't we just use regular milk?" asks Rissa.

"How about we sour the milk. It only takes..." I begin.

"GAH! It will take so long!" she responds.

"Five minutes," I say, rolling my eyes. "We can wait the five minutes." 

"Okay, but we're going to end up with lime-y pancakes."

"I LOVE lime-y pancakes!" David chimes in, ever the optimist.

In spite of our best efforts, this week's pancakes are mostly crap. After mixing the grudgingly soured milk into our regular batter, we get distracted and the first batch is mostly Cajun. The second batch isn't much better, and really? In spite of my Better-Homes-and-Gardens-substitution-mentality, soured milk doesn't cut it anyway. The texture of soured milk pancakes is pretty much hit-and-miss, not like when you use buttermilk. It has to be buttermilk.

"You know what Super Power I'd like to have?" I ask.

"What?" Rissa and David respond simultaneously, as they soak their pancake failures in butter and syrup.

"I'd like to be able to snap my fingers, say 'BUTTERMILK!' and wherever I pointed, buttermilk would appear."

Rissa and David blink.

"That would be your superpower?" asks Rissa.

David coughs to disguise an involuntary snort.

"Uh.... yeah..." I say. "Then we would never again suffer the buttermilk conundrum."

"We have a buttermilk conundrum?" asks David.

"Almost every Sunday when we forget to purchase buttermilk," I say, the DUH, very apparent in my tone.

Through her laughter, Rissa queries, "So you are saying, that your first wish, if say, a genie were granting you wishes, would be to have a power that would specifically give you buttermilk on whim?"

"Yes. Definitely."

David gives me a Scooby Doo eyebrow before saying, "Nothing more broad than that? Like you have the ability to magic literally ANYTHING out of thin air and you are going to limit it to buttermilk?"

I think for a moment. "Maybe my second wish would be for coconut milk, because we seem to run out of that too."

Rissa shoots me a look of such utter disbelief that I wonder if she might be having a stroke. I am about to ask her to smile so that I can check whether her face is drooping when she says, "Ummmmm... any other specifics that you might be hoping for?"

"I might want to be able to do it without having to say 'BUTTERMILK!' Like, just think it, and it appears."

"Of course," David says. "Completely understandable." He is biting his lip. "You could be a new member of The Mystery Men."

Rissa concurs. "Instead of being the Shoveler, you could be the... MILKER??" Through some miracle she does not expel juice through her nose. 

"Mostly," I say - shooting dagger eyes at both my daughter and my husband (who is now almost crying). "I would be thrilled to SNAP! POINT! and then have the milk appear - with, or without, saying 'BUTTERMILK!' Although I'm second guessing the silent magicking now, what if I were to SNAP! POINT! and then buttermilk appeared, but those who see it, don't know it was supposed to be buttermilk?"

"You feel like people seeing this miraculous buttermilk appearance would deny its authenticity if you don't broadcast what it's supposed to be, when you're snapping and pointing?" David raises an eyebrow at me. 

"Wait!" Rissa says. "Wait, wait! What if, depending on which finger you pointed, it could be a different type of milk product?"

"Why limit it to fingers?" David asks. He generally indicates his own nipples. "Chocolate. Strawberry... Think about it."

Rissa continues. "SNAP! POINT! GOAT MILK!! SNAP! POINT! ALMOND MILK!!!"

"Sure, go ahead and mock me," I say.  "But with my new super powers I will be able to make unlimited baked goods and Thai food."




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wrestling with Lola at 3:00 a.m.

Lola is the most erratic of our three cats. She's the one whose pupils dilate to an alarming size as she stares at a point, just over your left shoulder, where a knife-wielding maniac has obviously taken up residence. She goes from 0 to feline parkour in less than a second. And she loves, loves, loves kneading your chest and throat at 3:00 a.m. 

Last night, as Lola was aggressively palpating my jugular with her forepaws and digging her needle sharp back claws into my torso, I physically encouraged her to move towards the end of the bed. I suspect that, in my sleep-drugged need to redistribute said cat, I probably grabbed her under her little cat armpits and shot-putted her from my chest. 

As I was settling back in to sleep, there was an odor. In the midst of my near comatose state, I thought to myself "I just dragged her ass against my pillow." Doing my best to ignore the whiff of cat ass, I turned towards David's side of the bed and eventually went back to sleep. 

This morning? I discovered that in my late-night jouncing of wee Lola - she had panicked. With her ass. Channeling the Archbishop of Canterbury, she basically used her ass as an aspergillum and delicately sprinkled anal gland fluid (dry heave) around the area from which she was evicted. I give thanks to every deity in the universe that she is not a Jackson Pollock fan... and that we had bleach in the house. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

And that's why you don't become a gymnast

Today, I popped a rib by NOT making the bed. I calmly moved towards the bed to begin making it, but then figured, Nah, I'll do this AFTER I exercise. And then, I calmly walked away from the bed. No sudden movements, no being startled, no overly dramatic sneezing - I simply walked away. And then I was stabbed in the back. Repeatedly. By knives. Or ice picks. Or axes. Or by a gang of small pixies wielding knives or ice picks or axes. (I'm now imagining Terry Pratchett's Nac Mac Feegles beating the shit out of my back.)


Rob Anybody, a Nac Mac Feegle 
(art Paul Kidby)


The first time I popped a rib was when Rissa was still in a stroller and I was carting that stroller up and down our front steps in East York. So that means that this shit has been going on for the last 19.5 years. 

At my inaugural chiropractor appt. almost 2 decades ago, the doctor asked, "By any chance were you a gymnast?" as she gave me a sad, the-damage-is-done smile. Apparently I am now TOO flexible. Who knew that my eight years as a recreational gymnast would completely fuck me over in middle-age? Most physio therapists and chiropractors. 

Like most girls who saw Nadia Comaneci in the '76 Olympics, I fell in love with the idea of being a gymnast, but after nearly a decade in recreational gymnastics, my top skills amounted to a back walkover on the balance beam and a back handspring on floor. I couldn't kip on the bars for shit. I was by no means an elite athlete. I can't even imagine the chronic issues that Olympic level athletes deal with, if my hypermobility pulls this kinda crap. 

I pop ribs maybe 3 (or 4 or 5... the most is 6) times a year. By doing such taxing things as bending over to dry my hair, reaching for the shower gel, sneezing. My friend thinks that the gravitational pull of my breasts is the cause. According to her, I might not be moving quickly, but, because my breasts are in their own orbit, other intra-corporeal bodies (ie ribs and ligaments) are pulled out of alignment by my innate breastal gravity. I think that this sounds like a perfectly reasonable justification.

Because this delightful little trait has been kicking in more frequently over the past couple of years, I decided to be proactive and strengthen my back with yoga - you know, so that I can avoid this shit in the future. Apparently, my one month's worth of strength yoga hasn't afforded me its full benefits yet. This may be compounded by the fact that I haven't actually talked to any sort of medical professional about this issue, because... pandemic.  So I don't know whether my version of strengthening my back jibes with what someone who actually knows how bodies work, might think. 

And, as I've been reading today, in between popping muscle relaxants, it sounds like I probably have "Slipping Rib Syndrome." WAIT! WAIT!!! If I add this to my four other health idiosyncrasies (Hashimodo's Disease, Meniere's Disease, Hypoglycemia and Migraines),  I think I've got the Weird-Ass Medical Disorder Bingo!! Boo-freaking-yeah baby!  Bright side!