Friday, August 31, 2012

Babysitting bulldogs...

Her name is Jelly.  Jelly Bean.  Jelly is blind in one eye, mostly deaf and breaks wind as only an elderly bulldog can.  She is in our care until Monday.  She is a french bulldog and, according to Rissa, near perfection.

Essence de Jelly.

"This dog.  THIS dog.  Is the BEST dog in the entire world.  I will have a dog like this of my very own one day."

The three cats in the house have differing opinions.  Steve, for one, might want to have a contract put out on her, but he isn't the sharpest claw on the paw if you know what I'm saying.  Minuit has placed herself on a self-imposed hunger strike for fear that she might run into Jelly at the food bowls.  (As Minuit is the size of a raccoon, this might not be such a bad thing.)  And Lola?  Well I'm pretty sure that Lola might be the one who called animal services to inform them of a rabid dog on the premises.  She's crafty that one.

Lola - plotting from doorway.
We're living in the midst of a Mexican Standoff.  The tension is high when they're in relatively close proximity to one another.  And by close proximity, I mean that the dog stays in one place, completely calm, and a cat is usually in an adjacent doorway ready to puff tail, blow fur, growl and race away the minute that Jelly's breathing hitches.  Half the time Jelly can't even see them.

I shall hug this Ikea basket - it will give me strength.

Steve's the bravest, but again, not so smart.  He's my sloppy tomcat - who executes a shoulder roll to have his belly rubbed the minute you're close.  Strangely, he has not tried this manoeuvre with Jelly...  there are still a couple of days to go though - it could happen.

Only the cruelest and most unkind of humans could resist this face.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The internet is not MAGIC

It's official - we are slaves to the internet.  Thankfully the internet does not manifest as Jabba the Hutt and I don't have to wear a bikini with a collar and leash - so that's a plus.  (Although to many, this might be deemed a perk.)

Not the Internet

While in Toronto last week, we found ourselves without wireless and rather than spending mucho dineros at Starbucks and the Second Cup in beverages/food we didn't need while leeching their Wi-Fi, we instead paid $200 for a Rocket Hotspot from Rogers and started a Flex Rate wireless plan.  No, the math does NOT work out.  But now we HAVE the hardware should this situation arise in the future.

I know... you're thinking "What, you couldn't survive for a week without the internet?!?"  No, in fact we couldn't.  I  need email.  Not like it's my heroin or anything, but I communicate with the cast, musicians and crew via email.  I required the ability to be able to check in at least a couple of times a day - and David needed to be able to work online when he wasn't troubleshooting the tech at the theatre.  We had thought we would have wireless at the theatre, but we did not.  Upon this realization, a medium-sized panic ensued.

I so wish that this could be animated into the panic dance that David and I did.

Shortly thereafter, David made the executive decision to bite the bullet and purchase the Hotspot.  David knows that neither he nor I are organized/have energy enough  to finish our day at the theatre and then spend an hour at a coffee shop  juggling administrative tasks.  Plus, we had Rissa with us who would not have appreciated the extra hour of keeping herself occupied, even if we were feeding her.  PLUS, I would have gotten really fat last week if I'd had more than one large flavoured decaf soy latte a day. No, we didn't save any money doing it this way, but we did conserve precious amounts of sanity.

I realized the first day with the Hotspot that I know NOTHING about how the internet really works.  It is not, in fact, magic and mostly free.  I thought that if you weren't opening new pages online and downloading crap, that you were not using bandwidth.  Apparently, I was wrong.  David should have explained how data is transferred and what bit rate exactly is before before he said "We're good to go - you can check your mail!"  

We got the bill today for our first few hours using the Hotspot - you know you're in trouble when your bill takes 8 pages to explain everything.  We used 214.40 MB (megabytes) in approx 4 hours of owning the Hotspot.  I was not downloading ANYTHING - I had thought.  I was again wrong.  It wasn't that I had been mis-informed, but rather that I was missing information - my knowledge regarding the internet and its true nature was... apparently almost non-existent.  I HATE when I'm stupid - even if it's due to ignorance.  I know enough that if you have a laptop that has Wi-Fi capability but don't have Wi-Fi anywhere near you that you can't connect to the Net.  I know that.  I know that one shouldn't download large things or get huge updates when you're worried about bit rate.  But I really didn't know that once you are on a site like gmail that information just pretty much flows like a tap and sucks like a dock hooker on the first day of the Merchant Marines' shore leave.

And there's this too: Our first bill from Rogers was only $40.89 - and I thought GREAT!!  We totally didn't use as much as David feared we had.  YAY US!!!  Then I realized that $35 of that $40.89 was  the activation fee and the rest was just for the first few hours we had the equipment in our possession.  Anyone care to guestimate what our bill will be for the other 4 full days we were using this technology?  David suspects we'll be in the upwards of $100 for the time.  But really, that's only about $25 a day - which we totally would have spent at a coffee shop,  PLUS - we now OWN the "HOTSPOT" - how many people can say that??  When we speak of it, we can instead pretend that it's not something the size of a deck of cards but is instead a Toronto nightclub - in which we have now invested with other hip, happening people.  I can confabulate with the best of them.   Plus this way... I didn't get fat.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bedtime = Bedlam

So, in spite of having spent hours and hours exhausting her body in dance intensive camp - Rissa was still wired at bedtime.  I made her chew a mental calmness stress-relax tab as soon as she got into bed.  Before she read for 10 minutes.  I was trying to forestall the onslaught that is Rissa.  But to no avail.

How many does it take to tire out a 12 year old?

I figured if we got into bed at 8:30 and read for a bit, that she would get sleepy, the way normal people do when they read in bed.  I try to read beside her, thinking that maybe my calm presence might soothe her, encourage her to fall asleep before the 10:00 p.m. mark.  School starts next week.  She has to get back on schedule.  Rissa abandons her book and begins to sigh dramatically.

"Go to sleep."

(Eyes peering up at me from the top of her green polka-dotted sheets.) "I just need attention.  Is that so much to ask?"

"You danced ALL day!  How can you STILL be awake?"

"I don't know."  She bats her eyelashes at me.

I sigh and put down my book.  "What do you want to do?"

"An impromptu musical number."

"Okay, go for it."  Sometimes you've just got to let the crazy happen.

"Really?" she asks in delight.

"Really.  Hit me with your best shot."

She then goes into a medley of Phoebe's songs from Friends, followed by some Fosse moves at the end of the bed, a grand jete to the door, some jazz hands and then flops down on her stomach onto the bed.

"You done?"

"Not yet."  She fakes an epileptic fit, giggling maniacally.


"I think so."

Rissa then pretends to be a velociraptor doing a chemistry experiment that ends in a small explosion.


later... after I've turned the bedside lamp off, thinking that the extra light was the problem...

"In this light,  on your dress here, (she indicates my left breast) it kind of looks like a storm trooper.   'These aren't the droids we're looking for.' "

"Un-huh."  I reach into the beside table and grab the bottle Mental Calmness chewable tabs.  "Stop talking.  Chew this."

She chews, takes a breath as if to launch into another torrent of tangents when I shoot her my deadly laser eyes.

"I know.  Go to sleep."


"Or you'll smother me."


"Okay, but just this one last thing before you smother me?"

This is when I reach for the Mental Calmness chewable tablets and take one myself.  Perhaps if I fall asleep first, my steady breathing will lull her.

"My underwear is eating my butt."

It's wrong to shoot your daughter with an elephant dart, right?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hair Art and Frolicking Kittens

So pretty much every time I'm in the shower, I lose half of my hair.   David says I'm exaggerating. But it's not like he can feel the ever-widening bits of scalp on his head.  Okay, I might be exaggerating... The math wouldn't work. If it were true, I'd be completely bald by now.   It seems like I lose half my hair.

But, when we're showering together (you know,  to "conserve water"), David says,  "My God, that's a lot of hair!"  And he's not talking about the hair that's in the drain, because I learned from past experience that you can't just let hair go down the drain when you AND your daughter both have shoulder-length hair.  When you do that, you end up clogging the drain, and then having to take pliers to grab what basically looks like something your cat either killed or threw up. Just be glad I'm not posting pictures of that.  In place of drain hair, I will post pictures of delightful kittens frolicking.

Imagine if you dare, something THIS size in your shower drain.

After having dealt with the pleasure of drain de-cloggage a few times, I then got into the habit of taking whatever hair that comes off in my hands as I shower, and putting it on the shower wall.  You know, for safe-keeping. Yes... it's disgusting, I would be the first to admit it.  But better that, than clogging the drain with my masses of auburn curly tresses.  Sometimes, the subway-tiled wall becomes a perfect canvas for hair art.  I want to call it hair origami, but it isn't really 3-D like that, it's more like... string art from the 70s (which I just googled and discovered it's also called symmography - fancy, no?)  We had some hanging in our house - I think my dad did them - one looked like this:

Alec Jopling original, circa 1970  You can't see the nails around which the string is wrapped, but they are there!
We also had this 'painting' which my father still threatens to give to me... it's now at the back of the guest bedroom closet...

I think they got it to celebrate my mother's Viking heritage.  She's Danish.

And they had these lovely pieces as well...

Wait!  I figured it out!  They were decorating with a 'global'  theme before it was hip.
Sorry, I got distracted in my old photos folder.  Really, none of those pieces has anything much to do with the sort of art which I create from my apparently superfluous hair on the shower wall.  Frankly, they're too... constrained by limits.  Mine is way more free-form.  Looser.  You know, more 'arty.'  What's funny (not ha-ha, but peculiar) is that no matter how I put the hair on the wall, it either ends up being in the shape of an elephant or an eagle.  What does that say about me? I'm sure that maybe there's some sort of new-agey explanation for that.  Like my totem is an eagle but I have the wisdom of an elephant?  I shriek like an eagle and plod like an elephant?  I'll soon be bald like an eagle and wrinkly like an elephant?  Whatever it is, it keeps me occupied and the drain clear.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I know they are there - I can feel them!!!

Okay...  So neck hair...  What the pooh?  First off, why do women even GET neck hair?  Does HRT get rid of neck hair?  If it does, damn the health consequences - I'm in!  Yes, I'm that vain.  You get more vain the wrinklier and hairier you get.

Secondly, half the time you can't SEE the neck hair, but you can FEEL them.  To which David says "If nobody but you can see them, why are you so worried about them?"  BECAUSE I KNOW THEY'RE THERE!  It's what happens when you're sitting in front of the t.v. minding your own business.   You might reach up to brush something off your neck and then you feel the hairs (yes PLURAL) and you have to run to the bathroom and grab the tweezers.  Because the worst scenario is you NOT noticing them until they're very dark, a cm long and you start looking like Billy Vann in drag as Griselda from the Hilarious House of Frightenstein.  And you think to yourself, My GOD!  How have I NOT seen this??  Which probably means that up until that time, people have been politely ignoring your transformation into the Wild Wolfwoman of Wagga Wagga. 

And then sometimes, there are grey neck hairs, which you really can't see, but are even coarser than regular neck hairs which means that you feel them EVEN MORE and then become obsessed about getting rid of them.  Grey, coarse neck hairs drive a woman insane and are like poop icing on an already shitty cupcake.  Plus, did you know that laser hair removal can't remove grey hairs??  Because they laser can't see the follicles.  I thought lasers were smarter than that.

Really, what you need, is a miner's helmet and a magnifying mirror that you can sit in front of.  Because the bathroom mirror, you can't get close enough to, usually because of the sink, and if you get the magnifying mirror up to your face, then you only have the one hand and you can't use the other hand to identify the hair on your neck.  (Here.  Here is where you should be ripping hairs from your neck.)   You haphazardly start tweezing the fine hairs that totally belong on one's neck.  And if you try to sit with a magnifying mirror, it's never at neck level and you have to skooch down and you might put your back out doing that. 

This past week, we were staying in a condo that didn't have mirror over the bathrrom sink, (they are renovating) which meant that if you were going to stand in front of a mirror you had to stand wedged beside the toilet to look at the side medicine cabinet adjacent to the sinks.  This meant that that you were WAY far away from the mirror.  Or you were putting your back out trying to twist your body sideways over the cabinet to look into the mirror.

Okay, imagine there is no mirror overtop of the sinks, but only the one on the side.  And you have to ignore the magnifying shaving mirror in this picture, because our bathroom didn't have that. Otherwise, I wouldn't be complaining so much right now.  Also, imagine that there is a toilet approximately 9 inches away from the right hand side of the sink cabinet which is where you have to stand to see yourself in the mirror.   

Then I thought!  Flashlight tweezers!!  Right?  Tweezers with a flashlight attached to them!  I'm sure that I could use a wee flashlight and some duct tape and whip something together.  Doesn't that make complete sense?  Of course, we don't have a tiny flashlight anywhere and though I do keep the plastic handle of my curling iron on with electrical tape, I though that my flashlight tweezers with duct tape might look a little déclassé.  Unless I used coloured duct tape, then it could be a statement.  

But then when I actually googled flashlight tweezers, I found these!!!  These might be my salvation.  Plus they're pretty spiffy looking, yes?  And if I ever have to be in a Sci-Fi film they'd be awesome as something to insert into a body cavity to look for alien caviar.

Possible salvation for the overly-hirsuit

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm sorry... I'm Canadian...

What Canadians say instead of "um."

I am not rich enough to warrant my politeness.  I paid $26 for a buffet breakfast this morning, because I didn't want to offend the waitress.  See, she'd already poured me juice... I was unwilling to abandon a tumbler of orange juice on account of the fact that I took a sip before I knew what was going on! 

I don't have $26 to spend on breakfast!  (And I mean, come on!!!  Breakfasts should be no more than $5!  Eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and potatoes?  I could feed SIX people for... let me do the math here... about $9 with ingredients bought at No Frills).  But more the fool me, as I had a few spare moments this morning while waiting for the theatre to open, I decided that I would have a leisurely breakfast at an upscale diner that I had passed a couple times this week.

Okay, first off? The Yonge Street Diner has little to do with Yonge Street and everything to do with the Marriott.    I shouldn't have gone in.  I should have just gone across the street to McDonald's and got a couple of breakfast burritos and a fork and eaten the scrambled eggs out of them for about $23 less than I spent for the buffet at the Marriott's trapping 'diner'. Had I walked a couple of blocks further I could have gone to Fran's and spent WAY less.  Or if I weren't trying so hard to avoid gluten - I could have gone to the Second Cup and had a muffin or cupcake or streudel or brownie or biscotti with my decaf/soy/hazelnut/latte.  And before you say anything -  I like coffee to taste like dessert and that isn't wrong!!!

I opened the menu and my angina kicked in a little bit when I saw that the hot buffet breakfast was $21 - but that's okay, because it included the coffee and juice (HAH!) The a la carte menu started at $14.50, but then I might not get home fries and half the reason I pay for breakfast out is to get the homefries, plus then I would have had to pay for the orange juice, which I'm sure would have been like $6.  This is all that was going through my head as I'm weighing my options.  I only drank a sip of the o.j., maybe I can give her a quarter for that?  If I just leave a Toonie, could I slink out and go across the street to get a breakfast burrito?  What if I just loudly announce to the room at large "I am not wealthy enough to eat here!"  They'll be embarrassed for me and give me that pitying look, but then I can save all that money.  What did I then do?  I got up and went to the buffett tables and got my probably powdered scrambled eggs (I've waitressed for hotel buffets - I know the deal), overdone bacon and homefries.  And then I paid my $26 - $21+tax+tip because the waitress was very nice.  Because also in my internal dialogue earlier I had been thinking what if the waitress really NEEDS the lousy $2.50 tip that I'm going to leave her?  Only $2.50 because come on, all she did was bring me juice... and ketchup.  She brough me ketchup too. CRAP!  I should have given her more.

On a complete tangent - I just caught a tourist kid on the sidewalk doing the Greased Lightning dance beside the window. What was fantastic is that Adele's Rumour Has It came on the EXACT time the kid started dancing and it was perfectly synchronized. (I know she's a tourist because her parents are well dressed and perusing a map.  Plus from what I was lip reading, they seemed to be speaking in a foreign tongue.)

Imagine this, but with a blond, possibly Scandinavian, girl with her parents as unwitting backup

 Oh and before I forget - Rissa has decided to call the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line the Yonge-University-Vagina line.  There's my girl...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cuckoo-Bananas busy, but there's this...

So as I'm up to my armpits in rock opera, I don't have a lot of spare time, so I thought I'd post this from June:

 Eggshells Under Their Feet

Yesterday morning I awoke in the midst of another horrific hot flash.  Stumbling and growling all the way down the stairs - David and Rissa's eyes got really big as I stomped my way into the kitchen. I was fanning my face with my hands and flapping my arms to get air into my armpits.

"I'm not even going to ask," I said

"If it's hot in here?" David replied.

"Yes, I'm not asking, because..."

"It's not hot," Rissa cheerfully piped up.  "It's just you."

"Awesome!  That is just freaking awesome!!!"  I open the freezer and grab a velcro ice pack and strap it around my neck.

"Interesting look," said David, ignoring the laser beams coming out of my eyes.  He then whispered, "Are you going for an auto-erotic asphyxiation type look?"  I growled at him.

"I am only  44 years old," I griped, as I attempted to start my coffee.  "44 YEARS OLD!!!  My Mom had hot flashes until she was 60!!!  You could have to live with THIS (I point violently to myself, drawing a wide, erratic circle around my head) for another SIXTEEN years!!!"  I grab the soy milk and my hazelnut flavouring.  The mug is warm.  "THIS MUG IS TOO WARM TO HOLD!!!"

Rissa then giggled, which let me know that David must have done something behind my back.   
"WHAT???  What did he do?  Did he just make a 'she's crazy' gesture?!?"

"Nope, not at all.  Un-unh.  Nope."  Both of them looking all sweet and innocent.  David has the decency to look chagrined before admitting "I just raised my eyebrows like this."  He demonstrates.  It's the 'Oh boy, fasten your seatbelts' look.  I do my best not to bludgeon him.

"How about I make you an iced capp?  Would that help?"  He moved swiftly out of my arm's reach.

"Maybe," I pouted.  Then I realized what he was offering.  "Yes please.  (sigh)  David, you just don't understand.  I can't do this to you guys for another 16 years.  You'll lose your minds.  You can't be walking on eggshells all that time.  That's not fair to you!  I am considering hormone replacement.  This (again another  finger circling my skull for emphasis), is making me consider HRT!!!  It's not supposed cause as much cancer now, but I can't be on hormone replacement for SIXTEEN years!  That's just asking for bad shit to happen to my body!!!  I have enough bad shit happening to my body already!!"

It was at that point that Rissa led me to the kitchen table, sat me down and patted me on my arm in a gesture of placation.  David then put the homemade iced capp into my hand.  It was cool and delicious and took my mind off the volcano in my torso.

What if I commit major crimes before I actually make it to Menopause?  This is only PERI-Meonopause - and already I'm pretty much out of my mind.  Can I make it through another 16 years?  Will I be able to use it as an excuse in court?  Like, for when I murder someone when they look at me funny or drive slowly in front of me or chew with their mouth open?!?   The only upside to jail is that the metal bars will proabably be cool when I bang my head on them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

She's completely fine, her mother's freaking out...

No time to post this yesterday - better late than never...

Couldn't find a pic of Alfred E. Newman in drag as an over-protective mother

So today is the first day of Rissa's aerial arts circus camp.  At the end of her day, she will be catching a bus, riding to the subway, then taking the subway to meet us downtown.  All by herself.  For 45 minutes or more. I might throw up on the keyboard as I'm typing this.

This is our workshop week for the rock opera.  We're doing the 2 birds, 1 stone thing.  We are in downtown Toronto working through 90 minutes of musical material from our soon-to-be-produced Broadway smash hit Mythos: The Crimson Chorus.  (I am dreaming BIG with this show!)  We work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Rissa will be having the time of her life at aerial circus camp from 9 to 4.   45 minutes away by public transit.  She is 12.  (Okay, having read that back, my angina just kicked in.)

I need to just re-frickin-lax.  #1 - she's 12, not 6.  She managed just fine when she was 10 in NY when she was taking ballet classes.  We would ride the PATH train in together and she would get off at 9th Street Station and make her way off the subway and walk the one block to Joffrey just fine.  She never died nor was abducted once.   Now she's 12. (Looks at least 15.  She's 5'4".  Carries herself well.) and #2...


I'm going to hurl.  All over the frickin' keyboard.

LATER... 4:10 p.m.
Rissa called to say she was just heading over to catch the bus.  My stomach starts to cramp.  Minor hyperventilation ensues.

LATER... 5:00 p.m.
Rissa has yet to call.  I'm pretty sure that she has been abducted.  I begin planning my vengeful retaliation on the bastards who did her in.

LATER... 5:05 p.m.
I have asked David about a dozen times if he thinks she is okay.

LATER... 5:10 p.m.
We are waiting in line at Subway.  We are getting Rissa her favourite sub as a reward for being so brave -  if she comes back alive.

LATER... 5:15 p.m.
She's not dead!  She is at Wellesley (Well - Lesley as she calls it) Station.  I sprint from Subway, leaving David to pay, run as fast as I possibly can until I reach the corner from which Rissa will be able to see me.  Then I wave in a completely unconcerned way as I saunter nonchalantly over to her. I might have chucked her on the shoulder to show how perfectly okay I am.

"Hey you!  How was your day?"

To which she replies  "It was AWESOME!"

I look her over.  She doesn't appear to have been molested, no clothing askew, no blood anywhere.  Then I take the hand of my beautiful 12 year old daughter (she still lets me do this) and we walk, swinging arms to meet her father.  One small step for Rissa, one giant step for Heather.  And tomorrow I get to go through this all again. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Barbie Zombies...

Rissa has always been a little off-centre.  I was about to say that I blame David for that, but I couldn't type it with a straight face.  Instead, I shall say that we are equally bad influences, but in good ways.  I do think that she gets her sense of humour from him.  The pair of them watch  Fletch  and Airplane and she will giggle madly at the "Are you the singing bush?" scene in the Three Amigos.  This morning she was wearing her new polka-dotted lunch bag on her head, with the handle sideways on her face, creating an eye-hole.  She grabbed a pencil and was running through the kitchen.  David asked, "Are you jousting?"  "YES I AM!"

The other day, as David and I were working in the study, Rissa was gallumphing up and down the attic stairs with a friend.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see something fly by the study window on a swift downward trajectory.  Then Rissa and her friend would gallumph down the stairs again, leaving the sounds of  maniacal laughter in their wake.  There is nothing like the sound of a child laughing.   Deep, infectious belly laughs are the absolute best.  When I hear Rissa laugh like that, I'm a happy mom.  It was obvious that the two of them were having incredible amounts of fun.  They were rushing up and down the stairs, things were flying from the attic window.  Hilarity was dancing upon the very air.

The third time they came up, I just had to ask.  I wanted to be in on their youthful hijinks.

"What exactly are you guys doing?"

"We're throwing barbies out the window!"

Of course they were.  Makes complete sense.  "Why?"

"After they lose limbs or their heads, we're turning them into zombies."

Ah yes,  this is the sort of activity that floats Rissa's pontoon boat.  This is what brings her joy.

"Okey Doke.  Try not to infect the neighbourhood."

 This is what they did.

Worthy of an art installation, yes?

Closeup: Headless Barbie Zombie with axe
Leg-crutch Barbie Zombie with axe.

I am assuming that the green painter's tape indicates where their bodies are now rotting.  I particularly enjoy the multi-tasking of one of the zombies - using her own severed leg as a crutch.  Note that beside her head it indicates that she is saying "Rawr!"  Nice to add that graphic novel element to the display.  I was somewhat surprised that they didn't go into the refrigerator and take the sticky rice to make Barbie-sized brains.   Perhaps this will turn into a mother-daughter craft!

Friday, August 17, 2012

F%*k Me Pumps...

I have a thing for shoes.  Not quite a fetish, but close.  I used to have lots and lots and lots...  before I got pregnant and developed duck feet.  'Cause after you've had a baby, your feet aren't the same size.  If you look at my feet when they're not touching the ground, they look fine, I won't say dainty, but with a nice toe polish they look... fine.  Then I actually put weight on them and - ta-da! - DUCK FEET.  They spread.  They're not webbed or anything, but they DO have a slightly flipper-like quality to them now.  I think that this is on account of the fact that I gained 50 lbs with Rissa.  Bad idea.  For so many reasons.  The duck feet are only one of those reasons.

One of my favourite books as a child

I should take a survey of women who gained, say only 20 lbs, with their pregnancies, and ask them about their feet.  Like everyone in my Mom's generation.  Because, there were decades and decades when you were only allowed to gain 20 lbs with your pregnancy.  And then all hell broke loose.  When I asked my midwife how much weight I should gain, she said "Well, some women gain 15 lbs and grow a healthy baby and some gain 60 lbs."  Which end of the spectrum did she think I would choose?  Bring on the mini buttermilk donuts!!  Bad choice.  Bad choice.

I try to keep my mouth shut with advice for pregnant women.  Let them have their own experience.  Let them own it.  Don't scare the crap out of them with your harrowing birth stories.  Except for this:  I tell every pregnant woman I see, "DON'T GAIN 50 POUNDS!!!"  It took me 4 years to lose that weight.  Rissa was a big baby - she weighed 9 lbs, but that, plus placenta and other crap really only amounts to 15 lbs or so.  Which left me with another 35 to lose.  Which, I think, is why I now have duck feet.  And I'm telling you this because it explains why I had to pretty much throw out all my old shoes and replenish my collection.  Which I am still doing, 12 YEARS after Rissa was born.

Today I bought three pairs of shoes!  It was a really good day.  And before anyone gets all "discretionary spending' on me, the three pairs cost me $130 in total, so just shut up.

See, what I was looking for, was either a pair of Scarlet-Coloured F%*k Me Pumps OR a kick-ass sexy dress.  Here's why: I'm workshopping my vampire rock opera next week in Toronto.  There is a showcase performance on the last day and I have to be in front of a crowd and I don't just want to look good, I want people to salivate.  It's a vampire rock opera, so I should look a little bit vampire-y, right?  I thought "Hey, a pair of red F%*k Me Pumps would help solidify a vampire look.  I could wear a black something and then have some va-va-voom on my feet.

So a while back, I started the search.  There are expensive shoes and there are cheap shoes.  I don't have a lot of extra money, so I prefer the cheap shoes.  Problem with most cheap shoes?  They really hurt your feet.  I tried on the cheap, skanky near-fetish shoes and they were crap.  $40, but really crap, and I couldn't imagine wearing them for more than 5 minutes before wanting to amputate at the ankle.  Then there are the expensive shoes and I'm sorry, but I cannot spend $165  (ON SALE down from $300!!!) on a pair of shoes that might not be worn more than once, just for effect.

But this afternoon?  This afternoon I found Scarlet-Coloured F%*k Me Platform Stilettos!!!   I'm pretty sure that I'm 6 feet tall in these shoes!!!  And they cost $29 and change!!  Because they were from Payless AND they were on sale,  AND they had a rub on the back of one heel for which I got another 15% off!!! BOO-FREAKIN-YEAH!   PLUS (but wait there's more!) I got a pair of Black satin (esque) (it was Payless after all) peep-toe sling-backs in case I can't learn to walk in the Scarlet-Coloured F%*k Me Platform Stilettos by next week AND (oh yes I did!!!) a pair of black satin (esque) kitten heels with fancy-schmancy pleats of fabric on the toes!!!

May never be worn outside the bedroom
Just imagine these with bright red toe nails!

Fabric detail on the kitten heels.

The first pair were the ones I 'needed' to buy.  The second pair were the emergency pair that will show off blood-red vampire-y toe nail polish in case I can't walk in the first pair.  And the third pair?  Was because I WANTED them.  I've been looking for vintage-style kitten heels for two years and I these were them.  They are perfect.  They look like they're straight out of the 50s and are perfect for my vintage addiction.  Yes, I could have bought the $15 cheaper plain kitten heels, but I did not,  and you know why?  Because the nicer ones were only $39.99 and I knew, that even buying ALL THREE PAIRS of shoes, I would still be spending less than if I had bought ONE PAIR of expensive shoes.  Yes folks, tt's Heather Logic - Hard to follow and nearly impossible to argue with.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Rissa almost blew chunks...

This is the story of how Rissa almost blew chunks on the family room rug.

My mothers-in-law came over for dinner the other night.  They brought regular fruit crumble and gluten-free, possibly sugar-free crumble.  David's Mom is doing the gluten-free thing, I'm doing the gluten-free thing.  The rest of the folks got the sugary-gluteny-oaty-goodness and Mer and I had the gluten-free, extra crunchy bits, slightly-sweet, 'good for us' crumble.  And it was pretty good.  I'm used to gluten-free alternatives.  I was thankful for it.  Because there are people in the world who hardly get to have ANY food at all, let alone gluten-free fruit crumble.  I had ice cream on mine.  I can only go so far with being good.

Fast-forward to the next night after dinner, when Rissa discovered a container of leftover fruit crumble in the fridge.

"Can I have the rest of the fruit crumble Mummy?"

"Yes.  Yes you may." 

She slathered it in whipped topping (mmmm, edible oil product) and put a bite into her mouth.  She chewed twice.  She then said,  "Euls lis la gooen hree hrungle?"  (Is this the gluten-free crumble?)  I nodded.  Her eyes may have rolled back in her head a bit, and she looked like she was contemplating a projectile vomit.

"Swallow it!" I said.  "Do not throw that up."

Her eyes rolled more - she gave a chewing performance worthy of an Oscar.  Watching her, one could have sworn that she was eating raw worms covered in diarrhea, instead of a healthful dessert.  After several MINUTES of chewing, followed by the most dramatic swallow I've ever seen in my life, she said, "THIS.  IS. NOT. GOOD."

I could have have warned her.  You see, that morning, I had eaten the leftovers of the non-gluten-free crumble.  Because it was there.  Staring at me from its see-through container from the second shelf of the fridge.  Saying "Heather... Heather... Look at my oaty-goodness...  See my brown-sugar crisped topping!!  Imagine how good I would taste in your mouth!"   I CAVED, alright?  I CAVED.  I didn't feel like sprinkling brown sugar all over the gulten-free, mostly sugar-free crumble to make it taste like the real crumble.  And honestly, I don't think that oats are that much a problem for me.  And the amount of white flour used in crumble?  Come on... it's like half a cup - tops!!!  For the whole recipe, which would mean I'd be eating maybe a tablespoon of flour... And yes, I know that I'm making excuses.  I don't care.  It was a perfect choice for breakfast.  I had vanilla yogurt on top, which is... healthful.  It was healthful and totally worth the gluten/sugar headache that I got after eating it.  And you know what?  The brown sugar was freaking awesome!  And there was none left, because I ate it ALL.

Which is why Rissa had taken the gluten-free crumble, which had been masquerading as regular fruit crumble, because they had been placed in see-through containers and they looked remarkably similar.  She was making "Pah!  Blech!  Pah!" sounds at the sink where she was rinsing her mouth out with water and gargling. 

Then she held up a piece of something in front of me.  "Okay this... "  She put a piece of something between my eyes.  "THIS was in the crumble AND IT'S GREY."  She was holding a sunflower seed.  "THIS HAS NO PLACE IN CRUMBLE."   Then she glared at me and said, "I'm having frozen mango!"  Can't fault her for that.  When your mouth is expecting a certain taste and you're left with bits of sunflower seeds NOT covered in brown sugar?  I can see it would be disappointing.  And if was a a good mother I would have given her a heads' up on it.  Her reaction was so totally worth my being labelled a bad mother.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aaron Sorkin is a GOD!

Aaron Sorkin has a new series on HBO.  The Newsroom.  Thank the freaking universe!!  It's been so long since Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and even longer since The West Wing and Sports Night.  David PVRd the show without my even knowing that there was a new Sorkin show.  He presented it to me me like a Tiffany ring.  I almost wept.  It tasted like the best chocolate ever... in my ears.

Sorkin is BACK!

Afterward, I was bouncing on the couch.  "Can we download these scripts and just read them out loud... NAKED?"

It's the intellectual/auditory equivalent to porn.  At least for me.  Well, for us.  We salivate as we get ready to watch.   We snuggle and sigh as we let the words rush over us.  I make yummy noises.

And you know what?  The Newsroom isn't even his best show.  I hate to say it out loud, because I'm just so thrilled that there IS a new Sorkin show, but...  it's a little... heavy-handed.  I'm okay with that though, because we seem to be the same kind of liberal-minded people, and I agree with what he's writing, but it's a little too "Rah!  Rah!"  For me.  But still, I'll take what I can get.

We started re-watching Studio 60 the other night and Rissa turned to us and said "THIS IS SO GOOD!  Everything's so fast!!!" An added bonus for Rissa was that Matthew Perry stars in the show and she LOVES Matthew Perry - she is addicted to Friends.  (I know, I know, we are TERRIBLE parents for letting her watch Friends.  But honestly, Friends is pretty freaking tame when you compare it to the sit-coms out there now.  Like The New Girl (totally hilarious, yet WAY too sexual for a tween) and How I Met Your Mother.  We had to ban HIMYM from Rissa for a bit, because we felt that her idolizing Barney Stinson at the age of 9 was inappropriate.  Now that she's 12, she can watch once more, with the caveat that she cannot discuss any of the episodes about sex, binge drinking or general douche-baggery with her friends.  We only let her watch 2 episodes (44 minutes) of any show anyway.  Unless she's watching something with us; that doesn't count as her viewing minutes, because we're 'educating' her.)

Oh and by the by... Aaron Sorkin wrote a part that William H. Macy played on Sports Night and Macy was drop-dead sexy.  Continually cast as the nice, milquetoast character, Macy was freaking brilliant as a seemingly ego-maniacal network fixer guy.  There are some scenes with William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman where I got wet watching them together.  I would rewind and watch him give her this 'look,' that was... I'm digressing.

William H. Macy as Sam Donovan on Sports Night

Sorkin's writing is tasty, tasty, tasty.  It's fast, it's furious and it's fan-freaking-tastic.  Even when it's a little too "Rah, Rah" it's still pretty much the best thing on television.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

But he was gay, and this is yoga class!!!

Warning - lurid adult content

I should have known it was a dream, because I was in a yoga classs.  I don't take yoga class.  I think I can honestly say, that apart from the impromptu yoga instruction that my friend Alice gave David, Anna and me on the beach of her cottage property, that I have never done yoga in a group.  (I don't exercise well with others - see previous blog post I DON'T GLOW)

But this dream seemed SO real.  There were a bunch of couples all taking the class and it was the warm-down portion of yoga.  Warm-down from YOGA??  Is this where your heart actually stops?  Plus, couples were doing yoga?  I should have known how the dream was going to turn out.   (Feel free to insert the 'bow-wown-chicka-wown-wown' music cue here.)

So here I am on my yoga mat, in the very dimly-lit yoga studio that is apparently at some fancy-schmancy Muskoka-like resort.  (Again, should have known it was a dream - we can't possibly afford to go to a place like that.)  And there's this friend, who is sort of an amalgam of every gorgeous gay male I've ever been friends with/met.  In the dream he's married to a woman (??),  but I'm still convinced that he's gay, and that his wife must just be oblivious to his obvious gayness.  Because he's the best dressed guy in the yoga studio and could out-panache freaking Cyrano.  And this dude is on a yoga mat beside me.

Then this absolutely gorgeous gay friend of mine starts talking dirty to me!  Luridly, descriptively dirty.  Telling me all the things he wanted to do to ME.  I was understandably shocked because 1) he's GAY and 2) we're in YOGA CLASS.  I was also shocked because although we've been in an exhausting yoga class,  I'm not all sweaty and gross.  I look around, but nobody seems to be the wiser because the lights are low and I guess everyone is in their own 'cone of silence' and they can't hear all the incredibly descriptive things he's saying to me.  I'm thinking to myself, "I'm not flexible enough for half of what you're suggesting."

And I say to him, "Dude!  We're in yoga class.  Your wife is right over there."  Then, in possibly the sexiest voice I've ever heard since Johnny Depp said in Chocolat "I'll come round sometime and get that squeak out of your door," this guy says, "I don't care. I just want to take my (random body part) and rub it all over your (random body part)... " and he itemizes once more all the things he wants to do with my body.  And there I am, just trying to do the Cobra and mind my own business, in spite of the fact, that the guy is very, very, very attractive and even though I know he's gay and that his wife is in the room with us, and David is probably somewhere around too, I'm worried I might cave.  But I persevere.  I do not break my Cobra pose.

Then, as he's still talking to me, the dude starts to... uh... get 'friendly' with himself.  RIGHT THERE IN THE YOGA CLASS.  "Dude!!  You're in a room full of people!"  "I don't care!  All I can think about is...(many more vividly descriptive words)..."  So then he... um... finishes... STILL describing everything he wants to do to me, and there's no possibly way that people couldn't know what he's been doing, because frankly, it looks like he's had an accident with a squeezable mayonnaise bottle and... he's wearing black.  Which should have also let me know that it was definitely a dream,  because it was so much more than a teaspoon, if you know what I'm saying.  And he goes off to clean himself up and he rest of the class is looking at ME, while I'm still in Cobra pose.  And they're all giving me the "Heather, what have you done???" look.  To which I panic and say, "NOTHING!  I'm just doing my Cobra pose!"  And his wife is really not pleased with me.  And I don't know what to say to the wife of a gay man when she apparently doesn't even know that the man she's married to is gay.  I mean maybe he's never talked to her that way and she's upset that he had that much of a response to my proximity.  Then I think I was banned from yoga class in spite my objections.  "But he's GAY!!!  And I was doing the COBRA pose!  My hands were on the ground!!"

Any couch-psychologists care to analyze that sucker?

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm raising a cynic

There are ramifications for encouraging one's child to pay attention to shit.  For encouraging an awareness of female behaviour and how women are perceived by the media and the world.  At 12 years of age, Rissa has become a dyed-in-the-wool speech pattern cynic.

Rissa loves cake decorating shows.  She loves watching people design cakes.  She loves the engineering of them.  She LOVES when they create flowers out of icing that look like real flowers.  When we go to the Bulk Barn, instead of candy, she asks for fondant, you know, so she can sculpt with it at home.  Hoping to find her something other than Cake Boss (shudder), I tried DC Cupcakes.  It looked promising - two sisters in DC who start their very own cupcake business.  Possible female role models in the making.  We started watching.  Rissa nearly went apoplectic.

"Mummy!!  These women sound like idiots!" (She changes her tone to Valley Girl speak) "They speak in, like, questions?  Where they, like, SAY things? And they use like as a comma or just as a, like, pause, be - like - cause they don't have brains?  ARGH!!!!

(Rissa at 12, is now realizing that how women are perceived in the world may be directly proportionate to how they present themselves.  My plan to indoctrinate my daughter has totally worked!  YAY me!!)

Rissa was particularly upset when the women on the show thought they might be arrested for making a cupcake slot machine, when in actuality they were almost arrested because the route they chose to drive had their truck driving near the White House thereby they were nearly flagged as terrorists and because they were riding in the back of the truck without seatbelts.  You'd figure that living in DC, these gals would know that trucks are pretty much not allowed anywhere the White House.

While we were watching DC Cupcakes, Rissa also realized that reality tv shows have pretty much NO content.  They repeat the same clips over and over, so in 22 minutes of a 30 minute slot, maybe there are really only 17 of actual show.

"They just keep repeating everything!  I KNOW this already!  I KNOW that this one customer is trying to surprise her husband for his 40th birthday at a fancy-schmancy hotel.  I KNOW that they are going to try to make a cupcake slot machine, and I KNOW that the one girl's husband is going to be the one trying to make the cupcake slot machine work.  Why do they KEEP telling me this????  I AM WATCHING THE SHOW RIGHT NOW!!!!"

At this point she collapses on the floor in a heap - a move she has perfected, in spite of her giraffe-like legs.  Then she says "WAILEY!  WAILEY!  WAAAAIIIIILLLLLEEEEEY!!!!!" (She's a big fan of Terry Pratchet's Wee Free Men - which if you haven't read - you should.  Google it.  There's a character called "not-as-big-as-medium-sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-wee-Jock-Jock")

First book in three.  One of the best YA series ever!!!

"So I take it, we don't need to save any more of these shows?" I ask, rhetorically.

She looks up from the floor in utter disbelief.  "NO!!!!  We never need to see another one of these.  EVER.  EVER."  She bangs her head on the ground.  "EVER!!!!"

What's scary?  This show made Cake Boss look almost tolerable.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I am STILL a dirty old woman...

It's Zeb's fault.  David's friend Zeb, who posted to Facebook about someone wearing a vintage Hanson t-shirt.  I'm thinking:  "VINTAGE HANSON?  How old does that make ME??"  But next thing you know, I'm googling Hanson to get my timeline right - it can't be 20 years ago and it's got to be at least 20 years before something qualifies as vintage, doesn't it?  I refrain from watching MmmBop - I don't want to head into Skanky Cougar land right away.  No it ISN'T 20 years - a mere 15 since 1997, when MmmBop hit the charts.  I find out that they are still together - still performing and, more importantly for my purposes, are now ADULTS. 

Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson circa 2012

Which makes me feel so much better, because I lusted after Taylor Hanson when he was 14 freaking years old.  Which wouldn't have been bad except for the fact that I was... let me do the math here, oh good God!  I was 29 years old.  He was skinny, he was blond, he could sing.  And boy, did I have a thing for skinny, blond, artistic types.  (actor Leonardo DiCaprio, skater  Ilia Kulik, any random blond, skinny, teenager busking near me) If I couldn't lift them over my head, or at least carry them under one arm like a clutch purse, what was the point of the crush??

I wasn't going to look at the old videos 'cause that's just SO wrong on SO many levels.  Until I realized that while I shouldn't be watching those videos, my 12 year old daughter Rissa could TOTALLY watch the videos with pre-teen immunity!!!

"Rissa, come here!  I've got something to show you!!!"  I drag her to the tablet and load up MmmBop.

First thing she says, "Are those guys or girls?  'Cause they kind of all look like girls."  I guess long hair for boys isn't the style in 2012.  But she totally dug their music.  "This is WAY better than One Direction!"

So, Taylor's the one on the left,  NOT the one in the middle - I am not THAT much of a perv.

It all came rushing back.  Just looking at the photo now makes me blush.  I am quickly writing the next paragraph before I get arrested for impure thoughts!

In my 'research'  (wink-wink-nudge-nudge),  I found out that they're still making music, still touring, still gaining fans.  In fact, they are going to be in Peterborough, ON August 25, 2012 - on the same freaking night that my rock opera has its showcase presentation in Toronto.  (I raise an arm to the Heavens and yell "WHY, GOD?!? WHY?!?")  But what's really cool?  It appears that these guys have a sense of humour and are just generally good people.  Check out the video for Thinking 'Bout Somethin' that they made in 2010, where they riff on Ray Charles' scene from The Blues Brothers...

AND ... but wait there's MORE!!! Last year a dude started a video blog campaign to have Hanson play at his wedding.   He made hundreds of video pleas to Hanson.  He was DETERMINED.  After 458 videos this is what Hanson did in return:

I know, right?  Not able to make the wedding, they offer to play the HONEYMOON?!?!?  So they're NICE, too??  And now, I'm pretty much convinced that Taylor Hanson would be the perfect artist to play the lead vampire, Aethan, in my rock opera.  You know, when we hit Broadway next year...  Just as a reminder, scroll back to the top of the blog and look at him - he's the one in the middle.  Just imagine HIM, in an Armani Suit - preying upon the female form...  I might need a second.   A girl's gotta dream.  And now that HE'S 29, I wouldn't even get arrested!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Please Sir, I want some more...

Please.  Please... someone in television land, bring back Firefly.  Please.  I'm begging.  I really need a hit of Mal.  For those who might say, "but you can see Nathan Fillion on Castle."  I know, I know - Nathan Fillion is on Castle, and it's fine...  Richard Castle is snarky and marginally sexy and all that, there are some good puns, but it's not a Joss Whedon series with Joss Whedon dialogue, and it's not Mal.  I am not craving Nathan Fillion, the actor, but rather the character Malcolm Reynolds. 
WAY darker than Castle

Don't get me wrong.  I very much enjoy Nathan Fillion.  In spite of the fact that right now I'm holding  a wee grudge against him (which I'm sure I'll get over soon) because he wouldn't pose with twine for the Bloggess - which you kinda figure he'd do, given that he appeared in Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog and didn't balk at saying "The hammer is my penis."  I'm a little disappointed, because I thought he'd have a better sense of humour, and although I get that he shouldn't have to give in to every petty plea from every crazy Comic-Con fan out out there, I just wanted him to... I don't know... take each plea on an individual basis maybe?  I kinda figured that he might give the benefit of the doubt to someone who, although she might appear completely insane in her initial request, he would realize, if he had actually read her posts, that she's not certifiably crazy and is well deserving of a picture with twine. 

I think I'm digressing.

Really, what I want, is another full season of Firefly.  Except that the movie Serenity explains the whole series, so that's probably not going to happen.   But maybe they could start AFTER Serenity is over - except then some of the characters (I won't say who, in case you haven't seen Serenity - which you HAVE to see, because it's a fantastic movie - the opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission) are dead.  And that makes me sad.  And you will be too, when you find out who Whedon killed off.

Maybe if Firefly can't come back, Joss Whedon - who should have a helluva lot of clout right now after having knocked The Avengers completely out of the park - could make a NEW series.  It could really be about ANYTHING.  Doesn't need to be vampires, or sci-fi - actually I'd still like it to be sci-fi - I dig the sci-fi... but it doesn't have to have Nathan Fillion in it.  A character almost exactly like Mal, though, would be good.  Just saying.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bring me your furry, your potentially rabid...

The kitten... the feral one?  That hung onto my hand with its teeth after I picked it up, because it was so terrified?  The one I had to have "just in case" rabies shots for?  It's back... And David says I'm  not allowed to touch it.  Not even a little bit.

S/he is bigger now, more like an gawky adolescent young cat, but I recognize her/him.  (I didn't get a really good glimpse of the kitten's junk to get a definite girl/boy status while I was prying its jaws open to facilitate its gentle release to the ground.)  It was following its siblings across the bottom of the yard.  I must have drawn in my breath in that  'Kitten!!! - There is a KITTEN!!!' sound and s/he spooked and instead of running after its siblings through the east side of the fence, it turned tail and ran a good 20 feet to the west fence and disappeared.  A couple of minutes later it tried to cross again, and even though I was NOT making the 'Kitten!  There is a KITTEN!!!' sound, (because I was purposely holding my breath) it looked at me, spooked again, and ran back under the west fence.  And really, of course it would, because I was the crazy human who picked it up and refused to throw it down when it bit me.  In the feral cat world, I am now an urban legend.  "Don't go in THAT yard.  The crazy lady lives there.  She mauls and traps kittens and then makes coats out of them."

Then the other morning?  The kittens - ALL THREE OF THEM - were playing ON OUR DECK in the sunshine!!  I held my breath at the back door, trying to look inconspicuous so that I wouldn't spook them, while calculating whether I could open the door without it making its tell-tale creaky noise.  Not that I was going to go pick up the kittens or anything, I just wanted to door to be open.  You know, just in case they decided that they wanted to come in the house and spontaneously cuddle.  What?  It COULD so happen.  I dream about it all the time!

Sadly, I have not seen the kittens in a couple of days.  What I did see yesterday evening after dinner, while my friends Christine & John (and their son Jacob) were over, was a young RACCOON!!!  The neighbour's dogs had chased it from their yard to ours.  It climbed up our play structure and hung out in the tree.

Sadly, this did NOT happen last night.  But I wish it did.  The only thing better would be if there were baby swans too - of course the cats (and maybe the raccoons) would eat the swans, but the white feathers would be a nice contrast.  In my best dreams they would all let me put them in my cleavage and nuzzle them.
Picture from

We weren't sure, but we think that that raccoon might have had...  issues.  Intellectual issues.  Perhaps rabies issues.  It was severely uncoordinated for a raccoon, had a rough time navigating the tree and looked like nobody had taught it how to climb down the tree headfirst, which raccoons can totally do.

Example of the headfirst descent
The other thing that made us feel like maybe the raccoon wasn't altogether there, was that after it left the play structure tree, it then came over to the deck, not 8 feet away from us, and nonchalantly climbed one tree, then shinnied down, then climbed the next tree, then walked on the deck railing, then climbed the next tree and shinnied down then climbed the NEXT tree to that had small branches touching the roof and then tried to make its way onto the roof where it looked VERY confused and gave us the "Can you give me some help here?" look.  Either the animal had major depth perception issues and couldn't tell that the first trees were nowhere close to the house, or it was just an idiot.  As it was trying to get onto the roof and looking like it might fall, I may have stood under it with my maxi skirt held in front of me like a rescue net they use for potential suicide jumpers.  David told me that if I got bitten he was not going to take me to the hospital, I would have to drive myself.  No worries though, it made it to the roof.

We are used to raccoons being on our roof.  Last spring we had a mother and her 5 kits living in our eaves.  We enjoyed an elaborate game of "Watch the raccoons leave, Put up the 32 foot extension ladder, Screw in boards to cover the raccoon holes" for several nights, thinking we had finally purged the house, when in fact there was still that raccoon scrabbling sound (okay now I'm imagining a family of raccoons playing Scrabble, perhaps enjoying pink lemonade with cocktail umbrellas) in the eaves, and then we'd have to climb up the ladder and unscrew the boards and then slide them out of the way, because I couldn't bear the thought of potentially murdering a family of raccoons in our eaves.

One night, we thought we had done it.  They were out!!  We did our happy, raccoon-free dance.  Then, the next day, the mother raccoon was back.  In the day time.  Climbing the ladder to the roof and walking around.  Not THAT weird in itself, except for the fact that we were having our chimney re-built at the time and there we two dudes with mortar and bricks and a very loud radio on the roof.  She was walking around and going up and down the extension ladder - and let me tell you, watching a raccoon descend headfirst down a ladder is a freaky thing.  One might well ask: "Why would a raccoon be out in the daytime, hanging out with the masons???  It seems so odd!"  Until I heard her kits crying for her.  Because we had boarded her kits in the eaves!!!  This realization made me nearly puke with anxiety.  I HAD SEPARATED A MOTHER FROM HER BABIES!!!  I was going to hell!!  David wasn't home, and we have a rule that you cannot climb the 32 foot extension ladder if you are by yourself (not for ME, for DAVID), so I called my friend Nathalie and got her to foot the ladder while I climbed to the roof.  I'm not afraid of heights per se, but it's not my favourite thing in the world to be up high without a harness.  Less fun when you're climbing with a cordless hand-drill in one hand.  I unscrewed the boards and moved them out of the way.  Then I watched from the office window as the mother raccoon transported all of her kits, one by one, down the extension ladder.  After they were all gone, I went back up and boarded it over again.  Crisis averted.  Except there's this SMELL this summer, that makes me think that maybe one of those kits DIED in the eaves.  I'm hoping it was just a runty kit who wouldn't have made it anyway and not because I had trapped it without its mother and it died of a panic attack.

All this to say, that I was so worried about the Short Bus raccoon that I made David and John put up the extension ladder so that it could use that as a route back down in case the small branches that touch the roof seem too spindly and breaky for the beast when it tried to get down the tree way.  I think we'll have to wait and see whether it abandons the roof or takes up some small tools from our garage, opens up the boards on the eaves and announces to all its raccoon buddies,  "Penthouse!!  Over here!"