Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'm going to die - I just know it!

Thud.  Thud.  Thud.  Yowl.  Yowl.

David and I share a glance.  Shake our heads.

Thud.  Thud.  More pitiful yowl.

"I don't understand why she has to be in here with us.  Rissa's door is wide open - she could just be in there."

Thud. Thud.  THUD.

We jump.

"She put her whole body into that one."

"Is she actually running at the door?"

Then we hear this:

"Oh woe is me!  WOE is me.  WAILEY!  WAILEY!  WAILEY!  I'm going to die - I just know it!  If you don't let me in, I will actually perish here in the hall and you shall have to step over my limp, lifeless body in the morning. WOE is me.  WOE!  WOE IS ME!!!"

At least we hear the cat equivalent of that - which is much more pitiful and sounds closer to death.  But we remained strong.  We wanted a good night's sleep and when the cats sleep on/with us - we don't have a good night's sleep.  Eventually Minuit left.

This morning...

Thud.  Thud.  THUD.  "I'm still here.  I can totally hear you two talking.  I know you're awake.  Why must you torture me?  All I want to do is share my love with you and purr.  Can you blame me for that?   Is it too much to ask to let your cat, your oldest cat, your most beloved cat, purr for you?!?"

That cat has stamina.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Which face is better?

Rissa asks.  At bedtime.


"Which face?  If you had to rate them?"

"This?"  She does her best impersonation of a bucktoothed gopher with a cold.

"This?" She looks like she's been hit in the head with a shovel at her left jawline - lips all askew across her face.

"This?" She sticks her tongue out slightly and rolls her eyes back in her head.

"Or THIS."  She puff out her cheeks like she a blowfish - eyes wide and glassy.

"You are so weird."

"Yes, but which is better?  You need to rate them on a scale of 1 to 4.  4 being the best and 1 being the worst.  Oh wait - plus there's this one too!"  She drops her jaw, scrunches her nose and crosses her eyes.

"On a scale of 1 to 4?  But there are five faces now!"

"Yes.  Plus there's SEVEN!  THE GOLDEN MONKEY!"

"Who ARE you?"

Rissa: Bringer of New Millennial Dadaism

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And that's why I should be having sex more often...


On account of the fact that when it's this lackadaisical, only when we we're not exhausted, happen to be on the same bio-rhythms kind of encounter, my body feels like this the next the day.

And we weren't trying anything new here.  We were doing our standards.  Nothing groundbreaking - nothing we had to stretch for.   I hadn't thought that I'd done myself an injury.  It wasn't like when you're first together and you go at it for so long and so hard that you can't walk the next day.  But they never tell you about that in romance novels or erotica.  Nope.  It's all banging for days, trying out numbers 32-49 of the Kama Sutra, hanging from the chandelier...  Literary depictions rarely mention the Epsom Salts baths and two days of rest you need before it doesn't hurt to pee because of micro tears around your lady bits.

Nor do they mention the bladder infections that you get if you get too cuddly after sex. When David and I were first together and were going at it like bunnies, I ended up in the Emerg - all feverish and having... shhhhhh.... blood in my, um... urine.  

The triage nurse looked at me...  looked at David.  "You're a new couple?"

 "Um, yeah... fairly new."

"You need to pee after sex."


"You need to pee after sex."

"Because why?"

And here's where she told me something that NO ONE ever thinks to tell you.   Until you wind up in the Emerg and the nursing staff give you these sad commiserative glances and finally pass along information that should be de rigueur in Sex Ed.

"Because seminal fluid can wind up in your urethra and you can get a bladder infection."

So trust me ladies - if you're at that point in your relationship where you've both been tested for STDs and he's good and you're good and you're on the pill, or the patch, or the shot and you're riding bareback - as much as you might want to cuddle right after you've done the deed...  DON'T!  Get up, race to the bathroom, pee, wash, and then head back to bed and do the cuddling then.  It can still be all romantical and snuggly - just a little bit later.  Save youreself a trip to the Emerg.  TRUST ME.  And when you're older - invest in lube.

Monday, January 27, 2014

High pressure vampires...

After nearly a week of low-pressure snow squalls cavorting their way through Ontario - the sun has graced us with its presence.  These barometric weather conditions offer the perfect metamorphic indredients to turn me into a sun-terrorized vampire.  The back of my eye sockets proclaimed the shift in my dreams.  Travelling to Australia via inter-gallactic spaceship - I was sent on an errand for extra-strength Tylenol and Advil, during intermission of the vampire musical - they couldn't source fruit bats, so they dressed up 100s of chihuahuas with wings.  It was so kind of Air Canada to add an 900 seat theatre as in-flight entertainment for its intercontinental flights.

When the alarm went off, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, that  the 1.5 watt nighlight energy output had me wincing.  Fighting back the nausea, I staggered to the bathroom and downed as much medicine as I could before collapsing into bed for another precious 1/2 hour of sleep.  Covers over my head, I concentrated on deep breathing. "I am breathing in deep relaxation and breathing out all tension and pain... I am breathing in..."


The apartment building next door has a snow removal contract.  Which is great for them.  It really is.  Allows them to get their cars out, clears their sidewalks.  Yay them.  Yay.  And I love how the snowplough operator takes his front end loader's bucket and lowers it so that it can get the best scrapage - ensuring safety for all the tenants.  Yay.

Now that the drugs are taking the edge off - I've decided to play.  I can pretend I'm a starlet in my own home - sporting my Audrey Hepburn sunglasses.  "Alright, just one autograph... Who do I make it out to?"  I am I'm a newly-turned vampire dodging pockets of sunlight - because let's face it folks - vampires do not just SPARKLE in the sun - they burst into flame - and seeing as I sunburn really easily - I've gotta be careful.   I shift my chair, I crab walk into the kitchen to avoid direct light - which has me WAY ahead of the game for my quad and thigh exercises today!  And the herbal tea remedy that I'm ingesting?  Perfect start to the day!

I'm letting my inner PollyAnna out!  Pain be damned.  There's sunshine for the first time in what seems forever and powdered snow that turns my streetscape into a freaking snowglobe.  I am DETERMINED to enjoy it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Monster Child

"My friends think I'm a monster," says Rissa.

My spoonful of Rice Chex stops an inch from my mouth.  "Because why?"

"Because I don't eat cereal."

I shoot her a disbelieving glance before shoveling my cereal into my mouth.  I chew thoughtfully for a moment before swallowing.  Then I shake my head.  "I don't get it."

"Everybody eats cereal for breakfast," she says.  "Everybody.  I'm like the only one who doesn't.  They say 'What do you eat?!?'  And I say 'Toast.'  And they look at me like I'm crazy.  And even if I did eat cereal it'd be Raisin Bran, which NOBODY eats.  Cereal on its own is fine, but cereal with milk is... bluuuuuuuugghhhhhh."  She shudders.   "It gets all wet and..."

"Oh yeah," says David.   "Yeah.... (He too, shudders) bluuuuuuuugghhhhhh."

"Every cereal - it happens to every cereal," I say, the sense memory suffusing my very being.  I shovel in another still-crisp spoonful of Rice Chex before it disintegrates.

"Not Captain Crunch,"  says David.  "That cereal can lacerate your mouth after it's been in milk for a full half hour.  I still have scars."  I'm certain that he's feeling out the roof of his mouth with his tongue.

"No, I'm thinking more of Shredded Wheat," I say.  "You know.  You use your spoon to cut that little cross down the middle of it and you sprinkle brown sugar on it and then it's a race from the time you pour the milk on it before it morphs into mushy paste.  You have about 30 seconds where it's slightly moist but still somewhat crunchy.  I'm convinced that's why I always eat my breakfast quickly because on a cellular level I'm afraid it'll turn into mushy cereal paste."

"I'm pretty sure cereal is just a North American thing" David postulates.

I give it a think.  "Yeah... I bet you the French don't eat cereal - they probably baguette it all the way.  And the Swiss - they're more granola types."

Rissa perks up.  "Granola?  Like what you get on top of a yogurt parfait?"  She loves a yogurt parfait.

"Yes!  Exactly like that!  You can have that!  Then you can be all cosmopolitan and say, 'I have granola with  Greek yogurt.'  And you can give them a high class glance over one shoulder and raise your eyebrows and know that your taste is far superior to theirs."


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And that's why I need a Tardis.

Because 3000 sq feet of furniture from a 2.5 story century home will not fit into a 1500 sq foot 1.5 story... even older century home.  No matter how much we might want it to.

David's a list maker.  It calms him - it gives him purpose.  So we took his laptop and went from room to room and we itemized every single piece of furniture that we have.  It was supposed to give us... perspective. I got chest pains.  And a little hyperventilate-y.  We had four options for the stuff.  Move. Sell.  Donate.  Dump.

Where was the Tardis option?  I want that option!  The option where I can just open the door to a closet and miraculously find 1000 square feet of storage space in it?  Where's that option?!?

If someone could actually work out the technology for The Tardis, they'd make gazillions of dollars to downsizing families.  Forget cold fusion people, make me a freaking Tardis!

I have a whole 4' x 8' room in our basement that is devoted to Christmas Decorations, a 10' x 10' room for crafts and sewing and another 8' x 8' room that is... who am I kidding here?  It's full of crap.  It really is.  It's got suitcases and old books that were taken off the shelves in the office when were first staging the house for selling three years ago, and furniture that was too big or superfluous.  It's a room full of stuff we never use - have NEVER used, not since we moved into this house 8 years ago.  Boxes of electronics and old stereos and extra sofa cushions from when we turned our Ikea Ektorp corner sofa into a massive chesterfield.  If I were Barbara Eden, I'd wiggle my nose and nod my head and the room would magically deposit its contents to the appropriate corresponding locations: Kijiji purchasers' homes, the Habitat ReStore and the dump.

Two closets and a cubby under the eaves.  That's what the new house has.  We do have a basement, but it's the basement of a150 year old house - a gravel and dirt floor and a sump pump working overtime.  Anything stored down there needs to be off the floor on plastic shelving in Hermetically sealed containers. 

And really, other than Christmas decorations, what needs to be stored?  The record collection that I've been carting around for decades without a turntable to play them on?  The boxes of fabric that I might find a use for, come Halloween 2020?  The books that have laid in their boxes for years now, no one to open them, no one to peruse their contents?    It's just stuff.  And it's not stuff that is bringing us joy.  We don't cling to that stuff, soak up its nostalgia and cuddle in its warmth.  We store it, just in case.  Just in case... what???  No really, just in case what?  Just in case we suddenly reside in a mausoleum where these items are displayed as relics of our past?  Where they are under-glass memories of days gone by?  Where we keep them just to say they're kept and puff up our chests in the knowledge that we hold onto our heritage?

Nope.  Not going to happen.  No more storing things.  No more just-in-casing things.  We either use them or they go.  Just typing that and a weight has fallen off my shoulders.  "They go."   Keep what's precious and let go of the rest of it go.  No buts, no gasps of  near-intention, no hemming or hawing... decide and live with that decision.   Let that beat up Elvis album find a place of pride in someone else's home - in the home of someone who plays it on a turntable with all of its skips and analog noise.  And you can rest easy in knowing that because you let go - you gave someone else joy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

In hindsight, perhaps I should have put on a bathrobe first...

But you know how it goes.  You've just showered.  You notice that at least one of the bulbs in the bathroom light fixture has died.  You know that if you don't fix it now, you won't remember to do it later.  So off I went, starkers, down the hall.

"It's okay, I'm taking care of it!" I say as I head towards the stairs.

David glances my way, does a double take and then waggles his eyebrows.  "Taking care of... (he pauses salaciously) ...what?"  he asks.

"NOTHING!" yells Rissa from her room.  "YOU ARE TAKING CARE OF NOTHING!!"  (She gets grossed out when we play the innuendo game.)

"Light.  In the bathroom," I call from downstairs.  "I am fixing it."  I grab a bulb from the laundry room cupboard and sail back up the stairs, brandishing my light bulb with a triumphant "TA-DAH!!!" and head back into the bathroom, where I soon realize that I have nothing to stand on.  I run back out into the office and grab the stool.   "Not a problem!  I've got this!"

I climb up on the chair, unscrew the bottom of the fixture and balance it precariously upon the shelf below me.  Two bulbs.  Two bulbs are out.  sigh  Not to worry!  I simply refuse to be half-assed about this.  This job will be completed! I screw in the one bulb, clamber down from the chair and run back downstairs (holding my untethered boobs this time, so that I don't give myself a black eye).


I come back upstairs with the second bulb, "See?  All taken care of!"  I climb back up on the stool once more and screw in the second bulb.
"LIGHT!  WE HAVE LIGHT!!!!"  I let out a stream of mad scientist laughter to cap the moment.  


I reach for the shade and stick my tongue out as I'm trying to thread it back onto the fixture.  Then the cap pieces and a little washer thingie drops.  But I now have the shade in my hands and I don't really want to climb back down again.  "Help!  I need some help in here!"

"Mother, what have you done?" asks Rissa from her room.

"I just need an extra hand, but you should be warned that I'm..."

"Why are you ALWAYS naked?" asks Rissa from the doorway.

"I'm not ALWAYS naked."


"I know that this present position of me naked up here on the stool isn't maybe the thing you wanted in your brain this morning, and that me on a stool with you at floor level just isn't cool, but would you please pass me those things?"  I motion with the big toe on my left foot.

Managing to avert and roll her eyes at the same time, Rissa hands me the missing pieces.  I put the shade back up and jump down.  "SEE?!?  I did it!!"  I step back to admire my handiwork.  I cock my head to one side - the fixture was now askew.  I climb back up again to straighten the shade and this time, THIS time, it's perfect.


A superhero now, hand on my hips, I pose.  "My work here is done!"  My right arms rises in front of me.  I give a mighty salute and then stride to my room, majestically.

"Put your bathrobe on!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The perils of cheese.

Remember when you were a kid, and you ate the  fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza so fast that the roof of your mouth became stuccoed with blisters?  Afterwards, your tongue couldn't help but play with the damaged skin of your palate - feeling out all of those bumps.  For hours, even days afterward (depending on how hot the pizza had been) that tenderness remained.  I injured myself so frequently in pizza eating mishaps, that as an adult - I'll let the pizza get to lukewarm to avoid repeating that sensation.

In all my 45 years, I'd never really burnt my tongue before.  Not really.  Minor heat-testing ouches on the tip lose all significance.  That was amateur hour.  Grated cheese, that has fallen onto a well-oiled griddle, may look dried up and innocuous, but really it's a deep fried tongue destroyer.  One piece, demensioned at about 5 mm by 1.5 cm, can damage an area thrice that in size when it's in your mouth and you begin to panic.

"Ahhhhh!  Unnnnnhhh!   AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!"     

Spit!  Spit!  Spit!

"What are you doing?"

"Hot cheethe!  Deep fried cheethe!  On my tongue!!"

That deep-seated, pain-induced panic suddenly flashed me back 20 years to my time at the Canadian Space Agency.  I'd gone for afternoon break with a couple people from the office.  It was a hot, hot summer's day - we were on a Creamsicle Quest.  In my haste to get the icy cold treat in my mouth, my tongue became stuck on the underside of that sweet orangeyness and when I immediately tried to pull it off, I somehow managed to get the rest of it stuck on the inside of my lips, creating a completely frozen mouth seal around the offending comestible. 

I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I'd made such a dim-witted food miscalculation (every Canadian knows not to place a relatively dry tongue on frozen things), so I let the Creamsicle rest where it was, desperate to keep the terror at bay, attempting to concentrate all my hot breath towards the front of my mouth.  I contributed as best I could to the conversation around me with calm "Mmmmm-hmmmms" and "Un-unhs," my brain functions split between allowing for stilted vocalization, ensuring that I didn't hyperventilate and keeping me on my feet, for I was desperate to collapse in a full-on panic attack.

Where was the closest Emergency Room? Would I have to undergo a Lipectomy, and if so, would they have to use part of my vagina to fix my face?!?  Then what would they use to fix my vagina?  Would I have to have some dead woman's transplanted vagina?!?  Would I then have Franken-Vagina?!?  This is what went through my head for the 75 seconds it took for the exterior of the creamsicle to melt and release its hold on my mouth.  To this day, eating a creamsicle for me is akin to being at the top of a roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland in that split second before it drops - deliciously terrifying.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Do not underestimate the joy that you can experience at the LCBO.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario may now be my favourite place on earth.  And for more than just the incredible array of single malt scotches that one can purchase there. 

My  friends and I were picking up a few libations and took them up to the cash.  We were making jokes, being a little silly - hadn't seen each other in a bit - doing some catching up.  The woman at the cash took one look at me and asked for my I.D. 

Our disbelief was comical.  I puffed up my chest, grinning, and gave her my driver's license.  She literally did a double take.  She then leaned over the counter to look closer at my face.  Which, to be fair, was underneath this hat,

so maybe that's what threw her off, but that still meant that first glance - she thought I was 25 or under!  TWENTY YEARS younger than I am!

She was chagrined.  "You're only 7 years younger than me."

"It's probably the hat," I said, commiseratively, trying my best not to happy dance right in front of her.  I did, however, pretty much do my "I got carded" dance all the way home.

Which means folks - silly hats?  Can take 20 years off your appearance.  Today I will be sporting a sombrero.

Monday, January 13, 2014

And that's how I almost screwed us out of financial freedom!

I will be unstable for the next 7.5 weeks.  I give you all fair warning.   Do NOT tease me.  Not now.  In fact, do not tease me for the next 7.5 weeks.  Treat the next 7.5 weeks as if I am hormonally unbalanced.  I am very fragile.  It ain't hormones - it's house.

We sold our house.  After years of trying (off and on), somehow, around Christmas Break, the stars aligned just right  and it... sold.  It wasn't even on the market.

A friend who recently became a real estate agent said, "Hey, what's happening with your house?  Is it still on the market?'

And we said, "No, but if you know people who want a ginormous century home, what the hell, bring 'em by."

So two days later she did.  She showed the house.  We got an email after the showing:   "The people loved it!!  They are asking about taxes, heating and hydro costs. Also they asked about possible March closing."

David and I were nonplussed.    People never asked about closing dates with our house.  Never.  After years, we'd become very accustomed to people saying that they loved the house.  It's a 2.5 story red brick century home - it has servants' staircases and a butler's pantry.  Everybody loves the house. But it usually goes like this:  "They loved the house..."  And then after the (dot, dot, dot)...   the agent says,  "They don't like the neighbourhood."  "It's too big."  "There are too many stairs."  "They don't like the yard."  "They don't like your neighbours' dogs."  (I didn't even know my neighbours had dogs.)

So even after this particularly positive response, David and I were, "Yeah, whatever, they liked the house.  Sure they did, mmmm-hmmmm.  Here are all our utilities costs.  Go ahead and let them see them... whatever... "

And then, by the end of that week, they wanted to come by and see it again.  With their daughter.  And David and I were all, "Yeah, sure they can see it again... with their daughter... whatever..."  Unaffected scoffing followed.

And then they made an offer.  David and I kept looking at each other.  Seriously?  We have an offer on the house?  Seriously?!?  

It was during the offer period that I started to become unstable.  They offered 24 K less, we countered with 12 K less, figuring we could eliminate some of the negotiations, and then they came back 2,000 under our counter offer but they wanted the kitchen island included.  The kitchen island?!?  The kitchen island which was an exclusion?!?   I went cuckoo-bananas.  

That island was an exclusion!  It was listed as an exclusion!  They offered less and they wanted my island!?!  All my love for this home immediately concentrated into that kitchen island.  David and I had sourced the base at an antique store.  It was a 1920's medical table.  With push-through drawers and a tip up back and a pull-out end and two places if you wanted stirrups - which come to think of it, means that there were naked ladies up there showing their hoohas on that table...  But that's not the point!  The point is that this table - along with the hand-crafted maple butcher block top that David created for it - became the perfect  movable island.  It became MY perfect movable island.  And now these people offered us less and were trying to steal it from me.  David and I went upstairs to talk.

I shook my head violently.  "Nope.  No way.  They cannot have that island! NO!!!"

"For the sake of a sale, are you really going to worry about it?"

"Yes!  Yes I am!  The house wasn't even on the market!  We didn't ask them to make an offer!  They offer us less than our very reasonable counter-offer, and then they want my island?!?  Well, they can't have it!!  I will  accept their stingy counter-offer, but that's it!  NO ISLAND!!!"

"So you would be willing to walk away from this deal, even though we've been trying to sell for what seems like forever, for the sake of that island?"

"Yes.  Yes, I would."

So I tromped downstairs, grumbling all the way.  We countered back, without the island, and then had to wait to see if my sudden attachment to furniture was worth screwing us out of a house deal.  A house deal that would, for the first time since we had owned this home, have us relatively debt free.  Oh God, I changed my mind!  They could have the stupid island.  They were going to walk away.  I went crazy and now they were going to walk away.  Except they didn't.

They accepted our counter-offer, without the island, and scheduled a house inspection.  And then they signed off on the house inspection.  And then we signed papers and everything.  The house was sold.  We had sold our house.  HOLY CRAP!  We'd sold our house.  Whoo-freaking-hoo!!  I started a happy 'sold our house' dance... "We sold our hou-ouse!  We sold our hou-ouse!  We sold our...  Oh crap!  Now we have to a buy a new one!  In just over 2 months' time.  Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!"  

I think that's when David handed me the paper bag.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wrong shirt, wrong bra...

You know those days?  The days when you think you look a certain way, but then, when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror, you realize that you are overly optimistic?  Yesterday morning was one of those days.  Yesterday morning the armpit pudge was particularly pulchritudinous.  The bastards. 

I was dressed, ready to hop on the treadmill - one of my tightest sports bras and my old Les Mis t-shirt adorning my torso.  Standing at the kitchen island, I was eating my breakfast.   Across from me was our antique window mirror.  I actually did a small spit take of orange juice.  My two extra front boobs - the ones that hide near my armpits, were more than just visible - they were a solid A cup. 


"What?  What?!?" asks David.

"THIS!"  I point to the offending armpit pudge.  "THESE."  Poke.  Poke. (And then a double-time, cross-torso, more accusatory) Poke-Poke.  I lie across the kitchen island and wail, banging my head on the butcher block top.

"Heather - it's the bra.  The bra is too tight.  That's not usually how you look."

"But it's how I look right NOW! Thud.  Thud.  Thud.  "I shouldn't have THESE."  Poke. Poke.  "I exercise at least an hour every freaking day!  THESE shouldn't exist.  How much do I have to exercise to get rid of THESE?!?"

This is one of those moments when David knew not to say anything - it could go very quickly from bad to worse if he spoke.  He just waited.

"Stupid thyroid!   Stupid peri-menopause!"

David remained silent.  Blood, I'm sure, filling his mouth from his bitten tongue.

My head fell to my chest.  I took a deep breath, lifted my head and squared my shoulders.  "FUCK IT!"  I tucked the armpit pudge into the bra.  "I'm getting on the treadmill.  I don't want to see YOU again. " (I gave a meaningful glance to the offending flesh with an accompanying Poke. Poke) "Do you hear that?  I will exercise and I will take this too-tight bra off and you will go back to AAA size.  Got that?!?"  I climbed the stairs.  "I will not perform cosmetic surgery on myself, I will not perform cosmetic surgery on myself..."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And that's when I peed my pants... again.

So yesterday, when I was publicizing the - FLASH FREEZE WARNING - I should have realized that it would come back and bite me in the ass.

By 9:45 a.m. the puddles were already sporting a thin sheet of ice.   I found myself in a a reverse time-lapse of the spring thaw.  In my well-laced Sorels, I picked my way tentatively across the back alley by St. Michael's Church.  I was doing my best to channel Wash from Firefly "I am a leaf on the wind... "  The gusts would not affect me, they would only propel me on my journey.  I was rock steady.  My toes were antennae in front of me, my gaze firmly on the frigid pavement.  I could actually see the crystallizations forming ahead of me in the path of the wind. 

When I was in my early twenties - I'd taken a wicked fall while heading down an icy hill towards my apartment's dumpster.  It was a prat fall of cartoon proportions - the conclusion of which had me landing so hard on my ass that I put a hairline fracture in my tailbone.  For months afterwards, I was terrified to walk on anything but a level surface.

Congratulating myself on my courageous trek across the frozen terrain, I ramped up my confidence and  headed cross-country towards my office.  Stump. Stump.  Stump.  Not slipping here, no Sir, not me.    Stump. Stump.  Stump.  Carefully going uphill.  Stump.  Stump.  Stu....  An instant of footing uncertainty - the adrenaline of catching myself before the fall creating the perfect conditions for a slight panic pee.  Seriously?!?  Steady on my feet, shoulders now slumped, I cursed my lazy pelvic floor.  Okay, no more cross-country for me.  The short cut across the skating rink of a lawn, even in my Sorels, was too hazardous to contemplate.  I walked on the road and arrived alive.

By the end of the day, the wind had picked up.  David had suggested that he could pick me up on his way home from school, but I poo-poohed his concerns.  If I walked I could already be home by the time he even got to the office.  Nope, I was good. I was now confident in my walking ability.  I'd stick to the salted sidewalks.   

I should have just walked on the road, with the cars. Two near falls and two more brief panic pees had me cursing and vowing to do more Kegels at home.  Heart pumping - now doubting myself, I barely had time to register the fall when it happened.  I was up, up, up in the air and then I was down - hard - on my ass. No time even to curse - barely time to acknowledge that the most recent of panic pees was bigger than the previous two.  I lay there stunned, but already finding the bright side.  Though the pain in my ass radiated throughout my entire body and I had peed my pants even more - I knew that I hadn't landed directly on my tailbone.  Small victory to be sure, but so much better than the alternative.

When I tried to get up, my ass and hips wouldn't cooperate.  So I just lay there for a bit - the cold on my ass already helping with the swelling. When I did turn over, my knees slipped from under me and I was flat on my stomach - now I'd knocked the wind out of myself.   I had to laugh. It was ridiculous - I was ridiculous.   Someone should have videotaped it.  I crawled from the sidewalk onto the road.  I'm not sure, but we may have entered a new geological age in the time it took for me to push myself to standing.  It was still another 10 minutes of carefully picking my way along the road before I made it to our street.  Every few moments I would cheerfully call out to the other crazy people attempting to travel by foot,  "Careful!  It's icy down there!"  I would point to where I'd been and then point to my own ass in Canadian Winter Sign Language.

I shuffled towards sanctuary.  The sidewalk in front of our house and the stairs were already salted and safe.  My husband, who had offered to pick me up at work, who worried for my safety, had beaten me home.  The irony was not lost on me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wet enough for you?

I'm Canadian.  An Air Force brat, I split my formative years between the Maritimes and Prairies (PEI, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, back to Manitoba - with a brief anomaly in California in '81 and '82 - until I finished high school and then I found myself an Ontarian).

I remember those winters in Nova Scotia and Manitoba where, as I child, I would pray for a Snow Day.  They happened infrequently - they held MIRACLE status in my mind.  Between the ages of 9 and 12, I lived in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley  - so many of the kids were bussed in from either the North or South 'Mountain,' that when it snowed, 3/4 of the school population would disappear.   In Winnipeg, heavy snowfall, combined with strong wind-chill, would shut 'er down perhaps twice over each winter.

I'd never had a wet winter until I moved to Ottawa.  November came and the locks froze on our car - we had to jackhammer sheets of ice off the windshield.  I was bone-chillingly cold - could never get warm.  I'd willingly take a cold sunny day in Manitoba over Ontario's damp overcast and icy.  Even with a crappy damp November, come December and straight through to the end of March it was winter - even in Southern Ontario.  There was snow.  It was cold.  Until there wasn't and it wasn't.

Sure, a 1.6 c raise in temperature over 50 years doesn't seem so bad - how can that affect anything?  It's January 6th folks, and it's raining in Southern Ontario.  We have a FLASH FREEZE WARNING.  Flash Freeze Warning?  It should already be frozen - we live in Canada!

"It's just slushy now," said David this morning, as he prepared to depart.  "Only wet.  It's raining.  The sidewalks are fine, the roads are fine."  And then he left.  To drive half an hour away.  And I let him, because I hadn't checked the morning's news yet.  And now I have read the morning's news - seen the warnings from Environment Canada and I've already left my first of what are sure to be several emails for him.

Yeah, sure, right now it hasn't frozen over. NOT YET.  You glance out your window and you see winter slush and actual puddles - nothing to worry about...  I'm not saying that it's a The Day After Tomorrow kind of storm,

I'm just worried about my spouse attempting to make his way back on the 401 at the end of his teaching day and whether or not I should try to drop off Rissa's skates at her school so that she can skate home.

Please be safe everyone.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My cat suffers from dementia.

You wouldn't think her head could do a 360 would you?

Or she's possessed.  It's an either/or I think.

We were all lazing about during the Christmas holidays - comfy and cozy in the family room - in front of the fireplace, and Minuit - the most crotchety of our beasts - went cuckoo bananas.

Not the most sociable of cats, Minuit routinely growls when the doorbell rings before waddling away to hide. This was different.  Nobody at the door.  No loud noises.  She wasn't startled by anything.  She's sitting there - eyebrows pitched in an evil tilt - growling... at... Lola.  Younger black feline Lola, is not a new addition to our household.  She's been here over 2 years now.  But there was Minuit - growling - her fur standing up on her neck. And then Lola, worried that she might get attacked - got her back up.  Deeper growling - yowls - our aged Minuit had morphed into the vocal equivalent of two tom cats marking their territory.  Deep, throaty, ANGRY growls - now at Steve, who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

So?  What do we need here?  A cat whisperer or an exorcist?

And if it IS dementia - how do we properly deal with her new condition? 'Cause your gut impulse is to say, "Minuit, get a grip!  It's your sister Lola... Don't you remember her? (In a louder clear voice)  It's LOLA AND STEVE... YOU KNOW... LOLA AND STEVE..."  Which is possibly the worst thing that you can say to a dementia sufferer.  If they don't remember at that precise moment, they DON'T remember - calling them on it will only confuse them and make them more anxious.  (It's kind of like saying "No, Nana - you're losing your memory, but I'll badger you about it so that I'LL feel better.)

Not to anthropomorphize Minuit, but she does have a brain - so the next time that she loses it - maybe proper introductions are in order?  Spray the other cats with positive feline pheromones?  Suggestions?