Monday, October 08, 2007

Turd Holes which I dodge from subject to subject like a chunk of ham in a pinball machine...

A couple of years ago, during my nausea-filled first trimester of pregnancy with Baby Fangs, I remember teaching a math lesson and making a mistake with a number. I wrote 65,980 on the overhead and then, several seconds later after realizing my error, I changed it to 65, 982. This was more than the uptight, super-organized girls in the class could take, and they moaned and howled for a while because I'd made their notes "messy."

As a super-non-uptight, super non-organized kind of person, I normally am able to deal with this sort of thing by laughing at kids like these, but nausea + hormonal changes + general feeling of "uugggghhhh, being dead would be better than being pregnant" had transformed me into a testy, bloodshot monster. I WASN'T IN THE MOOD, and I let these girls have it.

"Calm the hell down back there!" I snarled, "you'd think it was a freaking famine the way you people are carrying on!" Then, without stopping to think, I found myself plunging headfirst into a rambling and incoherent lecture about the siege of Leningrad. My speech included such inane sentences like: "They were completely surrounded, and it was cold out there!" "The Hermitage caretakers survived by eating art glue and roasted baby!" and (most importantly:) "How did uptight people like you survive such a chaotic time, anyway?? You can't handle ANYTHING without freaking out!" It's been a point of pride for me that, without even knowing I was pregnant, my students did not dismiss my little rant as that of a crazed lunatic but humbly took my point and never complained again when I made a mistake. Which of course, being with child and mentally incapacitated by dreams of meatball stew with whipped cream, I did again and again and again.

I have no clue why I just told you that story.

Oh yeah, uptight people. If there is anything more annoying than an uptight student, it's an uptight student's mom. Without giving too many details, (except that one scene involved the words "jerking off" and "banana cream pie" in the same sentence) my careless mouth, slave as it is to my incredibly stupid and unprofessional brain, has let out several verbal faux pas lately that might not sit too well with the moms of my school. I'm currently in a state of uneasy limbo, waiting for one to call. Actually, I'm waiting for several moms to call me right now. It's left me feeling tense and, uncharacteristically, I've found myself indulging in a little retail therapy to help me cope. I've bought a lot of crap that I'm too embarrassed to write about, but I will tell you about this priceless little mini-sculpture I picked up last week at an obscure little art shop in. OK, it was on sale for $12.99 at my local Pier 1 Imports.

Wow, what a fabulous piece of modern art, hey? We call it Swirly Turd with Hole, and I can't begin to tell you how classy it makes the place look. People say the West End is a working class, bordering on the slums kind of neighbourhood, but Swirly Turd with Hole proves that this just can't be true. Its presence brings such a sense of upper class refinement to my house. Honestly, it's more than just a stunning work of art. Whenever I've had a long day that's left me feeling frazzled and out of sorts, Swirly Turd with Hole's smooth and solid brown presence soothes and comforts me. It helps maintain my balance by reminding me of my place in this world and what it's all about. It's like a good friend filled with lots of friendly good sense, only, like, more swirly and of course, definitely way more turd-like.

Unfortunately, I am the only person in this house who likes it. When I die and everyone is fighting over my stuff, poor Swirly Turd with Hole will be totally ignored. It will probably end up in the hands of an autistic great-grandchild who will line the hole with raw liver and use it for self-abusive purposes. But that's OK. Art is for the people, and he can use it for whatever he wants to to help him cope.

OK, that's it, I'm obviously out of control. I've got to go prep a chemistry lesson.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Explanation, Briefly, And I'll See You Later This Week!

...woe eez me, wizout ze blog...

A few months ago I did a happiness quiz that they had in the Globe and Mail to see how, uh, happy I am. Out of a possible perfect score of "five", I got a "three point seven." According to the person who put the quiz together, this was very normal, and it indicated that, emotionally anyway, I was a pretty healthy person. In fact, a score higher than, say, "four point three" (I forget how high exactly) meant you were probably clinically insane and spent your days wandering around in some sort of Candide-like delusional candy floss fog. This didn't sound like a bad thing to me, but the paper assured me this wasn't true happiness, and therefore not something I should be striving for.

Although it is unpopular, perhaps even embarrassing to admit these kinds of things publicly, I will confess to you that when I filled out that happiness questionnaire, I was mildly discomforted by the fact that I was positively answering a lot of the questions with silent reference to my blog. In fact, the only reason I probably got a "normal" score on that stupid "Happiness Quiz" was because of how much I've enjoyed cranking out these posts over this last year. In other words, my blog... makes... me... happy.

You know why I write this. September saw me plunging back into work after sixteen months at home. The shock and intensity of being back in the school and working with kids again took up all my mental energy. Teaching is weird that way. It takes over your life and it doesn't give you too many breaks, even when you are only working part time. After a couple of weeks back I realized I had no option but to abandon my blog because I had no time for it anymore. Maybe next summer, I thought. Maybe when I retire...

But, no surprise to me, this decision has left me feeling pretty miserable. I slump through my days growling a lot. Cruelly, my school has given me my very own personal, state of the art laptop to lug around with me everywhere I go. It stares at me all day, during my classes, even at home, and when I'm not thinking about Johnny Q Asshole in the back row, third from the right, I'm thinking, gee, I'd sure like to be blogging right now...

Guess I have no choice but to stay.

PS: The floors turned out swell! Now for those crown mouldings...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sad.. And The Bird Thing Really Did Happen, Too...

...forgive me, I was high on floor varnish fumes as I wrote this... when Mr. IQ said the floor would be done by Tuesday, damn it, he really meant what he said!!... Of course, silly old me, I thought he meant LAST Tuesday... wait a minute, today is WEDNESDAY!! That BASTARD!!....

Luciano Pavarotti died last week. Without trying to sound insensitive or selfish, I must say he picked a really crappy time to go. Could there BE a more stressful time of year than the beginning of September? On behalf of teachers everywhere who were going back to work last week and totally freaking out, THANKS A LOT, "PAV." Being blasted by your gut-wrenching, soul-searching, weep-inducing, "WhyAmIHereAnyway?"- Demanding, "DustInTheWind! AllIAmIsDustInTheWind!" Eye-Openers EVERY TIME I TURNED ON THE STUPID RADIO LAST WEEK was MORE THAN I COULD HANDLE. What on EARTH were you THINKING?? WERE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME TOO???

(Whoa, wait a minute! It's the touching works of KANSAS that make me feel all those deep things, not Luciano. Anyway.)

Without giving the impression that I'm more cultured than I really am, because, believe me, I'm not, it was terribly sad listening to him all last week. I'm sorry, but if you can listen to Nessun Dorma and not feel like sobbing your guts out, then you have no passion in your heart. Actually, I don't have a lot of passion in my heart, but I do have an amazing, near-genius ability to feel sorry for myself. Really, it's almost the same thing.

Anyway, I was going to tell you about the crickets.

Each year, when I return to work in the fall, our school is filled with the sound of crickets. They're not there in June, but over the summer they always manage to make their way into the building. Or maybe they are there in June, but haven't started chirping yet. My buddy Nitroglycol would know. My own personal knowledge of crickets comes exclusively from reading A Cricket in Times Square as a kid, and it seems to me that that cricket chirped his way through the whole book. (Yes, I do teach high school biology sometimes, thanks for asking! Shocked? Don't be. My only knowledge of chemistry comes from reading a scene in an Enid Blyton book where someone forgot to add baking powder to the scones. As a result, they didn't rise. They needed the baking powder for the acid/base bubbly thing to happen. If I remember correctly, Hilary [or was it Belinda?] was quite upset.)

Anyway. The crickets. Coming back to their chirps each fall would be quite charming, if you didn't know that they were all dying. There is one that sits and chirps all morning in my kitchenette-filled chemistry class, and try as I will, I can't find exactly where he (she?) is. It makes me sad hearing him chirp. Even the prospect of that big Mulberry Tree in the Sky that he may be going to if he's been good doesn't make me feel much better. He's giving his last performance and honestly, it's depressing as hell listening to him. Actually, it totally breaks my heart.

The first week of school is always very hard for me. I get scared and suffer stage fright, because teaching is very much like being on stage all day, and the possibility of bombing up there and being booed is very, very real. Maybe because of this, every fall when I hear these crickets I feel like crying and running away.

Of course, as fate would have it, as I was making my panic-stricken way to my very first class of the year last week, I ran into one of them. Oh, he looked so frightened, scurrying along this way and that, not sure where to go. His jerky little movements were awfully endearing, and he reminded me a lot of Baby Fangs when she was in her crawling stage: so very sweet and innocent and, damn it all, so terribly vulnerable.

"Hey, little buddy, come on, we'll flee this place together!" I tried to surreptitiously vibe him, hoping he'd jump onto my outstretched hand and be my friend as together we disappeared into my car and made a run for the border. But he wisely ignored me, so I had no choice but to head to my classroom where, left distracted (and distraught!) by the Baby Fangs crawling cricket, I found myself greeted by the unwelcoming presence of 31 unfamiliar kids, all staring up at me with unsmiling faces.

Really, there was nothing I could do but plunge nervously into my first lesson. So that's what I did.

"Okay, so I'm, uh, Ms Whippersnapper and today we're, uh, going to learn about sig figs. Sort of. Well, we're going to add them. Not add sig figs, but, uh, use them. When adding. And subtracting! So, uh, let's say we've got 7000 plus 673 plus 120, well, you've got to include sig figs in your answer so, ha ha, let's look at all the numbers, the leftmost non sig fig number in 7000 is 7 and in the other two numbers it's 3 and 0, non-sig figs that is, so you look at the leftmost sig figs and, whoa, I guess if you're looking at the overhead that would be rightmost number, anyway, you've got to add them, that should be easy, you've been adding like this since grade three at least and besides, ha ha, you can always use a calculator, anyway line them up when you're adding them, thousands, hundreds, whatever, do that and look at your leftmost sig figs in the three numbers, I mean, rightmost, well, if you've written it down now on your own paper it would be leftmost and anyway, you need to check out this leftmostest number of the three and that will be your answer. Well, not your answer, but, you know, how you're going to answer your answer. I mean, question. Yes. Well, so you look at it, and it's thousands, right? Right? Right, so you take the thousandsplaceandputitinyour answersoeventhoughtheanswerisreally7793you're doingtheleftmostthingsoit'sgoingtobe8000. See? HAHAHAHAHA! Pretty easy, huh?"

I then spent the rest of the period going to each student individually and re-teaching what I had just "taught" to the whole class on the overhead.

But that was last week. This week has gone better. I think.

Except that I googled "Crickets" and discovered that to make chocolate-covered crickets you have to rinse them in water first and then stick them in the freezer until they're "dead but not yet frozen."

Then while reading Salmon Rushdie's book Fury in the tub, I emerged dripping and headed straight to the office (the office! Oh god, the office! Don't get me started on the office) to google the word "strappado." Finding out what it meant didn't exactly lift my spirits.

And then a bird flew into our house. Oh, poor bird. It settled on the dining room window sill, and I thought that I would be able to save him, because that window pushes open so easily. But when I moved forward to set him free he flew off frightened in the opposite direction, bashed into our living room window and went crashing dead onto our floor. It happened so fast it took me several seconds to even register what had happened.

If I were a clever girl, I would be able to make some clever connections here about all these dead and/or dying pretty tune makers. But I'm not, so I can't. All I know is that the cricket's little chirp was very faint today. He sounds so sad, and I still can't find him. I can hardly bear it that he's spending his last days cooped up in a dully painted, ugly-floored home-ec room.

But I know. He's only a cricket.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Awfully Short Post

...give me a week or two of this "working for a living" business to get myself properly sorted out OK? It's been quite the shock to this lazy girl's system...

Because I'm part-time these days, I'm usually on the highway over the noon hour, and I've taken to listening to the UMFM's broadcast of Democracy Now with Amy Goodman during my disgustingly long, carbon-spewing ride home from the small town in which I teach. I'm not ashamed to say that I think I have developed a little bit of a girl-crush on her. Her growly voice just kills me, and she's sort of everything I'm not but wish I could be: Politically articulate, objective and emotionally IN CONTROL when it comes to the pressing issues of the day. Because this has been a weepy week (Baby Fangs has sobbed uncontrollably each morning as I've left for work) her show and that voice have had an incredible impact on me. Words and phrases like "melting polar ice caps", "Abu Ghraib" and "Jimmy Carter" get me bawling in ways that can be confusing (JIMMY CARTER???) and probably not emotionally healthy. I would be reluctant to write about it here, were I not so positive that it is only a temporary affliction brought on by the terrible upheavals of the week.

Actually, a lot of things are making me bawl these days. (Ball whom? Hahahahahahaha blehhhhhh.)

Like the crickets.

I'll try to write about the crickets tomorrow.

Friday, September 07, 2007


...that doesn't stand for what you think it stands for...

Today's schedule, in brief:

5:30 am: Wake. Make up chemistry worksheet. Get ready for work.

7:00 am: Leave for work.

12:47 pm: Return from work.

4:10 pm: Leave for work again to supervise "Gym Night."

8:39 pm: Return from work.

Total hours spent on work (including, admittedly, the commute): 10+ hours

How swell it is that I'm going PART-TIME this year! I can't tell you how RELAXED and UNDERWORKED I FEEL.

PS: Piss off, spellcheck. Underworked is too a word.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Final Update Until Everything's Done

...and it WILL get done...the floor is half sanded, and will be finished's looking swell, but I'm tired of writing about it, so I'll spare you any more details until the last coat of whatever that stuff is you put on wood to make it shine has dried... then, really, honestly, truly, there will be pictures...

Do you know how people say things like, "Well, my house can sure get messy, but at least it's never DIRTY"?

Well, right now, this house is dirty.

Or, even better, people who go on and on and on about a disaster zone in their house and then when you finally get to see it you find it's not even slightly disastrous? (Heather sprang one of these on me last month when I was allowed a peek at her infamous laundry room. It was sparkling neat and the disappointment I felt and the feelings of betrayal I experienced when I saw it were frankly soul-crushing.)

Listen: My house really is a total and complete disaster zone.

I feel like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz when describing what the Winged Monkeys did to him. ("They took my arms and threw them over there! Then they took my legs and threw them over there!") The contents of my house have been thrown everywhere, and while I know it has not been done irrationally, we're working towards a greater good here and it's all part of a well-thought-out master plan, having a pile of books sitting in my bathtub of all places is enough to send any good woman over the edge. Especially when that someone is about to return to work after 16 months!!

I cannot even begin to describe how fabulous it is to start off the school year feeling so wonderfully organized!

Actually, I'm very much looking forward to going back to work. (Having said that, if I wasn't part-time this year, I must confess I would not be blogging right now: I would be upstairs staring at my sleeping children and sobbing my guts out.) But getting out every morning is going to be great, and, despite what people might tell you, teaching is actually an absolutely fantastic job. It's a well-kept secret that teenagers are the funniest people on the planet, and I am NOT lying OR exaggerating when I say that every day at work I get at least three honest-to-goodness belly laughs because students have said things that are hilarious.

So yeah, teaching is great.

If it weren't for the insane workload (do you KNOW how many hours teachers put in at home?) the overflowing classrooms (a blog post of its own) the stupid education "specialists" (you would not BELIEVE some of the crap they've tried to make me do in my classroom) the crazy parents ("how dare you look at my [spoiled, lazy, stupid, rude, total asshole] child sideways!") the finger-pointing media (who blame us teachers for EVERY societal woe from increasing crime rates to childhood obesity) the resentful taxpayers ("how dare you get all those holidays! And what's up with your five hour work day anyway?") ("five hours": ooooh, don't even get me started) and the patronizing academics ("well, we know she's not smart! If she was smart she would have become a doctor!") why, honestly:

It would be practically the most perfect job there is.

PS: Apparently I will be teaching my chemistry classes in the home-ec room this year. Yes, you've read that correctly: Chem labs in the morning; cooking classes in the afternoon.

Someone is going to die.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Update #6


The last two posts have been a little negative, and I'm thinking I'd better end the day a little more positively. Besides, things have actually turned out to be OK.

We never found the driver's license, which doesn't surprise me. This place is crazy. (I personally have been unable to locate my own license since last October. Really. I'm telling you, we're not normal people around here.) When Mr. IQ finally seemed resolved to this fact, I gently brought up the issue of floor sander rental.

"If we bring it home today, we'll get an extra day free because the store is closed tomorrow," I said.

"OK, let's do it," he said.

So we did and when we got home he got to work right away. The machine made a lot of noise, and seemed, in my humble opinion, a little out of control. He looked like a cowboy holding a bucking bronco by the horns, only, you know, without the cowboy hat and cheesy cowboy moustache. The whole place was vibrating in an (I'll be honest here) not altogether unpleasant manner. But the expression on his face told me that Mr. IQ was not going to be getting his rocks off on THAT 150 pounder: Not today; not anytime.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"I'm not sure," he said. He checked the Internet and then phoned the store. They had him run it while they yelled directions to him. "YOU MEAN IT SHOULDN'T BE BOUNCING LIKE THIS?" he shouted, trying to keep the phone to his ear and maintain control of the machine at the same time. Apparently the answer was no. Slamming the phone down, he yanked the sander out of the room and dragged it down the front steps of our house angrily like it was a recalcitrant child.

"THE @%&!! THING IS BROKEN!!" he shouted, "I'M GOING TO GET MY MONEY BACK!!!!" Shoving the 150 pound vibrator into the passenger seat, he climbed in behind the wheel and tore off around the corner towards Rona, wheels screeching.

I walked slowly back into the house with a heavy heart. There had been only one machine available to rent today. The floor was not going to be fixed any time soon. I started to make supper, vegetarian chicken noodle soup. The vegetarian chicken chunks, which transform into rubber when placed in boiling hot, chicken-flavoured water (I didn't know they did this) symbolized my inability to navigate normally through the murky waters of this basically ridiculous world. And the noodles symbolized nooses, nooses which invitingly beckoned me towards a happier, less stressful place, a place where physical limitations would prevent me from getting into projects that are way over my head (attractive coffin makeovers for example.)

I hope you don't think I'm serious.

(Total side note: The soup, as you can imagine, ended up being thoroughly disgusting, and High Intensity howled all through dinner about how gross it was. It reminded me of the book Trainspotting where the main character says something like, "Everyone grows up thinking their mother is the best cook in the world. I did too, until I grew up and realized she can't cook for shit." Poor old H.I. She knows my culinary skills suck and she's only four years old.)

Anyway! Mr. IQ returned. And he had another sander!!!

"I was very polite," he said, "but I think they could see the quiet rage." To make a long story short, to make up for the inconvenience of sending us home with a faulty machine, they've refunded our rental money, and the first $90.00 of sanding supplies we need are ON THE HOUSE!!!!"


Update #5


Oh, and the open-faced sandwiches? The ones without slices of bread on top? The ones that, here in North America, seem naked and incomplete and definitely missing something? They symbolized EVERY STUPID PROJECT THAT WE HAVE STARTED AROUND THIS STUPID HOUSE AND NEVER GOT AROUND TO FINISHING.

Not that I'm calling us pathetic, unorganized and scatterbrained or anything like that.

Update #4

...I knew yesterday had been too good to be true...

The day has started slowly, and we just wasted a good hour preparing a large tray of Scandinavian-style open-face sandwiches and consuming them. It was a highly symbolic meal, although no-one at the table other than me was aware of this. The canned wild salmon symbolized my fragile mental health, which, like the wild salmon, is highly endangered right now. The Havarti sandwiches with red pepper rings symbolized the sour, I-Am-Smelling- Something-Bad expression my face is quickly assuming as it dawns on me that we'll probably never get that damn floor finished. (If you've ever gotten a sniff of someone with Havarti breath you know what I'm talking about.) The yogurt symbolized the bacterial cultures that will help decompose Mr. IQ's corpse after I snap and kill him. And the Chinese green tea symbolized Asia, the continent to which I will flee to avoid my inevitable arrest and conviction for my role in his death. (Although were I to be tried by a jury of my peers, assuming these peers were married women, they'd find a way around the law and set me free I think. They'd know. They'd know.)

Why is the project stalled today? Because Mr. IQ has lost his ID and we are spending the day searching for it. He needs it to register for school on Tuesday.

My hair has turned white.

I can't stand this.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Update #3

...I know these posts are boring, as I said before, I'm doing this to keep me focussed. WE WILL FINISH THIS!!!...

I cannot believe this: I've LOST the battle. He phoned Rona and is renting a floor sander tomorrow. Apparently he can get the whole thing done by Tuesday.

So weird.

Pictures tomorrow. Promise.

Update #2

...I keep thinking of the show Trading Places. What I wouldn't give to trade places with you right now...

This morning I woke up at 7:30 and spent the next hour or so sorting through a bunch of Mr. IQ's crap that had to be moved for us to work on the TV room. Then he returned from work.

"Say!" he said, "There's a really great looking garage sale down the street! Wanna go?"

My response would determine how the rest of the day went. If I screeched, "GARAGE SALE???? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?????? HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH CRAP WE HAVE IN THIS HOUSE ALREADY???" the day, I knew, would go badly. So I did what I needed to do to make everything go smoothly today. I said, "No, but why don't you take the baby and check it out yourself?" He did and came back empty-handed but cheerful.

I am getting so damn wise in my old age.

There WAS hardwood floor down there, but it's in pretty sad shape. Mr. IQ has just spent two hours pulling out nails from it and is now taking a little snooze. We are having a bit of an argument about how to proceed. He wants to strip the floors and restore them to their former glory. I say buy the laminate wood flooring and have the thing done by tomorrow night.

Fifty bucks says I will win this argument.

Update #1

...oh, things aren't that bad... of course, my lovely parents just picked up the kids...

As I paint these walls I am reminded of this time when I was in high school. I had noticed the walls in our house were particularly dirty and so wet my finger with my spit and wrote HI at the top of the stairs. A few days later I noticed that someone had added an "S" to the beginning of my greeting and a "T" to the end of it.

My mom had done this, and it stayed like that for many, many months.

You should never fight your genetic inheritance. I should have just left these walls unpainted and I would be a MUCH happier person right now.

On the bright side, under the ugly linoleum in the TV room there is a big layer of plywood and under the plywood may be hardwood floors!! Mr. IQ is investigating as I type. Keep your fingers crossed, MAN would it save us a lot of time if it is.

I don't know why we call it the TV room. We never watch TV.

Distress Signal

True story, all of this. In the last few weeks alone, I have:

1. Lost a set of keys in the park

2. Left my bank card at the fruit and veggie store and had to go back for it

3. Left my wallet at the vintage clothing store and had to go back for it

4. Lost a pair of sunglasses

It is a major fact of my life that I:

1. Spend A MINIMUM of 40 minutes each day hunting for something I've lost (and really, that is NOT an exaggeration.)

2. Am about as absent minded as they come

I have not yet deteriorated to the point where I leave the house and forget to put on my pants first, but I suspect it is coming to that.

Looking around this house right now, the despair I feel is beyond description. This is awful.

Honestly, I wonder why people like me are even on the planet. I am so unsuited for the workings of everyday life it is ridiculous. I'm back to work in three days and this place is completely, totally and wholly upside down. We can't find anything. And we have a fruit fly infestation again.

I'll post some pictures in a few hours. You would not believe what this place looks like.

Friday, August 31, 2007



Well, first off, the pictures: I've taken some good ones, but I have to wait until tomorrow morning to post them. Mr. IQ is at work. I still can't believe I'm posting about this crap. Sorry it's so boring, I'm doing this mostly for myself, to keep me focussed and hopefully encourage me to finish everything. I have, as you know, a bad track record for finishing things.

This morning we pulled back the mouse turd-encrusted carpet, confident that it would reveal a breathtakingly shiny and beautiful hardwood floor. As the picture I will post tomorrow will reveal, this is not what we found. Devastated, we decided that we needed to take a break to collect our thoughts. So we went thrift store shopping, and purchased several fine books for our collection.

"Ah good," I said dryly when he showed me this two inch thick copy of some crap labour law thing he planned to buy, "a book! Just what we need around the house to make us look smart or something." (I say this every time he brings a new book into the house. It ceased being funny about six years ago.) (I'm getting a strong sense of deja vu writing that: I suspect I've already told you this.)

It's here I wish I could post a picture of our sunroom for you, because it is now stacked high with the books that used to be in our TV room. They have been piled in there, because the plan is now to install some cheap-ass wood-looking flooring tomorrow. I cannot even BEGIN to describe how much I am dreading this. Just clearing the room this evening caused us to have 234 fights, and no I'm not exaggerating. It's not my damn fault he kept dropping things on his stupid feet, and I really didn't find the words he was shouting appropriate for a house filled with small language-learning children. Of course, when I shouted these words because things landed on my feet, it was entirely appropriate. He seemed to have a problem with this. I had problems with him having a problem. You get the picture.

Anyway, I don't have time for this, I have to get back to painting the halls.


Seriously mad at myself.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Boring Painting Update

...actually, I can't even believe I'm making posts like these...

Well, I got most of the TV room done today, at least the green part. This picture is terrible, as are all the other ones I took. It's actually a pretty darn nice green, not all pukey like it looks here.

Of course, this whole process is killing me. I hate hands-on stuff.

And don't even ask me about the stupid office.

Tomorrow: We pull up the mouse turd-encrusted carpet! Be sure to tune in!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sunday Night Office Update Part Whatever which the blogger gets boring and shows off some more pictures of her House of Chaos...

I'm back at work on Tuesday. I've been off for 16 months and honestly, it feels like 16 days in a way. So weird.

Typically, I've left everything to the last minute, and we're all freaking out around here trying to get everything done that I (and only I) want done. So help me, if the TV room and halls are not painted in the next five days someone is going to die.

Because pressure's on, I'm not going to be writing much over the next week or so, but just to ensure I finish these projects, I'm going to post pictures of our progress everyday until everything is done.

Honestly, the green looks a lot better in, uh, person.

Look, don't get offended by this picture, I'm not giving YOU the finger. I love YOU! I'm just doing this to express my exasperation with the whole stupid aesthetic process. Damn that cavewoman who first started painting pictures on the wall to "brighten up the place." It's all her fault! You know how people are. Her neighbour saw what she had done and thought, "Hmmm, I want that for MY cave!" And so the whole concept of "home decoration" started.

Truly, I sometimes think I would be a lot happier if I did live in a cave.

Hey, don't get offended by this picture either. High Intensity doesn't even know what "giving the finger" means. When she sees me doing it, she thinks I'm playing magic fairy and pointing my magic wand at daddy. WHO WON'T STOP TAKING PICTURES OF ME TONIGHT, EVEN THOUGH I'VE ASKED HIM REPEATEDLY TO STOP.

See you tomorrow.

PS: Please, don't enlarge on the soap dish of this picture. Please. It's... appalling.

PPS: Uh, what about the stupid office??

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Musical Interlude

...oh GOD I love the Internet...

Hey, I wrote you guys a song.

Here it is.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


...I'm going to live forever! Unless I'm stabbed first!!!!...

Aughh!! Guess what!!! I'm going to be on the CBC six o'clock news tonight!! That's right, there's been a stabbing!! A fifteen year old boy!! 100 meters from our house!! They interviewed me on my thoughts and took some shots of me loading the kids into the car!! The car was a mess!! My moustache wasn't bleached!! I'm pretty sure I looked terrible!! My opinions were rambling and nonsensical!! What if the shot of me putting Fangs in the car seat makes my ass look big??!! I'm scared to watch tonight!! Wait a minute -- we don't even have a working television!!

Yup, that's right, there is a fifteen-year-old clinging to life in the hospital because someone tried to stab him to death and here I am excitedly contacting every person I've ever known to let them know I'm on TV tonight.

What a stupid world.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bummy Blog which my buns play the starring role and my children hardly appear at all, except as minor secondary characters ...

My friend Jeffen, whom I have known since grade eight, recently started up a blog. It's a music blog and the theme is right there in the title: Music Ruined My Life. On it, you can download great music and read neat things about music. Yip, it's a music blog all right; there can be no argument about that.

Jeffen calls my blog a Mommy Blog.

"It is NOT a Mommy Blog," I said, totally horrified when he told me this. "It's a.. a... a 'Complain About My Health and Mr. IQ' blog."

"Get out of here," he said, "All you do is write about your kids."

"No I don't!" I shouted. I got off the phone and sulked for a while. Then I went and found Mr. IQ.

"JeffensaidmyblogisaMommyBlogwaaghIdon'twanttobeknownasa MommyBlogger ismyblogaMommyBlog?" I asked shrilly, my hair standing slightly on end.

"Well....uh, yeah.... it's a mommy blog... isn't it?" Mr. IQ said, looking totally confused. He seemed uneasy, too, as in Oh, crap, what's the right answer? sort of uneasy. I hate it when I see him looking like that. I mean, for crying out loud, at this point shouldn't he have me all figured out?

"Hello! It's a 'Reflections on Life' blog!" I said indignantly.

"Pretty shallow reflections," he said, and then quickly added, "In all the right ways, of course."

Leaving aside the obvious question, namely, why does the Mommy Blogger label bug me so much, I ask you, are these guys wrong or what?? Listen, don't answer that! Let's read through the following story and then analyze it at the end for so-called "Mommy Blogger" content. I think you'll quite agree with me when I say that what I'm serving up here isn't your standard mac n' cheese mommy fare! My blog is deep! Complex! Controversial! Politically insightful and deeply textured! Its smooth finish is nuanced with subtle hints of chocolate, ripe bursting plum and dangly cherry! Oh crap, sorry. Got distracted and started describing the wine I had for dinner tonight instead. Anyway.

The Story

So, yah, like, I was getting dressed this morning, and, as per usual, the sight of my naked pale butt proved too much for High Intensity. Racing over, she began pummeling the old hamcakes like they were a set of bongo drums. She sang a little song, too, while she was doing this:


Such a charmer! She does this kind of thing a lot, even when it isn't spring.

Now, I don't know how other mothers deal with their little pre-schoolers doing Ringo Starr impersonations on their asses, but I imagine the responses would be pretty varied.

Gentle mom's response: "Now dear. Mama's bum doesn't like that."

Sneaky mom's response: "Say, is that a chocolate bar over there?"

Intellectual mom's response: Oh yeah, right, as if I would know.

'End of Her Rope' mom's response: Censored.

It just so happened that this morning I was tired. I was apathetic. I wasn't feeling particularly gentle, but then I wasn't energetic enough for a full scale attack either. So I chose the easy, "Maybe if I ignore it, it will just go away" response, which didn't work: it didn't go away. BONG-GA bong-ga BONG-GA bong-ga. The tribal beat she finally settled on was admittedly pretty mesmerizing. Combined with the hypnotic "ripple and wave" bum flesh vibrations, it knocked the baby out cold. And of course, eventually it got Mr. IQ's head popping in through the doorway.

"What's going on?" he asked. "It sounds like a Caribbean festival in here."

"Oh, like the kettle drums," I said, blushing, assuming he was making a coy reference to my amazing buns of steel.

"Heh?" He looked confused, so I explained.

"More like buns of mashed potato," he said, staring at them thoughtfully.

"BUUUNSSS OOOOOOF MAAAAASHHHH!!!" High Intensity shouted, like the announcer from The Muppet Show shouting PIGS IN SPACE.

"CHEEEEEEKSSS OOOOOOOF CHEEEEEEESE!!!!" Mr. IQ bellowed, getting right into the spirit of things.

"GEEEEEEEEET THE HELL OOOOOOUUUUUTTT OF HERRRRE!" I snarled, but they didn't budge. Glaring didn't get rid of them either. There was only one thing left to do, and that was put my pants on. So that's what I did.

-End of Story-

Analysis: The above vignette neatly illustrates how this blog has NOTHING TO DO WITH MY KIDS AT ALL AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH MY ASS THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'd write more, but I have to go bathe and feed my kids ass, and then take them it to the park. So I'll see you soon. I'll regale you with more delightful tales of my behind. (Get it?? "TALES??"Ahahahaahahhahahahahaha)


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dali Day in Seven Short Scenes

..the weird thing is that once you start LOOKING for surreal things, you realize that they're everywhere. So your challenge for today is notice one of them, and report back...


Some mornings you wake up and for some inexplicable reason you are filled with a terrible sense of unease and dread. That's when you know you are in for a bad day. Other mornings you wake up and you are a melty-face clock. Then you know you are in for a surreal day.

The Day

You wake up. A honky tonk version of Pink Floyd's Young Lust ("Oooh; I need a dirty woman") is blasting in your ear. You have never heard this particular version, but it is bad, so bad it's almost creepy. "#@%$&@ CBC!" you swear, and burrow your head in your pillow. But it isn't the radio, it is a CD being played by that person you live with. You stare at him strangely all through breakfast. That someone would choose to record such a horrible version of this song is weird. That someone would voluntarily listen to it is freaky beyond all possible description. Who IS this person?? you think, and why am I suddenly so afraid of him??

You head off to the Motor Vehicles Branch to renew your driver's license. Outside the building is a sausage stand, and as you near it you realize it is being run by a pleasant looking woman wearing a headscarf. A Muslim selling kubasa? You feel uneasy. Worriedly, you look around for the "Our Sausages are 100% Beef!" sign. But there is no "All Beef" sign. You start to hyperventilate.

You get your license and leave. As you walk nervously towards home, an expensive sports vehicle rounds the corner. It is being driven by some reckless young hooligan and he is blasting music. POUND! POUND! POUND! sounds the music, and the noise is deafening.

"Mommy, that music is TOO LOUD," your oldest child says.

"Yes. Yes it is," you say unhappily, casting an anxious look at the young delinquent. You hustle your child off in the opposite direction. The punk squeals his tires and rips down the street. You look about crazily. Has the world gone insane? He has been blasting CLASSICAL MUSIC. Something with VIOLINS and maybe even a CELLO or two. You whimper unhappily. Something is definitely up. You just want to go home.

Unfortunately, when you get home you find yourself locked out and wandering around lost in the forest-like back yard like Dante's little hell-bound boy. It is forest-like back there because you have neglected to mow the grass for a while, but no matter: You feel despondent. You remember that the guy you live with has gone off to do errands and won't be back for a while. You would stay home, but your fear of sitting there with two bored and whiny children overrides your new-found concerns about the BIG WEIRD WORLD. You decide to go for a walk. Before you leave, you scrawl a message in play chalk on the front door.

Locked out.
Meet us at Flying Pizza.
Hurry, please save us.
Everything is Freaky.

You hope when he sees the message he hurries.

You walk east of Arlington Street with your offspring. A thug on an old rusty ten speed bike with curved handlebars approaches you from behind and you edge out of his way. "Thanks very much ma'am," he murmurs politely as he passes. At the Portuguese bakery a pimp and two lovely and stoned prostitutes make way for you as you walk by. The pimp helps you carry the stroller up the two stairs to the bakery and then waits for you so he can help you bring it down again when you leave.

"He's a very nice man," your oldest child whispers when you are out of earshot.

"Mmm, really swell," you murmur.

You head for Flying Pizza. Once there, you have a long and painful conversation with the man behind the counter whose English vocabulary is limited. Your order for a medium Greek vegetarian pizza with black, not green, olives doesn't appear to be registering with him. He seems angry with you and keeps shouting something. You don't get it, and would consider hanging out at the vacuum cleaner shop across the street instead, except that you suspect their pizza wouldn't be as good. "A medium Greek!" you shout. "Black, not green!" You break out into a sweat and hope your order isn't being perversely misinterpreted.

Suddenly there is a tug on your arm. Your four-year-old child is looking up at you. "I know what he's saying," she says, "He's saying the medium and large ones cost the same." And so he is. You change the order to a large pizza and the man beams at you. He was on your side all along! You think about this as you wait outside at the picnic table. Then you suddenly realize that the guys making your pizza are Muslim as well.

The guy you live with appears.

"Is it odd?" you ask after greeting him, "that the guys in there are Muslim and cooking up pork products? I mean, instead of the Greek vegetarian pizza I ordered, we could have had one with ham, sausage and bacon, no problem."

The guy you live with looks wistful. "Ham, sausage and bacon," he says mournfully and gives a heavy sigh. You sit silently waiting for your pizza. When the Greek vegetarian arrives, you decide not to take it home but to eat it right there outside on the old and faded picnic table. It is about as un-Rome-like a setting as you could find. You feel a strange longing to have an Italian man with a violin come play at your table, and the surreal gods kindly grant an interpretive version of your wish: A shirtless man carrying a large Big Gulp walks by and gives a big musical belch. You start to relax a little. Perhaps surreal days aren't that bad after all!

Then just as you are finishing your pizza, a scary-looking thug approaches your table, and you brace yourself. What will he ask for? Money? Cigarettes? A lighter?

"Say," the guy says, "Wanna buy some frozen pickerel fillets?"

The guy you live with starts to say no, but you know that you have no choice but to buy some. This is YOUR surreal day, and just the words "pickerel fillets" brought up casually on a busy urban street by a scary-looking stranger makes you feel like you're tripping on acid. Besides, you recently re-read A Year in Provence and felt a wistful sense of longing when reading the descriptions of the outdoor markets. Purchasing stolen frozen fish fillets from criminals on the corner of Arlington and Sargent is the Winnipeg West End equivalent of going to a charming French stall and sniffing melons for freshness and wandering home with a couple of freshly baked loaves in your basket. You feel giddy. "I'll take two pounds," you say. After a complicated series of whistles and hand gestures, a second thug-like gentleman arrives with your purchase. You take them home and put them in the fridge.

For dinner, you cook them up.

"What's all that white stuff?" your oldest child asks, pointing to the glistening parts.

"White stuff. Everything's got white stuff," you say, trying to normalize it for her so that she'll accept it and eat it.


"Sure. If I was frying YOU up, people would ask the same question," you say. "They'd say, hey, what's up with all that white stuff there?"

"No they wouldn't," the man you live with says reasonably, "they'd say, 'Hey, why is there a small child being sauteed up in your frying pan?"

"Oh, of course they would," you say, "good point."

Naturally enough, the surreal day ends with dinner.


Embrace your surreal days, don't run away from them. And on the days when the local food bank is handing out pickerel fillets, hang out on West End street corners and look hungry. You'll be glad you did.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Boring Medical Update

...I should have posted this earlier but I was SO SICK of writing about my STUPID HEALTH and I sort of assumed you were SICK OF READING ABOUT IT...

I think I have mentioned that one of Mr. IQ's summer jobs is an overnight-dealy where basically he gets paid fairly substantial coin to sleep. I think he actually loves going to these shifts. Unlike here, at work there is junk food in the cupboards, plus cable: He can, if he chooses, not sleep, but sit and stuff his face with Cheetos and watch TV all night. He comes home to our TV channel-less house filled with nothing but chick peas and green leafy veg a refreshed new man. I think he likes this job a lot. I, on the other hand...

You know, there are not too many things I'm very good at. I can't draw; I can't sing; I couldn't organize my way out of a paper bag and the things I cook are often burnt and never delicious. But I must say, when Mr. IQ is off doing one of these overnight shifts and I'm alone in the house, I am a freaking GENIUS at imagining the different ways psychopathic home invaders could get in here and kill me. Lying in bed alone, listening to every creak and moan this house makes, I can work myself up into a right tizzy, mentally going through all the possible "Kill Whippersnapper!" scenarios I can think of. I've spent many a scary night holed up in this pit picturing myself being shot at, stabbed, poisoned, hacked in the skull with an icepick and shish-kebobbed Bavarian style with a side order of fries. I've even imagined myself being sat on in the face and smooshed to death by a big fleshy pair of robber buttocks. (Clothed buttocks. Oh my god, if that actually were to happen to me, fat ass mister robber man better bloody well have a pair of pants on.) In this manner, I terrify myself into a psychotically freaked out paralysis and then a coma-like trance takes over. It's like sleep, but when I snap out of it the next morning I find that I'm really not as well-rested as I would like to be. Also, I've usually peed the bed.

If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably know that all this is leading up to something and it is: Being sick for an extended length of time (like, oh I don't know, maybe HALF OF MY FREAKING SUMMER) just happens to be another one of those things that gets old Whippersnapper's imagination running off the deep end. I start envisioning some pretty bad scenarios, all of which end up with me in a casket and everyone bawling at my funeral. (Balling whom? Hahahaa) Anyway, because of all this I have a message I'd like to pass on to Winnipeg's health care professionals, in the wild and totally irrational hope that they read my blog: IT IS MEDICALLY IRRESPONSIBLE TO LEAVE AN AGING HYPOCHONDRIAC LIKE ME UNDIAGNOSED FOR FIVE BLOODY WEEKS. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? ARE YOU CRAZY???

Let's recap the last month and a half of doctor's visits, shall we?

Visit #1: (To the walk-in clinic, one week after illness first appears) "Well, the blah blah blah blahs on your throat indicate that the infection is viral in nature. Go home and take it easy."

Visit #2: (Two weeks later, to my family doctor) "Why are you coming to see me for a virus?? Here, take these antibiotics."

Visit #3: (Another two weeks or so later; again to my family doctor) "Hmmm... you're dying you say?? You think you have West Nile? Maybe Hantavirus? Ebola? Well, maybe we'll take some blood and, oh, why not, let's swab your throat for a sample as well since it's bugging you so much. Wow, would you just look at it down there, it's redder than old Karl Marx dressed up as Santy Claus!"

Gaaar. Anyway, the trips to the doctor are done and the tests are in: We have an official diagnosis. What have I been suffering from for all this time?? (Drum roll please... )

Strep throat.

(Strep throat?????)

Yip. Strep throat. Strep freaking throat. Half my summer wasted because of strep motherpluckingcanucking throat.

You know, I have been known to stretch the truth a bit on this blog. For instance, in the last post, it is not even slightly true that I regretted not having meatballs on the floor to cushion Mr. IQ's fall. In fact, if I had had meatballs down there and he HAD landed on them, truthfully, I think my first thoughts would have been ones of irritation. (Hey! That bastard just ruined my meatballs!) But it's important to me that you know that, on my honour, EVERYTHING I wrote about my symptoms last month was absolutely true. When I said I had a fever, I really had a fever. When I said my throat was killing me, it really was killing me. And every time I said I was suffering a relapse, darn it all, I was totally relapsing. My July was a ruin.

However! One good thing has come out of all this! My roll of fat around my middle, compliments of Baby Fangs and her nine month sojourn in my belly has -- well, not entirely disappeared, but definitely shrunk a lot. I'm happy about this and recognize this is a fabulous thing, however I'd also like you to know that I had become rather fond of my Fangs Roll. I liked to lie in bed and fondle it the way some people like to fondle their well I'm not going to finish that sentence, suffice it to say it was my comfort tire and unless I was looking sideways at myself in a mirror (something I rarely do) I didn't really begrudge its presence. Now that it's gone I must admit a small part of me is a little wistful and melancholy. Besides, what am I going to do at night now in bed? Besides freak myself out with my freaky little death visions, I mean?

I really can't believe I just asked that. If that's not a cue to end a post, I really don't know what is.

Uh, good-bye.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mystery Life

....oh those pesky forces of nature...

Ingmar Bergman died last week. Perhaps because I spent a significant chunk of my childhood driving through the (holycrapcanwesayboring) forests of Sweden on the way to my grandparents' farm in Norway, the news of his passing has affected me quite a bit. I haven't been this sad about an entertainment figure passing away since Oliver, the original singer of Good Morning Sunshine from the hit musical Hair, succumbed to cancer in 2000. Ah, Oliver. I still hear his song occasionally, played late at night on the golden oldies station, but I'll tell you, it's just not the same; I hear it as Good Morning, I'm Dead now, and I find this is a less perky version, even if the scooby-dooby-bow-wow chorus lyrics haven't changed.

I mention this because last night the kids and I made some popcorn and flipped on The Seventh Seal and what do you know, for the first time EVER there were all these themes of DEATH and HELL flashing at me and it was all very confusing. I've watched this movie at least three thousand times, and, until last night, all I'd seen were happy Swedish beach scenes complete with hunky Swedish stud-muffins playing chess. People think beach volleyball is all that and then some, but, wow, you really haven't seen anything until you've watched a beach chess game. Raaar. Anyway, it's all different now: Just because Bergman is dead, his cute and, let's be honest, chick-flick genre movies have become PHILOSOPHICAL NIGHTMARES for me. I must have a morbid personality or something. What's wrong with me??

Death ruins everything.

Anyway, because the movie got me thinking about death and hell and things, I thought I'd share with you that generally speaking, I am of the opinion that hell is:

70% other people (Not you. OTHER people. THOSE people. You know who I mean.)

5% Mr. IQ

15% entropy (With regards to my messy house, not the thermodynamic-y thing-y.) (Yes, it is official, I will only be teaching chemistry next school year; piss off.)

10% gravity

That's right, you heard me, gravity. My dinner plate-sized hands have never really reconciled themselves to "playing for the team" and they're always fumbling stuff, making my life a misery. They're spiteful things too and like to drop things on my feet, and when they're not doing this, High Intensity is doing it for them. And of course every ten seconds or so, old Baby Fangs is hurdling her tiny baby frame down a flight of stairs or crashing down from a shelf or something. Then she cries a lot and the whole house is miserable for a while, feeling her pain and then some. Gravity is horrible. I hate it.

I mention all this for a reason.

Because I am a very lazy person, when the cloud of inertia descends on my spirit, I tend to try to fight it. That is, I sometimes try to fight it. At least once a month, in a desperate attempt to once and for all rid myself of the "slothful bum " label, I force myself to do something that I absolutely hate doing. This usually involves tackling some ridiculous and grim household chore like "cleaning out the fridge" or "colour coordinating the dried legume jars in the cupboard" or "light dusting of the mantelpiece and cocktails." It takes much inner dialogue, but I usually manage to do something. Or, at very least, get started.

A few days ago, when every bone in my body was directing me to go lie down on the couch and re-read East of Eden for the 786th time because it would be comforting for my brain and non-demanding on my body, I managed to summon the will necessary to clean and shine our hardwood floors. I didn't really want to do it, oh god, I soooo didn't want to do it, but I got myself into the kitchen and under the sink to search for the necessary cleaning supplies. Naturally, I perked up momentarily when I discovered we were out of Murphy's Wood Oil, but I didn't let myself get off that easy. Giving myself a stern, if silent rebuke, I stubbornly grabbed the wood furniture cleaner and defiantly got down on my hands and knees and gave the whole house a good floor polishing. Actually, the furniture stuff did a beautiful job. The floors glowed. I lay on my couch under my Penis Wall Hanging feeling very self-satisfied, and, cool beverage in hand, congratulated myself on a job well done.

What I didn't know was that furniture polish, when used on hardwood floors, takes the notion of a "frictionless surface" to a whole new level. We spent a scary and tense day wiping out and showing off our bruises. By evening, both Baby Fangs AND High Intensity had reverted to their crawling stage, fearful of another skidding fall. It was terrible. I silently calculated the cost of carpeting the place in sandpaper. We were pretty miserable.

Then Mr. IQ came home.

If the world had a kinder, gentler moon-like gravity and we were kinder, gentler moon-like people, slipping on freshly polished floors would not be so catastrophic. Mr. IQ would have gone GA-BOING GA-BOING and then landed on the sofa or something and we would all have had a good laugh because daddy looked silly END OF STORY.

But alas, we are but mortals; Earth is our playing field. And really, let's face it, Mother Earth is one impatient, grabby little bitch, isn't she? You try and jump away and she yanks you back so fast, hurting you in the process! She's a possessive mother but without the soft cushy breasts to sink into. What I'm trying to say is that there would be no gentle GA-BOING GA-BOING for old IQ as he smashed down onto the floor, despite his moon-like proportions. Oh no. Instead, 200+ pounds of solid IQ came crashing down like an avalanche the world has never seen. The house gave a kind of seismic shudder and a terrible silence followed as we collectively waited for it to collapse. Even Baby Fangs froze, waiting for the end. We watched as slowly, slowly, a mushroom cloud of fury formed above his motionless, supine body.

Sometimes, as we all know, life slows down and things move along much slower than they normally do. I always thought this happened when we were about to die, but the fact that it happens when you are witnessing the potential death of someone else came as a bit of a surprise. In the eternity that it took for him to respond to his fall, all kinds of things went flashing through my head. I thought, Aughh, I can't believe he fell! And then: Ouch, that must have hurt! And finally, I guess because I had Ingmar Bergman on the brain, a heartfelt, Gosh, I wish there had been a layer of Swedish meatballs down there to cushion his fall. High Intensity tiptoed over to see if he was OK. I think we were all a little freaked out by his lack of reaction. Was he dead? Was his life insurance policy paid up? If it was, would I buy a new dining room set with the money or take a trip to Europe first? These were some more of the things that went flashing through my head as we watched him lying there.

Then he responded.

"&$*%#@ ICE RINK &%#$*&!!FLOOR &%$@*!!! SLIPPERY$*$$*# @*$??????" I didn't try to talk. I wisely knew that the best thing for all of us would be to let him bellow incoherently for a while. Interruptions would only intensify his rage. So he went on and on and on. I played with the baby for a while, did H.I.'s hair, made a sandwich. Finally there were signs that he was calming down so I explained about the furniture polish and apologized.

"Well, I'm going to have to start wearing a @%$$!! pair of *&*#!!!! mountain spikes just to navigate around the &*%$@# house!!" he shouted. And then something shifted in his expression. The old pack rat paused and looked at me, and I could tell he was thinking... deeply. "Luckily," he said slowly (and I really hope you're a long-time reader and can appreciate what I'm about to quote off here), "Luckily," he said (he who has put me through hell and back with his massive collection of stuff), "Luckily, " he said, (and his voice reverted to his regular one), "Luckily, I have a pair in the basement." We stared at each other, not moving. And then both of us collapsed onto the ground, because honestly, that was one of the funniest thing anyone has ever said to me in my whole stupid life. I laughed until I cried and then I made him go down and get them. I tried them on and plunked around the living room in them for a while. Then High Intensity tried them on. We had a good time.

Oh Ingmar, Ingmar. I don't believe in a biblical hell, so I don't think you're there right now. If it's true that the only immortality we have is via our genes, then the 732 children you had with your 567 assorted wives and girlfriends have well-assured you of that. Death is the big mystery I guess, but the fact is, I don't get anything about this world, never mind the Great Equalizer. I don't get gravity, pain and why I would want my stupid floors to shine in the first place anyway. I don't get why breaking my hair-straightener would send me into a despair that borders on the pathologically ridiculous. And your movies! I didn't get that weird dining room scene in Hour of the Wolf where the Bjorndiggy-diggy character said, "Fonken splunken fishball plunken"; it left me confused, and searching for herring sandwiches and answers, both of which I never found. Instead I wake up each morning, drink my coffee and stumble through my day not getting anything, feeling like a fool and bawling occasionally when the news comes on.

But I got the mountain spike reference. Scenes like that that keep me going. I guess that sounds a bit more morbid that I mean it to.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


...and did I ever mention that I'm not a patient person?....

They took blood, and it's off being tested for the presence of West Nile antibodies as I type. I'll be honest: I was really hoping it WAS West Nile, because when you've been sick on and off for as long as I have, you just want to know what the hell is going on: If the test comes out negative then I'm right back to square one, not knowing what is wrong with me. Also, five weeks is a long time to be moaning and carrying on about how crappy you feel to all your friends and relatives. You start to feel a little self-conscious about it, like you're a big sniveling whiny hypochondriac. Receiving conformation that I have indeed fallen victim to a potentially very serious disease would, obviously, relieve me of THAT particular worry. See! I HAVE been sick, I WASN'T just trying to make you do all the work around here cuz I'm lazy... heh heh...well, maybe partly...

Last night, though, I spent some time reading up on the disease and, holy crap, no, I DO NOT WANT IT. Long term effects sound pretty bad, and include impaired motor control, headaches, tremors and DEPRESSION. Three words, people: "Permanent neurological damage." Aughhh, freaking out here! If my brain becomes impaired everything is going to suck! My students will know I am a big dummy and call me mean and hurtful names like "Ms Big Dummy." My chemistry lessons will be over my head. Kids will raid my chemical supply room and make pipe bombs in class and I'll be too dumb to figure out what's going on. (Ha ha ha, having fun guys?) My plan to master the Russian language and read the complete works of Tolstoy in the original? So out the window! And when the Globe and Mail arrives on Saturday I'll just stare blankly at the day's top stories and then head straight for the Style section to ogle the pretty pictures of smart furniture. Oh wait a minute, I already do that...

After reading about all the long-term effects of WNV, I went to Mr. IQ and said, "Hey, did you know permanent neurological damage can result from West Nile Virus? I could end up with BRAIN DAMAGE if that test comes out positive."

He looked up from the paper he was reading. "Well then," he said, "I guess you'll have to rely on your looks for your survival then." He gave a little guffaw -- well, not that little, more along the lines of a hearty "AHARHARHARHAHRHARHAR," sort of thing, and then, wiping the tears from his eyes and obviously very pleased with himself, went back to his reading.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Birthday Poem for Me

..with explanations in italics when the deepness of my poetry gets too... deep...

Today, it was my birthday
They brought me out a cake
They said, "Hey look, Rome's burning!"
Cuz I'm old, I'm 38

It's true, the candles were many
My cake was covered with tallow!
We said, "Hey let's roast weiners!
And a fluffy white marshmallow!

I got a really good present
A fabulous CD
The surprise, it almost killed me:
I'm such a spoiled girlie


Alas, I am a'suffering
From Relapse #2
I think this means I'm dying
And soon must say adieu.

For yes, again a fever
Is raging through my bod
My throat is raw and red and sore
Like someone snacked and gnawed (*like, on my throat flesh)

This heat wave isn't helping
I'm sweating like a pig!
But morgues are very, very cool,
Ah death! Please take me: Quick!

(Wow! That was terrible! Forgive me, I'm ill again.)

(I WILL ask for a blood test this time, I WILL ask for a blood test this time...)

Friday, July 27, 2007


...the moment you were (probably not) waiting for...

Yeah, so, uh, here it is... the penis wall hanging:

Here's, uh, a close-up of the offensive middle part:

As I said in the last post, I had this thing on my wall for quite a long time before that casual and world-changing remark destroyed my idyllic vision of it. I had spent hours staring at this and never seen the damn penis: Now, thanks to that soul crusher, it's all I see.

I'm happy to say, though, that just yesterday I purchased something new to put on my wall as a replacement. Phew! Has it ever been a relief saying good-bye to that stupid purple spotted rag of perversity!! My new piece is quite modern. Although I've hunted for it, I haven't been able to find the name of the artist. It hasn't been signed. I figure it's probably a Jackson Pollock or something like that.

I'm quite excited about my new work of art. Is this a conversation starter or what?? I've never been one to get too deep about things or spend a lot of time searching for hidden meanings, yet even I can see it's a bold piece: amorphous, yet symmetrical, the basically indecipherable shape symbolizes the order in chaos and the odd predictability of this crazy little game we call life! The furrowed brows at the top, combined with the Stygian shades serve as a somber momento mori, but then the little round blobs, which represent bubblegums, help keep it playful and light. And you'll notice that even though there's no face, the big blob is wearing earrings. Honestly, I don't know what that's supposed to mean at all. That's OK, though, not everything in this world is meant to be understood. I mean, a little mystery never hurt anyone, right? All I care about is that it's not a penis wearing earrings.

I couldn't handle that at all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Of Tongues and Fingers and Penises (but no Cabbages or Kings)

...the human body sucks...

For the first two years that we lived in this house, one whole wall of our living room remained bare. It was a big chunk of wall, right above our couch, and I just couldn't find anything good to put up there.

So I didn't.

Then one day, I found a fabric art wall hanging for sale in the hippie neighbourhood of town. I loved it immediately! I put it up on the wall and it made me feel like I was in an art gallery. I loved it. I loved lying on the couch and just looking at it. Aaaaaaah, my beautiful wall hanging. How I adored you.

That's right, "adored", past tense. One day someone came over and said, "HEY! Check it OUT!! What's with the big PENIS on your wall?" He (she? Lucky for this person, I can't remember who s/he was) pointed to my precious, beautiful wall hanging, and, sure enough, right there in the middle of it was a big stupid penis. For some strange, psychologically interesting reason, I hadn't seen it before!

My piece of art was destroyed!

It's still there, of course, hanging on the wall and covering what would otherwise be that big empty space above the couch, but looking at it no longer makes me feel like I'm in an art gallery. Now it makes me feel like I'm in a bordello or a Turkish bathhouse or something, only with toys all over the place, so, like a weird bordello or Turkish bathhouse or something. Anyway, I don't like it so much anymore.

The fact is, I'm not a big fan of the human body, male or female. I wouldn't be crazy about girl parts hanging on my wall in a swell fabric art design either. And in case you think I'm a prude, I should add that I would find a cute button nose or a pancreas pretty unacceptable as well. Especially now. Like I said, I'm off bodies at the moment, thanks; they're horrible things. They have to be fed. They have to be rested. (My own, particularly lazy body is especially insistent on this point!) The things they force us to do each day are disgusting. Their care and maintenance drive me crazy, especially all the hairy bits. And I'm sorry, but pregnancy and childbirth are just ridiculous processes. Why so much nausea? Why so much pain? Ridiculous. It's been over a year since I closed the book on that soul-crushing but necessary reproduction chapter of my life but I'm still traumatized by it. Honestly, I think I always will be.

And I hate being sick. Everything just shuts down when you're sick. (And the getting well part is just as yucky. These antibiotics I'm on for my virus [???] have given my pee an odour that could crush armies.) (You're welcome for sharing.) Did you know that this year alone I have been sick four times? And that's not even counting stupid bladder infections. This is ridiculous, too. So I've decided to fight back. Health nut Whippersnapper is going to now go OVER THE TOP in her efforts to remain hale and hearty for the rest of the year. My goal? To not get sick again in 2007.

My plan is threefold:

1. Develop a hand-washing obsession. I was in Chapters bookstore last month and when in the bathroom was witness to a pretty Japanese tourist go through the most bizarre ritual I have ever seen. I couldn't help but stare, and in retrospect, I can only say that I hope my tongue wasn't hanging out while I did it. It was pretty fascinating. First she exited her stall and turned on the sink. Then, leaving the water running she went and got some paper towels. She then washed her hands in a very complicated and elaborate fashion and then turned off the sink with the paper towel. Then she got more paper towels and used them to open the door to the bathroom to leave. If old High Intensity hadn't been sitting in her own stall at that moment howling for me to come wipe her potato, I would definitely have followed her to see what she did with those paper towels. The whole thing was sort of a revelation for me, like the first time someone told me they always flush public toilets with their feet. Like, oh, duh, of course, why didn't I think of that myself?? I think perhaps the protected door opening procedure might be over the top, but the rest of it... well I'm pretty desperate for some solutions here.

2. It's all about the vitamin C, baby. Every time I drink water now until the day I die I'm putting lemon juice in the glass too. I drink a lot of water, so this should be good.

3. Garlic. Wait, I mean, "gahhhhhhrlliiiihhhck," said while practicing my diaphragm exercises. One raw clove daily, taken in the form of a delicious vegetable juice cocktail. If nothing else, people will start giving me a wide berth and stop passing on their stupid diseases to me. I will be lonely, it's true, but while my social life slowly rots away, my body will ripen into a robust and strong tank. You, dear blog world, will be my only friends, but sometimes that's the price one must pay for good health. I'm willing to make the sacrifice.

Later: BLEEEEEEEEEECCCCHHHHHHHH!!!!! Vegetable juice w/ freshly minced garlic clove tastes TERRIBLE!!! I think I'm going to have to explore some alternatives here. Perhaps chilling the juice first will help. Warm generic V-8 on a 35 C day makes your tongue want to pop out of your mouth and give you the finger. You know, if tongues had fingers and all that... Hrrmmph, my body has betrayed me once again, I try to give it something nourishing and healthful and all it does is reject it.


I keep putting off posting this because I wanted to include a picture of the penis wall hanging, but Mr. IQ is never home to do it for me. This is pathetic beyond words, I know, but being technologically dependent on him gives me an interesting taste of what it must have been like for women in the past who were financially dependent on their husbands. It must have been hell. Anyway, I think I'm going to just post this now, and tomorrow post the picture.

Off topic: Stay cool Winnipeggers. This heat wave is a killer.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Warning: Contains Spoilers

...well, spoiler, singular. Don't read this if you've never seen Easy Rider...

One day, a long time ago, I was lounging back and watching Easy Rider for the first time ever when suddenly I received a phone call from Mr. IQ. I told him I couldn't talk right then and explained why I was busy.

"Oh," he said, "Has Jack Nicholson died yet?"

That's how I came to find out, well in advance of it actually occurring on my TV screen, that the Jack Nicholson character dies in Easy Rider. Was I pissed off? Oh, you have no idea.

As you know, today was the release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it's all CBC radio talked about all day. (That's not even remotely true, but whatever. "One must never let the facts get in the way of a good blog post!" Whippersnapper, 2007)

Finally Mr. IQ snapped.

"I've just got to know!" he muttered and disappeared into our (still ridiculous-looking) office. He emerged about 20 minutes later and, once again without asking me first if I cared to be privy to this little golden nugget of info, said, very casually, "Well, it looks like ******** gets killed."

For you to understand the significance of this thoughtless action, you have to understand that the question, "Is Jack Nicholson dead yet?" instantly became a part of this household's vernacular the moment it was first uttered. If someone good is being interviewed on the radio and one person rushes in late and asks, "What did I miss?" the other person is sure to respond with a pleasant, "Well, Jack Nicholson died." What I'm saying is, it's not like he's forgotten the first incident, it comes up every time we don't pause a movie for someone's trip to the can! How could he do this to me twice?? The fact that I have absolutely no plans to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ever in my lifetime is entirely beside the point. I was steamed.

About an hour ago, while stumbling to get to the computer in our (still nightmarish) office, my eyes happened to fall on a brand-new CD still in its wrapper.

"What the heck is this?" I asked, because we are in what you might call the "abject poverty" phase of our lives together and will probably remain in this phase until Baby Fangs hits Grade One. Buying brand-new CDs is verboten, ja. Hell, it's a wonder we can afford diapers these days.

Mr. IQ looked at it. "Oh!" he said, "That's for you, for your birthday next week! Oops, sorry, I guess I should have hidden it better!"

Because money is scarce, we've agreed that he will still wrap it up and present it to me on my "special day" as if nothing has happened. I've agreed to still be "surprised."

Good old Mr. IQ: Taking the fun and suspense out of everything since 1999.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


....okay, we have definitely reached the WTF stage...


Fever: 101.1 F

Throat: More elves, more curlicue knives

Body: Chills, followed by sweaty misery


Bones: Achy

Mood: Helpless despair

Thoughts: Terribly profound

Example: "The human body is a #@%&*$!!!! prison!"

Pretty: Deep, huh?

Best part: Swallowed pride and phoned parents. They came and took care of kids and, even better, tidied the house

They are: Swell

Worst part: I worry that my blog is suffering, what with all this sickness

(I realize this is: Pathetic)

Theme song: Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Only I'm think-singing it with the word "relapse" instead

Actually: I can't get it out of my head, and it's driving me freaking crazy

I am going to my doctor's tomorrow to demand a blood test.

Anyone willing to bet a fiver with me that this is West Nile??


So I went to my doctor. Naturally, I chickened out in her presence, and did NOT demand a blood test. (I'm sort of scared of her.) She roughed me up a bit and gave me a hard time for coming to see her for a virus. (She's tough.) Then she ended up giving me a prescription for antibiotics. (Huh?)

The subject of West Nile was not brought up. I couldn't bear to face her sarcasm.

Perhaps this is indicative of some latent masochistic tendencies, but the funny thing is, I absolutely adore my doctor.

Go figure.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Because It is My Life and Because I Suck

...okay, well, I wrote the title and then I wrote the post, and now I'm thinking the two don't exactly mesh; however I'm going to keep the title anyway because a) I just like it and b) I'm a really, really lazy person...not that one should EVER admit that to ANYONE...

Several years ago, I took a road trip to California with two friends of mine, "Bill" and "Bob." It was the brilliant idea of "Bill" to scout out a watering hole everyday to swim in.

One day, we stopped at a beautiful swimming place, which also happened to be the local town's water reservoir. It was a smoking hot day, and we wasted no time getting on our bathing suits and into the water. After a while, a large black dog came and joined us. He padded in, sat down in about nine inches of water and then turned and stared at us with the most mournful I AM HOT expression I have ever seen in my life.

We watched him for a while, pretty amused, and then naturally the wisecracks started, and someone joked about how he was probably peeing in the local town's water supply. I should have just laughed (ha ha ha!) and changed the subject, but no, dumb old me had to go and open my big mouth.

"Oh, come on!" I said gaily, because, after all, I was with friends, and friends can supposedly be honest with each other, "Let's face it, ALL of us have peed in the water at some point during this trip!"

There was a long, uncomfortable silence.

"Actually," said Bob finally, "I HAVEN'T peed in the water. Not even once."

"No," admitted Bill slowly, "I haven't either."

Arghghh. Total humiliation. You'd think I'd learn from incidents like this, but no, I am a fool and do this sort of thing all the time.

For instance.

Last month at my local thrift store I stumbled upon a, um, Best of Styx CD that I just couldn't resist snapping up. Hey, it was only a dollar, STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!!! After our visit to the thrift store we went to the park where we ran into a friend of High Intensity's who was there with her mom. She's a pretty nice mom, and at least as old as me so I had no reservations showing her my new purchase. I'm very naive in my own way, I guess. I knew it was crap, but it was guilty pleasure crap, right? I always assume people understand the difference.

Obviously not. "Ew," she said when she saw it, wrinkling up her nose as if she was smelling a dead pig. "Why would you buy that?"

I could have still saved myself. I could have said, "Oh, it's for my mom!" or, "Baby Fangs likes destroying CDs and it was only a buck!" But no, I'm an idiot. "Oh, come on!" I said, nudging her and giving a little conspiratorial wink, "'fess up you coward! Everyone likes the songs Babe and Come Sail Away deep down secretly! Right?"

"No. No they don't," said the other mother, smoothing down her tight Ramones t-shirt over her perky little boobies and giving me a look of terrible pity.

Hrrmmphh. So I guess I humiliated myself again. Obviously the secret to life is to keep absolutely tight-lipped about anything, and I mean ANYTHING that might make you look less than perfect in this world, and I really need to learn to do that. If my dishwasher is on the blink and the dishes don't ever get done until the weekend, I mustn't laugh and tell my co-worker that every Friday I put my week's worth of dishes in the bathtub to soak overnight before washing them. This will garner strange looks! If my dinner the night before consisted of a can of chick peas mixed with ketchup (unheated), for God sakes, I shouldn't tell the in-laws!! They'll think I'm crazy! And whatever I do, I must never, ever admit to anyone that I like to yodel loudly while in the shower! That's one thing I could never, EVER live down!

I've thought for a while now, though, that where I really need to learn to just bury the truth and start lying a lot is in the area of my crappy parenting skills. Whenever I get down and dirty with other mothers and we start into the hard core confessions about what terrible, negligent, irresponsible moms we are, I've found that, more often than not, when it's my turn in the confessional booth, my own disclosures are always rewarded with a stunned, embarrassed silence, followed by a rather quavery ""

In other words, they may suck, but I really suck.

Yet my stories are so innocent. When I shared pictures of my kids frolicking naked on a kitchen floor covered with cinnamon, they were like, "ugh, why did you let them do that?" When I broke down and confessed that I once gave Baby Fangs my brand-new lipstick to play with and destroy they were appalled. And yet it had bought me ten minutes of peace! I mean, she would not leave me alone that day! I was desperate! What was their problem?

One good thing about all this crappy stuff that has happened lately is that, corny and cliche as it may be, it certainly has given me a lot of perspective. When your life is sort of falling apart at the seams, and your basement smells like a rotting sewer pit and the government informs you that you owe them $780, little things like the world thinking you're a big crazy bad mom with crappy taste in music and a weird penchant for peeing in lakes, well, you just don't give a damn about it. And I'll be honest: that's a lovely feeling.

Yesterday, while still convalescing, I managed to get myself together enough to take the kids to the park. While I sat limply on the grass, High Intensity played on the play structure and Baby Fangs plunked herself down in the sand and began snacking. Several ants disappeared between her sweet tender rosebud lips and were not seen again. I couldn't stop her. I just couldn't. Frankly, I wasn't sure how I was going to get the energy to drag myself back home; keeping a very willful baby in check was totally out of the question.

Of course, other people were around to remind me of my negligence.

"Your little baby is eating sand!" a little old lady told me.

The Old Me would have scrambled to put on a Good Mom Act, yanked Fangs away from where she was sitting having fun and kept her miserably on my knee for the rest of the visit. But the New Me Whose Head is Wrapped up in Other Things didn't care.

"Hmmphh," was all I said, "and you'd think she'd be all full after that large colony of ants she just consumed!"

Misery, it would seem, can set you free.