Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011 in Review

*I wrote this before 2012.  I really did.  And then I didn't bother to edit or post it and mostly had forgotten about it until a friend asked me about my blog today.  Sorry friends.  If you have been in withdrawal without knowing about my life.  I am just a little behind.  I am going to start on my list of resolutions tonight.  (sneak preview - number one is to stop procrastinating...). Now on to the original post.*

I like to do a year end summary as each year passes in my life.  Most of the time it is in my head, or in my journal (you know, those little books of blank pages of paper they used to use in the 1600s and everybody else has since moved on to an electronic version but I continue to buy them, as well as calendars??).  I know, everybody these days just has facebook do it automatically for them.  Well, this year I thought I would sum it up for you here on the internet in the form of pros and cons.  I couldn't decide if I should start with the good or the bad.  I've done a lot of cutting and pasting and re-cutting and re-pasting and have decided to start with the bad and end with the good.  Just to keep things light and positive around here.


I applied to exactly 37 jobs over the course of this year.  During that time I had four interviews.  The only job I was offered was minimum wage seasonal at the mall, which I have grown to enjoy, but it is not my dream job.  I did have an opportunity to interview, twice, for my dream job.  I am still not quite over that rejection.  Sheesh.  That one hurt more than when one of my highschool boyfriend broke up with me by just not speaking to me anymore and finding himself another girlfriend (although, in retrospect, my only regret about that is I didn't stop speaking to him first).  In conclusion, hopefully 2012 brings with it some better luck and interviewing skills on my behalf.

We moved out of Toronto.

I spent six entire months planning a wedding.  For those of you who haven't done it, my only advice would be, don't!  No matter how happy you are to be getting married, or how well everybody gets along, this will be a hellish journey through hell you would wish only upon serial rapists and anybody who works at Leon's(see pros for more details).

The world is filled with stupid idiots who in turn fill my blog with babblings about those idiots.  This is a con for humanity, but really a pro for my life because otherwise this blog would have to be a lot less sarcastic and a lot more boring and uplifting. 
Regis quit Live.  That was one of the biggest downers of the year for me.  I cry over a lot of television, but never so hard as that final episode of Live. 

There really has to be more.  Lots more.  I am sure of it but for now I think I have covered all of the major events. 


The biggest one for this year is that I got married to the most wonderful husband in all the land and then went on a fantastic honeymoon around Europe for six weeks, completely and totally avoiding all responsibility and pretending I was not a grown up at all.

We moved out of Toronto.

We moved into the cutest little comfy house I have ever seen and I'm happy to be here.

My wedding is over and I never have to do that again.  Before I was even engaged my cousin whispered to me, "if you are thinking of getting married, don't have a wedding, elope."  I smiled sweetly and thanked her for the advice, knowing my wedding planning wouldn't turn into a horrible mess of awfulness.  It did.  It absolutely did.  I found I was stressed over the colour of the ribbon that tied my lillies together, or whether or not my lactose intolerant guests could manage the blue cheese ravioli I adored, and what to do if it rained, and what flip flops I would wear under my dress to dance in.  These are not the sort of things I ever thought I would care about.  My wedding turned me into a crazy person who was genuinely upset over these tiny details and thousands of other.  Plus I managed to get a raging sore throat and the beginnings of my 'stress' rash on my face (which a doctor told me almost 6 months later had nothing to do with stress and I needed antibiotics to clear it up...  oops....) in the week before our wedding.  My advice, newly engaged couples, is to elope. 

If you must have a wedding, make sure it ends something like this - beer, chips and your very best friends documenting the entire thing for fb to see.

Do I need more?  I believe life is made up of all the tiny pros.  My puppy making me laugh.  My husband doing the dishes (that might have happened in 2010, but the joy of it still fills me all the way through this year and into the next).  A day at the cottage.  A night cuddled on the couch watching the Charlie Sheen roast (don't lie, you know it was a highlight of your year too).  A new friend.  Or finding out your old friends are more wonderful than you knew.  Winning a minor battle over Leon's.  These sorts of things keep me optimistic about next year.  2012 will be the year of my career.  Also the year of the dragon.  How can anything go wrong?  Unless of course the Mayans are right, and then we are all in for a serious amount of trouble.... 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Shopping Season!

I know this will seem a little unbelievable, but I have actually been incredibly busy this last little while.  I apologize, but my part time job quickly became full time, and then more than full time, with me working 6 days last week and 47 hours!!  Yikes!!  As an unemployed person that is a horrifically overwhelming amount of work to be doing in only one week.  That's about my hourly total for the months of July, August, September and October combined.  Seriously.  That is not a joke.

I just came across a little piece of news to brighten your day and fill you with whatever sort of holiday spirit you care to be filled with.  The results of a young alumni survey I had filled out a few weeks ago for McMaster came in today.  The most startling information is that 16.5% of the 2500 respondents said they were unemployed.  I didn't say I was unemployed, but I definitely mentioned being rediculously underemployed. 

I understand that chances are more unemployed people bothered to actually do the survey (me included), but still!!  That is much much higher than any national averages.  What are we doing?  Besides sleeping in our parents' basements and eating chips until 4am and hoping that the next day we will have the inner strength to be bothered to put on clothing or at least not entirely and completely lose the will to live.  But why aren't we out there in the work force?  This seems absolutely crazy to me.  I am happy to not be alone in this.

Can I also let you know that further in to the survey the number one thing we would like a discount on is retail stores and number two is travel related?  Uhmmm  how are all these unemployed people travelling and buying stuff?  (unless they have all read my blog about marrying for money/rent, in which case I completely understand, and spend on my fellow losers, spend on!). 

I have no real conclusion, only my condolences for the rest of my generation.  I had this vague hope that possibly I was in a small minority of unemployed, going nowhere in life, people who haven't managed to really do anything and would have been better off with only a highschool diploma and a full time job.  But it looks like I am not alone, and although that is mildly comforting, I wouldn't wish this fate on anyone!

Back to my real world - we can't afford a new vacuum cleaner and I am trying to fix our old one and they company just emailed me and told me they didn't even make the product we have because apparently Electrolux switched hands in 2001....  oops....  haha  The quest for a new filter continues!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Leons Versus The Brick - An Internet Showdown


Note: Re-updated.  Darn you Leon's.  Darn you to heck.

Another note:  Re-re-updated.

Since we have a little bit of wedding present money left to spend, and a brand new rental house to furnish, we've been buying furniture.  Specifically a bedroom set from Leons and a living room set from The Brick.  We have had two radically different experiences that I would like to share with you. 


Go shopping at the Danforth store.  Have sales person follow us around.  Choose furniture.  Wait half an hour for the order to be processed.  Wait some more while she wandered around doing nothing and trying to make us buy more furniture. 

Day of delivery.  Wait for phone call, never received.  They show up randomly and deliver furniture.  Footboard is smashed all up.  Dresser drawers are uneven and don't close.  Night table is not put together properly.

Call Leons.  Am told someone will come to fix it.  Specifically describe problems and say, `Will the technician be able to take apart the dresser because that is the only way to fix it?". 

Technician comes.  Cannot take apart dresser.  Fill out forms.  Leaves.  Without fixing anything, except a little paint on the night table to hide the fact it was not put together properly.

Another day off work, waiting around.  This is $80 I could desperately use, Leons!  New footboard is fine.  New dresser is dented.  Given $100 off.

Decide that is not acceptable because the dent is really noticeable.  Call Leons.  Offer to send another dresser and let us keep $100 off for the hassle.

Dresser #3 is broken and cannot be taken off the truck it is so severely damaged structurally, good thing I took another day off work.  We had been assured it was in good condition because a manager had checked it.  Right.  Just like every time I call and they don't call me back and I call again and they say, "O I was just looking at your file and was about to call."  Don't patronize me Leons.

Call Leons.  Ask for a fourth dresser.  No problem.  It will all be fine, Jason assures me.  Bed doesn't go together.  Technician will come and fix it.  Bed is apparently always difficult to put together, but we were told it would be easy for us to do ourselves.

Technician comes and fixes bed for us.  Keep counting, this is day five off work.

Night before Leons is supposed to deliver the fourth dresser, I call Leons in Toronto, they are sure it has been double checked by a manager.  They offer to call the store in Burlington and call me back.  Call back, oops, dresser number four is broken too.  Maybe we have to wait until a new shipment in the end of December?  Who knows.  I ask for a further discount.  Am assured that of course there will be one after the dresser is delivered.

Get a call.  Possibly a dresser for us.  They will deliver it.  I ask the Burlington store about a discount, of course we will get one, they understand that we have taken six days off work to wait around for their delivery guys who never call because the one time we had to be out of the house they promised they would call an hour before so we could get back in time and they didn't call until they were already at the house. 

Dresser is delivered.   It is fine.  We take it.

Wait for Leons to call us about discount.

Keep waiting.

Call them.  Manager will call me back. 

Keep waiting.

Call again.  O, what great timing!  They were just going over our file and about to call me back.  They offer me $100.  The original $100.  No discount for the FOUR extra days off work?  I ask how I can get a hold of head office or someone above the store manager.  Apparently everything is handled through store managers and nothing else.  I only want to let someone know about my issues with their quality control.  Nope.  No way.  I explain that I have never heard of a large corporation that doesn't have an organized hierarchy for complaints.  Still nothing.  If you had a problem with my mall store you could speak to the manager, then the store manager, then the district manager, and you could take it all the way up to the head office if you felt so inclined.  Leons has no such hierarchy.

Fine.  We will take the $100 discount.  Well, we can't actually have it because it is illegal for them to store our credit card number.  Canada privacy act or some such thing.  Husband will have to call with his credit card number.  Half an hour later he gets a message saying they had used his credit card number  that was on file to give a refund of the $100.

What the hell Leons?

The Brick

Go to store.  Find couch I had already seen on sale online.  Buy couch.  The entire process (including driving to and from the store) takes under an hour, and we sat on every couch in the entire store!  The sale only took five minutes.  We bought the couches on Thursday, they offered to deliver on Saturday or Sunday (Leons doesn't deliver Sunday). 

Couches are delivered.  Minor problem, missing legs for one of the couches.  Otherwise everything is in great condition, got offered an extended warranty and given protective spray for couches.

Call the Brick.  They offer to have legs shipped to us. 

Everything is fine, our living room is ready to go and less than a week later we are sitting on our couches in our beautiful living room.

I bet you can guess which store is getting my face punch.  No?  I'll give you a hint.... 

It's not the Brick.

**** UPDATE ****

Yesterday (3 whole weeks after I first posted this and then sent it in an email along with the blog link to Leon's to show them that I mean business about hating them), my Husband got a phone call from Leon's.  We stared, confused, at the call display, wondering what awful thing they were calling to tell us now.  Finally I said, "well you might as well answer it".  He answered the phone and I heard him say, "well you can talk to her", and handed the phone to me.  Imagine my shocked surprise to find out they were calling to apologize for their terrible service, and to tell me they had discussed the problem with their supplier AND in the most shocking news off all, they would like to offer us an additional $200 off. 

In conclusion, I felt like I won.  Although on further reflection I feel what I won was a major battle, that will have minor long term reprecussions for them in that we will not shop at there store any more (ever heard of 'too little, too late' Leon's?), but overall they got rid of their crappy furniture and still got the majority of our hard earned money so maybe they were the winners of the war.

I thought I should update you to be fair to Leon's as a company.  If you would like to put in many many weeks of hard work, calling and never being called back, and leaving messages and never being called back, and having multiple dressers delivered and service men come to your house and $30 in long distance charges on your cell phone and waiting three months for a resolution that may never come and being filled with anger and resentment any time you spend more than five minutes in your bedroom - if all of that seems worth $300 off, then by all means, go ahead. 

Hopefully this is the conclusion of this drama.  But who can know what the New Year will hold?!?!

January 2, 2012.  That was obviously not the conclusion.  Today we checked our credit card bill.  We got $100 back.  Not $200.  Why did I ever bother?  Herm said, well you should call and ask.  But o no, not this time.  I am finished with those liars.  I am sorry I ever felt badly for being so mean and ammended this post.  DO NOT SHOP AT LEON'S.  The end.  For real this time.  O I really really hope so....

February 8, 2012.  Weeks after this whole fiasco we got a random $100 credit back.  So weird Leon's.  So weird....  In conclusion, I really don't know what to say.  Upon further review the furniture isn't even that nice.  It scratches easily.  And dust shows very clearly.  And it wasn't worth all of the hassle, or all of these updates.  I stick with my original opinion, skip Leon's. 

Just when I thought I had finally found rock bottom, I find you can always fall a little further. Sometimes, literally.

I felt like I was piecing my life back together, again.  After not getting that job I had decided to move on and stop looking in at the dress I had decided to buy at RW as a celebration dress which I can no longer afford and the adorable ankle boots I was also going to get.  I started packing my lunch instead of eating at the food court on my breaks.  I applied to a few more jobs on Monday.  I visited my family on the weekend.  Yes, I found I could move on, and possibly up.  There was something else out there for me.  Something better even!

Today I headed out to work at the mall.  I was walking because I cannot afford a car on my luxurious salary of under $600/month.  Also, let's be serious, I need the exercise.  I have become extremely inactive, even for an unemployed person.  While walking I thought of a funny story I wanted to tell my littlest sister.  I called her up, but since it had snowed last night and I was freezing I did something a little silly.  I never wear hats, for unknown reasons I hate them, instead I have a cute little headband to keep my ears warm.  I stuck my phone under my headband, thus creating my very own 'hands free' talking!  This is not an attractive look, but it served its purpose and it was early and nobody else was out.  I was zipping along trying to get to the mall when I decided to take a little short cut through a very small patch of grass.  This is where the problems started.  They ended with me dramatically slipping and falling into a mud puddle, screaming at the top of my lungs and grasping for my stupid phone which stayed stuck in my headband.

Please, picture this.  I am covered in mud, showing up to work right on time, but no extra time to go back and get changed.  I cannot afford buy new pants.  I definitely cannot afford to call in sick.  I have no choice.  I show up, pants soaked all the way up my butt, muddy and awful.  Is there really no end to my humiliation?  World, I apologize for whatever I did in a previous lifetime, but I do believe I have suffered enough.  Seriously.  Enough.  I am not sure how much more I can handle. 

In hilarious news, if that isn't enough, when I went to work and explained the story, I finished with, "you know, just in case you were wondering why I showed up looking like such a mess..."  to which a co-worker simply raised an eyebrow and stared me down.  I was forced to reply with an awkward, "well, more of a mess than usual.  *uncomfortable giggle*"

I tried to google various pictures of mud puddles and wearing your cell phone in your headband, but apparently this unique situation has not happened to anybody else, or if it has they have not documented in on the internet.  So, I have taken this opportunity to draw you a visual Paint representation of what happened.  Enjoy.  If you would like a self portrait done please send me your most embarassing moment and I will try to my best to draw it for you.

Yes, I took some liberties and made myself a lot blonder and thinner.  I needed something to brighten my day.

Friday, 2 December 2011

So close, and yet.....

This week has been filled with stories that I have selfishly been keeping to myself.  Let me try to catch you up.  Last weekend I went to my sister's for a belated Thanksgiving (we were celebrating the American version this year).  Our Thanksgivings involve feasting and drunk dialing other family members.  This year proved to be no different and included us shouting at our littlest sister, "Why are you with a man?  We can hear a man with you!"  Once we sobered up she informed us she had been on the bus.  Oops.  Our bad. 

This very same littlest sister, who puts up with so much from us, had sent us a giant bag of hand me downs.  We went through this bag and divided everything up with hardly any fighting.  What we didn't know was that these clothes had magical life saving powers.  That's right, this is not an exageration, it is the real truth.

My middle sister had one of the shirts on and was about to head to work when she looked down and saw a little hole in it.  Being the slobby sister, she was going to go to work anyway.  But she realized as a professional she shouldn't dress like a homeless person (Yes, if you are wondering, I am the older, unsuccessful, jobless sister.  I am happy for her, but even sadder for me).  She went back in to the house and one her drive to work passed by a giant horrible accident that she would have been a part of had she left the house five minutes earlier.  Shirt = life saver (not the candy, stay with me here people, it actually, literally saved her life). 

Then on Wednesday I was going out for dinner with my friends.  I was a little late because I had to stop by my parents house to drop off a very belated birthday present for my Dad.  My Mom was disappointed because her birthday had only been four days ago, so she obviously thought the present was for her.  They had both forgotten I had not got a present for my father this year.  So much for spending time and energy on choosing thoughtful gifts, next year I'm getting them nothing and then when/if they mention it I'm going to pretend I bought them something and they will never know the truth.  Hope you are all looking forward to Christmas!

So, on my drive from their house to dinner I encountered a giant car crash.  Fire trucks were there, but I was there before the police and got to see the tow trucks come to drag away the remains of the cars.  Fortunately I was about 30 cars behind the whole thing and didn't have to see any of the human remains.  I have a weak stomach and seeing blood and gore would have totally ruined my appetite.  As it was I managed to devour 4000 calories of cheesecake when I finally got to my dinner.  While waiting for the accident to clear I texted my middle sister to say that I had also not died this week.  She was happy, and asked if I was wearing one of the 'new' shirts I had acquired.  I was!!!!  Our littlest sister had single handedly saved both of our lives in one week.  Thank you littlest.

Wednesday was also a very happy day because I had a second interview for a job that I would be fantastic at, it was my dream job and would make me the happiest person in all the land.  I felt it went well and was happy I might soon be able to quit this blog and live my life in the real world.

Yesterday, the job called me back with a no.  They reassured me I had done a great job and that was why I had been called back for the second interview, and there had been a lot of discussion about who they should pick.  It just wasn't me.  I kinda believe that because they bothered to call and talk to me.  The job interview I went to before this one had emailed me and said, "We've made our decision.  It's not you".  So this was a little more gentle. 

I mean, let's be real, it doesn't give me anything meaningful to do with the rest of my life, and it means I spent two nights staying awake all night studying the company and wasted pages of paper writing out fake interview questions they might ask, and it doesn't help me pay off my credit card bill and fastly increasing debt, and my electricity might still get shut off, and I am alone and depressed as ever.  And, they never really clearly said I was second place, so I might have been 8th or 42nd, which really isn't very impressive at all.  I didn't get to update my facebook status to, "Finally got a big girl job." like I had been planning on.  I will have to continue biking to my job at the mall that doesn't pay me enough money to even afford fruit.  I may, in fact, be well on my way to scurvy, given that I haven't had fruit in weeks.  Also, I believe my Visa will be reaching it's limit soon, and I doubt they will be increasing it for me since I have been unable to make payments on it.  On a side note - No Frills doesn't even accept Visa, and what kind of scam is that for poor people?  I have to get a mastercard to be able to buy groceries?

I was summarizing my week in my head yesterday.  In between sobbing uncontrollable about what a failure I am at life, and cleaning my house like a maniac because that is how I deal with disappointment.  Here's what I came up with - I spent the beginning of the week intoxicated, and then I didn't die, and now I am in the same unemployed state I was at the end of last week. 

That's right.  The highlight of my week is that I am still alive.  I made it.  Survived this week.  Sometimes, in this awful experience of unemployment, you have to just be grateful for that much and hope for better next week. 

Let me know if you made it through this week.  I'd love to hear your tales of survival.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Face Punching Relieves Stress, Just Like Yoga!

Hello Everybody.  I know it has been a long long while since I posted.  Let me tell you, repainting a house and working part time is exhausting.  I mean, I have spent the last several years without this much activity in my life.  I don't know what to do with myself.  I am so busy all day.  Also, for a moment of complaining (something new and different, I know), retail is hard work.  To everybody who makes a living like this, I am impressed because I couldn't handle it.  My legs and feet hurt from not sitting, my brain hurts from staring at a computer and trying to shelve everything in the right place, my face hurts from constantly smiling.  Sheesh!!

But enough about me.  Here's my face punch.  It is to Lululemon.  There are many many reasons to punch this "Canadian" company who outsources all their labour to China.  But my biggest one is their new ad campaign.  It is causing a rukus from all those new-age hippy, yoga loving, skinny, rich people because they have referenced Ayn Rand on their bags with the "Who is John Galt?" saying.  Please, see here to get a little more perspective. 

If you have not read Atlas Shrugged, I need you to also go read that.  It should take you about 3 days if you have nothing to do but read full time, and are willing to experience this amazing book.  It is one of my all time favourite books.  It is beautiful.  I cannot possibly even begin to analyze or get into the ideologies of this book.  But I will try to briefly tell you what it means to me.  Please understand this is a very long book and I am going to summarize it in 3 sentences.  If you can do it better, by all means add it to the comments.

For me, this book is about a group of elite people who are willing to work very hard and do whatever it takes to rise to the top.  Once they have done this they dominate the economy and support the rest of the world through their brains, hard work, time, energy and effort.  Then, they go on strike.  They leave the world to fend for itself and it falls apart into shambles without them.  My biggest dream, after reading this book, was that I might somehow be included in this group.  They didn't discriminate, you didn't have to be the best in business, it was also people who excelled in art, or music, or even mothering.  You just had to pour your heart and soul and passion into whatever you did.  The idea being that not everybody is equal, and not every body is willing to work hard enough to make it. 

This is not a popular idea.  We have become a lazy generation/world.  We would rather blame someone else, or not bother to do the extra work, or pretend we can't make changes.  What infuriates me about Lulu using my beautiful Atlas Shrugged is that the idea of snobby people not understanding what and who John Galt is, have somehow gotten upset about it for the opposite reason.  I actually feel like the situation could have happened in the novel, if Rand had thought of something so rediculous.  The general public is upset that Ayn Rand is polluting their Lulu, but the real problem is that Lulu has polluted John Galt with its senitmental uninspiring take on what is very important to me.

I have another example - the Occupy movement.  At first I supported it because I thought it was an interested way to make a point.  Then I started to lose interest because if I wanted to make a real statement about capitalism I would have camped out in Queens Park not taken up the only green space in a student/poor neighbourhood.  But, my real problem, was when I was following the twitter feed and they thanked someone for bringing pizza, then it was tweeted that Pizza Hut is the official sponser of Occupy TO.  Yes, that is right.  The Occupy movement had corporate sponsers.  Hmmmm  what is wrong with this picture? 

I have obviously lost all track of where I was going with this.  Mostly I guess what I want to say is, stop Occupying, because I imagine it is hard to conduct a job search and get ready for interviews from a yurt, and Chip Wilson get Atlas off your damn bags!!  The people who understand that the point of your business is to make money already know it, and you are upsetting the rest of them.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Put Your Damn Pants On

I've been in Hamilton almost three weeks now.  I have noticed a lot of nice things about this city.  All the green space, the people who don't seem to be born hating life, a backyard for our puppy so we don't have to have awkward dog park encounters.  These sorts of things.  But there is one big, huge, un-ignorable, fashion faux pas I have seen over and over and over in these parts.

I'm not any sort of fashion expert, BUT I do know this one simple irreversible fact that Hamiltonians do not seem to realize.


Zipping to Walmart?  Nope, not appropriate.  Heading out to grab something quick from the grocery store?  Still need to wear pants.  Going to the mall to do Christmas shopping?  Out to the movies?  On a fancy date?  Picking up drive thru McD's?  What do all of these activities have in common?  You cannot wear bedroom attire.  My standards are not high for fashion.  I will put up with tights and too short shirts even though tights are not technically pants.  I can handle sweatpants of all sorts.  Even little dogs in their own crazy cart contraptions used as fashion accessories (photo of 'dabie' provided by this  blog).  These things are all tolerable.  But not pj's. 

O please stop the madness Hamilton.  For me.  My delicate Toronto eyes are not used to such abominations.  In order to properly adjust, ease the culture shock, I am begging you, when you are setting out for the day, and you change your slippers to something with a harder sole, and you brush your teeth (o please be brushing your teeth), and you feel like you are forgetting something, look down and make sure that you are wearing something on your bottom half that is not plaid, or has cute little flannel coffee cups, or sparkles and strips.  Thank you.

Costco - The Super Cheap Way

You all know I am a really big fan of saving money at all times, mostly because I have been living off my Visa and am worried that soon I will reach my limit and then I will have no back up plan for life.  Although, I did have a conversation the other day with some friends at how impossible it is to get a bursary for life.  Really not fair that students get them all.

Last week we borrowed my MIL's Costco card to go on a giant shopping spree.  Today we decided to take advantage of the card and head out in the Sunday afternoon madness to do some shopping.  We grabbed a giant cart and started filling it up - 80 rolls of toilet paper, laundry detergent so heavy I could barely lift it, enough cookies to last me at least 3 days, the usual from a trip to Costco.

We got to the check out and looked in our cart at our goodies and realized we weren't that excited to be spending $300 on large amounts of mundane items.  Sure, they were all things we needed and would eventually use.  Yes, the prices were good, some better even than Walmart.  But, really?  For $300 we could come up with something really fun to do, or at least buy myself the cutest little party dress I've been eyeing at RW. 

They start scanning our items, Husband hands over the card.  They ask for ID.  We fumble for a minute, not sure what to do.  Herm tells them it's his Mom's card, we've used it before, can we do it just this once?

No.  It is a definite no.  No from the cashier.  No from the superviser.  Just no.

Fine.  Feeling surprisingly good about wasting an hour of our lives looking at extra large cans of ketchup and giant bags of chip, we leave.  Leave the full cart for them to unload and walk out into the sunset.  Overall, it felt like a successful trip.  We had the experience, we didn't have to pay anything, and we got home and had nothing to unload from the car. 

Who's coming next week?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

This is part punch in the face and part confessional.  I have a secret to confess, and after I confess it, it will no longer be a secret.  First, not the secret, I love postsecret.  I read it every Sunday and have for a very long time.  But lately I have noticed some of the things on there are not secrets.  For example: "At our nation's capitol in our national history museum all the souveniers are made in a different country".  This is not a secret.  It is an observation.  Anybody who goes anywhere can look at the stickers on the souveniers and see where they are made.  It is open and common knowledge.  NOT a secret.  I like the life changing dramatic ones, or even the random and revealingly secret ones.  Frank, please, stop posting the secrets of people who aren't creative enough to think of a real secret and who are wasting my time with observations, and not even good ones.

So here's a real secret for you, that is about to become just public knowledge.

Way back in highschool I had a problem.  An addiction you might even say....  Does anybody else remember $3.99 Big Mac Tuesdays?  Every week I would go with my friends and pretend I was just going to get the burger for $1.99 but I would always end up with the entire meal.  Every time.  Every week.  Thousands and thousands of calories wasted.  Did I mention I always super sized?

In order to stop this sad and pathetic addiction I gave up meat.  Extreme?  Yes.  I am a person who almost always deals with extremes.  I could not eat meat and just avoid the temptations of McD's.  So I gave it up.  Then one summer I lived with my sister who doesn't eat meat.  She told me I couldn't eat bacon anymore and she is really healthy and I was/am a little frightened of her so I stopped eating bacon and all other pork products. 

The end of this is that I haven't had meat in my belly for probably five years.  I have been a pseudo vegetarian.  I still eat chicken and fish and seafood but no beef or pork.  Or I used to....

Tonight I made my most delicious pasta.  A mix of alfredo sauce with chipotle and roasted red pepper and garlic and all sorts of delicious things.  But it is supposed to be topped with bacon.  There was bacon for Husband, and tonight there was bacon for me.  I want to say it was gross and awful.  I hated it.  I felt violated by piggy horribleness.

Not true.  I loved it.  LOVED.  It was amazing.  It was delicious.  The salty, porky, dead animal melting on my tongue.  There are no words.  Vegetarians, if you have ever thought or fantasized about this, wondered if you could go back to meat, I tell you yes.  Yes you can.  And it will be incredible.  Amazing.  No words.  I am speechless.  I have to go get more bacon right now in fact.  And then ham, first a ham sandwich then a big juicy slice of ham.  Maybe a burger.  Or a steak.  Smothered in bbq sauce and onions and mushrooms in red wine sauce.  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  Doors are flinging open in my life.  Watch out roast beef, here I come!  And then, when I'm good and ready, I will go back to McDonalds and order a Big Mac and let the sauce drip all over my face, dip my super sized fries in ketchup and let some 16 year old refill my Coke. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

"How We Lived Then"

First - and unrelated to the rest of this post - please notice that I changed my url to  Just because I hadn't really expected anybody to read this and now that people do seem to be checking it I don't want potential employers to be able to google my name and come up to this.  My depression and self-pity is probably not inspiring anybody to hire me!


Today my book review is a book called "How We Lived Then" by Norman Longmate.  This is not just topical for Remembrance Day, I have actually been making my way through this book for the last three weeks.  It is really long and I have been busy, but I am working my way through it.  It is full of fascinating memories of day to day life in mostly England during World War II.  It is beautifully told and heartbreakingly sad.  A really good book should tell more than a story, it should also change the way you see the world.  For me, this book is a reminder, especially near Remembrance Day of all the men and women who gave up so much during the war years.  Not just the one who joined up, but the ones who stayed to fight on the home front.  The ones who put the pieces back together of their lives and their bombed out houses, who took care of the children, and who waited for the end of the war, for their men to come home, for letters or news about loved ones. 

I know I whine and complain (pretty much hourly) about the recession, the lack of jobs and meaningful employment...  but, after I graduated highschool until now I have done pretty much whatever I wanted.  I have used this time to travel and see the world, to hang out with friends, work various jobs.  It has been time for me to be irresponsible and free in the world.  For the men and women who spent six years of their lives in the war they missed that time of being young.  My Grandpa was in the RCAF, he signed up as soon as he could and stayed overseas until the war was finished.  These years I have spent partying and playing he spent in a war that is incomprehensible to me. 

I would like to say thank you to all of the men and women who fought and gave up so much for us and still do.  Wear your poppy or change your facebook picture to a poppy.  Hug your grandparents if you still have them, listen to their stories (even the long boring ones you have heard a thousand times), get to know the people they once were and what they did for us.  Even if you don't agree with the war, I think we can all agree that a huge sacrifice was made and that above all, deserves to be remembered. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

How NOT to Save Money on the Way to a Wedding!

Once upon a time, I accidentally hitchhiked a ride to a wedding and made a giant scene when I arrived and had random strangers talk to me all night about my entrance to the party.  Yes, these things happen to me all the time, I can't help it, I attract crazy situations.

I had gone with Husband to London, ON for a wedding (he was only Boyfriend back then).  My sister lives in London and graciously allowed us to stay in her apartment for the weekend.  She was not there to help us out with directions and such.  We drove to the ceremony and then to my sister's place, no problem.  We did not want to drive to the party because what kind of party is it when you can't drink?  We decided to take the bus, the directions seemed straight forward and manageable.  That was the first mistake.   I am notorious for getting lost, no matter how easy it seems.  We were aiming to be there early forcocktail hour.  We walked ten minutes to get to the bus, then.....

Incident #1 - we forgot the present.  Husband was already sweaty from walking in a suit and wanted to just take a cab.  I am forever trying to save money (aka I'm super cheap, even though I was working at the time of this madness).  Also I hate taking cabs.  I might even have a little cab phobia, the driving always makes me carsick, I hate the smell, and it seems like an awkward situation.  I avoid them whenever I can.  So I took off my heels and jogged back to my sister's house, grabbed the present and jogged back to the bus stop.  My effort was wasted, because the happy couple spent so much time being happy they forgot to thank us for the gift.  Not even an email thank you.  Bah.

We got on the bus and made it to our stop.  We/I got turned around and weren't sure which way we were going.  We wandered around a little bit.  At this point I must tell you, my sister had moved to London and often talked about how friendly the people were and what a wonderful city it was.  I took her word for it, and shouted out to an open jeep for directions.  The guy was more than happy to tell us where it was, and then he looked into the back of his car, and looked at my fancy dress and heels.  Finally he said, "well if you want you can hop in and I'll take you there."

I might have accidentally looked classy, but let me tell you, I am not.  I climbed up onto the wheel of his car and jumped into the back of the jeep.  It didn't exactly have seats, but it had a fun little board to sit on, and who needs seatbelts?  Really?  They are more of a formality in situations like this.  He drove a million miles an hour and flung around a corner into the courtyard of the hotel.  Then, with no way out, I let Husband get out first and I blindly jumped into his arms.  The driver drove out as fast as he had come in, leaving the rest of the party wondering what was going on. 

I was so excited and immediately told my sister what had happened.  She was shocked at me.  Apparently this is not what she had meant by the friendliness of Londoners. 

In conclusion, when in doubt, take a risk on the cab instead!  We took one home that night.

Unemployed does Renovations!

I love home decorating shows.  My favourite being Moving Up.  I am fascinated as much by Doug's changing hairstyles as the actual renovations being done.  My newest dream is for the old owners to come back and see this house after we are finished painting and decorating to see what they think.  They always get people to describe their style.  Once I watched one and they said they were going to make their house Asian meets Country.  My style?  Shades of Beige.  I just want plain relaxing colours so this house can stop giving me an instant headache. 
Since we moved in last weekend we have been working hard trying to make this house liveable.  The colour and decoration choices of the last people were horrendous.  It has led me to question the entire neighbourhood because one afternoon our neighbour was chatting and said, "well at least you don't have any repainting to do".  I assume he has seen the house, or else why would he say that?  But how could he have seen the house and think there was no work to be done?  Does he also have a giant spaceship/adult playground mirror on his ceiling?

We have had quite a few setbacks - for example, the people who lived here last didn't believe in nailing anything to walls, instead all of the lovely decorations were glued up.  The only room we have finished so far is the basement.  Or what was previously known as the adult entertainment room.  I am going to share some terrifying pictures with you, please prepare yourselves.  Then I will show you the after pictures!  Hopefully sometime before Christmas we will have 'after' pictures of the entire house because I am starting to go a little crazy here.

Yes, this was really our basement ceiling.

Yay!  Family pictures in the ceiling mirror!
Remember how I said everything was glued?  Well that giant 'X' and the frame on the ceiling around the mirror are glued down.  We actually can't even find a break in the wood, so apparently it was constructed in one piece and somehow magically brought into the house.  It was most likely aliens that did it.  Aliens who wanted the ceiling of their basement to remind themselves of the mother ship.  That is the only possible explanation for this.  We can't get rid of the X and frame without ripping out the entire ceiling.  Instead we painted it out, hoping to make it disappear.  The trim was all done in black, which I changed to white.  Even though everybody loves black trim in a dark basement, it is known to really lighten the room....

But where will the sex swing go? (That's what the old owners would say if they were to come back in a Moving Up scenario)

I'm not going to lie.  I do wish the ceiling could just look like a ceiling.  Apparently this is not possible.  But we did get some sweet new Ikea shelves.  The only question left to ask is, 'how did you get that lovely couch down into the basement?'

Nobody really wanted that light there did they?

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Twitter me, tweat me... whatever you do on that crazy thing...

In general I hate Twitter, I don't understand why anybody would want to be updated at all times about people they don't care about.  It is like the part of facebook that I never use.  If you update your status too frequently I delete you as a friend.  If you are a relative or someone who it would be awkward for me to explain why I deleted you I just delete you from my newsfeed.  I really don't care what you had for breakfast, or that you are feeling cold/hot/sick/fat and ugly.  Another favourite is the fb poll, should I cut my hair?  If 20 of you 'like' this I will totally *insert stupid activity that doesn't matter to me if you do it or not*.  Or the religious updates.  You found God in the crowded subway today?  All I did was pick up multiple communicable diseases.  Finally the drama.  O the drama.  Fb friends, want to know why you have so much drama in your life?  Because instead of handling situations like an adult and dealing with the person who has upset you you change your status to "SOMEONE is an f-ing b*tch whore who stoled my boyfriend.  You know who you are.  I'm SOOOO done with the drama.  I'm totally deleting you.  For real this time."  These people have notoriously bad grammar, they also are always confused by the drama because they really think they want it to end.  I don't warn people when I delete them, I just do it.  I try to be selective in my friending, I usually only friend people who I am actual real live friends with.  I'm old school like that.

BUT I am trying to be cool and stay up to date so that I am not 90 at only 26.  The point is I got twitter.  Not for myself.  For my dog.  Search us at @RegisPuppyJr .  Hopefully I did that right?  Are you supposed to say 'at @' or is that too many ats?  I'm so lost already. I know there is a way to add a button on my website, I'm working on it people.  Ever since I got twitter you've been really freaking demanding, did you know that?

Also - if you somehow found me here without realizing, I changed my website to .  I wanted to be a little more anonymous, especially to places where I am applying for a job who might be googling my name. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

If you lose the ability to tell who is crazy, does that make you the crazy one?

Lots has happened since I have moved to Hamilton and am trying to adjust to small city living.  My Mother, who has lived in Niagara most of her life, has been giving me lots of good tips, things like: smile at strangers, when someone says hi to you don't immediately hold your purse closer and back away from them, actually respond by saying hello, no seriously - say hello to strangers, don't buy your giant scary dog a spikey collar to try and make people more afraid of him.  You know, things like that.  Things that do not come naturally to me anymore.  I assume, growing up in Niagara, that at one time I knew how to interact politely with the general public, but I just can't seem to remember.  I am trying to follow these new rules, but feel they have interfered with my ability to discern dangerous strangers from friendly ones.  I have a few examples for you.

Example #1 - At the mall, for my new cool dude mall job, I was sitting on a bench switching shoes because I biked to work but didn't work in my biking shoes.  I feel like I am being watched.  Out of the corner of my eye I see an old lady lurking closer and closer.  Then, suddenly, she is all up in my face, right in front of me.  I panic, I don't know what to do.  My instinct is to grab my belongings and run outside barefoot and figure out a plan from there.  But NO I am following new rules here.  I stay where I am.  Warily I watch her.  She says, "those look like comfortable shoes".  Okay, I can play this game.  I smile and say, "Yes, they are."  She responds, "Where did you get them?"  In my head I think, 'dear sweet baby Jesus, is this conversation still happening?  Do I have to sit here for the entire day?  Do you want my S.I.N too?' but small city, Hamilton living Karen says, "They are Reebok."  She continues blathering away about something, "blah blah I'm old and my feet hurt blah blah".  This is enough.  I have contributed to society in a positive manner.  I leave her there feeling I have helped humanity enough for one day.

Example #2 - Leaving the mall, on my bike.  A guy sees me and yells out, "Nice bike."  I reach for my phone to dial 9-1....  just in case and then go to give him the finger.  But wait, I stop and consider what my Mom would have me do in this situation.  I almost miss the moment, it takes me so long to come up with the answer, but I get it (at least I hope I got it....) and I shout back, "Thank you."  I mean it is a pretty nice bike, worthy of screaming at a stranger?  Probably not.  But it does have flowers on it and that is rather adorable so who even knows?  Then, as I ride off into the distance the guy says, "You're welcome."  Really Sir, was that necessary?  Seriously?  I am confused.  Why don't these people have a natural filter for when a conversation is over?  I guess because when you are willing to talk to random strangers without being paid for it then how can you filter out when to stop?

Now, you see my dilemma.  Unprovoked attacks from random people.  Is this normal?  How am I supposed to react?  Which one of the two people above were crazy?  My vote is both of them!  Except as I was typing out my story I realized quite possibly the crazy one is me.  Like that saying, one out of four people suffer from mental illness, look at your three closest friends, if it isn't one of them.......  Is that a saying?  Do other people ever really say that?  Or do people just say it to me a lot?  I believed for the first 25 years of my life 'handsome as a horse' was a saying commonly used....  apparently not....


I have another, unrelated story of success and daring, of great acheivement.  That's right folks, I finally squeezed my ass into my jeans!!  Woot Woot!!  I even have a belt on with them to pretend they might fall off, but let me confide in you it is going to take some serious work to get these off.  They are Olivia Newton John sewn into her outfit in Grease tight on me right now.  But I did it and I am proud of myself.

Enough observations on life.  Enjoy the rest of your Thursday.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Truth

Dear Internet Followers,

I have been lying to you.  I have to confess.  Remember a while back I mentioned a job interview?  I did in fact get the job.  So, although I call myself unemployed, technically I am now underemployed.  This is a serious step up, and I was afraid to hurt my own reputation by telling you.  But I can't hide the truth any longer, I can't live with this lie. 

Here is my advice to you.  First, get an honours degree, work really hard, graduate with an A average because this is very important in the real world.  At least that was what I believed when I worked so hard in highschool my stress levels caused my hair to fall out and my stomach to be unable to keep food in it for more than about five minutes. 

Turns out the world doesn't care that you almost died to prove you are smarter than most (some?  at least a few?) people.  Then you go to university, where even less people care how smart you are, because turns out graduating with a 93 average in highschool doesn't mean very much there.  Fine, so you work hard at university to keep your scholarships (apparently my health and mental well being was worth $4000, just in case you wanted to quantify your stress, although nowadays I would take that $4000 and trade in my self dignity and respect as well and not complain).  You graduate and nobody cares.  So you go back to college to get practical experience in your field and hope to find a job you are insanely overqualified for.  Guess what?  Still nobody cares.  Or wants to hire you.

BUT there is hope.  A light at the end of this long dark tunnel, if you will.  Because after five years of post secondary school, working so hard to be the very best, you get hired, for minimum wage, to work at the mall.  Here's the part that really hurts....  part time, seasonal work.  Now, for the twist of the knife - you accept this position because nothing else has been offered to you and you need to pay your rent somehow.  Yes.  That is my life.

I absolutely do not want to come off as ungrateful, because I am very excited to finally be working again (4 hours this week!  Watch out world    ....  oops  ....  I was supposed to be sincere in this part ....  somehow my bitter sarcasm snuck in ....).  No, seriously, I am glad to have something to be doing, that pays me money.  I am also glad I have come out with the truth to you.  I hope you can forgive me for keeping this from you for the last week.  I am terribly sorry.

To help gain back your trust, here is an adorable picture of Regis as a baby.

Cutest puppy ever?  You know I think so.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

U Haul U Suck

I'm back online again! This time with a very special face punch!

We moved on Saturday from Toronto to Hamilton.  We had to book our elevator time a month ahead (11:30-1:30), and we also booked our truck far in advance of moving day.  We were told someone from U Haul would give us a call the night before the move to confirm the time and place.  They never called but we did get a fun email saying we were to pick the truck up in Etobicoke at 12:30.  Well this would obviously never work.  I called U Haul and spoke to their people, who mostly didn't speak, in fact I would sit in silence on the phone waiting for them to respond to my questions.  Apparently the problem was the man (let's call him Albert, so I don't have to keep typing 'the guy') who currently had the truck wouldn't have it back until 10:30 Saturday morning so we just couldn't have it earlier.  They had no back up plan, no way to confirm we would have our truck, and no extra truck for us to take early.  I asked to speak to the people who actually made the reservations.  Apparently what the woman I was talking to heard was, "give the phone to your friend".  I spoke to another lady, who said the same things all over again, just as slowly as the first. 

Finally, since they weren't helping me, I hung up and looked up the head office number for myself.  I gave them a call, pressed a thousand numbers to get to a real person, who transfered me, where I pressed a thousand more buttons, to get put on hold.  I was also getting ready to go out, so I waited on hold for 15 minutes, and then did the thing that makes you get off hold very quickly.  I started to brush my teeth.  Obviously my call was picked up the moment I was most minty and frothy. 

I re-explained my issue (well, first I spit out my toothpaste), again letting them know the elevator was booked all day and I needed to get out of my apartment and to Hamilton.  Finally, after much doing nothing and not offering any solutions (except to say Albert had been called and confirmed he would be in at 10:30 the next morning.  More on this lie later), the representative said (almost sarcastically, might I add), "well I'm sorry if this caused any inconvenience".  What?  Really?  Why would it be inconvenient for me to not be able to move?  After we've packed up all our things, Herm has a job in Hamilton, our friends are coming over to carry the heavy stuff and we've already rented a truck?  Nah, not inconvenient, I think I'll stay in Toronto.  Good plan U Haul.  This move was a silly idea. 

So, with nothing more to be done, they said to be there at 11:30.  From previous U Haul experiences, I sent my Husband out at 10:30 to get the truck.  The truck wasn't there.  This was not surprising.  They assured him they had already called Albert and that he was coming.  Finally, after half an hour of waiting Husband asked them to recall Albert.  It took them 20 minutes to even find the number.  When they did call it was out of service.  Now that doesn't seem right.  How did they speak to him both last night and this morning already?  And if they had just called him why did they bury his number under a thousand other papers and then shuffle them all together making it difficult to find the number they needed to 're-call'?  Oops....  caught in your own web of lies U Haul...

Two hours later, no Al, no truck, and no solution.  Their customer service reps actually ignored my husband while he stood and spoke to them.  Finally my wonderful MIL (mother in law) found us another truck to rent.  From Discount.  This is where it gets hilarious.

U Haul has a policy if they can't make a reservation you get $50.  This is rediculous for a number of reasons.  First - if we had've been paid for the amount of time we spent on the phone and waiting fifty dollars would hardly add up to minimum wage!  Also, who has a policy knowing they will fail?  They must miss so many truck rentals they finally had to start paying people.  Probably to stop them from punching faces with their real fists on just their little weak internet ones!

What if other people had this policy?  What if I go to get surgery and the surgeon says, 'just to let you know, I mean this usually works out, but if I really ruin your brain we'll give you fifty bucks.  Hell, if you die, we'll even send it along to your next of kin.'

Or, what if I'm allergic if peanuts and I ask if something has it and I'm told, 'it shouldn't.  But it could.  If it does and you go into anaphalactic shock, well, we'll give you $50.'

Or policemen, what if every time they arrest the wrong person and jail them for 30 years that person gets $50?  Fair trade?  What if you go to the movie and they tell you to go the first theatre and if it isn't the movie you wanted you can have $50?  Or at the grocery store, if your milk has already expired, $50?

You all know I am not one to argue with free money.  But this seems a little over the top.  How about, instead of this strange incentive, you just do your job?  Because it isn't that hard.  Nope, they chose instead of ruin my day and try to entrap me in Toronto.  I told you this city was abusive!

In shocking news, after all of that, Herm was able to get to Discount, rent the truck, go pick it up from the lot and get back up to our apartment building in about half an hour.  See U Haul?  It can be done.  Plus the truck was at least $50 cheaper. 

The real mystery is whether or not Albert ever returned the truck.  O my gosh!!  I just solved my own mystery!!  Did anybody else see this?  Albert you maniac!!  Bring back our truck!!  haha

So, U Haul, here is your face punch, for your rude customer service reps, your ineffective scheduling, your complete lack of caring for people who are only trying to pay you money for you to do your job properly, and for your stupid policy about not being able to keep reservations. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Little children come trick or treating to my new house, the hookers are gone!

In good news, I took off that godawful picture of my giant sweaty head.  It was making me not want to come and check my own blog it was so hideous.  One day I will do a blog header photoshoot and come up with a good one for you all.  For now we are back to nothing.

I am working on the moving in process.  We are painting over our hideous red bedroom, and the blue and pint children's room (or as I like to call it, the princess fetish room, you'll see...).  The only problem is how to get the mirror of the basement ceiling.  What?  I never mentioned that before?  O that is because it is creepy and weird and I have to clean the carpet down there at least twelve times before I ever even dream of going barefoot down there.  It is stuck in the middle of a crazy black spaceship kinda design.  It is very big and embedded into the ceiling.  I will post pictures for you, don't worry.  I am going to start a home renovations by the unemployed series, based on my gross rental house.  I hope you are ready for that kind of drama.

We got our keys on Tuesday and went in to start painting before we move Saturday.  That is when I discovered all of our outdoor lights are red.  We are moving into an ex-brothel.  Confirmed.  People's private lives are freaky and disgusting, that is what this small glimpse has taught me. 

I was coming on here to tell you my internet access will be limited for the next while and you will have to deal with your life without me to brighten it, but obviously I got distracted by that stunningly hideous story. 

While you are waiting for me to come back I need you to watch this video.  At first it will seem cute, but watch it at least 100 times, preferable after a bottle of wine.  This is the funniest damn thing I have ever seen.  EVER!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Good bye Toronto!

I have always described my relationship with Toronto as 'love-hate' but as I went to write this post I realized it is really more of an abusive relationship.

I moved to Toronto, fresh out of university, living with my cousin (okay, if you must know, we accidentally moved in right next door to Regent Park because we got a great deal on the sweetest little apartment).  I came to Toronto, bright eyed and full of dreams.  Ready to make a difference in the world.  Wanting to experience the excitement of the big city.

Our first day went something like this...

Me: Hey Toronto, I'm exhausted, we spent all day moving and cleaning.  But I am so excited to get out and explore and get to know my new home.

Toronto: I'm so excited for you to be here!  I can't wait to show you how wonderful I am.  I am a clean city full of friendly people with a Pickle Barrel walking distance from your house.  You will be so happy here.

Me: Yay!  I love this great city of greatness!  Fantastic!  *skips to Pickle Barrel and stuffs face full of joy and chicken wraps*

Night falls on this delicious city.  Our first night.  The stars twinkle, and then Toronto comes at us, full force.  On a walk outside we find crack addicts and dealers, a sweater abandoned and covered in vomit, we hurry inside and spend the rest of the night listening to sirens from various law enforcers, screams and what we thought might have been gunshots.  We cowered in the darkness and prayed to live to see morning. 

In the morning the sun shines.

Toronto: Good morning Sweetie.

Me: Don't 'sweetie' me.  What the hell was that?  Holy frick!  That was the scariest night of my entire night.

Toronto: O it was a mistake.  I didn't mean it.  It won't happen again.  Trust me this time.  I want you to love me, I really do.  Come on, come to the Eaton Centre, see Kensington Market, do your grocery shopping in Chinatown, wander Yorkville and dream of being rich and important.  I have so much to offer you.

Over and over and over again that year we played this game.  Horrible, awful experiences.  Then Toronto would smile, bring me flowers, play nice for a few days and I'd be sucked back in.  By the end of the year I called myself 'Toronto Karen'.  I had grown assertive, I had become more worldly, I could take the subway without getting lost which was an achievement in and of itself. 

Then I left.  After being home in Niagara for only one year Herm got into law school in Toronto and back I came.  I have been here for almost four years now.  I would like to say it has gotten better, that me and Toronto have developed a healthier relationship and established a routine where both of us benefit.  But, that's not true.  Toronto won't give me a job, won't accept that I am a qualified and ready to work individual.  Toronto doesn't want to help me with my career, or my education.  There are no first chances here, never mind second chances! 

So, Toronto, this is where I break up with you.  We're leaving.  Next Saturday.  I will no longer live here, I won't have to fight through your horrifying public transit, I won't have to deal with your mess and your noise and your pollution and your lack of green space and your over crowdedness.  Nobody will stab me with an umbrella in the rain, or try to run be over while I'm biking, or shout at me for no reason except that humans were never ever meant to live like this and eventually the frustration gets to us all.

But then Toronto does what Toronto does best. 

Toronto: Okay Karen, if you think that is for the best.  If you have to leave.  But won`t you miss baseball games (and by baseball games I, of course, mean the nachos at the Skydome)?  I know Hamilton has malls, but Hamilton doesn't have Yorkdale.  Just sayin'.  Remember when you went to the zoo for your birthday?  Or Sneaky Dees nachos?  Will Regis have a dog park like Sunnybrook to play at in Hamilton?  Do you have a balcony to watch the sunset from, and grow a little balcony garden?  Will you be able to come to Steven and Chris every week? 

I mean, it's fine.  I totally understand that you want to go.  But what about the ROM?  You know you love that crazy mummy and trying to sneak in with your expired student card on Tuesdays.  Remember the time you went to the ballet?  Or the time you tripped up those stairs and the homeless guy shouted at you for blocks asking if you were okay?  Or when you drugged up on gravol and conquered your fear of heights long enough to take the elevator to the top of the CN Tower and have a well deserved glass of wine?

All the cool kids go to the zoo for their 24th birthday!
 I have answers to all of this.  Toronto, I will find new places to go, new things to entertain me, new malls and shopping and maybe even a job!  I am not worried to be leaving you, in fact I don't even think I like you very much at all.

Then Toronto plays its trump card.

Karen, I get it.  No hurt feelings.  But, one more little thing.  What about your friends?  The friends you have made and collected from all over this city?  The ones who have become your family away from family?  Your in-laws who never remind you that you aren't actually related?  What about all the people who have taken you in, shown you the best fro yo (Menchis) or the cheapest beer (maybe Toby's until that guy broke a bottle and slit someone's neck, now we don't go there), or the greatest Mexican outside of Mexico (Mariachi), or where not to get food poisoning (another Mexican place, will remain unnamed)?  The first place you and Herm lived together?  Where you brought your puppy home to?  How can you leave? 

Karen, this is home.

Me:  Goddamit.  Goddam you Toronto.  I want to leave.  I really do, I want a smaller city and parks and no smog days and peace and quiet, somewhere that I feel safe all the time.  But I will miss it.  I will miss you so much.  Not just the city and the excitement but the friends and adopted family I am leaving behind.  We still have a week together.  Let's make the most of this week.  Maybe it isn't always healthy, and maybe not everybody understands why I keep coming back, but in the end I take this city for better or for worse (but NOT for another term of Rob Ford at mayor!). 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Everything is Crazy in this Cockamamy World

Yesterday I experienced the most amazing good luck.  You are not going to believe what happened to me.  Proceed with caution while reading, this story may cause you to become insanely jealous of my life. 


The scene: My living room. 

Husband and I are playing Trivial Pursuit. 

Final question, for me. 

It is something about a common phrase that is depicted using the number of letters in each word, being 1-4-3.  Loser Karen would have said something nonsensical like, "Pickle dee schmickle dee" because I couldn't be bothered to think of common phrases and how many letters each word had.  I don't generally like games, and I give up easily, especially on trivia questions.  I never win trivial pursuit, for a variety of reasons.  First,  Herm is a trivia genius, and I am not.  I am also absolutely terrible beyond belief at geography questions.  I can't answer sports ones, I am better at Canadian history than American and so I fail most of those.  BUT last night I was on a hot streak.  I had 5 pie pieces before Herm had any.  And I knew I had luck on my side. 

My being in the lead and answering the last question, it made everything become crystal clear.  Suddenly the entire world made sense.  "I love you."  That was the answer.  Chaos broke out (aka I reacted in an unnecessarily rediculous manner).  "I love you!!  I do love you.  I won.  I WON!!  I JUST WON TRIVIAL PURSUIT!!!!!!  WOOOOOO"  I was up and jumping on the couch, inventing the most beautiful winner of trivial pursuit song you have ever heard.

"I WON, I WON!!!!!!"

"Please stop yelling in my ear." 

Oops, I totally was yelling directly in his ear, in case he had somehow managed to miss this momentous event. 

"This is the best day of my life.  No seriously.  BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!  I can't remember ever having a better day than this!!!!!"

"Well I really hope that isn't true, for your sake."

"No it's true.  IT'S THE TRUTH!!!!!  ........  (thinking)..........  okay maybe our wedding day was a little better than this day.  But I certainly can't think of another one"

Husband is exasperated.  "Please clean up the game.  I'm taking the dog out"

I was in such a hysterical state.  He was right, I had to settle myself down.  This was unbelievable.  By the time he came back I had managed to calm myself.

"You know what this means?  This is my trifecta of good luck." I whispered in amazement.

"What?  What does that mean?"  he asked, confused.

"Trifecta?  It means three, like a tricycle."  I am now confused by my husband's weak grasp on the English language.

"Not trifecta.  Your good luck.  I don't know what you are talking about."

So let me tell you about my fantastic day.  When I told Herm the story it involved a lot of yelling and jumping and dancing.  I have edited that all out for the sake of clarity, and not to appear like a total nut case.

First, I got a job interview.  Not a real one, but one for a chain store, in the mall near my new house in Hamilton.  (by the way, I am moving to Hamilton next weekend, more on that later)  But it is a chain store I would quite enjoy working at.  Let me tell you, at this point underemployed is far better than unemployed.  Good thing #1.

In preparing for our move I spent a lot of yesterday going through my crap.  I was supposed to be finding stuff to throw out to eliminate clutter in my life.  Unforunately I couldn't find anything to throw out.  I almost threw out this set to make Barbie clothes that I've had since I was little, but the black yarn is very sparkly and beautiful.  Maybe next time we move I'll get rid of that one.....  Anway, I looked in this little piggy bank in the shape of a London telephone booth with bears on it (obviously another keeper!) and what did I find?  $40!!!!!!!  Just when you think a day can't get any better.  Good thing #2.

Good thing #3 was obviously my miraculous win at trivial pursuit.  If you have ever had a better day than this one I would love to hear about it.  I apologize if this story has made you realize how sad and depressing your own life is.  But, cheer up, if a day this good could happen to me, it could probably happen to you too!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pig kissing, and other travel related adventures

Thursday morning book review!!  Yay!!

I must admit I've felt a little guilty about almost, but not quite, cyber punching a little old lady in the head yesterday.  I mean she didn't really do anything wrong, in fact she might not have even been being sarcastic.  Husband and I talked it over and he said she might have actually been making conversation in an nice, albeit a little weird way.....  Moving on, I do not take back that post because I believed it to be true at the time of the writing.  I am just letting you know today's post will be a little nicer.

The book I am reviewing is called "kiss the sunset pig" by Laurie Gough.  The title is from an obscure line in a song, and also maybe a folk tale, and also partly from some unpublished memoirs.  The story is a woman driving from Guelph to California.  Along the way she remembers a lot of her other crazy travel adventures, as well as having some new ones.

I love to travel and I love to read about other people travelling.  Her travel style is a little more intense than mine.  I don't think I am a high maintenance traveller, but her favourite memory is the week she spent living in a cave on the California coast without speaking to another person, eating granola and hoping she didn't get sick from drinking spring water she had seen cows bathing in.  A little too rustic for me, but I appreciate the sentiment.  I think you find a better, truer part of yourself when you travel.  I like to see what other people have found about themselves through adventuring.

After a particularly challenging trip to Sumatra she says, "trips don't mean you have to have a good time.  All you need to have is a 'time' for its own sake where you see this baffling universe in a different way than you've ever seen it before.  Bruno said I should go to Sumatra to see it and to see myself in it.  I'd done that, and even though I didn't always like what I saw in either, it would change me".

I think every trip changes you.  My sister and I went to an all inclusive resort in Cuba last year.  For $530 including tax we got our flight, food and alcohol, and activities for a week.  We had a blast, eating mostly raw vegetables (because one day we saw two guys carrying a dead goat across the resort, and that night it was on the menu), napping through the extreme heat every afternoon, and I took an accidental intimate shower with a tree frog (that story is for another day). 

Marea del Portillo

One day we decided to go horse back riding.  Our guide rode us off the resort and along dusty not quite paved roads and right into the heart of the village of Marea del Portillo.  This was not the romantic horseback ride along the beach you see in brochures.  We stopped at a roadside bar while the guide joked with the locals in Spanish.  We tried our best to interpret, refused multiple offers of beer, and had a small glimpse into someone else's life.  We saw how they lived in the village, not from the view of a large tour bus, and not as white saviours coming in with supplies to give them.  Just as two girls, bouncing in on horseback, alone in this foreign world.

When I look back on that vacation I think about the things I learnt from a week spent with my sister, about the laughter and the relaxation.  Would I recommend this resort based on its food, or comfort of the rooms, or safety?  Probably not.  Do I regret going?  Absolutely not. 

The end of the horseback riding story is that as we approached the beach the guide said to my sister, "When we reach the beach your horse gallops."  We had little time to think this over before we hit the beach and her horse took off at full speed leaving me trotting behind wondering how I was going to explain her unfortunate death to my parents......  She made it, but was told by her doctor when she got home, for the sake of her tailbone, to quit horseback riding!

I saw myself in a remote village in Cuba.  I wasn't as brave as I had hoped, or as fluent in Spanish.  But it definitely changed me.  Brought me a little bit of peace with who I am and what I am capable of.  Be brave and strong my readers!  Travel the world and come back and tell me about it. 

Today I am concentrating on seeing myself in my life here in Toronto.  I will admit, I don't always like who I am in my every day life, but really seeing that will help me to change into what I would like to be.  Hopefully.

Hey - give me one post of self reflection, I promise tomorrow I will be back to punching little old ladies! 

Maybe these little guys are my sunset pigs?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

It's almost a punch in the face....

I am going to file this under 'face punching' but it was more of a strange encounter and I guess I want to punch the encounter itself.

Since Husband and I are moving in just over a week (more on that later), we headed out to spend our leftover wedding present money on new bedroom furniture.  We have decided to rent and not buy a house so we can continue to spend money frivolously on furniture and vacations and our fur baby rather than being responsible adults who pay for things like new roofs, and worry about the basement flooding or buying a new washing machine.  We are not ready for that.
Anyway, the point of this post is not that I can ramble on about nothing for pages and pages....

The point IS we found ourselves standing in the hallway waiting for the elevator.  You may remember, the elevators in our building are rather slow.  See my previous face punch for proof of this.  We were waiting and waiting and waiting.  Then the most adorable little old lady came to wait with us.  Picture this - she's about 4'5, slight stoop but not enough for a grotesque hunchback, lots of lipstick, standard little old lady haircut (you know exactly what I mean), a cart on wheels almost as big as her.  Adorable, right?  She stood and looked at me and said, "You know it's pouring rain out there, right?" 

We were headed to the parking garage to get the car, so I was only wearing a sweater and jeans (no, not the jeans I have outgrown, an older pair I can still squeeze into, no cause for celebration).  I smiled, as one does at cute little old ladies, and said, "o we're just going to the garage, but thank you."

She smiled sweetly at me and inquired, "Do you have a car?"

I continued smiling, trying to be polite even though my cheeks were beginning to hurt.  Isn't there a time when the pleasantries have gone too far?  I am just waiting for the elevator, we don't have to be best friends.  We can wait in silence.  Crazy little adorable lady.  But she was being sweet, so I replied, "Yes." and was hoping to end the conversation there.


She was still smiling, although it now felt a little strained, and slightly sinister.  Then she said, with saracasm dripping so heavily from her voice it formed a little puddle of bitterness at her feet, "Well isn't that nice for you." [italics mine]. 

For some reason, this last comment was a strange mixture of mean and snobby and pleading (we both felt as though we should offer her a ride to a place of her choosing), with a little bit of 'none of your business', and it struck me as hilarious.  Really irrationally funny.  I could hardly hold in my laughter.

This being the end of the encounter, you understand my confusion.  I can't possibly punch this little lady in the face, not even in cyber space.  So here I am, not punching her, but left with the feeling something should be punched.  You decide for yourself.

I do have a few real punches while we are the subject.  First - PUT AWAY YOUR CANADA GOOSE JACKETS TORONTO!!!!!!  Just because you can afford a jacket that costs roughly twice my monthly rent doesn't mean there is any reason at all to wear it while it is about 15 degrees out.  Toronto never gets cold enough to really need one of these jackets anyways, so really you just look wimpy and stupid wearing it in the beginning of autumn.  If you insist on having one at least wait until it gets somewhere closer to freezing. 

Second, I had a special request for a punch - those disgusting new commercials for cold sore medication have gotten disgustingly graphic.  If your mouth herpes are so bad they disfigure your entire face, do us all a favour and stay home.  Do not show them to me on television.   I have a sensitive stomach.