Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Giving Chivalry the Shank

Last week I read this great blog post about how chivalry needs to die already.  (Check out other posts from Jenn at Something Clever 2.0, because she's awesome).

Can I hear an "Amen"?  Can you give me "Hallelujah"?

Hell yeah!

So much YES to this post.  Chivalry ranks in my top ten Things That Piss Me Off.  Not so much because it happens (bad enough but good intentions yadda, yadda, yadda), but because those who perpetrate it force it on you against your will!  Seriously!  Have you ever tried to reject an act of chivalry?  It is near impossible.

When my kids were in the stroller stage men were constantly going out of their way to open doors for me which, sure it's polite to offer to open the door for someone.  But when I told them, "Thank you, but you don't need to do that.  I've got this."  They would open the door for me anyway!  And yes, sometimes it was more than awkward and I would have gone through the door much faster without help than with it, but more than that it made my blood boil.

I felt like I was being told that not only was I not capable of handling the door but that I wasn't even capable of knowing whether or not I could handle the door. You don't know me!  Maybe I've been training for this.  Maybe I worked hard during my pregnancy to be the Formula One Race Car Driver of strollers! 

Quit stealing my Days of Fucking Thunder, asshole!

And it was like this every single time some dude was holding open a door for me.  I would literally  say "No, thank you" and they would do it anyway, sometimes with a big, shit-eating, self-congratulatory grin.  How in the fuck is it polite to do something that someone explicitly asked you not to do?  How in the fuck is that not outright disrespectful?  Grrrrrr!

So Jenn, I want you to know that your post inspired what I did today.

Today, I had to bring Frick to the hospital to see his opthalmologist.  We were waiting for the elevator and when the doors opened I indicated to the man who was waiting with us to go first because he was waiting there longer than we were.  And then this happened:

Man: "Oh no, you can go first."

My leg muscle twitched to do the automatic thing and comply even though I know it will piss me off and then I stop myself.  Why do I have to do what this man tells me?

Me:  "No, you can go ahead.  You were waiting longer."

Man:  "I must insist."

Me:  "Oh no, I insist.  After you."

Man (becoming visibly irritated):  "No really.  You can go first."

At this point Frick is already on the elevator and the doors are starting to close.

Me:  "Frick could you press the 'open door' button so this gentleman can get on the elevator, please?"

Man (shaking his head in disgust and muttering): "...have better things to do than stand here arguing with you all day."

And then he finally gets on the elevator.

I thought that after this I was going to feel guilty, like I had unreasonably thwarted someone's genuine good intentions.

I was wrong.

I felt awesome!!!

I hadn't felt this level of exaltation since the first time I successfully tied my shoelaces ALL BY MYSELF!  Instead of spending the next ten minutes resentfully wishing I had done something subversive, I actually did the subversive thing and now I felt like fist-pumping the air or doing a cartwheel.  

I knew I did the right thing because this guy was the one being unreasonable.  If he was truly being polite it shouldn't have mattered who entered first.  But it did matter to that guy.  His angst at me showed that it mattered a lot.  I wonder if he felt infantilized.  I wonder if he felt belittled.  I wonder if he felt every bit as humiliated as I was going to feel if I had accepted his act of "chivalry".

Doesn't feel so polite when it's being forced on you, does it?

So yes, I am right on board with chivalry needing to die already (Amen!  Hallelujah!  Praise Gloria Steinem!).  But I propose that we hurry things along by giving chivalry the shank.  From now on, when some "gentleman" tries to force his unwanted chivalry on me I'm going to stand my ground.

Anyone with me?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mirena: The Cadillac of IUDs (Because It Costs Almost As Much As a Cadillac)

I think my favourite part about my husband's new job is their amazing drug and dental plan.  It covers just about anything, which is great because it's looking like Frick is going to need braces.

With his last job we had to be more careful about our drug and dental spending because we could only spend X amount of dollars each year.  Also they made you pay upfront and would reimburse you after they got the prescription receipt.  Which means that the last time I was in the market for birth control I had to pick something that wouldn't break the bank.  I really wanted the Mirena IUD, which is a wonderful, magical IUD that gives you little or no period and makes your uterus smell like a spring meadow (not really).  But the Mirena costs something like $800.  

On the other hand there was the Nova-T, which is not magical, makes your period last longer (mine was 8 days long.  8 DAYS!!!), makes you bleed more heavily and makes your cramps worse. The Nova-T is a lot more like the one your mother probably used before people found out they were dangerous and gave IUDs a bad rep for a couple of decades.  But they're better designed now, they WILL prevent pregnancy and back then they only cost about $80.

And hey, I don't want to knock the Nova-T too much.  Because according to my Nurse Practitioner I should have got mine replaced about two years ago (oops!) and yet I'm still baby free.  So that's something.

When I went to go pick up my fancy new Mirena, they gave it to me like this:

They had to double bag it!

I laughed and told the pharmacist, "That's not going to fit!"

She said, "Oh, we just wrap it up like that to keep it discreet."

Discreet?  Then why is it packaged in such a huge motherfucking box?

Seriously.  Here's a picture for scale.

They crayon is for scale.  The lego is to cover my name.  The upside down is just because.

As you can see the actual IUD is smaller than the crayon.

I remember when I picked up my Nova-T that it came in a little plastic Ziploc bag.  That was plenty discreet.  When I told my husband that he laughed and called it "ghetto".  I guess this giant box is what you get when you are paying $800 for birth control.  Deluxe packaging.  I wondered what else might be inside this enormous box.  Reams of complicated instructions?  Some weird kind of applicator?  A swag bag?  I couldn't wait to find out!

Finally the day of my appointment arrived.  It had been five years since I had to worry about getting pregnant and I did not like having to worry about it again between IUDs.  Also I was looking forward to the possibility that I might be amongst the 33% of women who stop getting periods with this thing.  (Fingers crossed!)  So I wrestled my enormous Mirena box into my purse and headed to my doctor's office.

As usual the nurse handed me a giant paper towel, told me to strip from the waist down and then made me wait, half naked, for waaaaaay to long.  I started playing one of my waiting games.  I have many.  If I'm waiting for the bus I play "Hipster or Homeless?" because sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.  When I'm on the bus I play "Who's Holding the Weed?" because the buses in Anytown smell like a Cypress Hill concert and because it's always fun to pretend it's the elderly lady wearing a sock monkey hat or something.

And in waiting rooms/doctor's offices I play "See If You Can Find Dust."  Spoiler alert:  you can't.  But it's super impressive once you start really looking for it.  In this particular office there were these hanging butterflies made out of coloured nylon stretched over wire wings.  They had little fluffy pom-pom antennae.  These things should be impossible to keep perfectly dust-free....and yet they were perfectly dust-free.  Amazing!

Right when I was starting to wish she would hurry up already because it's chilly in here, dammit!  I heard the radio start playing Rick James' "Superfreak" and then all I could do was pray that she would at least not come back until the song was over because I couldn't guarantee that I would be able to refrain from laughing my ass off.  This is a delicate procedure requiring steady hands and a patient without the maturity of a 12 year old.  Since she wasn't going to get the latter I could at least try to help with the former.

My prayers were answered and just as the song was ending the nurse knocked on the door and asked to come in.  Once she got to work it turned out that my fears about the music distracting me were baseless since she kept up a steady stream of small talk, which I'm not entirely sure was better.  I hate small talk in general.  I am terrible at it.  It just provides me with an opportunity to say stupid things to a complete stranger.  It's even worse if I feel awkward or nervous as one is likely to feel when one's feet are in the stirrups.

We talked about mundane stuff like shoes and kids and then she told me to cough because I would "feel a pinch" which turned out to be a total lie because I didn't cough so much as have the wind forced out of me involuntarily.


"Are you okay?"

"That was slightly more than a pinch!"

"Was it?  I'm sorry.  Well, I guess we're not friends anymore."

When she was finished she went to great lengths to reassure me that everything went well.

"That went in sooooo easy!  Just right in there with no problems at all.  The opening was nice and wide."

Um....thank you?  It's nice to know I have such a huge cervical opening?

Aw, who am I kidding?  I bet she says that to all the girls.

As for the contents of the giant box?  Nothing but a small consumer information pamphlet.  Not even a lousy coupon book.  What a let down.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Baby's First Forgery

A couple of nights ago after I got home from work, my husband called me from his job to tell me he got a message from Frick's science teacher.  He was confused as to why she would be calling him.  The school knows to contact me first as I am the parent that handles the school stuff.  The only time they call him is usually because they tried me first and I wasn't available.

He told me she was wondering about an overdue science assignment that one of us had apparently signed a note acknowledging that we knew it was overdue about a week ago.  It was still not handed in and she was wondering what was going on.  He wasn't clear on any more details than that because his work voice mail sounded like crap.

I have to admit that for a second this information worried me.  Not because there was an overdue project unaccounted for, but because I couldn't remember anything about signing a note and for one second, one teeny-tiny second, I began to wonder if it were possible that I could have signed something without realizing what it was.

This didn't sound like something I would do.  Usually when Frick hands me something from the school to sign I scrutinize it carefully to find out a) whether or not I am agreeing to something I shouldn't, like I would when signing any document, and b) what kind of trouble/problems with schoolwork Frick might have caused/experienced so that I can get into problem solving mode.

I will admit that during that teeny-tiny second of doubt I didn't want to admit that it was possible that Frick had somehow managed to take advantage of a moment of distraction to get the better of me.  Just as I was mentally preparing myself to have to admit I probably dropped the ball somewhere my Mommy-senses kicked in.

Maybe the reason I didn't remember signing anything is because I'm not the parent who signed it.  That would definitely explain why the teacher called my husband instead of me.  I asked him if he signed anything recently and he told me he has never signed anything from the school ever because that's kind of my jurisdiction.  This is when we figured out that the most reasonable explanation was that Frick had forged his signature.

We confronted Frick about all this and he caved and readily admitted to the forgery.  Later on my husband admitted to being reluctantly proud of Frick.  After all, haven't we all tried forging our parent's signature at one point or the other?  Even I have memories of painstakingly copying my parents' loopy scrawls and flourishes so that not even Sherlock Holmes would know the difference, and I was a model student.  Oh, the nostalgia!

He told me it was a shame Frick hadn't taken advantage of the forgery to hand in his assignment, otherwise we might never have found out.  I laughed and then smacked him on the arm and told him to shut up.

The next day, as per our request, Frick's teacher sent home a photocopy of the forged signature.  When Frick handed it over he was probably baffled by the fact that I started giggling.

This forgery was terrible.  Calling it a 'forgery" is a misnomer and an insult to all other forgeries.

First of all the signature was in printing, not cursive.  The writing was so obviously Frick's that is was clear he hadn't even bothered trying to disguise it.  And he hadn't even included the entire last name.  I wish so hard I could show you guys a picture of it but it has my husband's real name.  Imagine something along the lines of an extremely childish scrawl reading "Daddy R".

When I tried to imagine my husband signing cheques to pay our bills with a childishly printed "Daddy R" my giggles turned into guffaws.  Frick wanted to know what was so funny.  Wiping the tears out of my eyes I told him, "Honey, I love you but I think you just ought to stick to being honest because you really do suck at being devious. (Snert.)"

"Does this mean I'm not in trouble anymore?"  he asked, hopefully.

"Oh God, no.  You are so totally grounded, Darling Boy."

I think it is a testimony to the compassion and understanding of Frick's science teacher that she initially accepted this signature, despite some pretty serious suspicions.  She clearly considered the possibility that my husband never mastered cursive, or perhaps suffered some kind of injury that made handwriting difficult for him.

It's nice to know my kid has such great teachers.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Lady Who Works In The Produce Section

There is this super-nice, friendly, outgoing lady who works in the produce section at the grocery store where I shop.  She is so friendly and full of energy and bubbly and happy and sweet.......and I am terrified of her.

I seem to be a natural target for her attention because I am in that grocery store almost every other day with my kids.  One of the things that super-nice, friendly, outgoing people seem to have in common is that they love kids.  And my kids love her.  So when she first started talking to me it was usually because she was talking to them.

But now that she knows me she goes out of her way to be super-nice, friendly and outgoing at me even when I don't have the kids and I can't staaaaaaand it.

It's not that I hate her or anything.  I can appreciate her super-nice, friendly, outgoing-ness as being the antithesis of assholery.  More people should be like that.

It's just that for me, having any kind of conversation with anyone is an ordeal that requires a great deal of effort and energy on my part.  While I may appear to be a smiling, friendly, talkative person I am actually desperately trying to avoid saying anything foolish.  I am desperately hoping that I won't be unable to sleep later because I can't stop replaying some stupid remark I made about someone's hair or something equally unimportant.  It's weird, I know, but it's an anxiety thang.

And unfortunately, Ms. Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Produce Lady's super power seems to be having the ability to trap someone into a conversation that easily lasts a minimum of fifteen minutes.  Seriously.  I have not yet been able to politely extricate myself from her attention in under that time.  I'm pretty sure you don't have to have a mental disorder to find that annoying.

So the other night I needed to go out and buy some garlic.  I didn't have enough for a recipe I was trying and I figured I would just quickly run to the store and back.  But of course when I got there I spied Ms. Super-Nice, Friendly, Outgoing Produce Lady cheerfully stacking apples.


She wasn't looking in my direction so I quickly ducked into one of the aisles before she could see me.  I figured I could bide my time checking out next week's specials and head to the produce section when she inevitably has to bring her empty apple cart to the back of the store.

Every couple of minutes I would surreptitiously peek into her section from behind a display of potato chips to see if she had moved yet.  But damn!  She was taking forever!  How long does it take someone to stack some lousy apples???

Apparently, pretty long if that someone is trapping random passersby into conversation.

I had been in the store for twenty minutes and she was still stacking those apples, chatting away to anyone that walked by.  And it's not like she had a hell of a lot of apples.  Did she manage to sneak back and get some more when I wasn't looking?  She must have!  I had officially spent more time avoiding this woman than I would have spent talking to her.  

And it didn't seem like she was going to leave at all.   How was I going to get my garlic?   I just want to make some soup, dammit!!!

Finally I saw that she had cornered a couple of college girls and decided to take my chance.  Keeping myself out of her line of vision I crept up, snatched the garlic and hightailed it out of there.  

I'm sure it must have looked very odd on the security cameras to see a customer case out the produce section for twenty minutes, sneak in there, seize a head of garlic, race out and then promptly pay for the garlic.

Would I go through all this again just to avoid having a conversation with this woman?  Yes.  Yes, I would.  Judging by the looks on the faces of other people she talked to, I made the right decision.  Besides, I prefer to save the ordeal of human conversation for my friends and family who are already aware of how weird I am.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Story About That Time I Went to a Nudist Resort

There's nothing quite like a polar vortex for making me wax nostalgic about....public nudity?

Yup.  Public nudity.

It's time to tell the story about that time I went to a nudist resort with some of my friends back in my college days.

How It All Started:

I think I can safely blame this one on Mummy Dearest.  You may or may not remember that I am a hippie love-child from the 70's.  This means that I grew up listening to Mummy's hippie adventures including that magical summer she met Stu, my hippie-bio-dad, while they were living in a treehouse on a nudist commune.

One afternoon in my early 20's I was sitting with my college friends telling them one of Mummy's hippie-nudist-commune adventure stories and it completely captured the imagination of one of my guy-friends.  We'll call him Pedro.

Anyway, Pedro was instantly all, "We MUST go to there!" and started bombarding me with questions.  Where exactly did this place exist?  Does it still exist?  How do we get in?

At the time it was most likely exactly what you're thinking: Pedro loved the idea of maybe getting to see all of us naked.  He was also in incredibly great shape and probably liked the idea of us getting to see him naked.

At first we didn't really take him seriously.  Sure, Pedro.  Yeah.  Let's all go have a naked picnic and laugh our asses off while we eat hotdogs.

But by the end of the week he had definite plans on going to a nudist resort he found about a half hour's drive out of town.  He tried and tried to talk the rest of us into going (I think there may have been a fair bit of begging as well) but there were no takers other than his girlfriend....

....and myself.

At first I wasn't going to go because my boyfriend at the time was not down with the idea.  He kept telling me he was worried that he would get an erection seeing a lot of naked ta-tas all over the place.  But when I tried explaining this to Pedro he practically dared me to go anyway.

"Nobody else will go, and I was counting on you!  You're the reason I got the idea in the first place!  Come on, it'll be fun!  You're not going to chicken out on me, are you?"

Nobody calls me chicken!

(Why yes, I am an idiot.)

The thing is, Mummy had all these amazing stories to tell about her hippie days and I felt it was high time to go out and make my own stories.  Pedro was handing me this golden opportunity to be publicly naked without getting arrested and I would be stupid to pass that up!

How It Went Down:

So one beautiful summery afternoon I packed a towel and two bottles of high SPF sunscreen and waited for Pedro and his girlfriend Jen to pick me up for our trip to the Ponderosa Nature Resort.  The ride there was fun.  Other than nudity we had no idea what to expect.  Pedro informed us of all the information he had got from the resort.  We had to sit on towels everywhere.  Nudity wasn't absolutely enforced unless you wanted to swim.  And if you show up to this place single, you're going to get the third degree.

Actually we didn't know about that last part until we got there.  I mean we could have figured it out by the pricing.  If you show up as a couple or a family then admission prices were significantly reduced.

When we got to the registration desk there seemed to be some confusion about me.  I was the third wheel.  The guy signing us in was clearly trying to find a polite way to ask me just what the hell my business there was until a naked guy at the bar nearby turned around and said:

"Don't you get it, Dave?  They're a threesome!"

And then everyone laughed and he put my name on the guest list.

And yes, the guy at the bar and the guy registering us were naked.  Everybody there was naked except for us and some guy who was their to repair the plumbing.  

OMG.  This plumber.

There were naked people all over the place; comfortable, relaxed and having a good time.  But that plumber dude was obviously not any of those things.  He worked very hard, intensely focused on the task at hand and diligently not looking anywhere else.  

I found this incredibly amusing.  I wondered if he understood just what he was getting into before he responded to this particular call.  Rarely have I ever seen anyone quite so absorbed in their work like this plumber.

Also?  Nary an inch of plumber's crack to be seen.

After paying our admission fees we went outside, took off our clothes, slathered on our sunscreen, making jokes about the horror of sunburnt genitals, and then made our way to the pool.  The resort was beautiful: two huge in-ground pools, hot tub, tennis and volleyball facilities (they LOVE naked volleyball) and wooded nature trails.  We ran into a few people who seemed to be going on a nature hike (they had shoes, fanny packs and water bottles).

I was surprised at how much of a family environment the place was.  There were little kids running all over the place while their parents and grandparents sunbathed.  I don't know why I was expecting some kind of swinging party to be happening but it was definitely the opposite of that.  Through conversation with people we learned that one of the reasons they screen people and set up the rates the way they do is to discourage gawkers and people coming in for inappropriate reasons.

Which, BTW, in no way discouraged us from being totally immature and giggling amongst ourselves at funny looking old man junk.  

I was also surprised at how super friendly everyone was.  Not that I was expecting anyone to be rude.  It's just that usually when you go to a resort/beach/public pool everyone just keeps to themselves.  Here, if someone happens by they greet you.  If you are sitting close by they will strike up a friendly conversation.  It was clearly a tight knit community because everyone knew that we were new to the place.  They all universally asked us if it was our first time.

That mystery was solved for us by an eight year old boy.  We were sitting in a hot tub when someone had asked us, yet again, if it was our first time.  I was in the middle of commenting on how uncanny it was that everyone seemed to know when the boy piped up:

"That's because you're cottontails!"

We had no idea what this meant so he went on to explain that a "cottontail" is someone whose butt is still white from lack of sun exposure.  The sight of a white butt is unusual to see here so it naturally attracts a lot of attention.  And since people bring their kids here they like to get to know the newbies and put their minds at ease.  But also, yes they're just very friendly people.

Stuff I Learned:

1.  Naked is a state of mind.  The only time that day that I felt naked was when we were at the registration desk.  I didn't stop feeling naked until I had taken off my clothes.  It was the weirdest thing.  I mentioned it to Pedro and Jen and they agreed.  I wondered if that plumber would have felt better if he were naked, too.  Probably not.

2.  Nudity does not automatically mean sexy times.  I already knew this to be true but my boyfriend refused to join us that day out of fear of being aroused in public.  This fear was baseless.  In reality it is one of the least sexy environments I can think of.  When you are surrounded by people of all ages, some of whom make up families, and they are universally naked it's just...it's just NOT a sexy environment.

Also they have VERY strict rules about behaviour and etiquette at nudist/naturist (I forget what the preferred term is) resorts/events.

I have since noticed that partial nudity is way more arousing than full nudity.  There was very little in the way of partial nudity here.  Unless you consider middle-aged men wearing nothing but Birkenstocks and a fanny pack to be "sexy".

And can I tell you how awesome it was to be naked and a woman and not be sexualized by men?  Because it was pretty fucking awesome.  I was treated with more damn respect at this place with my clothes off than I ever had being fully clothed.  Which made me think....

3.  Men need to see more naked women in a non-sexualized context.  You know how once upon a time the sight of a lady's ankle might drive a man wild?  And how nobody give's a half-chubby for ankles anymore now that we see them all the time?  Because they're just freaking ankles?  Maybe this translates to the rest of the body?  Maybe seeing the naked human body as no more than a naked human body because you see lots of different ones all the time is a good idea?

                                            ♪♫♪You may sa-a-a-ay I'm a dreamer♪♫♪

4.  Women need to see more naked women in a non-sexualized context.  Because that's when we get to see what normal women look like.  Not these crazy wasp-waisted, big-boobed, big booty-ed unicorn women.  Speaking for myself, getting to see lots of different women of different ages and sizes made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.  You get to see that so-called beautiful bodies have their flaws and those which our standards have taught us are supposed to be not beautiful actually are.  I no longer felt self-conscious about my personal flaws because everyone around me has them and we are all totally okay with that.  Nobody gives a fuck and that, for a 21 year old girl, was a profound experience.

5.  There's no ice-breaker quite like being naked.  It was easy for everyone to talk to everyone else because, what the hell?  We're already naked, so what are you afraid of?  There's just nothing to hide.  I felt way more comfortable talking to naked strangers than I ever felt talking to clothes-wearing strangers.  It's a little more of an authentic experience because removing clothes also removes a lot of pretension.  Our clothes can tell people about our tastes, our socio-economic status, our professions, our politics and all kinds of stuff.  When everyone is naked together we are all just equally human and nothing more.

6.  Swimsuits are bullshit.  I found out that I love naked swimming and swimsuits are just dumb.  Being naked in the water just makes so much more sense to me.  The only reason I own a swimsuit is because the staff at our local pool said I couldn't come back there without one.

They are sooo unenlightened.

So do I still go to naked places?  Not really.  The last time I went was with Pedro and his lovely wife (he married my childhood best friend so we're still in touch) back when I was pregnant with Frack.  We had a blast but my husband didn't want to go because he's self conscious about being a wookie.  I missed him and although he told me to go ahead and have a good time it just feels wrong to do naked stuff without him.

But if ever you have the opportunity to go to a place like that then carpe diem, my friends!  You will not regret it.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas at the Rotten's

Good Lord, it happened.  We hosted Christmas dinner this year.

It's not like this is something I didn't want to happen. In my opinion, at some point the kids have to take over the family traditions and let our parents retire.  I think it's just that I kind of envisioned the first Christmas dinner would be with my extended family because our house is tiny and they don't give a shit about fancy things like tables and chairs.  Or plates.  Also, I have fewer siblings than my husband.

But if we're going to host my in-laws, ideally I would like for everyone to have somewhere to sit.  Like, I would actually care about their comfort as opposed to my own people who are very comfortable making themselves comfortable, and I am comfortable letting them.  (Does this make any sense to the non-neurotic?)

Here is how it all happened:

The Problem 

On the night of December 21 there was an ice storm.  It caused a lot of damage to the power lines in Ontario and my in-laws live in a rural area with hardly any people on their grid, which makes them kind of a low priority for the hydro people.  When the power still hadn't come on by December 23, we knew there was a strong possibility that it was going to be a very dark and very cold Christmas.  We had to come up with a plan.

The Contingency Plan

The cooking of Christmas dinner could be shared by my tiny kitchen and my sister in-law's tiny kitchen.  My husband's parents, three siblings and their significant others plus our family (a total of 11 people) will all fit into our two-bedroom, cottage home.  It would be a little tight but we could just manage.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Results

We spent the whole of Christmas Eve simultaneously planning for dinner and praying that the power would come back on.  My husband watched the power company's website obsessively as we worried about practicalities like the fact that we possess exactly five forks and two wineglasses.  My personal strategy was to strategize the shit out of this dinner thereby guaranteeing that the power would be turned back on and all our efforts will have been for nothing.  Because the Universe is an asshole like that.

When we woke up Christmas morning the status was that the power would be turned on by 5:30 pm.  That meant we would for sure have to put the turkey cooking plan into effect.  No problem.  The turkey went into my sister in-law's oven (because it's bigger and works better than mine) and my POS oven should be able to handle the stuffing and hors d'ouevres.

We were worried about just what every one was going to do all afternoon while the turkey cooked.  My in-laws are not the type to want to sit around watching movies.  Traditionally we go out to the farm for lunch and then after lunch there is a winter hike and possibly ice-skating on the pond if it's frozen enough.  We opted to stick to that tradition and just rough it at the farm.

When we got there we had to keep all our outside clothes on because you could literally see our breath when we spoke, it was that cold.  We made jokes like celebrating the fact that it was 2 degrees warmer in the family room than the dining room by virtue of the fire in the fireplace.  And it was about 15 degrees warmer inside than it was outside.  My father in-law let my husband know that he put the Guinness in the fridge to "help warm it up".

The kids entertained us while they opened their gifts.  Frack decided that it was very important to show proper appreciation for each and every gift by blaspheming loudly, frequently, and in as many ways possible through the entire unwrapping process.

"Oh.  My.  God.  Oh, my Gawd!  OH!  MY!  GAWD!!  OHMYGAWD!!!"  (waving the gift triumphantly in the air)

Happy birthday, Jesus.

Halfway through lunch the phone rang.  It was the power company's robo-caller letting us know that the power wouldn't be turned back on until 5:30 pm on Boxing Day!  I almost cried when I saw the look of tired frustration on Father Rotten's face.  This poor man, who has a flock of sheep to look after, had been hearing that the power would be turned back on tomorrow for three days now.  It was like we were in that Tom Hanks/Shelly Long movie where the young couple are told the work on their house will be done in two weeks for like, a year.

And so, it was on.  We were going to do this!  For the first time I ever we were going to have Christmas dinner at our house.

My husband, my mother in-law and I all went back to our place to cook while the younger/more able-bodied people stayed to try out some ice-skating.  Us ladies would stay at my place to cook the stuffing and the sides while my husband cooked the bird at his sister's.  We had to come up with a list of all the things we needed the others to bring from the farm because, as I have mentioned, we didn't have enough chairs, plates, etc. for all 11 people.

When everyone showed up, my Father in-law and my SIL's boyfriend somehow managed to haul our only table from the back room into the living room.  I thought for sure the table was going to have to be dismantled for that but they did it!  I tried to remove the cheap, dollar store table cloth I put on it last summer only to discover that it had glued itself to the table, leaving behind a film of white felt/cotton or whatever.  

My mother would have been horrified, as it was a good quality table that used to stand in the kitchen of my childhood.  Great Gran MacCrappy would have been even more horrified that the table cloth that she gave me that I used to cover the table was wrinkled all the to hell.

(Sorry, Gran.  I have not once used the iron you gave me to iron any linens.  Please don't haunt me.  If it makes you feel better, on the rare occasion I iron my husband's shirt I turn it inside out first like you taught me.)

But once we were all seated at the table(s) it was just so nice seeing everyone there.  I loved having our family gathered together in our home for the first time on Christmas.  I almost felt feelings!

Everyone pulled together to make that dinner go off without a hitch.  Not having enough of some things and having to improvise here and there was kind of fun.  I wish it didn't have to happen in a way that so clearly caused my husband's parents some suffering, but I wouldn't mind if it happened again.  Just the dinner part though, we'd like to keep our power in Canadian Winter, TYVM.  And speaking of which....

The power is officially back on at the farm as of 9 am, today.

It's a Boxing Day miracle!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Gets a Break This Year Because I Am Broken

Literally.  I actually broke myself.

For the last month I've had the worst cold you could possibly have that still leaves you well enough to have to show up at work.  I've been keeping track of how long I've been sick because every time I have a cold it always feels like I've had the cold forever.  This can't possibly be true.  WebMD seems to think a cold lasts about a week.

Hahahahahaha!  (Oh!  Ouch!  It hurts to laugh!)

So I've been doing all the right things.  I've spent all my spare time trying to rest and drink lots of fluids and all the stuff you're supposed to do.  Which means my house is a mess and I haven't been posting much lately.  I haven't even bothered to decorate my blog and facebook pages for Anti-Christmas which is actually a lot of fun.  I was looking forward to it this year.

But I have to officially go on hiatus because last night I broke myself.

About two weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my back from coughing too hard.  At the time I thought it hurt pretty bad but what happened last night makes that pain seem minor now.  I went to see my doctor earlier this week and she agreed the muscle was pulled but the good news is that the cold is starting to go away so I should recover pretty soon.  Take some Advil and come back if anything gets worse.

Well, oh boy did it get worse!

I was out Christmas shopping after work last night.  On my way out of the store I coughed so hard I felt something go "pop!" in my back.  This caused a pain so severe I involuntarily shrieked a stream of profanities in front of a family with small children.  I was convinced that I must have cracked a rib and headed straight home so my husband could take me to the hospital.

Every bump in the road made me scream out loud and by the time I got home I wanted to weep.  But I didn't because I'm kind of a bad ass that way and also my kids were really worried about me.

The doctor told me that I had actually pulled the cartilage in my back, which is what made that "popping" sensation.  He gave me some painkillers and anti-inflammatories and told me this was going to take about 6 weeks to get over.

6 weeks!

So I must sadly inform you my friends, that I must take a break from snarking on Christmas this year and blogging in general until I feel better.  Hopefully I will be writing before 6 weeks is up but right now sitting upright is a challenge.  I am able to accomplish this post because I am hopped up on Tylenol 3 but it's making me pretty drowsy and I will soon be incoherent.

In the meantime, please enjoy this festive themed stream of profanity brought to you by that Christmas classic "A Christmas Story".