If you don’t have a plan…how would you know what you should have been?

image

image

I am famous for the five year plan that runs into a huge snag about five minutes after its conception. In truth, I am not much of planner at all. I consider myself more of a proactive reactor, which basically means that I lightly pencil things in and when that doesn’t happen, I just bounce. It’s been working so far and as I always say if it ain’t broke ….it ain’t mine.

So where am I going with this?

Recently, I was listening/eavesdropping to a conversation between two moms at the mall. One of the ladies was talking about her son who is twenty-two and will be graduating from university next year. She said he had a very firm plan for the next ten years. He would get a job, buy a house, get married and have at least two children by the time he turned thirty. She said all this with great pride and without even the tiniest bit of hesitation.

I thought of my own life and could not help but wonder if a life could actually be lived with such efficiency?

Not my life obviously.

You see, at twenty-two I had a plan too. Not quite that structured but I definitely had a few core ideas that I was going to run with. First off, I was never going to get married or have any kids. I was going to be a journalist and travel the world. I was going to be fluent in at least three languages and live with two cats. My life would never be boring, and I would be the envy of all….other cat ladies.

So let’s reflect on how that plan fleshed out.

I am married with four children. I do remember telling my husband I wanted four cats, which is usually man repellant, but we were in a loud bar at the time, so I guess he misheard me and thought I said kids? I speak one language and can swear in three others. I have never traveled the world but I have Google Earth so that’s sort of the same. I never wrote a big story but I can write a heck of a grocery list. I live with one cat and three cat/dogs. My life is definitely not boring so I guess that worked out but as for being the envy of all, I think I would say, that I am more of a cautionary tale.

So was there a defining moment where my life plan took a u turn and ended up in opposite land? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not.

You see, the one thing I can always plan on, is that any plan I make usually ends up resembling a Picasso painting version of the original idea. That’s okay though, as I have never been a destination kind of a girl. I am all about the detours and roadblocks and I firmly believe that any life worth living should always be under construction or deconstruction depending on the day…which sort of explains a few of my other posts.

The universe loves to laugh….at me.

image

Once again, my illusionary world, or as it is sometimes called, my delusionary world, just crashed into my reality like a bull in a china shop. I have always been a glass half full kind a girl but from time to time, I believe the universe likes to test my resolve. It starts out with small, seemingly insignificant blips and blunders that miraculously seem to manifest into mountains of mayhem in mere moments.

I believe I have now identified my mistake. I became overconfident, mildly complacent and even a tad bit content. The universe apparently decided that I was much more exciting and entertaining when I am none of those things. There also seems to be a bit of a reoccurring theme to my life over the past 12 months so it would appear that it (the universe) has a favorite genre.

So without further ado, I will begin my tale.

This morning I awoke to the death of yet another appliance. My refrigerator apparently decided to take its own life in the middle of the night. Sadly, it took a lot of our food with it; which is why I am calling this a murder suicide. I will probably never get over the carnage I discovered when I opened up my tub of Haagen Daz. It’s still too painful to talk about. I am crying as I write this.

I am loathed to admit I did not see it coming.

It showed no signs of depression. There were none of the usual red flags. I like to think that if I had known it was feeling down that I would have gotten it some help – called someone or arranged an intervention with some of the other appliances. I’m not saying they would have been able to intervene in a meaningful way, but maybe they could have talked it down off the ledge. If only it had stopped to consider the impact its death would have on my matching appliances and how a lack of this will inevitably impact my resell value.

Suicide is such a selfish act.

Miraculously we were able to replace it the same day. I know that might sound callous but we all grieve differently. Don’t judge me for moving on – applaud me for letting go.

Our new fridge is a beauty. It’s spacious, shiny and seems very well adjusted. At first I thought the others might not accept it as one of their own; but the stove gave it its leftovers from dinner tonight like they had been best friends since birth. I am not sure I have had a prouder moment.

We did hit a snag or three during the installation process which may or may not have led to the deconstruction of some solid oak railing, ceramic tile and the removal of some ill positioned cupboards.

I am not ready to discuss all that at this time as there is only so much one human can endure in a weekend and I maxed out on that with the murder of my caramel cone ice cream. I promise you, when I am stronger, I will over share all the repercussions of our latest failure to utilize a measuring tape.

Better call a medic…I’ve woken but I can’t get up.

                                                image     

I almost had to call an ambulance when I woke up this morning. Okay, I exaggerate … slightly. I do that sometimes.

Have you ever been so sore that you actually had to strategically plan how to get out of bed? You know, that minute when you wake up and your body screams in an ever so passive aggressive way, “Please just don’t move. I’m begging you. I have money; I will pay you to just stay still until whatever this is passes.”

Yeah, this morning that was me.

Every muscle took on a very vocal stance on movement of any kind. My legs were so done they started throwing my arms under the bus.

“Use them if you have to get up. They don’t know pain like we do. They basically do nothing. What exactly is their job, anyway? Waving and washing your hair? Please. We have been hauling your fat behind all over this planet for years while they just swing uselessly at your side all willy-nilly. It’s time they took on some real responsibility.”

My arms were like, “Easy for them to say, but we weren’t built for this kind of nonsense. You have basically ignored us your whole life and now out of the blue you decide to start using our muscles which have basically been dormant since the womb. How are we supposed to cope with the responsibility of real movement? It’s absurd.”

My stomach muscles which I always thought got a pretty good work out digesting all the delicious food I gave them were emitting the kind of sharp shooting pains which I can only liken to the early onset of acute appendicitis.

So I arose in stages. Calculated, controlled, tearful, ouch-filled stages. I may or may not have used several expletives by the time my core muscles had finally managed to move me into a seated position.

At this point I had begun planning my own funeral. Should I write an eulogy or leave that up to a loved one? What music should be played? Do I even have a favourite song that could be played in a church setting? Cremation or burial? Now my head was starting to hurt, and that was the one thing that had somehow managed to survive the recent terrorist activity that my body was waging on me.

Even with all these unanswerable questions, it seemed like dying still might be easier than figuring out how I was going to put my underwear on. However, I am a lot of things, but I’m not a quitter. Well okay, sometimes I am a giver upper, but that is totally different from a full on quitter. So I struggled, and I groaned, and finally, I managed to get myself moving in the general direction of living my life.

A good friend of mine once said to me, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” I would like to say that Weakness had better move out quick, leave no forwarding address and not expect to get its damage deposit back.

It’s week 3 of my workout challenge and I am almost convinced that I will probably survive the next 5 weeks. Regardless of the pain and necessary sacrifice I will soldier on. However in the event that I don’t, I would like Sarah McLaughlin to sing In the Arms of an Angel at my funeral, partly because it’s a lovely song, and partly because I don’t think in my current condition I’d ever get through the pearly gates on my own steam.

A very unhappy birthday to me

image

image

It’s almost my birthday. I couldn’t be less thrilled. I’m not exactly a fan of my birthday. If possible, I would love to skip the day entirely. Why do I need to celebrate the fact that I made it one more time around the sun? Is it supposed to be some kind of reward for not dying? I guess that’s an accomplishment of sorts, but is it really worthy of cake? Not in my opinion.

Speaking of cake, given the recent onslaught of forest fires it was suggested that I refrain from lighting an accurate account of candles on my cake for fear that it might cause the fire department to deploy a water bomber to my house. I told that person to just start running.

Oh birthday, how do I hate thee, let me count the ways.

1. Every 5th one I have to renew my driver’s license, and who doesn’t love a day at the DMV? I get my prison headshot taken by someone even more bitter than me and sometimes, I even get to pay outstanding speeding tickets! Good times.

2. People tell me hysterical jokes, like asking me what it was like before indoor plumbing and if I had a pet dinosaur. The answer is yes and he’s hungry so come on over.

3. You hear things like, “Wow, you look good for your age!” What is that supposed to mean? How is that even a compliment? It’s really just a reminder of how someday, very soon, I will appear exactly right for my age. It’s already starting, and I’m mostly held together at this point with smoke and mirrors. Gravity is yanking on me so hard that it won’t be too long until I’ll have to seriously consider putting parts of me on LoJack.

4. People buy me gifts. Things I wouldn’t buy for myself. Mostly because I wouldn’t want them, and I have taste. My husband bought be a vacuum cleaner for one birthday and it sucked.

5. One time back when I was single my girlfriends took me to a bar for my birthday. It was ladies night, and I saw things that can’t ever be unseen; believe me, I’ve tried. My therapist believes that in time I’ll make a full recovery, but it’s been over twenty years so I’m starting to think she might be wrong.

It’s not that I mind getting older given that the alternative is death, but there comes a time when your closer to the end than the beginning and it starts to get real. So keep your hollow happy birthday greetings, questionable gifts, and cakes that depict towering infernos. If you want to know what I want this year for my birthday it’s pretty simple, a little peace, a lot of quiet, and a number for a good plastic surgeon.

I have the directional sense of a fruitfly in a windstorm.

image

                                       image

 

I have the directional sense of a fruit fly in a windstorm. There have been times in my life when finding my way to an unfamiliar place have resulted in tears. Not always mine. Not shocking when you consider the time I placed numerous phone calls for assistance one of which may have been to 911, stopped at two separate gas stations and slowly followed a kid on a bike asking if he knew where Shelly lived? I don’t think he did though, because he just started yelling “stranger danger”and sped off into a park.

My husband on the other hand could find his way out of a jungle with nothing more than a leaf and paper clip. He used to ask me to read the map for him when we were travelling. The reason he doesn’t anymore is because I have threatened to charge him with spousal abuse if it ever happens again. I just looked that up, and as of today it is not actually considered abuse, but laws can be changed and he knows how motivated I am to be right about stuff.

Sometimes people ask me for directions to places I am or I have been in the past. Usually we are speaking on the phone at the time and I find myself gesturing and pointing, when indicating where they they should turn left and or right. Surprisingly signing on a cellular device does not translate well and they usually just change the subject or become awkwardly silent as if waiting for me to speak or something. You can’t help everyone I guess.

Recently I got lost at a mall. Not a strip mall obviously,but one of those big crazy labyrinths of endless stores, food courts, and kiosks . I called home and told them I wouldn’t be home for dinner, It was 9:30 in the morning. I know when to be pragmatic and the kids need to eat. It’s not that the mall design folks don’t try to be helpful. They do have those “YOU ARE HERE” signs posted at regular intervals. However they are about as helpful to me as a bag of cats, because generally I don’t know where “here” is to begin with, so finding out my way to “there” is pretty much a non starter.

My mapping skills or that whole east west north south geography thing are about as honed as a dead pigeon too. When someone tells me to head north, I feel compelled to find a tree with moss on it. I was a girl guide and I learned that moss only grows on the north side of a tree. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a tree with moss on it at the mall? Well let’s just say if it’s out there I haven’t found it yet.

Not long ago someone suggested I purchase a navigational unit that is designed to verbally instruct the driver on how to get from point A to point B. This was one of the greatest days of my life followed shortly thereafter by a near death experience.

It started out so well. I programmed my unit to help me get to my brothers house in maple ridge Which is about a 5 hour drive from my home. Off I went with the nice British fellow I had selected on the device to guide me giving me helpful instructions at pivotal points along my journey.

After awhile it was nighttime and the weather turned to rain and fog. I wasn’t too worried as I was pretty close to my final destination. Looking back on how literal that last part could have been, just gave me goosebumps. I was driving down a very dark narrow road with mist as thick as glue and my visibility was limited to about two car lengths in front of me. Still felt pretty confident with Charles (I named him that because he seemed quite regal and perhaps the tiniest bit bald)

Then out of the darkness, I found myself a mere three feet away from driving directly into a lake. I was at a ferry crossing that had long since closed. I braked hard and turned the car around feeling a deep sense of shock. Charles did not like my new course and he kept telling me he was “re calculating route” and instructing me to make a u-turn as soon as possible. It became clear to me that Charles was trying to kill me.

I pulled over and called my brother. He was able to figure out where I was calling from, not sure how, because I am almost certain all I kept saying was ” I can’t believe Charles wants me to drive off a pier.”

After that happened I made peace with myself, and decided I’ll just have to be okay with getting lost from time to time. Its probably not the worst skill to not have. I can make an awesome lasagna and you can’t be great at everything, it’s obnoxious. As for Charles he is no longer a part of my life. He has been re routed back from whence he came because I am not going to reside with a homicidal machine. I have seen Transformers and the Terminator and I recognize a bad seed when I see one.

Is it a bathing suit? Or a cautionary tale?

Occasionally I ponder things. Not the big things, like are we alone in the universe or why it always rains about 12 hours after I wash my car. But from time to time I do think about the little nonsensical things that are of little or no importance to most everybody else on the planet.

You see, I guess deep down, I would like to be more contemplative but thinking the big thoughts is a real time sucker and I’m not entirely sure I’m all that qualified to comment on most of them. Philosophy seemed like it might have been a good college course to take but I was too busy thinking about how to get a job.

That being said I am currently pondering a bit of sticky wicket and I feel compelled to put it out there in the universe so that others might ponder it too. I’m sure it comes as no surprise but for those of us in the northern hemisphere summer has arrived (sort of) and with it brings (in my opinion) a myriad of social issues. One of which I’d like to discuss.

Should swimming suits be more expensive when they are merely a suggestion? What I mean to say is, when the coverage of said swim suit is not much more than a pasty and a bit of string?

Take a moment. Talk amongst yourselves.

I find myself wondering if it is the strategic engineering of the garment that drives the cost? It must be….I bet that there is a plethora ( word of the day…your welcome) of scientists held up in lab somewhere, probably Germany ( world famous for their engineering capabilities) coming up with these mind boggling designs. And If I were to hazard a guess I’d have to say that some of these suits must employ a degree of witchcraft and or prayer to keep them from revealing all the secrets of a woman’s nether regions.

And while I applaud their efforts….geniuses all…it begs the question what’s the point? Why would anyone willingly pay any amount of money for the mere illusion of a swim suit? Whatever happened to the speedo with its full coverage and snappy little logo. You could really swim in those without fear of exposing any of your bits or bobs. After all who wants to be the reason little Johnny learns about anatomy at the ripe old age 5. Not me.

Anyway regardless of all that this was just a thought I found myself thinking. If I am asked why it came to me on this particular day I’d have to say “no comment”. A girl should never discuss what she sees in the mirror of a changing room during bathing suit season. It’s just not decent.

The turtle people are coming

 

                          Image

 

 

The turtle people are coming.  They are arriving en mass to partake in the annual ritual known as camping. I call them turtle people because they tow their houses, children, pets, cars, boats, and various other things, to places far and wide to commune with nature.

 

I often find myself trapped behind caravans of them as they travel the highways at a pace that can only be described as a meander. Good for them that they have nothing but time to cruise at the speed of a glacier ice melt. Not so good for me when I am stuck in a parade devoid of marching bands, clowns or balloons.

 

The thing that I don’t understand is the need or desire to live outdoors. I’ve camped before and, quite frankly, I can see why mankind chose to climb up the evolutionary ladder. I would also hazard a guess, and say, if Neanderthals could see us trying to devolve and be one with nature again they would probably be very confused. After all their hard work and sacrifice to better themselves! I’m pretty certain chasing the wooly mammoth and discovering fire was no day at the beach for them. Yet here we are thumbing our noses at convection ovens and flushing toilets and blatantly turning our backs on progress to embrace the same archaic behavior that made their entire species extinct. It’s a bit of puzzler.

 

The last time I went camping was the last time I’ll ever go camping. With only two weeks off a year, the very idea of spending it in the woods, devoid of any convenience is tantamount to torture.

 

How do I hate camping? Let me count the ways…

 

1. Waking up in the middle of the night and playing deal or no deal with your bladder because the very idea of using an outhouse that has been host to more asses than Parliament Hill is too horrifying to comprehend. This, of course, does not even begin to describe the odour that emanates from within and I’m pretty convinced it’s what Hell itself must smell like.

 

2. The bugs … do I really need to elaborate? Okay, I will. I generally look like I have small pox after one or two very passionate and committed mosquitoes have dined on my life’s blood all night long. The good news is that I now reek of sticky bug repellent, and the lineup for the community showers is longer than my last cue for a ride on Space Mountain.

 

3. Dirt. It’s everywhere in nature. Which is why I live indoors. I really have nothing more to say about that.

 

4. Cooking on a campfire is ridiculous. People have died for less. Nothing about camping is food safe. The whole idea should be prohibited by law. Roasting wieners on sticks until they are charred and caked with embers is carcinogenic … there is actual scientific research to back this up, and yet the turtle people dine on them with reckless abandon. If you take nothing else from this, please make a mental note that 1.6 people in North America die from choking on hot dogs every year. I’m not sure how the .6 person made the statistic or what .6 of a person would look like, but it’s obvious to me that wieners are not the fun food that Oscar Meyer makes them out to be.

 

4. The weather. I could be camping in a desert that has been devoid of moisture for the better part of forever, but if I pitch a tent it’s pretty well guaranteed that six inches of rain will fall overnight. The second to last time I was one with Mother Nature, she decided a simple rainstorm was a little generic … so she brought forth an actual tornado. Gotta love camping in central Alberta! Not.

 

So to all you turtle people I say this: go forth and convene with the vast uncharted wilderness, channel your inner caveperson and throw caution and convenience to the wind. I may not understand your customs nor wish to partake in them, but I applaud your spirit. If you ever want to find me on my vacation, however, I’ll be relaxing poolside at an all-inclusive resort sipping margaritas and basking in the afterglow of my morning at the spa. I like to believe it’s how the Neanderthals would have vacationed had they survived the climate change. So I guess in a way I do it for them.

The day peace and quiet ran away

image

 

Yesterday, I found peace and quiet. I was so excited and overcome that I decided to put them in a safe place so that we could have a proper visit later, when I had a moment to spare. Later came, and well, I think we all know how that story ends. They are now officially missing in action; or is it inaction? I put up some posters in the neighbourhood but no one has called. I fear the worst.

I should have spent more time with them when I had the chance. Now they are gone and I am not sure they are ever coming back. I was going to file a police report but that seemed like a dead end. I knew in my heart of hearts if they had been found by someone, that person was never ever going to admit it, much less return them to me.

I was so careless and cavalier, thinking that there would be time to get to know each other better. I so desperately wanted them to feel at home where I lived; that was wishful thinking. The dogs probably thought they were a stranger and barked them away. Let’s face it they were definitely new to our neighbourhood. Everyone knows peace and quiet can be quite skittish when confronted with two nervous chihuahuas.

The strange thing is that they seemed to enjoy spending time with me as much as I did with them. It seemed that we had a real connection in our short time together. Maybe I was just deluding myself; maybe I was just a rebound for them. They probably had a fight with some Buddhist caught in traffic and needed a soft place to land until the dust settled.

Now, I’m left with 2 radios; one blasting hip hop and the other some sort of angry rap music. The kids are fighting over dishes and my husband is in the garage using tools powered by an air compressor. There are no less than three televisions on, and the dogs are talking to everyone who walks within a block of our house. I’ve been reduced to speaking in a voice loud enough to be heard in Beirut in a vain attempt to get everyone to shut up, shut down, and shut off.

It seems like my life at the moment is not a safe place for peace and quiet to reside. I get it, I guess. Perhaps one day we will meet again. I wonder if we will know each other when and if we do? Will I smile and embrace them as old friends, or will I feel awkward and not know what to do or say? Will I miss what I will have to give up to have them stay? Is losing the busy chaotic bustle of my loved ones when they finally fly the nest the price I’ll have to pay to win them back?

Sadly, with the housing prices these days, I have the sneaking suspicion that my children will be residing with us for a good long time to come. So, I guess I’ll just have to keep looking for peace and quiet and see if maybe they have a guest room I can stay in from time to time.

 

 

 

“Mistaekes” happen

                                                Image

 

 

I have a tendency to make the occasional mistake. Ok, it’s out there, I’m not perfect. I hope I have not disillusioned anyone too much…take a breath…this next one might come as a shock ….I’m human. Just writing that down feels freeing because I have had more than one person question my lineage. No worries I’ve had blood work and to my knowledge nothing has been deemed unusual or extraterrestrial in any way.

 

Getting back to my over share….

 

Sometimes I err on the side of caution…although that is rare and really shouldn’t bare mentioning. Of course I will mention it because you might need a frame of reference for later. Your welcome.

 

For me to err on the side of caution would be something like not eating a chilli dog at a gas station when the next bathroom is 75km away and always wearing make up. The latter is mostly so I don’t scare small children and unsuspecting pets. The former should be a rule of thumb for everyone because you never want to be the star of that cautionary tale.

 

There is also erring by omission. It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve done that on more than one occasion. Who hasn’t? For example I have stared into the mouth of someone with spinach stuck in their teeth while they chit chat away totally oblivious to the fact they resemble a pirate. That is a though one because it’s quite distracting and I often find myself transfixed and losing track of what they are talking about. I imagine them with an eye patch and a peg leg and or a hook sailing the seven seas searching for things to pillage.

 

Those mistakes or errors I consider misdemeanour offences. Not earth shattering or life altering and certainly not cause to lose sleep over. Then there are the times that I have made slightly larger mistakes that require me to pause and contemplate the error of my ways. These tend to primarily be behavioural and for the most part can be chalked up to lesson learned don’t repeat.

 

Sadly If I were to be tested on some of these I would fail miserably and be forced to go to summer school on the special bus. These are usually things that seem like a good idea at the time but in the light of day not so much. I would elaborate but at the risk of incriminating myself will have to plead the fifth. Not sure we have a fifth amendment in Canada because I made the mistake of not going to law school, but whatever you get the point.

 

Then there are the big kahunas. These ones are what I like to call the game changers. There I was just skipping along living la vida loco and for what ever reason I zigged instead of zagged and in an instant everything changed. I’ve had a few of these and let me tell you they can be earth shattering, gut wrenching, we have a flag on the play, kind of moments.

 

They have been the ones that altered my path in life. They have led me to where and who I am today. I sometimes think back to these moments when my life changed because of something I did or didn’t do, and thank God I screwed up.

 

These days I live a life open to the possibility that while I may not be perfect I am the sum total of every missed call, missed bus, misstep, misdemeanour mistake that I have made and I’m okay with that because every once in awhile through no fault of my own I get something right.