Harv Dreams of Bubbles

My sister and brother-in-law just adopted two kittens. Super cute, great personalities. We went to see them a few weeks ago and as we were playing with them, my sister commented that one cat seems to be more of a “mouser” and the other a “birder” while describing their styles of play.

I hadn’t really thought about Harv in either of those terms before. And as it turns out, he’s neither. He’s a bubbler!

I was about to start washing some dishes the other night and so I squirted some dish soap into the sink. As I did so, several tiny bubbles floated out of the nozzle, immediately catching Harv’s attention. He went nuts!

After he popped all of the bubbles he sat there looking at me expectantly, wanting more. I obliged. He went nuts again. Meowing crazily, tracking the bubbles across the kitchen as they floated perilously close to his swatting range. I was amazed. I kept making bubbles for him to chase and he loved it.

Then D came along and told me I was wasting dish soap, so I stopped and finally got started on the dishes. But Harv didn’t want to stop. He kept meowing and brushing up against my leg all cute, trying to get some bubble action going again. I decided that this was a hobby worth pursuing for him so the next day I went to the store and bought actual bubbles. With the little plastic wand and everything. I thought he might enjoy the challenge of larger bubbles.

It was tremendously fun!

bubbling

moar bubbles

Especially after I started blowing them in front of a fan and letting them really whip around the apartment. That made him insane!

on the nose

preying

Harv loves tracking the bubbles and then getting as close to them as he possibly can before they burst. Classic bubbler, that cat of mine.

It’s like crack for him, he wants to chase bubbles every night now. He’s hooked. Just look at his face when I got the bubble bottle out:

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Look at it:

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LOOK AT IT FOR ALL ETERNITY:

bubble obsessed

That photo is just dying to be made into a meme. Even the strongest of all catnip couldn’t compete with bubbles for this cat’s attention. It’s all bubbles all the time around here now. And I’m an enabler.

Harvey’s Birthday

Harvey is my special little guy. Coming home to him is always the best part of my day. I get home and no matter what time it is, he races to the door to greet me. He weaves his chubby little body impatiently between my legs, oftentimes tripping me inadvertently as I try to get through the front door and kick off my shoes, because he just can’t wait one damn second for my loving attention. He demands that I crouch down and lower my face to his so he can “kiss” me hello by rubbing his nose up against mine. It’s our routine, it happens every night without fail.

D graciously lets Harv have the first round of kisses and affection every night when I get home. He knows how much I cherish those fleeting lovey dovey Harvey moments, because they don’t last long. Soon after he’s gotten his nightly greeting, he’s all rambunctious and hyper, practically bouncing off the walls. And once he switches to play mode you can’t get anywhere near him without being swatted in the face. Harv gives love on his own terms, and you take what you can get without any ifs or buts about it. So D steps aside, selflessly, and lets Harv get what he wants of my affection first. He’s amazing like that.

It’s been like this for three wonderful years now. Today is Harvey’s third birthday. I can’t even believe how fast the time goes. It feels like it was only yesterday that we brought him into our home and opened our hearts to him. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done, adopting him. Pets bring a special kind of happiness into our lives, a happiness that I can’t live without. The first year that D and I lived together we had no pet. It was sad, for me. I didn’t really realize what was missing at first, but I knew that something was wrong with our situation. Something was off, I felt sad often but nothing was really the matter with me.

Sometimes, we’d be sitting there at night, just watching T.V., and I’d suddenly feel an overwhelming ache. A gaping hole in my heart and the pain of it, so suddenly unbearable, I couldn’t make sense of. And then one day it dawned on me. I needed a pet. I needed something furry to love. There was always a cat or two roaming around in the house I grew up in. Fuzzy friends to play with and adore. I missed that. I missed the soft sound of kibbles being crunched in the next room over. I missed that pins and needles feeling felt in my legs while reading and cuddling a cat in my lap for hours on end. I even missed the constant assault of fur upon my clothing. I’d gladly spend a fortune on lint rollers for the love of a good pet.

So we made my universe right again when we adopted Harv. Because he means so much to me, and because I might be a touch mental, I spoiled Harv a bit for his birthday this year. He’s my special little guy and I dote on him so.

First up on the kitty birthday docket, a bath. We plunked him into the tub and scrubbed him up real good. He smells like a goddamned springtime bouquet now.

Next, an extravagance. A brand new kitty palace for my darling prince.

new kitty palace

harv's new digs

new toy fun

D thought I was being excessive. Harv already has a carpeted platform that he loves to play on and sleep in. But it’s not enough. Nothing will ever be enough for my precious Harvey. So more carpeted cat palaces it is! I’ll fill the whole frigging apartment with them if I have to, just to make Harv happy.

Then, we bought him a fancy can of wet food for dinner. The vet says that he’s a tad too fat so he’s been eating diet food for the past eight months, but we figured it being his birthday and all he was entitled to a diet cheat. We purposefully tried to buy the most expensive can we could find. $2.69 is as high-end as it gets for cats, I guess, because that was the priciest tin we could find. Harv lapped up every bite with the greedy enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who is cheating on their diet. Money well spent.

So maybe I spoiled him for his birthday this year. And maybe that seems crazy to you, but I don’t give a shit. Really, it’s the least I can do. Harvey totally changed our lives. He filled a hole in my heart, and he made us into a family.

our family

little harv and i

I owe him a hell of a lot more than $2.69.

Smashing Through Sick Days

I called in sick to work today. Tossed and turned all night. My nose unrelentingly stuffed up and my throat an inferno of suffering, I knew a good night’s sleep was just outside of my weakening grasp. When I looked over at the clock on my nightstand and saw that I was only 45 minutes away from having to get up and start another Monday morning, I heaved a sigh of infinite misery.

Fuck that shit, man. I couldn’t really afford a day off, having too many critical projects on the go right now. But I also couldn’t face the day feeling like I was. Worried that I might’ve been stricken with the dreaded strep throat, I’ve always been prone to it, I decided that it would be best to stay home. Sometimes you just have to lay low for a while, so I phoned it in on the day and called in sick. I blew my nose until it was raw, a futile effort, but I had to try. Then I took some cold pills and actually managed to sleep for a few hours.

Luckily for me though, no strep after all. Just a bastard of a cold. I’ll kick it in a few days I’m sure, I’m already starting to feel better after a day of rest. But while we’re on the subject, I do have some tried and true methods for minimizing my discomfort when I’m sick.

1. Chicken Noodle Soup is a Necessity

chicken noodle

That’s an easy one, we all know it. When your tummy starts to rumble, you have to get yourself a big delicious bowl of soup. It is the number one sick day food. Don’t skimp on the crackers, either. They’re an integral part of the magic.

2. Waste Good Brain Cells on as Much Daytime T.V. as You Want

Peruse that tube, man. For as long as you want. You’re not going anywhere today, not feeling like you are. And nobody else is home to judge you for the poor viewing choices you might make. Talk shows, game shows, soaps. Take your pick! You could kick it classic with some Price Is Right for an hour. Then watch some turd do a jaunty “I’m not the daddy!” dance on Maury to lift your spirits. Maybe you’re dying to find out if blah blah is still in a coma on Days of Our Lives. Doesn’t matter, just make sure you watch a bunch of crap while laying on the couch. It helps.

3. Snuggle Up

Speaking of lying on the couch watching crappy shows, there is someone you can share that time with who understands. Someone who appreciates a day spent lying around the house.

Harvey nap

I pulled that blanket out of the dryer and Harvey jumped right into without a second thought. He laid there on the couch with me for three hours straight. Didn’t move an inch. It was an absolute dream. Pets are loaded with incredible healing powers. Everyone knows that. Looking over at his happy little blanket hogging face every now and again did me a world of good.

4. Splish Splash

When you’ve seen all that the tube has to offer and your eyes need a rest, hop in the tub. It’s the relaxation of the couch combined with the pride to be had in bathing yourself, you can’t lose! You’re not totally useless, you’re just sick. If you can find within yourself the energy to turn on a tap and take off your clothes, then you should definitely get into the tub. And put some bubbles in it while you’re at it. When was the last time you got to enjoy a long soak in the tub? You may as well go it whole hog. The hot water and steam will loosen up that giant wad of phlegm locked in your chest. No pictures for this one though, sorry perves.

5. Drink Everything in Sight

You need fluids. Everyone says so. I can’t remember why you’re supposed to have so much fluid up in you when you’re sick, but it feels good. If you get an inexplicable craving for root beer, just go with it. Maybe you favour a soothing cup of tea. Brew it. Or maybe chocolate milk is the angle you’re working. Chug it straight from the carton. That’s also the best way to stake your claim on the remainder of the chocolate milk. Sip it right out of the carton with your disgusting, germ-riddled mouth. Good, you own it all now. And if you’re not sure what it is you need, just get one of everything. It works for me.

lots o drinks

Hoodwink the common cold by using these tricks. And when in doubt, pop some more cold pills.

My throat is still feeling rough, and my nose is only slightly less cloggy. But I do feel better. I don’t consider it a day well spent, but I did try to make the most of it. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to attack it with at least 70% of my usual vigour.

Couple more cold pills ought to do it.

Chunky Monkey

Poor Harvey. We took him to the vet this weekend for a couple of shots, but that wasn’t the worst of his problems…

The doctor said that he’s too chubby and has to go on a diet. Being of the curvier variety myself, I feel for the poor little guy.

This was our first meeting with the new vet and we loved her. Her face lit up when she first saw Harvey, she remarked on how handsome he is numerous times, and she gave him lots of affectionate pets throughout his examination. So clearly she’s very caring and really does love animals, which is important to us. We liked his previous vet in Richmond Hill too, more specifically we liked one of the two doctors working at that practice. The doctor we actually did like was nice, but her bedside manner was much more reserved than the one we just visited. The other doctor at the old vet was a total dick. D hated him almost instantly upon meeting him. He was unfriendly and unkind, not giving a single fuck about anything. He handled Harvey too roughly and barely gave us the time of day when we had questions about Harv’s overall health. Not the kind of person that I want to rely on for my cat’s care. One visit to him was more than enough. Whenever we made appointments for Harv after that one horrendous visit with Doctor Doom, we’d make sure that he would be seeing the doctor we actually liked. It was quite the hassle given their varied work schedules. Needless to say, I was quite selective in picking out Harvey’s new doctor in Toronto. We didn’t want to find ourselves in the same situation.

We were very pleasantly surprised. Like I said, the new doctor was outgoing, friendly, and showed extraordinary care to an animal she was only just meeting for the first time. A total slam dunk.  However, there is that whole diet thing to consider… Poor Harvey. He was called “chunky monkey” no less than 15 times during his visit. I know he’s got a small frame that has filled out generously since we first brought him home. But I didn’t think we’d have to resort to a diet!

The kibble he likes to eat is labelled “weight control”, and he doesn’t eat a single scrap of people food. But he is a bit of a pig for wet food. And as the vet said, the fancy feast he hungers for is equivalent to feeding him pizza for dinner every night. Like a really cheesy, deep-dish, grease ball of a pizza. Oh man, that sounds so fucking awesome. I can’t take that away from him, can I? I love my little Harv as is and I don’t want to deprive him of anything he may want. I mean, it’s not like he’s obese. He just has some extra chub to love, right?

Maybe we need a second opinion. What do you think, reader?

Figure 1: lounging on the bed last Sunday

Getting some evening sun last week

Figure 2: getting some evening sun last week

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 4: hanging out with his friend

Figure 4: hanging out with his best friend

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 6: joining us for dinner

Figure 6: joining us for dinner (but just for company, not for eating any of our food)

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Is my darling Harvey a chunky monkey or just a naturally curvy cutie? As long as he’s healthy, I don’t really care how big he is. D and I will love him no matter what. Either way, we can all agree that he’s got a very happy life. And he clearly doesn’t give a damn how he looks. He’d probably be just as happy at ten pounds as he would be at thirty. But that’s because he doesn’t understand the negative impacts a life of excess can have. Which is where I come in…

Perfectly happy as is

Perfectly happy as is

His health and well-being are totally on me. And I don’t want to fuck this up. I want him to keep having a happy life, so I guess that means doing whatever it takes to keep him healthy. If feeding him junky wet food for dinner puts my standard of care in a similar class as that of the douche-bag vet in Richmond Hill, then I need to change that. Because I am nothing like that jerk when it comes to caring for the pets I love. Our new vet is right. She has a great big caring heart, and she’s right. She fell in love with Harv as soon as she laid eyes on him, so I know she wouldn’t steer us wrong.

I’m going to go ahead with the diet because I trust and respect her opinion. And because I want this wacky little kitty to stick around for a very long time.

To Market, To Market

Rolled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9am on Saturday morning. Slogged my way to the kitchen for a cold, placating glass of milk. Rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I sat down next to D on the couch, and groaned for good measure.

Approaching with caution, D said that it was a nice day. Sunny and warm out. I grunted my acknowledgement of that statement. He let me wake up a bit more before he added that it would be a great day to go to the St. Lawrence Market.

The last vestiges of grumpiness wearing away, I let that idea sink in. Yeah, it did seem like a good idea. Going to the St. Lawrence Market is one of those oh-so-Toronto things that we’d been meaning to do for a while now. Ever since we moved to the city in the spring of 2012 actually. Fucking slackers, we are.

Well, slackers no more I decided. So we got our shit together and made our way down to the market. Just a quick subway ride to King station followed by a happy little stroll down Wellington Street and we were there.

It was glorious!

st lawrence market

The St. Lawrence Market, established in 1803, is one of Toronto’s most beloved landmarks. It’s friggen’ historic!

st lawrence again

Known for the farmer’s markets, antiques, restaurants, local arts and crafts. The market is truly something special. We started our journey inside, perusing the foodstuffs of the upper level. I was expecting aisles and aisles of easily assembled stations for hawking ones wares. I didn’t realize that there would be actual establishments within. With their elaborate signage, all of these places contribute heartily to the unique atmosphere of the market.

carousel bakery

pizza and pasta

With every turn of the corner something more and more delicious to see. Our mouths were positively watering. It’s a wonder I didn’t wind up with a river of drool down the front of my shirt.

meats!

pastries

produce

From the finest in meats, pastries, and produce to delicious eats that even a frugal gal of my ilk can afford. What a steal on sausages!

sausages

And everyone is so friendly. You get a big happy smile from the vendors at every station, and some casual chatter. Or maybe that’s just how it was for me because I was sporting a delightedly insane bulge in my eyes and a big goofy grin. I was so happy and walking around the market was so wonderful, I couldn’t contain my glee. It was awesome and special. Yeah, thinking back they probably all thought that I was pretty special myself…

us at market

After we’d seen all there was to see inside, we made our way outside and across the street to see what the outdoor vendors had to offer.

outdoors

sunflowers

I saw the bunches of sunflowers for sale and I just had to have them!

my flowers

They were fitting, the best thing I could possibly get to commemorate my first market going experience. Sunny and bright, and so perfectly indicative of the morning we shared at the market.

I trimmed and arranged them once we got home, humming and smiling to myself in the kitchen, with Harvey squawking curiously at my feet. It’s not often that I bring fresh flowers into our home. Lazy and careless, I much prefer the amount of maintenance that comes with having fake flowers. Their shelf-life ain’t nothing to sneeze at either. I find watching fresh flowers die slowly before me over the course of a few days kind of depressing. I’m not much for watching life-forces wane. But sunflowers are hearty, easily outlasting the daintiest of flowers, so taking a chance on them this time around doesn’t feel quite so melancholy.

And Harvey was quite fond of them as well…

harvey and the sunflowers

harv and flowers

smitten kitten

Yes, I would say that this little kitten of ours was quite taken with the sunflowers. Smitten, you might say. A smitten kitten.

How I put off going to the St. Lawrence Market this long I’ll never know. But now that I’ve had a taste I will definitely be back for more…

I’ll go for the charm, and stay for the dirt cheap sausages.

Harv’s Greatest Hits

I got the crazy cat gene from my dad’s family. They’re all nuts about cats. So, you’ve been sufficiently warned. I am a bit of a crazy cat lady. This post reflects my indulgence of the gene.

Happy 2nd Birthday Harvey!

My darling little Harv turns two years old today. And based on the astute calculations of a cat age calculator that I found online, he’s now the equivalent of a 25-year-old human. Right on buddy!

We got Harvey in June 2011, he was just a couple of months old. Looking back, its unreal how tiny he was! D and I had been together for a while and something was missing. I’ve always had pets in my house growing up. When I moved out, striking out on my own for the first real time since university, our family cat Chubby Cody had to stay behind with my mom. He wasn’t my cat to move. And my apartment hadn’t come with any free pets, so I had to go without for a little while. It felt weird not having a furry little buddy around the house. After a while, once we’d settled in, I started to feel that it was time. Time for a new little buddy to love. I told D that I needed a pet and we started our search.

It wasn’t long before we found him. Adopting Harvey is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I picked him up for the first time and he snuggled his tiny little kitten head into my shoulder I knew we were meant to be. Instantaneous love.

Since the internet is strictly fuelled by cute cat pictures these days, I thought I would celebrate Harvey’s spectacular life thus far by counting down his greatest hits in napping. It’s just my way of giving back. You’re welcome internet.

Hold onto your donuts people, it’s about to get crazy cute up in this bitch!

HARVEY’S GREATEST HITS: NAPPING EDITION

10) Cat on a sill

Our old apartment had wide window sills, perfect for cat naps! A young Harv, getting his beauty rest on. You’ve gotta hand it to him, he’s got great potential.

window ledge

9) The Fancy Man

Sometimes Harv likes to put airs on. The airs of a sophisticated and refined house cat. He’ll sit with his paw draped leisurely across his manly chest. It is an optimal napping position to showcase his little cat boobies. Exquisite!

fancy cat

8) Classic Couch Surfing

Here again we see a young Harvey demonstrating his remarkable napping prowess. This was before his aforementioned boobies came in.

harvey nap

7) Nest of Blankets

Harv loves to burrow himself deep within the blankets on our bed. This is a particularly desirable napping space when the bed is being made. As the sheets are lifted, being positioned on the bed mid-air, Harv likes to dive under them. Making himself look as cute as possible, ingratiating himself in your heart, to ensure that he isn’t ousted from what is sure to be a supremely comfortable nap.

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6) Cruisin’ in the Catmobile

Best purchase ever. It paid itself off hand-over-fist in cat joy within hours of bringing it home. Harv loves to nap in what has come to be known as The Catmobile. It’s his own private penthouse of cat nap heaven!

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5) Soaking up the Sun

Surely you’ve all realized by now that cats are solar-powered? They need to soak up as much sunlight as possible during the day so that they are adequately prepared for their nighttime adventures. You know, like howling at the front door until it feels like your ear buds are bleeding. Or unceremoniously knocking those sanctimonious houseplants off their pedestals when they least expect it.

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4) Table Dancing

Harvey is not allowed on the coffee table or the dinner table. That was a difficult battle though. Many vigorous and discouraging spurts of the water bottle helped us secure our ground. We fought long and hard to win that one. Sadly, our victory cost us the side table.

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3) Lovin’ D

Harv loves to sleep with D. His favourite thing is to curl up around D’s head and briefly lick his hair before retiring to kitty sleepland for the night. He’s been doing this ever since we brought him home. He’s incorrigible! And precious.

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2) Straight-laced

We have a nice couch, but we’ve kept my old futon from my university days too. For the occasional use when someone sleeps over. Harvey, however, sees the futon in another light. It’s his and it serves him tirelessly. Its been enlisted to serve a higher purpose now. Higher than even drunken sleepovers. Its calling now is to provide Harvey with a superlative place for napping at all times. And it hasn’t failed him yet.

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1) Bliss Catsonified!

Well I couldn’t very well say personified now could I? So Catsonified it is. Ah, wait. Let’s try this again… Purrsonified! Nailed it. This is my most favourite picture of Harvey to date. And as such, it has reigned supreme as the desktop wallpaper ever since it was snapped. He truly is the happiest little kitten in the world in this picture. The very epitome of bliss. That is one nap that’s been done some serious justice!

best nap

Once again, you’re very welcome internet. This should provide you with sufficient sustenance for this week. And I think it’s earned me a week without any of those frustrating mac rainbow wheels, yes? Come on, hook a girl up.

Happy Birthday to the cutest little snuggle munch that ever lived. You’re totally rad Harv, I dig your style.

The Potential Apocalypse

If the world really does come crumbling down around us tomorrow, I could die happy.

Perfectly content with all that I am and all that I have. And I do have a lot. I’m rich, truly rich in a way that transcends anything of monetary or material value.

I’m madly in love with the sweetest, most wonderful guy. He truly is the perfect person for me. And we are a rad couple!

Dballs and Smash

I have such a saucy little kitty, who makes me smile the second I step through the front door.

Harv

I have loving and supportive family, people who mean the world to me. They might make me crazy sometimes, but that’s what it’s all about. And I know I make them crazy too.

family

I have the craziest, most badass best friends. I’m grinning like a moron just thinking about them and their precious little faces!

retro prom

buddies

Somehow, I don’t dare question it, the universe also gave me another extra special person. As if I didn’t have enough greatness in my life, I was also given an incredible co-worker. A co-worker turned mentor. A mentor who then became a very dear friend. A best friend. A kindred spirit in this life.

the magpie

I get to live in the best city! Oh Toronto, I really have fallen head over heels for you these past eight months!

Toronto

I have relationships and people who I live for every day. People that I cherish, respect, admire, and adore. I have a great job, great co-workers, and a great boss. I have hobbies that fulfill me. Dreams and goals that inspire me, they push me to keep moving forward. I have ideas and plans, hopes and ambitions.

I can do whatever I want to do. I get to call the shots in this life of mine. I am completely content. I could not possibly ask for or expect anything else from life. It’s already given me so much more than I ever felt or knew I could have. I could not possibly want for more.

If this little apocalypse thing wants to happen, then that’s okay with me. I’ll die happy, knowing I had it all. It could all be bullshit though, and most likely is. That unsettling thought that it could come true, that the world could suddenly stop spinning, is something that I’m thankful for. It gives you the opportunity to think about what really matters in life. What really matters to you? What is it that you get up for every morning? What are the things that make your life worth living?

I know what I’m living for.

Smash’s Traditional Christmas

I’m not talking about your grandma’s gingerbread kinda traditional. I’m talking my brand of traditional. Which, can best be described as gift swap hysteria on my part and determined long-suffering on D’s.

The most important element of my holiday celebrations is the lengthy battle over when we will exchange gifts that D and I engage in every year. The I-Just-Can’t-Wait-Another-Day-If-There-Are-Presents-With-My-Name-On-Them hounding that, admittedly, D has put up a very brave fight against every Christmas since 2006. However, D has not yet been able to come up successful with the ever so crucial December 25th exchange victory. Much to my delight, I am still the unseated champion. I’ve won every battle thus far, and am happy to announce that the tradition lives on!

I have this need to open gifts. It’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Actually, need is a gross understatement of what it is. Compulsion would also be putting it mildly. It’s equal parts insatiable curiosity, hyper-active desperation, and feverish excitement. And the very second I catch wind that there are gifts for me kicking around the house it becomes an all-consuming inferno inside of me, burning up every ounce of sanity I’ve got.

I’m sure my mom thought that I’d grow out of it over time. I’m certain she held out a hope as long as she possibly could. But somewhere down the line she just had to accept it, and had to get more clever at circumventing it. If she couldn’t extinguish the flames, at least she could keep them at bay with frustrated threats and double doses of household chores.

I remember the elaborate schemes my sisters and I hatched for finding and opening gifts before Christmas. For spying on our parents, trying to catch a glimpse of the things they brought home from the store. We were certain that every shopping bag was loaded to the brim with toys, and ripe for the picking. We were young and full of vigour. Okay, fine it was sugar. Sugar-fueled vigour. We devised master plans. We whispered in secrecy. We crept through the house with purpose and stealth. We did these things because we wanted presents. Needed presents.

They grew up and out of it, but I never did. As we entered our teens their interest in scheming waned, but mine never did. They started wanting to sleep in on Christmas morning, but I just couldn’t. I was on my own now. My co-conspirators just didn’t want to conspire anymore. But that’s alright, I worked well on my own too.

If no one was home and I got near the tree I’d shake, rattle, tap, rumble, and even sniff all the gifts under the tree. Could be perfume, right? Gotta sniff it to be sure! If I knew that my parents were going to be gone for a while and my sisters were out, sometimes I would even peel back the tape. Gently now, don’t want to leave any signs of tampering. I could unwrap the end of a gift and make my guesses based on box labels. If the present wasn’t taped down too tightly I might even be able to slide it out a few inches for a better look. When this method was discovered by my mom she started thwarting it by wrapping the gifts in additional boxes. She might put a DVD in a Triscuit box, or a book in a tin that once held cookies. Filling them with newspaper so I couldn’t guess what the gifts were by shake alone.

Every year that I got sneakier, my mom got more vigilant with gift disguises. One year, she even wrapped a tiny bottle of perfume for Mar in an old pizza box. Like a pizza that had been delivered to our house months earlier. I bet she’ll laugh, remembering this. How crazy it used to be.

These days I’m sure my mom is thankful that I’m out of the house. She can actually enjoy the days leading up to December 25th and wrap presents normally. She can relax, because I’m D’s problem now.

My work with D has been infinitely easier than with my mom. Not to undermine his abilities as an opponent, but he just doesn’t have as much experience dealing with my fervour as mom does. And he stands to gain so much more. The temptation for the gifts I’ve got waiting for him and my petulant charm have always gotten the better of him. I’ve been able to coax, convince, and persuade him into an early gift exchange every year. My personal best is Xmas ’09 when we exchanged gifts on November 28th. Yeah, I’m that good. The longest I’ve ever had to wait was December 21st.

The first Christmas we were together was easy. We’d been dating for five months, and we’d said “I Love You” to each other for the first time at the beginning of December. We were still in new-couple euphoria and D would have done anything to make me happy. A giggle here, a tickle there, some kisses peppered in for good measure. Then just a pinch of suggestion. I was subtle, I didn’t need to overplay my hand. We exchanged gifts on December 17th that year. And D hadn’t even begun to realize the depths of my insanity.

I just kept wearing him down, year after year. He’d get tougher and I’d get more wily with every passing Christmas. This is the first year that I’ve really been worried that I might not win. He was quite stern about finally having an exchange on the 25th. I’d have to really bust my ass to make an early exchange happen.

Cue the disastrous hangover I had last Friday after my company Christmas party. I came home so goddamn drunk on Thursday night, it was a miracle I’d even made it home. While I was out, D had been wrapping. Perfect, the gifts were ready to go. The next day I was hurting, for reals. My head ached, I’d spent a fair amount of time barfing, and had to leave work early. When D got home I was cuddled in bed with Harvey, pathetic and useless. He pitied me. “Opening the gifts might help”, I suggested.

Before I knew it we were tearing our way through the gifts. Success! The exchange for Christmas 2012 took place at 7:00pm on December 14th.

To the victor go the spoils:

calendar

The awesomest white-board calendar of all time! I shall record all future schemes here from now on.

tv shows

Some HIMYM and Sunny for laughs, always a solid gift.

lego batman

Lego Batman 2 for my Nintendo DS!!! Oh fuck yes! I was so happy when I opened this one. I’m deeply invested in putting Lex Luthor and The Joker behind bars on my daily commute now. They’ve been manufacturing Kryptonite together, and I don’t like where that’s headed.

the dark knight rises

Another gift that made my heart melt. Damn, D knows me so well.

comics

Because I just don’t have enough Batman in my life. Volume 2 and 3 of “Batman: No Man’s Land”. Currently working my way through volume 1. Great work D!

And the best of my haul you ask? A little Cinderella story to warm the cockles of your heart. A little stocking stuffer really wowed me this year:

drunk dice

Yeah, it’s Get Drunk Dice! I can’t even tell you how much I love the little cartoon dice that’s puking up his beer. And the whorish looking lady dice, ever so gracefully pouring beer down her gullet. I want to party with these dice characters. Right now. Oh, and I haven’t even pointed out the best part yet:

drunk dice rules

The back of the package displays the rules to the game. Oh, but what’s that on the bottom you see? The fine print, which clearly states “Not to be played with alcohol”. The game is called Get Drunk Dice for fuck’s sake! How am I even supposed to win the game if I’m not getting drunk? What do you propose I get drunk with instead? Orange juice? Kit Kat bars? Sunblock? I know the company that makes this game probably did this to avoid a lawsuit, but I just can’t think of anything more contradictory than the packaging on this game. If a box of condoms had a disclaimer saying “Not to be used for sexual intercourse”, it could not be more ridiculous than this.

The gifts have all been sufficiently exchanged, and now we’re contemplating packing up the Christmas tree this weekend because it’s getting in our way and Harvey keeps trying to eat it. All before December 25th. My burning desire to tear open gifts has been sated, and now I can relax. I’ll think I’ll have a few drinks, roll the drunk dice, and tell D how rad I think he is.

harv

That’s my idea of a traditionally awesome Christmas!

Fun-Sized Halloween Snack

Well here we are again people, another Halloween. And since we’ve been on the fringe of Sandy all week, it’s basically a huge pile of crap outside. Not so great for all those trick-or-treaters and their hapless parents. So I’ve decided to provide you with a little Halloween treat! Just a very small something to make you smile…

Yeah, I got a Harvey a costume this year. I know they usually make these things with dogs in mind. But I don’t have a dog. I have an adorable little cat who will pose for all of my demented photo shoots.

He didn’t seem impressed at first, I’ll admit. But then I think he started to like it.

I think he almost preferred wearing the costume in reverse!

I know this doesn’t nearly make up for the shitty weather you’ll have to endure going door to door tonight, but I do hope this at least makes you smile. It’s certainly brightened my day!

I’ve Been Drunk Since I Left…

The air is crisp, leaves are finally showing their true colours, and most of the faces you pass on the street are awash in a very becoming pink flush. Thanksgiving (Canadian, naturally) heralds the most glorious three weeks of fall. The remaining weeks of October between Thanksgiving and Halloween are the absolute best of the season. The weather is perfection, with the leaves still in transition. Come November they’ll be sad shells of their former selves, stripped bare of their colourful adornments. During these weeks you can still have a miraculously warm and sunny day, eschewing the coat for a light sweater.And what better way to enjoy fall’s hot little strut through October than a gloriously long Thanksgiving weekend!

I was very clever this year, I decided to take the Friday before the long weekend off. Four days to celebrate Thanksgiving? That’s right, I already live a life of extraordinary excess, and for people like me the holidays are the best time for excess. You’re allowed to drink as much as you want. You can shovel copious amounts of food down your gullet and still be the most suave person at the party. If you don’t over indulge enough people think there’s something wrong with you! What’s not to like about that?

I spent pretty much the whole weekend hammered. Now before you start sending me links to the AA website, remember that thing about excess and the holidays, okay? It’s allowed, if not encouraged! So cool your jets people, I know my rights. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Friday:

D and I headed down to Fynn of Temple to party with some peeps in honour of Alexander Keith’s birthday. Which is funny, because earlier this week a dude at my work came back from lunch with a little promotional flier. When I asked what it was he said “Ah, just some bar party for Keith’s birthday”, and I shit you not my response was “Oh right! That’s October 5th, it’s soon”. I’ve never felt more alcoholic in all my life after the look of astonishment he gave me. But to be fair, as a student, Keith’s birthday was always a big deal at the bars. So it’s kind of tattooed on my brain.

We got to the bar for 5:30pm, and since D and I had a late lunch we weren’t hungry. Just really thirsty! I actually lapped D in my beer consumption. I was fucking tanked! And the ridiculously drunk texts to Joce-force and the Magpie are evidence of that… By 9:30pm I was so drunk we had to leave the bar. But not before loading my purse with sweet Keith’s swag!

I love free shit!

Yep, we got these amazing ceramic Keith’s pint glasses and two free t-shirts! At the bar the gray mug looked green and the brown mug looked red, so I was kind of annoyed when I saw their true colours at home, but then again can’t really complain when it was free.

Saturday:

I was passed out by 11:00pm on Friday night, but it felt like 3:00am because of how drunk I was. So when I woke up at 4:57am Saturday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, I was only slightly bedraggled from the shenanigans of the night before. It worked out well though because D and I were leaving early to head up north to my mom’s place with Mar and Neill. By 8:15am the four of us were out the door and on our way. After a lengthy subway/bus/other bus commute we were at mom’s by 11:00am. Which was the perfect time to start dipping into my mom’s lethal party punch!

First drink of the holidays…

It’s always laced with a motley mix of whatever booze my mom happens to have at hand while concocting. She also throws in a bunch of fruit for good measure, alongside cranberry juice, orange juice and ginger ale. And this year she made some nice little flower ice cubes, for extra class! Taste-wise, it’s like if a mimosa had sex with a T-mick of vodka, that’s the best way to describe it.

Between drinks we played with our beloved pets, caught up with family, and ate the greatest meal of all time:

Bree!

chillin’ with nana

don’t worry, that’s steam. Mom wasn’t smoking while cooking

Then after dinner we kept right on drinking as we laughed hysterically over board games. There was some excellent movie trivia this year playing Pass the Popcorn. Some sweet call-outs playing Catchphrase, and as always some really hilarious dyslexia playing Smartmouth. Then everyone turned in early, and I stayed up watching some horribly awful movie with my mom where this demon old lady called people foul, sweary names and climbed the ceiling of a diner with her neck cranked backwards. Yeah, it was fucked. But I was drunk enough not to care.

Sunday:

Thanksgiving number two was the next day at my dad’s place. We got there early to help with the prep, and of course, to drink. Dad got me a 6-pack and made sure I was drinking steady all day long. There were three totally delicious rabbits roasting in the woodstove and basically a planet of a turkey. It was a little on the small size actually, at 28 pounds, but it still looked massive to me. Every year my dad goes on a hunt for the biggest possible turkey he can find. One year, we did one pushing 40 pounds and that was insanity.

It was a gorgeous day. I got to spend a lot of time outside enjoying the weather. The guys played horseshoes and I took a long walk around the property enjoying the nature, and taking quirky photos.

casually changing tree

game of champions

the very sturdy toadstool

our vast empire

After getting appropriately buzzed and filling ourselves to maximum capacity with dinner and dessert, Thanksgiving 2 wound down.

Monday:

I’m in hangover hell! Total write-off day of doing anything and everything by the most ineffectual means. It was a couch-grazing, moaning, temple rubbing kind of day. Time to recuperate after three days of pushing it to the limit.

It was an amazing holiday weekend. Lots to celebrate and lots to be thankful for. This year, I am most thankful for having a job that doesn’t keep me awake at night with worry and strife. This is the first Thanksgiving I’ve truly been able to enjoy since joining the workforce a couple of years ago.

Oh, and I’m thankful for beer, naturally. Can’t get through the holidays without it!