Setting The Date

In the very first moments when your brain begins processing the fact that you are going to have to start planning a wedding, there’s this powerful wave of denial that crashes into the forefront of your mind. You just got engaged, so the wedding is miles away. You’re just going to soak up all the excitement of the engagement for now, enjoying a nice open-ended engagement that could last forever and a day if you wanted it to. The wedding isn’t going to happen overnight, so you’re not going to worry about it right away.

That works, for a little while. An impossibly short little while. The people in your life are thrilled for you, really, they couldn’t be happier. But they’ve also got questions. So many questions. When is it? Will it be a destination wedding? In a church? How many people? Will it be open bar? And accompanying those questions is an assortment of suggestions. You should have wine on the tables. You better get a good photographer. Start getting in shape now. According to wedding etiquette you have to do this, and this, and this, and this. Asking for cash is tacky. Photo-booths are so last year.

And on and on it goes.

At first, you dance around all of that blabbering with ease. Your standard response to all of the noise around you has become a noncommittal shrug as you bust an awe-inspiring Running Man on the packed dance floor in your mind. It feels good, for a while, keeping everyone else at an arm’s length while you plumb the depths of your heart, trying to figure out what it is you really want. But that stops working eventually. People keep bringing it up when they see you, because surely by now you’ve started to put something tangible together, no? At some point, it stops feeling like conversation and starts feeling like pressure. That once awesome dance floor in your mind is suddenly too crowded, too noisy. They’re playing shit music. And an obnoxious cluster of sweaty, creepy dudes keep trying to get their pelvises all up in your business where you don’t want them. You’re looking for your friends, a lifeline, anything, but there isn’t a one to be found. Evacuate that dance floor, man. The unknown officially stopped being easy and started getting scary.

You realize that you have to start planning this damn thing. Right now. You can’t take another second of your own ifs and buts, only your own decisiveness can save you now.

Ideas start to materialize. Options present themselves. And when you take that first tentative step forward, articulating one of your ideas to someone else, searching for validation that your ideas are in fact good and wonderful, then the planning has begun. But beware! Some ears are not as receptive as they appear. Sometimes you’ll share something dear to you with the wrong person and instead of shelling out the support you so desire, you’ll find cruel derision laying in wait for you. Such a thing happened to me, and I’ve since learned not to share with certain individuals. Only that which is positive is allowed in the secret wedding planning place within my heart. Thoughtful suggestions born of helpfulness are always welcome, but the petulant threats of non-attendance and scornful snorts of judgement need not apply.

It took a long time for it to sink in, this realization that I’m going to have a wedding. The idea of D has been comfortable for years now, it’s old hat. He’s my man, and that’s just how it is. But the idea of planning some momentous occasion to make official whatever this thing we have together is, was a whole other beast. Some may relish the task, but I didn’t. I never dreamed about a wedding day in any specific terms. A waterproof robot buddy that you could have excellent water park adventures with, sure. But never a wedding.

D and I started talking about what we might want to do. Where we would have it, who we would invite. We waffled about a couple of places. I got a few quotes and D had a big crazy excel file crammed with venue comparisons that I’m sure gave him a few tingles of excitement in his wiener. Because he’s a weirdo like that, and he loves to look before he leaps. But none of it seemed to be going anywhere, and I was content to idle. Then I woke up one day with a feeling in my gut that we had to set a date and book something right goddamned now. We had to do it now, or I was going to idle forever.

So we did. We found a place that fits the budget, and it’s going to be awesome. We saw it last weekend and booked it on the spot; we set the date. We’re getting married, it’s really happening you guys. I’m out of denial and well into acceptance now.

Smash n D

January 31st, 2015. It’s a date, a good date even. Our date.

Just Like Phoebe Caulfield Would

I love my desk. I just love it so much for what it is and how it makes me feel. I’ve been madly in love with it ever since I saved it from impending landfill doom six years ago…

Just another muggy summer afternoon. The air was thick with humidity and I could feel beads of sweat rolling down my back as I walked home from the bus stop. I was living at home with my parents again for the summer, working the same crummy minimum wage job at the salon. Finishing a rare morning shift–usually I had to work nights and close the joint up–I was looking forward to an evening unburdened by that responsibility. As I walked home, pondering possible ways to spend my free time that night, I noticed a big brown rectangle up ahead. Something past it’s prime that had been put out to curb, but I couldn’t make out what it was. I suspected an old dining room table, but couldn’t be sure. I kept walking toward my house, I’d be able to see it more clearly once I got close. Sure enough, it turned out to be a desk. Just sitting on the curb in front of a house up the street from ours.

I needed a desk for my room, so maybe I could have this one. I tossed my backpack on our front lawn and wandered up the street to check it out. I wasn’t getting my hopes up, furniture that’s been sent to the curb is usually busted, disgusting, or horribly outdated. But once in a while you can rummage something good up at the curb, and it was in my broke student nature at the time to salvage things instead of buy them if I could. So, maybe it would be worth a look.

My jaw-dropped and my heart fluttered in breathless unity when I finally got a good look at it. It was absolutely perfect in every way. Not perfect in the pristine sense; I saw its perfection in both its remarkable size and in my immediate attraction to it. It had a couple of minor dings, but that was fine by me. Those little scratches and bumps only lent it more appeal. My eyes gorged themselves on the enormous fake wood panelled monstrosity before me. It was everything I’d always dreamed of in a desk. Ever since the first time I read The Catcher in the Rye I dreamed of having a ludicrously big desk, just like Phoebe Caulfield did. So I could spread out.

I must have stood there marvelling at it for a full five minutes before my brain kicked into overdrive. A million fragments of thought, all revolving around the desk, raced around inside my head: OMG! Desk. Need desk. Good desk. Want desk. Have to get desk. Fuckin’ great desk, man. DESK!

I hurried home, running down the street like a maniac. I burst through the front door, frantically looking for someone to help with the heavy lifting. I knew I’d never be able to cart a desk this big home all by myself, no matter how determined I was. I needed more muscle. My step-dad was at work and my mom was out shopping with my youngest siblings in tow. The only person home was my sister Erika. At four-foot-eleven and weighing in at 90 pounds soaking wet, she just wasn’t enough muscle for the job. I grabbed the phone and called our friend Phil who lived close by, hoping desperately that he was home. Phil is big and strong, the right kind of fellow for this sort of job. As luck would have it, he was home. I begged him to rush over and help immediately. And being the good friend that he is, he did. With a handy helper solidified, I wasted no time getting back across the street to guard my new treasure. Because, you know, clearly I have impeccable taste when it comes to curb-side cast-offs and an item of such unique beauty is bound ensnare the hearts of a thousand greedy rivals. It was a situation requiring extreme action, get or get got.

I sat on the desk, guarding it jealously and waiting for Phil, he would be along soon. And then all of my wildest desk-related dreams could come true.

It was gruelling work, but together we managed to manoeuvre the desk across the street, up the driveway and into my room. It was heavy and awkward, like trying to carry a piece of Stonehenge home. A desk from the days of yore, when backbreaking weight guaranteed the buyer quality and longevity. No lightweight modern bullshit here. This desk is a wood panelled boulder capable of withstanding a nuclear blast and requiring no less than three people to move it. Well, maybe two exceptionally strapping people could manage. Like Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But then you’d have to buy them pizza for helping with the move, and they can eat a lot of pizza. But you don’t like to share… Ah well, it was never meant to be.

So, we had to make do moving the desk without the help of Ah-nuld and Hulk, and I had to shelve that daydream to focus on the task at hand. It was challenging, but worth every bit of strain. A thunderous thud onto the carpet announced the desk’s arrival in our home. And in that instant, my dream of owning an invasively large desk became a reality.

My mom hated my new desk almost immediately upon first sight. My step-dad did too. I don’t know why they hated it. The only semblance of a reason for their hatred that I can remember is an arbitrary claim that it was “too big” for my room. Which it wasn’t, at all, so their claim made no sense. I got relocated to the old master bedroom after they completed renovations on our house, and it was plenty spacious. I think they just hated it for the sake of hating. Their hatred was accompanied by threats to get rid of it when I went back to school, much to my chagrin. Empty threats, but nonetheless, worthy of inciting hysterics. Every threat to turn my precious desk into refuse was met with one of the following desperate pleas on its behalf:

  1. “You know how much I love this desk, so if you throw it out then you do so knowing that I will NEVER speak to you again!”
  2. “I’m going to pen an epic tome from this desk one day, so if you throw it out you’re basically throwing out my future.”
  3. “The only thing worth living for is that desk, don’t take it from me or you’ll be sorry”

Option number one, usually shouted instead of spoken, was used when I was feeling agitated or annoyed. Option two was a nugget of pure guilting gold. And option number three relied on the perfect amount of pitiable menace to convey my distress. Which isn’t always easy to muster in the heat of the moment, so I resorted to it less frequently than the others.

As it turns out, my parents aren’t total monsters and they didn’t do away with my beloved desk. It stayed exactly as it was, year after year, until I finally moved out on my own for good. And you can be damn sure I moved that desk right along with me. We’ll never part abodes again. Wherever it is that I decide to hang my hat for the remainder of my meager life, the Phoebe Caulfield desk will be there too. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love it so much. It’s my sanctuary. I clock some solid hours at this desk every week. Writing, brainstorming, watching Netflix, colouring, making mixed CDs, having FaceTime chats with my BFF on the other side of the world. I do everything at this desk. Nay, I do everything with this desk. We’re a team, we’re destined for greatness, and we’re in it for the long haul.

The Phoebe Caulfield desk has allowed me to spread out farther than I ever could have imagined possible. There’s something about this big clunky lug that has become a part of me. Sometimes you’ll put on a coat or a shirt or a fucking toupee, whatever, and the people you know will be all like “Oh blah blah, that whatever that you’re wearing is just so you!” Well that’s how it is for me and my desk. We go together.

my desk

Man, that Caulfield chick sure knew what she was talking about.

First Snow

You know it’s coming, it’s inevitable. You just don’t know when.

Some people will keep a wary eye on the weather reports year round, because you never know, right? Others only start to concern themselves with the possibility of it when the wick in the jack-o-lantern has finally been extinguished. Some people dread it, they were counting on a green Christmas this year. Some people hope for it with childlike desperation, they just can’t wait to hit the slopes. We know it’s coming when our girl Mother Nature starts dropping her coy little hints everywhere. Frost dusting the front lawn and creeping across windshields in the morning, warm coffee breath magically appearing before you as you huff your way towards the office, the rain puddles of last week turned slick and icy, a freezing cold surprise on your bum when you get up to pee in the middle of the night…

We steel ourselves for its imminent arrival. We test out the old space heater to make sure it still works. We gather up extra cozy thermal throws to snuggle on the couch with. We stock up on salt, shovels, anti-freeze, car scrapers and lock de-icers. We have to be vigilant. Especially here in Canada. The start of winter is unpredictable at best. But once that first snowfall takes, we can count on a solid four to six months of unrelenting cold and darkness.

I myself, prefer to be surprised by the first snowfall. I don’t try to anticipate it, that would spoil all the fun. There are so few surprises I will tolerate in life, but the first snowfall is one of them. And there are a myriad of ways that it can surprise you.

From the classic waking up on a cold morning and peeling back the curtains to reveal a generous three-foot-deep heaping of it, to the sneak attack flurries coating your car that you encounter upon your departure from the mall, possibly laden with spoils from your early Christmas shopping adventure. I love it when that first snowfall catches me off guard.

D and I went to a movie on Saturday afternoon. It looked a little chilly out, but otherwise calm. We wore our heavy winter jackets nonetheless, just in case. We made our way to the subway station, ducking our faces from the biting cold wind that whipped about our uncovered heads. “Fuck, it’s cold out there,” D exclaimed as we hustled down the stairs to the platform. His ears and cheeks were bright rosy red. “Yeah, but at least it’s not snowing yet,” I replied.

Seven stops later, we emerged from the subway and found ourselves smack in the middle of a swirling and splendid first snowfall. Surprise, motherfuckers!

Fat wet flakes floated all around us, settling on our coats and in our hair. I imagined we were trapped in a snow globe and laughed joyously as we dashed across the street to the theatre. A brilliant surprise first snowfall.

first snow yonge and dundas

first snow

The flakes were enormous and sticky. As we settled into our seats we wondered what kind of scene we’d be greeted with in two hours time when the movie was over. Maybe we’d be snowed in! Then we’d have to live off of popcorn and fountain sodas for the next couple of days while we anxiously awaited a ragtag group of unlikely heroes to dig us out. Maybe the power would go out and we’d be given some rain check vouchers and a bunch of awesome free shit to pacify us because they couldn’t finish screening the movie. Or better yet, maybe there would be so much snow that cars would be left buried and abandoned. Yeah, and there’d be a full blown riot in action. We could loot ourselves a sweet new snowmobile and scoot our way home through the hysterical masses. Oh yeah, I’d totally be up for a bit of light looting to cap off our date.

But, as it so often is with all of my daydreams, such was not the case.

That first snowfall was fickle. When we left the theatre we were met with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows; everything that’s wonderful.

sunny snowy day

sunny snowy day 2

Well, not exactly that. But that would have been cool too, dammit. Another daydream dashed by stupid reality. But it was a lot nicer out than I was expecting. Although it wasn’t as extensive a first snowfall as I’d have liked, it did leave in its wake a beautiful view of the city. One that I can admire from the warmth of my apartment.

view of snow from above

IMG_2371

Surprised and delighted by the first snow of the year, I can’t wait for more. There are plenty of opportunities for my zany winter fantasies to come true this year. I believe in the magic of winter, and think that the first snowfall is a hopeful time. A time for wishes and dreams aplenty. A time for thinking about the future, and planning ahead. It’s a time for thoughtfulness and reflection. It can be a difficult and frustrating time, too. The cold, the rapidly shortening hours of daylight, the impossible driving conditions, the constant barrage of snow. It can feel eternal at times. But it is easily endured by those that choose to embrace it, rather than fight it. They don’t call it The Great White North for nothing, my friends. You can learn to love it, or move.

I’ll survive the frigid winter weather with my fingers firmly crossed inside my woolly mittens, hoping. Wishing on snowflakes, and dreaming on every visible puff of breath that escapes my lips. Because that’s how I like to be.

Always hoping, eternally hopeful.

A Weekend of Solitude

It’s been a hard go for me lately peeps, you know. Busted up that arm something rotten. Missed out on a whopper of a goal for this year. Been stressing about work. Feels like I’ve been a lot harder on myself lately. But by the end of last week, I felt the tide starting to turn in my favour again.

D went away this weekend. He left Friday afternoon before I even got home from work. And he didn’t come back until Sunday afternoon. I had the whole weekend all to myself.

SCORE!

No offense D, obviously you’re totally rad and I like having you around, but I was excited for this weekend. I can’t even remember the last time I had such an abundance of alone time. A whole weekend. All me, all weekend long. Totally awesome. I needed this.

Some people don’t like to be alone. Which is fine, to each their own. But I fucking love alone time. I would gladly venture that I love alone time even more than I love pizza. Yeah. Let that sink in for a minute. Those of you who’ve been around for a while know how deeply my love for pizza goes, so you know what a hefty statement that is for me to make.

I’ve always been a very independent person. When I was little people used to call me a loner and I thought that was a bad thing. I suspected that word was synonymous with defective in some way. Maybe some of my wires were loose, or I was missing a crucial part needed in order to be normal. Some people are born with stumps where their hands should be, right? So maybe there was a stumpy little place in my brain that made me be a loner. That was the first impression I ever formed of that word, having heard it often enough in a seemingly grim context, that a loner was someone who formed a little differently in the mould than expected. My sisters and I had a bunch of little chums that we played with growing up. And I’m one of five kids, so I had plenty of socialization all around me. But I just preferred being on my own.

If I was a loner and there was something wrong with that, well, it didn’t feel wrong to me. I liked it just fine that way. But what the fuck did I know, I was six the first time I heard that word for chrissakes. I also thought that the Power Rangers were real and that Vanilla Ice’s parents sure did pick a weird name for him. C’mon guys, if you wanted his rap career to have momentum that lasted longer than one crummy song then Black Ice was the obvious choice there. Der.

One of my best memories is when I got my acceptance package to post-secondary school and I found out that I’d been assigned to a single room. Fuck yeah, no roommate. FINALLY. I always had to share a bedroom with my little sister growing up and my biggest dream was to one day have my own room. Hallelujah! It was a frigging miracle. And I only had to shell out an extra $2000.00 bucks for the privilege, but it was worth every penny. Do you know how great it feels to jump on your own bed while doing a killer ABBA hairbrush lip sync without the fear of someone busting it on you and making you feel ashamed for being so goddamned rad all the time? I repeat: it was a frigging miracle when I got that single room. Space and time for days to kick out your jams in complete unabashed splendour. What’s not to love about that? And when you stumbled and fell awkwardly into the wall while you worked out the timing on your show-stopping twirls there was nobody there to see and laugh at you scornfully. Furthermore, there was nobody around to laugh at you for being a weird kid who enjoyed listening to ABBA in 2005. And who will admit to still thoroughly enjoying those magnificent Swedes in 2013.

I had all this wonderful freedom for the five years that followed. But then I stupidly fell in love and blah blah blah moved in with D. Again, I don’t want this to come off the wrong way because I love living with D. But when you live with your significant other certain quirky things that you used to enjoy doing on your own get tucked away into a dark little corner. Only ever to be seen again when gifted with an ever so elusive bundle of alone time. So you have to maximize it when you get it. You have to cram as many of those ridiculous things that are best done alone as you possibly can into your allotted alone time. You know, those things that you prefer doing without the ever-present shame land mines that lurk around every corner when you’ve got a cohabitant.

Here are the top 10 things I did with mine this weekend:

  1. Ordered enough Chinese food to feed six extremely hungry people on Friday night, but didn’t have anyone over and ate it for every single meal for the entire weekend
  2. Watched a Queen Latifah Rom-Com that D and I had been making fun of all week whenever we saw the commercials for it
  3. Pissed money away on a bunch of shitty gossip magazines that I read while watching the Queen Latifah Rom-Com and doing an at home facial
  4. Went on a five-hour long shopping spree and tried on no less than twenty party dresses
  5. Did extreme high-kicks while listening to The Ramones Greatest Hits at maximum volume
  6. Cried at the America’s Next Top Model finale because I was so happy for the person who won. She really wanted it bad you guys, okay?
  7. Laughed uproariously while watching Top Secret for the first time ever and then spent a solid 15 minutes after it was over imagining what it would be like to make out with Val Kilmer. Young hot Val Kilmer, not old fat Val Kilmer of course
  8. Sorted out my underwear drawer and finally threw some of the oldies away after realizing I possessed an unfathomable amount of underwear
  9. Bought new underwear
  10. Consumed an entire pint of Cherry Garcia and loved not having to share one single bite of it

free as a bird

Everything on this list is 100% accurate and honest. I may not wish to be seen doing these things, but I’m comfortable enough with my bad self to fess up to ’em. And remember, that’s only the top shelf stuff I did. There was plenty of other stuff I did that only gets more and more ridiculous to list. My wacky sense of imagination knows no bounds and it is a freaking delight when I really get to run with it. D grounds me. He’s good at pumping the brakes when the crazy train in my brain really starts to ramp itself up. But sometimes I’m curious to see how far it will take me if we just cut those damn brakes altogether…

I missed D, and I was happy to see him when he finally got back from a weekend of his own adventures. The occasional absence ain’t such a bad thing for a relationship. Looking back over my fantastically impressive itinerary from last weekend, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I lived like a god, a master of my own destiny. All alone, just me calling every single shot all day long. And it was glorious.

Alone time is ever so precious to me. If you really want to treat yourself right, I assure you it’s worth it to go be with yourself for an extended period of time doing only the things that make you happy. Shed the shame and indulge in your quirks for a while. Dream big dreams that wholly revolve around you, the kind of dreams that hectic every day life doesn’t tolerate. Push the limits of your whims. Soar. And when you come back out on the other side, don’t forget to stick the landing.

You’re gunna be alright after all, kid.

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes the universe just gets in your way. It doesn’t always play fair, and there’s no way of knowing when it’s going to whip a hardball at you. There’s nothing you can do to stop it, all you can do is roll with it. This is an account of how I had to roll with the giant shitball life chucked at me last week.

Some of you know that I write another blog, The Kingdom, and that I had some wicked plans for Halloween night. This old theatre in my city was going to be screening The Shining on Halloween night and I was not going to miss it for anything. I’ve never seen that movie all the way through before, and what better way to experience it for the first time than on the big screen, right?

Well, I’m still feeling intense disappointment because that didn’t happen. Thanks a lot universe.

Thanks for compelling Harvey to jump up onto the kitchen table, where he knows he isn’t allowed to be putting his furry cat ass. Thanks for making it cold enough in my apartment to necessitate the use of a space heater. Thanks for making me buy a space heater that’s only effective when it’s placed right in the middle of the fucking room. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to trip over it right after I’d picked Harvey’s chunky monkey butt up off the table where he’s not supposed to be. But I’d most especially like to thank you for causing me to fall directly onto my elbow so I could have the exquisite pleasure of fracturing it.

Thank you for gifting me this giant shitball of an injury on the Sunday before Halloween. An injury that prevented me from living my Halloween dream this year.

I get why you did it, universe. That fall must have been something truly spectacular to behold. When I stumbled, with a bundle of squirming cat in my arms mind you, and flailed around in a futile attempt at balancing while simultaneously scalding my bare feet on that goddamned heater, you probably had yourself a grand old chuckle at my expense. People falling can be hilarious, I get it. And I’ve given you many a laugh over the years with my clumsy antics, I know. I’m happy to do that for you from time to time, provided I don’t get too dinged up. But this time was too much, you were too rough with me. When I hit the ground and a thousand burning hot spears of pain shot through my arm I hope you felt like a total dick for doing that to me. Partly because you hurt me, but mostly because you took away my dream.

I can’t always get what I want, I know. But why, universe, why? Why did you have to take this from me?

When D asked if we were still going to go to the movie I heaved a heavy sigh of infinite sadness. I had to concede that sitting in an old ass movie theatre at the opposite end of the city for close to three hours was going to be too uncomfortable for me to bear. Defeated, I was ready to give up on the dream completely.

But D smartly reminded me about the video store down the street where I’d just recently become a member. Surely they’d have a few copies. And it’s an old movie, probably not as in demand. Plus, who the fuck still rents movies anyway, aside from us? He was right. I started to get excited again. We could rent it to watch at home, make an obscene amount of popcorn in the air popper we have, shut off all the lights and snuggle together on the couch. This Plan B of ours really started to grow on me. Sure, it wasn’t what I had planned, but we could make it great just the same.

We made our way over to the video store and eagerly scanned the racks for a DVD of The Shining. I was starting to think that maybe they didn’t have it, and as you’d expect that was the exact moment my eyes located it amidst the Kubrick Classics. I grasped the DVD with my good hand and slid it off the shelf. I turned the front of the case toward me, searching for the little velcro flap that indicates availability.

MOTHERFUCKER!!!!

It was rented. Halloween dream dashed for the second time that week. Fuck this, you guys, really. Fuck it.

At that point, there was no recovering from the disastrous tailspin I was in. I stomped home from the video store and fumed all night long about what a prick the universe can be sometimes.

And then because I was really feeling sorry for myself, I laid on the couch in my $10 Wal-Mart sweatpants and watched fucking Richie Rich on Teletoon Retro from beginning to end. Yeah, that super corny family friendly movie about a billionaire kid played by Macaulay Culkin at the absolute pinnacle of his fifteen minutes of fame. It was a new low for me.

richie rich

I was upset about missing my chance to see The Shining for the first time on the big screen, but after I calmed down I was able to make peace with it. I’m going to wait. I’m going to bury the tiniest little hope in my heart that another old theatre in the city will screen that movie at some point next October. It’s a classic, and October is a month for endless viewings of the scary classics that we all love. I’m going to cultivate my hope over the course of this year. I’m going to make it flourish, because despite what an asshole the universe has been to me lately, I still believe that it can be every bit as great as it can be cruel. My arm will heal, I’ll maintain a sensible wariness of the space heater, and the universe will take care of me in the end like it always has before.

No matter how many bones of mine the universe intends to shatter, I’ll just roll with it. Because I know that it’ll never be able to shatter my hopeful spirit.

A Surprise

When was the last time you did something truly kind or generous for another person? Something that wasn’t done out of obligation like a birthday, holiday or anniversary. Something you just felt like you wanted to do because the surprise and happiness registered on the recipient’s face is more than enough payoff.

It’s probably been a very long time since I last did something for another purely out of kindness and affection. Sadly, I can’t even remember what it would have been. A couple of months ago I bought a new set of headphones for The Magpie because she kept forgetting hers at home and not having tunes at work is balls. But they weren’t special or anything, like six bucks total, so that doesn’t really count.

It’s shameful really. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I fucking treasure the shit out of and they deserve to feel the full magnitude of my adoration more often. People are precious and they don’t last forever so give as much love as you can while you can.

It’s been a bit crappy lately. There have been plenty of nights in the last week and a half when I’ve come home from work in an absolutely abysmal mood. High-strung and super irritable, melting the faces off of my fellow commuters on the subway ride home with withering looks of derision cast their way at the slightest provocation. I feel bad for D for having to deal with it all. I imagine that interacting with me the past while has been a lot like trying to force a meaningful relationship with a rabid wolverine. It ain’t been no picnic, that’s for damn sure.

I was thinking about him Friday afternoon. Thinking about how strong and patient he is. How often he probably bites his tongue. All the little things he does just so I’ll be happy. One night last week he ate all of the burnt perogis so I only had to suffer the slightly singed ones. He let me stay up, reading in bed with the lights on while he tried to sleep because I was at a scary part in The Shining and just needed to have him close. He sends my food back at restaurants when something is wrong with it because I’m too embarrassed to do it myself. When we rent a car for the weekend to go see our families he lets me control the radio and CD choices for the whole trip, even though we have majorly opposing tastes in music with very minimal overlap. When his boss rewarded him with concert tickets to any show of his choosing in Toronto because he’d been killing it at work, he used them to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams instead of choosing to see a band that he likes. And he’s able to do these things with such ease because my happiness matters to him.

The BNL concert was unreal. I can’t say enough how much it meant to me. It was amazing how selfless D was about using his reward on me. He’s the real deal alright.

I started to have this urge, while I was thinking about D and how great he is, to do something. A compulsion to demonstrate the depth of my admiration for D. I just had to do something. Something kind and generous because he hasn’t been getting the very best of me lately. And I was struck once again by how remarkable it was that he gave me the BNL concert. I remembered him telling me a few days after the BNL concert that his favourite band Killswitch Engage had just announced a show in Toronto for a date in October, and how much he would have loved to go. Hmm, that could work.

I was almost ready to pack up and leave the office on Friday when I decided to hang back a minute and see if tickets for the Killswitch Engage show were still available. Unfortunately for me, the show was already sold out. However, because of how quickly the show sold out they’d decided to do another show the next night and tickets were still on sale. Fuck yeah, just my luck! So I immediately decided that I was going to buy him two tickets for that concert. Yes, I’m going to give D what he gave up for me. And the look on his face is going to be worth every penny. I bought the tickets, printed them off and stuffed them in my bag. I was buzzing with excitement the whole way home just dying to spring my surprise on D.

Killswitch Engage is the first concert we ever went to as a couple. They played a show in Waterloo on Mother’s Day 2008. I actually still have the ticket stubs.

ticket stubs

It was a great show. They were promoting their latest album As Daylight Dies and Howard Jones was the lead vocalist at that time. I’d never even heard of the band until I started dating D, but that album stayed in the CD player in his car for about three straight months and I really came to love it. I especially love Howard. He’s got such a killer voice and he’s an amazing performer. He’s magnetic on stage; captivating and astounding the listeners by perfectly blending his melodic singing with bone-shattering metal screams. It’s so much fun to watch him work. Listening to that album is so enjoyable. The music is phenomenal, undoubtedly. But it also takes me back to that summer when we started dating. When I hear the opening bars of My Curse I feel like I’m in D’s old sunfire again. Driving around with the windows down, D hammering his thumbs on the steering wheel in time with the drums,  butterflies in my stomach and not a care in the world.

D was going to fucking love this, and I couldn’t wait to see his reaction.

I got home on Friday, grabbed the tickets from my bag and tossed them at D. He looked at them puzzled for a moment and then unfolded them.

“Whaaaaat?? What is this all about?” he asked. I told him that I loved him and I appreciate how awesome he is and that he deserves it. “Fuck yeah! This is so awesome, thank you!” was his response. Huge smile on his face, eyes gleaming with happiness and surprise. Exactly the look I was going for. It was even better when I told him that the second ticket isn’t for me. I told him to take anybody he wants, ideally one of his metal-head cronies. And he loved that even more.

D was ecstatic, still is actually. And I felt amazing too. It was just what I needed, that boost of extraordinary, something to banish the gloom of last week. I may not have all of my problems licked, but at least I still have it within me to make someone else happy. D is so goddamned precious to me. And treating him to a night of ear bud busting metal fury is the best possible way that I can express that to him.

Rock on D, you skiddy metal-head weirdo.

All Wrapped Up

It’s no secret that I love opening presents. I’ve mentioned it before. A few seconds spent feverishly shredding the paper off of a neatly wrapped gift is a divine high that I’ve treasured for as long as I can remember. It’s especially good if I’m opening a gift earlier than I’m supposed to!

I know that I’m a maniac when it comes to presents. But I’m not a total monster. I thoroughly enjoy the pleasures of gift giving as well. So it’s okay if I lose my head every now and then because every gift given in return absolves me of this egregious misdeed.

I’m good at putting thought into my gifts. Finding something that just fits the recipient so well, something worthy of genuine gratitude. I bought The Magpie a purse for Christmas last year, which doesn’t sound remarkable, I know. But everything about it was so on point for what she would like. The pattern, the size, and the style all perfectly complimented her unique personality while catering to her purse needs. And that made me truly happy. Choosing the gifts isn’t an issue, it’s the wrapping that can be a real bitch.

I’ve stumbled at wrapping on many occasions. If something doesn’t come in a nice square package, I’m fucked. And I won’t go out of my way to buy boxes for things to fit into. I just can’t bring myself to do that. It’d be like paying for a soda at the movies. Why should I have to do that when anything I could ever want to drink can be purchased at a reasonable price elsewhere and then smuggled in with ease? Plus, I don’t want to miss out on the fun of smuggling! There are so few opportunities in life for a good harmless smuggle. You know I’m taking every one I get.

So if a seemingly decent box isn’t lying around for me to use, then I’ll just try my luck at wrapping whatever it is freestyle. I’m capable, right? I can figure this shit out. It’s not like we’re trying to crack the Da Vinci Code. We’re just trying to get some paper taped nicely around some weirdly shaped thing. All jutting angles and strange bends disguised to my satisfaction. Try though I might, the mental blueprint I’m following isn’t always translated so well.

A couple of the more noteworthy examples would be wedding gifts. Wedding gifts cause the most grief because the registry is usually a plethora of oddly shaped housewares. And sometimes that shit doesn’t come in a box, sometimes it’s just there, loose on the shelves. Loose housewares, the bane of gift wrapping. Another part of the problem is that I’m a very arrogant eye-baller. I always tackle the challenge thinking that my superior skills of eye-balling out the amount of paper needed will get me through this. Only to realize afterwards that I probably should have tried at measuring. A handle, an arm, a surface area, anything actually measured might have helped. But by the time I’ve rounded up the gifts, the wrapping paper, the scissors, and the tape, I’ve no energy left to search for some measly implement of measuring!

These are the gifts I wrapped for the last two weddings I went to:

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A badass new frying pan for The Magpie

Cheese knives for my beloved sister

Cheese knives for my beloved sister

Damn you metal flap!

Damn you metal flap!

It’s total garbage. And I don’t even have kids to blame it on! I can’t be like, “Oh, little blah blah really wanted to do the wrapping so we let it.”

All the bits wind up getting covered up eventually. But unfortunately for me, you can’t cover up shame. The only thing you can do now is attack the open bar with a vengeance and hope that people go easy on you; blaming your constantly drunk and disorderly behaviour for that shitty looking wrap job instead.

My cousin’s wedding is coming up soon and there’s a bridal shower for her this weekend, which means more attempts at wedding gift wrapping for me. Looking back over past transgressions though, I realize that I shouldn’t just do the same half-assed job I always do. She deserves better. Everyone deserves better than this, but unfortunately I’m only coming to this realization now. I apologize profusely to any gift recipients I’ve wronged in the past. You deserved better too. I was just too cocky to think about it from your perspective, and I know that was wrong.

This time around, I actually paid for it. I bought the gifts online and then worked up the humility to put a tick in that little box for “gift wrapping”. I paid for someone else to do something for me. It felt dirty and wrong, going against every one of my gift giving instincts that way. But when I went to pick up the gifts and saw how they looked, I was actually glad that I did. For once in my life I’m going to roll into a wedding like a goddamned champion because I’ve got a thoroughbred gift in tow.

Much better!

Much better!

Look at that gorgeous mofo. Hells yeah bitches, that gift is with me! All of the weirdly shaped items I bought have been neatly packaged into boxes that fit and have been covered in wrapping paper so hearty it can withstand a nuclear blast.

And it’s big! It’s a honking huge gift. I also love rolling into a wedding with the largest possible gift I could get. When I look over a registry, I always look for the biggest items. Because then people are more excited about opening them. It’s not some boring little doodad. All other gifts on the table orbit around my gift because it’s so large it’s got gravitational pull. It’s a fucking planet. Congratulations on your nuptials, I bought you guys a planet of your very own!

I love giving gifts, and I love tackling challenges with gusto. But I’ve been to this rodeo enough times now to know that sometimes I need help. I’ve done enough atrocious wrapping jobs to know when I’ve been bested. And nobody should have to suffer my misguided intentions on their wedding day. They already have to foot my bar bill, and trust me, that’s painful enough.

I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Seven years ago D asked me if I wanted to be his boyfriend. Yes, you read that right. Somehow asking me if I wanted to be his girlfriend and if he could be my boyfriend got all tangled together and “Do you want to be my boyfriend?” tumbled out of his mouth.

I guess I was making him nervous or something.

He was driving me home after a date. He flicked his eyes from the road, briefly, to gauge my reaction to his gaffe. I erupted in laughter and teased him mercilessly, but I was elated.

He was exactly what I was looking for at that time in my life. Beneath his quietly confident and emotionally reserved exterior, I’d found immeasurable reservoirs of kindness and affection. The depths of which I am sure to spend my whole life plumbing without ever reaching an end. I was so happy that we’d met, thrilled that he was into me, and ecstatic at the thought of starting a relationship together.

I’d been dating such losers at that time. I was at a party with one such loser, it was winter, a New Years Eve party I think. It was so fucking cold. We were in some crappy basement with all his loser friends, I’m talking total chuds here people, major dirt bags. And it was freezing. It was like the house didn’t even have a heater. I was shivering cold. Instead of offering up his sweater, you know what this dick did? He told me to “drink more”. So, at 19 the immature jerks vastly outnumbered any upstanding gentlemen there may have been.

When I used to sit around daydreaming about my perfect man (and I would do this often wondering if such a thing even existed), I would create him from nothing. His foundation consisted of the characteristics and values I considered most desirable in a man. I pictured someone undeniably male in all his thoughts and actions. Someone who knows his own masculinity well, and wears it securely. Someone unburdened by insecurities and petty jealousies. Decisive and sure. Solid and stoic. Trustworthy, loyal, reliable, and honest. No bullshit, no baggage, no tantrums or tears. A real fine hunk of man, capable of feeling but also able to keep his shit together.

And he had to be able to take his licks in stride because I’m not some dainty little peach. I wanted someone emotionally tough and sturdy. Someone who could go toe to toe with me, round for round. Sensitive men are bad for me, because I’m so inherently insensitive. I’d run roughshod over any wimps and bore of them entirely within a matter of weeks. I can’t be bothered with pushovers or whining. He could be caring and sweet, but he couldn’t be a complete fucking baby.

I wondered if maybe I was being picky, then that thought subsided, I knew that I wasn’t. Pickiness stems from indecision and delusion. Finding minute flaws in something because of an inability to adapt your expectations to reality. I know what I want and I’m able to appreciate what I wind up getting despite any perceived deficiencies. I’m definitely not picky. I was just specific, having my specific daydreams.

It didn’t matter how my dream man was packaged. Tall, dark, and handsome means nothing to me if you’re a prick. Good for you asshole, you’re good-looking! Someday you won’t be able to get up off the can without help, and then what good will your looks be? What mattered to me was that our core values meshed and our personalities were complimentary to each other. That’s what I dreamed about most, someone so perfectly fitting for an imperfect me.

The path was littered with frogs. And while it may have been fun kissing some of them, I knew I didn’t want to go on kissing frogs forever. I suspected that kissing someone who made my heart leap up into my throat just by being his unique self would be so much more thrilling.

Luckily for me, good things come to those who brood. Commiserating another shitty relationship gone south while at my buddy’s birthday party, I declared a hiatus on dating. “No more losers, I’m done with this crap”, I pronounced. I’ll just party with my friends and have fun being me for a while. But somewhere in that tangled mess of disillusion and regret, D found me. That sweeping declaration of “No more losers!” was less than 3 hours old and I already had his tongue jammed down my throat. To hell with it, one more frog couldn’t hurt! I could always turn over a new leaf tomorrow, right?

But there was never a need to. A stark contrast to his immature peers, D is everything I’ve always wanted in a man.

When I zig, he’ll most certainly always zag. And we’re constantly jockeying for command as the alpha dog of this crazy relationship. Where I’m loud and outrageous, D is quiet and steadfast. When I’m totally bonkers he reels me in. If D is grumpy and serious I can surely coax a smile from him. When he’s too firm or hard-headed I can budge him. My unbridled enthusiasm and imagination are tempered by his collected realism. He tames me, and I brighten him. We ebb and flow in perfect unity. While our external personalities may differ vastly, the internal cores of our beings are in complete alignment. The untrained eye might deem us a serious case of opposites attract, but if you look closely enough you’ll see that we’re actually counterbalances for one another, not opposites. It just works, somehow.

D and I

I’m lucky, yes, but I also knew what I wanted. I knew what I wanted so well that I was able to recognize D for the gem that he is immediately upon meeting him. I could see it in the set of his jaw and the way he carried himself. A man both worthy of and capable of handling all the strife and joy I could ever dish out.

So, this one is going out to you today D!

 

Happy anniversary baby. I dig being your boyfriend.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy… The Liebster Award

What a wonderful surprise!

The Liebster Award

Littlejenmo of ThinkJunk has nominated me for my very first blog award, the Liebster. What a darling thing to do. Thank you so much. To think, all this drinking and cursing is starting to pay off! The first thing I’m going to do with my winnings is… oh, wait a minute, just reading this thing fully. So, there’s no big cash prize? Just the prestige then? Alright, well, glad we got that sorted out. On with the show!

The Liebster award is a recognition given to small bloggers by other small bloggers (max 200 followers), and the rule for the awards are:

1. Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
That’s easy enough. Thank you again to my friend at ThinkJunk

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answering the 11 questions you were asked and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Display the Liebster Award logo.

5.  No tag back thingy’s. (Which I assume means that the people I nominate can’t just re-nominate me?)

Part of the process is to share with you even more zany facts about myself by answering the questions that Littlejenmo so thoughtfully posed. Here goes nothing:

  1. What was your first ever blog post about?
    It was an introduction of myself to the inter webs and a mission statement. Some boring bit about why I started blogging.
  2. Where did you get your name?
    My friends call me Smash, not because I’m graceful. I’ve been smashing through my life since day one. Seemed like it might be Kismet?
  3. Who does your hair?
    The rats in my apartment. They gnaw a real nice ‘do.
  4. What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?
    Someone put their B.O. riddled armpit in my face during rush hour on the subway once. Doesn’t get much worse than that.
  5. What do your dreams look like?
    If they were ever made public, they’d look a lot like I’m about to get fired for sexual harassment…
  6. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever purchased online?
    A poster of Dave Grohl giving the finger. Which was displayed proudly on my bedroom wall for several formative years.
  7. Who gets to see you cry?
    “There’s no crying in baseball!” And now you know about a movie I saw once.
  8. What is your guilty pleasure?
    Currently, belting out Huey Lewis & The News songs at the top of my lungs when nobody is home and dancing as if I were a Frankenstein. Although it changes everyday. My life is rife with guilty pleasures.
  9. Who gave you your first kiss?
    For the sake of protecting the identities of everyone who is involved in this sorry tale, let’s just call him “Teddy Ruxpin” and leave it at that.
  10. What is in your pockets right now?
    This seems like a question better suited to someone actually wearing pants, or perhaps with pockets in their underwear.
  11. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
    My own witty quips at the expense of others, ha ha ha! So droll. But seriously, it’s laughter. I can’t live in a world without laughter. Or Super Big Gulps from the 7-11.

The blogs that I have chosen to nominate are:

  1. Travels for Two
  2. GingerPolitics
  3. The Dark Geek Rises
  4. The Merry Bride
  5. Auston Habershaw
  6. The Very Single Girl
  7. Sparkyleegeek’s Blog
  8. Hottywood Helps
  9. Batman To Be
  10. Finding the Funi
  11. 139 Hobbies

And now for the grilling of your lifetime. Here are the questions I have carefully crafted for my nominees:

  1. How do you take your eggs?
  2. What is the best concert you ever went to?
  3. What’s hiding under your bed right now?
  4. Worst book you ever read, maybe you couldn’t even finish it. What was it?
  5. How do you like your pizza topped?
  6. What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever eaten?
  7. What is the most played song on your iPod?
  8. Would you or do you go to the movies alone?
  9. When was the last time you got so drunk you couldn’t remember anything the next morning?
  10. Something that makes you smile, every single time you think of it. What is it?
  11. What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Well, there you have it folks. My magnanimous acceptance of the Liebster Award. Thank you ever so kindly Littlejenmo. It’s been a slice!

Ring-a-ding-ding

Finally!

Finally I get to wear my engagement ring. Now I’m starting to feel like it’s a reality.

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I don’t wear rings. I never have. My entire life up to this point, I’ve lived it totally ringless. For one reason only. The paralyzing fear that a ring would get stuck on my finger. It happened once when I was little and scarred me. I was never the same again.

It was a nice afternoon; sunny, summertime. I’d used every available wile in my arsenal to sneak away from nap-time. My mom worked nights and had three rambunctious little girls all very close in age. My dad worked all day. She had to work at night and be a mom during the day. Sleep was just peppered in wherever it could fit. So every afternoon we’d have to have naps with her. And because we weren’t particularly trustworthy, we’d all have to nap in the master bed together with my mom. So she could keep an eye on us and catch some Z’s herself.

I hated it though, I never wanted to nap. More often than not I’d just lay there, eyes closed deceptively, biding my time. Eventually, everyone’s breathing would slow down just enough. And I’d know they were out. I’d take my time, slinking inch by inch towards the end of the bed. I couldn’t jump off the side of the bed because I was put in the middle to prevent just such a thing. So I slinked and slid my way to the end of the bed. I was stealthy. I slipped off the bed without a peep. Then I crawled, very slowly towards the door. I pushed it open with the utmost care, making sure it didn’t creak. Then, once I’d crawled through it, I would shut it just as tenderly as I’d opened it.

Yes! Home free at long last! I’d scuttle off to my room for some quality play time. And it was the best. I didn’t have to share my toys or play nice. This was my time and nobody was going to tell me what to do. Not my parents, not my sisters, not anyone. My room was an oasis, filled with treasures for the taking. And I revelled in the splendour of it that day. A little bit of colouring, blew some bubbles, made a few play-doh figures. Like I said, it was a nice afternoon. I was going to play with some dinky dinosaurs next. I’d just have to find them first. Most likely in that wooden abyss on the other side of the room. Otherwise known as the toy-box.

I was rummaging around, looking for a triceratops for the T-Rex to eat when I noticed the ring. Some piece of crap ring. Either from a machine at the grocery store or a birthday party loot bag. Just sitting at the bottom of the toy-box. I grabbed it and shoved it on my finger, forcing it over the knuckle. I admired it for a minute or two, then decided it was lame.

But when I tried to take it off, it wouldn’t budge. Uh oh. I tried again, the ring stayed put.

Bad, scary thoughts starting swirling around my head. I was going to be trouble, big trouble. I snuck away from nap-time again. Third offence that week, an offence worthy of a spanking. It never occurred to me to sneak back in and maintain a ruse that I’d napped. I just played and played, wrapped up in my own little world, until they all woke up and I was caught red-handed. And this time I’d be caught with this disgusting little ring stuck on my finger. Which was starting to look slightly purple. Hell, I’d probably lose my finger long before they woke!

THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING TO ME!

I started to panic. I really just freaked the fuck out. My heart thumped in my chest, I thrashed around wildly on the floor while I wrenched on the ring. Desperately struggling with all my might to liberate my finger. It wasn’t working. Nothing was working. This is it, this is how I’m going to die I thought to myself. I’d never been so scared in my whole life (up to that point anyways.) I started to sob, silently into the carpet.

Just when I’d resigned myself to the loss of a finger, and possibly death, a thought occurred to me.

Water. Soap and water. Lots and lots of soap and water!

I dashed into the bathroom and cranked the faucet full blast. I scrubbed my hand furiously with the bar of soap. The ring started to turn around my finger. I kept at it. Dousing with water, scrubbing with soap, turning the ring. Round and round it turned, a little bit further up my knuckle at a time. Just a little bit more, come on.

Finally, I felt it give and I was free.

The ordeal was over. I breathed the most grateful sigh of relief and dried my hands. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The wide-eyed girl looking back at me was visibly rattled. Still worried that someone would find out what had happened and there’d be hell to pay.

I poked my head out into the hallway. The door to the master bedroom was still closed. I couldn’t believe my luck. They were still napping! Nobody had heard a thing.

I went back to my room and resumed playing, quietly. I swore to myself that I was never going to put a ring on my finger again. They were nothing but trouble. Evil. Pure evil, sent from the depths of hell to destroy you.

Then D went and flashed me the bling. It was beautiful. Nothing like that piece of crap that had traumatized me some 20 years ago. It was too beautiful to resist. I put it on, nervously at first. I had to be brave. I had to champion that old fear of mine. So I forged ahead, bravely popping that rock on my finger. Unfortunately, it was way too big. D had to make a complete guess at the size. He had absolutely no point of reference. It sucked that I couldn’t wear it, I genuinely wanted to.

We took the ring in to be sized immediately once we’d gotten home from our trip. A week later, we got the call that it was ready. I was so excited. For the first time in my life I’d been given a ring that was made just for me. I was going to wear it, and I wasn’t going to be scared of it!

D went in and grabbed the ring while I waited in the car. When he came back, he handed me the ring, anticipating my happiness. I put it on. I had a slight difficulty getting it over my knuckle. But, I reassured myself that it was fine. They were professionals. They had measured my finger, so it was going to fit perfectly.

I looked at it for a minute. Something didn’t seem right. My finger looked kind of smushed to me. A feeling of dread swept over me. It’s too snug. They made it too small. I tried to get it off and it wouldn’t budge. I was instantly transported back in time to that summer afternoon when I snuck away from the nap. I started to freak out, pulling at the ring. I twisted and pulled. After a minute or two, I was able to roll it off my finger.

“Fuck that shit,” I said. Shaken and upset again. My old fears coming back to haunt me.

Mar was with us at the time. She tried to reassure me that it was fine, it would loosen up over time. But I knew that wasn’t the answer. Something was wrong.

I went back into the store with D this time. We asked the girl behind the counter to check the size of my ring. It was the same girl who did the sizing for me a week ago. I didn’t find her particularly helpful the first time we’d met. She seemed like she’d rather be anywhere else. Unenthusiastic and dim. Those are the two words that best describe her.

Sure enough, they’d fucked up my ring. It was a size too small. I was livid and I let this girl have it. Tore a strip right out of her, I did. She gave me a half-hearted apology and said that they’d size it again. Another week of waiting…

We got the call, and went out to get it this weekend. I wasn’t holding my breath. I told D, “when you get it, ask them to measure it and make sure it’s the right size. Don’t even bring it back to me if it’s wrong or I will flip the fuck out.”

frig you ring

rocking the bling

Luckily for everyone involved, this time it fit. Perfectly.