Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Secret Life of Single Socks and Orange Ya Glad I'm having a Pickles Yard Sale

We begin by addressing the "case of the missing socks". I'm certain that the majority of you have had a similar experience when doing laundry. It's a fact of life. If you wear socks you lose socks. With 5 people living under the same roof the quantity of socks on site is astronomical. The question is ....where do single socks go? Are single socks similar to single men and women? Do they hang out together in bars waiting for their perfect match? Are they stuck without mates on purpose only to have the opportunity to meet other single socks in a drawer? Does Sergeant Pepper have a lonely socks club band?  Can a sock be independant just lying around amongst the pairs? It takes two to make a sockroll.There is never a week that goes by without a laundry basket that contains neatly folded clothes, 4 pairs of socks and 1 or 2 single socks laid on top. My theory is that a sock who wants to remain single does so until they are ready to be a couple again. I am one of the few lucky ones who rarely loses a sock. In fact, all my socks are married and not separated. I do not come from a broken sock home. As well, I have socks that are favorites. I have new socks. I have old socks. I have thin socks and thick socks. I have sports socks and short socks. I have religious socks (holy ones) and wild socks. I have cheap socks and expensive socks. But one thing I cannot deal with are socks that kvetch my legs.(reminder about  the definition for the yiddish word "kvetch".....a kvetch can either be a complainer or whiner but it also means to "squeeze tightly") There is nothing worse than a TIGHT SOCK that leave "lines" around your calves and cut off your circulation while you are wearing them. The greatest invention ever is the "soft top" sock or as I like to refer to them as "Kvetchless Socks". COMFY COMFY. I recently purchased a three pack of kvetchless socks at my usual hangout...Winners. The pack came with a pair each of charcoal grey, chocolate brown and black socks. I broke open the pack a while ago but slowly became partial to the charcoal grey ones. My socks never go into the dryer for two reasons:

1. Dryers eat socks (resulting in M.S.S. missing sock syndrome)
2. When socks hang out together they keep their shapley figures (if you were put in a hot dryer and spinned around every week for an do you think you would look?)

Last Friday, I wore my charcoal grey socks around the house. I took them off , rolled them up and placed them next to my bed at night and when I woke up in morning they were GONE. I searched all over my room to find them to no avail. How did this happen? I couldn't blame the usual suspect DCL (Denise Cleaning Lady) because she was in the house the prior day. I couldn't accuse the kittens because they wouldn't play with a toy that is larger than a mouse. All I knew grey socks were no longer visible to the human eye. Where are my socks? be continued.

Orange Rubber dish gloves. Ok, so who wants to raise their hand and tell me they love washing dishes? I don't. It's my belief that the act of "doing" dishes may be hazardous to your health. Without the proper protective gear you risk burning your fingers and melting your manicure. What everyone needs is what I have.....Orange Rubber Dish Gloves....they are heavy duty rubberized shields of steel that will not allow the chore of washing a dish impede on your delicate hands. When I finish "doing" the dishes I always place my gloves over the side of the kitchen cupboard to dry. They are safe hanging there...side by a pair. It's a week ago Thursday ....Enter DCL. Exit DCL. I am now proceeding to wash the dishes after baking the most awesome banana cake on Tuesday. Here is the recipe in case you are longing for a heart attack.


1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk


1/2 cup butter, softenened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 275°. (yes 275...this is not a mistake)
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk (I never have buttermilk so if you don't feel like running out to get some just put in 1 1/2 tbls of lemon juice into the 1 1/2 cups of milk)
Stir in banana mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist...I am not kidding.
For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
Spread on cooled cake.
Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if you want to make it look pretty.
As you can see by the above recipe it's not a ONE bowl task to complete. I think I had about 8 dirty dishes out on my counter when all was said and done. Totally worth it but a huge clean-up to contend with. I then go hunting for my faithful finger protectors....they are not in their usual place. I look in the cupboard ....not there. I pull open the drawers ....not there. I walk into the laundry room....and spot ONE orange glove sitting on top of the wash bucket. It's match is nowhere in sight. Now I start to panic. I can't possible do a ONE GLOVE WASH JOB. Where is my other glove? be continued.
Skip to a quick Olympic Update. There is an error on the Vancouver Website. Another Gold Medal had been won by Canada and was acquired this morning (even before the athletes were awake out West)! Remember that I had qualified for the sport of freestyle falling? Well, even though the IOC offered me the spot on the team I opted to compete in my hometown - offsite to avoid the crowds. So, with no one watching in the stands, I managed a world record breaking fall on my ass at 9:10 a.m. EST just outside of the community centre on my way in to my cycle class. I have to say it was spectacular and guess what boots I was wearing? The same ones that I was wearing last time I fell outside.....MY FUGGS! There was only one judge on hand and he came running to my side to pick me and my underwear off the ashpalt. My underwear? Yes, during the free-fall I was holding my gymbag and it and its contents spilled onto the ground together with me. Don't tell Steve....but the fact is......I got picked up by another man in the parking lot and he saw my panties.  I brushed myself off, stuffed all my lingerie back into my bag and  thanked the judge for awarding me the Gold. When I saw Steve I confessed what happened. He didn't seem too surprised......that I had won that is....but he did offer to spruce up my boots.....with nail studs to grip the ice for better performance. How much better a performance than a GOLD can you get? I think I will pass on the studs.

Pickles. There is only one pickle that I will eat....sweet gherkins. Other pickles are not for me. Sofra Grill is a fabulous Middle Eastern Restaurant that we get take-out from quite often. Chicken Shawarma on rice for Steve. Chicken Breast in a Pita for me. Some of you may not know what Shawarma is. Let's just say it is the equivalant to a large block of chicken on a metal sword that has met it's demise by stepping on a land mine. Basically it looks like shards of meat on a plate swimming in grease. About as good for you as the banana cake I made....heart wrenching, artery clogging bliss. Anyways, each meal comes two free sides....a salad and a container of pickles. The container of pickles goes onto the table and sit's there. Steve claims to have had one slice, but I never witness this. Once the meal is over NO one will ever pay attention to the pickles again. "Steve, what should I do with the pickles", I ask? "Put them in the fridge, I will try to remember to eat them", he answers. Try to remember to eat them? Who has a reminder in their calendars to "try to eat their leftover pickles" ? Conclusion? We have a pickle collection. Once they hit the cold air in the fridge they obtain magical powers. For some reason the container tends to grow legs. Each time I reach in to grab something off a shelf they spring out at me, hit my head and land on the floor.

Why are these pickles in there in the first place? You and I know that they are not wanted so why are we harbouring them? They are also not going to be eaten by Steve even though he tries to remember them. At times during the week they join us on the table for dinner. They always remain untouched. "You didn't eat your pickles Steve", I say. "Ya, I know....just put them back in the fridge...I will get to them", he promises. What transpires is this....we put them back in the fridge....we order another meal from Sofra and we get another container of we have two. We order again....we have three....order again...four.....and so on until one day we have no room for anything in the fridge but PICKLES!! "Steve?....Do you think we should start throwing these pickles out" I ask? "I guess so......but let me smell them first to see if they are still okay", he answers. Smell them first ? Why do we need to SMELL the pickles when they are NOT GOING TO BE EATEN? This brings me to tell you about certain food items that remain in our home  way past their expiry dates. I take an inventory to see what needs to be thrown out and put it on the counter. Steve does an inspection and puts the expired items back in the fridge? Why ? Because according him, the expiry dates are just a guide.....they are not true dates. So in other words there is an argument as to what is "best before" and what is "best not to take a chance on after". Here's where the old "smell test" comes through again. Steve will sniff the food, observe it for movement and assess it's color and texture. If it smells sorta fresh, looks kinda good and is not growing's Steve Quality. Everyone else in the house stays clear of it as we watch and wait the outcome of Steve's survival. Mind you he eats chocolate covered crickets so what's a little expired furry yogurt going to do to him?

Fast forward to Thursday. I leave a little note for DCL to ask her to search for my orange rubber gloves.

Dear Denise,
How are you? Hope you had a nice week.
Would you happen to know what happened to my orange rubber gloves?
If so, let me know.
Thank you ! :)

When I returned home from work that night I walked into the kitchen and spotted my gloves. Laid on the counter...with my note tucked inside two of the fingers.

from Denise:
I didnt' wear the gloves.
I probably got distracted and put them in the bucket
with the other cleaning stuff.
sorry about that....

First of all.....if you have read prior stories you will remember that DCL is always distracted because she talks on her cellphone all day and works with one hand. Secondly, she loves making me crazy by sabotaging the showerhead, hiding things and throwing things out that are not really garbage. She did however redeem herself this week. I have to hand it to her ......not only did she produce my orange gloves, she also found my charcoal grey socks and put them on my bed! Two cold case mysteries solved in one week. Now I just have to teach her to throw out the PICKLES.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Driving Miss Crazy...Table for One or Two?

We need to address the driving habits of my husband today. First I will reminisce with you about the good old days. When I first met Steve he owned a "post divorce" 1990 Ford Thunderbird that barely started let alone moved. In fact, on our first date the car wasn't feeling well so Steve rode his two wheeler to his dad's house to borrow the "woody" station wagon to ensure he could pick me up. Try envisioning a 42 year old riding his bicycle to get his daddy's car for his big night out. When he arrived in his loaned wagon I was very impressed that he made every effort not cancel the date just because his car was on the fritz. His dad's "woody" was very cool. Totally the same vehicle Chevy Chase (Griswald) drove in National Lampoon's Vacation. Off we went to play some billiards at a local bar...what? Did you think we were going to Centro's and have someone valet park the "woody"? I don't think so. When Steve's car was finally repaired to a point where it was "drivable" he came back for a second date. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and we went down to see a Blue Jay's Game at the Skydome. I noticed how cautiously he drove me everywhere. His driving was comparable to an eighty year old who was carrying eggs in the trunk. The truth of the matter was .....he couldn't drive that car any other way....or would seize in it's tracks.

Driving down the Don Valley Parkway I demurely enquired if perhaps there was a chance that he could put the Air Conditioning ON. Back in the early courting days I was demure. You have to be demure for first impressions. Once the dating goes beyond a few years the demureness slowly wears off, goes out the window and is replaced with the REAL DEAL. So... I asked about giving me some cool air to which Steve replied  "The car is equipped with Air Conditioning however it is not recommended that it be used while driving it in hot weather". Uh? So in otherwords you can use the Air Conditioner in the Winter and the Heating/Defroster in the Summer? I'm fighting to stay DEMURE.  The situation was this.......the car needed to be on life support while it was standing still. The battery needed to be plugged in otherwise the car would not start. So while it is in driving mode, the air conditioning would suck the life out of something thus making the car stall during motion.  There were numerous issues that surrounded the car and Steve aptly named it a "No good son of a Nyippin Nyappin son of a bitch Upside down backwards in a canoe piece of shit". I know it's a long name ....good thing he didn't have to write it down on the Licence Renewal.

His mechanic diagnosed three things:

A) Steve (Griswald's) car needed to be thrown out
B) Steve's date (me) was going to be perpetually sweaty and frizzie.
C) It was going to be a long Summer

Unfortunately late that Fall, Steve's car was taken off life support and slowly slipped away. Ask me if I was sad to see it go? Soon afterwards Steve purchased a series of viable vehicles. As my demure disposition slowly dissipated with time so did Steve's cautious driving techniques. Now when I get into the car with Steve he takes great pleasure in making me nervous. If we have a reservation at a downtown restaurant for let's say 7:00 p.m. Steve's departure time is precisely timed from point A to point B. It all starts with the couch. He is still ON it at 6:05 p.m. In the meantime I'm standing in the front hallway with my coat on. "What time are we leaving Steve"?, I ask. "What time is it now"?, he replies. Why is it that husbands feel the need to answer a question with a question? "The time is 6:05 p.m", I answer. "Okay, I will be ready at 6:20 p.m.", he says. That gives him 15 minutes to do the following: Shower, Shave, Iron a shirt, Dress, Run his fingers through his hair, put on his shoes, put on his coat, get a snack for the drive (yes, he has to eat mini carrots in the car as an appetizer) and look for his cellphone and wallet. 15 minutes to do all of the above. Do you know what I can accomplish in 15 minutes? Nothing. I need 2 hours to get ready... I don't like feeling rushed. It's now 6:19 p.m - there is one minute to go before exit time. Where's Steve?..... Running around frantically searching for his cellphone. "I can't find my phone", he says. "Where did you last have it"? I ask. "I don't know, can you please call it"? he says. So I do....and there is NO SOUND coming from anywhere so Steve starts DARTING........through all the rooms.....listening to pockets, tables, boxes, drawers, envelopes etc. There is an assortment of strategies going through my brain at that point. One of which would land me in jail. "Maybe it's in the car"? I suggest. "hmmmm....maybe", Steve replies. Sure enough, not only is it in the car but it's on SILENT MODE so calling it wouldn't have made one bit of difference even if it was in the house. We are now finally ready to leave. Next step is getting into Steve's car. You see, Steve's car is utilized not only as a car but also as his ON THE ROAD office. This means that his car contains work associated paraphernalia - ladders, papers, pencils, pens, refreshments, tools, toiletries, electric razor, wiring, batteries, books, gym gear, golf clubs and two pigeon feathers. Yes, pigeon feathers. I have no idea why he has these vision impeding feathers but I have asked him and his only response is that he likes them.

At one point MO thought Steve actually lives in his car because he discovered a shower head in his backseat. My husband can eat, sleep, shower and build a home from his vehicle.....all while driving. We are finally on our way downtown. It is now 6:30 p.m. (reservation reminder....7:00 p.m.). As we pull out of the driveway Steve starts "self frisking". Self frisking is the act of touching oneself briskly to search for concealed items on your person. "What are you looking for now"? I ask. "I think I left my wallet at home", he says. "Are you sure"? I say. "Yes, I can't find it", he answers. Now we are pulled over to the side of the road and he is still "self frisking" with an addition of rummaging through the car's glove and armrest compartments. "Should we go back and look at home"? I query. "Hold on", he says. Let me look one more place. He then undoes his seatbelt, lifts his butt off the seat and reaches into his back pocket where .....VOILA! There's his stinkin wallet. Time now...6:35 p.m. - we are still on our street. Here's where Steve Griswald transforms into Stefano Andretti. I am anxiously awaiting the G-Force to hit as we make our way onto the main road. The ride begins with an estimate of what intersection we will be hitting at what exact time. It's precisely like being prepped for takeoff in a full size jet.

Here's an excerpt of Steve's conversation with himself:

"In 5 minutes we will be at Bayview and Steeles, if I don't get a red light I can make it to Finch in another 3 minutes. Once I get to Finch it is only 7 minutes to Sheppard. I'm hopping on Hwy 401 and shooting over to Avenue Road. That should only take another 2 minutes. I am going to count all the cars I pass while driving up the shoulder. If Avenue Road isn't too busy it will only take 8 minutes to get to Bloor. Once we get to Bloor I can let you out of the car (while I'm doing 60km per hour) and you can run in and get a table while I look for a parking spot"

During this explanation there are a slew moving violations occuring:

1. Excessive Acceleration (otherwise known as burning rubber)
2. Following too Closely
3. Failure to Yield
4. Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle
5. Failure to Signal
6. Speeding
7. Improper Passing
8. No Seatbelt (Only while looking for the missing wallet)
9. Wrong Way on a one-way street.
10. Weaving
11. Failure to Stop - Failure to go
12. Contemplating Parking in Front of a Hydrant
13. Contemplating Parking in a No Parking Zone
14. Contemplating Parking at a Broken Meter
15. Contemplating Parking within the Provincial roadway allowance
16. Obstruction of Roadway and
17. Failure to be ON time for the reservation

As I am adding up the demerit points while these are transpiring I acquire a new tone in my voice. This only comes through when Steve is driving. It mimics a high shrill and goes something like this....Steeeeeeeeeeeevvvvvvve.......waaaaaaaaaaaatccccchhhhhh oooooooooowwwwwwwwwwtttttttttttt. If you were able to read my body language you would notice that my hands are in gripping position, my neck is stiff and my birth canal is shut tight. Not sure how he does it but we are at the restaurant at 7:01 p.m. and I am already seated at 7:03 p.m. but still waiting for him to park. This is the time I look at the menu and decide what to eat. I don't know why I bother getting a head start on the food selections (Steve the menu studier is coming). Something that you may not know about me. I will not go to a restaurant ALONE. I would rather do TAKEOUT than sit by myself in an eating establishment pretending to be independant and happy with my own company. I am looking around to see if the other patrons think I'm a loser or if I have been STOOD up by my date. What's taking Steve so long to find a parking spot !

I start looking out the window and spot Steve running down the street towards the restaurant. I wave happily as he goes by the window so he knows where I am seated. He looks flushed as he rushes towards me. "Did you get a nice spot" I ask? "Not too bad" he says. "It's only about 5 blocks up the street", he points out. Five blocks up the street? I am thinking I might need a cab to get to the car later. I watch as my hubby settles into the seat, places his coat behind him, picks up his menu and then gets a familiar look of panic on his face. "Did I lock the car"? he asks. "How the heck would I know if you locked the car, you let me out while the car was still moving"! I answer. "Well, I can't remember if I did", he says. I am now sitting alone AGAIN in the restaurant while Steve is outside running past the window away from the restaurant towards his car. I'm also imagining that those seated around me truly believe that my husband had an argument with me and left. Bear in mind that the car is parked in another municipality and he is jogging over to ensure that it is secured. I look out the window after a few minutes and I see him passing by the window for the third time. As he is once again settled at the table - the menu is studied - our order is placed and we can finally enjoy each other's company - he looks at me with loving eyes and says "I have to pee"...."be right back".


Sunday, February 14, 2010

(Mrs. Giblon Syndrome), Light my world and Fighter Jet Toothpicks

I have developed a new ailment. I'm going to identify it as " Mrs. Giblon Syndrome” but for the sake of keeping it simple I will refer to it as Giblon Syndrome or GS for short. The charateristics of GS begin with chronic complaining followed by irritable tendancies which worsen with the aging process. So who the heck is Mrs. Giblon you ask? When I was growing up my mother had stacks of interesting friends. For the most part they were nice people but there were a few with personality disorders that stood out from the crowd. I’m sure in your lifetime you have come across “perpetual” whiners. Mrs. G. was a classic nitpicker and unfortunately she’s now dead. My theory is that she passed away from incessant deep rooted kvetching. Yiddish Word -Definition: Kvetch, Kvetched, Kvetches, Kvetching: To complain persistently and whiningly - it also means to Squeeze Tightly...don't ask me why.

My mother would say “it’s not nice” to speak about the deceased in vain but I want to make it clear that I am not mocking the dearly departed, just merely providing you with a comprehensable definintion of what “GS” stands for in our society as well as rationalize why I have been diagnosed with this illness.

Some examples of living with GS:

1. Restaurant table placements

Banquettes are not recommended for those suffering from GS

Upon entering an eating establishment how many of you have noticed that tables tend to be placed in undesirable locations? Do you really like sitting near a kitchen door? How about being seated near the front entrance (especially in the Winter when patrons are constantly swinging it open – going in, going out). What about banquette seating? My least favorite type of layout…what is the point of this? You line a wall of tables that are side by side. There is a soft couch on one side and hard chairs on the other side. Before you are seated there are elements of discussion that ensue on WHO is going to sit on the couch and who will get the chair. Reminds me of a twist on a bible phrase "who shall live and who shall be uncomfortable on a hard chair". Nine times out of ten Steve gives me the big comfy couch. Two reasons: A) He hates sinking under the table and looking like a three year old who requires a booster seat and B) The only view he has is of ME and he's safer that way.
Entering and exiting a banquette can be tricky and tight. No matter how polite you try to be it’s 100% guaranteed that someone is getting my ASS in their face or their ASS in mine. There is also the probability of having to sit on your coat due to the fact the you can’t hang it on the couch you are trapped on. Another issue with being a wall flower is this….you can hear everything next to you and even worse they can hear everything you are saying. No private conversations on Wall Street. Then there are the drafts. If you sit under an air conditioner, vent or near a window you get the Breeze. Once there is a BREEZE I change tables or request a change in the air circulation. GS is also accentuated by a long line-up before the reservation. If you have pre-booked a table - why is it necessary to stand there? What's the point of having a reserved TIME to eat if you have to WAIT? Shouldn't it then be called a WAITERVATION instead? Let's move on to ordering. In an ideal world, you should be able to order, eat, pay the bill and leave in under 1/2 hour. Sure you can do that at a Junk Food joint but I like "fast fine dining".  My problem is I'm always starving and lately I need to be fed promptly.

Once those hot buns hit the table I am already buttering them before the server takes our order. Steve on the other hand, saves his buns. In fact, he is a longstanding member of the SAVE THE BUN society. There is only one plus to being a NON member - although they disappear quickly, I experience the pleasure of eating warm buns while Steve suffers with cold buns. Speaking of cold food....we move on to another GS issue. I used to be able to order anything substandard and not SEND it back to the kitchen. Now it's a different story. If it's not up to's returned for an exchange. I have learned to do this from Steve. He is an expert at food exchanging. This used to embarrass me in the past but lately my GS has been acting up and I refuse to eat second-rate food. The last thing I cannot deal with is food sharing. That's right. You heard me. If I order a dish, it's my dish. When a fork makes it's way across the table for a "little taste" I start getting a severe case of GS and have visions of stabbing the hand that is attached to the "said fork" making it's way over the cold buns. I'm okay with Chinese Food or Sushi for sharing but when it's a single plate with 4 shrimps - all 4 are mine. Got it? Good.

2. Long wait times

- GS folks must not be exposed to long delays

Since I spend the majority of the day at work I don't have much exposure to long wait times but there are a few that trigger my GS.
Why do I have to be ON HOLD with any customer service related industry that states you must press 3, 5 and 8 on your touchtone phone and wait on the line? And then there is the music. Please stop the music. I learned a little trick from an e-mail I once received. Dial the number - wait for the automated Nar to come on the line and then furiously press 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - watch what happens - you have totally screwed with their voice activated system and it has no other choice but to place YOU in priority sequence. Granted it may be to the wrong department but once you have someone ALIVE answer just play dumb and you will get transfered. Try it.  Return lines - Purchase Lines......another favorite hobby of mine. My second home is WINNERS. I spend most of my spare time navigating, buying and and returning items from this store.  Shopping at WINNERS is an art. You must know how to play the WINNERS game. Spot the item, hold the item, walk with the item, don't put the item down, run with the item, stand in line with the item, buy the item, take the item home, try the item on, put the item back in the bag, take the car and drive back to the store, stand in line...return the item. Do you know what you win at WINNERS?....your money back (within 10 days - receipt required). It's like a lottery. I get a rush when they refund my money back into my chequing account. What I can't understand is this...why is it that when they do issue you a refund on your debit card, and you punch in your 4 digit password - it says ..."refund approved"? Why wouldn't it be APPROVED? Would the bank NOT be taking back my money? Duh.

Not withstanding my GS I still have controlled my patience while looking through racks and racks and racks of shmatas (rags). The problem always lies in the line to purchase or to return. Undoubtedly you are going to get behind an idiot with a million breakable items or clothing with buttons that have to be undone to come off the hangers. Then of course the security tags that are on the clothing inevitably get stuck and the poor check-out person has to use the "jaws of life" to release them. Who invented those ? Must have been a locksmith. Here's a problem with the RETURN line. People will return clothes without their original receipt. You are then subject to showing your driver's licence and passport when you try to give the item back without the accompaning bill. This causes delays and triggers the GS in yours truly. Are you aware that I have every receipt to every purchase I have ever made in my entire life? Ask Steve if you don't believe me. There are boxes and boxes (neatly stacked) in my basement of INVOICES, STATEMENTS and RECEIPTS. Ask me to find a one....I can do it.

3. Fluorescent Lighting

People with GS react negatively to this type of illumination
Actually most humans - the majority of them women, don't cope well with this type of lighting. First of all let's do a little history on Fluorencent lighting shall we?

Edmund Germer is credited by some historians as being the inventor of the first true fluorescent lamp. However, it can be argued that fluorescent lamps have a long history of development prior to Germer.

George Inman and Richard Thayer - The First Commercial Fluorescent Lamp

George lead a group of General Electric scientists researching an improved and practical fluorescent lamp. Under pressure from many competing companies the team designed the first practical and viable fluorescent lamp (U.S. Patent No. 2,259,040) that was first sold in 1938. It should be noted that General Electric bought the patent rights to Edmund Germer's earlier patent.
*Do you care about this? I know you don't but there is a point to this....just wait.

It's clear to me that the fluorescent light bulb was invented to make women look like shit. Harsh light not only brings out flaws, it can create the illusion of flaws that aren't actually present. Those with GS deal best with soft lighting but preferably darkness. Why? Take a look at yourself NAKED in the mirror of a fitting room that is bathed in this type of lighting. What do you see? Here's a list:

a) Wrinkles
b) Lines
c) Pores
d) Green skin tone
e) Blue skin tone
f) Yellow skin tone
g) NO skin tone
h) dimples on your cheeks (both sets)
i) Gray hair - even if you don't have Gray hair
j) bags, sags and skin tags

What is clearly noted is that these lights were conceived by MEN and especially ones that don't live with women who have GS.

Parking Spots
- GS is a handicap and deserves special treatment

You have probably figured out by now that people like myself with GS have virtually no patience with anything. There is a theory behind getting a good parking spot in a crowded lot. One must wait patiently in an aisle until a shopper walks towards their car to leave. One must then put their "plinker"(signal) on to indicate that one is going to take the spot once the shopper enters the vehicle and backs out of the spot. Those with GS have no time to wait in a parking aisle. I usually drive in circles until I spot someone walking towards their car and then I stalk them. Drive slowly behind them..follow...follow....follow until ......they dart into ANOTHER aisle for their car and disappear. Then there are those who will enter their car and sit there until they have applied makeup, shaved, talked on their cellphones, eat their lunch and have a nap. I still have my "plinker" plinking just in case there is a chance they will leave.....which they will eventually do when the mall closes. How about having your spot hijacked? Tough to remain calm when you have GS. At times like that I wished I drove a tow truck. Wouldn't that be great?  Wait for the hijacker to walk into the store.... Hook up the car and leave it in a fire route..... on the other side of the mall. By the way, I will be lobbying the Provincial Government to provide specific spots for people with GS. Right next to the ones for Mother's and Tots..... time I go to the mall I am taking a stroller with me....that might just work.

Married people with GS
 - Counselling may be required
So besides having to deal with GS I am virtually perfect. What? I think so. Anyways, living with Steve I have learned to cope with certain aspects of his idiosyncrasies that drive me nuts. In my earlier blogs I have told you about some of his habits. Remember the Apple Carving, Snoring, Squeeking, Menu Studying etc. etc.? Well, he has a couple more that I haven't revealed to you yet. You decide if this is something that would bring out the GS in me. Television Remote Flippitation and Fighter Jet Toothpicks. Let's start with the flippitation issue. I think most men have this disease. Constant channel flipping. CONSTANT. There are various shows that Steve will choose. What intrigues me most about his viewing choices is this....if by chance Top Gun with Tom Cruise is on for the hundreth time that's what he watches. How many times can ONE person watch the same movie? It doesn't matter at which point he catches the flick....he will land on it and watch. Unbelievable. This leads me to tell you about his other habit. I believe it ties into his favorite movie. After every meal Steve makes himself a fighter jet toothpick. YES... A FIGHTER JET TOOTHPICK....remember the imaginary space his has between his two front teeth (that I feel like knocking out sometimes?) Well, remnants of food get in there and since Steve is concerned about the environment he won't cut down anymore trees to make real toothpicks. Hence he makes himself a toothpick from a serviette.....everyday......three times a day.....and to drive me crazy he leaves the Top Gun Pick on his plate for me to find. I wish it was sharper.      

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Mum is not a Dim Sum, 1st Annual Car Wash and who's a Chutzpahnick now?

My mama and I went out for lunch this weekend to her favorite Dim Sum restaurant - The Paradise. She will probably be upset with me for revealing her age so let's just say she's somewhere between eighty seven and a half and eighty eight and a half. What's totally remarkable is that she is as fit as a fiddle and this was the year she "taught" herself to use a computer. My niece and nephew recently bought her a glossy new laptop which is set up in my old room. She is on the computer the majority of the day seated on double stacked lawn chairs. Yes, that's what I said. She has created a booster seat with two plastic white outdoor chairs and a couple of pillows. *Note to self and my siblings: Mom needs a nice comfy office chair for her computer room for Mother's Day.

We spent some time together in her "computer room" and she led me through her desktop applications this afternoon. I was so impressed with her super active INBOX. Yes, she likes to keep all her emails....ALL 1735 of them! I offered to delete some for her but she wouldn't allow it. I believe she likes to refer to them if she happens to exhaust all the Rag Magazine search engines. Needless to say it is quite an accomplishment to learn a task such as this later in life. It keeps her mind fresh and ensures that she is in touch with her family and friends. She even SKYPES! Kudos to mama for becoming a PC star !!!

We left for Paradise at around 1 p.m. When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by the hostess and were quickly seated in a nice booth that would normally seat 6 patrons. You see, when you go to Paradise with Frieda you are treated like a celebrity. Why? Because my mother practically lives in Paradise. She even has nicknames for all the wait staff. One of which is "sleeping beauty" who is actually a man. She has given him that title because he sleepwalks all around the restaurant sloooowly. They also know that she requires Plum Sauce on the table upon arrival and a fork and knife in case she gets frustrated with the chopsticks. So there we were....sitting with the lunchtime crowd and the only two Chews (Chinese Jews) in the joint.

The dim sum is "made to order" and the menu is written in Chinese (with English translations). I took a look at it to decide what numbers to check off and my mother pulls out her PreChecked version from her purse. She travels with it just in case there is an opportunity for Dim Sum on the Run. I examine what she has highlighted and here's what the selections are:

Char Siu Bao (Steamed Stuffed Buns)
Har Gau ( Shrimp Dumplings)
Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Rice and Meat wrapped in a Lotus Leaf)
Siu Mai (Meat/Shrimp Dumpling)
Wu Gok (Pastry Meat Filled Turnover)

She asked if there was something else to order besides her five choices and I picked a steamed chicken dumpling with peanuts (which my mother labelled - wrapped fire....transalation: too spicy FA SEENYA SITASIN ). When all the food arrived it was noted that each straw steamer contained 3 portions. Here's how lunch proceeded at my Chewish mother's instruction. Eat one, give two to the youngest child. Needless to say I was more stuffed than a Char Siu Bao. At the end of the feast there was two small stuffed pastries left on a plate .....more instructions from ChewMa - these must BE eaten with tea for dessert even though it's not dessert. We stayed in Paradise for hours and lost complete track of time. But then again...when you are in Paradise do you ever want to leave? Since they were already setting up for dinner we got the bill and paid. We then made our way to the front lobby where there was a table of goodies on display to purchase. Chinese delicacies such as a fish shaped cakes and sugar encrusted walnuts. This is the part where my mother pointed out to the hostess that her nuts were too expensive and I quickly pushed her to the nearest exit.

When my mom was walking to the parking lot I noticed her black pants were covered in road salt and dirt stemming from the state of my car. I have been meaning to wash it's the truth......I bought it April 8th, 2009 and haven't yet. I don't see why it was necessary seeing that I am always getting it dirty. So against my mother's advice (she said the car would freeze if I washed it), I went to give my car it's first bath on the way home. I don't like gas station car washes. They are totally useless. I like going to the full service - stand alone - take my car - charge me lots - clean the inside and out - CARWASH. When I drive up and see the red flashing sign I get myself into the groove and find I'm belting out the lyrics to the Carwash song ....Here's how it goes....sing along with me:


You might not ever get rich

But let me tell ya it's better that diggin' a ditch.

There ain't no tellin' who ya might meet. .

A movie star or may be even an Indian Chief.

(Workin' at the) car wash.

Workin' at the car wash yeah !

Come on and sing it with me car wash.

Get with the feelin' y'all car wash yeah.

Come summer the work gets kind a hard

This ain't no place to be if ya planned on being a star.

Let me tell you it's always cool

And the boss don't mind sometimes if ya act a fool.

At the car wash

Talkin' about the car wash yeah!

Come on and sing it for me car wash.

Car wash yeah!

(Work and work) Well those cars never seem to stop comin'.

(Work and work) Keep those rags and machines hummin'

(Work and work) my fingers to the bone

(Work) at five I can't wait 'til it's time to go home


get your car washed today.

Fill up and you don't have to pay.

Come on and give us a play.

Get a wash right away.

Car wash talkin' about the car wash yeah!

Woo car wash

Those cars never seems to stop comin'


I say

Keep those rags and machines hummin'

Wasn't that fun? What else did I have to do in the long line? It was finally my turn and the nice man in a very big fluffy parka came to my window to ask me if I wanted to add some kind of turtle to my car. This was a topic I had debated while waiting for my turn. To Wax or not to Wax....that was the question. Now keep in mind....there was a long procession of vehicles behind me that were probably not pondering the Waxing idea but I like to ask questions so I got out of the car insuring that the impatient people could get a better view of the Wax Debate. "Regular Wash or Super Wash with Wax Ma'am"?, the parka man asked hurriedly. "What do you think I should do"? I answered. "What do I think YOU should do"? he said (looking really cozy toasty in that parka). "Well, it's like this ma' you go for manicures"? he queried. "Uh ya", I said. "Well...when you get your nails done do they finish your manicure with a clear top coat"? he asked. "Uh ya", I said. "Well, if you are going to take care of your nails so nicely you should consider taking care of your vehicle in the same fashion". he explained. Oh...this guy was good. Never in a million years would I have expected this big carwash guy in a parka to be so metrosexually intune with how a woman thinks......  Once I considered his analogy how could I say NO to the turtle package?  I grabbed the pricey PINK ticket instead of the cheaper BLUE ticket which indicated that I was getting the Super Special Spa Turtle Package and ran inside.....oh and then I turned around and ran back outside to tell the metrosexual Parka Man (MPM) that he must handle my car with care because my mother's homemade mushroom barley soup was unsecured in the trunk. Just to let you know this "chutzpahnick" did not sustain one HONK from the 20 cars that witnessed this whole delay. (Definition of Chutzpah: Someone with a lot of nerve or audacity - pronounced HUTZSPA, a chutzpahnick is a person with a little bit of nerve) I proceed to the long narrow hallway that is next to Carwash Viewing Windows. There are two people ahead of me with blue cheapo tickets but more expensive cars than mine. They were poised and waiting to press the underspray button. I was so excited with the prospect of underspraying the car  - I could be a carwash worker for 3 minutes !

Here's a little something you need to know about my past ....when I was a little girl we used to go to Lichee Gardens for Chinese Food every weekend (that's how we got to be Chews by the way). When you frequent Oriental restaurants as much as we do you are automatically inducted into the Chew Tribe. Chewish people must adhere to strict dietary rules. There is no mixing Chinese food with any other food. Example: Ravioli and Springrolls are forbidden. You also must keep two sets of dishes. Chopsticks, bowls and tiny tea cups will do. Anyways, my dad used to drive downtown every Sunday for our ritual dinner. I sat in the backseat alone. I don't even think they had seatbelts back then but nonetheless I was so bored with the journey I had to hang out with my imaginary friends to keep occupied...  this is what I did.....ready? Cars didn't have automatic anythings yet so I held the window handle and played Elevator Operator for a half an hour. The window would go up and the window would go down. Sometimes the wind would piss off my mother because she just had her hair teased but I WAS a brat and I needed to mimic the Elevator Operators who worked at the Eatons and Simpsons Stores. I had to ensure that the customers got off on the right floor. "Next floor Ladie's Lingerie". "Next floor Housewares". "Next floor Men's Fashions". I believe my parents were oblivious to the Elevator in the backseat but then again....they knew I was a bit odd. I was totally fascinated with Elevator Operators. I realize now that my desire to pursue a career in Elevator Operation wouldn't have been the best choice. I would have one day been replaced by a multitude of buttons. I still think it would have been so amazing to wear those cute hats and white gloves, cranking that handle in the elevator all day long.

Where was I? Oh ya...back to the carwash. I am waiting in line for the underspray and I strike up a conversation with the gentleman who was ahead of me. His hand was perched on the button and he was ready to spray. I have no idea why I talked to him but I decided that it was better than standing there watching soap fall from the sky. So I am talking and talking and talking and he's smiling and not responsive. Why? Because he doesn't speak English. I believe he was from IRAN and once his car passed through the underspray HE RAN away from me....

I spotted my nice clean car coming through the soap section. I needed to focus. My hand was placed firmly on the underspray button like a contestant on Jeopardy. I was slightly nervous. I didn't want to press it too late otherwise I would miss the chance of spraying. As the nose of the car came closer I could feel my hand getting a little sweaty. I was ready....I saw one of the carwash Nars walk down the opposite side of the car and he scared me so I PRESSED the RED BUTTON.........TOO SOON!! The water forcefully sprayed up over the hood of the car and HIM and I rapidly ducked down below the window so he couldn't see me anymore.....I peaked up to see if he was still there but he wasn't.....I am guessing he went home to change?

I watched seven people pile into my car to schpritz, wipe, dry, clean and polish the interior. So worth the extra Spa and Turtles. As I made my way into the vehicle I noticed that one of the seven people was the guy who I sprayed ..and...he was still in my backseat. I wondered if it was payback time because he was pointing a Windex bottle suspiciously at the back of my head. Once he exited I tried shifting the gear into D for Drive but for some reason the car wouldn't go. I am guessing it was because I was so anxious to leave the wet carwash attendant behind I forgot to start the car? I am so happy with my wash, I've decided to do it more often but...... maybe at a different carwash....?

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm sorry but this item has been "discontinued" and SpongeBob Steve Trackpants

I have a fear of being discontinued. I assume one day I will be, but for now let's talk about why everything I happen to like ceases to exist. I know it’s not just me but I do believe it's a genetic thing. When I was growing up my mother had a favorite lipstick. It was the lipstick of the 60's. Not sure if it was made by Estee Lauder or Elizabeth Arden but I do remember the name of the color - TANGO ROSE. The shade went perfectly with her olive skin, dark hair and exotic looks. She wore that lipstick for years until one day - it was....... discontinued. How could they discontinue TANGO ROSE? Was my mother the only one in the world who wore it? Was she the only one who could carry off that color? For whatever the reason, Tango Rose was no longer on the shelves and that was the first time in my life I heard the phrase "I'm sorry but this product has been discontinued". Forward to the future. It started with a dip. Yes, a dip. SummerFresh made a Chicken and Herb dip that I loved. I could dip anything into that dip. Chips and dip. Carrots and Dip. Bread and Dip. Dip on a bun. Dip on the run. Dip just for fun. Dip by dip it was it was greatest was my snack on crack-ers..and then one day....MY dip disappeared. An empty spot in it's usual place in the snack section of the grocery store. All the other dips were there......mine was missing.

I searched through every dip in the refridgerated section and could not find a dip close to my beloved DIP. And then I heard that dreaded phrase again when the Store Manager said "I'm sorry but this product has been discontinued". He could clearly see that I was distraught after learning that IT was gone and suggested that I stay in the store to hang out in the dip section to come to terms with the loss of my food item. I thought about my dip...perhaps it had gone to a better place....a place where discontinued items go when they are unpopular....or are only loved by yours truly.... After spending some time digesting the news I decided that there was only one thing that I could do.....I stopped eating dip.....until one day....... I found a replacement dip that had an uncanny resemblance to my old dip with the exception of the fact that it was Tofu-ish instead of Chicken-ish.

The dip was the start of my "discontinued" item issues. Following the dip drama there was my: Blush, salad dressing, fruit cocktail drink, lemon coconut cake, orville's lightly salted popcorn no butter flavour, Rice Krispie Square Cereal, Rugrats & Scooby Doo Kraft Dinners,
L& L sauce, eyeshadow quad, farfel, perfume, nail polish, shampoo, sunscreen and most recently my sweatproof 24 hr Sport makeup. "I'm sorry but these products have been discontinued". I have pictured where my favorite things have gone - they have been sent to a warehouse (probably located in Mexico) for discontinued items and are sitting right next to..... my mother's Tango Rose lipstick. One day I would like to visit them... and maybe I will.

Talking about discontinued things – let’s move on to Steve. No, he hasn’t been discontinued but some of his body parts could use replacing. Steve acquires some kind of sports related injury every year. Here’s a list of his parts that have sustained an injury since I have known him:

  • Wrist
  • Hand
  • Shoulder
  • Knee
  • Leg
  • Groin
  • Back
  • Finger
  • Eye
  • Nose
  • Elbow
  • Toe
  • Foot
  • Tailbone
  • Forehead (see the bump?)
  • Chin
  • and an assortment of muscles,ligaments and tendons

Keep in mind his active life....he plays hockey, baseball, golf, squash, racquetball, runs, Scubas, Sails, SkyDives, lifts weights and cycles. He has even had an injury from holding his handlebars too tightly on his motorcycle. Being a “man” he naturally wants to continue slowly disintegrating until he is bandaged from head to toe and turns to dust. Last night after dinner he informed me that he devised a way to continue playing while he awaits an MRI for his latest knee ailment. He is planning on wearing kitchen sponges inside his hockey gear to prevent him from the impact of falling on his “wounded” knee. Kitchen Sponges! Is this normal? Am I now married to SpongeBob (Steve) trackpants?

When I go to sleep at night I brush my teeth and get into bed. When Steve goes to sleep at night he must first set up his hospital room to prepare for full traction mode. His goal is to position himself accurately to assist him with his disorders. There is a large pillow that goes along the length of his body to keep him from rolling over on his "bad side". He ties his arm to his waist with a tensor bandage so that it doesn't wander up around his head..... thus avoiding the probability of numb finger syndrome. Then of course a wooden board is beneath his mattress to facilitate a restful night for his back. Have you heard of the fairy tale the Princess and the Pea? I live with the Prince and his homemade medical aid shit. So romantic. Oh and it all started when he was a toddler. I discovered that he did jail time for "odd" behaviour. His mother had the right idea to place him in a cage. At least she could keep an eye on his antics. Do those bars look safe to you? He has come a long way since his release from the cage. Now that he is out on good behaviour he tries to hurt himself by doing other insane things. According to the illustrations below I need some sound advice on the prospect of increasing HIS life insurance policy. Yes?