Monday, July 19, 2010

Par for the Course unless you're lying on it.

It's a fact. Golf runs in the family. The legacy began over 50 years ago when my father picked up his first club. He was in his late 50's and I was in my early 10's when he joined a country club. I loved going to the "club". There was something very "unique" about being a member of a "club". While my friends spent their Summers at overnight camp, I was at the "club".  There was swimming, billiards, tennis and devilled eggs at the "club".  "Club"  food was delicious. I had no interest in playing golf but my father really had his heart set on his little girl making it into the LPGA.  He rented some golf paraphernalia for me and positioned us on the tee box. I would swing and miss the little white ball. Swing miss....swing miss....swing miss....over and over again. Then I would grip that stupid stick so hard and send large divets of grass flying through the air.

"Keep your eye on the ball", he would say. "Hold the club like this", he would demonstrate. "What's the matter with you"?, he would ask.

He endlessly coached, simulated and illustrated how to read the fairways and the greens. He dragged me through 18 holes of sandtraps, water hazards, long grass, fescue and when it was all said and done score for the day was 72 (over par) and he concluded that I am perfectly suited for the a spectator.

And so, I spent my days at the club in the pool swimming like a shark and in a dark elegant room playing pool like a shark. At that stage of my life golf was not in the cards for me but it didn't stop my father from carrying his clubs and balls around for exactly forty more years. He played like a pro until he was 91. The "golf gene" was clearly passed down to my children. When they were old enough to walk and talk my father introduced them to the JOY of GOLF. To put it mildly, they are golf crazy. Then again once you play with balls you are bound to be nuts.

Since my children took a keen interest in the game and I married a man who is also in love with the sport I have once again tried to "attempt" playing golf. Here is my take on the pros and cons of this activity.

CON -  I see no significance in a game where the balls are so small

PRO & CON - Don't really love golf outfits but have managed to find some cute shorts and tops that are acceptable attire.

CON - I can't tolerate playing games with four people due to my low level patience meter and my Mrs. Giblon Syndrome.

CON - I don't like taking turns. Further to that, I prefer playing with myself ( uh, I mean playing by myself). Does this mean I am not a team player? No. I simply don't deal well with waiting.

PRO- The golf cart. I love the cart. Back in the day when my dad golfed, he did so for the experience of fresh air, exercise and the sport. He took his clubs, hooked them on a pull-cart and shlepped them for 5 hours up hills, valleys and through 18 grueling holes on the course. Here's where the patience factor comes in again. Give me the fastest way to get those 18 holes over and done with and I'm a happy golfer.  The truth is, real golfers walk, fake golfers ride in a cart. The cart is the first vehicle I ever drove without a licence with the exception of a shopping cart. If I had my way, I would drive a golf cart to work every day. I may have a Fred Flinstone complex.

PRO & CON - The Weather. Golf is not an indoor sport. Throughout my childhood I would always be told "it never rains on the golf course". "The weather was perfect there today". So why do they have giant sized golf umbrellas? I guess my father thought that the golf course was the most ideal place....heaven on earth. True golfers don't pay attention to weather anomalies. Judging from my golf techniques as a small girl, holding an umbrella while trying to swing at a ball that I'm already missing was a considerable handicap.

CON - The 18th hole. What's with so many holes? What's wrong with playing just 9? WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT!!? I believe that the front nine was invented by a woman and the back nine by a man. Women are more in tune with front holes and men...well....give a man a few extra holes to find and they will attempt to play them. It takes way too much time to play 18 holes. The term "golf widow" didn't come from a woman who was left behind by her husband for hours at a came from the first woman who killed her husband for being AWAY from chores for hours at time.

PRO - Golf is guilt-free. It's a pleasure sport for both men and women. For men it means five hours away from it all. For us it means five hours to spend in the mall.

In order to "ease" my way back as a LPGA hopeful I have made a few cameo appearances at tournaments. Not as a player. Not as a spectator. I have come back to the tee box as a volunteer for charity events. My boss holds a tournament every year for Princess Margaret Hospital and the City runs the Mayors Golf Classic which takes place around a week afterwards.

In the past, I have been spotted on the following holes:

1. Vodka Shooters - 8
2. Vodka Shooters -  1
3. Water - 10
4. Ice Cream - 3
5. Popcorn - 5
6. Fruit - 6

This year for the PMH Tournament I was placed on the popcorn hole with my NBF Dorothy. I kept losing this woman because she was smaller than the bag of corn. I learned all about physics and nature that day. When you place 100 bags of popcorn in a paper box and put in on a table in the wind it blows over. I also learned when scooping spilled popcorn off the ground and putting it back into the tiny paper bags you have to check for blades of grass before you serve it. (We have now been banned from the popcorn hole for future tourneys)

At the Mayor's Golf Tournament held at Eagles Nest, my colleague and I were placed at the fresh fruit hole. We were driven out to hole 6. When I say we were driven......I mean we were DRIVEN. The trip was a long one. We were taken to the furthest hole from the clubhouse. The second we reached the area we would be spending the next 7 hours and we knew we were in for some fun. We were about to become a human buffet for a truckload of hungry mosquitoes. For some reason when two mosquitoes see me they look at each other and smile. "Ah, look Mel...waddya think of that one?" said Moshie the mosquito. "She looks good to me", said Mel. Like kamikaze flying objects, I soon became Mel and Moshie's main course for lunch.

Within 32 seconds of us setting up our chairs I was attacked. My left leg was bleeding, my right leg swelling up with welts and I called 911 (our tournament organizer). Just as I started to beg the Fire and Rescue team to take me away in their little red truck golf cart, I was handed a couple of DEET towellettes to wipe away any thoughts of hitching a ride off the island to go back where I the clubhouse. It was going to be a long day.

There were boxes upon endless boxes of farm fresh peaches, nectarines and plums to hand out to the golfers. We needed to come up with an idea to get rid of them quickly so that we could get us the hell out of the outdoor produce section of Eagles Nest. Alas! What better way to deplete the inventory than to EAT THE INVENTORY.

As the sun set and dusk fell upon hole number 6

And the last of the golfers had no more new tricks 

There lay two nauseous volunteers on the ground

Only flies and mosquitoes were making a sound

The volunteers searched for refuge but were left for dead

It's a good thing the blonde decided to use her head

Out came her thumb and waved it in the air

As a foursome of golfers were ready to share

Come Prancer, come Dancer, come Hither and Shmo

We hijacked their carts and were ready to go

We bid farewell to our fruit and leftover pits

and prayed that the overdose of fiber didn't give us the shits.

While I was back safe and sound at my desk, after completing my community volunteer hours, my husband was golfing with his baseball league team. The team is comprised of a bunch of pseudo Senior citizens with a zest for life and a multitude of internal joint injuries. As the saying goes...boys will be boys....and annually..... these guys will be idiots when they get together on a golf course and we're not there to supervise.  Their actions are similar to a Frat House freak show, they initiate one player every year and get them to drink to the point of not being able to distinguish their clubs from their balls.

So as I am working hard to ensure that the constituents of our municipality are well taken care of... my phone rings. Recognizing the number on my call display, here's how the conversation goes:

"Hello", I answer hurriedly.

"Hi huh nee", says the slightly inebriated Steve.

"Hi,what's up"?, I ask.

"Hi huh nee", says the now more intoxicated Steve

"Steve, are you okay"?, I ask.

"Hi huh nee", the annoying voice on the other end of the line says.

"okay, dear...have a nice time with your friends and call me after you finish playing", I say.

"okaaaay...bye bye", he says.

He called me three times in the next 20 minutes trying to engage in the exact same conversation. When his number came up for the fourth time I let it cue into my voicemail. Here's the message he left me.

"Hi hun ee bunny.....(silence).... I'm having fun..(more silence)...FOOF it's hot out here..(even more silence)...okayah...( once again SILENCE).....later". CLICK.

And that is when I made a conscious decision. My husband obviously cannot be left unattended. So once again, I am taking up golf...whether I like it or not.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset... so what's the penalty for trespassing?

Forgive me Father for I have has been almost two weeks since my last (narsbar) confession.


That's the year my parents came to Canada with my brother, sister, grandfather and uncle after surviving the Holocaust. Their first home was in downtown Toronto, off Harbord on a street called Crawford.

Last night around 5:45 p.m. Steve came upstairs to ask what I would like to do for dinner. It was a beautiful Summers eve and I couldn't imagine sitting around the house and G-d forbid cooking. Before you call child services for not feeding the "custodial family", FO was working late at the golf course while YO and MO were going to a birthday celebration.

Each year Toronto hosts Summerlicious. An event that showcases some of the best restaurants in the city while introducing a Prix Fixe menu which includes an appetizer, main course and dessert for a very reduced price per person. You need to make reservations weeks in advance for this occasion - specifically if you want a table on a Saturday night before my bedtime.

It's now 5:52 p.m. and Steve suggested he look into booking a restaurant for 7:30 p.m.- tonight.

Are you kidding me? A Saturday night during Summerlicious and he thinks he is going to secure a coveted 7:30 p.m. reservation? Let me remind you once again - the time was 5:52 p.m. I smugly laughed while blow drying my sopping wet hair and informed him that he would be calling at least twenty restaurants before he realized that his quest to accomplish the impossible was virtually a dream.

Good luck with that Steve.... Good luck.

He dialed. It's ringing, ringing, ringing...and finally...

" 93 Harbord" a woman answers.

" Hello I'm wondering if there is a possibility of getting a reservation for tonight " says the optimistic dreamer.

There is a lull and background conversation ensues.

This is the part that I pictured all the staff laughing at my husband who thinks that he can call for a last minute deal for Summerlicious.

"Yes, we can accommodate a party of two at 6:30 p.m." They responded.

I'm still blowing. It's 5:59 p.m. now.

Steve starts negotiating.

"Um, we live up north and we have a ways to drive..any chance (in hell) we can push that to 7 p.m.?" He asks once again dreamily.

Up north? The hostess was probably thinking we were in Barrie or Newmarket. Who needs an hour to drive downtown from Thornhill?

Well I do. Why? Because I just removed my Turbie Twist from my head and I can't complete my hairstyle in 5 minutes to "trot downtown" for dinner.

More background conversation is taking place. I still think they are laughing while I continue blowing.

Just as a side note here's my routine. With the exception of those of you (who I envy) with short straight non-frizzable locks I'm sure you can relate.

  • proceed to the washroom area
  • undress
  • shave my legs when I can remember to (fancy style with good old red Gillette foam)
  • enter the shower stall sporting globs of leftover shaving cream here and there
  • wet my hair
  • shampoo once
  • rinse
  • repeat
  • place a half a bottle of my new conditioner into my hair
  • shmoosh it around
  • try to pile it atop of my head only to let it fall when I bend over to put the bottle back down on the ground
  • groom the pits
  • wash the tits
  • clean the location where there's possible shits
Now.... When all this is said and done I stand with my conditioner absorbing into my brain for another 5 minutes observing all the places where DCL (Denise Cleaning Lady) could have done a better job and then....
  • rinse out conditioner
  • exit from the shower stall
  • towel dry off
  • Aveeno head to toe
  • deodorize
  • moisturize
  • proceed to makeup table
  • lay out the heavy duty tools

Foundation ,concealer, blush, eye shadow quad, mascara, lip-liner, lipstick, gloss, loose powder and more brushes than Michelangelo used to paint the Sistine chapel with.

(Did you actually think I was a natural beauty)? Well maybe 30 years ago I could get away without mascara but now I just don't feel it necessary to SCARA anyone.

10 minutes. That's what it takes for me to put my "socially acceptable" face on.

Once this procedure is completed I untwist my Turbie and TRY to run a wide tooth comb through my hair. I then place three times the amount of recommended styling cream into my strands and comb through again. I'm now ready to dry each section of hair with one of the various brushes I have for styling.

Can anyone say "high maintenance"?

Oh, and by the way - I wasn't even at the curling iron stage yet when Steve exclaimed with much glee that he only had to call ONE restaurant to get a table. ONE. Hardy har har.

Only issue with this score was this.....I was still at the very damp hair stage, with 80% chance of frizz due to the high humidity levels. That's not considered dangerous for most but for me it can make or break my mood as a dining companion.

My darling husband has not taken a shower yet and we need to leave within the next 12 minutes in order to get down to the restaurant in time. Sound familiar? Steve now enters the shower at 6:01 p.m. - he exits the shower at 6:04 p.m. and is dressed by 6:04 p.m. and thirty seconds. I'm now sweating like a pig who is about to become someone's breakfast. I have a foot in one shoe, a strapless dress hovering around my waist and my hair is half damp and starting to expand beyond the horizon. Needless to say - I felt both flushed and rushed. I took my curling iron through my hair while observing the smoke and flames ignite my anti-frizz cream that was coating my hair for protection.

Leaning towards a "Phil Spector look" I decided not to further fuss with my head ensuring the probability of creating more of a natural disaster...and so I just surrendered......I never leave my hair unattended but had no choice......we needed to be in our vehicle on time tonight. As you know....when Steve is in a hurry to get somewhere we have issues. He leaves the house and is now waiting in the car for me while I quickly throw my this and that's into a smaller evening purse. As I approach the car I notice that he's doing that finger tapping thing....he rolls down his window and says "just scoot around, the ground is dry and you won't sink with your shoes". You see, Steve parks to the top left of the driveway....partially on the grass that used to be there. It is now mud because of the consistent tire tracking. He usually pulls the car out for me to get in so I don't end up in quicksand and disappear into the ground.

I gingerly walk over the dry mud with my goldish color shoes and hurl myself head first into the car....or should I say "frizz" first. We are cleared for take-off and it is now 6:17 p.m.

Steve creates the flight path in his mind (but is talking out loud) while I am busily checking my Facebook updates. I have come up with the perfect plan to avoid backseat driving while my husband veers in and out of traffic narrowly missing street poles, on-coming traffic and families with children and/or pets. I verily believe that keeping my mind occupied by texting, searching and reading emails ensures a zen-like calmness to my well-being and alleviates the usual high pitched screams that normally come out of my mouth while watching my life pass before my eyes. What's wrong with that? Well....for one....Steve feels lonely when I don't pay attention to him. What is it about men? Do they always feel that they need to be on stage performing? He mentions that I am addicted to that "thing" and I should put it away so he has companionship in the car on our drive. To appease him I place my device into its black leather holster and start talking.

"So what's new"? I ask. The conversation is now heading towards the route and the marked locations in Steve's head by timing. "We should be at Sheppard in about 13 minutes", said Captain Steve.

I was really itching to take my blackberry out but restrained myself. Converse with your husband. Converse.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone while they are trying to fly their vehicle instead of driving it? As we nearly missed a blue BMW who was trying to make a lane change I decide that the conversation was over.

I assumed the brace position while plugging my nose with my thumbs for fear of brain matter escaping through my nostrils.

We arrived on University Avenue at approximately 6:45 p.m. Steve informed me that we were "just around the corner" from Harbord Street. He just needed to go south to go north and loop around Queen's Park to get over to the street where my meal was waiting for me to order. Going south to go north was not so easy. There was a "function" at Queen's Park. As we slowly worked our way up University it was evident that the going south to go north was not such a good idea when there were hundreds of people trying to get to Afrofest.

As we drove up to the area of the event Steve became distracted by the sound of thumping music..........he slowed down near the park and rolled down the window to see if he could hear it.....HE ROLLED THE WINDOW you know what that means? HIGH HUMIDITY was now seeping into the car. High Humidity + Partially Frizzed Hair + A WIFE THAT HAS JUST EXPERIENCED THE INDY 500 from inside our vehicle = A Shrill of a Lifetime.

Miracously, Captain Steve landed in front of the restaurant at 6:55 p.m. He dropped me off and I ran inside to get our table. After a very sumputious dinner of middle eastern/ morrocanish food, I sent my mother a "goodnight I love you email". I mentioned that we were on Harbord Street to which she replied....if you happen to be near 602 Crawford see if our first house is still there.

We ventured over after google mapping the street. There before us stood the house. An old red brick semi with an unkempt garden and wooden stairs. The house went for $8,000 in 1948. Once I jumped out of the car to capture a photo to send my mother, brother and sister I felt the need to travel north to the house where I was conceived in error. Steve took the drive with ease as there was no rush.

When we arrived I stood in front of my birth home. It brought back a flood of memories. From the song that my mother sang when she first brought me home to the raspberry bushes in the backyard that I picked during my Summers there as a child. I saw the driveway that I made my friend skip on endlessly until she pee'd in her pants because I told her we didn't have washroom facilities in our home. To the day when I walked to Kindergarten by myself and got lost on the way home (due to the fact I kept looking down at my orange suede shoes and not paying attention to my whereabouts). To the playground at Cedarvale Public School where I got hit in the head with a swing because I turned to look at someone in the playground while pushing my friend higher and higher. To the bitch teacher who gave me a lousy report card because I talked to much in class (has that changed? no.) To the days where I went to the corner store for a shitload of candy that cost a mere 25 cents. To Hashmalls Pharmacy and China House Restaurant. To all the memories that my house held. Now a burgundy pick-up truck sat in the driveway. Small white flowers adorned the bay window that beyond held a living room where we took a mulitude of family photos. There was a red restaurant style booth that we ate our meals at in the kitchen. A frightening set of stairs that led to the basement. To the woman who used to snoop the neighbourhood from her porch across the street. And then there were the farts. When I was in my room in the Summer (windows open) and my mom used to put me to bed when the sun hadn't set yet I would send a loving bouquet out the window and across the street to Mr. Wilson's house just to say "Hey....I'm trapped here....lemme out". Kinda like a "smoke signal".  It never one rescued me.

Ah...the fond memories....for the first nine years of my life. I loved that house parents built a new home and I never wanted to go back. So many more memories in the home that now remains my mother's abode. I will save that for another time.... but for now I felt blessed to revisit a bit of family history .....without getting arrested for trespassing.