Monday, August 22, 2011

The 52 Yard Line

I think most of you know how I feel about my age lately, but when it comes to birthdays I'm still apt to be celebrating for months after the actual date of birth. At this point of my life the amount of candles that adorne the cake require an application for a permit in case it becomes a fire hazard. Have I ever spoken to you about by obession with birthday cake? I'm not sure but I am allowed to get away with repeating myself as I slowly approach my "best before" date. Most importantly, it has to be white. Since white isn't a real color, I have accepted my cakes in various versions. White with pink trim. White with purple trim. White with green long as it is white cake, with white icing and lots of sugar laden calories I'm good. I wait anxiously from birthday to birthday to receive my cake. There are 4 other people in the house that celebrate birthdays as well - 2 of which won't even touch cake but they get a white one anyways so I can eat it. Let's pretend it's my birthday all year round so I can eat my white, fluffy piece of heaven. When there is a cake in the house I slowly devour it on a nightly basis....slicing small minute pieces like a neurosurgeon. I then end up eating it in 30 seconds while the cat sits beside me hoping some icing will fall on her head.  Steve on the other hand is a "chunk" by "chunk eater. He cuts a Man Sized piece and eats it with a tiny espresso spoon just to aggravate me. This was the year I stumped my men for a gift....what to get the woman that wants everything? Not an easy task. This past mother's day, the boys overheard me saying that it would be cool to have a waffle iron. So as usual, FO and MO sent YO to the store to buy one. As YO stood in the middle of the small appliance section of a well known housewares store he became confused at the large selection of waffle irons, panini presses and George Foreman grills. After researching his purchase for what seemed like hours, he decided to go for broke and buy a high end waffle maker by Cuisinart. The present was difficult to wrap so they didn't. When they gave me the gift I was so excited (for a split second) but then decided that it was something that would go under the counter and never surface again. It would keep the Food Processor, Blender and a host of other kitchen gadgets and "must-haves" company while collecting dust. And so, back YO went to the housewares store to get a refund. My advice to the boys was to save their pennies and buy me a birthday present in 3 weeks that I would need and use on a frequent basis.

Hence, they returned to the dilema of "what to buy" someone that wants it all.Turning to their pal Steve for ideas... he had one in mind. Let's go back to Steve's BNI (business networking group) for a second. He excitedly came home one day after his meeting to let me know that a new member joined the Flintstone Water Buffalos last week. This is where he met an ex-CFL football player/bouncer/bodyguard who is now a Personal Trainer. During my birthday dinner the kids handed me a card. I opened it and out fell a hand-made gift certificate for 4 training sessions with a former running back from the B.C. Lions/Argos.

So this was my gift. My children and husband bought me a MAN for my 52nd birthday. He was lean, mean and looked like a fighting machine. A true Lady Killer so let's just call him L.K. for now. I was both delighted and frightened at the same time...but wait....what would my naturopath think of this? Have I gone from toilet training to football training? Does this fit in with watching my bristol poo chart? What happened to the ZEN zone I was supposed to be in? I was coming up with a host of excuses again for the possibilty of this falling under the category of being another shmoy boy ploy.....but I knew deep down that it was what I have always wanted.
Star quality. The same kind of training that celebrities have...and don't we all think the same wonder she looks so good... Hells ya.

I was up for it. I was ready to conquer my boredom that enveloped me from the years I spent at  my local community centre gym.

I was psyched for the L.K.

or was I?

I booked the L.K. for the next 4 weeks. Before leaving the house, I ate an Energy bar ( for energy) and a half a banana that was borderline overipe and ready for my banana baking collection. I drove to the small gym facility to find my L.K. anxiously waiting for my arrival. My first session began with 7 minutes of chatting about what my fitness goals were. My answers to the L.K. were similar to the ones I gave to Dr. O.B.L. ( I stiil have that fear of flying and therefore dying) so my goals were fairly straight forward. I gave him clear instructions to try his best to not send me flying so I wouldn't be put into the position of technically dying. He started me out with a set of burpees. I had no idea what a burpee was with the exception of the ones my kids like to do to drive me crazy at the dinner table.
50 burpees, 100 mountain climbers, 30 kettlebell swings, 20 dead lifts, 20 push-ups and a 30 second break.Okay...for sure I can do this but what I didn't realize was...I needed to do this over again three more times or in Trainer terms a Triple Super Set ....I wasn't sure if this still was considered the "flying and dying" express plan but I managed to make it through round one. Next thing the L.K. did was strap me into some boxing gloves and had me whack 100 punches X 4 rounds against his bright blue gloves that were protecting his face. Then there was kickboxing - 100 shots to the L.K.'s shielded groin X 4 rounds.

When this was all over ... I lay panting on the ground like a dog locked inside of a hot car and shvitzing (sweating) like a nun in a strip club ....this is when he politely asked if I needed a drink of water. A drink of water? At that point I needed more than a drink of water. I needed an oxygen tank and a bedpan. The problem was....we were only halfway through the hour and I was starting to feel the banana I ate coming back to haunt me after those 300 burpees. I was taken through another series of grueling moves for the next 30 minutes until finally Mr. L.K. gave me his signal that our hour together was over.  Suddenly I had a craving for rice krispie cereal, possibly because my joints were going SNAP, CRACKLE, POP.  Not wanting to give him the idea that I was weak...I said my goodbyes and made my way to the parking lot where my car waited in a close spot (thank G-d). *Note to self * apply for a handicap permit for next week because I am certain I will need one after my legs give out post "celebrity" workout.

When I walked into the house (notice that I was still at the walking stage 10 minutes after my session?), YO asked me if I enjoyed myself. I told him all about the hour I had endured and hoped that I would be able to make it up to my bedroom to shower without installing a chair lift on the staircase.

As I emerged refreshed after rinsing off the sweat from my newly trained body I noted that I was not only hungry,
I was starving to the point of wanting to completely clean out the fridge - crisper drawers and all....even the open box of baking soda was looking good to me. I got dressed, fluffed up my hair and headed for the stairs. As I put one foot on the first step I felt the second foot not following in the same direction. I had SEIZED. The only way I could make it down to the main floor was to walk sideways one step at time. This was my mode of walking for the next 6 days. One foot down, second foot dragging behind me...exactly like Fritz (Frankenstein's assistant). Yes Master.

There wasn't one part of my body with the exception of maybe my eyelashes that didn't ache - I thought I was in shape (think again).

The next day at work my boss was in the office for meetings. He had asked me several times during the morning to pick up some paperwork he had signed for me but the issue was not in my vicinity. I explained to him that I was temporarily disabled and he would have to wait until I figured out how to make it over to his desk which was only 10 feet away. On a regular routine day I'm constantly running around the office and back and forth down the long hallways.The day after my first session with the L.K. I found myself rolling instead of walking. I rolled my chair wherever it would take me. I rolled over to the door, filing cabinets and was tempted to roll all the way down to the staff room for my coffee. Then at 2:07 p.m. in the afternoon the fire alarm went off. Just what I needed. When you are on the top floor and the alarm starts blaring you are required to vacate the building as soon as possible down the closest stairwell. Slight issue here. I had been rolling around all day in my makeshift office (wheel) chair and I was wondering how the hell I would get out of a burning building rapidly. As everyone grabbed their stuff and flew down the stairs, I held on and maneouvered myself down sideways, YES...Right foot down, left foot down...common everybody let's do the hokie pokie.

I contemplated slithering down the stairs on my stomach at one point but the risk of dirtying my Summer whites was too great. After finally making it outside during the faux fire, we were told that the building was considered safe for re-entry. The elevators where non-operational as they are disconnected during fire evacuations. This meant that I was once again required to perform in the Tony Award winning musical - The One Step Shlep....going up instead of down the stairs.

After a week of solid recovery, I went back for session 2 with L.K. This time I was the one waiting for him to arrive at the gym. I watched through the window which overlooks the parking lot and there he was walking slowly towards the building with a long anaconda snake rope dangling around his neck. My hopes were that the rope had nothing to do with me....this can't be good. So the L.K. stood on one end of this snake while I grabbed the other two ends. It was like playing double dutch with a rope that weighed more than me. Since I really needed to become a female "snake" wrestler because there is a shortage in this field I continued to play this game until my arms dislocated from their sockets. Now instead of being concerned with walking down the stairs one foot at a time sideways I had to figure out how I would lift my fork to eat with broken arms. My choices were...learning to eat with my feet or use a trough....either one would work...right?

Slowly making our way to Session 3 - Week 3 I had no idea what the L.K. had in store for me next. He had already managed to impede my walking skills and then my fork lifting abilities within the first two sessions. Week 3 began the same way week 2 started.  The L.K. was spotted in the parking lot wearing a scary looking piece of exercise equipment around his neck. Once again I wondered what part of me would be malfunctioning for a week after my workout. This time he had a neat idea for part of our hour together. Why not harness me up to haul a 200lb athlete across the gym 6 times? Now this was my idea of fun but before we get too excited about the fact that I accomplished this feat without crying let's talk about workout wear shall we? As hooked as I am with rhinestone  flip flops, I believe I am even worse when it comes to cute outfits for the gym. My motto is ....when you look feel baggy t-shirts and loose pants are not part of my workout attire. I have one Ebay purchase that I made last year that is one of my faves. The only issue is the top does not come equipped with a built in bra.

Here's how you accomplish reconstructing your garment with a makeshift bra so that you don't suffer the dreaded "head light" syndrome. Take two "tittie" pads from one of your old bathing suits and insert them inside your top. This method works like magic until you are trained by a professional who straps his weight behind you and makes you run across the gym like a mishugana (crazy person).  End Result?     My T.P.'s had made their way up and out of my top and were teetering on the edge of falling out onto the floor along with me. Ever have one of those moments where you wish you had a waffle maker instead of a personal trainer? This was one of them.

Session 4: The final freebie before I decide whether I am continuing this self inflicted torture on my dime. What did the L.K. have in mind for me today? I started off the program by distracting him with talking. A clearly good tactic to stall for time before the shvitzfest. Unbelievably, he fell for it hard. I managed to shave a few minutes off the beginning of the hour with my gift of gab. He caught on quickly and soon got down to his usual business of coming up with ways to hurt me.... in a good way. We did our dead lifts, squats, lunges and for the grande finale the L.K. hauled out a large tire which looked like the same ones on an eighteen wheeler truck.

"Here ya go", he said. "I want you to jump up onto the tire, do a deep squat, jump off and roll the tire over until you get it across the gym". Easy....until after my first attempt of jumping ended in falling off the side of the tire. I grabbed for the L.K's ample arm and thought about asking the following question..."Do Jewish girls really belong in the CFL"?

Session 5 is next week. I am thinking of trying football pads inside my top.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When Nature Calls you answer?

Once again, please excuse my absence. I've been very occupied with travel, work and celebrations. You understand....don't ya?
Let's do a quick recap of my activities and then I'll get to the real meat of this story.

May 15 - 22 - Aruba ( so fun but lots of only rains once in a blue moon there...we had the blue moon.
Hired Hazel 5 (the cleaning lady)
May 30 - FO's birthday
(fired Hazel 5)
(hired Hazel 6)
June 18 - Anita & Frank's Wedding (danced like a lunatic and had the best time ever!)
(fired Hazel 6)
June 20 - July 1 - My birthday followed by ongoing celebrations
(hired Hazel 7)
July 7 to July 12 (visit to the Hamps...spent time with family, ate, swam and baked apple strudels)
July 12 to present - trying to finish writing this blog but never got around to it until NOW.

Back in June I decided to make an appointment to see a Naturopath. Let me define what this type of "Doctor" does:

"Naturopathic Medicine, is a form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which lays down the premise that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach, and, like conventional medicine seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs."

Sounds good to me.

The reason behind my search for a "holistic" approach to my current state of well-being is two-fold.

1. I have been dealing with a skin issue since I was 13 and it annoys me...and

2. I am starting to melt. (yes, you heard me right....  at this age my body clock is doing more tocking than ticking)

My Doctor of Naturopathy was referred to me by Steve who met him at a business networking group he belongs to. The networking group meets once a week at 7:00 a.m. They have breakfast together, do presentations and have weekly draws with prizes (exactly like the Flintstone Water Buffalo's - they even have a Grand PooBah). Steve enjoys it so much but I just can't seem to relate to the concept of paying $1,300 per year to have breakfast and get $1,299.99 in business referrals.... so for the penny profit I'll sleep in thank you.

So Dr. R. is a skinny fellow from Pakistan. He is soft spoken, extremely polite but reminds me of Osama Bin Laden sans the turbie twist. Before arriving for this appointment I was instructed to fill out a 15 page questionnaire. It was a cross between a health form and a psychiatric assessment. There were some primo questions on this form:

1. Describe your perfect day:
my answer......
My perfect day (in my dreams) would consist of waking up at 10 a.m.and having a Lumberjack breakfast served to me by my pool. At 11 a.m. I would workout with a trainer who looked like George Clooney. Then at 12:30 p.m. I would eat a high in fat hearty lunch on the deck of my 10,000 square foot home in Tahiti.  Sometime around 4 p.m. I would have a manicure, pedicure and a blowdry followed by booking a dinner reservation to a 5 star restaurant overlooking the beach...

2. How often do you experience a sense of profound unity with the world/universe or a higher power?
My answer....

Um...what was the question?

His office is located inside of  his home on a busy thoroughfare. The instructions were to park on the left side of the driveway and walk down the right side of the house and make a left turn at the back of the house and another left turn into the entrance door. it.

I opened the door and found myself inside a very bright waiting area, lots of skylights, floor to ceiling windows...and then there was the music...If you know what I am like I have very particular taste in music. If I can't dance to it, I don't like it. So there I sat, listening to zen-like chords of sound beating inside my brain. I closed my eyes and visualized a drop of water falling in the middle of my forehead...chinese torture in a waiting room....I began to recall the other list of questions I answered on the form:

Do you consider yourself well grounded?
My answer:
Yes, as soon as I get off the airplane

Rate your ability to acknowledge and express your feelings:
My answer:
I can acknowledge how I feel by how far I can throw my headset after dealing with irate people all day.

How would you rate your ability to manifest your will?
My answer:
I have left everything in my Will to my two cats.

How often do you feel happy?
My answer:
Are you talking about at the moment?

Do you meditate or have strong spiritual experiences?
My answer:
I  have strong spiritual experiences 3 times a year - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover (but I don't like Matzoh)

Are you consciously aware of your thoughts, actions,
My answer:
If I wasn't conscious, wouldn't I be DEAD?

My appointment time was scheduled for 1:45 p.m. was now 2:15 p.m.( I was alone in the waiting area so I knew I was next in the non-existent line). The strange thing was...I have no idea why Osama B.L. kept me waiting ...perhaps it was his way of introducing you to a calm environment (however, the zulu music was making me want to shoot myself in the left eye much for calm).

He finally emerged from what I could see was a darkened room. O.B.L. introduced himself and escorted me into a small room with two leather chairs. Once in the "zen zone" he proceeded to go over my health and wellness questionnaire. I answered  his queries in as much detail as possible until he arrived at the Bristol Bowel Scale. Hands up if you have ever heard of this chart. Just as I thought, not too many of you have seen it so let me insert the diagram so that you can keep a copy of a POO Chart in your pocket...just in case you need it.

Okay are you gagging yet? Well, I was trying not to but I kept my composure when asked the 64 thousand dollar question....and that was.......What does your poo look like in the morning...? As I studied the piece of paper he had just handed me I became confused. I verily believe, like  most people, that poo is not examined in the morning *with the exception of my children who like to think their poo comes out in the coolest shapes and sizes. I am usually ecstatic that I HAVE TO poo so that takes precedence over the act of viewing it. My issue was...I couldn't let O.B.L. know that I didn't get my P.P.E.(professional "poo" examiner) degree in University so I came up with my answer..."I can safely say that I am a cross between a Type 4 and a Type 5" pooer".

Note: To my loyal readers...If you want to stop right now because you are too grossed out to continue I will understand....I'm warning you does get better from here....

As O.B.L. documented the U.S.M.P. (United States of  My Poo), I had to think of sad things so I wouldn't laugh but then he shot me the second question...and that was..."what color is it"?

I had to think long and hard on this one....."well, it's a cross between your pants and the color of your throw rug" I said. O.B.L. seemed very satisfied with my answer despite the fact that he must have clued in about his pants and rug resembling a shade of shit.

"So, I see noted here that you have a fear of flying", Dr. Osama Bin Pooing asked.

"Yes, I don't like to but I want to go places and have no other choice but to get on the plane", I answered.

"I see, what exactly is your fear connected to",  he asked.

"dying", I answer

"you have a fear of dying or flying"? he asks.

"both", I answer.

"And what about your present concerns with menopause", he asks.

"My concerns are these Doc. body stopped producing marketfresh eggs back in December...I am shvitzing (sweating) like a brisket in a crock pot and my body is changing....the only good thing about this scenario is that I can buy more shoes with the amount of money I am saving on feminine hygiene products". I answer.

"I see", he answers.

Another thing you may or may not know about me is this...I was and always will be my father's daughter. Growing up he taught me the wisdoms of life. His belief was that if it looks too good to be true it usually is. He also taught me some great sayings in his own language...although it loses a lot in translation I will tell you anyways. He had a term for everything that was considered Bullshit.... "Shmoy Boy". He also had another term that will be difficult to write but is went something like this. "Veeinsah Shmrodjah Yak Yazdah"...translatation?...THIS IS GOING TO CAUSE MORE SHIT THAN GOOD.

A wise man.

At the conclusion of our visit O.B.L. went over my needs and treatment plan. He wanted to do some simple tests to determine what will be the best fit holistic-wise to cure my list of physical "issues". But before he could fully prescribe a host of hocus pocus remedies he would need to take a lock of my hair (a one inch spot from the back of my head) to analyze its properties. Cut a one inch spot from the back of my head? Are you kidding  me? He wasn't kidding and could see that I was horrified at the thought of being shaved deep into my roots. He then came up with another less invasive suggestion. "You could always go into the washroom and shave some hair from down there". "Down where" ? I asked. "Down there" he pointed to his brown colored crotch. That is when I held my hand up and said whoa "I think I will pass on the hair test Dr. Osama Bin Shearling."

As a rule I would consider myself a very co-operative patient. Ever since I was little I behaved very well in any doctor's office. That's why I was allowed to go to Woolworths and buy all kinds of good crap as a REWARD. Where I drew the line here was....the zen music, the poo views and to top it off the witch doctor wanted to invade my fresh highlights and the Netherlands with a pair of scissors and a razor. No thank you Bob.

When I refused the haircut (for his collection of shrunken heads I bet), he suggested we do a urine sample for now. I had to agree for fear of being thrown to the Taliban insurgents that were waiting for me in his backyard. I was given a small container and off I went to try to complete the mission. I opened the bathroom door, sat down and placed the cup beneath me....accompanied by those dam zulu tunes I managed to provide a full cup of liquid gold for the this time the waiting room was full of other Zen activists and I was amazed that the time was now 4 p.m. - time flys when you are locked in a dark cave.

Dr. O.B.L. presented me with 4 holistic concoctions for me to try at home before my next appointment. One was Bach Flower drops ( the exact same stuff we gave to our cat who has O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder) She licks all her fur off and then pukes up a hairball on a daily basis. Such a lovely pet.
The next remedy was an extremely vile smelling oil for my skin. Then he provided me with drops to use for the shvitzing (sweating). Last but not least, some pills to take before I calm my fears of flying and subsequently dying.

I was told to try these voodoo remedies for a week and see if they work.

Here are the results after taking this stuff.

Bach Flower Drops:

I suddenly felt like forefeiting my daily shower and lick myself with my paw instead I began craving Friskies Cat Treats in the evening.

Skin Oil:

First I had to deal with the aroma. I smelled like a cross between a sardine and a old piece of cheese.  My skin turned a weird hue of green, I needed to sleep on dark sheets and to top it all off it made the condition worse. 

Drops for Symptoms associated with my expiration date coming to fruition:

Remember the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz? Well, I morphed into her, greenish color, melting and all.

Calm Flying Pills:
I took one the night before I flew to NYC in July. It gave me a vivid nightmare that I was on a large pirate ship with a patch over my eye (probably related to shooting myself in the left one while listening to that music in Osama's waiting room)

Dr. O.B.L. called me last week to follow up with me .... more than likely because I never rebooked my second appointment. After a few minutes of coming up with various excuses for my absence I told him I would get back to him (when cows fly and small aliens invade the earth)....whichever one comes first.

My father was seemed to good to be true and to that end I will continue to hold onto my membership at the Shmoy Boy club.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Davy Crockett is Alive and Well and Living in Thornhill

I realize it's April but we need to backtrack to early March....just for a couple of minutes. MO's birthday was coming up and we were planning a nice evening out for dinner to his choice of restaurant. The week prior to MO turning 23 we received an unexpected and uninvited guest at our home. Steve and I were asleep and awoke to the sounds of small animal feet running back and forth above us. My first fear was that something made it's way into the attic. In the past 23 years we have had numerous houseguests including chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, field mice, and birds. Steve has no fear of any outdoor or indoor creepy crawlers or wild animals so he was dispatched to investigate what was causing all the racket above our heads. He climbed out onto the roof with his ladder. Poked his head over the top shingles to see if his premonition was right....he guessed it was squirrels running around but instead was met with the stare of a very young racoon who had somehow made his way up to the top of our roof and would not come down. Steves suggestion was to just leave it alone and "eventually" it would get hungry and make it's way back to the neighbourhood garbage cans. Day one passed. Day two passed and "eventually" turned into 6 days. We nicknamed him Rocky Raccoon and each day he would sit and stare at me when I left for work and each night he would run around the roof like a mishugana (Yiddish Definition: crazy person). Mid week I made a conscious decision to call the Ministry of Natural Resources to inquire about our options with Mr. Rocky. They informed me that there was nothing they could do unless the animal was on the ground. Now I'm thinking like this....if the freakin animal was on the ground why would I be calling you? There were only two ways to bring Rocky down.

1. Shoot, drop and roll - Not humane
2. Trap and drop - very humane

I googled "raccoon removal" and found a company called SWAT Raccoon Services. Although I didn't need a SWAT team to remove the little guy we needed some kind of intervention so I dialed.....

"Hello? this SWAT RACCOON?" I asked.
"Yes ma'am....this is Trapper John at your can I help ya".
"Yes..Um.....I have a smallish raccoon that has been on my roof for almost a week now...what are your suggestions"? I ask.
"Well little lady...I reckon ya might need my help but I would suggest you just leave the wee fella there...he will come down eventually". He answered.
"Eventually? My husband said the same thing.What exactly is the timeline definition for "eventually"? I ask.
"Give it a couple more days and then give Trapper John a holler back if it ain't comin down", he replied.

I took his advice and watched Rocky walk back and forth for another two days. At this stage of the game I became worried  as to how he was going to survive without food. He had plenty of water because of the amount of snow on the roof but what about his junk food diet? I tossed and turned at night, not able to sleep thinking about little RR. He was all alone at night...his mum probably had no idea where he ended up and he was most likely starving to DEATH on my roof. Did I need this? No. The next day I asked Steve to do something. He volunteered to check out Home Depot for Wildlife traps. You have to understand my husband. If Steve thinks  he can do it himself....he will do it himself. How? He watches insanely stupid shows on TV and learns how to do what no Jew would do. Not so insane and not so stupid when it comes to saving me money but nonetheless when Trauma in the ER is one of the shows of choice would you want him sewing your left leg back on for you? Hmmmmm....

After watching, Survivorman, Steve can definitely survive in the wilderness for at least a week by eating insects and bark.  After watching Holmes on Homes, Steve has learned how to pour a foundation, repair weeping tiles and scope plumbing with an underground camera. I have witnessed him do some really weird things in the past 12  years. He can build. He can cook. He can even sew. He has eaten chocolate covered crickets and sampled the cat treats.

And then there is my favorite show...Billy the Exterminator. Billy is a studded cowboy punk style dude who makes his living annihilating unwanted creatures from your home. To be quite honest, there is something very attractive about a man who can wrestle alligators off your front lawn and vacuum cockroaches out of the crevices of your walls. So watching and absorbing the tricks of the trade, Steve has no qualms about venturing out to conquer these types of tasks around the house. I'm one lucky girl.

I arrived home to prepare for our night out for MO's birthday. There was RR in  his usual place on top of the roof waving at me. Inside the house was a large white box which contained a good sized trap for Rocky. Steve put the trap together, ventured out on the roof and took a can of tuna with him to lure RR in. When he returned he stated that by 5 p.m. Rocky should be secured in the trap..."just you wait and see". So we waited and saw nothing but Rocky staring at our car as we departed for dinner. So much for the 5 p.m. checkout time.

As we enjoyed our celebration at Baton Rouge, I couldn't help but think of Rocky. What happens if he didn't enter the trap? Maybe he was already too weak to make his way over to the can of tuna? With the candles blown and the bill paid, we anxiously rushed home to see if the Trapper trapped the trappee. What we found was this...a dark shadow hovering on the roof in it's regular spot, staring down at us...laughing. Rocky had us in the palm of his hands...he was mocking our indignation for his lack of cooperation. Our goal was to ensure his safe removal from our roof. If we had no other choice we would have to succumb to calling Trapper John while Trapper Steve made his way back to Home Depot with the trap. Just as we were about to give up, YO left to go out to his friend's house. As he backed out of the driveway the headlights from the car shone up to the roof - there inside the trap was a shadow - Rocky had checked IN.

It was time for Trapper Steve AKA - Stevey Crockett to commence the balance of the mission. Comparable to the Chilean minors rescue, he and YO took to the roof with flashlights and baseball bats. The lights were to assist in seeing what they were doing without falling off roof ....the baseball bats were to protect themselves from the 2 pound animal in the trap. Although the weather had made a turn for the worse, we all witnessed this miraculous event.

I doned my coat, couldn't find my hat so I wrapped my scarf around my head burka-style and watched Rocky as he was gently being lowered to the ground via the trap held  by electrical wire. There he was looking frightened and hungry, somewhat like all my children do on daily basis. I couldn't tell if he was afraid of the trap or confused as to who I was in my disguise. Steve and YO were elated that they accomplished the feat of getting Rocky off the roof. They carefully placed the trap in the trunk of my car and proceeded with the transfer. He was being moved to another place in the neighbourhood....far from my roof...and back to his lifestyle which included a diet of garbage and dodging cars. Each time I come home from work I gaze up at my roof. I miss ya Rocky but at least you left me with one fond memory...of the two nars that were your friends...

Stevey and YOey Crockett...Kings of the Wild Frontier

Friday, April 22, 2011

Searching for Shirley Booth

Hello ! Where have I been?...My excuse this time for not writing for exactly four months.... None. Okay, so maybe I have been a bit busy but that's not reason enough to keep you up to date. So what has happened since last I penned a blog? Lots. Remember DCL (Denise Cleaning Lady)? She was with us for 3 years. One cold and windy Friday I arrived home to find "foot shaped keychain" on the table with NO attached farewell note. I was the happiest person on earth.

Why? It all comes down to do you "divorce" a cleaning lady when their title virtually is an oxcymoron? In simple terms... they don't clean. It's not that easy. There are factors that surround hiring someone to come into your home on a weekly basis who intertwine with your most personal belongings. There is also a trust that comes with having a stranger touch "your shit". We are fortunate enough to have the means to hire an external party to take care of our home. This is one luxury I can't seem to do without. You see...I hate cleaning but I love CLEAN. I also seem to sustain an injury when I try to clean. Last week I vacuumed and pulled my back out. As it is hazardous to my health to perform cleaning duties I'm opting to have someone else step in. So what happened after life with DCL? I went on a search....a search for Hazel (Shirley Booth). A cleaning lady extraordinaire circa 1961 for the house that contains my grown children who love living in our hotel.

Step one: post an ad on Facebook
Step two: interview the prospective HSB's (Hazel-Shirley Booths)
Step three: give HSB your "foot keychain"
Step four: Pray that HSB shows up on "your day"

Hazel (1) showed up on a snowy day in early December. There is always house training involved on the first day. Hazel (1) was a small woman (from Italy) whose sister worked across the street from our home. She arrived in a gold chevy blazer which was a nice touch. This is the first Hazel that had her own wheels. No need to pick her up at the bus stop and no excuses that there was no subway service on "my day". She was interviewed by FO, MO and YO and it seemed that they were compatible. I toured the house with her, showed her where all the cleaning supplies were and promptly left the house in her hands for the next 2 months. What transpired over those 8 weeks was this....her payment was left on the kitchen table....she arrived in the morning to retrieve it and left 3 hours later with lots o cash in her pocket. What she did in-between the retrieval and the departure could only be described as this... SFA (Sweet F'K All). How did we know this? Well, for instance there was dirt on top of dirt which made everything around the dirt look dirty. Hazel (1) was asked to return her "foot key" and the search was on again. Shirley? Where are you?

A friend of mine at work suggested that I try their "Hazel". She illustrated her attributes by stating that she is not only a "Hazel" but she runs her own "Hazel" cleaning company - business cards and all. I called to book a "house assessment"....yes...she had to do an initial assessment of the house BEFORE she would agree to take on the task of becoming Hazel (2). She hailed from Venezuela and arrived in a large blue van equipped with a host of cleaning supplies. Hazel (2) A.K.A. Princess Grace - Columbian Drug Runner and Housekeeping Services. When she arrived at the house she informed me that she doesn't work alone. She has a team of expert "runners" that assist her with the tasks at hand. As she walked briskly through the house opening and closing closet doors, kitchen cupboards and shower doors she mumbled heavily accented words out loud. From what I could make out she was saying..."Jesus, my Lord - Oh my G-d". She then stated that DCL and Hazel (1) were obviously not cleaning the house they were just coming in to steal the money I had left for them on my kitchen table each week. Was she wrong about that? No.

She sat down at my table and opened her client book (yes...Hazel (2) came with a day planner). "HMMMM WELLA FEERSTA I HADDA CLEAN HA DA HOWZ AND ORGANEYZ AND DEN I COME HA BACK AND WE CLEAN HA HAGAIN TO MAKE HA NICE ON THE WEEKLY. Did you get that? Okay...first organize and then clean on a weekly basis. How much is THE ORGANEYZ I ask?


At this point STEVEHA almost passed OUT as he was leaning near the STOVEHA but I ignored him and was willing to hand over the CASHA. I was so excited to have the house cleaned and organized by "experts" it was a treat that was long overdue. SHIRLEY (The Columbian) BOOTHA had finally arrived to CHANGE HA my life HA.

She scheduled me in for Friday and gave us strict instructions to clear out any items that were of no use before she began her magical mystery tour through our home. Friday arrived and YO was the only one home to greet the TEAM of RUNNERS as they began their day. They rang the bell, he opened the door and they knocked him out of the way as they entered the house.

This was the scene decribed by YO via blackberry messenger:

YO: "Mom"?
MOM: "Yes baby"
YO: "Mom, there are three Columbians running through our house raping our rooms"
MOM: "Pardon"?
YO: "Mom, I don't know what they are doing but it looks like the contents of each room are being emptied into bags".
MOM: " You must relax....they are cleaning and organizing...just wait...I am sure you will be very surprised as to how wonderful the results will be".
YO: "Uh...okay...but I am scared to be here with them".
MOM: "Why"?
YO: "Well, they look sketch and one of them is a guy"
MOM: "Stop worrying...I am going back to work...speak soon, love you"

One hour later.....
YO: "Mom"?
MOM: "Yes"?
YO: "Mommy...come home"
MOM: "Why"?
YO: "You will see why when you come home"
MOM: "What"?
YO: "Just come home...I don't think you will like it".
MOM: "What won't I like"
YO: "Stuff"
MOM: "What stuff"
YO: "Stuff that is moved"
MOM: "Moved where"
YO: "Just come home"
MOM: " need to chill...I will be home around 5 and I'm bringing food...don't want to mess up the kitchen".
YO: "Okay...see you soon...but hurry".

At this point it is 5 p.m. Steve has arrived home from work and I get a call from him as I am walking to my car. "When are you coming home"? he asks. "I will be there soon honey, is everything okay"? I answer. "NO!" he replies. "What do you mean NO...what happened?" I ask. "You will see when you get here", he answers. 

I rush into OPA - a fast food Greek chain to pick up our take-out souvlaki dinners and throw the bags in the trunk as I peel out of the parking lot to make my way home to my newly reorganized house. As I approach the driveway and open the garage door I notice seven ( yes, 7) green garbage bags placed beside the recycling boxes. What could they have possible put in those bags that was either constituted as garbage or recycling? I ignored them for the time being and entered the house, purse in one hand, souvlaki dinners in the other. As I stepped in I was greeted by 3 out of 4 raving maniacs. Two of the maniacs I had given birth to and one I was married to. The other biological child (MO) was tucked away in his room. I will explain why later. Maniac (1) - Steve was just running down the stairs to inform me that the "CDR'S" (Columbian Drug Runners) had completely torn apart our room and closet. They had touched HIS clothes and moved them to different locations inside the closet. Places that were not convenient for Maniac (1) to reach. He had spent the last 45 minutes reorganizing the reorganized cupboard and was shvitzing (sweating) like a toreador in a bullring. Enter Maniac (2) - YO. He is holding a garbage bag filled with odds and sods from his room. Considering his room is always the tidiest it was hard to imagine that there were enough odds and sods to fill a bag. He looked devasted as he reached inside only to find shards to broken glass. Glass later identified to be from a picture frame with held a photo of him and his grandfather on a fishing trip. When Princess Grace was asked about the glass she denied breaking anything of the sort. Enter Maniac (3) - FO. FO was frantically looking for his stuff. What stuff? Just stuff. Stuff that was tossed out of his room and placed in the garage. I threw the souvlaki dinners on the counter and went to the garage to haul in the seven bags from the mystery tour. As I laid out newspapers on the floor in the living room and emptied each bag onto to the floor this is what I discovered:

Prescription Drugs
Chachkas (Yiddish Term for: Trinkets)
Non-Perishable Food Items
and other Stuff (mostly FO'S) (Specifically his religious (holy) t-shirt that he wears night and day while he plays video games, sleeps, eats and does general tasks around the house) It can only be described as a shirt with a collar hanging on by a thread and two armpit holes that provide for air conditioning...comfy and fashion forward for a 24 year old single guy.

As we organized our belongings again and searched for items that had disappeared or were displaced I figured out what the motive is behind Princess Grace Housekeeping and (Drug Runners). They come, they organize, they come back and remove the reorganized material and ship it to their relatives in Venezuela.
And the question remained...was the house clean after they left? Here's the answer, it was cleaned - CLEANED OUT. We are still looking for items that have been misplaced, displaced or need to be replaced. YO was right. We were victims of house raping. Enter MO. Rembember he was the only one to not earn one of those Maniac titles? MO is clever. Very very clever. He had watched HOME ALONE a few too many times. His plan worked flawlessly by barricading all his personal belongs inside his cupboard with his golf bag. When the Runners arrived in his room all that they were able to do was dust.

It was time to search for Shirley Booth again.

I put an APB (All Points Bulletin) out in the community. I stalked bus stops for exiting passengers who looked like potential Hazels. I called my bosses wife to inquire about her Hazel. She came through for me. What I wasn't expecting was HAZEL the RUSSIAN direct from Moskow via Bathurst and Steeles. Okay so it was worth a try...I was desperate and my back was starting to hurt again just looking at the vacuum cleaner. Hazel (3) started out on a good note. She arrived on my doorstep smelling like cigarettes and Final Net extra hold hairspray. I was praying that Hazel (3) the Russian would not be using any flammable products while cleaning. Day one was not too bad. She managed to clean the newly reorganized house without any issues....with the exception of Nikki and Tiffany. The following week I received a phone call from H(3)R.

The conversation went like this:
"YES H(3)R"?

and so she did, for another two weeks while in my house she tried anything she could to accidently lose the cats. During the day she would open all the doors and windows (to air out the house) in the middle of winter. Either they would freeze or they would escape. That was her masterplan. Along with her masterplan of getting rid of our pets she also became forgetful. She FORGOT to clean.

Two weeks ago she informed YO that she was going on vacation to the DR (Dominican Republic). Hazel (3) Russian returned last Monday...only to find that the cats were still both alive. I returned home to find my "foot key" on my stairs. No note, no goodbyes, only an explanation.....H(3)R was not returning due to a severe allergy to the cats and CLEANING.

I'm still longing and searching for Shirley Booth.....but I think I found her at Bagel World. I hired a Phillipino Ex-Nanny who charges more than the Columbian Drug Running Team. She works by the hour and stays for too many. I made a decision with Hazel (4), when I do make the move to give her a key I'm replacing the chain. Perhaps one in the shape of a boot?

 It will have the same effect at departure time. One way or another one of us will get the boot.