Category Archives: Marriage

Sometimes it takes 2 to DIY

English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Bra...

English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Brands of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some things never change – like, for example, the simple satisfaction from a job well done. When there is a problem with something, and you are able to fix it and make it better again, or build something from scratch, that is some powerful sense of accomplishment right there. I can think of only one thing better than being a successful “DIY”er. It would be being a “DIYD”er – or a “Do it Yourself – Director”. I’m awesome at that. Our new place is great, but, let’s face it – there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We tackle things as a team. My contribution is as follows: Identify projects. This can be done in a number of ways, but I tend to go with:

Conspicuously staring at imperfections while subtly shaking my head and with an occasional heavy sigh thrown in. For effect, this is best done while spouse is trying to point out something unrelated and usually pleasant.

“Hey, Darling” he says. (He sometimes calls me ‘Darling’, and I figure – hey, if the shoe fits.) “Look at that crazy dog!” He points at our pooch, laying upside down, sleeping adorably on the floor.

BUT I of course, can manage only a fleeting glance at the right-upside-down-dog, but then my gaze drifts over to a missing piece of wall trim nearby. I adopt a sad, melancholy face, not at all what he was expecting when he pointed out the cute pet … and then BOOM, fixing piece of trim just moved up the priority list.

When that doesn’t work, another subtle tactic is the unnecessarily loud phone conversation with my sister that lists all the things that need fixing/are unbearable, and always hinting that I would be much happier (and some might even think, nicer) if only these projects were done.

Sometimes I perpetuate the myth that “we” do jobs, by accompanying on a trip to Home Depot. Once there, I usually

a) Complain that I’m hungry because I can smell Subway.

b) Fill the cart with a bunch of stuff we didn’t intend to buy, like plants and mops and organizers.

c) Lose him at least 3 times, and zoom around up and down the aisles like a crazed mall walker.

d) Act bored, possibly even climbing a rolling staircase to the top, or laying on some plywood stacks just to pass the time while he does tedious stuff like “calculate” and talk to old guys wearing orange aprons and shorts and workboots, during which time I’m trying not to laugh when they say stuff like “caulking”.

We get out to the truck and I sometimes have to sit there for 10 minutes while he figures out a way to fit everything in and on top of the vehicle. During this time I play with the radio and creepily stare people watch. I always perk up on the way home, with the truck loaded down with mysterious ingredients like concrete and wood and “caulking” (too funny).

“How long do you think it will take us to get this done?”, I inquire, eagerly.

He always plays along … and goes into a Mike Holmes-esque recitation of all the things that have to happen:

“Well, first we have to sand and then I’ll cut out those old pieces of wood and cut news ones and put them in and then it will all have to be caulked (I’m dying!) and then we can paint with the primer and then paint with the nice new paint that you picked out…” , but by then I’ve glazed over so badly there’s no coming back. AND – we both know that I’m not doing any of that. He will do it, and it will be perfect, consistently way better than I could have imagined. I will wander into the room where the work is going on and cheerlead, “That looks AWESOME! I love that colour I picked out!”

(It’s always some variation of beige.) I may even deliver a well earned beverage.

When the job is done he will call me in to admire it. Sometimes I take before and after pics. It is without exception, done equal to or better than if we had hired a professional. His talent at doing absolutely everything never ceases to amaze me. I’m always impressed. However, sadly, my satisfaction is always fairly short lived. If for example, he tries to bask a little too long in the warm glow of accomplishment by a couple of days later by saying something like, “Remember how that room used to look?” I usually say something sensitive and motivating like, “Yes, but … have you SEEN that laundry room? Let’s not live in the past”.

Here’s a pic of OUR latest DIYer project. I heard it was going to be an exceptionally hot summer, and phoned him on my way home from work a few weeks ago. I didn’t mince words:

“We need one of those pools from Canadian Tire.”

“Aren’t they expensive? Where will we put it? Aren’t they ugly? Do we have enough water?” Sometimes he’s very inquisitive. And, obviously, none of these things are my problem. He picked one up.

There was a slight delay with the installation, when he read the assembly directions and it said “you need 3 people” to set the thing up. When 2 hot weekends passed and he realized that at no point was I going to lift a finger, so the chances of getting a third party were akin to the snowball’s chance in hell, he got fed up and did what he does best. Did it himself. I arrived home from work, it was installed on a spot where he had painstakingly and perfectly prepared the ground. He called the water delivery service and got it filled up, and by the next day we were swimming.

A recent and fairly effortless project

Now was that so hard? Best part is, the kids keep raving about what a great idea I had, as they lounge in and around this pool.

Well, I can’t take all the credit. It’s just not my nature. I’m a team player. And, it may sound corny, but in my case it’s especially true … there is no “I” in team.

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Filed under Family, Home and Garden, Marriage, Thats Life

Living in Harmony, minus the “e”

Well, I think we were ill informed when we bought this place, and we would sue the real estate agent if we had one, but we bought it from Kijiji so I guess that’s out.

Nowhere in the fine print of the ad did it mention that the eventual purchaser would be rendered completely unproductive due to the spectacular view. I spend every minute at home with my increasingly ample butt firmly planted in a lawn chair or swing, staring out at the beautiful vista. If the weather is inclement, I sit in the house and gaze out the various windows. It’s all I can do to tear myself away and go to work! And blogging – well, forget about it. I thought I had better make an attempt though, or maybe WordPress will revoke my privileges.

Plus, when you spend your time staring out the window, you have time to reflect about all kinds of things you could blog about. For example, recently I thought about dating. Plus, I ran into an ex-colleague who, the last time I checked, was happily married, but things have changed in recent years, and on this particular day he was out on an “internet date” on a patio.

It got me thinking – I just can’t imagine inflicting myself on dating anyone at this stage in my life. Especially, those internet sites like e-Harmony that have you fill out a questionnaire and then match you with your perfect match. I can only imagine what the guy who ended up with ME as his perfect match, would have had to say on his questionnaire:

My Perfect Woman :

Physically, my preference runs to women with loose skin on her face and even looser on her neck, and she has a faint, light fuzz above her upper lip, and maybe even the occasional mole with a saucy rogue whisker. As for her hair, I’m not crazy about long tresses, but instead prefer thinning, shorter sassy cuts, with at least ¼ inch of grey root. Speaking of hair, I’m a big fan of the ones that sometimes peek out the nostril and occasionally glisten in the sunshine.

I have a bit of a foot fetish – well, bunion fetish would be more accurate. The bigger the better – ideally they are spilling out through the sides of her Tender Tootsies. And heels that are deeply cracked and are the colour of grey concrete are a real turn-on. Still with the feet – if hers turned out ever so slightly, so that her tracks in the snow resemble the letter Y, that would be adorable.

Conversation wise, my preference runs to someone whose banter consists of mainly status updates on what each of her kids are doing, and who makes a habit of blurting out things like the household maintenance tasks that need to be done, and upcoming bills that need to be paid. Ideally she would also use me as a sounding board for her righteous outrage whenever someone like Bell Canada or Service Canada takes advantage of her good nature and deals her an injustice.

I like a woman who is health conscious enough to mentor me and educate me about nutrition , yet is edgy enough to singlehandedly dummy a family sized bag of Miss Vickys chips with such enthusiasm that she cuts up the inside of her mouth – giving us yet another conversation topic for the next few days.

I want a mature woman, but one who still has a playful, youthful side – like for example, can still pull off a major eye-roll, usually when I’m sharing my plans for an upcoming project – or just generally talking about my aspirations for the future.

Well, I guess it’s not out of the question – I do sound pretty hot when I see it all written down like that. ( I am REALLY HOT, actually). But there’s the whole communication thing, that would be a pain, learning to read each other. Like for example on the first date – he would probably think it’s going exceptionally WELL, just because my pants would be undone in the car on the way home from the restaurant, and my bra would be off and yanked out one sleeve seconds after arriving at home.

UGH …. just thinking about it is exhausting. I feel an overpowering urge to renew our vows.


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Filed under Humor, Marriage, Uncategorized

Side by Side – Practically

Well, time sure flies, because once again this week it was our wedding anniversary.  And while this one passed without major “incident”unlike some of them, in reflecting, it seems that it was evident early in our life together that romance was going to take a bit of a back seat to practicality. 

For example, back then, who got married on December 1st, except of course people who were putting together a quick wedding and couldn’t wait until June because they would be a family by then?  We did – for the romantic reason that back in those days I worked in an accounting office.  In 1979 the tax laws were such that a husband only had to claim the wife’s income from the date of marriage – so he actually got to claim me as a dependent for the whole year, meaning that our income tax refund paid for our 2 week Bahamas honeymoon.  Now that’s Amore.

Even as we departed the next day on our honeymoon, our dreamy, romantic resolve was tested.  In an ironic twist, we were the only married people on a plane load of “PWPs” – Parents without Partners.  And man, THOSE people could party.  It was the one week a year they got away from their kids. We weren’t even off the tarmac and they were  sitting on each other’s laps lighting up smokes (you could do that then), blasting music and conga-dancing down the aisle  – and making snide comments about how we were sure to become “future members”.

 Then fast forward a couple of years to an anniversary that we decided to celebrate by going to a romantic lodge in Haliburton.  We made our way to the quaint destination, and when we booked in, we were informed that we were the only non-members of a family reunion that was taking place at the lodge. They had booked all the rooms plus the cabins.   We both got dressed up into our nice evening wear to go have our anniversary dinner in the dining room downstairs, and found it completely full of the very loud, very boisterous “Mc-Something” clan.  We attempted to hold hands and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, but it was somewhat diminished by the fact that the family reunion people had selected this night to hold a “funny hat contest”.  It’s hard to sustain that come hither “look of love” glow when you’re interrupted and asked to pass the salt by a man wearing toilet paper roll antlers at the next table.  We finally adopted an “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” attitude, and instead of spending the rest of the evening reminiscing about our wedded bliss, we cleaned up at their Euchre tournament.

One downside of a December anniversary is that you are also competing with the Christmas party crowd.  Another time – our 10th , we went to a very nice upscale restaurant in our town, and it was SUCH a big deal because by now we had a couple kiddies so we usually only dined out under golden arches.  This night, with Grandma babysitting, once again we’re all decked out in our finery, and they sat us in a room at a cute little table for 2, right beside a long table that sat about 24 people from a local firm celebrating their Christmas party.  There were non-stop speeches and service awards all night.  (It sounded like a nice place to work.  I made a mental note to send them a resume.) Ever impressionable, I found myself wishing I had thought to get hubby a 10 year plaque. 

Of course there have been lots of anniversaries since that one – and this year we took practical to a whole new level.  I stopped at the drug store the other night to pick up an anniversary card, and lo and behold, found my beloved in the same aisle, on the same mission.  But he had already been to one store and come up empty handed.  He explained that there were none that expressed his feelings.  I completely get that.  He likes to get the sentimental cards, and couldn’t find any that said “I love you, moreso when you aren’t being a bitch”.  And as per usual, the ones I looked at for him all had me gagging and laughing out loud, – not because he isn’t wonderful, but I’ve just never been able to pull off a “You complete me” with a straight face.  My go-to card usually mentions something about stealing the covers, or pictures of a couple of cute dogs snuggled up together, and the sentiment is implied and unspoken. So in this instance, instead of actually purchasing cards, we just pointed out to each other the ones that we would have purchased. (I went the high roller route and chose the pricey “sound” one that blared Shania Twain’s classic “You’re Still the One”.)  Then we spent the $10 on lottery tickets instead, and left the store.

Then yesterday, on our actual anniversary, we very practically went to a restaurant where we’ve accumulated a substantial number of “VIP” points, and we need to use them up, because we think we won’t be going there much in the future.  First we had to wait at the bar because neither of us even thought of making a reservation. The romantic ambiance was established almost immediately, as they had an Ultimate Fighting show on the bar tv, and there were numerous scenes of heavily tattooed, bald and buff fighters with cauliflower ears and blood coming out of their mouths.  Romantic AND appetizing.

The hostess then sat us in a booth beside the entertainment (that’s new), a 70 ish Scottish man with a guitar who started up the minute we were seated, singing loud mournful ballads, with the odd Jimmy Buffett and Roger Miller thrown in for good measure.  Conversation was out of the question.  So, not wanting the evening to be a total bust, in my mind the evening focus shifted from romantic dinner to mouth-full sing-alongs of “Those Were the Days”, and “Trailer for Sale or Rent”.  Hubby was unphased by my impromptu booth-side Karaoke. After all these years he knows that if there’s music and I know the words, I can’t resist.  And truthfully, knowing the real words isn’t a deal breaker.

At the end of our day though, we carried out our ritual of getting out the wedding album and looking at the skinny bride with the sausage roll flipped hair, and the dress that copied the one in the Rocky movie, and the lean groom with the jet black hair, mutton chops and Magnum PI moustache.

Those Parents Without Partners may have been half right.  After all these years, we may be a bit lighter on the romance – but we are PWPs. Partners who are Practical.

 

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Wedded Bliss aka Hell on Wheels – Part 2

Where was I? Oh yes, discussing our uber-romantic anniversary memories, the stuff mushy greeting cards are made of.

Fast forward 11 years. It’s Dec. 1, 2010. We’re now celebrating our 31st anniversary. Hubby looks the same as he did on our 20th – whereas the only thing unchanged on me is that I’m probably wearing the same outfit. The two of us were going to have dinner at a pub, and then coming home to exchange cards and gifts. Still, logistics must be organized to accommodate our kids. Kate needs picked up at a friend’s on the way home.

Before we headed out to dinner he announced “I’m not taking my phone – you’ve got yours.” (Important information later.) We dined, picked Kate up and when the three of us got home it was pouring rain, so I reached my hand out and he handed me the keys. He had been complaining that the lights in the car were too dim on the way home, so I muttered something about, was he going to check the headlights, and Kate and I made a dash for the house. I struggled a bit with unlocking the door to the house, but we got in and went about our business.

I went upstairs, and logged onto our computer. Kate was watching tv, and playing with the cats. About 1/2 hr passed. I was surprised that he was taking so long outside because he had his nice clothes on, and we were planning to exchange our anniversary cards and have cake. Then I heard pounding – like I hear when he’s locked out of the house. I walked downstairs and asked Kate if Dad was locked out, but I checked the porch door and it wasn’t locked – and I saw that he was sitting in the car with the interior lights on reading something (which I expected was probably the car manual or something to do with the dim headlight problem) so decided I must be hearing things, and headed back inside.

So about 20 minutes later (50 minutes had now elapsed since we got home) he comes STORMING into the kitchen like a madman and flings his leather coat across the floor like a lunatic. I say, “What were you doing out there?” He answers, “TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE #*#(%((%## CAR”!!! It seems he had been LOCKED in the car ever since we got home. Evidently, if you lock the car and leave it (remember the part where I struggled with opening the house door? Apparently I clicked the car lock) it becomes a virtual prison. Plus without the keys the horn doesn’t work – he didn’t have his phone – he was flashing the lights off and on but of course we didn’t notice because we were staring at our respective electronic devices. And did I mention he’s somewhat claustrophobic?? And also that he had to PEE???? It seems that the pounding noise I thought I heard was him, trying to kick out a window. And the precise moment when I looked out at and saw him calmly reading – that just happened to be when he had decided as a last resort to read the manual to see if there was any way to open the doors from inside.

Apparently there was something in the manual … because he got the passenger door open – but he won’t tell us what he had to do. He says we’ll have to figure it out ourselves when it happens to us. Of course, Kate and I were understandably concerned and sympathetic on the floor laughing till we cried. And, unbelievably, he no longer wanted to exchange anniversary cards or have cake, and said we should wait until tomorrow. Who knew men in their 50s could be so moody?

My car was quite a sight. It looked like I had been harbouring a pack of angry cheetahs. He trashed it. He remembered some emergency escape thing he saw in the trunk, and attempted to get to it by ripping out the not- normally-removable back seat. Even one of my CDs was smashed – which I later learned was in an attempt to fashion a MacGyver style tool to pick the lock. Also, I used to have Sirius Satellite radio, but it seems the antenna was not designed to survive a sustained 200lb man thrashing.
I drove to work the next day in a back-seat less, radioless, car that had a string dangling from the rear view mirror where my air freshener used to be. Good times.

Ahh, anniversary memories. They still bring a tear to my eye.

Legal Notice – the “He’s not an idiot” clause : In order that I be allowed to write about this, I had to agree to a include this link illustrating that there is an ongoing issue with people getting locked in BMWs. http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1391032

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Wedded Bliss – aka Hell on Wheels Part#1

Recently there have been a number of acquaintances of ours celebrating milestone anniversaries, and it makes me look back fondly(?) on some of our own. We know couples who have renewed vows in elaborate ceremonies, re-enacted proposals in romantic locations, further validating their bonds with substantial pieces of jewellery. What our anniversaries lacked in romance and gemstones, they have tended to make up for in memorability.

Take our 20th anniversary, Dec 1st 1999. The kids were 13, 11 and 9. We were rabid hockey parents of our 13-year-old son, and a big game happened to fall on our special day, in the distant town of Goderich. Since we at this point still clung to the faint hope that we had spawned the next Gretzky, missing the game was out of the question, so we had decided to make the best of it and have a fun pizza dinner before the game. But, it was all very convoluted. Hubby was commuting with someone else, so had to get dropped off after work to join me and the 3 kids at the Pizza Hut in Kitchener, en route to the game.

We all arrived, and we waited 40 minutes until the lone waitress made her way back to us and admitted that it was their staff Christmas Party night, and that they hadn’t even begun to prepare the food we ordered over half an hour ago. We had to leave right away to be on time for the game, but promised the kids we would go out afterwards. We paid for our pitcher of pop (stupidly – I was far too nice during the 90s) and left.

After the game, we went to the Goderich Pizza Hut. Now weak from hunger, in their haste to get inside the restaurant, the kids tumbled out of the back of our clown car-esque Mazda Protege, and slammed the door hard, before ensuring that all limbs including digits had safely exited the vehicle. Little Laura, our youngest, had her thumb slammed in the door. I herded her, wailing like a banshee, through the crowded restaurant to the bathroom, while the rest of the family went to a table. I ran the cold water over her hand, trying to convince her (and myself) that it was fine. What didn’t help my case, was a bystander customer, (who was a bit ghoulish, frankly) who hovered around us saying helpful things over and over like: “Oh yah, that’s broke for sure.”

Laura could not be silenced long enough for me to even get a breadstick into my growling stomach, and my repeated reassurance that going to the hospital wasn’t necessary wasn’t working, mostly due to:
a) ghoul lady
b) the pulsing and rapidly increasing size and awkward angle of the digit in question.

So again I herded her still-wailing self out through the restaurant to deliver the news to the family that for the second time today, we would be leaving a Pizza Hut hungry.I arrived at the table to see sister Kate maniacally laughing. One of the selling points of Pizza Hut to my kids, was their hard and fast “10 crayon guarantee”, for serious table colourers. She was giddy from low blood sugar, and when the waitress brought her a colouring place mat and 10 crayons, she found the fact that 7 of the crayons were red, and 3 were yellow, hysterically funny. The wait staff were looking at her as if they were on the verge of fashioning a strait-jacket out of the table-cloth.  Hubby had already placed our order, and the sympathetic staff (surprisingly eager to see the back of us) gave us a bag of ice and offered to make it a take-out order. They kindly told us where the local hospital was, and then offered to deliver our pizza to the hospital parking lot. We paid and all loaded up back into the Mazda and sped off.

Dad and I took Laura into the Emergency room, which involved an x-ray and a splinting. The two older kids waited in excited anticipation for the pizza delivery in the car. We live in the country, and don’t have the benefit of fast food delivery, so this was a momentous occasion for them indeed, a stranger showing up at the door (albeit in this case, the car door), and not only were they allowed to talk to him, he was going to provide them with food. It was a happy day.

When we were finished in the ER about an hour later, we made our way across the parking lot toward the Mazda with the completely steamed up windows, a telltale sign that our romantic dinner entrée had arrived. To add insult AND injury, when little Laura got into the back of the car with her hand all bandaged up, she whacked her head on the door frame, once again setting off the familiar wailing that had by now become the soundtrack to this 20th anniversary, and causing her sympathetic sister to once again, laugh hysterically, to the point of pop coming out of her nose.

The older two had made their way through most of the pizza, but had thoughtfully left a couple of pieces for the patient, and for us two lovebirds. It’s hard to stare soulfully into each other’s eyes and drink your cans of pops with romantically entwined arms, when you’re both facing forward and wearing seatbelts, but we did our best.

Until last year, I thought our 20th would stand as our most memorable anniversary. It seems I was wrong  … which explains why this post is a two-parter.

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Food for Thought

I was reflecting on how our eating habits have evolved over the past 30+ years of marriage. When we were first married, I didn’t know how to cook.  Somebody took pity on me (or actually probably on my malnourished hubby) and bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook at some point, after having attended a “special occasion” dinner party at my house, which consisted of Shake & Bake pork chops, boil-in- a- bag broccoli WITH cheese sauce if you please, frozen French fries, topped off with a nice Mrs. Smiths frozen apple pie.  You put that with a nice bottle of Baby Duck and BAM you had yourself a 1980 gourmet meal.

Next I learned how to be a by-the- book -cook , and my repertoire expanded so that I was making us delicious little numbers like authentic Caesar salad, which the two of us would romantically eat together by candlelight, from the same large wooden bowl, while gazing into each other’s eyes.

Then the kids came along … and I morphed into some sort of Organic Power Ranger type.  I spent hours painstakingly making nutritious meals and snacks.  I made all my own baby food, and became a bit of a freelance in-your-face nutritionist, recoiling in horror when people tried to contaminate my offspring with the likes of hotdogs.    At one young and overly zealous point I joined forces with my close friend Meryl Streep in a letter writing campaign to government officials, demanding they immediately put a stop to pesticiding the hell out of veggies and fruit. I think we know how that turned out.  I blame Meryl.

Once the kids were in school, I mellowed somewhat, but still carefully prepared home cooked breakfasts, and sent ecoli- proof cooler packed lunches. Snacks were strictly home baked treats.  Of course I found out later, that these home baked treats got very old very fast, and were widely traded on the school market at a ratio of one of my chocolate chip cookies to two for Oreos and Chips Ahoy.  And as for the poisonous threat of hotdogs, I was fighting a losing battle.  The school itself declared an actual day in honor of them, and peer pressure and the fear of being shunned as “different” was stronger than the drive to avoid death by nitrates, so on a weekly basis I sent hotdog day money, constantly torn between my own maternal instinct to protect my children from avoidable toxins, and the more immediate and pressing need for me to have a day off from packing lunches.

As the kids got older, they became even pickier with the school lunches.  I was no longer allowed to send egg sandwiches because they stunk up their locker and the hall and the schoolbus, and, they were constantly being accused of having just farted, which was wreaking havoc with their social lives.  They were increasingly jealous of the cool lunches other kids had – loaded with various plastic delicacies posing as food, such as “cheese”  strings and fruit” roll ups.   Side note –  It didn’t help that my sister also had a teenager at the same time, and  enjoyed some fleeting fame as the coolest mom in the world when she, by accident, sent beer on her Grade 10 son’s lunch not once but twice.  The can looked the same and was located in the same area of the pantry as the pop, was the official explanation.   He was thrilled, both times, and his own cool factor at school reached Fonzie-esque heights. But I digress. ..

Nowadays, our offspring are out in the world and preparing their own meals, they seem to have a healthy appreciation for all the food groups, which I take total credit for. They read the nutritional information on the labels, and make wise food choices.

Meanwhile back at home though, mom and dad have taken a giant leap backward.  A lingering pre-dinner cocktail (but only on the days that end in “y”)  now means that dinner is either: A) non-existent or B) a bag of chips or C) cereal. Where I used to feel a need to cover all the food groups and make meat, veg and potatoes every single day, now I’m in the kitchen dumping snack bags into bowls, preparing a basic wine and cheezie tray, or  muttering about how potatoe chips are technically veggies, and too much meat isn’t good for you,  plus I’ve revised the threat level of pesticides up to red, so vegetables are obviously out.

Hubby and I do still on occasion huddle together sharing a Ceasar salad out of the same big old wooden bowl, but we have abandoned the candlelight in favour of Clapper controlled lighting, and we’re usually sitting side by side on the couch, each with a cat in our lap, yelling out incorrect Jeopardy answers to an ever- pompous Alex Trebec.

Vive la romance!

P.S.

As a partial homage to Betty Crocker,  here is my somewhat bastardized version of her  Ceasar Salad recipe, and a pic of my 32 year old  salad bowl.

1/3 cup oil (I use ½ canola, ½ Olive)

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp salt

Fresh Ground pepper

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

Crush  1/2 large clove garlic and smash it all around inside bowl.    Add dressing to bowl (start with about ¼ cup) toss with washed and spun romaine lettuce pieces, adding more dressing as needed, just enough so leaves glisten but not so much that they get wet and gross.

Lastly,  toss with ¼ cup shredded parmesan or even better, those fancy parmesan “petals” and add croutons and crumbled crisp bacon (but not those gross fake bacon “bits”),  if desired.

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An Embarrassment of Riches

A number of corporate events I’ve attended have included ice-breaker sessions where we attendees are asked to share our “most embarrassing moment”.  I’m always amazed when people stand up and rhyme off an anecdote about that one time they did something stupid. Are you kidding? How can I possibly choose just one?  My cup runneth over.  My only consolation is that I’ve tried to take a life lesson from each humiliating incident.

Like that time in Grade 8 when I had a role in a school play, cast as a news reporter named “Lena Lampoon”, and I had to burst onto the stage and fling open my coat and say “Lena Lampoon to the rescue folks”,  – except for I flung open both my coat AND my blouse.  Life Lesson –  Even when you’re a perky teenager, you should always wear a bra.

Or … maybe it should be the time in Grade 11 that I went for a job interview as a part-time office assistant for Ontario Hydro, and underwent a five-minute typing test to see how many words per minute I could type.  I’m a really speedy typist – contrary to popular belief,  that is why they called me “fast” in high school.  During the speed test my fingers flew like lightning across the keyboard.   I knew I was about to impress the heck out of my interviewers, and I would have too, if my left hand hadn’t shifted off the home row, and I hadn’t  typed a solid half  page of letters, numbers and symbols, with a noticeable absence of  any actual words.   What made it worse is that I had to go through the whole charade as the girl took my “test” into the Manager in the glassed in office, and the two of them just stared at it for the longest time, before he called me in to interview me to see if my other skills were as remarkable as my typing.  I completed the interview and was surprised to get a call from them shortly after I got home. It was to tell me that I had left my purse hanging on the back of my chair.  Life Lesson – Public Utility job postings are bogus – they already know who they’re hiring.

Or let’s see … it could be that time we went to Bahamas on our honeymoon, with 2 other couples. (I know, I know, you don’t usually take friends on your honeymoon, but we were going down south ANYWAY, and it kind of morphed into a honeymoon.)  I got a big kick out of teasing one of my girlfriends, because she was shy and self conscious and worried about what people thought of her.  I  was always reminding her that since nobody knew us in Bahamas, we could be as outrageous as we wanted. To illustrate my point, I tried to hold hands with her every chance I got, because that really flustered her and she would get super-embarrassed  (It was, after all, 1979).  One day we were all six of us snorkeling, and I swam up to her and tried to take her by the hand, underwater.  She yanked her arm away and swam from me as fast as she could.  I kept grabbing at her, and then she turned and started swimming like a maniac toward my husband … with me right beside her, groping and grabbing at her the whole time.  The faster she went the faster I went.  Except, when we got up closer to the guy – I saw that it wasn’t my husband after all.  I turned to her to say,  “Wait -that’s not him”, but when I did so I looked into terror-filled eyes because it also wasn’t “her” – it was a total stranger lady, and she was swimming for dear life toward her own husband, trying desperately to escape this underwater, unprovoked lesbian attack.  Life Lesson – Nearsighted snorkeling is extremely dangerous.

(My pals didn’t agree to let me to post this, but I figured that A) snorkel masks hide identities better than black tape across the eyes and B) the bodies we currently reside in bear no resemblance to these)

Or, how about when I had FINALLY matured and settled into my role as wife and a front-runner for mother-of- the year, with 3 little ones, the oldest in Kindergarten.   It was time for my very first parent-teacher interview, and I was feeling like a very capable and contemporary version of June Cleaver.  As usual it was hectic getting everyone ready, but I loaded the kids  into the car at the appointed time to meet my son’s teacher.  I sat across from her, and in my most mature and parental voice, asked a number of important and appropriate questions.  Mrs. Mitchell smiled broadly throughout – I could tell she was impressed with my awesome parenting skills.  We finished our chat, shook hands, and I returned to the car and buckled everyone into their carseats, feeling quite pleased with myself.  I got into the driver’s seat, and then caught a glimpse of my reflection in the rear view mirror.  The turtleneck sweater I was wearing was not only inside out, it was also on backwards.  I had conducted the entire conversation with a very large rectangular gold label right at my throat.   Life Lesson – Teachers have a dark side.

And sadly,  that only brings us up to the early nineties.  I think that from here on in I’m going to see if these corporate events can switch it up a bit – and ask the question:   “What was your most successful, effective and mature moment?”  That way I will have much less trouble standing up and rhyming off about that one time…

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