THINGS ARE NEVER WHAT YOU IMAGINE: That Time On The Train

I went to visit my parents a few weeks ago. I needed to get out of town – alone. I needed some “me” time, away from the dishes, the laundry, the barking dog and the “fuck you dog, we are NOT friends” ever-hissing cats, the often angst-filled millennial children, and the basic craziness that IS work and family. Not my husband though. I never need to get away from him, because he’s awesome and brainy and athletic and super good-looking. Right now, he looks like Tom Selleck, only darker. Thanks Movember. I know he’ll read this. Hi dear!

THINGS ARE NEVER WHAT YOU IMAGINE: That Time On The Train

Anyway, I thought I’d be smart. To make it an uber-relaxing trip where I wasn’t required to drive the five and a half hours down the highway from hell (the 401 here in Canada) through “I’d rather light my feet on fire than have to do this all the time” Toronto traffic, I booked a ticket on the train. It would be tranquil; I could stretch my legs out, eat chocolate, and watch bad Netflix movies, I thought. At least, that’s how I imagined it would be. That’s the way I remembered it from when I took it ten years ago. Apparently, times have changed. Or I have changed. Or both.

Things never quite live up to the fantasy, do they? Just like when you think marriage is going to be a bed or roses – at least, that’s what you picture in your head when you are standing at the altar, about to say your vows, gazing into your beloved’s sweet face, with his chiseled jawline and his “I’ll do the dishes every day for the rest of our lives until we both die cuddled together at the age of ninety-six” demeanour. And then a few years go by, and those damn dishes are there, and he’s got that “dad” bod, and he is on his computer WAY too much for your liking.

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HOLIDAY BAKING: The “Try Not To Spend All Your Money Or Make Me Fat” Edition

My daughter likes to cook, and bake. And as I may or may not have mentioned in past blogs (I can’t really remember much of anything these days – thanks perimenopause), she is the owner/operator of one extremely exclusive, extremely strict – to the point of being oppressive and downright disparaging – restaurant called “Chez Tess”.

OK, so “Chez Tess” is just her cooking for our family and forcing us to eat her food – when, where, and exactly HOW she says (down to every last painful “no you can’t go to the washroom, it’s time to eat, sit down at the goddamn table” detail), but whatever. We’ve given this recurring experience a name because all such things need to be formally acknowledged and/or documented. Just in case.

HOLIDAY BAKING: The "Try Not To Spend All Your Money Or Make Me Fat" Edition | TheFurFiles

So today, with the holiday season fast approaching – or at least a month to go – she declared (in no uncertain terms, as she usually does with everything) that it was “time” for Christmas baking to start. Now, any normal person would rejoice in the fact that their daughter would take it upon herself to plan and prepare an elaborate menu for cookie and dessert making, which she would do ALL on her own, which would indeed TASTE delicious – because she IS a good cook, after all.

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MOTHERS WHO WORRY TOO MUCH: It’s A Dog’s Life Version

Up until a few days ago, we were puppy-sitting my younger son’s crazy little dog – Wolfie Junior. OK, sorry Sylvia, he’s not crazy per se; he’s just really busy and needy and he bites feet and faces and eats paper and slippers and everything he shouldn’t, but from what I’ve heard is pretty normal for dogs, but which also (according to Charles) is MY fault. He’s not like that at home apparently.

Now, you have to understand, I am not used to dogs – having to constantly tell them to leave these things alone and to STOP sticking their nose in my underwear. Jesus, cats don’t need the reminder. Nor am I used to letting animals suffer needlessly in crates if I can help it. And this dog does NOT like his crate. So like the softy that I am, I’ve just been either staying home with him, or making my daughter or other son or husband do the same, or taking him everywhere I go. Yeah, he’s being totally spoiled.

MOTHERS WHO WORRY TOO MUCH: A Dog's Life Version | TheFurFiles

Anyway yesterday, I had to go with my daughter to the bank to pick up a form that she needed for work. She wasn’t sure what to ask for, so I agreed to go with her. Of course, having the dog complicated things.

In no uncertain terms, she said, “You ARE coming IN with me. I’m NOT interested in looking like an IDIOT because I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Young people and their pride – sheesh.

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How To Be Happy In 3 Simple Steps

Some days are rough, like when you get a flat tire on your way to the store to buy sour cream because SOMEBODY can’t eat fajitas without it. Yeah, people can be grumpy and difficult like that. They can also be snakes and assholes. They can get road rage, and break into your car and steal your daughter’s laptop because she was dumb enough to leave it there in the first place – in plain sight on the front seat (yes, Tess, despite your protests to the contrary, that could happen to you).

People can say things like, “You look like you have a mullet.” Thanks Charles, my son, the boy I brought into this world and for whom I’ve done a million and one things. It’s because I was exercising OK, and I had my hair in a pony tail. Sheesh!

People can pull out guns and shoot you (more likely in the United States than in Canada because our rules here are stricter – thank god), or they can simply let the door at the bank slam in your face when you are juggling groceries, two little kids – one fussy baby and a screaming toddler – a stroller, AND a coffee, because without that last item, you’d be passed out on the sofa at home, the kids (ages six months and two years) “making” dinner themselves. Some people just can’t see beyond their own feet.
staypositive

Yes, I know, most of these cases are fairly insignificant, and others – like the gun example – are pretty extreme AND dangerous. No matter what though, you are not going to get through life without experiencing some really “how will I ever cope?” shit. And the kicker? You can’t control most of it. The only thing you CAN control is yourself, and how you respond to things. So for me, happiness is definitely something I try to cultivate. If I just sat around waiting for the sun to shine and awesomeness to drop into my lap, I’d be a very sad and pathetic person indeed.

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Excuse The Mess, But We Live Here

Today, my kitchen ceiling is yellow. Last week, it wasn’t. Thankfully, it’s only in one spot – just around the lights. The rest of it is white, like any regular kitchen ceiling usually is.

chopzach

What happened, and how did it get this way? Well, simply put, crazy stuff happens around this house. In this particular instance, someone was doing something a little abnormal using curry powder, a few cleaning supplies, some water in a big pot, and a pretty large pumpkin, all of which – combined together rambunctiously – resulted in a giant splash, yellow liquid flying WAY up in the air, hitting the overhead drywall, and turning the ceiling this “tea-stained/smoker’s teeth” kind of colour. It’s still that way now despite furious attempts by the offending individual to rub it off with a washcloth while yelling, “This stuff actually DOES stain.” No shit.

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The Difference Between Art Students And Science Students

As my daughter begins yet another year of university, we find ourselves once again having the same conversation at the dinner table. It’s just loud enough to be more than a regular discussion. See, this can be a very sensitive subject, and it always comes down to who is better – read: smarter – art students or science students?

The Difference Between Art Students And Science Students | TheFurFiles

Yes, we are a family divided. Three of us are more on the “art” side – theatre/dance/fine art; then we have one “business” person, and finally, the good doctor.

For the purposes of this post, I will lump the “business” person and the doctor into one “show me the numbers or the scientific evidence” group. They are more alike than they are different, and definitely more different than the rest of us.

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Happy Endings Are Bullsh*t

Note: before reading this, please know that I’m not a complete cynic like my Aunt Judy. She thinks that everyone everywhere – doctors, politicians, musicians, bums on the street, you name it – are all out to get her. Except cats. She loves them…to an even more fanatical extreme than I do. She has nine. You get the picture. 

Happy Endings Are Bullsh*t | Human 2.0 Blog

Yes, she thinks that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, REALLY soon, hopefully (she adds, like it won’t be long) NOT before she dies. Now aside from the fact that I put cats on a high, pretty much god-like pedestal too, that’s not me. I mean, I’m not her. I just want to make that clear. I’m a positive person for the most part, unless your idol is Kim Kardashian; then I think you’re an idiot. 

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The Difference Between Dogs And Cats

First let me say that I love animals – ALL animals big and small. I have a not-so-secret desire to live on a hobby farm with goats, dogs, horses, pigs, etc. Just ask my husband. He’s heard my pleas. Problem is, he wants just the opposite – to live in a penthouse apartment, no responsibilities, no fucking mess (as he puts it).

The Difference Between Dogs And Cats | TheFurFiles

So like most married couples, we compromise. We live in a regular house, in a regular neighbourhood, and we have cats – the least demanding and cleanest of all “you can at least engage with me, and I’m not a farm animal” pet. That doesn’t stop a girl from dreaming, planning, and plotting though.

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RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Just Keep Going

Success. It’s something we talk about a lot at our house. What does it mean, and how does one achieve it? In my opinion, it’s about being able to do what you love, and do it independently, so you don’t have to mooch off other people in order to support yourself. From experience – and from watching others – I’d say, finding it is a matter of setting a goal and sticking to the plan. Of course, having a natural talent for something, taking advice, and reflecting on your actions as you go along helps tremendously.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Just Keep Going | TheFurFiles

This topic reminds me of what happened with my daughter a few weeks ago. She was sitting in the backyard working on stuff – music mostly because that’s what she does in her spare time – when she heard a noise that sounded like a cat getting crushed. Like the good “I would do anything to save a furry creature” daughter that she is, she jumped up without a care for the computer on her lap or the external hard drive that was attached to it, and she went to see what was wrong. The good news: nothing bad had happened to the cats. Whew – my biggest concern. The noise? Well, it must’ve been our neighbour – he’s kind of weird, and he does drugs. Enough said. The bad news: my daughter’s hard drive came crashing to the ground in the process, after which, it just wouldn’t work anymore.

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Loving Animals More Than Humans

This blog post was inspired by Sarah Silverman’s comedy special We Are Miracles in which she says – amidst a bunch of other awesome, off-the-wall things – something about the fact that if Africa were a land full of stray labradoodles, our desire to care for and/or help its inhabitants would be way higher.

Loving Animals More Than Humans | TheFurFiles

And she’s probably right. Weird-looking, curly haired dogs, big fluffy, pushed-in-face cats, iguanas, gerbils (though this one, I just don’t understand) – we love our pets, often more than we love humans, it seems. My aunt tells me this in every email she sends – people suck/animals are so much better.

Her “I’ve been burned one too many times” bias aside, I believe there are lots of people who feel this way. The question is why? Why would we care about animals more than we care about our own species? Is it because we see animals as helpless creatures, driven to build a life in a contaminated world of chaos, concrete, and poison? I know that’s being overly-dramatic, but it’s the truth. The poor raccoons have nowhere to go, and then we get pissed off when they set up camp in our attics. Is it because we think humans should just know better, and that if we suffer, it’s our own damn fault? Well, we should, and it is.

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