When Married People Try To Spice Things Up OR Being A Vampire Is Not As Easy As It Sounds

Marriage is NOT easy. Sometimes, you have to spice things up one sexy vampire costume at a time…

My husband and I are going to a Halloween party – a sexy Halloween party, not a trashy sexy Halloween party like you might imagine they’d have on one of those¬†Real World type reality shows. No, this one’s going to be more like an “Angelina Jolie from Mr. and Mrs. Smith” sexy Halloween party, or like if Cirque Du Soleil hosted a Halloween party, or like an “Eyes Wide Shut minus the blatant orgies, but still mysterious and fairly risque” Halloween party. I think you are getting the picture.

When two people have been together for a long time – almost twenty-five years, for example – sometimes they need spice things up a little. And yes, I did go for a ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle the other day. For me, that was HUGE. In general, I’m not into crashing and having my legs run over by a truck. Sadly, that happens to motorcyclists occasionally. Thus, my husband should count himself lucky that I even went.

We’ve also been to a nude beach once (YIKES), and taken salsa lessons. What’s next, you ask? How about a key party with The Rock and his wife. I’m just putting it out there, in case The Rock’s wife ever reads this. Oh wait, apparently The Rock doesn’t have a wife anymore. That’s so unfortunate. Call me, Dwayne. ūüėČ

OK, so back to the Halloween party. As it is usually the woman who decides what will be worn to these sorts of events – men don’t usually give a damn – I’ve decided that my husband and I will be going as vampires. Not Twilight vampires, more like Blade Trinity vampires, Underworld vampires, or Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire vampires.

The costumes I’ve picked out are simple. My husband will wear leather pants – fitted but not too tight – some kind of silky shirt, gold contact lenses, and “small but still recognizable as vampire” fangs. I will be wearing a white blonde “you mess with me, I’ll fucking bite your throat” wig, a black leather corset top with collar (very important), black leather shorts, fishnet stockings, and a pair of hot black stilettos.

Sounds pretty good, right? Yeah, so here’s the problem. (At our house, there’s ALWAYS a problem.)

Yesterday, the corset part of my costume arrived. I ordered it online a few weeks ago. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for anywhere around here. I mean, come on, we live in Ottawa, not New York City, or even Montreal. The problem with ordering stuff online is that sometimes it doesn’t fit. The “boobal” area (for lack of a better word), was a little more puckery than it should be. So now, I have to go to my tailor and get her to fix it – because there’s no way in hell that I could do it – ipso facto, she’s probably going to think I am some sort of extreme “we have a dungeon in our basement” weirdo.

Just for the record, we DON’T have a dungeon in our basement. We have a squat rack, an exercise bike, one big-ass television, a large and very comfortable sectional that doubles as a bed for certain frat members who are friends with my middle child, and some Berber carpet that the cats are well on their way to destroying.

When Married People Try To Spice Things Up OR Being A Vampire Is Not As Easy As It SoundsIt doesn’t really matter about the basement though. I am imagining myself at the tailor. “It’s for a Halloween costume,” I’ll say to one of the two women who work there. I’ll leave out the fact that I’ll probably wear it again in the bedroom at some point in the future, when I”m not too tired and when the kids have moved out. Of course, neither of these women need to know every single detail of my life, which is why I won’t tell them this. It’s not like I’m proclaiming it to the whole universe just now by virtue of me blogging about it. Like duh.

“The bra part needs to be adjusted.” I’ll show it to her. “It doesn’t quite fit, see?” I’ll hope to God that her male assistant isn’t there. “Maybe you could add a little bit of padding?” I ordered a B-cup, but this thing is WAY too big. Sheesh, you’d think a leather corset would come in a standard size. Nope. They make them for Megan Fox-esque, “I say I’m a B-cup just so other women don’t feel bad because my waist is literally 24 inches at most, but really I’m a C or D-cup” breasted women only.

Going to the tailor for this is going to be interesting. The women there don’t speak the best English, which means, me trying to explain myself is going to be that much worse. I’m taking my husband along for sure. If I have to suffer, so should he. We are going to this party together, after all.

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Life Is A Work-In-Progress

This post is dedicated to my children, like so many of them are.

Quite frequently, I dream about going back to school, and I don’t mean dream as in “oh, I wish I could go back and get my teaching degree or do a few years of architecture school” because as my cats know, I’ve already done that…as an adult…with three children both times…and it was no freakin’ picnic.

Word of advice for anyone willing to listen: finish your education before you decide to become a parent, or wait until the kids move away from home for good – like when they are forty or sixty or whatever. That in-between stage is nuts.

Life Is A Work-In-Progress

No, my dreams are more like nightmares. It’s usually me running to get to a class that I never quite make. I am late – always, always, ALWAYS late.

Or it’s me struggling to write my name on the top of a test and my fingers literally won’t work, or I can’t remember who I am, or both.

Or it’s me giving a presentation in front of a room full of people, and my pants keep falling down and I’m not wearing any underwear.

Or it’s me being put in charge of taking a combination horse/dog-type animal for a walk as some sort of “let’s see how smart she really is” assignment, and I just can’t get the damn thing to move past the door – as it neighs and barks loudly, and makes me look like a complete incompetent. “Just go already,” I yell. “Get your hooves/paws in gear.”

And then the teacher calls over to me – “Mandy, you get an F – a big fat F! It’s exactly what you deserve.” And I cry and go stand in a corner somewhere.

But you know what they say – dreams can be a person’s way of dealing with their insecurities. So it’s not that I’m actually stupid or inept, it’s just that I feel incapable of handling all the complexity that the world throws at me sometimes.

But therein lies the sparkling jewel. If you think you’ve already made it – that you’ve succeeded, that you are on top, that you’ve got a lock-down on life, that you’ll NEVER have to hide in the bathroom and eat chocolate – then there is nothing left for you to do. You might as well die.

And I don’t want to die, ipso facto, I am quite happy admitting that I’m functionally impaired at times.

If there’s one thing that I learned in the aforementioned “architecture” school – besides how to draw a blanket in a box, (for perspective’s sake, of course) – it’s that nothing is ever really finished. Everything is a process. Every single fucking thing in the world, including that drawing that took me twenty hours to sketch, that then got a 1/5 and needed to be redone three or four times just so I could pass the damn course, or that model that I painstakingly glued together out of pieces of wood the size of my thumbnail that apparently gave off the impression to my professors that I had my head stuck up my ass while I was designing it – just fun stuff like that.

Sure, sometimes you have to stop and hand something in, or call a certain thing done and be content with getting a C, or say that a particular shirt looks “pretty good” with a pair of pants even though it’s wrinkled as hell but you don’t have time to iron it and you’re next in line for presentations in front of your¬†entire first year class, a whole slew of teachers, AND the dean. Make no mistake: there is ALWAYS room for improvement in life, and you need to fully admit it, embrace it, savour it, and shout it from the rooftops.

Thus, I will never be a genius; I will never be perfect; I am a bound by all that is good in this world to be a lifelong learner, thank you teacher’s college for instilling that catchphrase into my full-to-bursting brain.

And when my kids ask why I can’t properly¬†type in my pin for¬†the G.D. car door on the first try, I’ll tell them it’s because I’m normal.

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Kanye West, Super Genius

In a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Kanye West said that he considers himself a creative genius, and that there is really no other way to word it. “I know you’re not supposed to say those things about yourself,” he added. “The truth is, a lot of people think that they are geniuses and nobody says it.”

Yes, that’s right Kanye. Even if we think it, we don’t say it. It’s called “not coming off as an asshole”, but whatever works for you.Kanye West, Super Genius | TheFurFiles

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Call It An Ounce Of Crazy…Or Two, Or Three, Or Twenty

This morning, I am alive – thank the man in the moon for that.

I almost didn’t make it through last night. It was touch and go there for a while. It was a close call, and I mean a really close call.

But in the end, the big red pot that sat on the stove overnight with the turkey soup inside that I’m making because Monday was Thanksgiving and we had two turkeys and something needed to be done with the bones, did NOT explode into a giant fireball, ultimately consuming me and my family in smoke and flames as we lay unconscious and charred in our beds, the firefighters unable to get to us because the blaze was just too intense.

Call It An Ounce Of Crazy...Or Two, Or Three, Or Twenty | TheFurFiles

Yes, I’m a little neurotic.

And as someone of this unstable ilk, there are a few things – OK, a lot of things – that bother the hell out of me. The first one – if you haven’t already figured it out – is leaving food to simmer on a ridiculously low temperature overnight on the stove, even if that food will spoil otherwise because there isn’t room for it in the fridge and it’s not cold enough yet to set it on the back porch. My feeling: you never know when the burner will go from slightly warm to inferno-level for absolutely no reason.

I also don’t like the toothpaste lid to be left off or askew – ever. It could fall onto the floor, and I could step on it while I was curling my hair with the curling iron, which I rarely do and which would be very ironic if I was doing it during that inopportune moment. This could accidentally cause me to burn off a hunk of my hair, and make me look either really crazy or like I was some kind of new-wave fashion maven or one of those older but still fairly cool MTV hosts. Sadly, I’m not that put together. My clothes wouldn’t match my head’s hip appearance. I’d probably just look homeless.

And it drives me batty if someone leaves a teaspoon or so of cereal in the box, or less than a cup of liquid in the milk container. Eat it or drink it, for Christ’s sake. As if that little bit is going to make a meal for someone else.

And fingerprints on the microwave or stove? Don’t even get me started on that. Damn you, stainless steel appliances.

Strangely though, I don’t care if there is cat barf on the carpet for a few days. What’s it hurting anybody? Just don’t walk there.

And I don’ t care if the shelves in that same fridge are stained or covered in sticky stuff in a few places either.

I guess we all have our pet peeves, and we all have things we don’t give two shits¬†about. It’s the magic of being human.

A psychologist once said to me,” There is really only ONE important question that you have to ask yourself, and that is, do you think it’s OK to poop in your pants? If you answered ‘no’, then you are fine. If you answered ‘yes’, then you are either two-years-old, or a complete wack job. Since you drove here, I’ll assume the latter.”

Anyway, whose idea was it to make that G.D. turkey soup? That’s right, it was my husband’s. He is always trying to use our resources to their utmost potential, always trying to push me outside of my comfort zone. I guess we were made for each other.

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Some People Are Still Afraid Of Chucky

Funny how sometimes, one thing can lead to something completely different. Yesterday at our house, it went from carving large birds to killer dolls.

You see, Thanksgiving is coming, and like so many others, we are having a bunch of people over for dinner tomorrow, which means we’ve started cooking.

Potatoes, corn, asparagus, turnip, carrots, pumpkin pie, stuffing, and of course, turkey. We cooked one last night, and we’ll make another one tomorrow just so we have enough. People eat like horses around here. At least Charles does.

Anyway, we were preparing the bird, when the talk of big knives began…

“I wouldn’t want to be stabbed with a big knife.” It was my husband, stating what is probably a sentiment most people would agree with. I mean, I don’t think anyone likes¬†getting stabbed.

“No, me neither,” I replied.

“Especially not by a little person,” he went on.

“Little person? How likely is that?” What was he talking about? My husband is strange sometimes. “Well, at least they probably couldn’t jab you very hard,” I answered. “Nor could they likely reach beyond your waist – like they couldn’t stab you in the heart – unless of course, they were standing on a chair, but then that would take time to organize. You could run away by then.”

“Chucky. I just don’t like Chucky.” His eyes were big. He looked afraid.

chucky

“That doll from the horror movie in the 80’s?” Ah, so now I understood. It was like he was reliving his childhood again, except when the movie came out, he was nineteen. I needed to help him out.

“Chucky is from New Jersey. How’s a toddler supposed to get to where we live?”¬†Logic. I hit ’em with it every time, and it usually makes things better. Lucky for me, at that moment, it did, and we could get on with the holiday.

“Yeah, you’re right.” He let out a big sigh of relief, and went back to cooking.

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When Kids Are Hyper, You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside

When my kids were little, they were kind of wild. They pretty much popped out of the womb that way. Come to think of it, they haven’t changed much.

When Kids Are Hyper, You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside | TheFurFiles

I blame this propensity for barbarousness on my ADHD husband – he was on Ritalin when he was younger. It doesn’t matter that I should classify myself under the same heading.

Because of him (and marginally because of me), my kids were the ones climbing to the top of the swing set, forget the swinging. They were the ones running and squealing through the mall, and I don’t mean after we’d been there for an hour. I mean right from the get-go. They were the ones jumping out of the stroller or the wagon because “sitting” was not part of their vocabulary. They were the ones making snow forts in the dead of winter – didn’t matter how cold it was – because I (their mother, who was always outside with them, BTW) couldn’t take being cooped up in the house for an entire day with three such rabble-rousers. They were the ones that the checkout ladies at the library dubbed “the loudest human beings on the face of the planet” and then proceeded to ban us from coming in there – for at least a week until they forgot and then the whole sequence started all over again. That was the way it went for many years. “You can’t come in.” We went in. “You can’t come in.” We went in. Why the library had to put the children’s section right next to the senior’s quiet reading corner, I’ll never know.

I have so many examples of my kids’ crazy behaviour, the stories seem endless. Why, we were just reminiscing about one particular incident yesterday. This is a good one.

It was the day of my cousin’s wedding. The kids were pretty little still – four, three and one maybe. They were used to running around (outside mostly) like wild animals, because that is just how we lived. “Footloose, fancy-free, and often without pants” is probably a good description.

Now, the trouble with weddings is twofold – one, you are usually expected to dress up, and two, you are also expected to sit quietly in a church for an extended period of time, neither of which my family was very good at. They still aren’t.

We started with the clothes. You think kids, they’ll wear whatever you put on them. Not mine. And it’s not like I had them in miniature suits and dresses or anything. For the boys, it was a pair of pants and some clean t-shirts, if I recall correctly.

We managed to get to the church on time, which was also very difficult for us. Three little ones and a Jamaican husband – seriously, that’s a recipe for lateness. So there we were, sitting in the back, the boys fidgeting almost immediately, my daughter zooming back and forth across the pew. She was walking by nine months. By one, she could run.

And it was a Catholic wedding. You know how those go – long. I think we lasted about fifteen minutes (which was a miracle in and of itself) when my oldest starting karate chopping his brother, and Tess started hissing like a rabid fox for no apparent reason. “Shhhh, you guys. Watch up at the front. See cousin Karen in her pretty dress.” As if.

I’d also brought games and food and little toys. I’m a smart mother. Unfortunately for me, my children are about running and jumping, not playing checkers or colouring. You can imagine that car rides were a nightmare. They still are. If we travel, it’s usually at night, like bandits.

Anyway, long story short, at the wedding, we ended up on the lawn outside, the boys climbing the trees, my daughter jumping off a big rock. Basically, we were waiting for the ceremony to be over so we could go to the reception and wait outside again until it was time to go home.

With the kids playing, my husband and I tried to watch in the church door, to catch a glimpse of what was going on – so we could at least say we were there – which is why we didn’t quite see that our oldest son had taken off all his clothes and thrown them in the bushes. He was a fast little devil.

And just as he was sprinting across the grass, naked as the day he was born – his “nice” clothes shoved behind some forsythia – the people started coming out. “Oh my God. Get him,” I yelled to my husband. Too late. The guests had spied my little streaker.

Luckily, we managed to wrestle him down before the newlyweds emerged. Most everyone else saw him though. And of course, my cousin heard about it.

That’s pretty much it. People laughed, which was good. And now I have something that will make a really great mother-of-the-groom speech for when my son gets married himself.

You see how things work? What goes around eventually comes back to embarrass the hell out of you another day.

You can say you heard it here first.

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22 Reasons My Son Is Awesome

Today, my oldest son Zach – mister rock star himself – turns twenty-two. In honour of this special occasion, I would like to list twenty-two reasons why I think he’s awesome. I could come up with so many more, but these are just the first ones I can list off the top of my head…

First and foremost, he looks like a lion. And I love cats, so there you go. I meant to do that when I gave birth to him.

He has great hair, kind of like if Bob Marley and Lenny Kravitz had a baby.

mrrockstarHe can do an impressive Australian accent.

And a Jamaican accent.

And a not-bad, but possibly not completely convincing, English accent.

He owns a pair of “these look like they belong to the Devil” boots, and he wears them well.

He also owns a pair of army-coloured, tiger-striped jeans, if you can imagine what THAT looks like. They actually fit his personality perfectly.

He wants to make the world a better place. This is where I – as a parent – take partial credit.

He is a very fast runner. And he can jump like a large rabbit.

He loves animals, but then, how could he not with me as his mother?

He is a great cook. OK, I didn’t teach him that. It must’ve been my father – his grandpa – who passed along that skill, thank goodness. Now I don’t have to make supper all the time. I will say though, he’s not so great at cleaning up. Oh well, a person can’t be good at everything.

He can break kitchen chairs just by sitting in them. It’s a real skill to lean back and balance on the back legs for an extended period of time before then crashing to the ground.

He is genuine and caring; he is focused and determined; and he is very passionate about living life to the fullest. All these attributes were contributed by his father when I asked him to list three special things about his son. And yes, they are all true, but slightly predictable and somewhat boring. I was hoping for something a little more interesting, more revealing, so then my husband gave me this…

He can “Ninja Turtle” kick his brother in the head while eating a chocolate popsicle, which is also quite accurate. We have the video from 1996 to prove it, too bad it’s on a VHS tape. Someday, I’ll have to convert it to a Youtube video, and eventually post it – for all the world to see – on my son’s Facebook page.

He talks a lot during movies. He talks a lot in general. Sometimes, you just want him to shut the hell up. When he was in high school, he was banned from going on certain field trips, like to the National Arts Centre and such, where people are supposed to be quiet. He has trouble with that, and trouble sitting still as well. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon of the Tasmanian Devil, he whirls kind of the same, only in a happier way.

Because of this “Tasmanian Devil” type behaviour, he has ripped more clothing than you can possibly imagine, which isn’t always easy on the pocket book, but will surely keep him in style because he is constantly requiring new things.

He looks great in leather, but then, who doesn’t?

He can actually get himself to school on the bus. You laugh (because, yeah he’s an adult), but my other son – his brother who is a year and a half younger – isn’t always capable of doing that. (Charles has lots of his own redeeming qualities. Taking the bus just isn’t one of them.)

He can do a one-armed handstand. This is hard as hell. It also ruins my walls.

He is a free spirit. For example, he doesn’t mind streaking naked in front of a whole wedding party. He did that when he was four.

He has a six pack, which in and of itself is nice – I mean, the girls like it – but more importantly, it goes to show how hard he works at the things he cares about, his health being one of them. Also, the neighbours would like him to stop singing so much, or at least shut his bedroom window while he’s doing it.

He wants to be the next Freddie Mercury/Robert Plant/Bob Marley. That kind of dream is cool as shit. The neighbours will say, “I knew him when…he drove us nuts every single day, for four summers straight, until he moved out.”

He can eat a whole bag of Maltesers all by himself. Probably the most impressive of all the things I’ve said here today, which is why I saved it for last.

So there you have it, twenty-two reasons why my son is awesome. I wish him the very best on this wonderful day.

Now, if he could only learn to shut cupboard doors once he’s opened them, and if he could try to get his used dental floss actually INTO the garbage instead of on the floor of my car, that would be great.

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What It’s Like Being “Super” Canadian

My kids sometimes make comments about people, saying they are “super” Canadian.

“See so-and-so. He’s ‘super’ Canadian,” they’ll say.

“What exactly does that mean?” I ask. I figure that since WE are Canadian, we might fall into that category as well.What It's Like Being "Super" Canadian

“Really nice. Too nice. Family and community-oriented. Not hard-core enough. Pathetic at times.”

“Is that how you see yourself?” I’m wondering. It seems like a reasonable question to ask.

“That’s another thing – Canadians care.” It’s my daughter talking. “They want to know how people ‘feel’ about things. And you’ve just proven my point. Sometimes, you just shouldn’t give a shit. See, when I said, ‘Canadians can be kind of pathetic,’ you should’ve just shrugged your shoulders and gone and watched five episodes of Strike Back, picking food out of your teeth with a knife, and farting loudly every now and again.”

“Your father DOES watch that dumb show, and he farts loudly sometimes, but who would be stupid enough to pick food out of their teeth with a knife? If the fact that I care about things, makes me ‘super’ Canadian, than I guess I am. You are too, except when it comes to cleaning up after yourself,” I laugh.

“Ha, ha, ha. You’re funny – not.” My daughter walks out of the room, leaving a banana peel on the counter.

“Hey, I’m not your maid,” I say, picking it up and putting it in the compost bin. Things like that don’t go in the garbage. What? I’m trying to save the planet in every small way I can.

One things for sure, up here in the “Great White North”, we are nothing like Rihanna in her music video “Pour It Up”. I don’t even think Drake or Justin Bieber would go that far. Robin Thicke might, but he’s an anomaly.

Truly Canadian piece of advice: money will never be that important.

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Living A Life That Is Perfectly Imperfect

In the very early years of my marriage – when I was young and naive, and just barely old enough to vote – I believed that having a perfect life meant having everything and everyone in its place. I thought it meant never arguing with my husband, and having clean and well-behaved children.

I thought it meant having back-to-back good hair days, and flowers on the table, and finding the right pair of jeans, and making a supper that everyone loved, and getting an A+ on an essay that I’d written, and birthing a ten-and-a-half pound baby without getting any stretch marks (like that was ever going to happen), and having a totally blemish-free complexion, and, and, and…

After many, MANY years of experiencing just the opposite – with kids running around behind me making mess after Cheerios-spilled mess, and a husband who didn’t think the same way I did on some fairly significant issues – I now realize that a perfect life means adjusting, and compromising, and not killing your spouse when he tells you that he wants shelves instead of light fixtures in that space in the living room – AFTER you’ve picked out the lights, and you thought the whole thing was a done deal. I’m still getting the lights. I don’t care what he says.

And yes, it has taken me this long to figure things out. I know, sometimes I’m slow.

Beauty, perfection, idealism, greatness, whatever you want to call it – it’s all fleeting. It happens in a split second, like when you win the big game, or when you capture an image of yourself at just the right angle (which for me, almost never happens), or when those shoes are all lined-up in neat rows in the mud room.

No, nothing lasts, and it’s those in-between times that make up the majority of life [she says staring at her favourite lamp that is now lying broken and in pieces on the floor because the cats were playing the “let’s tornado around the house” game again last night].

It’s not that I don’t want to strive to do well, or to look good, or to have a non-destroyed house, or non-back-talking children, it’s just that I know these things are elusive and transitory at best. As my oldest son likes to say, “Life is a grind that you just gotta push through.” You gotta try to enjoy the pushing, I might add, because there is nothing else.

I’m at peace with all of this – sort of. Looking at House and Home magazine – although I like it – doesn’t help me much. Neither does looking at Vogue or Cosmo. And Facebook is brutal as well. Too many things that appear perfect that I know are not. It’s about keeping things in perspective, and knowing what’s real.

So that’s it. Don’t fall for the ideal. Just live, do your best, and revel in the broken, damaged, messy, unfinished, funny-looking existence that is you and yours. MOST IMPORTANTLY, THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND, TRY TO HAVE FUN, AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. You’ll be so much happier that way. I know I am.

Life Is Perfectly Imperfect | TheFurFiles

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