Wednesday, March 24, 2010


My grandmother has recently moved into the new nursing home that they've built in our town. It's easier for her there, because though none of us are from this godforsaken place, there are many more family members here than there are back home to care for her. We are better able to visit, or we can spring her out from time to time when we're having a function.  I go there as often as I can, and it's always a riot. 

My grandmother has her good days and bad days though. Sometimes she'll be completely lucid... other days she'll be telling you about the hot young stud that she's met that she's about to shack up with. Sometimes her supposed paramour is the Reverend (he's frisky!). Then there are the days when she's sad, which are the hardest to take.  The last time I went to visit my grandmother, I was not prepared to have it affect me so deeply as it did.

When I walked in, she was sitting in her recliner as she usually is but she wasn't in her usual jovial mood, ready to laugh and joke about old times. We talked as we usually do about how she was keeping, how many pills she takes, if she takes more pills than the lady next door, (she doesn't but hers are bigger, for the win), the bingo game she won big money at that morning, how she'd had her hair done since I'd seen her on the weekend, and then we stopped after a short chat about the latest geezer gossip. Man, those old birds love to bicker!

Then it took a serious turn. 

She spoke about how hard it was for her when my dad died; how hard it was to lose her favourite son. How hard it must have been for me to grow up without a father. I started to get teary eyed when she did, and I pictured how it was that day at his funeral. As she told me about how windy it was at the cemetery, I could picture her and I holding each other at the grave site, weeping.  How the fact that it was a sunny day seemed like it was the Universe spitting in my face.  How can the world go on?  Why did the entire world not stop when my father died, since mine had? 

I hugged her and told her it was going to be okay, that he was in a better place and so on because I know she believes in that kind of thing, that he was waiting for us in heaven and all that, like you would... But I started to break down, crying and thinking about how much my dad means to me. I was thinking about his funeral and how we played "Electric Avenue" because it was his favourite song and the sole reason that Daddy always assumed that he was a fan of Reggae music.

I was getting really into the crying. Not just dainty little tears, but big ugly sobs with dripping nose included. I must have needed a good cry, and being a naturally melancholy person I was up to the job of letting a good one out. Grandma and I cried a little, and hugged each other. She may have rocked me at one point, but the rest becomes a little hazy; this was when I started to snap out of it.

The problem is, you see...

My dad is not dead.

My dad is very much alive.  He can attest to that himself and knowing him, I'm sure he'd tell us more information than is really necessary to prove how young and alive he really is. 

Yes, I can picture him dying, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The very thought devastates me entirely! I got so swept up in the moment that I lost all form of self control and logic. Not to mention what I myself must have inflicted on my poor grandmother, needing to be comforted by her! I was a liability to her in her grief because even though she's knows that my dad is alive, to her at that moment her grief is real.  I was not supportive in the least and felt terribly for it later. 

Shame on me for being such a flake! I think from now on I'll make sure my visits coincide with Bingo or pub night, and I'll stick to the tried and true subjects when I'm talking to Grandma. Like who takes the most/biggest pills, who's the hottest ticket in the place, and who does the minister favour more? Always winners, and not quite so likely to make me emo. She deserves to be happy and joyful at the age of 90, otherwise, what do you have?

My sister always did joke that Dementia was contagious, and I didn't believe it until now.  So in that spirit, I will offer you a musical selection in honour of my Daddy:

That's all,



Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Week

I saw my best friend last week. This would be an ordinary occurrence for most people, but it was strange for me due to the fact that I haven't spoken to him in twelve years. We're not separated by physical distance, in fact we've lived in the same town this entire time minus the short while I spent away at university. We pass each other occasionally, but normally we don't even glance at one another.   In fact, it's so extreme that we pretend not to recognise each other at all, and it's not in a cruel way; it just is.

Nobody knows that he was my best friend other than him and I. He was the kind of friend that I could talk to about anything, and he just "got" me. There are precious few people in this world who have every really understood me, and back then the list was even smaller. When he would call me, just by the way I said "Hello" he would know exactly what kind of a mood I was in, and what to say to me to make my day better. I've never had a friend since who had that same knack.

Every time we spoke on the phone, he would comment about how smart and funny I was, and coming from a home with a verbally abusive mother, that meant a lot to me.  He would always say, "Well, you learn something new every day.  Of course that's because I talk to you every day."  It was the first time in my life that anyone really made me feel especially good about myself, that I made someone's life brighter simply by being in it.

We spent several months in the summer before I moved away for school, just driving around in his truck. Entire bright, sunny days driving really slow on deserted dirt roads... sipping on a beer, chain-smoking menthol lights. You know, like you would. Doing a lot of talking, and a hell of a lot of laughing. Some of my fondest memories from my youth are from this time.

I've carried these memories around in my head for years now, and still there is not one other soul in this world that knows about this other than him and I. You see, he got himself a girlfriend. I was happy for him at first, because I did start to fear that he was starting to fall in love with me and I knew that there was no way I would ever feel that way about him. The girlfriend sensed this, and being the jealous type and a stage 5 clinger, she strove to cut me from his life like a bad weed.

I receded from his life quietly, because I knew that since I was moving away soon and starting a new life, he needed to have someone back home to start a new life with as well.  At the time, I felt that it was more or less like a natural progression of our friendship to end that way.  I didn't have any hard feelings towards her, and I still don't. 

I got a frantic call from some friends six months later, asking me to come home because he was about to marry her.  They thought that I was the only one who could break up the wedding.  Not being one for that kind of drama, I refused to do so.  He was an adult, I felt he was fully capable of making his own decisions.  Besides, in the movies when that happens the people usually end up together.  The thought of that was repulsive to me; too much like incest, not to mention showing up at a wedding and storming the place, which quite frankly is not the proper time to object!  I never did want things to get messy.

So we've continued on in our own lives like this for a good ten years, passing each other on the street, at different functions, having mutual friends... but still not talking.  We both have our own lives and families separate from one another and by all accounts he looks happy.

Fast forward to last week:  We passed each other on the street.  I was with my kids, he was with a group of people I didn't recognise.  For just one instant, we made eye contact.  After 12 years.  I looked at him, he looked at me, and there was an understanding:  We were best friends once, long ago.  We don't ever have to be again, we don't even have to speak; and that's perfectly fine.   No regrets.   We both smiled.

Life goes on, seemingly, without fail.

That's all,



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hear Me Roar!

An anthem, shall we?

I've been called a FemiNazi Lesbian Bitch quite recently, though I'm sure it was in quite a loving way.   I am not afraid to identify as a feminist, and it doesn't have to mean that I am hairy and sapphic, or that I dress like a thrift store threw up on me.  It does not mean that I hate men!  I happen to feel very strongly that women around the world deserve to have the same basic human rights awarded to all citizens, and most importantly (heh) that we have the right to walk across a crowded club without some tickle-dick grabbing our ass.

Don't get me wrong.  If I'm ever on a sinking ship and someone calls out, "All women and children onto the the lifeboats first!", you know I'm not going to stop in order to argue with him about how men and womyn are equal.  I'm totally going to be too busy elbowing that fucker out of the way so that I can take my rightful place as queen of the life vessel.  Duh.

So happy International Women's Day, bitches.  Bask in the power of your uterus!  Or something...  equally... fun?

Just have a great day, in general.  Be whomever you want to be, because we live in a country where all of that is possible.

That's all, 



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dads Say the Darnedest Things: The Back Seat

It's time for another story about Dear Old Dad.  This one goes way back.  Heck, I wasn't even born to tell you the truth.  As usual, everything that comes out of that man's mouth is pure gold from a comic standpoint.  This is some kind of a "warning story" or something that my dad always used to tell us girls as a cautionary tale.  Somehow, we were expected to learn from this lesson and apply it to our own lives.  Don't ask me why; it only makes sense in Dad-speak.

Let's set the scene here:  Uncle Dave, a recurring character here at "Dads Say the Darnedest Things" and Daddy were out for a night on the town with their cronies, Davey and Francis.  This took place in Toronto, but all four were from back home in Newfoundland.  It was the seventies.  You can just imagine what they must have been wearing: velour shirts and patterned bell-bottomed pants, gold chains with exposed chest hair.  Added to this was the style in which Daddy was then wearing his hair:  a flaming red white-boy afro.  Sexay!

Whenever drugs of any kind were mentioned, or if we spoke about routine traffic stops done by police to check for drunk driving, which around here are called "The Ride Program", this story would be rolled out and dusted off.

The boys were driving around in Davey's gremlin that night, presumably cruising for chicks.  Davey stopped off and got some beer, which they then proceeded to drink while they were cruising around the area of Toronto in which they lived.  This area, though considered rough even then, is now one of the most dangerous 'hoods in Toronto where no one would want to be seen at night.  They each had a beer, but Davey was having two for each one of theirs, all the while still cruising the neighbourhood.  What kind of lesson is this, Daddy?  Drinking and driving?  For shame!!!

Well it got worse, apparently.  Francis, who really always did love his ganja even later in life (or so I've heard), lit up a joint.  There they were driving around while Davey and Francis were passing the joint back and forth.  All of a sudden they come up to a Ride Program.  The driver was drunk, with a joint in his hand!  Daddy and Uncle Dave are in the backseat!  Cops are everywhere!

Cue the panic!

By some stupid twist of fate, they managed to get through the road block escaping the notice of the police officers.

The End.  Thud.  That's all.

This was apparently the end of the story.  Anti-climatic, no?  This is some important life lesson?  Where are the repercussions for your actions, and all that sort of thing?  We could never seem to figure out what it was that we were supposed to be learning from this experience.  It wasn't until years later when I was an adult and my dad was my friend that finally when he told that story again my sister and I looked at each other funny.  I said, "Daddy, as if you were just sitting innocently in the back seat!"

My sister thought for a minute and said, "Yes.  With your hands clasped in your laps like two little church boys!"

All three of us looked at one another and suddenly could not stop laughing.  For years, we had been missing the point!

Daddy nodded his head at me, grinned and said "See?  You didn't know your poor old father was cool, did you?"

In that moment, we finally realised what it was that we were supposed to have been learning all those years.  Yes.  

Our dear old dad...

At one time...


Thank you Dad.  You've hit another right out of the park.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Charlotte's Crotch Webs

Being Buddhist-ish is harder than one might think.  I'm down with the chanting and the meditating... striving to follow the "middle road" and all that jazz.  I believe in the underlying principles that form the foundations of Buddhism, but how does one deal with the bugs?!!

As a general rule, we don't kill bugs in this house.  I value life no matter how small, as part of the general ecosystem.  However, I'm scared to freaking death of bugs.  Terrified, heart-attack worthy, jump on a chair and squeal like a girl kind of scared.  Because of this paralyzing fear, in the past when I used to kill bugs I'd have to not only just squish them, but beat the living fuck out of them with a shoe until they didn't remotely resemble their former shape any longer.  In partially conquering this fear, it's allowed me to be calmer and more collected when I do see a bug.  It takes the same amount of energy to trap the effers and chuck them outside than it does to kill them, yet killing them has a greater cost both to your spirit and the circle of life.

Well that's what I felt until today, actually.

The Dilf and I have been lying in bed moaning a lot lately.  No, not for fun, you dirty buggers!  We've been really sick for the past few weeks.  Flu, colds, strep throat...  you name it.  The kind of sick where you can't really move or do much of anything.  Our kids turned feral and our house fell so deeply into a mire of dust, dog hair and dirty dishes that I'm still working on getting it back into a livable state.

That, and the spiders have taken over.

Yes, you heard me.  They knew we were sick.  They could sense it.  They moved in, set up shop and started to build webs all over the corners of our house.  If 'Miss Havisham Chic' ever came into vogue, I'd have a head start.   This morning as I started to revive through the miracle of conventional medicine (yay anti-biotics!), I noticed what they'd done the second my back was turned.

I Windexed, I tottered around in my marabou pumps with a feather duster (heh), I vacuumed, scrubbed, cursed, sweated, cursed some more...  Just when I finally thought that I'd rid the house of the scourge of webs, (and oh, what a tangled web we weave!) I noticed that some hooker of a spider had weaved a nest.  A nest containing little baby spider eggs:  In The Buddha's crotch!  Yes, nestled into the perfect little hollow in the statue was a safe little spot for Charlotte to drop her bastard children.  What a ho, that Charlotte.

It's winter in Canada.  The Buddha was taunting me.  I was tempted to vacuum it up and be done with it.  Was I going to get rid of the spider nest (from Buddha's crotch, no less) so that they'd die, was I going to put the egg sac gently outside where they might also die from exposure, or was I going to let the damned thing hatch in the house and deal with the hundreds and thousands of babies that might possibly hatch out of it later?

Well, I'm not a completely heartless bitch.  What do you think I did?  I gently cradled the nest on a small piece of paper and moved it to a really high shelf in the garage.  It's still part of the house, just not "in" the house, technically...   I'm sure the Dilf will never notice, having them in such an abundance out there already.  ;)