The Hibernation of Summer

It’s mid-August and I can feel the imminence of Fall.  It’s in the back-to-school supplies that are crowding every shelf at Walmart.  It’s in the woods jackets and plaid flannel shirts that are hanging on racks.  It’s in the now-dark 5 am mornings that greet me and the cooler evenings that now descend before 9pm.  Summer hasn’t yet arrived and here we are readying for another season.  I’m lamenting a summer I never had.  I’m still waiting for that everlasting full day of sunshine and sultry heat that stretches into a dusky evening.  I’m waiting for days full of water-balloon tossing and garden hose spraying and evenings of open-windows and flies eating me alive.  Where was all of that?

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland

We missed an entire season.  It was a summer of spring-like days at best.  Cool winds, rain and almost hot-enough-but-not-quite temperatures.  We will be back to wearing coats and boots before I even broke out my shorts.  I don’t mean to complain, but this is why most people in St. John’s need a break and head to the liquor store.  Or try to find solace and heat either more west on the island or head south to anywhere else.  We know that soon enough, it will be a full-frontal assault into cold and ice.  We desperately cling to those final few evenings of near-warm-enough temperatures to steal away on the back patio for a fire and a glass of wine before the gale-force wind of 100kms/hrbegin to blow through.   It’s hard to go to work on a nice day knowing that when we are on a treasured day off, the wind will howl and the rain will pelt our faces so hard we feel the sting for a week.  We flee the office building in the midst of theevaporating sunshine holding our faces skyward in hopes to feel the last of the rays beat upon our skin and feel some semblance of warmth.  We shed the office pallor for some fresh air and bright light, not the fluorescent kind.  

Sometimes, we get lucky.

Today, the wind is high but the air is warm.  I’m hoping to retreat to my back patio for a little sun before the clouds elbow their way through the sky, squeezing it behind their billowing puffs of air.  If the sun can manage to appear in our sky a few more times, I will be grateful for that.  

Right now, I’m grateful for the liquor store’s cache of wine…

 

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I’m Going To Need a Shirt And My Lotion

The wind is blowing a gale today and I’m feeling a little disheveled.  My book is up and out and I’m now grappling with the idea that there are actual people out there in the great wide world who are reading my words.  In a book.  I wrote.  I shake my head and try not to gauge reactions and try not to have thoughts of, “I wonder what they thought when this happened.”  

Instead of obsessing on things I can’t control, I’m choosing to play with my dog and post random shit that I think will entertain the masses as much as it does me.  You. Are. Welcome.

I’ve also been given the opportunity to observe the strange and irksome occurrences around me on a daily basis that keeps my mind busy and cause me to walk into arbitrary walls.  On purpose.   Here are a few:

Old People Driving – I am NOT the old person I am referring to.  I was cut off on the highway merge ramp today, by an ‘old’ lady driving her Honda CRV at 60kms an hour who refused to go the obligatory 100kms an hour, almost causing an accident and causing me to swear profusely.  Fun, wha?

No Shirt Sheila – Unfortunately, I was not privy to the shirtless woman wandering aimlessly around the mall, yesterday in her bra with a sweater tied around her waist whilst yelling into her phone, “I NEED MY LOTION BACK!” however, my niece and her daughters, and my daughter were witnesses to this craziness.  Sad I missed it.  And Gaawwddd Debby, give her the lotion BACK!

Irate complainers who complain about complaining – It’s a thing!  I love it!  No, really tell me more about how I piss you off when I fucking swear all of the fucking time, Goddammit.  I love you, tho.

On a positive note, puppies are in the world so, there’s that. 

 

Draw Like Da Jesus!

My conversations with the ever-absent D2 are infrequent and fraught with awkward silences.   We no longer have that day-to-day mundane interaction to share or joke about, so we get lost in the abundance of stuff and so little time within to tell it.  She’s monstrously busy and I’m monstrously trying to fill her absence.  D1 and Son give me sideward glances when I beg them to talk to me or sit with me outside and tell me about their day, or come with me to Walmart JUST ONE MORE TIME.   I may have to borrow a neighbor kid with whom I could drive around and tell sarcastic bad-driver stories.

The questions that I invent for D2 are different than Hubby’s, but then again they should be.  He was in her exact spot a mere 29 years ago, so of course he wants to know what it looks like, have you done this course yet, who is your drill Corporal, blah, blah, blah.  My questions are far more important and revolve on actual survival skills that only moms understand: have you made any nice friends?  Are you eating enough?  How’s the food?  Are you getting enough rest?  How’s that cleaning, ironing and washing going?  Need another bed-making tutorial?  (Yes, I actually sent her a tutorial on hospital corners that she shared with her troop mates, since I clearly failed her as a mother and neglected to demonstrate this in person during her ENTIRE LIFE AS MY CHILD) Don’t get sick.  Wash your hands all of the time, STAY AWAY FROM THE WEAPONS FIRING AREA.  You know, SURVIVAL.  I’m thinking for Christmas, I’ll give her a throw pillow that reads: JUMP LIKE DA JESUS.   It’s a bit kitschy.  She won’t be able to have it on her bed at Depot, since obviously, EVERYONE WILL WANT ONE.  I needed a short and catchy phrase, since my embroidery skills are as lacking as my motherly teaching skills.  Ugh.

Hubby is entering a new decade today.  Fifty is the new I-made-it-this-far-so-may-as-well-get-shitfaced, so there’s that to look forward to.  Not that he’s going to drink himself to all out oblivion, but I may be tempted.  This new age of being older-than-dirt in the eyes of the youngsters, quite frankly, sucks.  I get eye-rolls and the ‘oh, mom’ when I ask about something Millennials with their hipster jeans and Birkenstocks can only decipher.  By the way, WHEN DID BIRKENSTOCKS COME BACK AS COOL?!  They’re ugly as shit and I don’t understand the appeal.  They’re like wearing hard rubberized sole-deforming casts on your feet and if you were TOLD you HAD to wear them as punishment, one would rail against the establishment as being cruel and unusual and anti-freedom-of-feet!  I see you shaking your head and holding up your rubberized-foot sling as something I should try and that I’d ‘surely love them as soon as I wear them awhile’  NO.  UGLY. AS. SHIT.

I’ve also decided that being over fifty is life’s way of getting back at you for all the crap you said about EVERY ADULT YOU KNEW when you were in your teens. All your eye-rolling, oh-mom comments, ripped jeans, non-sensical friends….STOP DRAWING THAT CIRCLE.  I see it.

Your body decides to play games, your now adult kids make fun of you and you finally understand everything your parents ever said to you throughout your entire life and feel the need to spout same to YOUR children/adults.  Their time will come when they will say the same thing.

WHO BROUGHT FUGLY

BIRKENSTOCKS BACK?!

See?   Okay, you can draw now.

Cue the Lion King theme song.  I’m done.

Is Drinking Considered a Complex Movement?

As I get older, I realize I’m not as adept as I once was.  Not that I was ever a ballerina with grace and balance, but at least I could coordinate walking and talking simultaneously.  Now, I can’t even lift my leg and opposite arm at the same time without falling, or worse, trying not to fall and instead, revert into a spastic-quazi-save-myself-from-further-humiliation-by-propelling-myself-forward kind of move.  Which, by the way, never works and looks a million times more awkward than it sounds.

Bootcamp has always been a challenging experience for me from my first day almost three years ago, right up to today.  Coach has decided the internet is fraught with ‘great interesting complex moves that we all should embrace into our repertoire!’  We think she should be banned from the internet.

‘Complex movements’ is just another phrase for lift-leg-while-standing-backwards-and-pushing-something-really-heavy.  I clearly have issues with ‘complex movements’.  If I could lift my leg whilst lifting a sandbag over my head and twirl around on my tippy toe, do you think I would be nervous about wearing heels and walking on a tile floor?  I CAN’T DO THAT SHIT.   I try.  I fall.  I try again.

Then we all laugh…well, I laugh.  I’m thinking people don’t notice because they’re trying just as hard as I am to stay balanced and semi-dignified looking.  Or maybe they’re actually well-balanced yoga-mamas who CAN stand on one foot and hold a 20pound weight over their heads while closing their eyes.  WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS.  Just so you know.

Until the next class when there’s yet another new move involving weights, the TRX and the Bielman spin thrown in for good measure.  

It’s this while spinning around at 100km an hour.  On skates.  It should come as no surprise, that I can’t stand upright on skates, either. Just sayin’.

I’m practicing the new scissor- kick-from-side-plank-position-then-plank-push-up move.  I’M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP.  That was merely ONE of today’s new complex movements.

In my case, it totally didn’t happen.  I couldn’t lift my leg, hence the whole need to practice thing.  I did lift the sandbag over my head!  But there was no spinning nor lifting my leg over my head which was probably a good thing, or else I would have looked like Mr. Bean trying to Waltz.  I was just trying to make myself feel better by patting myself on the back for completing an exercise without smashing my face into the ground.

I’m holding my breath for Friday’s class.  If there is any utterance of ‘a new exciting complex movement’ I’m silently protesting by disconnecting her internet.  And hoping sitting against a wall while reciting the Ode to Newfoundland counts as a Complex Movement.

Maybe there’s a new and exciting exercise involving a wine glass balancing on a tray whilst you simultaneously pour the wine from the bottle with the other hand without spilling!

THAT’S A COMPLEX MOVEMENT I CAN GET BEHIND.

And one I’d probably have to practice because of the whole glass-balancing-on-a-tray thing….

It’s a struggle.

* Author’s note: Coach has corrected me in saying these movements are in fact termed Compound not Complex as I have repeatedly stated. Ma bad. THEY ARE COMPOUND COMPLEX MOVEMENTS now. We changed it. You. Are. Welcome.

Directionally Challenged And Little Panicky

Anyone who knows me, knows I have issues with driving.  Not driving in that I can’t operate a vehicle properly or have issues with traffic manoeuverings like signal lights or merging or passing.  I have issues with directions.  East, West, North and South.  How to get to one destination several different ways.  How to find my way from one point in town to the opposite without ending up out on a distant country road, or worse, Mt. Pearl.  My apologies to all of those fine folks who reside there, but I just can’t stand the constant turning lanes.  I once ended up in a left turning lane which then led to another turning lane and went in circles for a good half an hour.  By the time I got daughter to her track meet, it was over.  That was 11 years ago and I still haven’t recovered from the trauma.  Maybe it’s the signage.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to know my way around there.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Yeah, that’s a more likely reason.

It’s not something that’s new to me.  When we first moved to St. John’s 12 years ago, I used to carry the telephone book on the passenger side of my car because it had a map of the city in it.  I would keep it open just in case I turned down a wrong street and ended up somewhere other than the intended destination.  People used to say to me the best way to discover a city or a new place is to get lost in it, but I could never do that.  I need to know where I’m going and exactly how I’m getting there.  Getting lost is out of the question.  As explained in the following tale, if I’m driving and get ‘misplaced’ God help us all, we are in for a crying-sobbing-wailing-middle-finger-pointing helluva time.  I’m not trying to sound melodramatic or in need of a case of Ativan, I just have an emotional breakdown of sorts if I’m not where I’m supposed to be.  A little over-the-top I realize, but for the past few years, having meltdowns on various ski lifts and Disney rides has become my modus operandi. Add to this complicated cocktail, driving without a sense of direction….my family has a hard time keeping up.

The other day I was supposed to pick up daughter for an appointment.  Let’s back track a bit.  The possession of the car is a three-way street.  My son, my daughter and I share one vehicle.  Two of us work full-time, one is a Uni student.  At any given day we are at mid-city and shuffle the vehicle accordingly.  Daughter had to leave work midday and since I had the car, I was to retrieve her from her work and she was to drop me back at my work and then mosey on down to her appointment.  This is how my life works.  Complicated with a twist of lemon. Easy.  Kinda.

My work is literally a five minute drive from daughter’s – that’s on a good day when there are no roads inexplicably closed for random construction or for lame reasons like bursts pipes and road improvements.  Ugh.  Like this particular day.  I was easily driving along when all of a sudden, BLAM, road closed.  Turn right, lady and find your own way.  Okay.  I can adapt, I think.  I turn then go straight, only I should have turned again.  Instead, I ended up downtown.  The epitome of driving madness, one-way streets and impatient drivers who hate people like me.  Hence, meltdown time.  I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOWNTOWN.  I was supposed to be on the opposite side.  Of the city.  DAMMIT WHERE THE FUCK AM I?  No clue.  I keep driving and end up at an intersection that only God and Einstein on a good day can figure out.  It’s going every which way, which is typical for St. John’s BUT THAT’S WHY I DON’T DRIVE DOWNTOWN.  Given I don’t know where I was going and aware the clock was ticking and having no intelligent nor rational thought whatsoever, I STARTED PUNCHING THE SCREEN ON THE DASHBOARD OF THE CAR HOPING I CAN PICK DAUGHTER’S NUMBER AT RANDOM.  The most recent calls were there as was every other person I’ve ever called in the universe.   I ended up calling Daughter number 1 who was working and whose phone was dead (thanks for that), a radio station, the car’s system stats, until finally I get Daughter number 2, all the while swearing, crying and sweating and also managing a few middle fingers at people with no patience.  HELLO, PANICKED DRIVER HERE.  CAN’T YOU SEE I’M HAVING AN EMOTIONAL TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, RIGHT NOW??!!!   GAAAWWWWWDDDDDD!!!

Here’s how it went down:

D2: Hello?

Me: OH MY GAWD HAYLEY I’M SO SORRY I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I AM!!!!  (also panicked and crying.  My voice is so high-pitched, dogs are howling)

D2:  It’s okay, mom.  Stop panicking.  Where are you?  (she is aware of my panicked state when I don’t know where I am)

Me:  I JUST TOLD YOU I DON’T F***ING KNOW!!  SOMEWHERE DOWNTOWN.  I HATE DOWNTOWN!!

D2:  Yeah, I know.  Okay.  How did you end up THERE?

Me:  THE DAMNED ROAD WAS CLOSED.  I THOUGHT I WOULD END UP AT EMPIRE AVE ACROSS FROM THE DOMINION!!

D2:  Okay, so what do you see?

Me:  UM…OH MY GAWD CAN I TURN HERE??!!   WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT BUDDY?!   UM…I SEE A TIM’S…

D2:  Yeah, that doesn’t help me.  What else?

Me:  UH, THE POST OFFICE?? …WAIT.  FUCK IT, I’M TURNING.  EXCUSE ME, SIR.  OKAY, I THINK I’M ON DUCKWORTH NOW.

D2:  Okay….  (Hayley is very calm, by the way.  Good thing she can talk her mother down from that emotional ledge)

Me:  Yeah, I see the Newfoundland Chocolate Factory.  I’m on Duckworth.  I see the Sheridan hotel now…

D2:  Okay. So don’t hang up just keep driving and tell me where you are.

Me:  Okay.  I know where I am.  Thanks, Hayley.

D2: BY THE WAY YOU SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!  I THOUGHT YOU WERE LYING IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE DYING!!  DON’T EVER CALL ME CRYING AGAIN!!

Me:  DON’T YELL AT ME.  I’VE BEEN TRAUMATIZED.

D2:  SO HAVE I!!

 

In the end, I picked her up and she dropped me off and ended up stuck in construction on the highway and CALLED ME PANICKING.

The apple and the tree, folks.

panick driving

 

Lose Your Jack

I was perusing Facebook last night and was surprised to see a post from a lady from our neighbourhood who was appalled and ‘disappointed’ that a pumpkin had gone missing from her front porch. Apparently, she was hoping some wayward homeless child picked it up and brought it home to treasure for Halloween, but lest, she was more taken with the thought that given the state of our ‘hood lately, it was probably stolen by some mischievous teens out for a good pumpkin-robbing time. The wording she used felt like she was saying our neighbourhood was falling into the skeet category of ‘hoods. The Compton of St. John’s. It was like she was comparing our white-bread middle class family oriented neighbourhood to 8mile.  In the spirit of neighbourly neighbourly-ness, I decided to write a little diddy using Eminem’s “upbeat” ‘hood inspiring song Lose Yourself in hopes she realizes the erroneous choices of words in her post. Or not. Whatevs, Yo.

Lose YourJack

Look

If you had

One shot

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

Like a pumpkin

Would you capture that pumpkin?

Or just let it slip?

Yo.

His palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy

With the burden of a pumpkin weighing his hoody

He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready

To pick jacks, but he keeps on forgettin’ the address

That he wrote down, the whole ‘hood goes so quiet

He opens his hoody but the jack won’t fit

It’s too round, times up, over, Splat!

Uh, oh, he dropped it, at the park. He needs another.

Oh, there goes Skeeter, he choked

He’s so scared but he won’t give up that easy. No

He won’t have it, he knows his whole back city’s ropes

It don’t matter, he’s dope. He knows that but he’s broke

The rules to the ‘hood jackin’ a jack, it ain’t right but he needs his cred

He better go capture another and hope it don’t pass him

 

You better lose that jack in the ‘hood, at the park

You don’t own it, you better never let them see

You take a pumpkin without asking, it ain’t fantastic

You gonna be known as a Skeet

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to throw

This jack to the ground, it comes once a year. You better…

 

The souls escaping, through this hole that is gaping

In the pumpkin, where the smile should have been

It’s gone. He smashed it. He knows he’s not askin’

He’s goin’ on to another.  

Jacks are easy to find. On the porches, in the backyards

He only needs one more.

He’s stealth. A monster. A Jackster of Jacks.

 

You better lose that jack in the ‘hood at the park

You don’t own it, you better never let them see

You take a pumpkin without asking, it ain’t fantastic

You gonna be known as a Skeet

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to throw

This jack to the ground, it comes once a year. You better….

 

There you have it, yo.  

Word.

Original lyrics to Lose Yourself by Eminem  

The porch of the skeet who stole the Jack O’Lantern. 

Top Ten List of: Shit I Did When You Weren’t Looking

I haven’t done a Top Ten list in quite some time. I thought today would be a great day for one.
10. Ran a 10mile race. Maybe you were looking since I told everyone about it, but some people were still surprised I actually ran a race and still lived to tell about it, so not everyone is as in the loop as you.   

Me running, and not dying. Yet. 
9. Snuck a garden gnome in my garden and he is still there! Now that you know, DON’T TOUCH HIM. HE STAYS.

8. Texted my friend and gave her shit for missing my birthday but discovered she did leave a message that FB deleted so really, I looked like an asshole for being an asshole.

Actual conversation.  She still likes me…I think. 
7. Watched the beginning of a movie and the end without watching the middle which is usually a vital part of the whole thing. In this case, it really wasn’t. Now, I think if I watch the first forty five minutes and the last half hour of any movie, I should be good. No need for all the junk that happens mid-way. It’s just the whole plot, I mean really, who needs that?

Part of the movie I missed, but I don’t think it’s that important, right?


6. Told a first-time runner and neighbour there was going to be band playing during the race, which two years ago there was I swear, but this time there wasn’t and now he’s all “THERE WAS NO BAND! WHERE WAS THE BAND?! I WAS LOOKING FOR THE BAND!” for the entire duration of the race. In my defence, YOU WERE LISTENING TO SOME ON YOUR IPOD SO THERE WAS YOUR BAND. MOVE ON. Gawd, I can’t be right about everything….kinda. By the way, if my garden gnome goes missing in the next 48 hours I’M LOOKING AT YOU!!

5. Since Hubby has returned to work, I actually did two loads of laundry. Dried. Folded. Put away. I don’t want to brag, but I think I did a better job at it. *Hubby, if you are reading this, feel free to try to best me on this one. Seriously. I know you THINK you’re good at laundry, but uh, my folding technique rocks! Okay, if you really want to try to beat me at this one task, I’ll let you try….I’M A GIVER.

4. I submitted two job applications for freelance work that were epic examples of my wit and humour and pithy prose to which the reply was *crickets* Nothing. OKAY, IF YOU REALLY THINK MY PITCH FOR A HANGOVER SUPPLEMENT WASN’T AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF INTELLIGENT STORY-TELLING, ESPECIALLY THE PART ABOUT GRANDPA’S DART TOURNAMENT FIASCO, THEN GO AHEAD AND HIRE SOMEBODY ELSE. Gawd.  

3. I’ve decided that being a responsible adult is overrated and better suited for everyone else, but me. In future refer all important tasks to an adult who will take requests, demands and questions seriously instead of answering with “I know you are, but what am I?”  

2. According to viable sources, licking the top of a beer bottle will not dissuade other people from drinking from it. It just induces future licking of bottles and glasses until everyone is drinking from everyone else’s drinks, which really is kinda gross when you think about it. Next time, I’m switching the beer for…EWWW, NO I WASN’T GOING TO SAY PEE. UGH. THAT’S DISGUSTING. WHAT KIND OF PERSON DO YOU THINK I AM? BESIDES, DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO PEE IN A BEER BOTTLE?! You need a good *urinary device if you’re a woman, to pull that shit off…don’t ask me how I know that. (*medical terminology for a funnel or aid to guide the stream in the right direction. WHAT?! DO YOU KNOW HOW NARROW THE NECK OF A BEER BOTTLE IS??!! It takes precision and timing and…never mind. )

1. People in the ‘hood with pools: If you see a random rubber ducky in there, his name is Sid. No, I don’t know how he could have gotten in there, but don’t scare him. He likes to float around. Just sayin’…..

Looks just like Sid!!