‘Shall we light a match and play with it?’, ‘What would happen if we crossed the road blindfolded?’. These are the types of questions my nutty sibling might as well ask of me. For some reason, even the most innocuous of suggestions made by her lead me to wind up wanting to call an ambulance for a nebulizer or spontaneously combusting from exasperation. Probably, a little bit of both.
During my unprecedented two month silence, I was nearly tackled at a supermarket, my child channelled the Rockettes at the dentist, and my spouse tried to claim the blame for a near flood at our apartment. That’s only the stuff I do remember. Naturally, between all this, and the unceremonious passing of my laptop battery, I was rendered speechless.
My computer won’t work unless it is plugged in, and thanks to my meticulous better half, P, and his unhealthy fascination for acquiring sofas, finding a socket usually involves a large amount of gymnastics and flexibility. I couldn’t be stiffer if I was spray tanned with a can of starch.
As they say, empty vessels make the loudest noises, and it was unusual for me to go silent for so long. Friends wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth, so I tried my hand at contortion and crept under the bed and stuck my hand through the side table to reach an outlet. Voila, I’m back on line.
Any old how, since last I wrote, we took a weekend trip down to Seattle to pester my sister and her husband for their birthdays. Conveniently, they were born two days apart. During this visit, it was decided that I should revamp my undergarment situation because I had items in my wardrobe from when ‘Dynasty’ was on TV.
My faithful sibling took me to numerous stores, but I was as interested in shopping as a lazy donkey is in taking a hike. On the last night, I relented and took my stash to a changing room, patting myself on the back for remembering to not only lock, but block the door.
In the past, my sister has been notorious for swinging the doors of changing rooms open at the most inopportune moments, invariably causing me to flash old ladies and frighten them so much that their meticulously curled hair stands on end. To my surprise, there was silence behind the door.
Could she have left me at the store? Anything was possible. I rushed out to find her whizzing by with groceries piled up in her very short arms. I grabbed a carton of milk from her hand and rushed after her. Never one to follow the rules, she entered an area marked ‘exit only’ in an attempt to perform a ‘self check-out’.
Always one to follow and then bungle up all the rules, when I actually take time to read them, I stopped short and gestured towards the sign. She beckoned me over saying nothing happened to her and to get a move on it already. As I set foot towards her, the alarms went off! I half expected a net to fall on me and for some bull dogs to tackle me to the ground. I’m lucky I didn’t get pepper sprayed!
To my horror, I realized when everyone turned to me, not only did I have the carton of milk in my left hand, dangling gaily from my right hand were two very large bras, one of which was such a bright red, that it might be used in an emergency kit in case of an avalanche. I was about ready to check myself out to the big buffet in the sky!
My ears were burning and I was rendered motionless at the pure trauma of it all. To make it worse, two teenage boys who work in the store were sent forth to put the alarm off, and they were trying their best not to laugh at me. Perfect. Just the cavalry I need when I’m stuck holding underwear. I didn’t look like a blooming idiot; I looked like the idiot with the parachute sized bloomers.
My sister, of course, found it hilarious and she still wanted me to come through the same way with her milk. What a nutter. I made a bee line for the next cashier and bought everything in my possession. I would have bought a lawnmower and a fridge if they threw that in, just to leave the store. I plan on never returning.
The next morning, I was worse for wear (pun intended), and we returned to Canada. P packed a stash of mail that my sister had given him. It seems she has accidentally maybe on purpose signed me up for something or the other and advertising agencies are under the impression that I am a senior citizen. As such, I am the proud recipient of multiple invitations to retirement homes. She even wanted to take me for the orientation for one—said they gave fabulous canapés.
I didn’t want to know how she knew this. All I know is that if I went with her, it would be a one way trip with me winding up in a wheelchair, screaming that I was not over fifty-five despite my prematurely gray hair and malfunctioning organs and she would nonchalantly tell the attendants that I was not quite with it and to please put me down for an early bird special.
It didn’t help that soon after I chided her for constantly trying to send me to gated communities, I was standing at a bus stop when a lovely elderly gentlemen began to explain the topography of the areas surrounding us, circa 1952. He painted quite a quaint picture as he described brooks and lanes where now a behemoth shopping mall stood. As we were deconstructing the area, bit by bit he remarked that it was so lovely to see a beautiful young lady smiling.
Since I was working with him, moving my eyes left to right, I was stumped as to where he saw the lady, and quickly chimed in that folks are not as welcoming as they used to be back in the day and I went into my usual speil about how dogs are better than humans. As I continued to nearly give myself whiplash looking for the friendly woman, next thing I know, the older man had given me a gentle hug and said he was talking about me!
Mercifully the bus, now five minutes late, showed up that instant and I was spared any further awkward moments sponsored by my not so bright brain. Captain Obvious is clearly not a friend of mine. P and my sister were highly amused by this story, and my sister hooted and said that this is why I’d be such a hit at the retirement home. Them old ladies will love me. Not. On the bright side, at least I’d be the belle of the ball somewhere.
That being said, I am now considering a move—anywhere. I lost several nights of sleep and hours of pay thanks to the shenanigans at our crazy a$$ ghetto fabulous building. In an attempt to camouflage its flaws, I mean renovate, we finally got new carpets and our hallways were painted.
Gone are the peeling blues on the doors and the ratty threadbare brown carpet in the halls (original color unknown at best). We were surprised at the sudden upgrade, but our cautious joy was soon overcast. A few Saturdays ago, I noticed a huge damp spot on our carpet near the kitchen.
As a reflex, my first thought was to blame the spouse and child. Always a safe go to, when in doubt. However, my six year old, Lanes, was adamant it was not her and P thought perhaps it was him. It seemed like a rather large spill, and unless he was giving an elephant a wash in our living room, there was no way he could be responsible for it, despite his protests that he was.
At the back of my head I knew it had to be the miserable apartment. I pretended it was the dishwasher and refused to use it. Denial is the next best thing when one can’t blame those one is biologically and legally obliged to live with.
On Sunday morning, there was even more water on the carpet. Of course there are no emergency numbers given out to us tenants, that would be far too practical and responsible, and so I had to do some detective work that led to a domino effect of calls and I finally tracked the apartment manager down at 7pm. Turns out, it was indeed, a burst pipe. P was randomly protesting his guilt, saying he must have done it, up until this point, when the jig was up.
The drama didn’t end there. They had to send someone to suck up the water the next day. I insisted I be there and begrudgingly left work an hour early to tend to that. Of course they sent someone at noon, when I was still at work, probably running away from some ghost or the other. I was so livid, my angst alone could have powered the greater metropolitan area.
The next weekend, I woke up to sunshine, a rare event in these parts. Thanks to the extra burst of light, I noticed we had lovely clumps of mold all over our bedroom ceiling. Back again to chasing down the apartment folk, and back again to taking more time of work. I was really down on the deal literally because they didn’t send someone over until the time I normally get home from work.
So I missed an hour of wages for no good reason. By that time, I could have powered the entire province with my anger. My eyebrow started twitching and I almost had smoke coming out of my nostrils. I was fed up and ready to move! That being said, we are too darn lazy to pack. So it’s back to being non-proactively annoyed.
Other than that, in another weird segue popular in my blogs, Lanes is growing in leaps and bounds. She keeps popping out teeth at such a rate that the Tooth Fairy is now on strike due to long hours and poor wages. My little munchkin is also sprouting billboard sized adult ones left, right, and center, and we were terrified there was no room in her little mouth for them.
Concerned, we took her to the dentist, where she proceeded to lounge like she was receiving a spa treatment while having her teeth cleaned. Never before have I seen a child so delighted to come home with a toothbrush and dental floss.
We were sent off to an orthodontist, who gave Lanes a quick check up and then turned to us to explain a game plan for dealing with our spawn’s troublesome molars. I had two problems concentrating. The first was because he was holding onto some false teeth that reminded me of something from a pirate movie. I was dying to get my hands on the choppers and chase people with them while cackling in pirate speak. The second was because behind him, Lanes was having a glorious time on the dentist chair.
She had her legs up in the air and she was flailing them to and fro in a motion that looked like a combination of the can-can and water aerobics. Whee, sway to the left, whee sway to the right. I willed her to stop when it looked like she was turning her attention to various buttons, but since she knew I was completely powerless in that situation, she continued to have a whale of a time.
It was hilarious to say the least, especially since that poor man, thinking we overly pushy Asian parents who wanted her to have orthodontic work done at such an early age was imploring us to hold off for a few years. In the end, I stopped stifling my laughter and asked the orthodontist to look behind him. Lanes froze momentarily, but after the dentist gave her the green light, she proceeded to do her Broadway routine. It was the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ meets ‘Mamma Mia’.
After we got that out of the way, we explained that we were in no hurry to get Lanes decked out with spacers or braces or anything at all, especially if they sounded like the reindeer that didn’t’ make the cut for Santa’s sleigh.
I was longing to play with the false teeth, but thought better of asking to have a go at it. I’m sure if I did ask, P would have put his palm to his face and started shaking his head, the way he often does when I come up with these ideas. With that, I guess I better sign off. I’ll try to do the limbo with a sofa and sleep early on a Friday night so I have energy to keep up with blogging the way I used to. More musings from BC...soon? Please leave comments below….
This blog is for Katherine, Hans and Sonali, because you are awesome!