Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29th 2011

I so did not have the same kind of day as Kate Middleton.

While Kate Middleton was walking down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, in a beautiful lace gown to marry a prince of the realm, I was out in the breezeway, in my bathrobe, slippers and some rubber gloves, cleaning up the debris from the raccoon's evident raucous party in the garbage bins. She was smiling and looking radiant. I looked like I'd escaped from the "Home for the Frenzied Bedridden" and cursing enthusiastically.

Later, when she was quietly and solemly declaring her vows, I was boarding a rickety school bus to accompany Thing 2's class on a field trip, a "War of 1812" re-enactment and workshop.

Kate Middleton was signing the Registry with her new name, and curtseying to the Queen. I was freezing my ass off in a a field while listening to a guy with nothing better to do than to pretend to fight a war that was over almost 200 years ago. A guy who was so enthusiasticaly and graphically demonstrated how a field surgeon would amputate an injured leg that it bordered on the disturbing. I'm not kidding; he used a leg of pork (God, I hope it was pork!) as an audio-visual aid and believe me, I've memorized his face for when I have to testify at his inevitable trial at some point. Apparently, someone fainted earlier in the day.

It was so freaking cold I very nearly stood in front of the cannon.

While Kate got to dine on whatever Royals dine on at luncheon (probably quails eggs and diamonds and corgis) I ate my lunch in an picnic shelter with no walls and a gale force wind out of the north. Except I forgot my lunch, and had to eat a granola bar I found in my purse, and a few Goldfish crackers and a Pop Tart from Thing 2's lunch. (Note to self: Do NOT let Thing 2 pack her own lunch from now on.)

No matter how nice her day was, and how decidedly NOT nice my day was, I still don't envy her marrying into that family.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Amazing Race, Unfinished Business Episode 9

Oh, crap on a cracker! I'm so disappointed the Cowboys are out! They looked like they might have been last without that U-Turn, but with the way the leg was designed, there was no way they could catch up with that. I hope the Powers That Be didn't make them eat all that cheese.

That? was a LOT of cheese. Good thing no one is lactose-intolerant. That would have made for a very uncomfortable night. For everyone.

How awful would it have been if Justin and Zev had bailed on the fondue task, only to be U-Turned and have to do it anyway??

I think that shot of Zev looking like he's about to die will be my new desktop.

Why are all the eating tasks accompanied by very loud, very annoying music? Does that make eating a truck load of food harder or easier? Or does every country have a traditional "This Will Make You Puke!" musical institution that I don't know about?

Is map-reading that hard? There seems to always be people on reality shows that cannot read a map....I thought maps were pretty simple, but I guess not. And why would you continually volunteer for tasks that include reading maps when you suck at them? (I'm looking at you, Vyxin.)

Speaking of Vyxin, I wish she would stop calling Kent a "girl". I take offence....I'm a girl and could kick his bony little ass.

I think that was the pissiest we've seen the Globetrotters with each other. When Flight Time lost the two luggage receipts, Big Easy groused for a minute or two, and then they got on with it. Contrast that to Kent's "Neverending Song of Pain". God, that man (and I use the term loosely) could enter the Olympics if "Whining" was an event.

Thing 1 and I looked at each other with absolute HORROR when we found out what Gary and Mallory had to to on the Speedbump. We are both terrible at mental math, and if you add in a bit of stress and a smidgen of sleep-deprivation, neither of us could have figured that out even with a calculator and a tutorial. I think we would have probably just lay down on the road and wept. Let me sit on an ice chair for 10 minutes any day.

Next week: It looks like Kent is going to get his ass handed to him by Big Easy! Can't wait!

Until next week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How I Ran The Boston Marathon

Last Monday, I got up off the computer to go for a run, around 10 in the morning. Lo and behold, when I looked outside there was snow on the ground. This should not have been a surprise, since this has been the shittiest spring we've had in years. It has been cold and wet and altogether NOT spring-like....I can be forgiven for being offended by snow on the ground on April 18th. I know we live in Canada, but come on.

I hate running in the snow; my shoes get wet and my feet get cold and I have to mince along like an 18th century dandy so as not to fall on my keester. I suited up to run on the treadmill in the basement.

Just as I got myself on and warming up, I turned on the tv and hey, the Boston Marathon was just starting; the top-ranked women were literally at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off. I was psyched! I paced myself with the front runner and was totally inspired! This was great! I am the laziest creature ever made: I don't stand when I can sit, I don't sit when I can lie down. I hate a challenge and couldn't care less if I lose a contest. I will happily and cheerfullly let myself off the hook at every possible opportunity. As you can imagine, motiviation to exercise is a constant problem.....I would happily stay in bed for the rest of my life. So you can appreciate my delight at a diversion that actually made me want to run. (Let's be very clear about one thing: I have no desire whatsoever to actually run a marathon. When you start running, people will ask you all the time if that is why you've taken up the sport. My reply usually "I'd rather chew off my own arm and beat myself to death with it.")

The race was brisk, but not impossible. The woman who ran out in front of the pack was toddling along at a most acceptable pace, and I was running right along with her! Of course, I had no hills and no wind to contend with, while she had both. And I had a glass of water beside me. And I could stop at any time and no one was watching me. And although I was keeping pace with Kim Smith, I was pretty sure that I couldn't last more than about 20 minutes doing this; she had to keep it up for another 2 hours.

After I gave up, having given it my all for a whole half hour I showered and changed and watched the rest of the race with a Diet Coke and a bag of Cheetos.

And that is the story of "How Mrs. Loudshoes Ran the Boston Marathon".

Monday, April 18, 2011

Amazing Race, Unfinished Business Episode 8

I figured this might be a Non-Elimination Leg when it was almost a quarter to 8 last night and they still hadn't done a Roadblock. And that really was not much of a roadblock....other than fitting into those cute little outfits, there wasn't much to do.

I'm thrilled Gary and Mallory are still in this; I freaking love those two. Anyone who offers to throw up what she ate and take another stab at downing another portion has my undying respect.

Apparently, there is only one travel agency in Varansi, India. I'll bet that's the most business they've ever done at 3:00 in the morning.

Kent really is Mayor McWhinerson of Bellache Town, isn't he? That was one big ol' snivelfest, right there. I don't think the Amazing Editors like him very much either, they way they put together that audio montage of "Kent In Pain". Maybe they could auto-tune that and make it into a hit record. "It's gonna faaaaaallll, it's gonna faaaaallll"

I think I may have figured out Kent and Vyxin's relationship.....she says "we have a romantic relationship that's different from others", (which is one way of putting it, I guess) and he can't tell a woman apart from a man. He kept calling the "chick from Harry Potter" (thanks, Justin!) "him", so I think that goes a long way to explaining his attraction to Vyxin. And she's just whack-a-doo.

Speaking of Vyxin, it looks like she did not succumb to terminal e-coli poisining from her little dip in the Ganges. Maybe she bitched the bacteria right out of her system.

Dear Flight Time: A library is not a urinal. Just to tell you. Love, Mrs. Loudshoes.

Man, would Ron have loved that food challenge, or what?? Except he wouldn't have been too fast about it, and certainly wouldn't have managed to shut up long enough to finish in 12 minutes. It did look like a LOT of food for 12 minutes....I wonder if anyone could have done it?

I kept waiting for someone, anyone, during that couch carrying task to yell "PIVOT!" at some point. Because I'd have done so. A lot.

I was so hoping that the Roadblock in Salzburg would include making play clothes out of drapes, singing "Do, A Deer" and finding children hanging out of trees. Or maybe they should have had to solve a problem like Maria! I wonder if that greeter was one of the Von Trapp Family Singers.

Why did Zev and Justin's new cars have Michigan licence plates? Are they supposed to drive them back to the States and then live in Michigan? I don't get it.
Who the hell was talking when they were telling us what's going to happen next week? Because that was SO not Phil.....I was so distracted by the Not Phil voice that I hardly noticed what was going to happen next week. But let me guess: Mallory jumps up and down with excitement about their next task, the Cowboys drive slowly so they don't get lost and Vyxin and Kent caterwaul endlessly about each other.

Until next week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Amazing Race, Unfinished Business Episode 7

Ron was so over this race; or else he had some sort of hunger-based dementia on this leg. He seemed to be in a completely different area of the city from the rest of the racers. Only Ron could convince himself that the producer-placed holy men decided to take a breather and go for a swim. When did Kent turn into such a bitch? Apparently "I won't screw you over" actually means "I will turn on you at the first opportunity that is convenient for me". Gary needs a "Kent to English Dictionary". ("Dick" being the operative word there.) Also, Kenty, it's not the cab driver's fault you bonked your noggin. He's busy working, not babysitting you. I really enjoyed the return to Asthmatic Hamster Kent (last seen in Italy a few seasons back), where Kent tries to yell at Vyxen and it comes out all panicky and breathless. "Get out of that water right now" sounded like an exasperated mother of an sugar-crazed toddler. I think Vyxen was just as surprised as anyone else that that water was way deeper than she thought. Except for the guys on the bank; did you see that NONE of them even moved when she went under? I hope she gets some intravenous antibiotics and a metric tonne of Imodium back at the hotel....she's going to need it. Dear Anonymous Varanasi Cab Passenger, Not all North Americans dress like freaks and shout like banshees. Please do not think that the rest of us would demand you leave your cab, or wear circus costumes while doing it. Love, The Rest of Us Here In The West. I love Mallory. I officially love her. She is all kinds of fabulous, even if she does make me want to give her some Ritalin now and again. She seemed genuinely moved by the cremations on the water's edge, and she has embraced the culture shock of India (which had proven in the past to be Kriptonite to other Racers.) Plus, she sussed out Kent's petty little betrayal very quickly. I was delighted that she and Gary arrived at the mat before the Goths. Kudos to all of them, they all seemed to handle India without blaming India for itself. Can you imagine Jaime in that place? Zev, I don't have Aspberger's and I hate loud noises too. There were parts of DisneyWorld that made me feel like I'd wished I'd brought ear plugs, and I'll bet that didn't smell like India. The gang of buffalo thugs in the alley, mugging Justin for his hay was hilarious. I really liked the way Minature Indian Woman kicked the ass of those patty-makers. She used that stick to pull those ill-made patties off the wall like she's done it plenty before. The Cowboys have such a lovely attitude....they see their mistakes and then put their heads down and get the job done. Nice to see a team who does not snark on each other when things get tense. And you sure never saw either one of them jump in the Ganges. I like that they went half way around the world and still had to haul hay. I think the title for this episode should have been "Anorexic Santas". In fact, that is my new Imaginary Band Name! Favorite Line of the Night: "In India, when you push the gas, the horn goes." You know, at this point, I'd be happy enough with just about anyone winning this thing, except Kent and Vyxen. Next week: It looks like Gary and Mallory have to eat an entire veal. Until next week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in Health Care.

I had to have an ultrasound yesterday, and no, it's not because I am pregnant. Suffice it to say, at my physical a few weeks ago, the doctor wanted to get a better look at some of my innards. If you have never had an abdominal ultrasound, let me fill you in on what you have to do. First, it is imperative that your bladder is really full when this is done. They recommend that you drink "four large glasses of water at least an hour before your appointment", their emphasis, not mine. They say this gives them a better look at your bits and pieces by getting a bit more pressure from the inside. I think it's to stop you from hanging around and asking too many questions. Just to tell you, my bladder is the tiniest of all bladders ever created. I arrive everywhere having to go to the bathroom. I ration out liquids with the precision of an American general planning an invasion; my bladder is a finely tuned machine. Ask my mother, I've always been this way. She claims she knew where every public washroom in a hundred square miles was located when I was a kid. The Mister can't figure out why I need a bathroom stop on the way to the mall. I drank one large glass of water on the way to the appointment, about 20 minutes away. By the time I had filled out the paperwork I ready to go. The waiting room was full of panicky, desperate, slightly frantic women of all ages, looking at the clock every two seconds with a slightly deranged look in their eyes and a palpable air of anguish. Every time the technicians came and called someone in, there was a collective sigh of envy and grief. You would not want to spend ten seconds in that room, lest you gave up all hope for a happy life. After a mercifully short wait, I got called in. The technician was a very nice looking young man with a devastatingly beautiful voice. It was not simply because he called my name that I thought so, he really did have a lovely, deep, rich tenor voice that made me want to listen to him all day He got me on the table, and instructed me to lie down and arrange my clothing thus, and then, in that beautiful, melodious voice that sounded like the angels themselves were calling out to you, he said, "Your bladder is really nice and full". Which struck me as so funny coming out from that face and voice that I nearly laughed out loud. Which would have rendered that sentiment as completely false. I managed to make it through the 10 minutes or so of him plopping a wallop of cold, gooey gel on my stomach and then rummaging all over my abdomen to find the required bits and pieces. At the end of the procedure, he said, again in that dulcet murmur "You can use the toilet around the corner", which made me wonder what would be the worst, most unattractive thing he could say in that voice, and still make it sound like George Clooney and Morgan Freeman were here in the room with me...perhaps or "is that smell coming from you?" or "you really should have that looked at" or "that's one hell of a cold sore". This amused me no end until the end of the appointment. At least I made it back to the salon with only two pit stops on the way.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I Learned From My Exes.

Before I was married, I treated dating like it was a shopping trip: "Those jeans look amazing, but they are going to cost me way too much", "I've never tried that on before, let me give it a go", "I'll be needing a receipt, because there is a good chance I'll bereturning this and wanting my money back". Dating is a complicated, emotional minefield; basically, you both are shopping for lifetime partners, and it's tough to be the one doing the browsing, and the one put back on the shelf. All the young men were nice enough, navigating that minefield as best they could. And even though I only married one of them, I learned something from all of them.

  1. You can learn a lot about someone by how they talk about their exes.

  2. A lump of cream cheese in your scrambled eggs makes them silky and creamy and unbelieveably delicious.

  3. CBC radio is awesome.

  4. If you don't trust someone enough to lend them your car, you probably shouldn't be dating them.

  5. Looking forward to spending time with your cat more than spending time with your boyfriend is not a good sign.

  6. Wishing you had brought your book on your date is also not a good sign.

  7. If he has a terrible relationship with his parents, one of the most fundamental and important relationships in anyone's life, he's eventually going to have problems with every relationship.

  8. Some one who thinks your parents are awesome, is awesome.

  9. Neither being the breaker-upper or the broken-up-with is easy.

  10. It is possible for two people in a relationship to have two completely different and totally opposite ideas of where that relationship is going, while being entirely ignorant of the other person's perception of said relationship.

And a few things I learned from other people's exes:

  1. Don't date anyone crazier than you.

  2. If someone continually says things like "I'm not good enough for you", believe them.

  3. Learning the names and birthdays of all the neices and nephews of the woman you intend to marry is unbelieveably fabulous.

  4. Finding out that someone has a shitload of debt is a big deal. The fact that they are ignoring it and telling you it's not a big deal is a way bigger deal.

  5. Sweet potatoes make a surprisingly good burrito filling.

  6. Jerry Lewis is NOT a comedic genius, no matter what they say in France.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Alligator Alley

When my daughters and I went to Florida last month, we were perfectly happy to sit around the condo and the pool, reading and shopping and indulging in the States nearly unexhaustable supply of junk food. But eventually, that gets a little boring, even if you can buy a new kind of potato chip every single day.

Because our policy on vacation is "you don't do, eat or see anything you could at home", we wanted to do something very Floridian, and for that, we had to get the alligators involved. We don't have alligators in southwestern Ontario....we have raccoons and skunks and the occasional directionally-challenged bear, but no alligators.

My parents knew of a place a few hours south of them, on the northern edge of the Everglades, that had tours on those boats with the big fans on the back, which we don't have in southwestern Ontario either, although they might be very good in the snow. \

It was fabulous. Not for the squeamish, though, you get scary close to those alligators.

This is the boat, but that's not us on it. No one in my family would ever wear magenta capri pants. You did get to wear some nifty red earmuffs, because the fan is really loud.
But you can see how low in the water it is, and that there are no railings or anything else much to stop you from toppling out into the alligator-infested water. (The water's only about a foot deep, though, so you might be able to outrun an alligator, what with the adrenaline and all.)

We spent an hour tooling around the lake, seeing dozens of alligators sunning themselves and swimming around. Sometimes the boat got really, really close to an alligator. Like this:

That grey line on the left hand side of the picture is the running board of the boat. Thing 1 took that picture without a zoom lens. The tour guide said that was probably as close as we'd ever get to an alligator, we literally could reach down and touch him. I said that was as close as I ever wanted to get to an alligator. Doesn't he look mean?

We came upon a nest of baby alligators. This one was about a foot long.

Usually, babies of any species ellicit ooohs and aaaawes of delight and appreciation. Not so with baby alligators, which, unlike kittens or koala bears, look menacing and intense. I'm pretty sure this one was eyeing up the soft, tender flesh of my knee while I was taking this picture.

The boat was very stable and you didn't feel tippy or anything in it, but you really do get close to those alligators. One woman asked if they would lunge at the boat, and the tour guide replied "I'm supposed to say 'no' ". Comforting.

The pool and a bag of chips was about as adventurous as we got after that.