dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun
1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Death

I had violent morning sickness with my first daughter. I was throwing up for five months straight, absolutely nothing would stay down.

When I was pregnant with my second daughter I was very conscious of my nausea and very careful with what I ate in order to try and stave off the vomiting.

When I was almost five months pregnant I threw up for the first time.

It was about three in the morning.

I was, of course, upset about this. I was hoping that with this pregnancy I may just luck out and not be so sick as to actually throw up.

I drank some lemon water and tried to get back to sleep.

No luck.

Not even fifteen minutes later I was back in the bathroom removing the lemon water from my system.

This carried on three or four times until I woke my brother up (we lived together at the time) and told him that I was sick and needed to go to the store for some gingerale. I believe I said something along the lines of:

“Just so you know...if there’s a fire or something, you’re responsible for making sure Shake’n’Bake makes it out of the house alive.”

Damn you potato chips!


I got in my crapbox in the middle of winter, and struggled with driving it (the power steering is broken) to McDonalds – they don’t sell gingerale, Tim Horton’s – they don’t sell gingerale, and finally Mac’s where I paid a ridiculous amount of money for a single bottle.

Karma got them back though...I threw up in their parking lot.

I forced my weak shaking arms to fight my car’s power steering and allow me to return, in a cold sweat, to my apartment.

The gingerale did not work.

In fact, it only made my throat burn when I threw up. And yes, I had let it go flat first.

The door to my bedroom had no doorknob, just a vacant hole, and therefore it was impossible to close it and prevent my daughter from opening it.

This day that turned out to be a perk.

At about eight in the morning Shake’n’Bake woke up, and upon not finding me asleep in my bed, opened the door and ventured out to find me.

“Mommy... what you doing?” she asked.

“Go wake up your uncle.” Was all I managed to struggle out while lying uselessly on the floor of my bathroom.

She went to my brother’s door and began tapping on it while saying “knock knock knock.” Fortunately, since I have never let my daughter wake him up before, this unusual situation was enough to rouse him from his bed and make him come investigate the situation.

I told him that I was fairly certain I was dying and that he needed to take care of Shake’n’Bake for me. He agreed, (he was also her usual babysitter at the time, so none of the daily tasks were difficult for him) and left me to my slow and painful death on the bathroom floor.

Then the diarrhea started.

But the vomiting did not stop.

I never thought I would truly appreciate the placement of the toilet and the bathtub in my bathroom until that day.

I suffered and suffered; I ended up in the hospital on IV because I was dehydrated. Normally, I would have waited it out, but I was pregnant and really didn’t want my body to assume that I was dying and give up on keeping the baby alive, in a last-ditch-attempt to save my life.

For 2 days I suffered so, (Thank GOD for baby wipes!) until at last I started to feel better.

Of course, by ‘feel better’ I mean that the vomiting stopped and was instead replaced by muscular pain around my abdomen SO FIERCE that I would literally compare it to being hit by a car.

And yes, I have been hit by a car.

That night Shake’n’Bake got it.

Poor kid.

Two days later my brother got it.

I remember stopping by the bathroom door and asking him if I could get him anything. After a moment of silence the only reply I got was, “A gun.”




The doctor said it was Norwalk.



I believe that I am completely reasonable in calling it Death.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Games We Played

My family was poor growing up.
(Looking back now, not a lot has changed...I’m still poor)

Being poor meant a variety of things to my brother and I. It meant there weren’t a lot of presents at Christmas; that we bought clothes from a second-hand store; that we couldn’t buy Pogs or Crazy Bones when they came out; pizza dinners were elusive; and family trips were few and far between.

It meant that while our friends had swimming pools or air hockey tables, we had the park across the street and a whole lot of imagination. I’ve compiled a short list of the games that we played when we were kids because I truly enjoyed these games, and it helps to prove that money doesn’t buy happiness.


That’s a lie...money buys happiness...I miss money.


Comforter Stairs Ride – The Bunny Hill

This game started out innocently enough. Most likely inspired by the crazy carpets we couldn’t afford in the winter or the ride at the fair where you sat on a piece of fabric and shot down the slide, my brother and I would take the comforters off our beds and sit on them at the top of the stairs. We’d grab the excess that hung off the front and pull it up over our legs giving us some security in the blanket and, of course, a handle. You’d then edge yourself to the very top and with a final bum wiggle launch yourself down in a fast, butt-bruising ride all the way to the landing.

Extra points if you then bum wiggled to the top of the remaining stairs and went for the rest.


Comforter Stairs Ride – The Diamond Hill

This is the game that evolved from the Carpet Slide predecessor. Instead of showing any kind of order or rules this game was complete havoc. The goal was to reach the bottom. You would wrap yourself entirely in comforter, similar to a hot dog but in this game a hot dog would have gotten hurt...not enough bun, and then threw your body down the stairs as violently as possible. Flips, rolls, and a variety of kick-induced sliding would bounce you off walls, and the stair rails, not to mention the stairs of course.

Extra points if you hit the landing and could decipher which direction the rest of the staircase ran in order to throw yourself down the last five steps.

Washer Hunt

Like this...but not so bent. And painted.
My dad owned these giant steel washers. They’re probably the size of an adult’s palm. One washer was painted red, and the rest were painted yellow. The object of the game was that one person would hide the washers all over the front yard and the remaining players were to find them. The red one was always hid in the hardest place. My brother and I tried to make the game more dangerous at one point, but I got hit in the head with one of these big steel washers and decided that it was no longer fun.


Fantasy Sword Fighting

There are some wooden swords up at my Grandma’s cottage that were once used to have many an epic sword fight. Winding tales of heroism and loot were created, but by the time my brother and I were of the age to truly appreciate these dangerous battles, most of the weapons had begun to rot and would just explode in a shower of soggy splinters upon impact. So we decided to make our own.

Our weapons were glorified sticks. I even went as far to paint a yellow tip on this one stick that I had decided was a magic wand. It worked wonders from on top of our School Bus Clubhouse.
This is what I imagined I had created.

School Bus Club House

My Grandfather was somewhat of a hoarder. This means that the cottage was covered in all manners of things, most of them absolutely useless. There was an old school bus there. The seats had been removed, some windows broken, and the front steps were rusted out. My Grandfather had filled the school bus with ‘building materials’ and left it to sit.


My brother and I decided that this would be a great opportunity for us to have a clubhouse. After about ten minutes of sharing the inside of the school bus with all sorts of creepy crawlies and dangerous building supplies we gave up on it. Instead we pulled an old table and a couple of old chairs on top of the school bus and had our clubhouse up there.

Danger = Fun


I’m sure there are many more, but unfortunately I have a newborn and am exhausted and therefore cannot think of any more at the moment.

Looking back at the Comforter Stairs Ride, specifically the Diamond Hill version, I am starting to understand the mental problems that my brother and I have...

But it could just be the genes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ham Dinner

My apartment has no oven.

When Boyfriend and I first came to look at this apartment it seemed perfect. It has a spacious front room with a shell of a closet; two good sized bedrooms that are separated by a giant door frame; decent sized bathroom; a big dual kitchen/living room; and a nice upstairs loft area that I use for my office (aka catch-all). I was talking to the landlord in the kitchen area when I realised that something seemed odd.

It took me a good minute too, until I realised it.

There was no oven.

Well, the price was right for the apartment, and being poor means I am less picky, so I took a look at Walmart and found the perfect solution.

The roaster oven.

The roaster oven is a magical little device that is pretty much a glorified crock pot. Instead of a high/medium/low dial it has all of the degrees that an oven would have. The inside comes out so if you use it as a crock pot to make roasts, etc. in then you can wash it afterwards, and if you desire to use it as an oven you place this nifty little rack on the bottom and put your baking sheets or casserole dishes on that.

Mine is like this, except black, and from this decade.

This is what I used to make The Ham Dinner in.

The first time I had Boyfriend’s Mom over we decided to make a big ham dinner. It was going to be the first time that I met her, and I was SUPER nervous. SUPER SUPER nervous. For you see, I am madly in love with Boyfriend and wish to be with him forever, therefore it was important to me to make a good impression.

“Why yes Mrs. Boyfriend’s Mom, I do live in the ghetto and have two children that aren’t your son’s...but look how nice my apartment is on the inside! I clean it very well and can make nice fancy dinners to feed to you and your son. Isn’t that impressive? Don’t you think better of me now? Obviously I just made some poor choices earlier in life and have to live in the ghetto for a while to dig myself out of this hole, but I’m still a good person and the perfect girlfriend for your son. You respect me? All because of my lovely ham dinner? Well thank you, I appreciate that.”

That’s how it all went down in my head at least.

So I obsessed over the menu. Boyfriend and I added things bit by bit and came up with this lovely spread:

-Maple Ham, slow-cooked for five hours to perfection

-Carrots dimes, cooked in the ham juices for the last hour

-Garlic mashed potatoes

-Pasta salad

-Garden salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing
(other dressing also available)

-Warm French bread

-A variety of drinks

-Post-dinner tea


Boyfriend’s Mom said she was going to bring a pie. Strawberry rhubarb – My Favourite!

So we slaved for hours in the kitchen that day, all the while neurotically cleaning my apartment. Frantically washing dishes as we used them, timing things out so everything would be done and hot by the time they got there, and just generally bathing in the paranoia that Boyfriend’s Mom would not like me and that our relationship would crumble into dust because of it.

The mashed potatoes were mashed into perfection and Boyfriend was carving the ham; the garden salad had been divided into four little bowls and the bread was sliced; the pasta had been cooked and was cooling in the fridge with the dressing; and last minute I decided that it needed celery.

I frantically whipped out a cutting board and knife; washed the celery in the sink; and sat my butt on a chair next to a little end table to chop. I got one stalk in and jammed the knife down the side of my finger. All the way to the nail bed.

Celery + Knife = The Devil

Blood! First aid! Pressure!



I finished attending to my wounds in time to see their silhouettes walking up my porch. We answered the door and names were exchanged, hands were shook, and then Boyfriend went to help BF’s Mom’s boyfriend unload their truck.

This left Boyfriend’s Mom and I alone in my front hall.



*awkward silence*



“Can I uh, get you something to drink?” I asked innocently in an attempt to break the silence.

“No thanks, we just had dinner. I’m okay.” She replied.

Stunned I asked, “You already ate?”


I then turned and looked at the stove, covered in pots with various hot foods in them; the four little bowls filled with a fresh garden salad; and the half-cut celery sitting on the end table.



And my finger throbbed.



Apparently, somewhere along the lines there was a communication failure and they had eaten before they came over.

My little roaster over had slaved for five hours, and at the end of it all?



We all had tea and pie.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Attack!

Although I live in a fairly dirty part of town, the inside of my house is actually quite nice. There are a few minor things that irritate me (which I will share at some point) but for the most part it is very nicely done.

Unfortunately, my front door is rather shabby... it appears at some point before I lived here that someone tried to BREAK IN. The screen over the windows is missing, and there are screwdriver-esque pry marks all around the window and the door frame.


This isn't my door, but it is so close in quality that I had to use it.

I also have a screen door that may or may not have been damaged in this attempt at robbery. It hangs on a bit of an angle and the bottom comes nowhere near to where the door frame is.

This leaves about an inch and a half of a gap that is open to the world outside and all of its creepy crawlies.

I’ve been having a problem with couch beetles. Since Boyfriend had bought me an air conditioner (WIN!) I no longer had the need to leave my main door open to get a breeze, but these crafty little buggers are finding another way in. Landlord says that he leaves his door open and they are probably coming up through the vents.

I named these teeny tiny bugs couch beetles because they look like miniature beetles (smaller than the eraser of a pencil), and the first five or so were discovered on or near my couches.

The very first one I found on my back while I was sitting on the couch.

Let me emphasize that.

MY BACK.

Gross.

I am prone to mashing these couch beetles with whatever I can find. They deserve it. My house, my rules. I choose “Survival of the Fittest”.

All of these couch beetles (the current count is 42 found and mashed couch beetles) has helped to develop a keen bug paranoia. I feel them crawling on me ALL of the time now. I see these tiny black specks from across the room- arm myself- and go to see if they are mash-worthy specks of life or just dirt.

One night I was attacked by something much fiercer.

It must have come in after I had said my farewells to Boyfriend who was on his way to work the night shift at his job.

The following are the real emails I sent to him.

Hello Boyfriend,

I am writing to you with a sad face today.
I am being attacked by a vicious home-invading bug.
His name is Gzznt.
I'm fairly certain he's a cricket.
Either way, he was all nasty-fly-around-and-scare-me-late-at-night and then he's disappeared before I could mash him.
I think he is hiding in the curtains closest to the door, and when I tried to scare him out (so I could mash him) by smacking the curtain with a dish towel, he angrily screamed GZZNT! which I'm fairly certain was the sound of his nasty wings bouncing off of the plastic on the window.
The sound made me want to throw up.
So I pulled out the couch and tried to pull/shake the curtains (once again to lure him out for mashing) and I didn't succeed. I am not going to be able to sleep tonight for fear the Gzznt will crawl into bed with me while I am sleeping. Maybe up my nose, into my ear, or clamber into my open and drooling mouth.
What if he attacks my kids?!
What kind of a mother would I be if I went to sleep all willy nilly and left my poor unassuming two year old to fend for herself against a creature that is SO fearsome that it has it's own name!?!?!
Not a very good one.
And so, I will be up. Up and awake. In the hopes that Gzznt shows himself to me again, and that *this* time I don't f it up and manage to mash him.

Courageously yours,
Girlfriend

Followed twenty minutes later by:

Hello Boyfriend,

I am victorious!
Gzznt tried to sneak up on me.
Somehow he managed to cross the room despite my acute bug paranoia.
He was lurking on the wall above the microwave when my spidey-senses went off.
"Look to the left!" They screamed.
So I did, and there he was.
Gzznt is a cocky bastard though. He wasn't trying to blend in with crap on the wall, or hide behind light fixtures or the clock, nooooo, not Gzznt. He was spinning in a nasty nasty circle, flicking his legs and wings at me.
So I got the empty box of Fruity Hoops. And an empty water bottle (just in case I needed a smaller faster weapon) and I MASHED HIM!
The he fell behind the microwave stand.
But this was not good enough for me. Nooooo. :D:D:D
I moved the table, and the high chair, and I pulled out the microwave stand and I found him.
With his last breaths he had pulled himself with his one good remaining leg underneath the power bar.
I didn't even hesitate.
MASH! MASH! MASH!
There were guts everywhere!!!
Then, MASH! MASH!
Just to make sure.
Stop twitching Gzznt...
MASH! MASH! MASH!
MWAHAHAHAHA!
Then I picked him up with a specially folded piece of masking tape and threw his nasty ass in the garbage can.
Don't mess with me.

Yours in VICTORY!,
Girlfriend.

This is the closest picture I could find.
No, that is not my hand.
Not a flying hope in hell.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

City Planning Fail

This is a rough map of where I live:

Where I Live
(Click to Enlarge)
You'll notice my nice little house in the blue, my one neighbour in the purple, and of course the massive industry that is right across the street from me.
The important part here is what appears on the bottom left of my map...
Welfare.
Or more importantly-welfare's location in relation to the Horrible Apartments.

*side note: nice job Tim Horton's...conveniently placing yourself right next to the place where a lot of people who pick up small change go.*

There are a vast amount of businesses on Mainly Bad Road. Some small restaurant type things, some convenience stores, the occasional specialty sports store, and of course a pawn shop...but more importantly there is a Money Mart and a Beer Store.

Horrible Apartments are subsidized housing, so they are populated with a lot of people who are on Social Assistance aka Welfare. Now I don't mean to come across as despising people who are on Social Assistance, or stereotyping them in any way, (after all I came to this conclusion during my walk to the very same office) but this particular apartment complex gives the impression that it's residents are skeezy. There is always a police car parked outside. Always. I have seen up to six on one occasion. Police cars constantly jet down my street in the direction of Horrible Apartments, and it is implied that that is where they are going. (My city pretty much ends there, so there is no other reason for them to be heading that way.)
All of the windows in the complex are covered with either: colourful beach towels...enough said, or broken venetian blinds.
These would be nice ones
So this is where I find the humour. These people (I'm going to bet can't afford cars...welfare doesn't give you a lot.) walk down to the welfare office to pick up their cheques every month. ON THE WAY HOME they get to stop at the Money Mart - cash their cheques; pick up a two-four at the Beer Store; and stop in at one of the 'conveniently' located stores for cigarettes.
Ah, the government's money hard at work.
Even IF we give everyone there the benefit of the doubt, if but one person makes this trip then this is indeed a
City Planning Fail.
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