Thursday, August 29, 2013

No Job For You

I didn't get the job. Excuse me a moment while I wail and clench my fists and blow my nose really, really loud.

Why didn't they like me? Why? WHY? 


Was it my Dr. Seuss criminal record on the background check? Was it because I'm old and fat and they wanted yet another Big-Boobied Tartlet at their orifice cooler? (It's a bird. Look it up.) Because, really, are there ever enough young women in tight blouses and camel-toe pants working at car dealerships?

It's not like I don't have social media experience. (Right?) It's not like I don't have 30 years under my belt as a writer and a photographer. It's not like I couldn't give them the most awesome website they'd ever seen, complete with a funny, fabulous Facebook page that people WANT to interact with. It's not like I couldn't do the fecking JOB in my fecking SLEEP.

Maybe it's because I like to say feck so much? Well feck, I wouldn't say feck on their Facebook page ... OK, so maybe just once or twice...

I didn't actually think they would reject me. I honestly thought they would offer me the job and then I would negotiate a higher wage because, frankly, I'm worth twice what they were offering and I live in a fecking dream world. And then, when they refused to offer me more moolah, I would tell them to stick their job in their pipe and smoke it.

I just didn't imagine them not offering me the job. How big-headed and stupid is that?

I know I should act like a grown-up but I really feel sorry for myself right now. I may have to spend the rest of the day blowing my nose and yelling at the cats.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Would YOU Do?

How much can I do for people? How muuuuuuch????

So taking two kids halfway across the country on an airplane was trying, to say the least. For the trip home yesterday I was looking forward to a little me time – the window seat I'd paid extra for (because I like watching the ground as I plummet towards it), my Kindle, earbuds and licorice allsorts. Oh, and also a pre-emptive Imodium. I was bagged and bunged and ready for four hours of flighterly fun.

I get on the airplane and see there's a man sitting in my seat.

"Would you mind trading with me?" he says. "I couldn't get three seats in a row and I want to sit with my family."

I guess he thinks I won't mind since he's already ensconced in my seat, jacket off, seat belt on, newly-hatched baby in his arms. Beside him is a toddler and a well-worn woman who looks exhausted enough to be his wife.

"That's my seat there," he says, pointing to the aisle seat across, as luck would have it, the aisle.

The man's got nerve, that much is for sure. He's someone you might see working in downtown Toronto, Mr. Stock Exchange, all muscular and handsome, well-dressed too, and he looks like he's used to getting his own way. But how can I say no to him? He's got a baby AND a toddler. On an airplane. Just last week I had faced the same challenge and I knew it wasn't any walk in the park.

And besides, his seat was an end aisle, which wasn't so bad.

As I've mentioned before I have a rather large ass. If I book my ass an aisle seat or a window seat, it has more room to spread without bothering anyone. Last thing I want is my ass making an ass of itself.

"OK," I say. "Sure." Because I would have been a total ass had I been the one to separate a man from his family.

I sit down in the aisle seat, put my purse at my feet and strap on the seat belt. Then all of a sudden I notice a woman standing in the aisle staring at me.

Just then Mr. Family Man leans over and says, "Actually my seat was the middle seat."

"Well then, that changes everything," I say. "Deal's off. Gimme back my seat." I'm actually kinda not kidding. I'm pissed off. He deliberately misled me. But Mr. Doofus Family Man looks stricken so I say, "just kidding."

So I move to the middle seat. The new lady looks unimpressed. In fact she looks mortified and I know right away what's eating her. She is seated beside the two fattest people on the plane: me and this guy who is so large that he makes me feel skinny. She is probably thinking, 'oh no, two fatties... they're probably going to be all sweaty and stinky and they're gonna touch me with their stinky sweatiness' or some such thing. Now don't y'all go on saying that's not true – I've read enough vile comments from skinny people having to "endure" fat people on airplanes to know that they'd rather jump off without a parachute than have to be glued to a fat person for the length of a plane ride.

As it turned out, I was totally glued to my plus-sized seat mate for four hours. When he was awake, he tried hard to keep his bulk away from my bulk, which I admire, because I try to do the same thing. Unfortunately, he slept for most of the trip and, when unconscious, his arms relaxed and he literally pinned me to my seat. I couldn't even scratch my nose. I sat there, bolt upright, squished like a bug, with my arms crossed in front of me so I wouldn't bother the lady on my other side. Occasionally I accidentally touched her and she pulled away like she had been singed. By the time we arrived in Edmonton, my back was killing me, my shoulders ached and my whole left side smelled like Old Spice. Kudos to my large friend for smelling nice – disproving the insane notion that just because we're hefty doesn't mean we're smelly.

Mr. Family Man had a pleasant journey, from what I could see. All sprawled out in my aisle seat, picture-perfect baby asleep in his arms, Shirley Temple toddler all pink-cheeked and curly-haired, tired wife blessedly asleep and likely dreaming sweet, husband-less dreams.

He didn't even offer to pay me the $30 it cost me to get that seat. Nor did he say thank-you as I uncrumpled myself from the plane.

Dave wonders why I gave him my seat. I figure I had no choice ... I mean, what kind of a horrible person would I be if I denied a man a chance to be with his family?

What would you do?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Job Interviews and Lucky Blouses

I have one of those newfangled crackberry phones and I haven't got all the wrinkles ironed out. Like, I am forever hanging up on Dave because I can't tell the difference between connect and disconnect. Last night I broke into a cold sweat trying to add our neighbour to my list of contacts.

"It's because I'm such a technical guru," I said as my fat fingers flailed and floundered, "that I have a job interview tomorrow DOING SOCIAL MEDIA. Hahahahahaha! And I don't even know to work my FECKING PHONE."

So, yes! I had a job interview this morning. I haven't had one of those in, like, six years and I had no clue what to wear so I decided to wear the same blouse I wore on the day I "got the package" from my last company and moved out west. I get superstitious about clothes. Do you? Whenever something bad happens to me I never want to wear what I was wearing – ever again.

The package I got from work was awesome – basically a big bag of money (START THE CAR!!!!) – and it didn't hurt my feelings, getting a buyout, because I was already leaving and the package was like a nice going away present. So the blouse I was wearing was actually a good luck blouse, attracting bags of money and such, so naturally I put it on this morning. Plus it's pretty new and kinda funky and makes me look less ginormous.

I also shaved my legs. So I wouldn't stab anyone.

I was nervous about the interview, but only because I wasn't sure I really wanted to work. This summer has been the first time in 30 years that I haven't had a job, and let me tell you, it's been sweet. There's something to be said for sleeping in, drinking coffee, watching home decoration shows on TV and playing on Facebook all day. I wasn't sure I wanted to give all that up.

Turns out this is a perfect job for me. Part-time social media stuff. Uploading photos. Creating a better website. Building a better Facebook and Twitter presence. Writing. Photos. Stuff I'm good at. Most of which can be done in my pajamas in my own home. Now I hope I'm not jinxing this by writing about it before I find out if the job is mine or not. But hey, they want a social media type and surely they realize that social media types tend to burp out their every waking moments on, er, social media.

It would be nice to get the job but if I don't it's not the end of the world. There will still be coffee and Love It Or List It and time to enjoy it in the style to which I am just getting accustomed.

If I don't get it though, that blouse is going in the trash.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'd Love It, Mizz Hilary

I'm watching Love It Or List It as we speak and I feel SO sorry for Hilary that I want to reach through the television and smack homeowner Sherry right upside her crusty head!

Doesn't she know she sounds like a shrill seagull? Yapping and complaining about everything! Gawd! If I was her husband Charles I'd kick her bony butt right out.

I'm addicted to this TV show, I have to say. If you've never seen it, there are two stars: designer Hilary Farr and real estate expert David Visentin. They work with frustrated homeowners who are no longer in love with their houses. Hilary renovates, hoping the owners will love their house again. David shows them other properties, hoping they'll list and move.

I love David, I do. He's one of the most charming guys on TV, but his job is so easy! All he has to do is  show houses. Hilary, on the other hand, has the daunting job of renovating and it's always more complicated than it first seems as she deals with hidden problems like leaky basements, asbestos, bad wiring and even rodent infestation. As her contractors uncover the hidden problems, Hilary has to go to the homeowners and either get more money for them or cut back on the scope of the renovation. Invariably, the homeowners refuse to hand over more cash.

Which, as far as I'm concerned, is ridiculous! Hilary does amazing work. If I had her working on MY house, I would beg, borrow or steal the extra money so she could do everything that needed doing. I mean, how often do you have a professional designer in your house? Give her the money! Get it done! Pffft... people drive me crazy.

Hilary, you can come make my house beautiful. I promise I won't yell at you. I promise I'll "love it." I'll bake you cookies (cause you're a little on the skinny side), I'll rub your tired tootsies and I'll kiss the ground you walk on.

And if you need somebody to take a round out of Mizz Sherry, well, just ask! I'll "list" her right into next week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What You Do When You're Old

Oh, it's all nakedly hair-free when you're staring in the bathroom mirror, tweezer in hand, but the very second you're in a public place, like your car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, WHAP, there's a forest of barb-wire-things sprouting from your chin.

It must be stray food that makes those hairs grow so fast. Spilled coffee raises the alkalinity of the chin soil, I understand.

Anyway, you grab the tweezers that are stashed in the console, for just such an occasion (when you're younger, it's lip gloss and rubbers that are hidden there; when you're 52, it's tweezers and slight-urine-loss-mini-pads). You flip down the driver's mirror and start searching for the offending hair, which crawled back up its follicle the moment the tweezers came to light, when something catches your eye.

You look to your right and there, in the car next to you, is another woman plucking hairs off HER chin.

Is this what happens to us all when we hit 50? We hang out in Wal-Mart parking lots plucking our chins?

I'd raise my chin and try not to worry about such things, but I'm afraid I might poke my eye out.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why I Hate Booze

I'm the first to admit I have hang-ups about booze. You can't grow up surrounded by alcoholics without being screwed up.

If I'm out at a fancy restaurant, I order a glass of wine. Or a Bloody Caesar. Mmmm, I love a good Bloody Caesar. Other than that, I don't drink. Dave is as much as a boozer as me. He'll have two or three Rum & Cokes at the Christmas party, but there's been a mickey of rum in the house since dinosaurs roamed the earth. (Every once in a while I dust it.)

My father was an alcoholic (who went to rehab later in life and never drank again, bless his soul). My grandfather was an alcoholic. Several of my other close relatives battle with the bottle. My ex mother-in-law and her ridiculous second husband are both alcoholics. I tell ya, I have put up with more than my fair share of shit-faced people over the years and I am sick and tired of it.

I hate how people get when they're drunk. Stupid. Irrational. Mouthy. Violent. Selfish. They fight. They drive. They cause accidents. They lose their licenses. They lose their jobs. They lose their families. Sometimes they live in filthy, disgusting hovels fit only for TV shows like Hoarders. Sometimes they even kill people. And still, they drink.

There's nothing they like better than getting wasted. It's big-time excitement, going to a bar, or a party, or sitting around in a living room with a few drinking buddies and a few bottles of whiskey. Dave and I used to get invited to these shin-digs all the time until people figured out we're boring old farts, dryer than popcorn farts in a desert. Drinkers generally hang out with drinkers. There's no judgement that way and nobody seems to mind if breakfast is hair of the dog and a pack of smokes.

There's the odd person, though, who doesn't "get" that we don't want to hang around with drunks and insist on showing up at our place half (or entirely) in the bag, toting booze and looking for a party. A few years ago this couple showed up uninvited. We offered them coffee or a Coke and the girl asked, "Ya got anything else? Any beer or liquor?" I was shocked by her forwardness and instead of saying, "No," I remembered the dusty bottle of rum in the cupboard and said, "Um, yeah, I think so." I made her and her boyfriend a drink and put the bottle back in the cupboard. Her and the boyfriend guzzled down their drinks in record time. A few minutes later she got off the couch and headed to the kitchen. Without asking, she fetched the rum from the cupboard and poured herself and the guy hefty drinks. She did this again, and again, until the booze was gone, while I secretly fumed at her obnoxiousness and my own inability to stand up for myself.

Generally speaking, I'm a polite person. So is Dave. We're proud of that, but sometimes we get taken advantage of. We should have asked the couple to leave but politeness and good manners stopped us. The couple, on the other hand, had no manners whatsoever.

And that's my problem. That's what I'm so mad about. Boozers will consistently walk all over us because we're too polite to kick them the hell out. We've had individuals show up at our house with booze in their hand (they were probably drinking it while they were driving here), and sit down and carry on without even asking if it's ok. KNOWING how I feel about it, but doing it anyway. Then flinging cigarette butts on our front lawn and leaving them for us to pick up.

Well I'm sorry. I am not putting up with this boorish behaviour any longer. I have drawn a line in the sand. This is my house. Not yours. And I refuse to let your drinking problem interfere with my life. You are not my child or my parent. I am not your caretaker. I am not here to clean up your messes. You want to ruin your life? Go ahead. Just don't involve me.

If you want to hang out here, quit drinking, quit smoking and grow the hell up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Peeing, Multi-Tasking and the Great Reward

Do you ever, you know, have to pee? But you don't? Not right away? Because you have something to do first, and if you get that done, then you can go to the bathroom. Like it's a reward? Say you're on the way to the can but you pass the kitchen enroute and see you haven't emptied the dishwasher yet, so you stop and empty the dishwasher, and then fill it with the dirty crap that was dumped in your sink by other people who don't share your reverence for multi-tasking (and were probably peeing as you stabbed yourself with the upside down fork that was lurking behind a spoon). And then, since you're there, you gather up the dirty tea towels, empty the garbage and sweep the floor. The sweeping is somewhat difficult because your legs are firmly crossed and you're thinking, geez, I gotta go to the can. But the laundry room is on the way to the bathroom so you take the tea towels with you, except you can't go into the laundry room empty-handed so you take a detour up to bedroom, strip the sheets, gather up gotchies and pick up wet towels from the upstairs bathroom. While you're there you brush your teeth, because they're kinda coffee-scuzzed (which is why you also have to pee,) and you brush whilst holding your breath, which is hard (you should try it), because you have to pee so damned bad and you think, just pee here. Right? Just go pee. But that wouldn't make any sense because you're going down to the laundry room, which has a bathroom, which is where you were headed in the first place, so you stagger cross-legged down the stairs, juggling the laundry basket and a bladder bigger than the neighbour's hot tub. Then the phone rings, so you drop the basket in the kitchen, try to answer the phone, but you can't because it's a new phone and you're a technical luddite so you accidentally hang up on your husband and then spend five minutes phoning him while he's trying to phone you and finally you say feck it, and head to the bathroom, only you have an idea about a blog post, so you drop the laundry basket in the middle of the kitchen floor and swerve to the dining room where your laptop sits and you perch on a chair with your whole body twisted in some weird pee knot and you start writing because you have to write when the muse hits. So you write, and you grit the teeth that are floating around in the back of your mouth, and finally you're done, so you RUN to the bathroom, only you see the laundry basket on the floor and ...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lab Lady Meltdown

It's almost time to go to the lab and get some bloodwork done. I do hope I can accomplish this small feat without braining someone.

Yesterday I had a minor meltdown when I tried, and failed, to get it done.

I like to think I'm fairly easy-going, and I know there are others who may think the opposite but screw them, they've probably done something to cheese me off and are well-deserving of any fits thrown in their general direction. Still, if you treat me like I'm non-existant, I'm gonna get mad.

Like, if you're the lady in the lab yesterday you totally deserve a hissy fit. Who do you think you are? God? The Man from U.N.C.L.E? Florence Fecking Nightingale?


Anyway, yesterday I headed into the lab for some bloodwork. Requisition in hand, I walked the entire length of the hospital to the lab, because, if you've ever noticed, labs are always in the hiney of any hospital. I guess planners figure emergency departments need to be up front. I barely get the logic, other than that having emerg up front prevents bleeders and vomiters from dripping down the hallway. Oh, and I guess maybe dying people can't be expected to walk that far ...

I got to the lab, requisition and health card at the ready, and handed it to the woman behind the glass window. I am fairly confident it was bulletproof glass for reasons that will become apparent. The woman took my paperwork, glanced at it, then kinda shoved it back into my hand.

"You need to register at the front," she said.

"Sorry," I said, politely. "I didn't know. This is the first time I've been here."

She ignored me. Continued doing whatever she was doing.

I said to Dave, who was with me, "Did you want to wait for me here?"

"No," he said, "I'll come with you."

Away we went, back from whence we came. As we toddled down the long hallway, me with my bad knees, I saw a poster advertising the benefits of walking. Pffft, I thought.

I honestly didn't know you had to register at the hospital's front desk in order to have bloodwork done in the lab. Hey, I was fresh from Ontario, where you go directly to the lab – you don't bother the lady at the front desk unless you need information or you've severed your arm or something. But hey, that was cool. We went back to the front desk and waited in line for what seemed like an eternity as the poor receptionist dealt with complicated problems ahead of us. I shifted from one sore knee to the other, trying my best to be patient as the pain started radiating to my hips.

Finally it was my turn.

The nice receptionist took my paperwork and started to process it, then stopped dead in her tracks.

"I'm sorry," she said. "The lab is closed."

I looked at her like she had two heads.

"But the lady in the lab just sent me here," I protested.

"It closes at 4 o'clock," the receptionist added.

"Really! Seriously?" I said, shocked that the lab lady would send me back to the front of the hospital without even mentioning that she would be closing soon.

"Do I look like I'm joshing?" said the receptionist and I immediately realized I was giving her a hard time, when she didn't deserve one. I lowered my tone and she, very nicely, phoned the lab to see if they, by some miracle stayed open to wait for me.

Alas, the lab was, in fact, closed.

Why, I fumed, didn't she TELL me she was closing? That there really was no point in going back to reception and waiting in line? She might have even pointed out that the lab closes at 4 p.m. and that I left my visit too late in the afternoon. But no. Not a word.

I cursed and swore and mumbled and whined all the way home. Wisely, Dave didn't say a word. About an hour later I wound down but it was still the first thing I thought of this morning.

Now the time has come to go back to the lab. Round two. I'm almost afraid. At least this time I know I have to register first. And I know what time they close. But I'm telling you, if she starts giving me a hard time about anything else, like my health card being from Ontario or my veins misbehaving, it won't be me that gets a needle shoved up my ass.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If I was a pin-up girl ...

... I'd be Hilda!

Look at that girl. Happy, fun-loving, gorgeous and, unlike just about every other pin-up girl on the planet, plump!  Up until a few days ago I had never heard of her. Then bloggy friend Carrie Clevenger posted a Facebook link to a collection of Hilda paintings and I fell in love. Artist Duane Bryers brought this famously ravishing redhead to life and you can find out more about him (and see lots of other happy Hildas) on Les Toil's website.

Hilda's one of the reasons I finally changed the name of my blog. I know, I know, I'm slower than a frozen roast beef in a broken crock pot, but I didn't want to pick a new name until I found something that tickled my picky-pants fancy. Nothing made me stand up and sing. Nothing. But it was bothering me, so much so that I didn't even go near my blog because I felt guilty. I'd see the bookmarked link on the top of my computer screen, Life on the Muskoka River, and avoid it like I owed it money. Last night I dreamed about the darned thing. Argh. I woke up this morning and went, that's IT. I have to change the stupid name on my stupid blog before my head spins and I start spewing pea soup.

I wanted to put Cold Lake in the title and liked the Cathy-Cold Lake thingey going on. I mentioned Cathy Does Cold Lake but Dave thought it was too corny and way too porny. Then I kinda settled on Cold Lake Cathy, thinking it reminded me of Buffalo Bill, which is all western, and I'm now all about being western. So yeah, Cold Lake Cathy.

Then all I had to do was come up with a new header. Easier said than done.

Cold Lake isn't easy to sum up in just one photo. It has multiple personalities, it does. It's "out west" but it's also "up north." It's known for being home to Canada's largest air force base and not a day goes by that you don't see fighter jets zooming overhead, or military folks lined up in the grocery store. But it's also a booming oil town, with a soaring economy and camp-dirty 'oilers' lined up behind the guys and girls in fatigues. Even more, it's famous for the lake, Cold Lake, a deep, clear, wave-swept lake so big you can barely see across to the other side. And yeah, it's cold. Freakin' cold.

If this town had a nickname, it would be Sybil.

I looked at airplanes and oil wells and people shivering in the cold. I thought seriously about vintage cowgirls. Nothing seemed right. I almost gave up in frustration. I've been such a lacklustre blogger lately that I thought maybe I should just stop. Feck the header. Feck the blog. Just stop.

And then I remembered Hilda. She of the wide smile and the wide hips and the wide, wide love for life. She was perfect.

Welcome to Cold Lake Cathy. Because life isn't on the Muskoka River anymore and it was beyond time for a change.