I FOUND MY SNOWSHOES!!!

I FOUND MY SNOWSHOES!!!

Atlas Elektra 11 Series '08

Atlas Elektra 11 Series ’08
Photo Courtesy The North Face

I’ve been looking for snowshoes for me and The Evil Hypnotist for years, now.

Last winter, we decided to get off of our flabby, Prissy-lazy buts (butts?!) and actually get out and exercise… except the snowshoe hunt was sorely unsuccessful.

You see, when I snow-shoed as a kid, I used the same kind of snowshoes that Ruby used when she was a kid. They were the old, wood and catgut lobster-trap-looking things (and I’m pretty sure the old-fashioned lobster-traps were probably made out of catgut, too) that my school had… and that my Dad had.

I think snowshoeing was the only sport other than cross-country running that I truly loved as a kid… and the passion for cross-country disappeared around the time I hit teenage-hood and took up smoking (cough…*). Snowshoeing stuck with me, though.

Once I grew up (Ha! I said “grew up”!) and got married, I didn’t get the chance to snowshoe, even though I lived in the Middle of Nowhere – that’s a real place, you know – mainly because I didn’t own a pair of my own.

When Ky was being home-schooled in Grade 5, it was decided that snowshoeing would be the winter Physical Education Activity… until she flat-out refused. So I didn’t bother to waste the money on even one pair, let alone two.

And then… once in Grade 8, back in the public school system, Ky was forced to put on a pair of snowshoes – and yes, they were the “old” wood and catgut jobs – probably on account of the flat-broken-ness of our public school system.

And she fell in love with the whole idea of owning a pair of her own, and even said she would swallow the embarrassment of snowshoeing with her mother.

Except we couldn’t find anyplace that sold the damned things. All we could find were the new-fangled aluminum and nylon-strappy things no matter where we looked, and truthfully, we both thought they seemed really crappy.

For something so freaking expensive, they really looked cheap.

We also heard (a couple of my really rugged Boys-at-Work agree with this) that the aluminum ones are only good on groomed trails – something to do with the holes punched into the platforms – they bog down if you want to make your own path through virgin snow. Which would suck, because neither Ky or her Non-Embarrassing Mother are the kind of people to stick to a trail while wearing snowshoes.

We are the kind of people who would get bogged down… and probably freeze to death, to be found in the middle of the bush, rotting over our expensive-but-cheap-looking groovy-cool snowshoes, come the Spring thaw. If we were ever found at all, that is.

So, we started searching for used catgut snowshoes… but the only ones we could find, although affordable, were never in good repair, which is when it started to dawn on me, that catgut snowshoes probably require maintenance that I am not equipped to deliver…

What happens if/when the catgut gets old and stringy and starts to rot…? I would assume it needs to be replaced. Not that I have a shortage of cats around here, but I’m not sure exactly how to gut a cat. And if I did manage it… then what!? I haven’t a clue, and if I did, I doubt I could stomach it.

This morning though, unable to sleep, I began my search anew, for a pair of non-cheap-looking, groovy-cool, affordable, not-wood-and-catgut snowshoes.

I think I found a winner. No holes to fill with snow and bog us down. They look sturdy. They’re ON SALE!

I found them online at The North Face, and since I doubt I’ll make it to Vancouver before next winter hits, I’m going to buy two pair, condemned house, lawyer bills and all.

Click here to check them out. There’s a cool little blurb on the home page, by the way, about the retail outlet – founded the year I was born, so you know why they’ve been around this long… 1966 was an incredibly good year. 😀

Fun Fact: I typed “snowshoes” or a derivative of the word 17 times in this post. Count ’em up, if you don’t believe me.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” – Paul Simon

No Spitting.

No Spitting.

No Spitting - photo
“No Spitting”
Taken November 26, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

It’s got to be the most disgusting habit – ever – and it’s the one pet peeve I have about my job. Everybody seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to just hawk and spit on the pavement (or worse, in a trash can if they’re inside).

When did spitting in public become a socially acceptable behaviour, fer Christ’s sake?! It’s not like these people are all chewing tobacco… although, some are, I think.

Even baseball players don’t spit as much as the people I work with (and some of the customers, as well). In one 5-minute break during my shift last night, the guy I was working with spat on the ground a grand total of EIGHTEEN times, I kid you not. My stomach is still churning.

Even the “ladies” are doing it. My kid was doing it for awhile, until she got sick of listening to me bitch her out, loudly and publicly. When enough strangers stare at you while your mother rakes you over the coals in the mall parking lot for spitting, apparently you eventually stop doing it. I wish that worked for everything. Hell, I wish it worked on my co-workers.

Is expectorating in a public place not illegal – something to do with the unsanitariness (yeah, I know; not a real word) of it all? I could swear it was illegal, but if so, the cops in Sault Ste. Marie are not doing their part in keeping our streets clean. Then again, maybe they’re all spitting, too… it is the Brand New, Grand New Thang to Do, now, I guess.

I’m going to petition the city for a spittoon on every street corner. I doubt they could hire anybody to empty those things, for any amount of money. Uck.

Anyway – rant over. Until I have to look at that again.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Askin’ Fer Trouble” – The Wild Turkeys

The Next New Thing…

The Next New Thing…

Summer Daydream

“Summer Daydream”
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ky’s finally sleeping again, and is back to school for her morning classes, which is good. I’m assured by the school that she’ll manage to get those credits without a problem – music class, which is hardly surprising (the principal tells me she’d have passed that one based on her talent, never mind that she doesn’t bother with any assignments – I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed off), and geography. Now, that surprises me.

Two credits is better than no credits, though, I guess, isn’t it? I’ll try to be proud.

My own sleeping is not happening again, now. I’m a little concerned about my job. I’m getting there, but it’s difficult. Luckily, I don’t have to drive to get there, so no lives are in danger – unless I blow the place up, but there are safeguards in place against idiots, so maybe that’s not such a big worry…

I need to finish the latest novel. That’s that “hard” one I mentioned a while back. It’s still got a lot of the same elements that the sitcom had in it, but the entire pilot plot has pretty much disappeared, along with a character or two. I’ve kept the bare bones of what would have been the first season. I tried to change the main characters’ names, but they just will not be renamed. All I’ve managed to do is steal away their last names completely.

I had a lot of false starts trying to pick this project back up again. There was a time that I ate, slept and breathed it. That turned into boozing and smoking it, and I think I just wanted it to go away. Working on it kept bringing up nasty, bad thoughts that I didn’t want to think.

I lamented about this to Ky one day, and she surprised me by telling me I should be getting it done and over with. When I told her I didn’t want to listen/watch/write my main characters anymore, she rolled her eyes.

I told her I’d noticed she wore the one and only promotional t-shirt made for the project all the time, even though she’d once told me she was glad it was dead in the water so what’s up with that, huh?! And then, she made me laugh by paraphrasing Holden McNeil: “They’re fictional characters, Mom. Fictional characters. Am I getting through to you at all…?”

So I’m working on it. And it gets a little easier (and a little closer to done) every time I sit down to it.

My blog is turning back into a place to air my grievances, and although that’s part of what it’s for, I really want to get back to telling the Ruby stories (there’s a ton of them), and The Father Chronicles (there’s a ton of those left, too).

And I talked to my Mom today, and she’s feeling a little lost and lonely without my Dad. She said it’s gotten worse, lately, and she’s been rereading his letters from World War II. At first, they made things worse, but now she finds them a comfort and is glad she saved them…

Wait a minute…. “You have letters from Dad during the War…?”

“Yep.”

All his letters…?”

“Yep.”

Wow. I didn’t know this….

“Can I read them…?”

“Sure!”

“Really?!”

“Yep.”

“Ummmm…… can I blog them…?”

“Yep.”

So as soon as I can get myself down to Teeny-Tiny Town, I will have a new category here: Dear Maude…

Another worry is my imminent move. Far, far away.

I’m not certain how imminent it is, now, considering new and ugly turns of events of legal and financial persuasions that may (shudder) bankrupt me (not if I can possibly avoid it), but I will be moving to Vancouver and will be there for at least a year, once I manage it.

I’m going to be going back to school (yes, again), in an accelerated screenwriting program at the Vancouver Film School. I chose this program, because a Canadian school somehow seems more “doable” than trying to get into one in the States – although I’d rather be in the States. I have more friends there. 🙂

It’s going to cost me a mint, though. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, yet, but then again, I bought the Prissy-Van with money I didn’t have yet, and so far, so good, she’s still mine. I’ll manage this. Somehow. Gulp…*

I didn’t think I’d be able to convince Kyla to go with me, so was working out an alternative arrangement for her, but when I told her about it (actually, I let it slip in a moment of upset over all this stress), she surprised hell out of me by telling me she would love a change of scenery.

It’s amazing how fast things change.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Black Coffee” – Ella Fitzgerald

Finally! A Non-Sucking Wednesday!

It’s difficult not to smile when Craig Ferguson is in the world…. 😀 Thanks for the heads-up, Mushy!

Incidentally, and anecdotally to boot, this is the song I caught The Evil Hypnotist singing at the top of her lungs down the back lane behind the now condemned house one summer afternoon.

She might have been around…. oh…. four?

And she was wearing nothing but a pair of high heels and a tube-top as a “mini-dress”.

Yeah. Not that innocent, indeed.

Water Works…

The Melt Down

The Melt Down
Taken March 15, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

So the other night, in the middle of one of The Evil Hypnotist’s dark, white nights, which, incidentally, turned into one of my own, I sat straight up in what passes for my bed, recalling that earlier that day I’d discovered a load of laundry from God knows how long ago, still sitting in the washing machine. I had intended to rewash it before the mold grew.

I had just remembered that I’d forgotten. That’s a stupid phrase. But that’s what happened.

So…

Up I got, and in I went to the little closet that houses the washer and dryer (and all of my clothes, on a rack, and on shelves, and in filing cabinets). There’s also one of those huge double washtub/sink kind of deals in there, which means there is only enough room for me to stand in front of the washing machine and turn around to come back out of the closet.

It never occurred to me that I might need an emergency plan in place in case of an emergency. You know, the kind of plan that includes how to get all the stuff out of there in a hurry. In case of an emergency.

What kind of emergency could there be in my laundry room?

Well.

Flooding comes to mind.

Now.

I have a little apartment-sized washer and dryer; the dryer is up on a stand and the washer sits in front of the laundry tub/sink thing with its hose attached to the cold water faucet. In order to start the washer, I have to lean waaaaaaay over it to reach the cold water tap and turn it on.

I don’t leave the tap turned on all the time, as I’m afraid the pressure might build up or something and blow the washer hose off the faucet, and then the water will just run all night/day down the drain and my so-far-kind-and-friendly landlord will raise my rent and/or start charging me for utilities.

It was 2 am. I had just gotten out of bed, wincing as I walked barefoot into the laundry room (closet) on freezing cold ceramic tiles, wearing a t-shirt and my underwear.

I leaned over and turned the tap on.

Except, the tap had never been turned off since the last laundry load (which was still sitting, molding, in the washer) had been done, and…

Yep.

The tap came off in my hand.

And water shot from whatever you call the pipe you attach the tap to, with amazing pressure straight at the wall, where it ricocheted (does water “ricochet”? I can’t find a better word at the moment) and doused the entire room/closet, and everything in it, me included.

I did the only thing I could think of to do, which was shriek for Kyla to come. What the hell; it’s not like she was asleep or anything….

Luckily, because the dog started to bark when I started yelling…

By the time Ky figured out where I was screaming from and opened the door, I had climbed over the washing machine and into the sink, where I sat in my t-shirt and underwear, in a high-pressure jet of freezing cold water, attempting to screw the tap back on.

And she said, “WTF?! What did you DO?!”

To which I calmly replied at the top of my voice, “Never mind! HELP ME!!”

“How? What do you want me to do?!”

“Uhhhhhh…. I don’t know… get a towel…?”

Loooong pause….

“Are you joking?! A towel?!”

So of course we both started to laugh…

And I could not get that tap to screw back on. I could jam it on the pipe – which caused all the water to spritz out the seam into my face – but I couldn’t turn it.

I didn’t know where the shut-off valve was, either, so Ky decided that she would pull all the stuff out of there and look for it. She had to fold my bed back into couch-form to accomplish that, though.

And first she had to convince the Lily-Dawg that it was safe to get off my bed, which took a lot of doing.

Meanwhile, a bzillion gallons of water flowed over the floor and through a tiny hole drilled in the wall, into the sauna.

Aha! I had always wondered why that hole was there. At least the rest of the place wouldn’t flood…

Granted, that same bzillion gallons of cold water was flowing over me before it hit the floor, and I was slowly turning into a half-naked ice-cube.

Ky finally got the bed together, the washer out, and some towels down… but couldn’t find the shut-off valve anywhere. I asked her to take my glasses off my face, as I couldn’t see through them in the condition they were in, and that’s when I noticed the valve hiding behind the wash tub, and managed to reach down between the tub and the wall to twist it closed.

By the time we got all the water off the floor, the walls, the dryer, and got my clothes spread out all over to dry, it was 4:30 am.

I lay in bed, shivering… neither of us slept at all.

I had to work that afternoon – and dancing in the parking lot on no sleep is no fun. It was at work that I realized I still hadn’t rewashed the moldering laundry…

Random Song for the Day: “Fidelity” – Regina Spektor