Say “Apple”.

Say “Apple”.

Axe Murderers Don't Wear Plaid - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Axe Murderers Don’t Wear Plaid
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

I know this post is so late that it’s near unforgivable. Here I am at last, though, having killed Photoshop and reanimated it so that I can use it again.

Our Detroit trip shrunk a little… thankfully. My sad attempt at “pre-planning” failed miserably enough that we ran out of time to get all the way to Detroit and back in the few days left of my RTO, so I was ecstatic when Cardiogirl emailed me with, “How about meeting half-way, Betch?!”

She and Mr. C. had decided that an overnight with their three girls as far as Grayling would be a nice little surprise for the family. Imagine being 8, loaded into the car to go to McDonald’s for supper, and ending up miles away in a strange hotel, face-to-face with a couple of whacked-out Canuckians. Surprise!

Ky and I decided we’d go a day early and stay over in Gaylord, simply to experience a certain Chinese restaurant we’d heard nice things about. That stay was worth it, just for the meal, which the hotel paid for. They also gave us our breakfast, a fabulous pool and mittsful of free DVDs to watch. I think we may have fallen asleep in the middle of Movie #4…

On to Grayling….

Check in was for 3 pm, and we were early, so we decided to drive around town. I happened to park directly in front of Ky’s idea of Heaven:

Heaven:  A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Heaven: A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

We got back to the hotel at around 1:30, where they let us check in early, and we wandered the most kid-friendly place I’ve been in. Ky started to get nervous over meeting CG’s three girls.

Ky loves kids, but as she says, “You never know if they’re going to be annoying, and what if they are?”

My nerves were shot, too. What if, even after all the blog-comments, and emails, and phone-calls, it turns out that I meet my best Shetbag face-to-face and… we have nothing to say?

What if her husband, whom I really know nothing about turns out to be an arse?

What if her kids are all run-amoks and she just lets ’em go until I want to stomp on them?

What if everybody at work is right, and these people turn out to be mass-murderers who troll the internet as a hobby, looking for stupid Canadian people (like us, for example) to entice into the States, and then they chloroform us and we wake up in the dark somewhere, drugged out, packed in ice, and missing important organs? I mean, they are from Detroit…

In CardioGirl’s post about the trip, she mentions her own misgivings, but she was a little more succinct. “What if she’s lame?” I guess maybe that’s what my own concerns boiled down to, but Canadians do tend to wax eloquent, eh?

Anyway…

After pestering the poor Front-Desk Man over and over, he promised he would have CG call us upon their arrival, so we went back to our room and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then the phone rang and I climbed up onto the ceiling and clung there, afraid to go meet them. Ky managed to peel me off, dress me up a little, and we went to the pool area, to find CardioGirl, et al, waving and grinning and yes, I even got a hug from the non-hugging Betch, can you believe that?!

And her first words after “Hi!” were: “Say ‘Apple’.” Apparently, the Canuckian accent is funny as hell. And when “Eh?” slips your lips, an American will laugh really hard. Every time.

We spent a most wonderful less-than-24-hours, half-naked in a hot-tub drinking beer (yes, that would be my favourite part), watching Ky have way too much fun with the most well-behaved, articulate, cute, non-fighting little girls I have ever met; shared two meals, and generally got pruney soaking in chlorine.

And that pic up top is the only usable photo I managed in our entire visit.

We are going again.

Soon.

And this time, we’ll make it to Detroit.

(And this time, I’ll buy the beer, Mr. C.)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Heart of Glass” – Blondie

How It All Went Down (Raising Itself Up in the Process)…

How It All Went Down (Raising Itself Up in the Process)…

Dreamy

“Dreamy”
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

As I sit here at 10:14 AM, with my second Cuba Libre half-full/half-empty – pick what suits you (Now, don’t be mad, Mom. I work nights. This is my 10 PM, remember?) – I’m trying to reflect on 2008, choosing words that actually describe it properly. The only words I can come up with are, *Incredible* Year.

They don’t do the year justice. “Amazing” comes to mind, as well.

I’ve changed more in this one year than I have in all of the previous 40-odd, I believe. I’ve changed with a purpose – rebuilt myself – rarely falling back into my “old” self; again, on purpose. And, truthfully, there are few… (two, maybe…?) people that I bother to do that for anymore.

I can confidently say that there is not a single person walking the planet that really knows me. The closest to knowing me would, of course, have to be The Idiot Child, but when you smush two human beings into one room and take away their walls and their sunlight, they have to kind of get to know each other. The alternative would be to kill each other.

Kyla has become more “The Mom” than “The Kid” over the last few months. She makes sure I get to work on time… that I have meals (not always on time, mind you)… that I’m wearing clean underwear, and that there’s nothing gross stuck in my teeth, or hanging out my nose. She tells me what my chores are and when to do them. The only real “Mom” thing I do is get her to school – and that’s because, otherwise, she wouldn’t go at all.

We don’t argue or fight. Ever. She’s fourteen. We’re obviously not normal, are we? Ah well… “normal” is over-rated, anyway.

Ruby knows me best, next. She’s the only real face-to-face friend that could say that, I guess. Actually, now that The Fly-Girl has flown, she’s pretty much the only real face-to-face friend at all, here in good ol’, bad ol’ Sault Ste. Marie, and I like it like that, I truly do.

I’m changing, for the most part, in preparation to leave this little city. I’ll keep a “base” here until Ky is out on her own, and then that will go, too. I’ve been saying that for years, now, but it’s only been in the last year that I’ve done anything about it. Plans have been made, laid down, dissected into the smallest possible steps, and I’ve slowly been picking away at them.

Now, when I compare who I was a year ago today, to who I am now, it’s astounding. I’m much more like my blog “persona”, now, for one thing. I’m “slightly exaggerated”. LOL! Strange description, I suppose, but I like it very much.

I begin traveling *for real * in March, with a trip to Detroit. That seems small, written here, but it isn’t, at all. That’s big. I’ve literally never been anywhere (I can’t count the week-long school trip to Montreal, because I was drunk for most of it, and besides, that’s where my fear of airplanes hit me in the face, and I’ve had to negate the parts I remember – screaming comes to mind.).

I’ll be flying to New York City sometime in the fall – most likely the first week of October. In between, sometime this coming summer, I will be setting fire to Suzi’s back yard, in Minnesota.

Yes. 2009 is the year that I will begin meeting my “Blog-Family” face-to-face. Finally. And I don’t want them to meet the Me that once was. I don’t like that person, so why would they? I’m not that Me anymore, and all it took was a little bit of On-Purpose Hermitization.

I will be the blogger they have come to “know”, so to speak. Slightly exaggerated. Says “shit” a lot (granted, that’s a carry-over, but it’s a really good word – just ask The Pop-Eye.).

Except I won’t say “shit” in front of their kids. Unless their kids say “shit” first, and then I will try my damnedest to be a good influence and say, “Don’t say ‘shit’ – that’s a bad word.” Then again, maybe I won’t… 😀

Yes, 2008 has been my best year, yet. The happiest. The most lucrative. The most “step-forwardest”. The last time I said something even close to that in this space (don’t look for it – I “disappeared” it long ago…) my entire life and being turned upside-down and inside-out and it took a year (and Ruby) to set me straight again, but I’m not concerned about jinxing myself, this time.

I make my own luck now.

So… highlights of 2008?

I bought The Prissy-Van. 😀

I lost my father. 🙁

I dumped a bunch of nasty-bad memories. 😀

I lost the sunlight. 🙁

Oh, and I got the WordPress Stats Plugin – so I can now give (to those of you that may give a shit) my Top Ten Posts for 2008. The list is not completely accurate, as I didn’t install it on January 1st (or even in January – truth be told, I don’t remember how long I’ve had it), but it’s interesting to see.

The post titles and views are above and below each other, rather than side-by-side, only because I can’t be bothered to go in and fix the code that “clipmarks” puts in there, but I guess you’ll manage to figure it out.

And if you can’t see it at all, it may be because you’re not browsing with Firefox. (Bad, Bad, BAD!)

Oh, and there’s 13 rather than 10, simply because of the three-way tie at the bottom, there.

And, by the by, I am SO sick of that post at the top. There are more freaking “pierced nose” searches through google than I ever wanted to know about.

Oh, yeah…. Resolutions? Two:

1) Get on that plane in October without screaming, crying, or getting drunk first.

2) Quit using so many freaking quotation marks on my freaking blog.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Everybody Have Fun” – Wang Chung

P.S. It’s now 11:59… it took an hour and forty-five minutes and a third Cuba Libre to write this crap. I’m having another one. Cuba Libre, that is – not crap.

Happy New Year!!

The Bear Hunter

The Bear Hunter

Bear Claw

Bear Claw
Taken March 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

I found this bear claw in a box full of little trinkets and treasures in my father’s closet nearly a year ago. It was in the same box with his pocket watch, along with some other neat stuff.

This was during my Walk-About days, when I would hoof it all the way across town once a week, to see my parents at The Old-Age Home, have a visit, a meal and a story, and then hoof it all the way back. I had a tight ass, then, dammit. Not even a year ago. Man, things change fast.
(more…)

Sometimes, Wishing is Enough…

“What Lies Behind…”

“What Lies Behind…”

Taken October 9, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

My boss called me today.

Asked me to come in to work to “have a little talk.”

Scared the shit out of me.

I LOVE my job. I want to keep my job. The only thing I don’t like about my job is my seeming inability to negotiate gracefully between day shifts and night shifts, which I’m beginning to despair of ever getting a handle on.

All I can manage to do is sleep. House is a wreck. The Idiot Child must feed herself or go hungry – not to mention, wash her own laundry (as well as mine), and Sheikh the Cat has begun spending his awake hours sitting next to my head, intermittently placing a paw on my face and sliming kissing me, wondering why my eyes are always closed.

This despair of accommodating the fluctuating schedule got me wishing for a work routine that I’ve only experienced once, Way Back When, remember that? I wasn’t particularly fond of the “job” part of that job, but the schedule was perfect: it was the same. damned. schedule. every. day. With weekends off, to boot.

My house was clean. The cats were happy. The Idiot Child was still a teenager, but I think she preferred the sameness, as well.

I have been wishing I could approach my boss and appeal for a Same-Damned-Shift. Even if it was the night shift. I dreamed of the conversation being short, sweet and successful.

Me: “Hey, how ’bout I work nights? All the time. Just nights. Cuz nobody else seems to like nights.”

Him: “Yeah, great idea! Thanks! I’ll just go ahead and change the schedule right now! How ’bout I give you more shifts with that? You want more shifts? There’s more money in more shifts. How ’bout I give you more shifts, too?”

There are a bzillion reasons why I couldn’t do that. I mean, I could do that, but he would either laugh, thinking I was joking, or take me seriously and still say no. Several reasons for the “no”:

1) I’m still The New Kid on the Dance Floor. Yes, others have come behind me, but I’m still new enough that I can get away with “I’m New Here” to cover a mistake I’ve made. Much longer, I’d have to use “I’m Old” for an excuse. That’s probably more apt. 😉

2) Nobody has a Same-Damned-Shift schedule. Nobody. Why should *I* get that lucky?

3) It’s obvious to all and sundry that I’m having trouble adapting to the shift changes and if they coddled me (cuz I’m old, maybe?), it could possibly cause a revolt.

So, I’ve been schlepping along, loving the job part of the job and hating the schedule part of the job, wishing for the impossible, and for shit’s sake, my boss calls me today for “a little talk”.

I knew I was fired. I wanted to ask if I was fired, but Boss is not the kind of guy that does that over the phone, I’m pretty sure. I settled for asking, oh so casually (yeah, right) “Sure, what’s up? Something wrong?” the whole while repeating the mantra, “don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad”, which, for the record, has never once worked before. In my experience, if it feels like it might be “bad”, it’s generally much, much worse than “bad”.

So, yeah. I knew I was fired, even when he said, “Oh, no. Nothing to worry about. Just wanna go over something with you.”

Uh oh. What horrible thing have I done? Shit, he read about me finding cocaine on the dance floor! No, wait, I told him that story myself and he laughed really hard. Can’t be that.

Or maybe, I didn’t do something that I should have done? It’s not like I forgot to lock up, or anything (once did that while working for Louie, and nobody even noticed, can you believe that?) – I mean, we’re open 24/7. I’m not even sure there is a set of keys for the place.

Not that it would matter what the “little talk” was about, I still had to have it. So, I pulled on my boots and crossed the street.

And my boss said to me – no word of a lie, here, either, I swear – I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest little bit:

“I’m hoping I can change your schedule. Would you be willing to work straight nights, with weekends off? You’d be guaranteed five shifts that way, (employees who have been there longer, of course normally get more hours, unless they book a shift and hand it to me) and if I need you on the weekends, I’ll call – you’ve never turned down a shift, so you’re the first one I call. Would that work for you?

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

I’m dumbfounded. I agreed immediately, though, and he was all thanking me as if I were doing him a favour. Maybe I am and just don’t realize it, but it’s like he read my mind.

Or my blog….

Hmmmmmm…..

So, he hands me my newly-minted hours, starting Sunday end, or S/M if you read the little date box on the schedule, and I trotted back home to write this post, and marvel over never having to wonder when I’m working “next week”… and there followed shortly a call requesting me to work an extra shift tomorrow. Already, I’m booked for overtime. I love my job.

Now, I have to clean a cat-box. Maybe then, Sheikh will quit sliming kissing me in the middle of my version of night.

~ Just about to hit the publish button when I get another call from work – this time from the assistant manager: apparently some deer-hunter I was joking around with a week or so ago (told him he should bring me some deer parts, since my dad was gone, and nobody ever brings me deer meat anymore), just dropped off a venison roast for me. Can I please come pick it up, as it’s grossing her out? ~

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

Excuse me while I go pick up Free Dead Wild Animal.

(Did I tell you how much I love my job…?)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Surf Wax America” – Weezer