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 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?
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 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.
2. Favorite late night snack?
— Mashed potatoes. And beer.
3. Do you own a gun?
4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop?
— Here in Canuckia, it’s Tim’s, and it’s either a black coffee, or an English Toffee something-or-other.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
— Not anymore.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
— I try not to think of them, or it puts me off them. Have eaten them. Will most likely eat them again.
7. Favorite Christmas song?
— Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
— I wish I had the nerve to say beer. It’s coffee, though.
9. Can you do push-ups?
— I can… but will I? HA!
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
— It’s a toss-up between my Grandmother’s little silver “broach-watch” thingy, or my father’s wristwatch. I wear neither of them, though. Or any other jewelry of any other kind, for that matter.
13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
— I procrastinate. A lot. I probably stole this meme weeks ago.
14. The last disease you contracted?
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
— I can’t possibly be expected to untangle THREE of them considering I might have A.D.D.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
— Coffee, coffee and beer. Although ‘regular’ on beer has become more ‘few and far between’. And that’s a shame, if ever there was one.
17. Current worry right now?
— None. I refuse.
18. Current hate right now?
— See above.
19. Favorite place to be?
— I haven’t been ANYPLACE, yet. I’ll have to do something about that.
20. How did you ring in the New Year?
— I seriously cannot remember.
21. Like to travel?
— I hope so.
22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:
23. Do you own slippers?
— Yes, I do.
24. What color shirt are you wearing?
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
— Haven’t the foggiest. Probably not.
26. Can you whistle?
— Can so.
27. Favorite singer/band?
— Impossible to attempt to decide.
28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor?
— I’ll betcha I could. But what the hell for?!
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
— I don’t. The Idiot Child does though. And in the sauna. And in the “bathroom”. And in her sleep sometimes.
30. Favorite girl’s names?
31. Favorite boy’s names?
— Hmmmmm…. Matthew for my father, maybe?
32. What’s in your pocket right now?
— Nothing right now, but a few seconds ago there was a hand in there!
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
— How fast “Hand in My Pocket” started playing in my head after I typed the above answer.
34. Like your job?
— I do.
36. Do you love where you live?
— If you mean my apartment – yes. If you mean this town – not like I once did.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
38. Who is your loudest friend?
— “Real Life” friends – The Fly-Girl. “Imaginary Friends”, as my mom calls anybody I know online, I haven’t a clue yet. But it’s probably Suzi, now that Sheikh is gone… 😀 / 🙁
Right, so I worked a night shift today (or last night), and have not yet slept, although I’m working through the night again tomorrow (or today [or tonight]).
You’ll have to excuse me; my brains have had a stir. See above.
It’s a lonely vigil, the night shift. There’s nobody else to dance with, for one thing. Not that I mind dancing alone (and I do dance in the parking lot all by myself, through the long night. I do.), but there are fewer 5-minute conversations, because there are fewer people – which is why I’m alone to begin with; fewer people to deal with means no side-kick for Les to dance with – and those few people tend to be tired and grumpy. Especially when it rains.
Myself, I like the rain in the middle of the night. I don’t have to sweep the “dance floor” in the rain, although I kind of like that part of the job. It’s rhythmic and soothing, and sometimes I find cool things. Like money – in 5 cent, 10 cent, 2-bits, and sometimes (gasp!) even whole dollar increments.
And then there’s that thing at the top of the page, stuck up there before the words start. Yes, it does look like that, doesn’t it? Or what I’ve always imagined that that would look like, if ever I encountered it, and up until I came across that ziploc bag while sweeping prior to the rain in the middle of last night, I had never encountered it.
If that’s what it really is, anyway.
And you know I’m not going to tell you that, at least, until the end of the story, right?
I’m going to interrupt here, one day later, to add some audio. With thanks to Suzi and Dale, I’ve worked up the guts to record the remaining portion of this post, as practice for The Waitress AudioBook project – you know, test the equipment and software, find my public speaking voice again, blah, blah, blah.
I’m pleased to say, that I dropped back into it with very few mishaps, and no tears whatsoever. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself, which I wouldn’t have believed possible, previously. I may just do this again.
Click the link – have a listen – read along. Sorry about the lack of a bouncing ball to follow, but maybe I’ll work that in when I switch the blog over to flash, which should happen sometime next decade with the flash conversion success rate that I boast…
I stand there in the parking lot, broom in hand, staring down at this ziploc bag, and nudge it with the very manly steel-toed toe of my very manly steel-toed boot…. and I look around as nonchalantly as is possible when one comes across what might be seriously illegal ziploc baggie-filler in the middle of the night at one’s place of employment, with Han Solo’s voice running through my head: “I don’t know! Fly casual!” Or, in this case, sweep casual….
Eventually, I get up the guts to pick it up. It’s heavier than I would have imagined cocaine would be; packed into a hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
A nasty thought strikes me: Is this some kind of test?!
Not a “set up from the Boss” kind of test… I’m thinking more along the lines of God, or the Universe, or Whomever/Whatever really runs things… a kind of like, “Here! Have some of this. Free, even!” kind of test. I mean, if I had found a baggie of pot in the parking lot in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t be blogging this.
And I’m pretty sure I’d be sound asleep right now, too… 😀
But it very obviously isn’t pot… and I’ve no idea if it’s what I think it might be, which is coke, and on top of that, no idea if, assuming I had the opportunity/nerve to open it up, I would be able to tell cocaine from anything else that might resemble cocaine.
All I really know, is that whatever it is or isn’t, it’s illegal, and I’d better “do the right thing”, or risk arrest, and the loss of my groovy-cool new J.O.B.
So, what’s the “right thing to do”?
Do I sneak off to the bathroom and unwrap the thing…? No. I’m not worried about temptation (although wouldn’t that be a bugger – to crawl out from under, find a job I like for a change, and then get hooked on coke in the employee bathroom the first time out because I found somebody’s lost stash and thought, “Ah, what the hell…?”), but opening it up wouldn’t exactly look good on me later, would it?
Do I take it in to the “inside” side of the parking lot, to Pretty Girl who’s working tonight and Show and Tell it to her? I decide against… Pretty Girl is nice (she dances when I tell her to), but I don’t really know her that well. What if she’s a coke-head? It could happen – maybe she dropped it.
I decide to go inside and call the Boss – yes, wake him up out of a sound sleep, and ask him what to do. That’s the ticket.
At which point, a 5-Minute Conversationalist rolls up to park, grumpy as all hell, and I stuff the baggie in my pocket and go conversate.
And then I forget all about it.
I KNOW!!! Can you imagine?!
But that’s what I do… until the sun rises, and I’m suddenly surrounded by 5-Minute Conversationalists and it isn’t until the Boss pulls up and parks that I remember it.
And then shift-change is upon us, and things go nuts, because we have to shut everything down for a whole minute-and-a-half and all the grumpy 5-Minute Conversationalists are freaking because they have to wait for their conversations, and by the time it calms down and I’m free to talk to the Boss about the baggie full of drugs I found in his parking lot, my Idiot Child (now don’t come down on me for renaming my formerly wonderful albeit sometimes stupid kid – she’s a full-blown teenager now, clinically insane and has recently earned the new name, believe me) comes flying into the fray to tell me she missed her bus, and can I please, please drive her all the way to the far edge of town to school?
To which I find myself driving in a downpour, with a minor child, and me with no purse (hence, no driver’s license), with my pockets stuffed full of cocaine.
I’m certain I’m going to be stopped for driving erratically. I am, in point of fact, driving very erratically, being in a panic about my pending arrest and all. The knowledge that I am about to become the much-honoured Family Cup Holder does not please me nearly as much as I’ve always believed it would.
I’m sure that, even if I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m certain to run a red light, plow through twenty-seven other vehicles, roll the Prissy-van, mow down a whole bloody mess of school-children, and eventually wake up from my coma in handcuffs because somebody is going to find cocaine in my pockets, dammit, and, somehow, I don’t think, “I found it in the parking lot,” is gonna fly… Nuh-uhhh.
I decide to drop my Idiot Child off at school, and then drive to the police station with my contraband and turn myself in. I’m pretty sure they’ll believe the parking lot story if I surrender the goods of my own volition, so I concentrate on not killing anyone, and driving safely, and I must be doing alright, because I turn into my driveway having had only two fists shaken in my direction, and three or four fingers, ummm, fingered at me.
Yes. I turn into my driveway… having driven by rote and gone home rather than the police station.
At this point, I decide, to hell with it all, I’m going to flush it and forget it. I get inside, lock the door, lock the bathroom door, you know, to be on the safe side, and unwrap the hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
Which turns out to be a dead camera battery wrapped in a tissue and folded into a ziploc bag for recycling.
Lucky for me… because a few minutes later, I discover that my toilet won’t flush.
Some drug dealer I’d make. I’m disgusted with myself. I don’t deserve The Family Cup after all.
And Google is going to send me some wicked-weird visitors because of this post, I know it.
Of course, my Dad found out. He always found out everything I was up to, and he always gave me a chance to own up to it, relating the dirty deed to me in a manner designed to make me believe he really didn’t know who had done it. You know, in case I wanted to get it off my chest. Which I never did. Even though *I* knew that he knew…. nope. Wouldn’t admit to it. Never.
Like that time when I was five, and the kids up the street and I set fire to the empty field behind my house. Somehow we managed to stomp it out before it got away from us, and we all went home for supper, absolutely certain we were in the clear.
And then, my Dad read the “Police Report” out of the newspaper (yeah, the one that had been printed before we found the matches, but I was five and that was beyond my scope) out loud….
“…The POLICE are VERY worried about the three children, 2 boys and a little girl, who were playing with matches in the long grass, today. They are VERY worried that these three children don’t know any better and could have been BURNED TO DEATH, because they don’t seem to understand that fires can very quickly get OUT OF CONTROL and BURN CHILDREN TO DEATH before their parents can get to them. ESPECIALLY if their parents believe their children SHOULD KNOW BETTER. The POLICE hope these three children, 2 boys and a little girl, have LEARNED THEIR LESSON, and NEVER DO SUCH A STUPID THING AGAIN…”
And he turned to me and gave me that chance to own up: “Do you know who those three children are…?”
“Well what do you think of what those three children did …?”
Me: “I think they’re very lucky they didn’t get caught and go to jail.”
Right up into my teens, I would stubbornly stick to the “Wasn’t Me” defense, even when handed unequivocal evidence that it was so me.
Like that time when I was 16, and was accused of stealing a magnum of Champagne out of the wine-cellar, drinking it, and hiding the empty bottle under my bed, I said, “Wasn’t me.” Even though the evidence was found under my bed… with the date of the crime etched on the label… along with the signatures of myself and the friends I passed it back and forth with.
But about that tree….
When I was growing up, we spent almost the entire summer on the boat. We traveled all over the Great Lakes on one boat or another – at first, sleeping on the boat, which was cool, but then my parents built their camp on Cockburn Island (That’s pronounced “Co-Burn”, remember. Suzi, stop laughing.).
By the way, a “camp” is what Northern Ontarians call “The Cottage” – for those of you who might picture tents, or a lumber camp. The “camp” is now owned by my sister Tootie and her family, and it’s a bona-fide second home. It ain’t “camping” by any stretch of the imagination.
It was a slow build, though. The first year, we lived in the woodshed (huge by woodshed standards) while the main house was being built. We had an outhouse, kerosene lamps, and a woodstove. The refrigerator was a propane unit, and my Dad built a pump system for the water that pulled it from a cream can under the sink with the push of a button. He didn’t think my mom should have to lift a pail to the sink. He was a nice guy, my Dad.
Everybody on Cockburn drove old beat-up trucks and cars. When you bought a vehicle for “The Camp”, you either had it ferried over on a barge in the summer, or drove it across the ice in the winter. These old things could live forever over there, it seemed. Didn’t need a safety, either, although that was still illegal, but since nobody was gonna check…
And it was on Cockburn Island that everybody learned to drive. The unspoken rule seemed to state that once you hit the age of fourteen, you could drive on Cockburn. Everybody did it. That was my argument to my parents, anyway, when they wouldn’t let me drive over there. Their return argument was… well… inarguable: “Well, YOU’RE not gonna.”
But I was determined to be like everybody else and drive, dammit.
So, I went to the camp across the road and lamented to the Neighbour-Lady all my woes. Neighbour-Lady was a nice gal. She always had her long blonde hair wrapped around her head with pins in the mornings after she washed it, because she didn’t like the natural curl it had. She always wore green eyeshadow. And she always had a beer open.
Neighbour-Lady had cancer, but wouldn’t take treatment. Much of the time, she was “tight”, as my mom would say – not “falling down drunk”, but she generally had a buzz on. I guess it was one way to deal with cancer.
Anyway, I was over there complaining to Neighbour-Lady, and smoking her cigarettes. She wouldn’t give me a beer, but she gave me cigarettes all the time. And that day, she solved my “can’t drive” problem for me, by loaning me a car.
Now, to this day, everybody in my family thinks I stole that car. I did not. Neighbour-Lady loaned me that car. Never mind that the car did not belong to her. Or that I didn’t have a license. Or parental permission to drive. She handed me the keys and said, “Take it. Don’t smash it up.”
I was half-way up the road while she was still popping open her next beer.
Ahh…. the freedom! I drove up the long side road and turned right on the “main” road that would take me down to the Government Dock. There was a guy on the Island that summer, that I had a crush on. On the Mainland, this guy ran in a different circle, and wouldn’t give me the time of day, but on Cockburn he would talk to me. Probably because there weren’t many teenagers on the Island at a time. And I was there. So…
I decided to go to the dock, because he would likely be swimming there. I had to sort of “happen to run into him”, of course, so he wouldn’t know I had that crush, you see, or I would have gone to his camp to find out where he was.
As I came up the road, it was fairly obvious that the dock was deserted, so I decided to make a left, and go to the other side of the Island to the sand beach. Maybe he’d be there. And I could drive there, because I had a car. I was cool.
I was so cool that I could light a cigarette while negotiating a left turn, having never driven a car before, and not end up in the ditch.
It worked out okay, though, because the ditch was adjacent to a government building where large logging machines and road-maintenance equipment was stored. I found a guy with a grader that yanked me out of the ditch, and promised not to tell anybody. Oddly, I don’t think he did, either, because no one has ever brought the ditch portion of this story up to me.
So, on the road again, I re-lit my smoke without incident, and drove to the beach. And, oh joy! My crush was there! With his entire family and then some.
We swam for a bit. Talked for a bit. And then I tried to convince him to let me drive him back home. Because I had a car. I was cool.
But he would not get in that car. I think his reasons included the phrase, “death wish”, and the fact that he didn’t have one.
I’m not sure how I finally convinced him, but he did reluctantly agree to a lift. Apparently, it was just so he could wax derisive of my driving skills, though, because he wouldn’t stop wincing, advising, and clinging to the dashboard.
I finally got tired of the exaggerated terror he was exuding and decided I’d show him what scared was, and floored it. Of course, I chose to do such a thing while going up a steep hill, forgetting about the curve in the road on the other side of it.
For the record, I missed the tree the car was trying to hit. But I over-corrected, and hit a tree on the other side of the road, dead on. Very hard. Poor tree.
And poor car! The front end was smushed in. The driver’s door wouldn’t open. I still have a faded scar on one elbow – the only injury sustained in the accident – unless you count the car. Or the tree. And I’m sure my crush didn’t speak to me for years after that. He probably felt bad, because it was his fault I hit that tree. I mean, if he hadn’t been putting down my driving in the first place…
And what are the chances that the first vehicle to drive up that lonely road to happen upon us would be my father’s truck…?
Pretty good, as it turns out. He didn’t speak to me for a while, either.
When I turned 16, though, the first thing Dad did, was register me in Driver’s Ed. I passed, and got my license. And not once would my father loan me his car – not even when I was grown and on my own, and had a perfect driving record.
Except for the tree incident.
Which happened on Cockburn.
And what happens on Cockburn is supposed to stay on Cockburn, dammit!
But still my Dad always said no. Followed by, “Remember that tree you hit on Cockburn…?”
It’s the only time I couldn’t get the nerve up to try “Wasn’t me.”
Pink Fantasy Taken February 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
I’m right impressed with myself over this picture. I seriously doubt I’ll get another shot even half this good for the rest of the year. I kind of hope I don’t – I’m really proud of this one. I want to blow it up to about garage-door-sized and hang it on my wall.
The inside of my head feels a lot like this pic – kind of dreamy… gauzy… lazy…
I’ve been busy, mind you….
…picking away at a website I’m building for a charitable organization here in town…
…picking away at painting my little apartment – we’ve decided not to move, after all. We’re finally getting this place “prettified” the way we like it, and the thought of hauling all the stuff down the stairs…. Blech. It’s still small, even though we’ve gotten rid of 60% of its contents, but it suits us, and the larger (huger) place comes with a big jump in rent.
The more we thought about moving, the more we realized that the only good thing about moving was that it was just downstairs (no way am I giving up my landlady!), so packing would be… well… it wouldn’t be, would it?
I’m still waiting to actually get on the schedule at the new J.O.B…. they insist that I’m hired. Every time I call… “Uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. probably…. some time…. uuuuuhhhhhhmmmmm…. next week….? Maybe….?” They tell me this once a week. I should have applied to work in HR instead of sales… I think they need the help.
So, in the meantime…
…I drink a lot of coffee, and work a lot of crosswords, and watch a lot of movies (and ball games… and hockey games…) with Ruby.
…I continue to scan the J.O.B. boards and newspaper ads, in the undying hope that something not involving sales, customer service or telemarketing jumps out at me.
…I Walk-About to my parents’, drink rum, and listen to a new story once a week. Yes, I’m writing them down – heck I might even get around to posting them…
…I swear over the apparently uninstallable software that will allow the coolest Ruby post ever posted to be posted… finally. I hope. Gulp…*
…I dance with The Turkey – who, by the way, has just finished the second edit of her first novel. At 13. Yup. I feel a little useless when she’s in the room. She’s also re-dyed her hair purple, and has taken to stealing the pre-stolen “Grampa-shirts” out of my closet (I stole them first, but there’s never one to wear when I want one), and wearing them with neckties. I’d post pics, but the kid doesn’t stay home long enough to catch more than her shirt-tail in the view-finder…
…I drive around with The Fly-Girl in the Soon-to-be-Mine Minivan (I think I’ll name it The FlyMobile, whad’ya think?), singing old rock tunes from when we were young and thought we’d be 16 for-freaking-ever.
…and I spend a lot of time staring at this picture… and drifting off… somewhere…