Cockeyed And Crazy

Various people have suggested that my grip on sanity is tenuous at best, perhaps because I tend to zone out and mutter at random moments while I wrestle with plot problems, but mostly because of my tendency to risk unnecessary bodily harm. Usually I just disregard their reality and cheerfully substitute my own, but lately my state of denial has been harder to maintain.

Between kickboxing and home renovation and automotive work there’s rarely a time when I’m not decorated with at least a few bruises or abrasions, but I’ve been a veritable paragon of common sense while my back’s been sore. Weeks have passed with my knuckle skin completely undamaged. Even my fingernails have grown out into clean, smooth half-moons. For somebody who usually uses 10W-30 for hand cream with a manicure by Makita, that’s positively unnatural.

So apparently I’ve decided that some injury is required to restore the balance of the universe. Hubby may not realize this, but he has enabled me in my quest for pain.

It all started when I decided I’d like to have an actual bed for the first time in my adult life. Up until recently our mattress and box-spring sat on a steel bed frame. It was sturdy and practical but ugly as homemade sin, and the middle caster was positioned exactly so as to rip your toes off every time you made the bed.

Hubby and I looked at some new wooden beds, but the prices were exorbitant and the designs were boring. I admit I’m a cheapskate, but it seems to me that if I’m going to pay three thousand dollars for a bed that doesn’t even include a mattress, it better serve me drinks and rock me to sleep. Or rock my world somehow, but we won’t get into that.

So Hubby decided to build us a new bed. I designed it, he built it, and we’re delighted with the result in cherry and live-edge maple burl:

This photo doesn’t do justice to the satiny ripples of figuring in the burls.

This photo doesn’t do justice to the satiny ripples of figuring in the burls.

It’s beautiful. It’s one-of-a-kind.

And it’s dangerous.

We’ve lived in this house for sixteen years, and my reflexes are finely honed to skirt around the end of our bed in the pitch dark. But now the bed is eight inches longer.

I’m pretty sure if you look at the picture closely, you’ll see my kneecaps dangling from the end posts. I’ve smashed into those posts so many times my knees look as though Guido and Luigi paid me a midnight visit with their baseball bats.

And just because it’s not enough of a challenge to unlearn a decade and a half of habit, I’ve also started a two-week trial of eyeglasses that leave my right eye uncorrected so I can continue to see clearly in the distance, while correcting my left to see clearly up close. If I can adjust to that, I can have LASIK surgery on my left eye and ditch the umpteen pairs of reading glasses lying around our house.

But until or unless I get used to that, my depth perception is screwed up.

So I’m squinting cockeyed at the world while I limp around muttering disjointed sentence fragments and occasionally stumbling over imaginary obstacles on a flat smooth floor.

It’s lucky I don’t go out much. The loony-catchers would pick me up for sure.

Please inject a dose of sanity here.  Has anybody else tried the one-eye-for-distance/one-eye-for-closeup thing?

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Prickly Neighbours

I’m not a talented travel writer like my blogging buddy Sue Slaght, but here’s what we’re doing this week:

That’s Hubby mugging with our new neighbours, the saguaro cacti (also prickly pears in the foreground)

That’s Hubby mugging with our new neighbours, the saguaro cacti (also prickly pears in the foreground)

Yes, we’re on vacation this week, and it’s made me realize I don’t get out much.  It’s not that I don’t know what the outside world is like; it’s just that I kinda… forgot.

I had to laugh at myself when we got off the plane in Phoenix, Arizona.  I was harbouring a mental image and expectation of barren desert.  Which it is… outside the city.

And I was thinking Phoenix wasn’t actually much larger than Calgary… which it isn’t, until you add in the urban sprawl that includes about fourteen cities, all of them around the size of Phoenix.

So as a result of these comforting delusions I was semi-expecting an airport approximately the size of Calgary International, which, while not tiny, has lots of wide open spaces and is relatively easy to navigate.

When I got off the plane I nearly turned tail and ran back to beg them to take me somewhere less crowded.  Holy shit, there were a lot of people!

I know you seasoned travellers are laughing at me now, because Phoenix Sky Harbour is small compared to lots of other airports.  But my regular comfort zone is about two people per thousand square feet and I really prefer two people per square mile, so two people per square yard was a bit of a shock.

But I comforted myself with the knowledge that we’d be getting on the interstate freeway and heading out into the desert on our way to Tucson, so I’d soon be on the wide-open road.

Or not.

I10 from Phoenix to Tucson is not ‘the wide-open road’.  Just sayin’.  That’s what rush-hour city traffic looks like where I come from.

And I’m not really an ‘interstate’ kind of person.  I like the back roads, where I can get close to the fields and untouched places and see the indigenous plants and birds and critters.  You don’t see much of that from the interstate.  I glimpsed some big areas of saguaro cactus, but they whisked by in a blur at 75 mph.  I spotted some cotton fields, but they were blurry with speed and distance, too.

Fortunately I’ve had a chance to go out and poke around in the desert for the last couple of days.  I’ve bought my obligatory field guide, and I’ve been having fun trying to identify all the native vegetation.  I recognize the prickly pear cactus from home (it does actually grow in some areas of Alberta), but around here it looks as though it’s on steroids.

We’ve been doing the tourist thing around Tucson, seeing the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Desert Museum and the Colossal Cave so far.  The Biosphere 2 is still on a tentative list, and I’m sure there are lots of other fascinating things to see and do around here.

And my life is complete because I’ve now met a saguaro up close and personal (but not too close – I’m not crazy about cactus spines).

What’s new and exciting in your world this week?

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It’s Gonna Be A Long Winter

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when we question our sanity in living where we do.

Saturday was nice and sunny with temperatures in the high teens (that’s low 70s for you Fahrenheit folks), and Hubby took the motorcycle out for one last ride. Sunday we had six inches of snow and last night the temperature was -27 with the wind chill.

We knew winter was coming. We’re not shocked.  But the longer we live here, the more we start talking about other places we could live.  The problem is that other than the cold and snow, we can’t think of a better place.

Well, okay; the cold and snow and the fact that there are large animals here that would like to eat us. Grizzly bears and cougars and such.  They’re not really an issue in the city, but when we’re out at our garden in the country, they’re a threat.

Hubby and I considered and discarded a few options.

Tropical beaches have a special allure when our world is cold and white, but then there are the problems of jellyfish and sharks and undertows and red tide and hurricanes and tsunamis, which are probably of negligible concern to the people who actually live there, but they seem pretty scary to us.

And most places with warm tropical beaches also have giant bugs. And the giant bugs often occupy houses where we might want to live.  This is an issue for at least one of us.

I grew up in a farmhouse that was infested by big black crickets all summer long, and crickets eat everything. Including your underwear in the laundry bin.  I had crotchless panties at an age where I couldn’t imagine why anybody would want them.  So my bug tolerance is slightly higher than Hubby’s, but I still have no desire to cohabitate with bugs.  Ever.  Again.

Then there’s the whole snake issue. Here in Canada even our venomous snakes are polite.  We only have four kinds, and they’d all prefer to avoid humans if possible.  They keep to themselves in a few small geographic areas, and even if you manage to find one and convince it to bite you, you probably won’t die.

Not like some of the warmer climes where you can take your choice between being fatally bitten or fatally squished by a mind-boggling variety of reptiles. I’ve heard Hawaii doesn’t have snakes, but then again, they’ve got volcanoes and lava flows.  One way or another, something’s gonna sneak up and swallow you when you least expect it.

And if you go really far afield, there’s a whole ‘nother set of man-eating critters licking their chops. Oh, with tropical diseases thrown in as a bonus.

Having exhausted our discussion of alternate places to live, our kitchen table conversation swerved to this:

Hubby: Wouldn’t it be nice to just put all the big predators on an island somewhere so we wouldn’t have to worry about them?  I wonder who’d win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a lion?

Me: Cage match!  I’d put my money on the grizzly.

Hubby: How about a grizzly bear and a polar bear?  Polar bears are bigger than grizzlies.

Me: Yeah, but polar bears only hunt wussy stuff like seals and humans.  No claws or teeth or anything.  Grizzlies are mean mo-fos.  They kill other bears.

Hubby: Hm.  Yeah.  How about…

*discussion continues*

Yep, only three cold days and already cabin fever is setting in. It’s gonna be a long winter.

Please help us out: Where’s the ideal place to live?

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Beware: Killer Raisins

By now everybody knows I suffer from what I prefer to call ‘attention-deficit dyslexia’ (because it sounds better than ‘I read too fast and my twisted brain spits out weird stuff’).

That’s been happening frequently of late, probably because I’ve been stoned to the eyeballs on muscle relaxants and my brain function has slowed to the speed of a crippled snail on downers.  I thought being stoned would be more fun than this, but at least my misreading has kept me entertained.

You may have come to expect my misreads to be of the off-colour variety, but apparently my sexlexia is (mostly) under control these days. Only a couple of my latest finds fall into that category: I read ‘Last time for a Night Screw’ instead of ‘Last time for a Night Crew’ and ‘Elevate the status of old spanky’ when it actually said ‘Elevate the status of an old standby’.  (I’m not even going to speculate as to who or what ‘old spanky’ might be.  Sometimes the nobility of my restraint astounds me.)

Then this inspirational title gave me pause: ‘Ambulance doesn’t follow giving until giving becomes its own reward’. I’ve heard of ambulance-chasers, but that seemed to be carrying things a bit too far.

The title actually read ‘Abundance’, not ‘Ambulance’, but even with the correct wording I’m not sure how to interpret that headline. At least I don’t have to look over my shoulder for an ambulance the next time I donate to a cause.

Apparently I have a mental block against the word ‘plan’, because I read it wrong in two separate headlines within a day. First I read ‘you need a pun’, and then ‘7 signs you need a gun’.

Both those articles would have been much more entertaining if they’d explained why I needed puns and guns instead of plans, but I guess that’s too much to hope for in your average business magazine. (Though now in my drug-induced haze I’m imagining trade journals like Clown World and Assassins Weekly. Or better yet, guns and puns together in The Assassin Clown’s Handbook.)

Standing in line at the supermarket, I did a double-take when I glanced at one of the tabloid headlines and saw ‘Killed By Raisins’. At least I thought that’s what it said. When I looked more closely at it, I was disappointed to discover that it actually said ‘Raised By Killers’. I was totally bass ackwards on that one.

And speaking of food, I got a giggle out of one of the invitations from my Meetup group. It announced ‘A waistline is available for Steak Night’. Padding somebody else’s waistline instead of my own seemed like an excellent idea, but it was too good to be true. In fact the only thing available for Steak Night was a waitlist.

After that spate of misinterpretation, I barely blinked at the spam email that mentioned ‘colorectal feathers’. I re-read it, fully expecting to find it said something else. But no; this time it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me. It actually said ‘colorectal feathers’.

The mental image cracked me up. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t help picturing a guy with a gaily coloured feather duster stuck up where the sun don’t shine.

My back is much better and I’m looking forward to ditching the drugs soon, but at least I got a laugh from killer raisins and poop-chute plumage.

Any other ‘creative readers’ out there?

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

They’re coming for us.

Leathery features twisted in horrifying grimaces. Glistening eyeballs barely contained in lidless sockets. Grotesque warty protuberances erupting from wrinkled reptilian skin.

I’m not talking about the usual Halloween ghosties and ghoulies. These aren’t human beings in masks and makeup. This is the real thing; a nightmare come alive.

Yes, I’m talking about potatoes.

How would you like to find this when you stick your hand in the potato bin?

How would you like to find this when you stick your hand in the potato bin?

 

Or this?

Or this?

These are last year’s potatoes – we didn’t finish them up before we dug the new ones, and now apparently they’ve decided to reproduce all on their own. They’re actually growing new little potatoes inside the old ones.

I’m totally creeped out. It’s like one of those pod-people horror movies, only it’s happening in our potato bin. And just in time for Halloween, too.

Maybe we should put these out on our front porch instead of a jack-o-lantern. I bet that would cut down on the trick-or-treaters (or, as we often call them, Halloweeners, but that word always makes me think of a semi-artificial meat product all gussied up in a little costume).

I like Halloween.  Its origins are shrouded in mystery and nobody remembers or cares whether it was originally a religious or secular occasion. It celebrates absolutely nothing, and does it with silly costumes and free candy.  What’s not to like?

We need more days like Halloween, but I think we adults should get goodies along with the kids. Maybe candy for the kids and booze for the parents, so the adults will be sufficiently mellow when their little darlings consume the entire contents of their candy bags and become hyperactive human cannonballs with projectile vomiting. I don’t have kids of my own, but an overstimulated child with a belly full of candy sounds like the world’s scariest horror movie to me.

Hubby and I used to stay home and hand out treats, but for the last few years we’ve been Halloween grinches. We vacate the house around five o’clock and go to the bar to shoot pool, nicely avoiding both the parade of kids and our subsequent pig-out on leftover chocolate bars. (‘Cause you wouldn’t want to run out of candy, right? So you have to buy lots. And it only makes sense to buy the kinds you like.)

But maybe this year we should stay home and hand out potatoes. They’re the perfect Halloween treat: delicious, nutritious, and scary as hell.

Anybody else harbouring mutant vegetables? What are your Halloween traditions?

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Slime! You’re Eye Candy!

That was the sign that confronted me as I left the optometrist’s office yesterday: “Slime! You’re eye candy!”

I had just been told my eyesight was perfect, so since I was reading the sign backward through the glass I figured it had to be another instance of my attention-deficit dyslexia. I went around and checked it from the correct side and sure enough, it said, “Smile! You’re on camera!” But at least I got a chuckle.

It’s been that kind of week: Bass ackwards and downside up. I feel as though I’ve been running around in ever-decreasing circles until I’m in imminent danger of disappearing up my own ass.

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, I had planned for today’s post to honour several of my personal friends and all the other brave women who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.

When one of my friends was going through her chemo treatments, she wanted a break from all the scary serious stuff and we usually ended up laughing in the treatment room. Cancer has enough innate solemnity, so I wanted to write a light-hearted post.

But my scattered brain wouldn’t cooperate. I made several attempts but they all felt as cheap and forced as the drilling company that sent pink drill bits out to their sites to promote awareness despite the fact that some of the chemicals they use are believed to cause breast cancer.

I could just see the board meeting for that one:

“Hey, let’s paint our drill bits pink! We’ll get all kinds of good press for supporting breast cancer!”

“Um, our chemicals cause breast cancer. We’re supposed to be supporting awareness of breast cancer, not supporting breast cancer itself.”

“Oh… Well, close enough. Paint ‘em pink and send out a press release.”

Usually I write my blog drafts on Monday, but by yesterday afternoon I had nothing but three boob jokes and an off-colour toast. (That’s three jokes about boobs, not jokes about three boobs… though I did, in fact, give my blogging buddy Linda Grimes a hard time about discovering a middle tit last week, so maybe that qualifies.)

I’m still clinging to the hope that my gray matter will cooperate and I’ll manage to write that post by next week. Meanwhile, all I’ve got is a joke that combines three of my favourite things: engineers, smart women, and raunchy humour (not necessarily in that order). Oh, and a boob reference, to, um, round things out:

An older male engineer and his young female counterpart were going out to inspect a site after the survey crew had finished. Wanting to impress the young engineer with the breadth of his knowledge and experience, the man turned to the woman as they got out of the truck and said, “We’ll get this done faster if we split up, so take whatever you need from the toolbox in the back of the truck. If we need to communicate at a distance we’ll use the secret engineering code.”

She nodded and they went their separate ways with the man chuckling inwardly. That showed how little she knew. The secret engineering code was something he’d just made up on the spur of the moment.

Looking back to enjoy her rear view, he tripped over a survey stake and knocked it over. By the time he got dusted off she was quite a distance away, watching his discomfiture with a grin. Embarrassed, he decided take her down a peg or two. He pointed to his eye, then his knee, then mimed a hammering motion. “Eye… kneed… the hammer.”

Expecting her to be completely bamboozled, he was startled and not a little perturbed when she shrugged, gripped her left boob, and then hoisted her hand into her crotch.

Frowning, he exaggerated his movements, pointing forcefully to his eye and knee and madly hammering the air. “EYE… KNEED… THE HAMMER!”

She scowled back and repeated her insulting gestures with even more emphasis.

Enraged, the male engineer strode toward her and she did the same, meeting him in the middle and looking just as irritated as he.

“What’s wrong with you?” the man demanded. “I need to pound in that stake. I told you very plainly, I NEED THE HAMMER.”

She replied, “I answered, you moron! Don’t you understand the secret engineering code? I LEFT TIT IN THE BOX!”

…And speaking of eye candy, I know I link to this video approximately every second year but just because I’m completely devoid of originality today, here’s my favourite reminder to get those breast self-examinations done:

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I Went Out And Got Pithed

No, I haven’t begun to lithp. I did actually mean ‘pithed’. Getting pissed would have been a whole lot more fun.

The story begins long ago in a little country school…

Nah, never mind. I’ve got the world’s shittiest memory, so anything I told you about my school days would be pure fabrication. That might be amusing for me (if not for the classmates I’d likely malign) but it’s not what I had in mind for today’s post.

The story actually begins when I learned what ‘pithing a frog’ meant. That was probably around the time I was in high school, but I won’t swear to it. (The swearing comes later. Wait for it…)

For those unfamiliar with pithing, it involves pushing a needle into a frog’s brain and moving the needle around to destroy the brain so the frog won’t suffer unnecessarily while it gets dissected alive. Needless to say, the procedure stimulates the somatic nervous system, causing the frog to kick and twitch involuntarily. I know; quelle surprise, right?

Fast-forward to last week.

I did some renovations on my step-mom’s deck while I was visiting in Manitoba. (No deck jokes in this post, though. Been there, done that.) I replaced a few boards, belt-sanded the whole thing, and re-stained it. That involved a couple of five-hour sessions bent double/kneeling/sitting/leaning forward. My back was sore and tired.

But I was fine. My muscles recovered after a day or two and I carried on, happily oblivious to the impending catastrophe.

I drove home:  twelve hours of straight driving. I got out of the car in Calgary and felt fine.

Went for a walk that evening and felt fine.

Went to bed that night and slept like a baby on our nice new mattress.

And woke up with a back spasm so bad I could barely walk.

Only I could hurt myself doing absolutely nothing.

Four days later I was still crippled, with my back muscles spasming so hard they reached around and yanked my abdominal muscles into the act, too. Every time I moved, it felt as though I had snakes writhing under the skin of my stomach. So I went to the physiotherapist.

I’ve mentioned before that modern physiotherapy techniques are barbaric. This was no exception. I signed a release form for IMS (Intra-Muscular Stimulation), which means they stick needles in the spasming spots and grind the needles around until the victim muscle submits.

You wanna see kicking and twitching? Wow.

If not for the fact that I had my pants around my knees and needle tracks from my ass to my shoulders, I would have loved to have videotaped it just for the laughs. I’m surprised the carpet didn’t melt from my swearing, because apparently IMS stimulates not only my somatic nervous system but also the profanity centres of my brain.

And for a few days I wondered if one of those needles had destroyed my brain, too, ‘cause I couldn’t even think. But that might have just been the muscle relaxants.

I’m much better now, but I have a whole new sympathy for frogs. Maybe I should befriend some so we could go out and get pithed together.

Tho how wath your week?

* * *

Bonus Question: How do you pith a frog?

Answer: Tell him he thuckth at thwimming.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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Dear Truckers…

Dear Truckers,

I just got back from driving another 2,400 km trip across the Canadian prairies, and now I’m sad.

I always looked up to you as professional drivers. I admired your skill and courage as you pushed through summer storms and winter blizzards. I respected the personal sacrifices demanded by an exhausting job that kept you far from your friends and family.

I loved to watch a semi starting up from a dead stop: the cab of the tractor torquing with sheer brute power; the big diesel engine growling and snorting. I always enjoyed the sight of your big rigs gobbling up the miles. I liked the thought that in each of those cabs was someone who loved the open road as much as I do.

But my last couple of trips have ended all that.

Maybe some of you are still dedicated professionals, but too many of you are downright dangerous. I spent my drive in dread of having to pass you. Five different truck drivers nearly wiped me off the road; veering into my lane and weaving back and forth. One even drove down the centreline for several miles at a time. If I’d had any safe place to pull over, I’d have called 911 and reported that guy, but I didn’t dare stop in case he caught up and actually succeeded in killing me on his next try. 

I always give you lots of space and make sure I’m driving consistently so you don’t get any surprises.  I know cars can be hard to see from where you sit so I always make sure I’m visible in your mirrors, but that didn’t matter because these guys weren’t watching their mirrors.  Or the road.

Years ago we rarely saw a wrecked semi unless the road conditions were truly fearsome, but I saw three fresh wrecks during this trip. There was bright sunshine and unlimited visibility. A long straight four-lane divided highway on flat prairie. Perfect driving conditions. I don’t know what you’re doing up there in that cab, but you’re not paying attention to driving. Maybe you’re texting or talking on the phone or, like one guy I saw, reading a book propped against the steering wheel.

Why would you do that?

You know you can’t stop an 80,000-pound vehicle on a dime. You know what happens if you run into a smaller vehicle.

When I was young, we called you Knights of the Road. You looked out for us little folk, and you were heroes to stranded motorists. In a blizzard, we knew if we could find a semi and follow its taillights we’d be okay. Now you’re just as likely to lead us over the edge of a cliff.

I’m so disappointed. I feel as though the big brother or sister I’ve idolized all my life has turned out to be a fraud.

I know the days of stopping to help other motorists are long gone, made impossible by your ridiculously tight schedules and the added dangers of armed nutcases and heavy traffic. But do you really care so little about your professional pride and the safety of other motorists that you won’t even bother to drive a straight line?

Come back, Knights of the Road. I miss you. I miss the joy of driving and the sense of safety you used to give me.

And I don’t want to become a grease spot under your wheels.

With sincere sadness,

Diane

* * *

Sorry it’s not my regular foolishness today. I usually love driving that trip, but those drivers really spoiled it for me.  I guess I’m lucky they didn’t spoil it permanently.

Just to show I haven’t completely lost my sense of humour, though, I’d like to share a little personal revelation I had somewhere around the middle of Saskatchewan.  I was singing along with my music as usual when I suddenly realized that I am incapable of screeching out high notes without simultaneously clenching the steering wheel in a white-knuckled grip and contorting my face in a horrible grimace.

Between my awful caterwauling and my scary expression, it’s no wonder the truckers try to run me off the road.

P.S. Something weird is going on with either WordPress or my domain today.  I’m sorry if the blog won’t behave – I’m trying to figure out the problem.  In the mean time, as they say:  “Call me if you don’t get this message”.

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Hey, Brain, Stop Eating Beans!

I must be consuming a high-fibre intellectual diet, because I’ve been having an awful lot of brain farts lately.

A few weeks ago I was out walking in the park near our place. We’re a friendly bunch here in Calgary, and when we meet fellow walkers we usually offer a ‘hi’ or a ‘good morning’ even if we’re total strangers.

I was striding along, my brain totally wrapped up in a plot point for Book 9, when I noticed this smiling lady approaching me. To normal people, this would be a visual cue that some response would soon be required.

But I think we’ve already established that I’m not normal. She said ‘hi’, and my brain short-circuited.

I knew some response was required but I couldn’t formulate any appropriate words. Fortunately my mouth kicked into gear a moment later and I managed a ‘hi’ in return.  Not exactly complex linguistics, but the amount of effort it took was downright scary.

Then a couple of days later I was deep in writing when I remembered it was bread-baking day. I went down to the kitchen and got out my mixing bowl and spoon, pulled my hair into a ponytail… and started looking for my safety glasses.

That’s not quite as random as it sounds. We’d been trap-shooting a few days previously and it’s reflex to put on my safety glasses when I shoot.  But I don’t know why my brain suddenly decided to substitute ‘shooting glasses’ for ‘apron’.  I’ve never heard of anybody requiring eye protection for flying flour dust.

And I guess I was thoroughly involved in my plotting, because a few days later I flopped onto the couch and moved the TV remote from the seat cushion to the coffee table. Just as I let go of the remote, a sudden urgent thought popped into my mind:  “Oh, shit, I just left fingerprints on the remote!”

That was immediately followed by a facepalm. I’ve lived in this house for sixteen years.  My fingerprints are everywhere.  Since I don’t watch TV they’re not terribly likely to be on the remote, but I’m sure in the course of the last decade or so I’ve handled it a few times.

And anyway, why would it matter? I can’t think of any crimes one could commit effectively with a TV remote.  Bludgeoning someone to death would be unnecessarily laborious, and the batteries’ tiny bit of electricity wouldn’t make them do much more than twitch and squeak…

Ahem.

No, I haven’t spent a lot of time considering this; why do you ask?

I guess there’s always the possibility that Hubby secretly owns a fingerprinting kit and has been trying to catch the malignant ghost that causes his PVR to periodically ditch its programming. But even if I had been the guilty party, I hope the consequences wouldn’t have been too severe.

Then again, messing with a guy’s PVR programming is probably grounds for divorce. (Hubby, if you’re reading this, I didn’t push any buttons.  Honest.  You can dust them for fingerprints if you like.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out what I can feed my brain that might reduce my cognitive flatulence. Any suggestions?

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Wait, Wha…?!?

I’ve had one of those weeks where it seems as though the rest of the world is conspiring to make me say, “Wait, wha…?!?”

The first thing was the fortune cookie I got on the weekend. I was expecting the usual sort of fortune; you know, ‘You will soon go on a long trip’ or ‘Your persistence will be rewarded’ or something.

Instead, I got this:

fortune - goal

Wha…?!?

I’m somebody’s goal? That’s… really… kinda creepy. I’d be pleased to be someone’s role model… or no, wait, scratch that. I’d be seriously concerned if anyone selected me as a role model. I’d be unsurprised by being held up as a bad example; or perhaps as an object lesson. But to be the goal of many individuals? Suddenly I feel as though I’m the prize in a game of Capture The Flag.

The next two things that boggled my mind happened in quick succession at a shopping mall. Here’s what confronted me when I walked in the door of Hudson’s Bay Company (a Canadian department store):

Check the sign: "2015 RED MITTENS".

Check the sign: “2015 RED MITTENS”.

I read the sign on my way by, stopped, backed up, and read it again. Then I squinted at the sign and the big display of mittens beside it. Wha…?!? In what world are those mittens red?

Granted, they’ve got some red on them. But The Bay has carried a new design of red mittens every winter for years, and they’ve always been, well… red.  See?

These red mittens all have one thing in common: They’re, um… red.

These red mittens all have one thing in common: They’re, um… red.

I guess nobody bothered to inform me that blue is the new red.

Then a few minutes later, in the same store, this:

Yes, that is a giant hairball.

Yes, that is a giant hairball.

A big ball of human hair. Right in the middle of the clean white floor, not far from a service desk.

Something like that doesn’t just drop unnoticed off somebody’s head. A hairball of that magnitude has to be gathered from a hairbrush, rolled up, and deliberately dropped. Gross. But that wasn’t what made me say, “Wait, wha…?!?”

No; I put the defunct dreadlock out of my mind and carried on with my shopping. My ‘wha…?!?’ moment occurred two hours later when it I came back and it was still there.

So this big gross hairball, visible from 50 yards away in a main traffic aisle, close to a service desk… was cheerfully ignored by every staff member for two hours.  That might not be surprising if it was a dollar store or some other place that doesn’t worry too much about their image. But in a department store that pretends to be moderately upscale? Wha…?!?

And finally, I’ll leave you with this arrival in yesterday’s mailbox:

Tell me, does this colour scheme say ‘Glow’ to you?

Tell me, does this colour scheme say ‘Glow’ to you?

I don’t know why they persist in sending me this free magazine. It’s all about fashion and makeup, which everyone knows is a lost cause with me. But at least I got a laugh out of this issue’s cover. A murky green background and a model with deeply shadowed eyes, pale lips, and a greenish cast to her skin just doesn’t say ‘Glow’ to me. ‘Reanimated Corpse’, maybe.

But I guess that title would be too long to fit on the cover.

Did anything make you go “Wait, wha…?!?” this week?

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