Tag Archives: embarrassment

Language Lapses

I’m fascinated by the way English speakers from various cultures use the same words to mean completely different things, sometimes with hilarious results.  I have readers around the world so I’m generally conscious of words that are innocent in some places but rude in others, and I try to stay away from the iffy ones.

But sometimes I fail.  F’rinstance…

Hubby is an electronics genius, and he’s always repairing and/or inventing things in his mancave. Sometimes there are worrisome whiffs of electrochemical odour that make me wonder whether the air is safe to breathe.  So the other day I was talking with a doctor; a knowledgeable and pleasant man with a British accent.  And he asked whether we had any potential toxins in our house.

“Solder!” I announced.

In the momentary pause that followed, I realized I’d slipped up.  I had forgotten that in Britain, ‘solder’ is pronounced ‘sole-der’ (rhyming with ‘bolder’). In the U.S. and Canada, we pronounce it ‘sodder’. And just after the word launched from my mouth into that instant of silence, I recalled that ‘sod’, ‘sodding’, and its variations are quite rude in Britain. Similar to the F-bomb, according to the online dictionaries.

Oops.

I hurriedly added, “…from electronics repair” and the doctor replied as though nothing was amiss (and his answer was that we’re probably safe, considering the minimal amount of soldering Hubby does), but there was definitely a thread of amusement in his voice. I’m glad he decided to see the humour!

Considering that Canada actually began as a British colony, it’s surprising how many of our words have diverged in meaning.

Take ‘gas’, for example. Here, it’s fuel for our vehicles. In the U.K. it’s called ‘petrol’ — ‘gas’ is something you get after eating too many beans. I can only imagine the chuckles over there when somebody from this continent bemoans the unfortunate addiction of gas-sniffing.

Then there’s the time-honoured British tradition of smoking fags:  To them, a ‘fag’ is a cigarette. Over here, it’s a derogatory word for a homosexual man. Add that to the fact that ‘smoke’ is slang for ‘kill’ in North America, and a casual social practice in the U.K. becomes a criminal act over here.

But the word that came closest to embarrassing me internationally was ‘fanny’. As you may know, the protagonist of my novels wears a waist pouch; commonly known as a ‘fanny pack’ in North America. Here, ‘fanny’ is a semi-polite word meaning ‘bum’ or ‘buttocks’.  Over the pond, ‘fanny’ is a very impolite word for female genitals. I’m SO glad I didn’t call it a ‘fanny pack’ in my novels!

And speaking of novels… Book 15’s cover and blurb are finished, woohoo!  I’m expecting feedback from one more beta reader, and then I’ll be ready to announce a release date.

Here’s the cover art, with many thanks to all my wonderful blog readers who offered feedback and advice last May.  Most people liked the original cover photos, but over half thought the colours and fonts could be more dynamic.  So here’s the new look — I hope you like it!  (You can see the rest of the updated covers on the Books page.)

Off-duty secret agent Aydan Kelly knows she shouldn’t interfere when her lover finally locates his long-lost sister, but she’s afraid Arnie’s too upset to stay on the right side of the law.

Arnie’s sister has been outed in a social media firestorm, and threats against her escalate to a violent attack.  Aydan and Arnie rush to her rescue, only to discover she’s being targeted by a powerful crime lord from her unsavory past.  As danger mounts, Aydan realizes Arnie will do anything to save his sister… including murder.

Caught between love and legality, Aydan faces an unthinkable choice:  Risk her career and freedom by turning a blind eye to Arnie’s deadly plan, or save the crime lord and condemn Arnie to prison and his sister to death.

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Never Turn Your Back On Your Car

In the past I’ve mentioned how bad things tend to sneak up from behind.  I’m especially paranoid about bad things involving my behind.  This has led me to develop a few, um… let’s just say ‘unique’ behaviours like always sitting with my back to a wall and obsessively checking the butt-end of any spandex-containing garment I intend to wear.

Nothing has sneaked up on me for a long time; but this week I got ambushed by an entirely unforeseen enemy:  My car.

It was raining when I parked at the art centre for my Friday painting group.  I sidled between the vehicles and carefully opened my passenger door, not enough to hit the vehicle beside me, but wide enough to retrieve my largish Rubbermaid tub and the art canvas I carry on top of it.  Thinking ahead (and smug in my own efficiency), I hit the door locks before I grabbed the tub so I wouldn’t have to add ‘fumble with keys and lock car’ to my list of acrobatic manoeuvres.

I eased the tub out, balancing on one foot and stabilizing the door with the other, while remembering to keep a thumb on the canvas so the wind wouldn’t blow it away.  Then I turned to complete the final step in my awkward ballet:  Slamming the door with my elbow while holding the tub in both hands.

Everything went fine:  The door latched, and I didn’t drop my tub or fall on my butt.  Except… when I tried to walk away, I couldn’t.

I had a moment of blank incomprehension:  “Can’t move. Why…???”

Then I realized the wind had gusted at the exact moment that the door slammed shut, and a big fold of my jacket was locked into the car.  And there I stood:  My back jammed against the car, both hands occupied by the tub, arms immobilized by the tightened jacket, and rain bucketing down.

After a couple of futile tugs on the jacket, I raised one knee to balance the tub and groped behind me for the door handle.  But no; I’d been efficient.  The door was locked.

Then came the truly ridiculous part of my performance:  Standing on one leg, balancing the tub on my drawn-up knee, gripping the handle of the tub with my left hand, left thumb stretched up to hold the canvas in place; all while insinuating my right hand between the tub and my belly to reach my waist pouch (which was jammed under the tub), where I’d ever-so-efficiently stowed my keys in a zippered pocket.

By some miracle I still didn’t fall on my butt; but it was a near thing when giggles seized me halfway through the process.  The only saving grace was that my car has electric locks.  If I’d had to insert a key in a keyhole one-handed, behind my back, while standing on one leg balancing a heavy tub, I probably would have done myself an injury.  From laughter, if nothing else.

I managed to free myself without drawing a crowd of jeering onlookers, so I considered it a win.  But that’s the last time I’ll ever turn my back on my car…

Book 15 update:  Another good writing week!  I’m bombing along on Chapter 43 and all the threads are finally coming together.  Dare I say… “The End” is in sight…?

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Awkward…

I have to confess:  A couple of weeks ago I swore at a shoe saleslady because I thought we were just joking around.  Apparently I was wrong.  Awkwardness ensued.

So…

I went to the running shoe store and explained to the saleslady that I buy runners based only on comfort.  Style is irrelevant, as long as my feet are happy.

“Oh,” she said snarkily.  “It’s my lucky day.  You’re going to make me drag out every pair of shoes in the store, aren’t you?”

I was slightly taken aback, but I decided she must be joking.  After all, dragging out shoes is her job.  So I laughed and said, “Yep, probably.  Sorry about that.”

She brought out a couple of pairs and I tried them on.  She immediately pointed to one pair.  “Those are the ones.  I like the way they look on your feet.”

“They’re nice,” I agreed.  “But they don’t fit.  Do you have any others?”

She made another remark about how I was inconveniencing her, and I dutifully laughed.  She returned with a couple more pairs, and again pointed out the ones she liked; and again I explained that their appearance was irrelevant.

“Wait, I have the perfect shoes for you!”  She scurried off and returned with another box.  “Here!  These are beautiful!”

She triumphantly displayed the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.  I mean, we’re talking about some unholy union between a giant marshmallow and neon bedroom slippers; and if you’re having difficulty visualizing that, you’re lucky.  The reality was retina-scarring.

I burst out laughing and exclaimed, “Those are hideous!”

“They’re beautiful,” she insisted.  “Just put them on.  You’ll love them.”

So I put them on, because if they had fit well I would’ve bought them no matter how ugly they were.  To my everlasting relief, they weren’t comfortable.

“Nope, sorry,” I said.

“But they look so lovely on your feet!  Just walk around in them a bit more.  They’re so beautiful!  These are absolutely the right shoes for you!”

And that’s where I screwed up.  I was sure she was joking.  Why else would she hard-sell the shoes when I’d already clearly said I hated them and they weren’t comfortable?

“Oh, stop with the bullshit!” I said with a grin.  “I’m up to my neck in it!”

A chilly silence ensued.

I did buy a pair of runners (not the hideous ones), but it was awkward.

I feel vaguely guilty.  One might argue that if she wasn’t joking, then she deserved a verbal slapdown; but that’s not how I roll.  If I had known she was serious, I would have politely deflected her like any other annoying salesperson.

This ‘social interaction’ stuff is ’way too complicated.  Maybe I’ll just order everything online from now on.  And if that limits my contact with other human beings to once or twice a year, well, what could possibly go wrong?

At least if I really offend somebody and have to run away, I’ve got a snazzy new pair of runners…

Book 15 update:  A productive writing week!  Chapter 7 ended with a bang, and Aydan and the gang are off and running (literally).

 

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A Fishy Tale

I seem to end up looking like a doofus in public more often than most people. I prefer to think it’s sheer coincidence, and nothing to do with me personally.  (Denial:  Not just a river in Egypt.)  Last month it was my disintegrating shoes.  This week I entertained the crowd by juggling a dead fish at the pumps of a PetroCanada gas station.

It could only happen to me:

We had driven down to Victoria, and on the way back we stopped for gas. As I was fuelling up, Hubby’s uncle drove in beside me. That was an unlikely coincidence, since neither of us lives close to that PetroCanada station.  Also coincidentally, he was returning from a fishing trip.

“Hey, I’ve got a fish for you,” said he. “Do you want it now?”

Ordinarily I would have declined, since I have no way of carrying a gutted and beheaded fish home in my car without causing grievous harm to upholstery and equanimity.  But (another coincidence) I had taken a load of vegetables down to inflict on share with our friends, so I had a large empty cooler with ice packs.  I also happened to have a plastic bag, so I could put the fish in the bag and tuck it tidily into the cooler. Easy-peasy, right?

Not even close.

Hubby’s uncle was on his way to the ferry and I didn’t want to delay him, so I hustled his catch-bag over to where Hubby had helpfully opened our cooler.  I grabbed my plastic bag with one hand.  I grabbed the salmon with the other.

You’d think that very little could go wrong in the few inches between fish and bag; but you’d be oh-so-sadly mistaken. Freshly dead salmon are slippery. I had grabbed it just above the tail, and (being fish-shaped and all) it tapered considerably at that point.

That fish shot out of my grip like it was jet-propelled.

I made a panicked grab for it, which accomplished nothing except to add a tumble to its trajectory. Fish-slime flew in all directions, splattering my shirt, face, and sunglasses.  The fish did a belly-flop into our cooler, where it spitefully rubbed its dead self all over the ice packs and the inside of the cooler.

And there I stood in the middle of the PetroCanada station:  be-slimed and befuddled, with the empty plastic bag dangling impotently from my hand.

Then came a short ridiculous scene in which I juggled the frictionless fish a couple more times before finally cramming it into the bag.  (Don’t ask me why putting the fish in the bag still seemed important, since the cooler and ice packs were already thoroughly slimed.  By then I wasn’t thinking straight due to a severe case of the giggles.)

I scuttled into the station to wash my hands and clean my sunglasses, then hurried back to the car and drove away without looking around to see how many people had witnessed the debacle.  I didn’t hear anybody laughing; but I wasn’t listening too closely, either.

I did manage to get the salmon filleted and into our freezer without further mishap, and soon we’ll eat the evidence.

But I might not go back to that gas station for a while…

Book 15 update:  I’m back in action after last week’s hiatus, and looking forward to a good writing week!

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A(nother) Sticky Situation

Unlike my sticky situation a few years ago, my latest debacle involved fashion, not glue.  And I’m here to tell you that when the words ‘sticky’ and ‘fashion’ get used in the same sentence the result is, um… undesirable.

As you may recall, I hate dressing up.  I haven’t bought new clothes in nearly ten years and I don’t have a clue what’s stylish now; but I’m pretty sure the wide-legged pants and bell-bottoms in my closet are passé.  (Or maybe not; what do I know?)

Anyway, I had a few panicky moments when I consulted my closet an hour before I was due to present my talk last week; but I did manage to get dressed.  From deep in the archives of my plastic shoe boxes I dug out my two pairs of comfortable dress shoes, and I was halfway out the door when I realized there was something sticky on one of the soles.

I rushed back, stuffed my feet into the other pair, and hurried off to the Civic Centre… only to discover that we were locked out.

When we finally got inside with only fifteen minutes to spare before the presentation, I rushed around setting up my projector and laptop.  Then I retired to the bathroom, hoping to dry the sweat that was rolling off me in the stuffy atmosphere.

That’s when I realized that, in my trauma over dress clothes, I’d forgotten to re-apply my deodorant. And I’d worn a sleeveless top. Every time I raised my arms, the pit-stink nearly knocked me over.

Okay; fine. The front rows were at least six feet away. The air conditioning was kicking in. I could carry this off.

So I dove into my presentation, getting totally immersed as I always do… until I realized that my damn shoe was sticking to the floor and un-sticking itself with an audible snap each time I moved.

For shit’s sake, what had I stepped in this time?!?

I ignored it as best I could and finished the talk; and everybody eventually trickled out.

That’s when I discovered that I hadn’t stepped in anything.  During their long contact with the plastic shoeboxes, the synthetic parts of the shoes had undergone some kind of chemical reaction.  The leather upper was fine, but the sole had turned into a gooey mess.

There were sticky black marks on the floor where I had stood; and a big piece of one sole had torn loose to flop around like a clown shoe with every step.

As I skulked out of the Civic Centre, Hubby helpfully remarked, “You left a piece of your shoe back there.”

I’m proud to report that there was only a smidgen of vulgarity in my response as I squelched my sticky way across the parking lot.

So the vindictive fashion gods have won another round. I’m afraid to even speculate what they’ll do for an encore; but if I’m lucky it’ll be another ten years down the road.

Maybe I’ll wait until then to buy new dress clothes…

Book 15 is under way!  I had a great plotting week — the subplot is mostly done and I’m working on the details of the main story.  Hope to start putting words on the page this week!

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My Taste Is All In My Mouth

A couple of years ago I confessed my utter failure as an interior designer in Fail! and Fail! Part Deux (Or Is That ‘Duh’?).  It was embarrassing, but at least after I departed that career long ago (to everyone’s relief, including my own) I figured I was pretty safe from future colour-related embarrassment.  After all, there are lots of other people who can’t create attractive colour schemes, and they get through life just fine.

And I have gotten along fine, other than a minor issue twenty years ago with house paint that turned out to be a revolting pale candy-pink instead of off-white.  (But I was the only one who had to live with that particular mistake; so no harm, no foul.)

But this week my self-esteem got slapped down again:  At the dollar store, where I was buying balloons for Hubby’s aunt and uncle’s upcoming 60th wedding anniversary.

The clerk paused halfway through ringing up the sale.  “Are you sure you want these purple balloons?” he asked.  “Were you looking for black instead?”

I whipped out my reading glasses (which I obviously should have been wearing in the first place).  Sure enough, the balloons that looked black in the package were clearly labelled ‘purple’.

“Yes,” I said with relief.  “Thank you!  I’m really glad you caught that.”

He smiled.  “I figured you must have gotten them mixed up.  Purple didn’t go with the other colours you’d picked out.”

I stood gaping wordlessly.  The other two colours were pearlescent gold and dark red.  He was right:  The third colour was supposed to have been black; but I would have thought deep purple, dark red, and gold would be fine together.  It certainly wouldn’t have occurred to me to question somebody about them.

Maybe he knew something I didn’t.  Maybe the balloons are actually vivid purple and screaming red when they’re inflated. But I still wouldn’t have flagged that as a mistake; I would have just assumed someone was decorating for a Red Hat event.

(And now I’m giggling, because if you follow that link to the Red Hat Society site, there’s a heading in ornate script that reads “How It Farted”…  Okay, fine; it actually says “How It Started”, but I can’t help seeing ‘farted’.  Clearly I’m childish as well as colour-impaired.)

Anyway, it’s a sobering thought that even a middle-aged male dollar-store employee has better taste than I do. I’m comforting myself with the fantasy that he’s actually a talented designer moonlighting as a store clerk for amusement, between his lucrative contracts with upscale clients.

At least the party decorations will look okay, because I didn’t choose the colour scheme — I was only the minion dispatched to buy balloons.  So with any luck I’ll make it through another decade or so without any further hue-miliation.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go and eat some of the yummy cinnamon pinwheels I made the other day.  At least I know there’s nothing wrong with my taste there!

Cinnamon Pinwheels
This recipe is tasty but not too sweet… like a cross between a biscuit and a cookie.  (So you can eat lots!)

Dough:
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Sprinkle worksurface with flour, sprinkle dough lightly with flour, and roll out into a rectangle about 12″ x 20″ and ¼” thick1.

Filling
1¼ cups brown sugar
½ cup flour
1 egg
Enough milk to make it spreadable (start with about 2 teaspoons and add more as needed)

For the filling, mix the flour and sugar thoroughly, then mix in the egg. The mixture will be damp and crumbly. Add enough milk to make it barely spreadable. (Too thin and it’ll all run out before you can get the pinwheels on the pan.)

Spread the filling over the dough rectangle, being careful to push the filling out to the ends; but leave about ½” of the dough bare along the long edges at the top and bottom. Sprinkle liberally (or to taste) with cinnamon.  You can also sprinkle on nuts or raisins if you like.

Cut the dough rectangle into quarters2. Beginning from one of the long edges in the middle (yes, the gooey part), roll the first quarter like a jellyroll, out to the naked edge of the dough3. Slice the roll into rounds about ½” thick4 and place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet with lots of space to expand5.

Bake at 350°F approximately 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned. (You may have to adjust the baking time considerably, depending on how big and thick you’ve cut your pinwheels.)

*

1 Despite the layer of flour underneath, the dough usually sticks to the counter when you roll it out. Don’t panic. You’ll have a ridge of loose flour along the edges of the dough rectangle after you’ve rolled it out, so just take a thin metal egg flipper… (Spatula? Whatever those things are called.) …and slide it through the flour and under the dough. It’ll push the flour underneath and free the dough at the same time.

2 This will give you a roll about 1½” in diameter, which yields a baked pinwheel about 2″ to 2½” in diameter. If you want bigger pinwheels, you could make larger rolls.

3 Only do one roll at a time, and only slice as many rounds as you need to fill your pan. If you roll and slice the whole thing, the filling will ooze out before you can get it all baked.

4 You could cut the rounds thicker if you want a more ‘biscuit-y’ size and texture, but I prefer them more cookie-like.

5 Don’t worry when the roll squishes flat and your pinwheel looks like some weird alien/amoeba thing. Just lay it out on the parchment and push it approximately into shape. When it bakes it’ll go back to being roundish.

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Things Are Getting Hairy

Thanks to @jenny_o at Procrastinating Donkey blog for my topic this week:  Hair.

I’ve had long hair almost all my life, mostly because I’m too lazy to style it and too cheap to pay for regular haircuts.  It’s a practical solution:  I can go camping for days and my hair still looks okay, my head and ears are always toasty warm, and I don’t even notice rain until about ten minutes after it starts.

But there are a few disadvantages:

Shedding:  Studies show that everybody sheds 50 to 100 hairs per day.  If those hairs are only an inch long it’s not too bad; but each of my hairs is at least 24 times that. I’m constantly cleaning hairballs out of the vacuum brush and dragging hair-bunnies out of the corners (and the shower drain).

Safety:  If I’m anywhere near rotating machinery, I’m obsessive about keeping my hair secured up and out of the way.  But even in so-called ‘safe’ environments, whiplash is always a possibility.  I’ve nearly wrenched my own head off by slamming the car door on my hair as I’m getting inside.  (Funny how that only seems to happen when there’s an audience…)

Embarrassment:  I once spent an entire interview secretly battling a chair.  Every time I leaned back, my hair got caught in the chair.  Then I’d try to nod, get jerked to a halt, and have to lean forward to pull my hair free.  I don’t know whether the interviewer thought I was making an embarrassingly awkward attempt at flirting or suffering from some bizarre physical tic; but I didn’t get that job.

The Ick Factor: I’ve had a lot of icky stuff in my hair over the years, from twigs to bugs to random food items.  Forget the old cliché of broccoli in your teeth; you don’t know humiliation until you’ve sat through an entire business dinner-meeting with a stray green bean dangling from your hair.

The Tickle Factor: Long hairs tickle.  Especially after they’ve dropped off your head and lodged in your bra, or worse, your underwear.  Imagine walking in a crowded mall, trying not to squirm while one insanely ticklish hair teases your butt crack.  If you ever catch a long-haired woman frantically groping down the back of her pants, now you’ll know why.  (That’s my best guess.  If it’s not that, we probably don’t want to know.)

And, @jenny_o, your poem inspired my own small attempt at a rhyming haiku:

Hair

I’ve got lots to spare
And yes, I am glad it’s there
But it’s ev’rywhere!

Book 14 update: We’re doing the cover photography this week, so stay tuned for a release date and cover reveal soon!

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Ass-Biting And Embarrassment

I’d like to point out that the title refers to only the metaphorical biting of asses, not the literal sinking of teeth into tushes.

I’d like to point that out; but the embarrassing truth is that bum-biting was a ‘thing’ when I went to university.  For some reason, both the biters and the bitees found the whole exercise hilarious.

It was actually harder than you might think. (It was also more difficult.)  Back in the old days, the average university-student butt cheeks were young and firm; and tight jeans were in style then.  It was tough to sink your teeth into the subject without said teeth slipping off and snapping together hard enough to rattle the remnants of brain bobbing around in a beer-infused cranium.

I had forgotten about the bum-biting fad until this week, when I commented on Jono’s blog and he reminded me that gloating invariably comes around to bite you in the ass.

How right he was.

Only a few short weeks ago, I posted photos of my flowers all happily pretending it was spring.  I tried not to gloat over our warm and beautiful weather, but a tiny gloat (would that be ‘gloatlet’?) just might have slipped through.

I should have bent over and assumed the position right then and there.

Yep, my gloatlet just jumped up and bit me in the ass.  It didn’t have to jump very high, since it was standing on the 18″ of snow we’ve gotten.  And there’s more in the forecast.

Vancouver Island has basically shut down – schools and a lot of businesses have been closed since Monday, and we’ve hunkered down to wait it out since snowplows are few and far between here.  The temperature is hovering around freezing and our power has stayed on (miracle of miracles) so the snow is really only an inconvenience; but it’s also a bit embarrassing after my overly-optimistic ‘It’s Spring!’ post.

But that’s okay.  It’s still not as embarrassing as admitting that I might (or might not; I’m just sayin’) have bitten one or more person(s) on the buttock(s) in the far-distant past.  That was long before cell phones with cameras, so there’s no actual evidence and I may or may not deny the whole thing.

But I can’t deny this:

That’s a full-size 4×4 slowly vanishing in the snow.

 

Flower garden? What flower garden?

The snow is beautiful and it probably won’t stay long (I hope), but that’s okay — go ahead and laugh.  I set myself up for it, after all.

Just remember the dangers of gloating, and don’t forget to cover your ass.  😉

Book 14 update:  It’s lean and mean and 11,000 words lighter after the latest round of edits!  I had to sacrifice a few good scenes, but they’re safely tucked into my files for future use.  And we have a title:  “Friends In Spy Places”.  Stay tuned for a cover reveal!

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Butt Of A Soak… Erm, ‘Joke’

Sometimes the mo(i)st unwelcome surprises in life sneak up from behind.

In arid Calgary where we used to live, rain is infrequent and everything dries fast afterward, so it’s difficult to inadvertently sit on something that will drench your drawers.  But here on Vancouver Island, it rains more, it rains longer, and everything stays wet even though it looks dry.

So when we moved out here, I adjusted my habits accordingly:  I always check outdoor surfaces before sitting down.  But (and it’s a wet butt) the West Coast has sneaky ways to soak my skivvies despite my precautions.

F’rinstance, there’s the rogue wave that caught me unawares while I was crouched in the shallows checking out the contents of a tide pool.  One minute I’m warm and dry and utterly absorbed in watching the little aquatic critters; and the next minute I get butt-slapped by icy ocean water.  (And immediately after that, I squelched rapidly back to my car hoping nobody would notice that I’d apparently peed my pants.)

But I learned that lesson fast; and after nearly two years out here, I was starting to feel pretty complacent about my ability to identify situations that might dampen my derrière.

That mossy log that feels dry to the touch?  Nope.  It’s dry on the surface, but moss holds water like a sponge.  It’s just waiting to humidify my haunches.

That chair placed welcomingly on the deck in the early-morning sunshine?  Nope again.  It’s covered by a thick but virtually invisible layer of dew.

So the other day I found a plastic Adirondack chair out in the sun on a fine afternoon.  It hadn’t rained for a day, but I swiped my hand across the seat just to be certain.  Dry.

I sank into the chair, stretching out my legs and admiring the sweeping mountain view over a vivid green golf course.  Birds sang and fluffy clouds drifted by in the blue sky.  Ahhhh.  Heaven.

I eased back to take advantage of the perfect reclining angle and discovered (butt-first, of course) that plastic Adirondack chairs retain a pool of rainwater in a deep groove right where the back meets the seat.  In this case, my seat.

So there I was, on my way to a birthday party in jeans with a big and highly-visible wet spot on the ass.  With, of course, no time to go home and change.

So the Wet Coast won again; but now I’ve figured out all its tricks – my butt won’t be its joke again!

(I hope…)

Book 14 update:  I made it to the middle of Chapter 19 this week against all odds (it was a very busy week).  Hoping for some quality writing time this week!

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Mom Was Right Again

So, you know how Mom used to tell us to wear nice underwear “just in case”?  Well, this week I found out she was right.

It’s a long story.

You may recall that last week I whined about our drought.  Since June we’ve been doing the summer equivalent of Rick Mercer’s “Seven Day Forecast”.

The forecast has been promising cooler weather in the mid 20s (Celsius) and a chance of showers… but always five to seven days in the future.  So on Friday I was shocked to discover that there was a 40% chance of showers predicted on Saturday!  Mere hours away!

I dragged out our giant tarp and wrestled it across the bottom and up the sides of our 10′ deep, 60′ long (dry) dugout.  All our downspouts are routed to the dugout and we have a lot of roof area, so I hoped that even a little sprinkle might yield a few gallons of captured water.

Imagine my delight when it POURED for half an hour on Saturday and I got three feet of water in my tarp – about 5,000 gallons, enough to water the garden for the rest of the summer!  Hooray!

Except…

The tarp leaked.  And we don’t have any 5,000-gallon storage vessels.

Soon there were only a few sad inches of unsalvageable muddy water lying in the folds of the tarp.  Mosquito eggs hatch fast, so I needed to drain my failed experiment and get it out of the dugout.

But a few inches of water in a 60′ long tarp still amounts to a couple of hundred pounds of water.  Add the couple of hundred pounds of silty gravel that had washed down into the tarp along with with the deluge.  Then add me, trying to shovel/scrape/drain all that so I could drag the filthy (and therefore extra-heavy) tarp up a wet, unstable, 10 foot high, 45 degree gravel slope.

After about an hour of hard labour, I clawed my way to the top looking like some primeval swamp creature:  caked with gritty mud, abraded by gravel, soaked to the skin, and so malodorous that even the mosquitoes lost interest and fled.

So your mother was right:  Always wear nice underwear.  Because you never know when you might end up doing a striptease1 in the back yard so your husband can hose you off2.

* * *

1 At least none of the neighbours live close enough to see my performance (I hope).  I’m going to consider that a qualified ‘win’.  The ‘mud, sweat, and mosquito bites’ theme probably won’t catch on at any strip clubs; but after 19 years of marriage I like to think Hubby’s expectations are realistic.

2 Just thought you’d want to know that ‘hose you off’ is not a kinky euphemism – Hubby was wielding the garden hose.  Honest.

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