Monday, June 30, 2008

Images From a Really, Really Long Day

  • Our bed, the clock blinking “4:05”.
  • Trevor stumbling around the house because he decided he wanted to come at the last minute.
  • College Street, empty.
  • Church Street, not so empty. Lots and lots of men emerging from clubs. One guy fondling another, the latter wearing strips of unflattering black leather.
  • Bored cops standing in front of a “Gay Pride 2008” poster.
  • The hospital, where the MRI technician wearing a hijab hands me cotton pajamas.
  • Someone I kind of know emerging from the MRI room.  We made uncomfortable eye contact and looked away.
  • Trevor reenacting what it would be like if I became electromagnetic.
  • Two yellow strips of light, like a runway, as I am drawn into a very narrow tube.*
  • Fran's Diner where a girl in metallic blue disco shorts almost falls asleep in her pancakes.
  • At the waterfront, a number of Chinese people in bamboo hats welding and hammering and sewing and painting what looks like a large model of the Forbidden City.
  • The sound guy simultaneously adjusting sound levels and typing on his Blackberry.
  • A south Asian family. Another south Asian family. And more south Asian families.
  • A sign saying “Welcome to the Tamil Carnival 2008”.
  • The 401, where the camera guy’s trucks weaves in and out of traffic. He has GPS, so I'm trying to keep up.
  • A generic restaurant beside a massive Buddhist temple in Streetsville.  We watch as Spain takes the Euro Cup.
  • In Mississauga, the guy we’re taping totally loses control of a strawberry he’d just dipped in chocolate.
  • The DVP at magic hour, driving home.
  • Back with Trevor, our couch and steaming slices of Mediterranean pesto pizza.
  • My bed, the clock blinking “10:01”.
* won't know results for a few weeks.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food

Trevor made Schmutzie's Everyone's Rice and Beans tonight.  It's very tasty and economical, a dish we both agree needs to be on our weekly menu.  Tonight we served it with a side of Polish mixed pickles and chilled bottles of Steamwhistle.  Very nice.

Now go look at what families around the world are eating, a fascinating photo spread by Time.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Aftermath II: The Divorce


Guess where I left the super glue?  And guess what leaked?  This is where it’s now going to have to stay forever.

“You are unbelievable,” Trevor says, “Fix this.”

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rage: Aftermath



TREVOR:  Y'ello?

WORKING:  Hey babes.  It’s me.

TREVOR:  Hey.

WORKING:  I have good news and bad news.

TREVOR:  Okay….

WORKING:  Good news is I think I fixed the dehumidifier.

TREVOR:  Oh good!

(…)

TREVOR:  ... Aaaand the bad news?

WORKING:  Are you busy?

TREVOR:  Yes.  No.  Why?

WORKING:  Do you have time to google how to get super glue off of fingers?

TREVOR:  You're kidding.

WORKING:  I could barely dial the phone.  I definitely can’t type.

TREVOR:  Well, that’s probably a good thing.

WORKING:  What?

TREVOR:  Nothing.  Hang on.

*  *  *

So this is how you do it:  soak your fingers in nail polish remover.  Like so.

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Rage

It’s very rare, but sometimes I lose my temper to the extent that I break something. Usually something plastic and throwable. I wish I were into throwing plates because maybe broken plates could be glued back together again.

But how the hell am I going to fix the water containment section of the dehumidifier? It’s cheap plastic. Thin, cheap plastic, now in thin, cheap plastic bits.

Sigh.

All I can say is that it was nothing major that lead to my boiling point last night. I can handle major crisis. What I’m not so good at is uncertainty:

  • The job I thought I was going to have for the next year or so fell through.
  • Neither of us have contracts lined up for the fall.
  • Our renters are moving out of our newly purchased home two months earlier than expected. This means a house sits empty two provinces away, while a significant mortgage is drawn religiously out of our bank account, on top of rent.
  • I have two MRI’s this week. I'm told results will be available immediately.
Worse stuff is happening to people all over this world.  Just ask Zimbabweans.  I get that.  It's just  hard to have perspective at the end of an emotionally charged day.

Still, that poor dehumidifier. And poor humans, who will doubtlessly be sliding between sodden sheets tonight.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

TV And Me

Hi, my name is Working. And I’m… (oh my gawd, this is so embarrassing)… I am a TV Addict.

There. I said it. I love TV. Love, love, love TV. Or at least that’s what you would think lookin’ at me. Cuz I seem to be watching a lot of it these days.

Not all programming, mind you. I can say no anytime I want. Why just yesterday I hollered at CBC before I cut it off mid-Maria (CBC, I seriously quit you). So I claim to maintain some level of discrimination.

(Trevor would probably disagree. Yeah, well my Love, if you hate So You Think You Can Dance so much, why do you keep watching it when I watch it?)

Whatever the case, it’s clear that despite the effects of the writer’s strike, I somehow manage to find enough TV to suck hours and hours out of my life. And I blame it on my parents (a total shocker, I’m sure).

They didn’t believe in TV, those parents of mine with their hippy-dippy no-sugar, no-processed food, no-fun ways. My first memory of television was when I was very young, maybe four or five, circa 1980. A babysitter powered up a small black and white TV she found in our basement. Until she did that, I didn’t even know TV existed. I don’t remember seeing that particular set ever again. 

See, fun for us in those days was spinning around the basement telepost to the musical stylings of Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Bram (with, if I remember correctly, our stockings twisted around our ankles so as to inch us ever closer to the brink of chaos as per the forces of gravity*).

Fast forward to grade school and sleepovers at Grandma’s. My repertoire could now boast very few episodes of Sesame Street, The Flintstones and The Smurfs. On the playground, all the cool kids were playing Star Wars and Strawberry Shortcake. I had to fake my way through the scenarios. Which is probably why I was constantly an Ewok. An Ewok who never stuck to script.

Then, my TV experience took a dark turn: fibbing to my mother.  I would run over to my best friend Katie’s house after school “to play”.
“So you actually wanna play?” Katie would ask.
“Um… let’s watch Video Hits,” I would say, trying to keep calm.
“Okay,” she would roll her eyes.  

It. Blew. My. Mind.

So Katie gave me Video Hits.  I tried to convert her to Catholicism (you're welcome, Katie).

Fast forward again to the late 80’s. We’d just returned from living in Africa (a stint that didn’t do much to improve my significant social handicaps, trust me). My parents were on the brink of divorce by this time. And in perhaps the single most important display of hopelessness, Dad went out one day and returned with a TV / VCR combo.

And that’s pretty much how I spent the 90’s; Star Trek: TNG. Cheers.  Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. MASH. Northern Exposure. Mad About You. Beverly Hills 90210. The Simpsons. Roseanne. Melrose Place. And so many more that I can’t even remember. I watched TV as my parents got divoced, my mom took off, and my Dad tried to raise the five of us in between double shifts. We all just sort of checked out. Grieving by the light of the silvery tube, if you will.

So now it’s some 20 years later and I seem to go through phases: first, intensely busy times when I happily and easily ignore all forms of TV.  This usually happens when I'm working a lot.  Too much.

Then, long stretches of, well, checking out. It has to be called that. This phase I'm in right now simply has to be called that.  When I don't have work, TV is my precious time killer.  My convenient out. 

Then it happened.  I was sitting in front of it the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that I am deeply, profoundly bored.

The question was clear: what am I avoiding?  And at what cost?

(Answer: turning your life into something meaningful. Get off your f*cking ass already)

So Trevor and I are cutting off the cable**.  It's a good move.  Though, I already feel a little shaky.  

*  Yeah, I have no idea.  Blame it on No television.
** Note that I work in the Television industry.  For a cable specialty channel.  Which I won't be able to watch.  Now is that dedication or what?

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Walk Home

Oh yes,  I’ve had a few at the local.  I declined my usual Steamwhistle and chose Grasshopper out of some sort of allegiance, some pledge to the future.  You know, cuz we’re moving back to the prairies ‘n all.  Well, eventually.  It’s all up in the air these days.  I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.  It's all making me very nervous.

Our local pub is Irish in style and tonight it feathered a boy band. And I mean that literally: boys, no older than ten.  Or a short twelve.  Actual kids in cute punk t-shirts belting classic rock through long, indie-rocker hair.  And you know, they weren’t horrible.

When the show was over, Trev went with his editor-buddy to an improv show across the street.  I wasn’t in the mood so I walked home alone.  The air is nice, the most tolerable it’s been in weeks.  Moist but cool. Just right for walking.

I decided to take the park route.  It’s old, this neighbourhood park of ours.  Old and heavy and green at this time of year, especially with all of the rain.  About 30 teenagers had congregated under one of the biggest and most ancient maples, the one with picnic benches around its base.  A cop car drove by  very slowly.  The teenagers didn’t even look up.  They were talking about boxing gloves, from what I could gather.  The police car drove on.

The houses in this neighbourhood are just as old as the park.  Tall, brick and squished together under power lines and thick trees.  Garret windows open to the night air, revealing art as thoughtfully chosen as the lighting.  These are expensive houses.  $700 K if your’re lucky.   The people who live here are the kind who have the time and the money to make their kids into local rock stars.

I like to make fun of it.  Still, I feel it.  This neighbourhood has a way of making me question if I don’t belong here afterall. 

Don’t tell Trevor.  His brain will explode.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Note From Trevor

I found this in my inbox when I got home.

We went with organic wieners and mac 'n cheese.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Dear Maria

Working (yelling at TV): Don’t tell them to pose all the same!
Trevor: …
Working (still yelling at TV): You want us to remember all these Maria’s! Start assigning them personalities! “You’re the perky one. Pose all perky like.” Don’t make them pose all the same! How am I supposed to keep track of who’s who!
Trevor: …
Working: This whole show is a mess. Two episodes in, I can barely distinguish any of the Maria’s and I hardly care anymore. Good idea. But what a wasted opportunity.
Trevor: …
Working (to Trevor): Don’t they watch American audition shows? Like Idol and Dancing? Wanna make the show, go to the experts. It’s all been done before. And for something like this, you go to the Americans. NOT the British.
Trevor: …
Working: For a doc-style reality show, like looking good naked or restaurants, you watch the British. But for this kind of crap, it’s the Americans.
Trevor: …
Working: I think I’ll write someone at CBC about this. Should I write someone?
Trevor: No! No more writing! We're getting a reputation. You’re sullying my good name.

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Big Box Guy

When I walked into the electronics store, there was only employee there, leaning on the counter. 20-something. Blue eyes. Staring blankly. No expression. No reaction. He simply watched me cross the store to him.
“Hi,” I smiled.
He nodded.
“Are… you… the manager?”
“No.”
“Okay. Is the manager here?”
“No.”
“I’m with (TV show). Did you know we were coming to film today?”
“Yup.”
(…)
(…)
“Okay. Well, it’s a quick scene. We’re just filming a guy shopping. Do you have any games?”
He waved towards a far wall, “There. But our game section’s crap.”
“Er, thanks.”

We geared up and started filming. Despite being in Big Box Land, the store was small and unyielding.
“Uh, Working?” the camera guy said.
“What?”
“You’re in the shot again.”
“Oops.” I ducked around the corner and smack into a couple trying to buy something digital and phone related.
“That’s the one. It's perfect,” the husband whispered excitedly, looking over his wife’s shoulder.
"Okay, let's get it," the wife whispered back.
“I wouldn’t buy that,” the employee said loudly. He didn't even come out from the behind the till. “It’s crap," he said. The sound guy's head popped up behind a row of digital cameras, frowning.
“Oh,” the wife quickly replaced the item, embarrassed to have chosen crap.
“You’re better off with just two regular handsets,” the employee said.
"The two handsets would be way cheaper...,” the wife agreed.
"Right,” the husband said glumly. He was gazing at the sparkly new digital toy that was probably supposed be his Father’s Day gift.
"I'm serious. You'll hate that thing,” the employee said.
“Interesting sales strategy that guy has,” the husband said, but his wife was already making her way to the till with the cheaper handsets.

The camera guy appeared around the corner, “Working, I think we pretty much got it.”
“Good. We just need a shot of buying the actual GPS unit,” I said. "Do you mind if we use this section here?" I asked the employee.
He was bagging the handsets. He shrugged, "I really don't care."
All righty then.
The camera guy turned to our subject, “So if I can get you just to start outside and come in, walk around that aisle to the GPS units.”
“And pick this one up,” I held up a shiny new package, “it’ll be right here on the shelf. Pick it up and head for the till.”
“I wouldn’t do it that way.” We all turned. The employee had not only come out from his perch behind the till, but he was holding out a different GPS system. It looked the same. “This is better. And I’d put it over here. Right where he’s going to come in. You'll get a better shot.”
The camera guy raised his eyebrows at me.
“Thanks,” I said to the employee. I put the first unit back on the shelf. "Let's do it the way we planned," I said, unnecessarily because the camera guy was already rolling camera his way.
The employee simply smirked and went back to the till.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

MRI Booked - UPDATED

I was worried the MRI appointment would coincide with a day I'm supposed to be on set, or that it wouldn't be scheduled until well after I'm supposed to return to the prairies. So I was a bit nervous waiting for the letter that would determine my place in the lottery.

(Okay, truth be told I was nervous for half a day and then I kind of forgot about it. Apparently benign tumors don't hold my attention for very long) Suddenly, a letter. They don't call, they don't email, they don't text. They send an ol' fashioned letter in the mail.

And it turns out I needn't have worried: the appointment is scheduled to happen in two weeks. At 4:30 am. You read correctly. 4:30 in the morning. Yup, just me walking through downtown Toronto in the wee hours to get my MRI. When I am attacked and they bounce my skull off the pavement, how handy it'll be that I already have a scan booked.

(also handy that it won't mess with the shooting schedule)

Updated to add: Two! I have two MRI's! I thought it was a clerical error. It isn't. You know, I keep hearing how difficult it is to get an MRI in this country and I seem to have a bounty of them.

The second one is quite posh, though. It's a 5:30 am, so I get to sleep in. Which is nice. Cuz it's on a Sunday.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On Underwear

Another marital debate needs settling. This is going to be ridiculous. It’s about underwear and pajamas.

Trev is a clean kind of guy, a ‘leave the house showered, shaved and shined’ kind of guy. He irons his shirts (since he mostly wears collared shirts, this is a serious commitment). He absolutely puts me to shame, as I’m really more of a ‘find the cleanest pair in the pile’ kind of girl. A ‘hope I can sweat out the wrinkles before I get to work' kind of girl.

Heh.

But there is this one thing about my husband: he does not wear underwear to bed. Just pajama bottoms. And I don’t get it. I am strict that there be underwear at all times (er, well, most times). He says that’s just how it’s always been. He never really thought about it.

I remember the first time I went to a friend’s for a sleepover. I was very young and she didn’t wear underwear to bed and it pretty much blew my mind. I guess it was one of the first times I became truly conscious of difference. Other people discovered race or gender, I saw underwear. Or lack thereof.

But here’s my thinking: There are two items in one’s wardrobe that are worn most frequently: underwear and pajamas. Other items, like shirts and bras and jeans, tend to get maybe two wears tops before they're tossed in the wash. Underwear gets one wear (one hopes).

But not so with pajamas. A set of pajamas will likely be worn much more frequently than anything else before it's tossed in the wash. So doesn’t it only make sense to extend their cleanliness by including underwear? Which is changed frequently?

Am I wrong here, people?

And before you even go into "beds are cleaner", they are not. Check out that pillow of yours. Little heavier than when you first bought it? Sweat, skin cells and bug poop. Beds are 6 to 8 hours of cozy, moist, nocturnal ecology. I'd take a bit of dirt on my jeans over that any day.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Site

Okay, this is just about the coolest site I've come across in a long time.

Cassettes from My Ex


You can even listen to the mixes!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

TMJ: A Rant

We had such a bad sleep last night.

First, it was so humid that the sheets felt damp. Then the raccoons started fighting. I think they get bitchy when it’s this humid.

Then at about 3am, a kid kicked one of those 18 liter water bottles (empty) down the entire slope of our street. Half awake, I sincerely thought it was gunshots.

Then of course Kiwi-the-cat wanted to go out. Then he got into a fight so we let him back in. Then he howled to go back out. And all this punctuated by Charlie-the-dog, click-click-click up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs, "huff. Phuff. HUFF!” (her Raccoon Alert siren).

Sigh.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t my very first night with the new appliance. I finally got my hands on it yesterday. It's to treat my constant companion, TMJ Dysfunction. And I have to say, I woke up relatively pain-free for the first time in, oh, years. Thanks to this little bit of molded plastic and wire. Sure my front teeth don’t seem to meet this morning, but I don’t care. It’s worth it.

Did you know that there 90% of TMJ sufferers are women? No one seems to know why. TMJ dysfunction is not something anyone anywhere is really studying. In fact, if you have a problem with this, the most complex joint in your body, you typically get sent to your orthodontist. Which you pay for. Thousands of dollars for treatments that have never been proven successful, have never been properly studied. Since this really is a joint problem, not a tooth problem, all the orthos can do is help you ‘manage’. Wires and plastic.

I just knew that it felt different this time. Something is getting worse. So I said "what the heck! I deserve it!" and treated myself to a CT scan. And it came back showing an “osteoma on the right condyle.”
“Osteoma?”
“A tumor. On the bone in your jaw. Usually benign.”
“Wow. Oh wow." Pause. "But benign means no big deal, right?”
“Well… we should get MRI’s done.”
“But if you’re saying it’s no big deal….”
“We should take a look.”
“Okay. But I’m going back to SK in a month, so….”
“Well, I consider this urgent, so we’ll try to get you in as soon as possible.”
Urgent is not a word you want to hear in relation to "tumor". Please, please, please make it be that they're just overly cautious!
Then he adds, “But your MD is clearly on board. So OHIP should cover it.” Well thank Christ for small favours.

What I want to know is, what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to pay for my own tests for this “tooth problem”?

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