Friday, May 27, 2005

if I never have a cent / I'll be rich as Rockefeller...

Today is going pretty well, which would be less surprising if it hadn't started (around one thirty this morning) with one of my cats breaking my favourite lamp, and the other one throwing up a scary amount of half-digested kibble by the bed. Sort of...SMASH! GLURT!

"It's okay," I said to spook, hands pressed tightly over my eyes, "it didn't match the decor anyway. No one got hurt. It's only stuff. Why do we have cats, anyway?"
"Your 'tiniest-bathmat-in-the-world' idea is looking better and better," he grumbled, picking up pieces of apple-green glass.

But then we got up several hours later, and I made rice and beans and corn for our lunches, and spook packed tortillas, and I took the garbage out, and it's very sunny. We've started getting RSVP cards in the mail (so exciting!) and I'm gonna get out the muslin we bought on the weekend and see about cutting it to size for blinds.

It's funny--I have thought of myself as a pretty negative person, always able to see the crappy side of things, but once a week or so, someone says something like "You're the happiest person in this store." or "You're always in a good mood. How do you do that?" And I know the answer is "practice."
Obviously I'm oversimplifying, or I wouldn't need antidepressants. It's just--okay, it's like this: every day has twenty-four hours. That twenty-four hours is going to happen whether I enjoy it or not, and at the end of it, it will be over. So if I can, I might as well have a good time, and if I can't, I can be comforted that the time goes by just the same. I'm planning to wear this happiness groove into my brain. It's the accessory that goes with all my outfits. Well, my cats are also quite stylish.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

postcard from under my rock

I talked to the head guy in our district last week, and he said I could dye my hair any colour I wanted. "It's not in the dress code," he said, looking at me like I was crazy for asking. Yay! So now it's kind of a greeny-blue in front, which seems to be what happens when you put anything blue in my hair. It just wants to be teal.

spook is home with no new dents--in fact, spackle in some of the old ones. It's good.

Write more soon,


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

my roommates are furry, and they let me control the stereo

Slept horribly. I kept waking up and thinking something fuzzy like "geez it's late, I wonder when spook is coming--oh. in Alberta. right." What can I say? I'm a creature of habit.
At eight-thirty I rolled over to discover myself flanked by my cats, who were chickened up in an attitude of expectancy, staring. I took the hint and got up. Put on my fuzzy slippers, made some coffee, and turned on CBC radio. That little news chime? I've missed it so. There are advantages to living alone for a few days. I've been listening to all the talking heads freaking out about Belinda Stronach crossing the floor--I'm not sure whether I think she'll be great for the Liberals, but it was nice to hear her stick it to that reptile Harper. He's like an evil Ken doll. There was a documentary about HIV in China, and in a bit they're talking about Engineers Without Borders. There's information! I remember this! I have to figure out how to do this more.

And hey, I got tagged! So here goes:

If I could be a linguist, I'd be cunning.

If I could be a doctor, I'd take as many trans patients as I could find, because there are not enough answers and not enough medical people interested in finding more.

If I could be a chimney sweep, there would definitely be singing and dancing involved.

Adam, Mere, and Jax--you know what happens now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

one hour from now I'll be looking down at the Rocky Mountains

Well, spook left this morning for a week away at his folks' place. He's only been gone an hour or so, but somehow the apartment has a different kind of empty feeling when I know he won't be home tonight. The place is kind of a shambles after our weekend cut-and-paste-athon, and the kitties are staring at me. At moments like this, I have an overwhelming desire to run away, live in a tower room somewhere and support myself as a waitress, and then I remember--oh, wait. I've done all of those things, not necessarily all at the same time. They weren't so exciting.

Instead, I'm gonna go roll up my sleeves, turn up CBC radio one and listen to whatever they're discussing, and clean out the fridge. Housework is always available as consolation (Jen's "low probability of failure" activities).

Monday, May 16, 2005

my hero

This morning started off with the noise of one of our neighbours trying to repair his gas lawnmower in the alley behind our apartment. For those of you lucky enough not to be able to imagine that sound, it's a little like a Harley Davidson with whooping cough. The very fact that anyone on our side of the street even owns a gas mower makes me want to kill and kill again, since the lawns on our side of the street are about eight by twenty four in front of the two apartment buildings, and nonexistent everywhere else. If eight by twenty four sounds like a lot of lawn, allow me to reassure you that it's not. But I digress.
We eventually staggered into the living room, sleep abandoned as a hopeless cause. I put the kettle on for coffee, sat down in front of the computer, and immediately freaked out. I guess it was the breathless fear noises that brought spook over to where I was frozen in my seat.
"Okay," he said, sounding reasonable, "why don't you--oh. It's an icky bug."

You know, I'm not an enormous fan of bugs in general, but I'm much more likely to rescue them than kill them--most of them don't want to be in my habitat any more than I want them there. Last week I dragged my hunting cat off to the bathroom so that a trapped bumblebee could very obligingly stroll into the tupperware container I offered it. When I was a nanny, I made a point of spending time with the kids looking at the ants and the worms and talking about why they were cool. Spiders were given a similar treatment. Cockroaches earned my ire in an early-life fumigation episode that left them falling from my little brother's ceiling in a yucky rain, but I'm matter-of-fact about killing them. House centipedes are another matter. They combine all the things that make the back of my brain weird--large, fast, many-legged. ("What do they need all those legs for? For crawling across your face in the middle of the night, that's what!") I appreciate their eating of the other bugs, but I don't want to see them. Especially on my desk.

Valiant spook (who is also terrified of them, for the record,) grabbed a sour cream container and swiftly trapped it where it sat, on top of our case of blank cds. "Do you think it's already dead?" I asked. It hadn't made a threatening rush of any kind, which is out of character. "It's kind of acting dead. I'm all for throwing it out the window to make sure." I was still talking way too fast, and spook was grimly executing his duty as fast as possible, and it may have been this atmosphere of speediness that explains why he opened the window and sent eight or nine cds sailing through the air, followed by their plastic case. "I think it was already dead." he said, sounding only a bit stunned.

Our superintendant and his boyfriend were very understanding about nearly being hit by high-velocity information storage, and they only laughed at me a little bit when I explained that he was saving me. Coolness under fire, that's us.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

and she's passing through/ and we know we won't sleep/ she laughs and puts on the tea/ she says you know, I think you remember every part of me

Tonight I am thinking about tea and old friends, not necessarily in that order. I just got email from Jax, who I haven't talked to in a couple of years. She's in Toronto now, and my return email was babbly and maniacal. It's funny how I can let all this time slip by with someone who I am so excited to hear from--it makes me wonder why I didn't make the effort to hear from her sooner. It's my constant lament, I know too many good people to keep up with all of them. May we all have such problems.
Jacqueline was my best--in fact, my only--friend in Vancouver. We met at the health food store where we worked. We were both recent transplants from Ontario, and we were both musicians and we were both the kind of people who think all. the. time. so even though we thought a lot of things that were different, it was easy to like her. Also, she has this great cartoon smile and kind of a cartoon laugh, too, loud, ha-ha-ha. The brightly coloured walls in her apartment were a revelation; I swore to paint every place I lived in thereafter and she taught me about glazes and colourwashing way before design tv had its way with my brain. She was present for the Great Mouse Hunt of 2001, an event which ended with my cat dismembering said rodent while we stared at each other, appalled and giggling, and said things like "it's the natural order of things. Oh, Maggie, hurry up and kill it!"
Once, when I was working the main cash and Jax was restocking the pastry case, she brought a box out from the cooler. I guess she was just in a rhythm and this was the next set of cookies. She couldn't have been looking at the boxes too closely, because this one was labelled in giant serial-killer handwriting MICE INSIDE. "Jacqueline!" I hissed between gritted teeth, trying not to alert the lineup of customers "Put the box down!"
"Huh?" she said.
"Put. The box. Down." She looked at it and her eyes went round, at which point she dropped the box on the floor (still in full sight of the customers) and fled, leaving me stifling hysterical laughter. (Is that like Intel Inside? Are mice a new kind of processor?)

Yes, the Vancouver stories have this recurring mouse theme, if you're wondering. Be grateful it isn't rats.

When I broke up with my boyfriend and moved back to Toronto, Jacqueline packed all of my stuff. Putting things in boxes is not my strong suit at the best of times, and I was too miserable to think. I just brought her things and she did it all, numbering the boxes and creating a master list so that when I needed to find things in the several months of upheaval that followed, I could just look it up and discover that my cds were all in box #4.
When I discovered that I was hopelessly in love with spook, at a time that was so bad it should have been funny (I was just reconciling with Vancouver-boy, something I'd been working on ever since we split. Uh, yeah.) she listened to me talk about it for a whole afternoon and then said "Well, when you put it like that, doesn't R. sound kind of boring?"

Most of these memories involve tea in one way or another. Tea is a kind of omnipresent thread in most of my relationships with other girls, and some of the boys. Somehow "let's have coffee sometime" sounds exactly like "I want to have sex with you," but "let's have tea" is an invitation to talk. And, in this case anyway, talk. And talk. And talk.

These days, tea doesn't happen enough, except in the literal sense. I grab tea around five in the afternoon ("grandeearlgreyteapleasehowyadoinPeter?") when I get to the part of the day where I want to slap the people. By the end of my hasty lunch break, I usually feel able to go back out and be pleasant. The tea miracle.
The friendship miracle is that I don't feel far away from her at all, even though it's been ages, even though I have no idea what she's been doing all this time. We'll have tea. She'll tell me. No mice will be invited.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

just keep rubbing your temples like it's going to turn back time

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the email I got--today--from the Ministry of Transportation in response to the email that I sent them on the eleventh of April (see two entries ago) about spook and his driver's license:

Date Tue, 3 May 2005 12:34 PM ( 5 hours 21 mins ago )
From "Stairs, Michelle (MTO)" [Add]
To "''" [Add]
Subject RE: change of sex on driver's license

Thank you for your e-mail. Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding.

Due to the high volume of e-mail requests the ministry has been experiencing delays in responding to these enquiries. However, some clients may have received the information via other communication channels. If you still require the information, please reply to me via e-mail or call (416) 235-2999 or 1-800-387-3445 (Canada wide) for assistance.

We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this matter may have caused.


Michelle Stairs
Senior Enquiry Analyst
Licensing Administration Office
416-246-7103 extension 1519

I am currently too baffled and angry to respond to this in any way.