Post-Valentine’s Day 2016

“Puberty destroys Valentine’s Day.” Unknown man said to the barista. “I’d rather be single than be in a bad relationship. And I think most people if they thought about it would prefer that too.” He continued, “When we are mature and we find someone is nice but we realize that there isn’t a connection, we then can make the decision to be friends instead.”

Amen to that, unshaven, dishevelled man who clearly lives on his own. And I mean that in the most endearing manner. The same could be said for me, in my high top kicks, flannel shirt, and 5 year old faded jeans. I can’t remember if I washed my face this morning. A-T-T-R-A-C-T-I-V-E!

I was struggling to focus on reading my book, the conversation behind me diverted towards the philosophy of changing political beliefs, “Often time as people age they become more right-wing rather than changing their beliefs from right-wing to left-wing.”

I nod to myself, according to Pew Research, the older generation today in the US is certainly more conservative on the extreme.

But not to get political, that was the start to my Valentine’s Day 2016. I can pretend to dislike Valentine’s Day but the fact is I rather like it. It is the one day out of the year that complete strangers are compelled to talk to one another about their beliefs on love and relationships and … politics.

There is that undertone of love gone wrong, a memory of a past relationship not quite reconciled, a little baggage here and there and it’s ok to share in riddles.

We are connected through our experience of pain?

I’ve yet to overhear complete strangers on Valentine’s Day discuss relationship stories of great love and gain.

But perhaps I simply need a new coffee shop! 🙂

Car Service…wait, what, date proposal?

A few weeks ago, while out painting the town with my friend and her husband, we took a car service home from the restaurant. Our driver was concerned about UberX and the upcoming launch of UberHop in the city. But he had a plan for the day he’d no longer be driving as a car service.

He was 60-ish year’s old, his son was on the verge of being married. He’d been driving since arriving in Canada some 10 years earlier.

A while back he’d bought himself a classic car that needed some fixing up and in his spare time, fixing it up became his hobby.

As we drove along the Highway towards home, he pulled out of the drivers door side-pocket a dark blue a hard covered binder and handed it to my friends husband seated in the passenger seat.

“That’s the car I am fixing up,” he indicated as my friends husband opened up the binder revealing a number of 8×11, printer quality, colour-photos of his project all neatly tucked into their individual protective plastic sleeves.

He continued his verbal show-and-tell as my friends husband flipped through the pages.

He was finishing up his story as we pulled up in front of my condo building. My friends husband handed back the blue hard covered binder which disappeared back into the car door side-pocket.

He put the car in park and as we all clambered out the driver continued explaining his life plans, “When I no longer have a job as a driver because of UberX and UberHop, I am going to rent my classic car out along with my driving services for special occasions, like weddings”

With a glint in her eyes and a smile on her face my friend quipped, “DF when you get married, you can hire him!”

Without skipping a beat the driver turned to face us and belted out across the roof of the car, “I AM SINGLE!” and he reached into the car door side-pocket, pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

On Valentine’s Past

wpid-img_20150215_224301.jpgValentine’s weekend is almost over.  I used to detest Valentine’s Day, never mind weekend.

The pressure I put on myself to fit into the perfect cookie cutter valentine and somehow pull off the vision of commercial love on a personal level. What happened to the classroom story of St. Valentine and drizzling hot toffee on the snow? That’s all behind me, the pressure of being the perfect valentine and toffee on the snow.

I look forward to Valentine’s weekend. It’s a great excuse to celebrate weekend-long self-love.  But who’s kidding, isn’t that every weekend, every weekday?

Who cares, this is a Valentine’s weekend post and those are just semantics 🙂

I have good memories of the few boys who’ve made an attempt at making my Valentine’s day special. Perhaps not quite leaving the mark they were attempting.

My favourite being the year I wore jeans and an old sweatshirt for the big night out. I am not sure if the reason for my continued amusement is that I found this man’s obsessions peculiar; from his annoyance that he’d only dated 1 girl before me, (which seemed to consume him each time we hung out), his penchant for walking around his place half-dressed while I sat amongst his mess waiting for him to burn his skin with his fried eggs, or maybe it was his “come-back” two years later when I couldn’t escape fast enough from the thoughtful home-cooked meal he put together for me – I wasn’t ready for his attentiveness.

However, the real reason I smile so wildly today at the thought of this bygone valentine, is the gift he gave me.

I remember the smell of his cologne, his shy handsome smile and light kiss he left on my cheek when he gifted me a plant. The plant died, the love never did bloom and the nice shiny red vase has since made the journey to Sweden. It is sitting comfortably on a window sill enjoying Scandinavian Valentine’s.

This memory will forever bring out a smile and remind me of my 20’s.

A Coffee Shop Date

A Coffee Shop Date

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It had to be their first date. It seemed they’d not met before, at least not in person. Perhaps not even on “the internet” *gasp*. Maybe he responded to a newspaper ad, or maybe she did?

Or could this be a blind date, set up by two of their best-friends who knew they’d “click”.

I can’t be certain how they found themselves sitting across from each other, sharing nothing but dialogue, but there they were.

Updating each other on the most intimate details of their lives in a public space:

“How old are you.”

“Do you have siblings?”

“Do you have a job?”

His opening lines upon settling into their unforgiving wooden chairs, hot drinks in hand,

“Literally I can rip apart a house”

“If there is a problem, I can fix it right away.”

Then he moved on to the brass-tacks on why he possessed such mad-skills setting himself up for date number two,

“The job market was tough; I voluntarily left my position in the finance industry, other people had children and mortgages and I had an opportunity to work with my uncle.”

His uncle isn’t just a contractor. He’s a Valentino contractor. He’s the contractor everyone wants to hire and everyone wants to work for. They wear tuxedos when they work, and dust? Did someone say dust? Dust is non-existent under his uncle’s watchful eye. It’s more like magic than it is like actual hard work contracting.

Did he learn. He learned all the trades while working for his uncle. How to rewire a house, install everything from insulation, drywall, shingles, bricks, roofing, lawns, driveways, duct work, cement, foundations. After 2 years of tutelage under his uncles watchful eye, you name it, he learned it and a pro he is! All while wearing a sharply pressed, dust-free tuxedo.

She blissfully watched him. Taken by his oratory prowess and general expertise, not one word escaped her lips. She leaned into the table to get a little closer to the story and probably to him too.

After his stint with uncle Valentino he moved on to the shipping and receiving industry. And boy, he’s taken the industry like a storm.

Yes-sir-ree. It took him 6 months to turn around that loading dock. Counting boxes on skids is hard work, so is reducing shrinkage, checking for damaged goods…too many acronyms and terms for me to remember. The story goes that he was promoted to be come their leading Sales Agent!

Top grossing Sales Agent to be correct and are we surprised?

I can see him selling me something, maybe not a date, but he could definitely sell me some shipping if that’s what I needed.

His closing lines to seal in date number two with his lovely doe eyed lady,

“If she shows up in daisy dukes,” rolls his eyes, “she might well as not have showed up at all”, and continues pointing at himself “see what I am wearing, jeans, sports jacket and a nice collared shirt,” he self-congratulates himself, “why can’t a girl just show up in modest clothing.”

She quickly jumps in not wanting his disapproval, equally eager for date number two and points out, “yes, like I wore my yellow coloured khaki’s and this smart, light-purple sweater set.”

How old were these two potential remote-controlled lovebirds?

25.

And how do I join their cool club?

I wore a ratty sweatshirt and jeans, and I am eavesdropping!! Do I make the cut?

Maybe.

The case of the Empty Paper Bag on Valentine’s Day

What I love most about Valentine’s Day are the memories.  Valentine Day memories from grade’s 1 to 6 where in our innocence we made Valentine’s Day cards, Valentine’s Day Garland, ate red frosted sugar cookies and cinnamon hearts.

I fondly think of the pink and red construction paper, diligently cutting out heart shapes, stringing together our creations, white paper doilies, glitter and glue.

This Valentine’s Day I spent with my family.  What better way to celebrate the day of Love.

My nieces were pretty excited to show me their paper bags full of Valentine’s when their dad dead panned, “I was that kid who usually had an empty Valentine’s Day paper bag.”

“Seriously!” my sister and I said in unison.  I could hardly imagine my brother-in-law going home empty handed each Valentine’s Day.  It made me sad to think some child might be going home without Valentine’s Day cards!

Both my nieces sat quietly, contemplating.

After a few moments of trying to think up all the possible reasons for her dad’s Valentine’s Day misfortunes as a child, one of my nieces posed the question.

“Dad” big pause, “did you used to fart then too?”

Dad didn’t hear the question and asked her to repeat it again.

“Did you used to fart?” she emphasized.

That Man from the 3rd floor

A few months ago one of my best friends mandated that I “get serious” about dating.

To be honest, sometime in my teens, my grand-mother scared the marriage right out of me. It was a balmy summer day, she was at the stove cooking something delicious and I was sulking at the old wooden table.

“You know DF, the guy you agree to marry is the most important decision you will ever make. It will change your life for ever. You remember that and be mighty careful who you agree to marry.”

No problem.

Single.

Crisis averted.

Friends have done their best to persuade me that at least putting some effort into being available to meet someone that will change my mind, is worth my while. And spending my weekends traipsing here and there, would be better done with a male mate that wasn’t just a best-friend from some past, failed relationship.

As a pouty 20-something, that was a great strategy and I am still on the fence if it’s still a fool-proof strategy as a 30-something but open to entertaining suggestions.

Here I am, being open minded, taking advice from the one’s who have happily passed from single-dom into dual-dom. It can’t be all that bad, they are still happy.

So when a friend of mine gleefully described a fellow neighbour she met in my elevator, I agreed to keep an eye out.

“Come on DF, what, you’re going to sit here and waste away counting cars?!”

I argued back, “It’s much too close, honestly, there is hardly a floor separating us and how do you exactly propose I bump into him? Take up residence in the elevator?”

“No silly, just keep your eye open for him and talk to him when you see him.”

Ok. Fine

Within a week I magically bumped into this creature she accurately described.

He was tall, handsome and yes, he lived on the 3rd Floor.

Did I talk to him?

Not really.

With my mouth full of apple, I opted for grunting and hand gestures while he explained to me how “tired” he was from his “many” late nights watching “professional sports”. Finishing off with a list of the teams he was cheering for.

I only managed a “Have a nice night” once his back was turned and I was sure my apple pieces were safe!

I think I made her proud 🙂

The Curious First Date

Today at the coffee shop I am within earshot of a first date. I am amused. First dates are tricky business.

This particular first date is…………..hard to keep up with!!

“How tall are you?”

“6’3″, but I am the shortest of the guys in my family.”

“Right, well that’s a good height anything taller than 6’4″ is just too tall.”

“Well you are pretty tall yourself.”

“I am and I am wearing flats,” as she brings her foot from under the table up to the seat of her chair to show off her flat heel.

He nods in approval. I wish I could see the expression on his face.

She’s a pretty girl, he is good looking, or at least from the backside he’s a desirable man, in my opinion LOL!

She can hardly contain herself and good luck? for landing a date with such a man. The conversation is going a mile a minute. Hands in full motion to help with the verbal discussion.
Aren’t we woman pretty darn awesome when we are nervous?! 🙂

She points out what she likes about him after meeting him in the last 10 minutes, “you are easy to get along with but …. I won’t say the word,” laughing nervously. “Narcissitic,”

He reprimands her, “You said you wouldn’t use that word…”

Cutting in, she continues, “well self-absorbed. Not luxury, it’s self-absorbed. You are self-absorbed!!!”

The conversation is taking a manic turn and turns into a hardcore discussion on astrology signs.

She aggressively describes her sign, “We are passionate about everything, we are extremely loyal but if you cross us, we’ll never forget it and never be friends again. We’ll be nice to your face but that’s it.”

He nods and grunts

“We aren’t as jealous as our sign says. But we totally don’t forget. We don’t hold a grudge, but we never forget.”

“So ya, what else, we are very business minded. Strong and pensive. Not lying just not openly expressive.”

They spend time reading more about her astrology sign till her manic state starts to tumble when she cuts him off and declares, “enough of reading this, I think we should skip the rest.”

Laughing and teasing he asks, “Why now, we just started?!”

“Ya this is just getting awkward.”

Really?

He gives in and she changes the topic.

“It’s not often that I connect to people in Toronto.”

“Curious, your choice or what?”

“Well its probably because I’ve lived in so many different places. I really think differently. I have a super open mind”

He’s visibly uncomfortable, shifts in his seat and mumbles something in his deep voice.

“I am sorry, I am not trying to put YOU into that Toronto box, it’s just an observation I’ve made.”

Intense….I am so distracted and fear I am going to miss my commitment to finish my book if I continue to sit here much longer! 🙂

On Selecting Flooring and Future Husbands…

Two weeks after the Condo flood, it’s time to start thinking about choosing a suitable flooring to cover my cement floors.

I didn’t think looking for flooring would be so stressful and funny. So far I have visited 7 Stores in 3 days.

Typically this is how the conversation starts off:

“Welcome, can I help you?”

“I am looking for flooring for my condo and I am looking at engineered or laminate.”

And with that the sales person shows me their samples and off I go looking for something I like.

There have been two worthy encounters to blog about with two separate sales people at two different stores that had me laughing.

Why?

Both had nothing to do with flooring and everything to do with … My future?!

Here’s for the first and funniest of the two:

“So you look like you are from Europe, what country are you from?” Inquired the middle aged sales man.

I laughed, “I am Canadian, my ancestry is from a little all over.”

That wasn’t satisfactory, “What countries?” He pried again.

“Well mainly Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland.”

He nodded and looked at me expectantly. Should I be saying something more? After a minute of awkward silence he broke down and asked, “Where do you think I am from!”

Sooo that was what this was about, him and his needs! Ah ha! I know how to handle this one I thought to myself.

“Well I am going to guess Italy?”

“That’s correct,” as he puffed up his chest as big as it would go while doing his best to stand a little taller to match my height, “I am from the North.”

“Good to know?!” I said quizzically. I wasn’t so sure what I was suppose to do with this information.

He carried on with his banter about Europe and more specifically Germany. “Have you ever been to Germany.”

“Actually yes, surprisingly, and I loved it so much I’d consider moving to Munich.”

“Really, well that should be simple”, he paused and continued with his grand plan for my future, “You need to go back to Germany, find a German man, tell him you want to move to Germany and he’ll for sure agree to marry you!”

Ummm really?! It’s THAT simple?! Has this guy been hacking my email recently because that WAS my plan!! LOL.

Fifty Shades of what?!

Fifty Shades of what?!

I know, I know. This trilogy has been beat over the head, it’s laying on the ground withering. Why oh why am I wasting time and space talking about it?

We have all heard about Fifty Shades of Grey, the trilogy. We all know someone who is raving about one or all of the books. They can’t get enough, wishes there were a fourth, fifth, sixth book…? I don’t want to pass judgement on who has/has not decided to read this trilogy and their reasoning behind their decisions but I have decided to dedicate one post on my blog to the series.

Why?

Because it keeps coming up in conversation and some of the comments I hear from women have had me bent over in laughter. Really this post is about the women I have met and their many comments.

What I find most amusing is the difficulty with which I’ve had to extract any great juicy comments from the women who really are enjoying the books. Their only comments are usually “I just can’t wait to get to the third one…” Done. No descriptions. I am dying to hear something along the lines of…”I really like the part where he whips her with his belt…” but so far, I have been disappointed!

So instead I’ve had to rely on Wikipedia and the more pessimistic verbal reviews to really get an idea of what is going on in these books! I could of course just read one, but that would take all the fun and mystery out of what, I can only imagine, is a literary train wreck. 🙂

For anyone who is just coming up from under a rock, the trilogy is saving Barnes and Nobles bacon and is loosely based off of the teen Twilight series. From what I’ve read on my favourite, mostly true facts website Wikipedia, the main female character sounds a little like a boring dud – but that is just my take. The male lead is an egotistical, sexually damaged man who enjoys torturing his ladies with his belt and getting them involved in BDSM – which again according to Wikipedia is a catch-all acronym for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission and Sadomasochism.

Enough of the books and on to my, so far, favourite reviews of the book from every day women:

“If I read one more time how ‘his pants sit on his hips’, I am going to send the book through the shredder.”

“There is absolutely no imagination and tons of repetition. Does the author not have a better imagination? Granted there is S&M, but honestly watch a porno!

“It reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone is whispering, giggling and talking about it, so it must be good right?! Wrong!”

“I read the first book and I am stopping there. If I am going to spend my time reading a book it better be something good not a literary disaster.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey – it is Harlequin Romance on steroids gone Mad.”

“It’s a girl’s version of Penthouse from the 70’s!”

“I want to give the girl a shake, doesn’t she know ‘men never change’. If he was whipping her with a belt in the first book I can’t imagine him not whipping her in the second and third book. I am done reading.”

“In my opinion, you never really know a man in the first year anyhow.”

And my all-time favourite is:

“I read the first book. On reflection, I must have had a boring life because I was never invited to orgies in my 20’s, 30’s or 40’s!”

What’s your best review?!

On Random Life Altering Events as Related to Dating

Growing up, there was no TV in our house. The New Kids On The Block music videos sounded pretty cool especially the Hanging Tough video that included lots of hanging tough arm waving but instead of learning all the dance moves, I was busy building forts in the tree tops and…reading books.

I didn’t realize how shameful and awkward this “no-TV” situation was until the first Gulf war when a grade-four friend was concerned at the lack of a TV in my family’s living room; she cornered me on the playground to debate the devastating effects of my parent’s decision.

“What if the Iraqi’s invade Canada! How would your family and I get to safe hiding in time?”.

And my logical response:

a) we lived in butt-f***-nowhere and I was pretty sure the Iraqi’s didn’t care about bombing our particular remote Canadian city.

b) provided the Iraqi’s were interested in our city, I was pretty certain they wouldn’t promote their intentions through the daily news channel therefore negating the positive effects of owning a TV in the face of possible war.

c) at the end of our street, 20 feet in the air stood the remnants of a WWII air-raid siren that miraculously still worked.

d) the American’s initiated the war, not us peace-keeping Canadians who had nary a bullet in our shiny rifles, what threat were we really?!

Grade-four was equally life-altering not only because of The New Kids On The Block, the start of the first Gulf war and the poignant realization of how dangerously odd it seemed that there was no TV in our house. It was also in grade 4 that as a class we watched The Wizard Of Oz. We didn’t watch it in the comfort of our desks, instead the class gathered in the library/music room at the south end of the school. We sat on the carpeted floor staring up at a 20 inch TV sitting on a metal cart with wheels; the VCR making clicking noises and the screen flickering the entire time.

The class didn’t watch the movie in one whole sitting, it was broken down into segments.

It was during the first segment when we got to the part where the wicked witch enters the long room where she kept her multiple human heads, I’d had enough. I stood up, all my peers sitting quietly, intently watching, anticipating what was to come next. I tip-toed around my classmates sprawled on the floor and left the room.

My concerned teacher followed as any concerned teacher would do and I politely asked if I could be excused from watching the film, suggesting as an alternative that I sit in our classroom and read a book.

Yep that’s right, I wanted to read a book.

My decision to read a book in lieu of watching The Wizard Of Oz with the rest of my classmates brings us to the other fourth-grade life altering realization that didn’t include how ashamed I should feel about the lack of a TV at home.

See there was a boy who decided that he didn’t want to watch the movie either and to this day I can’t decide if he REALLY didn’t want to watch the movie or if he wanted to just sit in the same empty room as me. From grade-four until we graduated High School he was always there like a shadow when I turned around, just there, waiting for me to be nice to him for once? I promise if I bump into him I’ll apologize for a least not being nice.

My dating anxiety grew from those quiet, self-imposed, grade-four reading sessions in a mostly empty classroom. I was a worried little kid realizing for the first time that I couldn’t control which boys decided to like me and there was a possibility I might like some boys more than they liked me. Worse of all, I realized that with enough persistence it was possible that I might be able to be convinced to like someone back as much as they liked me.

Frankly, I was suppose to be the one in control, picking which boys were allowed to like me! But understanding that this was not to be the case and needing to protect my interests, by the time I graduated from High School and dragged myself to College I’d narrowed down the rules on boys and dating to one solid rule.

To sum it up, I unwittingly choose an anthem with dumb lyrics as a guide, you know the one:

Be, be aggressive
B-e, be aggressive
You never know
Just who you’re up against, so
B-e, b-e aggressive
B-e, b-e aggressive

I admit it has evolved over time, however the “be, be aggressive” lyrics did come in handy the time when my idea of short-lived longevity wasn’t exactly shared and interpreted the same way by my date and well, I got a taste of that thing called “the witness protection program” only it wasn’t the law that helped in assigning me a new identity, it was my close friends. 🙂

To dating, staying safe and…in control…whatever that means LOL!!