Crazy-bat Ladies

“DF, can you help me.”

I was distracted, over tired, I had just fumbled through an interview with a man that my friend would spend the rest of the evening teasing me about. I looked over and she was sitting on the bench, her shoes in her hands.

“I can’t tie them up, can you help me put them on.”

I squatted down, helped her get her foot in her ‘manly’ shoes and tied them up.

“Do you want your pants rolled up too,” I asked and without waiting for a reply, rolled up both her pant legs.

I imagine we looked like two 90 year old women, helping each other out, laughing at the randomness of not being able to tie our own shoes. But here we were, less than halfway to 90, not being able to tie our own shoes! ๐Ÿ™‚

Laughing, chatting, almost falling over myself I noticed him quietly sitting in the lobby waiting and in the process of his waiting, being entertained (badly perhaps) by our laughing and non-linear conversation about nothing.

“She’s my best friend, from Sweden,” I explained.

“Well I am Canadian,” she clarified.

“Yes she is Canadian but she’s originally Panamanian,” I cut-in

“Oh,” he said, looking at us with a sideways look that I interpreted as ‘These girls are crazy-bats!!’

“Her husband stole her to Sweden,” I complained.

“He’s not Swedish, he’s really British, but he was born in Sweden,” she added, as though that would make it better that she now lives in Sweden and not Canada!

It doesn’t make it better and this morning after dropping them at the airport, I felt a tinge of sadness when I unlocked my apartment door. Yes, I got my bed back – but I am also the winner of an empty house where the joking and the sometimes serious conversation is left hanging in the air like a dream.

To wonderful friendships that hurt a little when we have to say goodbye but make up for it the days we get to spend together.

An Apple A Day

The day was crisp. The sun shining.

I was late. I had misjudged traffic across the bottom of the city. Why did it feel as though there was an exodus to escape the city? Where was everyone going?

My cell rang.

“Are you on your way?”

“Almost, in a few minutes.”

“Oh great, before coming would you mind stopping off at the store to pick up a few ingredients for tonight.”

The parking lot was packed. Perhaps this is where everyone was going on a sunny, crisp Saturday afternoon – the grocery store.

Entering the vestibule, I spotted a small commotion.

Mom holding a cardboard apple picking basket full of apples in her right hand and with her left, holding tight to her sons right hand.

She is moving towards the store exit within the vestibule, gently pulling her son with her, “Over here honey, let’s go stand over on this side.”

Behind her, her son isn’t understanding, his body is twisted.

He is so excited, it’s permeating through his entire being.

It is obvious he has been assigned an important task to complete.

He is intent on the PEOPLE whom he sees entering the vestibule leading into the store. These people are going to help him achieve his goal. Why would he want to go anywhere but where the people were charging towards him?

As he is involuntarily pulled away from all these people, twisting like a fish at the end of a line, his little face tilted up, his voice full of squeaking urgency, he pleads to the crowd,

“Do you want to buy an apple? Do you want to support scouts!!”

Yes. Yes please.

Canada Post

Sending a care package of stuff has never been so adventurous as when I dropped by the local Canada Post outlet a few weeks ago. It was a simple, flat package filled with important papers and it needed sending.

Either it is not as straightforward a process or else I did everything possible to make it the most complicated mailing event EVER.

What I needed:

– a package delivered to Sweden, no Switzerland, no Sweden – too many countries that start with “S”. My great grandmother was from Switzerland, my best friend lives in Sweden. I have yet to visit either country. That’s a reasonable enough explanation for my mix up?! Ya?!

– a tracked package, it would make me feel better knowing at what point the package became MIA – reasonable enough.

– a signature upon reciept, again who doesn’t imagine hiring a forensic Scientist who specializes in analyzing signatures … to catch a thief?

Simple enough.

After hearing the available options “International”, “Express”, “Priority”, “Signature”, “No signature”, “Tracked”, “Not tracked”, I chose a method of delivery.

He rang up my order, I paid.

The printed paper postage spit out of the printer. The clerk started preparing to apply it to the package when I stated to myself “she’ll have to sign for this then when it arrives.”

He stopped, looked up at me puzzled, “No, this is the International Priority Mail, this one you can track but a signature isn’t necessary.”

I was confused. He was confused. I probably did say the words “Priority Mail” but meant a method by which a “Signature” is required which translates to “Express Post”.

He was patient, refunded the “Priority Mail” and rang up an “Express Post”.

He handed me paper work to complete, no fancy printer postage for “Express Post”. The form was somewhat confusing, so talking as I wrote,

“Ahhh, mmmm, where I do I fit this long odd address in…well at least I can identify where the Country name goes,” and I moved my pen over the box with the name Country in the top left hand corner and said proudly, “SWEDEN.”

The Canada Post guy almost jumped over the counter, raised his voice and sharply intoned, “Did you just say Sweden!”

“Yep,” I responded and continued writing.

“You realize you asked for postage to SWITZERLAND,” he evenly replied and continued, “make sure you don’t mail yourself home tonight, I am afraid at this point you wont make it”

And with that he began a second refund and a re-ring on a third mail slip.

Candy Goes to Sweden

Candy Goes to Sweden

whatsapp poop‘Just remember, Little Miss Full-Of-Yourself, the most important days of your life will be the days you don’t forget.’ Claire McCaskill

The time has come and gone. I hugged her goodbye Monday. I wasn’t going to think about what it meant to stand in front of the security entrance, hugging my best friend. That way the tears would stay buried under the practicality of the situation; she was en route to the next chapter of her life and I was so proud of her. Walking back to my car however, I couldn’t stop the tears.

It’s tough saying goodbye once, I am learning it doesn’t get any easier a second time around. My consolation both times? Memories.

The days we laughed together, cried together, the silly jokes we shared, the days we helped each other up when we’d fallen down. And just like the first goodbye changed my life in unimaginable ways, I am prepared this time!

We had 7 years together and after a skeptical start on my part, we became best friends. She’s friendly, optimistic, delicate, warm and ready to see the world through her rosey-shades. Honestly. I, on the other hand am naturally pessimistic and skeptical of anything that seems too-good-to-be-true.

She was too-good-to-be true.

I only wanted to get to my bedroom without having to interact with the bubbly girl with perfectly coiffed hair. Did she have any flaws?

There was something seriously wrong with this chick and I didn’t want to catch her disease.

Problem is, her disease was highly contagious. Not even the lock I subsequently installed on my door could innoculate me from her infectious positive energy.

That’s how it started. Her cheerfully introducing herself to me, extending her hand. Her belongings scattered around her feet. A huge warm smile on her face.

I took her hand, it was the only polite thing for me to do. I grunted something in her direction and escaped into my room.

I can’t tell you why she kept working on becoming friends. I can only guess that she wasn’t going to let no little-miss-skeptical ruin her Canadian experience. No, she was bent on bringing me along on her adventure.

And so over time we became best-friends.

I’ll miss her being a car-ride away, being able to meet up for evening coffee runs, sitting around solving our problems. But I look forward to stepping off a plane in a new country and visiting her new world.

I’ve learned many life lessons from her however, the most important lesson: just smile and wave babe, smile and wave, they’ll eventually come around…I certainly did. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My Coffee Shop on a Long Weekend

My Coffee Shop on a Long Weekend

IMG-20130430-01190.jpgMy blog is feeling a little neglected the past month or two. Apparently, this is what happens post-retirement, when we go back to working and start making a living to pay the bills.

Sad, I agree.

This weekend has been a welcome dose of downtime. I’ve spent it pretending I don’t own a car and have done my share of walking.

I even found time to visit my coffee shop not only once, but THREE full-morning’s in a row.

The first morning, I asked my barista, “has it been busy?”, thinking to myself, ‘it’s a long weekend, likely a slow day.’

She replied, “It’s been quite busy,” rubbing the sweat from her brow, “you see, Birds and Beans customer’s do not stray far from the coffee shop,” raising her hands to demonstrate a small radius, “not even on beautiful long weekends.”

Touchรฉ, is all I could muster for a reply.

MINI goes to Indy

MINI goes to Indy

MINISince getting the MINI I’ve been dreaming up places to take him, to show him around. Maybe cars are suppose to be girls, like boats and ships, but my MINI is definitely a guy.

Before I crossed the border on my way to one of my favourite destinations, I took my MINI for a little bath at the local ESSO. It looks pretty good all cleaned up ๐Ÿ™‚

Pulling up to pay the $3.50 toll to cross the bridge, I rolled down my window and handed the toll-taker $3.55.

Turns out the toll-taker wasn’t so interested in giving me my change. No sirree, he took my money then leaned way out of his booth and declared with much gusto “That’s one FINE machine you’ve got there!!! Did you just wash it?”

“Yes sir, newly washed.”

He eyed the MINI and stated, “There must be more room in that car then it looks eh, the trunk can’t be that small!”

“Well, truth be told the trunk is pretty small,” I replied, wondering if I was going to get my 5 cents change.

He wasn’t interested in giving me any money back, only interested in talking about the MINI as he continued, “Do you think the MINI would fit a man like me that is 6″1′?”

“Ummm, yes….,” can I leave now…

I turned to see the gate open, I rolled up my window and squealed out of the lane leaving my 5 cents change behind.

I wasn’t interested in passengers ๐Ÿ˜›

My Blackberry and why I want RIM to get it together

There are more negative articles surrounding Blackberry maker RIM than there are positive. Yes there was that one mostly positive article (here) a week ago from the new CEO Thorsten Heins.

My point of view is unfortunately biased by the media even though I own and love my BB.

1. The board of directors need to get their heads out of the sand and focus on re-building a business.

2. The BB10 better be what they loosely en vision it to be and be “revolutionary”, whatever that means today.

I will cry if they fail to turn the company around. Ya, it’s pretty cool its a Canadian company but I wouldn’t even care if it was an empire built in Antarctica.

What I like about my Blackberry (and I’ve tried iPhone, and Samsung) are the following and though these may seem silly they are big deals to me :).

1. I can drop it down a flight of 50 cement stairs multiple times and it still works. I accept that I should be nominated for the klutz of the year award.

2. It has a full and easy to use keypad. Most of my blog posts are written on my Blackberry including this one.

3. I have all the apps I need to function in my daily life. I mean if I was an MI-5 spy I’d need something with less of a keyboard and more gadgetry. But today in my less exciting life I don’t need an app called “slap the kitty” or any other useless time consuming app. I have a list of other more interactive useless things to do with my useless time…

4. I like BB Messenger even if most of my friends have moved to other devices. I still like updating the little picture and adding random comments that usually hold no purpose or meaning. Its much less intrusive than Facebook.

5. I can type over 40 words per minute on my device – ok I haven’t timed myself but I’ll take on the challenge. Maybe there is an app for than on an Apple product ๐Ÿ™‚

Trust me, there are things I don’t like about my BB, like how it synchronizes with my laptop; it is super annoying and complicated. And how small the screen is; that’s me in the corner with my giant magnifying glass trying to read the news in size minuscule font.

Most of all I get pretty attached to my electronic devices. I find ways to let them help me do things more efficiently and I don’t feel like having to learn another operating system and re-organize my electronic life around someone else’s idea of efficiency.

Just like I miserably let go of my old Nokia’s, I fear some day soon I’ll also be going through the same break-up pain with my BB :(.

Get it together RIM!

9 Days to go

9 Days to go

It’s the night of Day 5.

Luna spend the day at her real home. When we pulled up to her house this morning, she was bouncing around excitedly. Once out of the vehicle, she couldn’t run fast enough to the front door. Boy was she happy to be home!

It’d been a while since I’ve been to Buffalo for a little shopping get-away. My friend suggested that we take a day trip to which I whole-heartedly agreed.
Going to Buffalo is more than just shopping; it’s the camaderie, good conversation where we solve all the worldโ€™s problems and best of all coming back across the Canadian border – that by far is my favourite part :).

There is nothing quite like picking the right border crossing line.
I’ve had my share of interesting re-entries into Canada. Two stand out.
The first one, two friends and I went across for a “pre-wedding” escapade. We visited the usual shopping hotspots and also did quite a lot of random driving around. We discovered a few back roads and found ourselves a little lost which meant we came back using a different bridge than the one we had used to enter the States. By the time we pulled up to the guard house, we were all a little tired and giddy. This did not work in our favour and we were promptly asked to pull up to the border services. We didn’t quite get what was going on as we clambered out of the car. Standing around chatting and tottering in our high heels, the border services gentleman came doodling along and introduced himself. If I was to guess his height, I’d say he was 5’4″ and with our heels, the three of us were close to 5’8″, so we had a good 4 inches on him.

Just imagine our man standing in the middle of us trying to explain the reason we had been pulled over. It wasn’t that they thought we weren’t declaring purchased goods, no, they had decided that as Canadians we had crossed into the US, smoked pot and drove back into Canada high as kites!

As soon as we realized their gross-misunderstanding my two friends went into comedic mode (I guess with our towering height, we weren’t really taking our border services too seriously). One friend had her arm outstretched pointing sharply to her exposed wrist, forcefully saying “Test me, Test my blood, I have never smoked pot in MY LIFE!!!, Come on Test me!”, while the other friend was leaning slightly backwards using her arms to “waft” her scent towards him demanding “smell me, do I smell like pot? DO I?” and all I could do in my giddy state was stand there and laugh hysterically!

Looking back, thankfully someone had a sense of humour. We were marched into the Border Services office and asked to dutifully pay our 14% sales tax and sent on our way.

The crossing that takes second prize is the day a friend of mine and I decided on a whim to visit the US after hitting the gym earlier in the day. On our way back we managed to pick the dreaded Bilingual line. We’d had this border guard numerous times before at the same booth and each time it was a hassle. This particular border guard trusts no one, which I suppose is a good thing? We pulled up, declared our goods which came under $150. He asked us to open the trunk, we had nothing to hide.
The trunk was filled with our gym bags, an assortment of random household items along with my dry-cleaning, stuffed in a Sephora bag.

Sephora is a cosmetic’s chain that sells …. cosmetics! Well well well, when our friendly border guard got back up to the front of the car, there was steam coming from out of their ears! We were promptly accused of hiding expensive purses. I kindly mentioned to them that we had not purchased any purses and let them know that Sephora was a cosmetics company. That didn’t go over very well. We were asked again to clarify that our total to declare was $150 – we agreed and showed our receipts.

We were sternly informed the following, “I am sending you up to the Border Services.”

Me “Ok”

Border Guard “They are going to search your car and when they find what you are hiding they have the right to charge you sales tax on everything they find and they WILL impound your car and YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO WALK HOME!!”

I do not exaggerate when I capitalize the walking home. The border guard was so angry at the thought that we might be hiding something; they yelled the last part just to make sure we understood the severity of our suspected misbehaviour.

I smiled at the border guard, took back the passports thanked him kindly for his words of advice and pulled up to the border services.

We handed the new set of guards our receipts, gave them the paper that detailed we were to be searched and waited at the front of the car.

The two guards quickly went through the vehicle and when they got to our stinky workout clothes and my obviously soiled dry-cleaning, they handed us back the keys and told us to have a nice day.

This evening, there was nothing eventful to report, just that wonderful feeling of being back in Canada. We celebrated our return by stopping off at the delicious, greasy Hutch’s that sits along Lake Ontario!

I am home now, back in the great big smoke with Luna is sleeping soundly on her dog bed, no doubt dreaming of being at home.