Is That You, Mildred?

So I was at the grocery store yesterday – just picking up a few things for dinner.  It was nearly that time already but I had other things on my mind all day and suddenly I thought “Shit!  What am I going to make for dinner?!  It’s blisteringly hot outside so I’m not cooking inside.  Bar-B-Que it is!”

And everything went really well, almost right to the end.  Because as I was waiting for the scale to verify the weight of my bags I looked up and…..time stopped for a moment.

Is that Stanley’s* new wife?  Can I even call her the ‘new’ wife because it’s been a while since he married her.  I consider myself the ‘old’ wife so I suppose that would make her ‘new’ wife.

That kind of makes us sound like cars, doesn’t it?  I’m the old trade-in and she’s the shiny new one that smells awesome inside.  EWW…!!  That didn’t come out right.  Not that she doesn’t smell good inside…..but how would I even know that?  Geez!  Let’s just pretend I never said that, okay?

So……I look up from the scale and I see her, but I’m not 100% certain it’s her….I’m in more like the 85 percentile of positivity.  It looks like her but it’s been a while since I’ve seen her so maybe I’m wrong.  This store is a little out of her neighborhood and while I don’t mind her shopping at my grocery store, I would like to know if it is, indeed, Mildred* or not, because shopping like a Meerkat is going to get weird.

Let’s put that aside for now though, because there are bigger issues here than whether she is Mildred or she isn’t.  Namely, did she see me?  We didn’t quite make eye contact before I dropped my head and stared at the screen in front of me.  I diligently started scanning my items while my mind kicked into overdrive.

How am I supposed to behave?  What’s the protocol?  Do I wave?  Should I do the Floppy Wave and keep it loose and friendly?  A rigid, proper wave – my fingers straight and squeezed together, and make Wash On, Wash Off movements?  Maybe a Queenly Wave – my hand cupped, palm towards me with kind of scooping motions?  Or maybe she didn’t see me at all and the guy at the cashier behind her will think I’m hitting on him and I’ll have a situation in the parking lot?

Maybe I should just take a deep breath and plunge into the morass of awkward Divorc-i-ness.  I’m not harboring any bad feelings but I have no idea what the other side feels.  Maybe there is an incommunicado policy in place that I’m not aware of.  Did Stanley tell her that I wanted to give him away at their Wedding?  I thought it was a brilliant idea – the old wife officially giving him to the new wife.  That would have started things off on the right foot, in my opinion, but Stanley threatened death and dismemberment.

Even if I do decide to take the plunge, what do I say for an opening salvo?  Do I holler across 6 cashiers and say…..what?

“How’s that husband working out for you?”

Or “Hey Mildred!!  Lookin’ good!”

Or should I be more formal “Felicitations Mildred!”

By the time I finished paying for my stuff, I had decided to just screw up my courage and make an oblique approach and maybe accidentally bump into her cart.  I could pretend that I just saw her at this moment and not 5 minutes ago when I ducked down like a 3rd Grader.

There was a tiny whoosh of relief when I couldn’t see her.  And then I wondered if she was doing the same thing that I was doing because she had no damned idea how to behave in these circumstances either.  Maybe she hissed at her cashier to hurry the fuck up, then ran out of the store like the hounds of hell were at her heels.  Maybe she even squealed tires trying to get out of the parking lot before I made my way out of the store.  Probably not because she’s an adult, but I still wonder if she felt awkward too?

I’m going to blame this entirely on Stanley.  First, because I haven’t done that for years and second, because he should have let me give him away at his damned Wedding.  This wouldn’t even be an issue if we had started this off on the right foot to begin with.

In the meantime, I need a plan in case we bump into each other again.  I need a suave and elegant opener and then hope to hell I did my hair that morning.

 

*I’ve changed his name to protect his identity and privacy.  Because I’m just that kind of person.

*I’ve changed her name to protect her identity and privacy.  Because I’m just that kind of person.  What?!  I like the name Mildred and it goes quite nicely with Stanley.  Mildred and Stanley – see?  It rolls right off the tongue.

A Baby In Each Arm

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, the photo provided by Danny Bowman.

 

They stood side by side, the older woman’s arm around the younger. 

“Between those two humps, your great, great grandmother buried 2 children – it was cholera.  Three days later she gave birth to twins in the back of the wagon.  They had to stop when the babies came, then they travelled through the night to catch the other wagons.  She walked the whole time, a baby in each arm.”    

“Really?”

“Yes.  You come from a long line of strong women.  A broken heart might hurt like hell but it won’t kill you.” 

“Promise?”

A long, comforting hug.   “I promise.” 

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The Completely Viking Wedding

So.  I’m no longer living in sin.  I’ve been legalized.  Gone is my hippie rebellion against the norms of tradition.  My naked, mutinous ring finger is naked no longer.

Almost three weeks ago at 11:00 in the morning I rejoined the Wife-Force.  I was a little belligerent about the whole thing if I’m honest.  I’m not going to obey The Viking!  I’m not going to let him boss me around!  He’s not the head of the household!  And I’ll decide when and how much I’ll honor him depending on his behavior at any given moment and not because some official tells me I have too!  Because I was happy as a sinner!

And because I was busy ranting against Wife-dom in my head, I forgot my bouquet at home.  We were half way to the ceremony when I said “Ahhhh fuck!!  I forgot my bouquet!”  And now I’m going to be late for my own wedding.  I muttered all the way back home about the stupid trappings of an obsolete institution that has kept women in subjugation for centuries.

When we finally arrived at the park, an itty, bitty, teeny, tiny woman marched to the car like a miniature Stalin.  I hadn’t met our Commissioner of Wedded Bliss before this moment and, quite frankly, I didn’t know they made them so small.  The top of her head barely reached my chin!

She took one look at me and started chanting soothing words and platitudes.  “You made it.  That’s great.  Take a deep breath.  Let it out.  Take another breath.  Let it out.  This is your special day so enjoy it.  Concentrate on your love.  Your soon-to-be husband is a wonderful man and he’s waiting for you.”

I thought, “Don’t tell me how wonderful his is!  I’ll do the deciding around here!”

But he was waiting for me and he is wonderful.  He was smiling and his face said “Take it easy.  It’s going to be fine.”

My face said “I’m not going to be a great wife, you know.”

His face said “I already know that.”

My face said “Thank Gawd!” and “Can I have a Lemon Gin and Tonic now?”

His face said “Soon, but not right now because it would break a couple of laws and might anger our miniscule Commissioner of Wedded Bliss.”

We held the ceremony under the trees beside the Bow River in Bowness Park.  It was a pretty place and convenient and we didn’t need to make reservations or pay an exorbitant fee.

We had only just begun the ceremony though when a helicopter came buzzing in low from the east.  Someone said “It’s the Paparazzi!!”  Our Commissioner of Wedded Bliss looked annoyed because this was a solemn occasion and no place for jokes!

I further annoyed her because I couldn’t figure out where she wanted us to stand.  In my defence, she kept moving.  She would stop and stand still so The Viking and I positioned ourselves in front of her, facing each other, and then she would move somewhere else.  Every time she scurried I would lose her behind the drape of my jacket.   It was like a Marital Musical Chairs game except there weren’t any chairs and there wasn’t any music.  This wasn’t supposed to be so difficult.  Stand still for fucksakes!

And then two young ladies floated by on the river in a raft and Brad pointed at Junior and yelled “Single man here!!”  Then one of the ladies in the raft shouted back “Single girl here!”  The Commissioner sighed heavily and gave Brad the Stink Eye.

Rafters at the Wedding

When it was time to make our vows to each other……. “OH MY GAWD I’VE LOST MY VOWS!!!”  I started patting myself up and down and turning in tight circles, there was a pressure in my head and my vision started to blur.  The Viking was standing there, his vows in hand, more than a little alarmed.  Just before I passed out, someone calmly touched my arm and handed me my vows.  The Commissioner of Wedded Bliss was chanting “Take a deep breath.  Take your time.  Take a deep breath.  Take your time.”

We finally made it through the vows.  I lost my shit twice but everyone just stood there and waited for me.  That’s the thing about having only my closest loved ones at my wedding – they already know me and expect their patience to be tried.

There were other comments and more laughter and the Commissioner’s make-up began to settle in scowl lines around her eyes.  She had a few more things to say about marriage but, to be honest, I wasn’t really listening because I was married.  Again.  Holy. Fuck.

Me, The Viking, Annette and Erik

And everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  Mission accomplished and no one had to go to the hospital.

Once she had completed her duty, The Commissioner of Wedded Bliss sprinted to her car, shouting over her shoulder that she would file the paperwork.  This was, in all probability, the least solemn and dignified ceremony she had ever attended.

And then it was time for pictures.  Ugh!!  A gaggle of young women in spandex and baseball caps came through like Olympic Speed Walkers and Brad wanted to get them in the pictures.  More rafters floated by, unintentionally photobombing us.  The Paparazzi made several passes overhead, forcing the photographer to shout her instructions.

We climbed among the rocks, sat on a bench, hugged, kissed, smiled and smiled some more.  All the while I couldn’t help thinking “Where in the hell is my Lemon Gin and Tonic?!”

The Viking kept saying “Be careful, Babe!  You’re going to fall!” every time I had to move to a different rock.  Junior and Erik had their hands out, ready to catch me at the slightest wobble.  All I could think about at that point was the Sponge Paper Towel commercial with the Sponge Guys surrounding the kid with a huge jug of orange juice.  And that made me laugh (maybe a bit hysterically) which made me wobble even more.

 

However, I didn’t fall, didn’t break a leg/arm/finger nail and we all made it back to the house for a big Danish Feast.  My part in this thing was finished, but it didn’t stop me from trying to interfere.  The Viking kept sighing deeply and shoving me out the door to sip my drink in the shade.

Erik & The Viking served up the most delicious Danish Feast ever and Annette created a beautiful table to serve it on.  We were surrounded by people we love and were feeling like the most blessed couple on the planet.  And then the Completely Viking Wedding came to a crashing, shouting, screaming halt.


 

 

The Feast Table

Because Brad turned our Wedding into Fight Club.  It took us days to come to grips with all the carnage.  We had been under the strictest orders from Mim to be especially kind to Brad because they had had a fairly severe fight the week before.  So we did our best to ignore his bullishness throughout the day.  It was all for naught though, because he couldn’t have killed the Wedding faster if he’d brought a machine gun.

I’m in knots about it.  I’m ashamed that my new sister, Annette, was treated so disrespectfully.  I’m embarrassed that Junior’s friend was witness to the whole debacle and even our neighbors heard the shouting and screaming.  I’m furious that our Wedding was ruined.  And I hate the taint on what should have been the happiest day of our lives.  I’m particularly enraged at the position Brad put Mim in.  She was as embarrassed and ashamed as the rest of us but he weaselled his way out of any accountability; trading on her love for him in order to forgive what he did to us.

We’ll be asked to get over it, to refrain from bringing it up so he doesn’t feel like it’s hanging over his head for the rest of his life.  The memories we have will be less important than his feelings no doubt, and we’ll try to do it because we love Mim.  Maybe had he come with a sincere apology it would have been easier but that’s not what we received.  We received a belligerent, narcissistic declaration that negated any responsibility on his part.  He breezed into our home, said “That conversation shouldn’t have happened last night!” and then breezed out again.

Out of the ashes though were a few salvageable memories.  The love and laughter we shared with everyone else was lovely and we’ll cherish the fact that they were here with us on our Wedding Day.  Junior’s friend turned out to be a great girl and we consider ourselves lucky to have met her.  I hope she’ll come back sometime so we can show her what we’re really like.

So, there were some redeeming moments that we will try to focus on instead of the shitty way the day ended.

 

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The Viking Invasion

 

Erik and Annette arrived in Edmonton smiling but exhausted while The Viking and I were almost jumping up and down with excitement.  Almost.  Because it’s unbecoming for Double D boobs to start flapping around in crowds – someone, other than myself, could get hurt and The Viking’s little jiggles would offer little distraction from my epic display.  So we waited impatiently without jumping.

Then, through the sliding doors, behind a fussy little guy with a mountain of luggage, I caught a glimpse of Erik.  “THERE THEY ARE!!!”  The Viking pushed me out of the way so he could verify the sighting – like they were Yeti’s and I couldn’t be trusted with visuals.

We spent the night in a hotel near the airport then drove back to Calgary.  The following day would begin the ‘Victoria or Bust’ Vacation/Honeymoon Tour.  My legs were shaved, exfoliated and smeared with the best lotion available in the hopes that British Columbia sunshine would give them even the faintest of tans.  My legs are tan-resistant, always glowing in the dark like they belong to a damned Vampire.  Oddly, my feet tan just fine.  I’m pretty sure I know why though.

“Yea, though I walk in the shadow of my boobs, my legs shall fear no sunburn: for the great boobies protect them from UV rays.  Bugs will bite and thorns will scratch but no burn will afflict mine legs.  Surely their whiteness shall beam for all the days of my life.”

Um…… where was I?  Oh yes – travelling.  It didn’t take us more than an hour and a half to completely corrupt Annette with Canadian food – Tim Hortons to be exact.  A breakfast sandwich, a large double/double coffee and Tim Bits ruined her for life.  And we didn’t do it just once either; we shoved that shit down her throat for a week before The Viking and Erik decided we had to stop with the Tim Bits.  The breakfast sandwiches were still okay in their opinion but Annette and I would be starved of the doughnutty deliciousness until further notice.  It was only on the final leg back to Calgary that the Doughnut Police finally decided we could have Tim Bits again.

“What. The fuck. Is that?!” Annette and I wanted to know when they showed up with coffee and a teeny, tiny, miniscule little box of Tim Bits – like they were for Ken and Barbie or something.  The Viking was beaming like he was offering us gold bars while Erik nodded his participation in the offering.

The Viking:  We thought that since this was the last day of our road trip we would treat you with Tim Bits.

Me:  Did you do the math on this?

The Viking:  The math?

Me:  Yes.  The math.  There are 4 people in the vehicle and 20 Tim Bits.  That means we only get 5 each!

The Viking:  That’s enough, isn’t it?

Me:  Oh, it most definitely isn’t enough!  It might be months before I get Tim Bits again and you’re rationing us?  What is this?  War time or something?  What if I put you on a licorice diet?  Only allowed you 5 pieces of licorice once a day?

The Viking:  That’s not the same thing at all!

Me:  Yes it is!  Erik and Annette brought you 83 pounds of candy from Denmark and that might have to last you for 2 years.  It’s totally the same.

The Viking wouldn’t cave but Erik decided to watch his man-ly figure and generously donated his share of the Bits.  Annette and I split them between us because The Viking didn’t deserve any more.  I then proceeded to give him the stink eye all the way home.

We graced Vancouver Island with our presence for 3 days then we headed to Pentiction where we would tour Wineries and lay on the beach.  That was our intention, but it didn’t actually work out that way.  We hit one Winery, only stayed at the beach for an hour and a half before it clouded over, took a ride on an old historic train and got drunk a lot instead.

We did play Mini-Golf but Erik was like some sort of Pool Shark except with golf balls.  Sure, he was humble while we were playing but when he announced that he beat all of us by a minimum of 6 strokes he couldn’t hide the Victory Grin.

I asked, “Is anyone else suspicious that the guy who kept score is also the one that won the game?”  The last laugh was ours the next morning though when Erik developed painful Golfer’s Wrist; we had to find a splint to immobilize it.  What cost the price of Victory?

After Mini Golf we went to a Chinese Buffet and the true difference between how the Danes treat Buffets and how Canadians (at least this Canadian) treat Buffets were glaring.  Annette, The Viking and Erik carefully perused the food and picked out Fishy Stuff.  I perused the food and picked out the stuff I liked and put it on my plate.  Back at the table, my plate was full while their plates held only a few things.  They all finished their first course and returned to the Buffet for their next.

I sat nibbling on my chicken balls, watching the progress of my companions.  It took a moment for what I was seeing to sink into my brain.  The Viking was first, Annette was second and Erik was bringing up the rear.  Their movements were perfectly synchronized!  They all took one step to the right in precise unison.  They all put something on their plate (the hand movements were immaculately synced) and took another flawless step to the right.  They repeated this amazing show the whole way around the Buffet!!  This performance would have captured them a Gold Medal if it was an Olympic Event (we should make this an Olympic Event).  No swim team could have matched the precision.  They returned to the table, in-step, with a military precision Korean soldiers would envy.

“Um….I don’t know if you know this but that was an incredible display of The Buffet Shuffle.”  I said.  “I was completely entertained.  Well done!”

Apparently they had never heard of The Buffet Shuffle so I had to explain the intricate steps and movements involved.  I’ve been to a lot of Buffets in my life – my father is a huge fan – but I’ve never seen the Shuffle done so well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get my phone out and record it until it was too late.  Equally unfortunate was the fact that when I went up to get another dumpling the only person I had to Shuffle with was a very tall, very skinny guy and he was more interested in the Ginger Beef than Shuffling.  I did try though, but had to stop when he caught me trying to match his movements.

We gazed at mountains and glaciers, tramped through a forest, Erik watched whales and the rest of us communed with nature at The Butchart Gardens.  We toasted bikers, toured a Miniature Land and browsed 317 gift shops.  We saw the Hope Slide, the Enchanted Forest, Fisherman’s Wharf and a Water Fall that used to be free but now isn’t.  Erik and The Viking drank Beer with Clamato Juice and Ceasars with abandon and then had the trots.  They didn’t believe me when I told them it was the Clamato Juice so they had the trots for much longer than they needed too.  Annette and I polished off two bottles of Lemon Gin and didn’t get the trots at all.

Most importantly, we had HYGGE.  In abundance!  We just spent time together and laughed and talked and were a family.  It was one of the best times of my life.  You know how sometimes you spend time with people but after a few days you want to shoot them in the face?  Well, this wasn’t one of those things.  It was bliss instead.

We arrived home to two very love-y cats who refused to let any of us out of their sight for two days.  That was fine because we had only a day and a half to prepare for my Wedding.  Thank goodness Annette is a brilliant Hair Stylist.  Also thankfully, she is a calm and serene island in the middle of my Stress Mess.

…..Stay tuned for My Completely Viking Wedding.

Boom, Baby!

It’s harder to get married than I thought.  It should have been easier given that I’ve been on that particular Merry-Go-Round before.  Maybe it wasn’t as complicated back then.  Or maybe expectations were lower at 19 than they are at 53.  Or maybe it’s because I only had 10 days to pull it off this time.  Or, most likely, life has kicked my ass a few times and now I’m a neurotic, stressed out, menopausal woman with a Perfection Complex.

As I was maniacally making notes and lists and finding out what was available and what wasn’t available, The Viking walked past and made an explosion sound that puffed his cheeks out.  I whipped my head around and said, “What is that supposed to mean?!  Is that the sound of all my hopes and dreams exploding in my face?!  Because I don’t need the sound effects!”

For a moment his face was slack with confusion but then he started to laugh.  “Relax, babe.  It will be just fine.  I can help you as soon as I’m done in the garage.”

It didn’t work, but I appreciated the attempt to soothe my fraying nerves.  Mim and I brainstormed over a wedding cake and came up with this:

Unfortunately, Crave Cupcakes had the temerity to accept other orders before mine. Boom, Baby!

Everything else was coming together though.  I had dishes, tablecloth, napkins, napkin rings, serving platters, flowers ordered, food order put in at the Danish store and a Commissioner of Marriage – Judy.  She explained what I needed to know and what the most important thing I needed since I had been married before – the Judgement of my Divorce.

I found it almost immediately, surprising myself with my organization and filing skills.  It said ‘Judgement of Divorce’ on it and there were several official stamps and dates.  Two days before Erik & Annette (The Viking’s brother and beautiful Partner) arrived, The Viking and I went to the Registry to get our Marriage License.

We waited patiently in line then handed over our Identification and my Judgement of Divorce.

“Sorry.  I need a Certificate of Divorce, not the Judgement.” The little girl behind the counter said firmly.

I said, “What?!  The Commissioner said ‘Judgement of Divorce’.”

“You need a Certificate of Divorce.”  She said slowly and more audibly.

“Are you saying I’m not Divorced?”

“Oh, you’re divorced for sure.”

“So why can’t I have a marriage license?”

“Because you need a C..E..R..T..I..F..I..C..A..T..E of Divorce.”

“What is a C..E..R..T..I..F..I..C..A..T..E of Divorce going to tell you that the actual Judgement doesn’t?”

“Nothing.  But the law requires it.”  Well, there’s no arguing with that, is there?  I hate Smarty-Pants young people who pull facts and rules out when it’s most inconvenient.

“So where do I go to get this damned Certificate?!”

“Downtown at the Court of Queens Bench.”  Boom, Baby!

“DOWNTOWN?!”  I hate Downtown!  It requires waiting for buses and then walking whole blocks and then waiting in lines, and then waiting for buses and walking whole blocks again.

Smarty-Pants nodded cheerfully and handed me my fucking useless Judgement of Divorce.  The Viking had remained quiet throughout the whole ordeal but chose this moment to share his wisdom.

“So, you’ll just have to go downtown and get the Certificate.”

I had the brilliant idea of calling Stanley because he was already re-married so he must have had a Certificate and he was a whole lot closer than fucking Downtown.  Except some asshole Home Invader broke into his and his wife’s house and stole THE FUCKING CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE!!  Who does that?!  Sure, they took a lot of other stuff that was much more valuable, both monetary and sentimental, but a Certificate of Divorce?!  I have a lot of sympathy for the horribleness of someone invading their house and privacy and safety and I don’t mean to be glib about their losses and emotional devastation but……I NEEDED THAT DOCUMENT!!  You asshole!  Boom, Baby!

So I went Downtown.  And I got my damned Certificate.  And we took it to Smarty-Pants at the Registry and got our Marriage License.

Pop Quiz:  Did you know that if the smallest, tiniest, puniest thing, like a wrinkle or a stain, happens to that License, it’s null and void?  Yes, it’s true.  Had I known that, I would have insisted we take separate vehicles so The Viking could be in sole custody of the License where I would have no access to it.  The drive home was like transporting Nitroglycerin.  It lay across my lap and my hands were placed firmly on the dash.

But then I had an itch on the end of my nose.  I tried to ignore it but it just kept getting worse and worse and finally I carefully took one hand from the dash, extended a finger and started moving it toward the itch.

The Viking:  What are you doing?!

Me:  I have an itch!

The Viking:  Put your hand back on the dash!  Right now!

Me:  But it itches!

The Viking:  It won’t kill you so, put. the. hand. back. on. the. dash!

I had to wait in the car when we got back home so he could retrieve the License from my lap and whisk it away to our safe.

And that was the end of planning time.  It took quite a while for me to just accept that I did my best and it would have to do.  We had the most important things in place and I would have one day after our Honeymoon to get ready for the actual Wedding Day.

Oh!  I probably didn’t tell you…..we are taking our Honeymoon before the Wedding because we were taking Erik and Annette to Victoria for 10 days.  All the last minute shit required for the Wedding would have to be accomplished in one day when we got back home.

On July 15th we were waiting at the Edmonton International Airport to meet our guests.  I was at the mercy of the Gawds.  Boom, Baby!

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Completely Viking Wedding.

 

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Just Tie the Knot, Already!

Well, I’m nothing if not adept at biting off more than I can chew so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that I’ve done it again.  This time I had help though.  In the form of a Viking.

We were contentedly watching a movie last week when he suddenly said….

“How much longer do we need to be together before we get married?”

I laughed nervously; the subject of marriage always makes me a bit flinch-y.

Except, last weekend we celebrated our 10th year together.  10 YEARS!  Some people might consider that a fairly lengthy engagement but, to be honest, I’m quite happy with the status quo.  I don’t need a legal document to prove my love and a Common-Law status is legally almost as good as marriage anyway.   You don’t spend 2 decades trying to make a marriage work, fail and then jump right back into the frying pan without at least a little apprehension.

The Viking:  I’m not joking.  How much longer do you need?

Me:  Umm…..well I didn’t really have a specific date in mind – like 2021 or anything.

The Viking:  It’s been 10 years already!

Me:  I know.  I just thought we had decided not to jump in this year.

The Viking:  I know you’ve been married before and weren’t willing to make that decision too soon but it’s about time, isn’t it?

Me:  I didn’t realize you were in a hurry.

The Viking:  Well, I’ve never been married and I would like to get married before I die.  To you!  Erik and Annette* will be here and this is the only time we can get married when I could have a family member stand up for me.

Well, geez!  If he’s going to put it that way…..

And he’s right – as usual.  I thought we would get married in Denmark in a few years when we had a little more money, but it would be cheaper to do it here rather than flying my kids all the way to Denmark.

And maybe I should start dealing with my aversion to marriage and anything that even sounds like marriage.  The Viking and I have been living and working together for years and years quite happily, so you wouldn’t think that a piece of paper would make any difference.  It’s a piece of paper not a liver transplant!  Right?

But deep in the back of my head is a voice saying, “Sometimes that piece of legal paper makes a world of difference.” Some people take it as permission to be controlling and over-bearing and jealous; I’ve seen movies!  And what if there’s a skeleton in a closet that I haven’t located yet?  What if he’s trying on my clothes when I go to the grocery store (not that there’s anything wrong with that if I know about it before I marry it!)?  What if he has an entire family concealed in a neighbouring town (even I can see that this is not very likely, but still….)?  What if he’s in the Witness Protection Program and mob thugs are going to show up here one day?  What if…..

FOR THE LOVE OF GAWD……shut up already!  If The Viking were truly like that and managed to fool me for 10 years(!) he deserves a medal of achievement. Besides, he doesn’t have the patience for it.  He probably won’t change at all.  And don’t you remember you called him an arse-ling just last week and he didn’t lose his shit at all!  In fact, he actually smiled!  So, maybe marrying him will turn out to be the best thing ever.

Or not.  Gawd!  My right eye is twitching.  Is my eye trying to tell me something?  Perhaps it knows something that my brain hasn’t picked up yet.  It would be just like me to have a ‘twitchy eye’ instead of a ‘gut feeling’.  On the other hand, you have to see something before your brain can do anything about it, so maybe my twitchy eye is ahead of the curve.

And now that I’m thinking about it, why in the hell would he want to marry me in the first place?  I’m a mess!  A 53 YEAR OLD Mess!  It’s exhausting just thinking about all of my faults and weirdiness.

You know, he would really be better off with someone less……..

The Viking:  HELLOOO?! 

Me:  What?

The Viking:  I’ve been watching your face.  Are you getting close to using words yet?

Me:  Oh!  Of course I want to marry you!  What woman wouldn’t?  Are you sure you want to go down this road?  You’ll be stuck with me for the rest of your life because once I’m committed that’s it!   

The Viking:  I know.  I wouldn’t have asked you to marry me if I wasn’t prepared to spend the rest of my life with you.

Me:  What if I don’t meet expectations?

The Viking:  You already don’t meet expectations.  Nothing new there.  I kind of like that about you.

Me:  Really?    

The Viking:  Why do you think I want to marry you?  

Me:  You have a concussion?  Brain Cancer?  You hear dead people?  A VooDoo Doctor is making you do it?  Blackmail?  An evil curse?  Selective Alzheimers?  

The Viking:  Oh, for fucksakes!  Are you going to marry me or what?!

Me:  Okay, fine!  On one condition.

The Viking:  Should I even ask?

Me:  When I’m in a wheel chair, you will make it the fastest, most powerful wheel chair ever!

The Viking:  You might not end up in a wheel chair.

Me:   70% chance.

The Viking:  If you do, I will.

Me:  And you’ll love me forever?

The Viking:  I already do.  More than you can even imagine.

And then all hell broke loose!  I had 10 days to pull this off.  I need an Official to do the ceremony, our rings, dishes, flowers, a wedding outfit, a tablecloth, cloth napkins and rings, wine glasses, drink glasses, serving platters, photographer, my Judgement of Divorce (who knows where the hell I stashed that damned thing?!), a marriage license, some place to have the ceremony and a pedicure/manicure.  Then there are the Wedding Vows to write.

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We aren’t equipped to have a wedding, even an incredibly small one.  We only had 7 dinner plates and one of them had an ugly chip in it.  No matching wine glasses.  If I’m harnessing myself to The Viking for the rest of my life there had better be some matching wine glasses!!

Today, I have exactly 5 days left to find a photographer, get the marriage license and find a nice spot in Bowness Park.  Thanks to my Mim, we’ve accomplished a damned miracle getting the other stuff.

Even better, I am actually looking forward to My Teeny Weeny Viking Wedding.

I’m still stressed but there is a small chance that I might be ready for Saturday morning when we pick up Erik and Annette at the airport.

Sweet Bejesus!!  I forgot about a cake!  May this be the only thing I’ve forgotten.  Sigh.  Deep breaths.  It will be fine.  It’s a wedding, not a Heart Transplant.

*The Viking’s brother and his lovely wife, Annette.

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I Can’t Just Wing It!

April 2017

The Viking’s brother and his lovely partner Annette are coming for a visit from Denmark in July.  For three weeks.  And I’m not concerned at all.  Because I’m an adult and have two and a half months to prepare.  As a matter of fact, when I told The Viking that I was a little stressed, he said “You have two and a half months to prepare, for fucksakes!”

I shouldn’t be worried at all.  There should be absolutely zero stress involved.  I’ve been the Hostess with the Mostess before; it’s not like I’m a rookie.  I’ve had the Boss and his wife over for dinner.  It was nothing! Friends? Easy-peasy!  The kids?  No problem!  You know where the linens are, help yourself.  If the chicken was a little over-cooked, who cares, right?

This time it’s different.  This time it’s The Viking’s Brother, Erik!  And Annette!  They had the most amazing bed linens and meals that were perfect and hot buns and cheese and cold cuts in the morning and a beautiful home and everything was perfect!  Most importantly, no one was losing their fucking minds trying to be perfect.

I can’t just wing this!  I can’t procrastinate until 3 days before they arrive and then panic.


Today

So guess what I did?

That’s right.  I procrastinated my way to 16 days before their arrival.  And now I’m LIKE THIS!

I need to be fresh and relaxed so they will feel fresh and relaxed.  I can’t meet them at the airport in a full-blown hot flash, reeking of Windex and Bleach.

I should hire people.  Professional people.  Waiters and Chefs and Housekeepers and couriers and a Butler.  I wonder if Ramsay is busy?  No, scratch that!  I can’t have him telling people to fuck off and calling them donkey’s asses while I’m trying to be perfect.  Jamie Oliver then.  Yikes! What if he serves Squid Ink Pasta!  I’ve written an entire blog about my feelings involving Squid Ink Pasta!  If only Julia Child were alive and available.

A mature, experienced woman would start by creating lists to be completed in chronological order as the date of arrival approaches.  But I didn’t do that.  Sure, I scoured the internet until I found amazing linens but that is the extent of my preparations.  I still have so much to do!

  • Paint the family room
  • Hang family room pictures
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Re-Side the house
  • Re-Sod the front yard
  • Build professional flower beds and plant flowers
  • Re-plant flowers because the first ones died
  • Get a Pedi-cure and my nails done
  • Cut The Viking’s hair
  • Get MY hair done
  • Buy a designer water pitcher with matching glasses for the guest room
  • Transform the Office Cubby Thingy in the spare room into a Martha Fucking Stewart creation
  • Re-hang curtain rods in spare room because I fucked up the ones in there already
  • Get a complete make over
  • Make more Poo-Pourri – we only have one bathroom after all
  • Hang The Viking’s Battle Axe and Shield on a wall so he’s not tempted to use it on me
  • Lose 30 pounds
  • Hire a Look Alike so I can hide in a closet and have panic attacks
  • Get the car detailed
  • Buy a hand gun and shoot myself in the head
  • DON’T BUY A HAND GUN!

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There is a bat-shit crazy squirrel in my head playing every disastrous scenario possible.  What if they have allergies to my laundry detergent? What if I can’t think of anything to say?  What if I say the wrong thing? What if they notice my stress and hate being here?  What if they decide to go home early because I’m a mess?

Maybe I should get some Weed.  If I get stoned will I be like this…..

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or like this?

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Probably this, because it’s me we’re talking about.  And this is also the reason we don’t have a big fountain in the house – I don’t need to be wasted to fall into it.

Maybe I’ll just try essential oils first.  Apparently lavender, rose, vetiver (whatever the fuck that is), ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile and frankincense (I thought that was only for Jesus) are good for alleviating anxiety.

I can always go for the devil’s weed later if necessary.

 

 

Like a Mini-Me

I was the family joke when I was growing up.  They called me Dum-Dum. I was also “the ugliest baby” my father had ever seen.  I eventually came to terms that this is the hand that I was dealt and carried on.  There are others out there that have much shittier hands than me so I just made the best of it.

Oh sure, I was different.  I thought differently, I saw things differently, I did things differently.  Everyone in the household wore the “What the Fuck?!” face most of the 18 years I lived there.  And when I moved in with my husband, he wore it for the next 20+ years we were together.  And yes. The Viking wears it too.

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But during my genealogy project, I came across pictures of myself as a kid. I wasn’t ugly!  What the hell?!  Stupid and ugly….those were the words.  But look at me!

I’m fucking adorable!

And then I started looking more closely at the rest of the photos and realized that Mrs. Completely was hiding there the whole time!  Like a Mini-Me!  If only I had known!

Those facial expressions aren’t those of a stupid person.  There are definitely things going on in that head.

 

 

I saw, I analyzed and I got grossed out.  There is no disputing the wheels were turning and I had come to a logical conclusion.

 

 

 

I tried to explain myself all the time!  Obviously not well enough though. Those aren’t the eyes of a stupid kid – they are the windows into a wacky soul.  An adorable wacky soul!

 

 

 

 

It’s not like I didn’t try to be normal. What other conclusion could anyone make about this pic except I was trying very, very hard to be sweet like a normal person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s not a good look on anyone but I’m putting in the effort.

 

 

Most people would have left the room, but I stuck it out.  That’s loyalty!

 

 

 

 

And then Dad set me up to look really stupid with my Grade 2 friends when he explained what an Orgy was.  Not cool, Dad!

 

 

 

 

I may have fallen for the Orgasm thing but despite what Dad says now, I didn’t fall for a Carpool being a swimming pool with sloped ends that you drive your car through.

I stopped asking him questions after that and just figured it out on my own.

 

 

Sure, I had my moments.  I wasn’t always good – I probably wasn’t good 70% of the time – but aside from my older sister, who is good all the time?  Certainly not the person who gave me that damned black left eye!  Oddly enough, that’s not the only black eye I sported in childhood pictures.

So, I’m reviewing everything I always believed about myself. Who knew that at this late date it would be necessary?  And what does that say when I have to go all the way back to the beginning in order to grow now?

 

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Just Like Us

 

 

 

 

 

It has become evident that The Viking and I have rubbed off on our cats.  You might think that would be a good thing, especially if we are competent at using a litter box, but it’s probably not.  It appears they are picking up only our bad habits and personality disorders.

When Mim brought her two kitties (Dexter & Lucy) for a visit all 4 cats got bent out of shape.  Despite having spent quite a bit of time together (and playing!) in the past 6 months they act like they’ve never laid eyes on each other before.  Every human got at least 2 Stink Eyes from at least 2 cats.

 

 

 

 

 

And then………Everycat started Kung Fu Fighting.

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Lucy was the most committed.  She takes her Kung Fu very seriously.  Izzie was a close second because she, too, enjoys the occasional Kung Fu Free-For-All.  Blizzards of slapping happened with staccatos of trash talk.  They are both lovely ladies but I’m pretty sure there were a few ‘fucks’ thrown around and perhaps a little body shaming in between the lightning-fast bitch slaps.

In the meantime, Dexter and Teddy thought they should be doing something.  Dex made the first move – a half-assed slap aimed slightly to the left of Teddy.  Teddy sent a quick poke that fell far short of Dex and that was that.  Dex sort of went “Aw…fuck it!” and took over the top of the spare fridge.  Lucy finally decided that she’d had enough of the opening skirmish and took over the top tier of the Cat Tree.

We humans started nodding our heads going “that went well”, genuinely pleased with the social skills of our Clowder.  Mim and Brad had to leave for a few hours so The Viking and I were the referees should anymore conversations break out.

Eventually, the house settled into quiet.  So quiet, in fact, that I became a little suspicious and went to check on the combatants.  Teddy was humped up taking a poo in Dex and Lucy’s litter box while Izzie was rolling all over their blankets.

“Our cats are now Passive Aggressive!”  I said to The Viking.  “That’s exactly how we would handle an unwanted invasion into our territory.  You would poo in their suitcase and I would spray something smelly on their bed.”

“Why would I be the one to poo in the suitcase?”

“Because that’s definitely a guy thing to do.  Besides, you’re a better pooper than I am.”

Mim and Brad came again this past weekend and our suspicions were confirmed.  Once again, Dexter took over the top of the spare fridge and Lucy commandeered the top tier of the Cat Tree.  Izzie – she’s the brains – and Teddy wandered down the hallway, probably intending to poo and roll again but something else presented itself.

The Viking and I were watching a movie when we heard a loud rustling of plastic.  I went to investigate.  Both cats had ripped open Dexter and Lucy’s treat bag and were busy munching.  When they saw me coming both cats started to eat faster and faster.  By the time I rescued the bag there were only 3 treats left.

How can I be mad when they are doing exactly what we would do?  The Viking and I would totally eat their treats.  And make yum-yum noises as we did it.

I’m fairly certain that Teddy pooped in their litter box at some point and Izzie rolled all over their blankets again but I didn’t actually witness the crime.  Izzie did camp out on the floor in front of the Cat Tree – an “I dare you to come down, Lucy” sort of thing while Teddy took up a position in front of the fridge.  He was less effective because he is on pretty good terms with Dexter.  You have to give him points for his solidarity to his sister though.

So, now I’m wondering if The Viking and I need to be setting a better example.  When someone comes to the front door I have to admit that I’m a little standoffish but I’ve honestly never got into a bitch-slapping fight.  Okay….there was that one time I almost did but I managed to use my words to drive the person off the step.  And to be fair, they were trying to sell me a vacuum cleaner and dumped dirt all over the front door mat.

I suppose I could be more welcoming.  I could offer refreshments and stale cookies.  Would that make the cats better about welcoming their cousins?  It’s doubtful.  The damage is already done, precedence has been set, a routine established.  A change in tradition might cause more harm than good because cats get crazy about changes to the rules.

It’s settled then.  I don’t have to be any nice-r to people bothering me at the front door and The Viking can still poo in suitcases if he doesn’t like the company.

A Slightly Kinder Version of Hell

I opened my email today and then quickly closed it again.  There were 238 new messages.  238!!  I’m in no shape to deal with that!  I’m barely able to brush my teeth.

It all started last week.  Wait, more accurately, it started 3 years ago but last week was an event of sorts.  It’s genealogy – convoluted, confusing genealogy.  My Great Grandmother started this whole thing when she watched Roots: The Miniseries, way back in the 1970’s.  She started digging and researching and put together an impressive lump of material without the aid of the internet.

My parents took up the cause and collected an even more impressive chunk of information, including photos.  They wandered all over the USA, wrote letters and badgered relatives until they now have branches on the family tree that go back to the 1600’s.  The pile is spectacularly imposing.

All of this information and keepsakes and heirlooms and photos……all of it…..will go to my older sister.  But where does that leave my kids?  What if they want to know the stories about their great, great, great, great, great Grandfather/Grandmother?  It would break my heart to lose all the information that’s been lovingly compiled over 50 years.

I decided that wasn’t going to happen.  About three years ago I started writing a short book about my parents and their parents.  I’ve spent the last 6 months scanning over 800 photos.  Some photos deserved better than my old Brother scanner that tops out at 1200dpi, so I bought another scanner that does 6400dpi.  I taught myself Photoshop and spent hundreds of hours touching up photos.

This brings me why I’m in no shape to deal with 238 245 (more have come in since I started this post) damned emails.

I drove 4 hours to my parents and spent Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and part of Sunday working on notes for their book and going though keepsakes in the family trunk and then drove the 4 hours back home.  I want this project finished so I can move on with my own projects, namely a book on how The Viking and I stormed Europe, offended Catholics, pissed off the Autobahn, shocked small villages and educated Florencians on how to curse.

But for now my brain is full.

It’s so full there isn’t room for anything else.  And I’m tired to the bone.  It’s probably because my brain is so busy trying to compartmentalize all that information that it has nothing left to actually operate my body.  That happens to computers all the time!  It’s so busy updating the Anti-Virus that it can’t play a single game of Solitaire.  That’s totally legit.

Except, apparently, it’s not legit when it’s anything other than a computers.  Because I came home and my car vomited all the binders, photos, keepsakes, tintypes and diaries all over the kitchen.  On Monday I looked at the mess and…..NOPE!  It just wasn’t in me to deal with it.  Yesterday was the same way.  Until The Viking decided that all this shit was messing up the clean kitchen he had personally arranged for me.

 

 

 

So, with aching back and foggy mind, I have picked up the harness of Mundania.  I’ve got no great ideas for a blog post – or supper for that matter.  I’ll come up with something I guess.  It’s supposed to thundershower this afternoon, fucking up any thoughts on barbequing.  I might be able to but as soon as I rely on it the heavens will open up and drown me, the barbeque and whatever the hell the main dish is.  Maybe something in the slow cooker?  It doesn’t give off much heat so shouldn’t turn the house into a slightly kinder version of Hell.

In the meantime, I will tackle the monster that is my Inbox.