Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Classical Gas

I have a statement to make and a question to ask. My statement, I love getting gas! And by that I mean filling up the car with such fuel, not tummy gas which is horrid and no fun for anyone. To me getting gas spells freedom. Getting gas means I can drive. I’ve only had my license for 3 years and perhaps this is why driving for me is still an exercise in excitement. I can go anywhere, anytime without having to depend on anyone. It is a beautiful feeling of independence matched only by thrill of paying my bills on time.

My question, why is spilling stuff on yourself so embarrassing? I can only assume that in most cases the spilling was not intentional, yet doing so usually brings on red faced stammering at a rapid pace.

Yesterday while spelling freedom at the pumps, I spilled freedom all over myself. I’m not even sure exactly how it happened. One second I heard the “click” noise from the pump announcing that it was all done and the next second I heard a “blorp” noise from the tank as it burped up about a cup of noxious fuel on my shirt and shorts. (I was wearing one of my favoured black T-shirts and of course, my favourite pair of shorts. Sigh…)

I managed to stifle the swearing to a dull roar (my daughter was in the car) and instead of heading out to the mall as soon as I’d filled up, we made a trip back home so I could relieve myself of the smelly garments that showcased to the world that I LOOKED as though I’d relieved myself.

Now, the independent gas slopping experience was not exactly embarrassing per say. It didn’t happen in crowd, it didn’t happen in front a boy I really liked and it didn’t happen without the ability to change quickly into new cloths. It did however, bring back memories of a time when as embarrassing as the situation already was, I wish I really had spilled stuff all over my pants instead of what really happened.

Years ago, when I was but a youngin’ at David Cameron Elementary school, I had a very intense crush on a boy in my class who shall remain, as to not drag him down with me, JP. That year in school, he sat behind me. We chatted a lot, he let me borrow his cool pen that had an eraser that looked like tooth brush bristles and a couple times, JP even let me borrow his jacket. (These were clues that I wrote down in my diary as to why I truly believed he “liked” me.) Above all else, he made me laugh a lot.

At my elementary school, we ate in our classrooms as we didn’t have a cafeteria. One lunch time near the end of the year, after most of the kids had quickly eaten and left to go play as it was a nice day and they wanted to get outside as soon humanly possible, myself, JP and a girl we’ll call AB were the only 3 left in the classroom along with the teacher on lunch duty whom for some reason, was relaxing in our teacher’s chair. (Perhaps we were the only 3 kids left upstairs. Up until this moment I’ve never thought to really wonder why she was sitting there. Usually the teacher on duty popped in, made sure you weren’t dueling with various forms of food or school supplies and left.) I was sitting in my desk, JP was sitting behind me in his desk and AB was standing beside me drinking a Pepsi. I didn’t have a lot of cola back in the day and asked AB if I could have a sip of her Pepsi, an ill fated request on my behalf.(…cue doom music…) At the moment I took a large gulp from the can, JP chose to say something uproarious (who knows what…he said it so even if it was only a tiny bit funny, all things said by a boy you have a crush on are 100 times funnier then when someone you don’t like says them.) and I spit ALL of the Pepsi out of my mouth onto his desk. He jumped back before it ran down his desk and onto his lap, before it dropped a wet spot on his front that would mark him as someone who’d soiled themselves, as I broke into a fit of hysterical laughter brought on by JP’s wit and by what I’d just done. Unfortunately, my loud guffaws were not the only thing that signaled how funny I thought the whole situation was. While AB, JP and even the teacher on duty continued to laugh, my giggles quickly died out as I tried desperately to stop…well…you can guess what I had done can’t you? Yes, I had peed my pants. PEED my pants in front of JP! I was needless to say, horrified. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what to do. It gets foggy here, but I think the teacher ran and got some paper towel and as the desk was mopped up I came up with my brilliant plan. I was wearing dark jeans and I guess assumed the stain wouldn’t be too obvious unless someone looked closely, but I knew I could not get way with wearing the pants for the rest of the day. I’d so far avoided being “the stinky kid” in class and wanted to keep it that way. I stood up and boldly announced to JP and AB that I’d not only spit Pepsi on JP’s desk, but also down the back of my chair and had also got it all over the back of my pants. Therefore, the only thing I could do was change into my gym shorts. They thankfully bought this lame tale and when they left to go outside, I went to the bathroom to clean us as best I could and change out of my soiled pants.

Once outside of course, I caused quite a stir. No one wore their gym shorts unless it was gym! I explained the situation, with downcast eyes and a red face, and hoped that no one would guess the truth. Lunch time ended and thinking that the worst part of my day was over I headed back to our classroom. I had a bit of spring in my step because I’d gotten away with a ridiculous lie and when it came time for gym that afternoon, I’d be half way ready for class. However, the day got worse.

That afternoon, yes I got to go to the gym and hang out in my gym shorts, but not for gym class. Instead we had an assembly in the gym to give out badges for the “Canada Fitness Awards”. What I’ve neglected to mention until now is that I hated my gym shorts. Those of you who were in elementary school in the early 80’s may remember the fad of fuzzy shorts. Fuzzy shorts were elastic waisted, white trimmed shorts that were made of a towel like material that were very snug and everything you sat on, or walked near or thought about stuck to them. I had 2 pairs and “glory be” that day because I got to dawn, not my red ones, but my bright yellow pair in front of the entire school. I sat on the cold, squeaky floor and felt sick. I prayed that I wasn’t stinky, desperately wished I’d had time to pick all the burrs and grass off my shorts and waited for the dreaded moment when my name would be called.

Even if I hadn’t pissed myself and been forced to wear horrid gym shorts in public on purpose, this assembly would have been awful. I’ve never been good at the “Flex Arm Hang” or the “Shuttle Run”. In general, the Canada Fitness Tests always proved to me and the world that anything in my life that turned out to be remotely athletic would be an undertaking in humiliation for myself and my parents. When the moment I’d been loathing happened, my already embarrassed being flooded with red hot shame as I rose to go to the front of the gym to collect my Participation Award. That’s right; I performed so badly at the tasks set out by the powers that be that came up with the “Canada Fitness Test” that I didn’t even merit or deserve a Bronze badge. To get a Bronze badge instead of Silver, Gold or the higher than Gold badge, the “Award of Excellence” was humiliating enough. But to be called up for basically a token award because they felt like they should give you something for “trying your best at sucking”, was indescribably embarrassing. As I stood in front of the entire school body and staff, in my knee high socks and short sleeve white blouse decorated with wee hearts on it tucked into my fuzzy yellow finery decorated in bits of garden parts, I wanted to cry. The day had gone from bad to worse, to bone crushing embarrassment. I refused to make eye contact with my snickering teacher, I wouldn’t look at the crowd of puzzled faces and I couldn’t gaze with pride at my lame award. Even at the time I knew that this moment, this day would be the measuring stick against which I would measure all my future embarrassing occurrences.

So as I stood at the pump, cursing the gas on my non fuzzy shorts, I remembered my classic tale of spillage and thought “Well, that is something for the awesome blog!”

When a tale goes from being “embarrassing” to being “awesome” it’s a good thing.
Much like getting gas, it spells freedom.

Here's to awesome spills,

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sticks and Balls Will Break My Fall...but Awesome Never Eludes Me.

Hello to all my blog fans

It's been a few weeks since I've posted on this here blog and really, that's not such a bad thing. My not having anything to write about on my Awesome Blog means that I’ve been kind of dull and not injured myself or done anything weird in the last while…that is until yesterday.

First up though…a wee bit of context. A few weeks back, we three took a quick trip to Moncton. For those of you not familiar with New Brunswick geography (And that’s ok. I’m not judging! When Sean applied for a job here in Miramichi, we had to look it up on a map…not New Brunswick…Miramichi. I did pay SOME attention in school.) Moncton is about 90min south of Miramichi. It’s the equivalent amount of time (just time, not distance) that it use to take Sean to drive from Coquitlam,BC to North Vancouver,BC during rush hour(s) for a pest control job. Anyway, we went to Moncton because Sorcha had a gift card to use at Chapters and Sean wanted to go to a comic book shop and we had a gift card for restaurants that are in Moncton but not in Miamichi. Now, Sorcha has a lot of books. Loads of books! She’d recently received 19 novels for Christmas so she decided that instead of buying MORE books she would use her gift card and some of her Christmas money to purchase a play set called “Crazy Forts”. It’s a set of 44 plastic sticks and 25 balls and you use these to create overly delicate forts that will collapse if spoken to in a mean way. “Just add bed sheets for hours of endless fun!” is what the box and website claim. I can think of a lot more fun things to do involving bed sheets that don’t involve sticks and balls. Oh wait…

Anyway, I knew doom was around the corner with the purchase of this precarious box of fun, but it’s what Sorcha really wanted AND she was using her own money. I could see looming before me, on a large granite slab the 10 or more things I would end up saying to Sorcha when she played with this new toy: “It’s never as easy as it looks on the box.” “You’ll have to patient and try again…” and pithier parent advice along these lines.

Because I’m not a complete ogre I helped Sorcha make her first fort. Actually, I made it while Sorcha stood on the side lines and said things like “Oh no!” whenever the stick came out of the ball…or a wall fell over…or I had to start again because the ball, which has about 12 holes in it for many angled uses, wasn’t lined up correctly making it impossible to line it up with the next stick needed to make the bloody roof. Eventually, I sent Sorcha upstairs for her shower and I constructed a fort of sorts. I put bed sheets over it and blankets and was quite pleased with the result. Sorcha too was quite please with it and played in it at least once before she took it apart a couple weeks later to make her own creation; which she did with out one noise or one cry of anguish. I actually didn’t even know she was making a fort until she called me down to show me what she’d created. She had a made tunnel. It was small, but she could squeeze in. All seemed right in the world of “crazy forts” and I thought perhaps I’d misjudged Sorcha and that maybe the only doom around the corner was of my own mental doing.

However, she did eventually accidentally collapse the tunnel and tears of defeat were present as was much stomping and “I worked so hard!” shouts from the basement. I consulted my granite slab for what to say and shouted “You’ll just have to build it again!” Very helpful and wise am I. The tunnel lay in pieces all week until yesterday morning when an attempt at a new structure was carried out. Halfway through, one of the sticks came out of one balls and it went down. Tears, “Do it again”, “This is a very delicate structure” followed. When I got home from work yesterday, I decided to help Sorcha finish her latest structure. She was attempting basically what to become a large box, with only 3 sides so that she could get in and out of the box. After completing the walls, and all was looking dandy, all that needed to be built was the roof. I went into the box and we hooked up the right amount of balls and sticks across the top the prevent collapse and in the process of doing so, I roofed myself into a corner. “Hmmm” I said and looked around my tight squeeze for a way to exit gracefully and with out damage to the new masterpiece of “crazy fort” fun. The exit out was neither graceful nor damage free; it was disaster…NO, NO…it was awesome. As I ducked out of the hole in the roof I lost my balance, teetered for a second on my weak ankles and fell sideways onto the left wall. This created a cataclysmic domino effect and the entire structure fell on me, under me and around me. I felt a pain on my left elbow as I crashed onto a stick and ball (and found out later that I’d actually snapped the stick leaving part of it in the ball) and pain in my back as I landed on a ball. I, as I usually do when I injure myself, laughed heartily. Sorcha however, had no compulsion to do this and instead cried “Oh no! Not again! I worked so hard on this! This isn’t funny!” As I lay there in a heap of “crazy fort” goodness, the laughter quickly turned to anger and in a very mature fashion I said something along the lines “Thanks Sorcha! I’m in pain here and all you care about is that your fort is broken!” I untangled myself from the mess and went upstairs to sulk. Sorcha followed me up to the kitchen and apologized over and over again. (This actually made me feel worse instead of better. I mean, I was 8 once and I probably would have reacted the same way. Slap stick is usually lost on little girls especially when something they care about in involved.) She earnestly said that it was OK and asked if I could please help her build a new one? I told her to go down stairs and start it again and I would be down when I wasn’t upset any more.

After I assessed that my wounds weren’t life threatening, I trudged down to the basement and together we recreated the box like structure (complete with bed sheets for hours of fun!) that happily this morning is still standing. This time we built roof by standing outside the structure (“Learn from your mistakes” it says on the granite slab of parent wisdom) which worked much better. Half way through the rebuilding Sorcha said to me “Mummy! Thank-you so much for breaking my fort! This time I’m building it more carefully! It will be stronger now!” It was an odd compliment but a sincere and heartfelt one so I just took it in stride. I mean I truly feel I do the awesome things I do to create life lesson moments for those around me. And clearly, the life lesson here is “Sticks and balls will break my fall, and my Awesomeness will help my daughter build stronger forts.” Lucky girl.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Shaven...Not Stirred.

I am an AWESOME speller and by AWESOME, I mean TERRIBLE. I'm a big fan of dictionaries and of spell check. These handy tools alert me to grievous errors (sometimes) and help prevent potential embarrassment due to my lack of spelling savvy. What they don't do is stop me from typing too fast. When it comes to my blog entries and long pieces of writing I tend to carefully examine my work and correct all of my mistakes before I set it free for public scrutiny. I usually catch most of my spelling errors and most of my correctly spelled, but mistyped and therefore wrong, words. When it comes to typing a quick email however, I am less diligent in my checking and too often send out a hastily typed email riddled with spelling errors, grammatical errors or in the case of an email I sent to a friend of mine yesterday, a typo that had hilarious results. I'm not sure I'm being entirely clear...I had a horrible sleep last night and not even coffee has cleared the cobwebs. I'll give you an example of what I'm writing about that isn't something I did, but is still completely awesome. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless in case he'd prefer not have his name attached to his awesome event, after sending in a resume and cover letter to a particular company realized too late that he had written in the cover letter that he had "...a goo eye for detail." Wonderful! The spell check didn't catch the mistake because "goo" is correct and I find when you are proof reading your work quickly your brain will often fill in the correct spelling for you. You think you've spelled "good" so your brain will agree with you. OK, let's move on.

On January 2ND, and those of you who are Miramichiers will already know this so bare with me, a place called The Opera House burned down. It's tragic really because it was a very old building, and had a lot of history. It actually use to be an opera house and in later years was turned into a restaurant and night club. Many of the people I have befriended in the past few years grew up in Miramichi and have many tales of debauchery involving The Opera House. I however, only went there once for dinner, and as it was a quiet Thursday evening, did not partake in any party shenanigans. When I heard about the fire, I was sad for the loss of a very historical building AND because I had actually planned on going there for my birthday next month. I love dancing and haven't been in years and thought it was high time I experienced a night of painful regret at The Opera House. I sent an email to my friend Theresa telling her this and ended my paragraph of sadness with " Guess we'll have to find some where else to shake our groove thangs..." or at least that's what I thought I wrote...

Theresa sent me an email back later in the day that began with this sentence; "hahaaaaaaaaaa 'shave our groove thangs' that's incredible. I love it."'d typed SHAVE instead of SHAKE and that gave the sentence a whole new meaning. I was on the phone with my sister-in-law Tina when I discovered my awesome typo and I was laughing so hard I was crying. It really conjured up some beautiful imagery! There we all were, on the dance floor of The Opera House SHAVING our groove thangs! (Just to be clear I spelled thing THANG on purpose) It really gives the song "Shake your groove thang!" an interesting twist if you replace "shake" with "shave" don't you think? Tina asked me how I even managed to make such an error? OK, right now, I want you to look down at your keyboard and note where the "K" is and where the "V" is...they aren't even close to each other! I type as I learned in school (hands start on the "home row" and go from there) and therefore I type "K" with my right hand and "V" with my left! What was I thinking??? How did I manage an error this awesomeness?? A mystery for the ages to be sure. Whatever the answer, however you choose to solve the puzzle, the result of my hastily typed email still has me giggling when I think of it.

Now everyone, get out there "Shave, Rattle and Roll" where ever you feel the need to do so. No doubt it will have awesome results.

I remain,
as ever,
Cinfully Awesome.