Body Butter Blues.

And, Lo, He Has Shopped:

E: I went to see if I could get my mom some of those bath bead things she loves and nobody sells them anymore! I went to Escents and they had some nice stuff but it was all really heavy stuff and would cost a million dollars to ship. And there’s only all those big ones that fizz. So then I went to Body Shop, but they don’t have any bead things. Plus all their baskets had body butter. You can’t get your mom something that says ‘body butter’. That’s just gross. She’ll think…Uurgh, I don’t want to think about it. I’m having a beer. I’ll be home soon.

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, but I don’t know of any place that sells bath beads anymore.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours.

So I got to play translator today. Bo Soon’s elderly neighbour had called him about something, and he said it sounded urgent, although he had no idea what it was about. He worries about this woman, who lives alone, whose health isn’t great.

We went next door. The ‘thirties bungalow had had a makeover sometime in the sixties, and had atrophied there. So had its owner, Betty. She opened the door resplendent in a kelly-green polyester pantsuit, ultrawhite crocheted polyester cardigan, and carefully coiffed hair, and led us into a living room so ultra-retro it was disorienting.

It turns out, Betty was worried about the precarious angle of the stone fence adjacent to Bo Soon’s property. Well, that was the gist of it, but it took longer for her to tell, as she recounted the saga of the wall, what her brother said, what her son said, and what she thought about it. The whole thing took about fifteen minutes of her monologuing, Bo Soon nodding in complete lack of comprehension, and me saying, ‘Well, yes’ when I could get a word in.

This is one lonely woman. She would probably be happier in an assisted living place, where she could see more people and have more conversation. But she is also proud of her independence, and I think that’s also valuable. At first, when she was telling us the long story of the wall, I was thinking, “Get on with it, Lady,” but then I thought, “How important is my life that I can’t stop and listen to her for a while?”

When we got back to Bo Soon’s place, he turned to me and asked, “Is it even my wall?”

We don’t even know if it is. There’s mistranslation on so many levels here. Bo Soon’s wondering if it’s a cultural thing, some tic he hasn’t pickied up about Canada, where you just go onto your neighbour’s property and fix things.

There’s the age thing. Betty looks like she’s pushing eighty, and is going a little batty alone in that house. She could very well expect him to fix the fence, since it is beside his property, if not on it.

Then on top of those, There’s the language thing. Talking (and listening) on the phone is really hard for people just learning English. When Betty called to talk to him, Bo Soon admitted to me afterwards, he thought she was saying ‘war’, not ‘wall’. No wonder he was confused.

Fabulous Party.

Last night, we went to a party thrown by one of E’s guitar students. We approached the gorgeously remodeled house, E with a six-pack of Stella, me with a bottle of wine.

When Wayne opened the door and ushered us in, I felt like we’d gone to the wrong house. The first thing I did was trip over someone’s Prada purse they’d left negligently in the foyer. Then someone handed E a glass of eighteen-year-old scotch. We are both uncomfortable in groups of strangers, and money makes me nervous as well. We stood as though paralyzed until Wayne’s wife invited us to look over the house.

The house is spectacular, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’s all multi-level and cream coloured. Skylights abound. There is a rooftop deck that overlooks the city. Kitchen: Granite countertops? Check. Brushed stainless-steel appliances? Check. Chef-size range with an oven that could fit two turkeys? Check. I was gobsmacked. The bathroom had Moen fixtures and a custom paint job. The leather sofas in the music room (Baby grand, four guitars, drum kit) are worth more than everything I own. They sure didn’t come from Ikea.

The house inspection couldn’t last all ngiht, so I decided to slug back some wine and make conversation with the multitude of parents in the house. Yes, that’s right. I think E and I were the only kidless ones. And the only ones who weren’t absolutely swimming in money. I talked to a woman about whether the local Catholic school was giving her child the best prechool early start. I commiserated with some guy (Hugo Boss sweater) over the problems of owning a time-share in Cancun and how difficult it was to travel there with kids. I commented intelligently on someone’s acquisition of property on Thormanby Island( a cool three mil). I was proud of myself. I was passing myself off as one of them!

A roast dinner and some more wine later, E was jamming in the music room on one of Wayne’s expensive guitars. Wayne was on the piano and a fat guy in khakis was on drums. I was making small talk with a woman in a Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress and Balenciaga (I think) boots, who’d just quit her job in order to let her husband support her, when the chief of police walked in. Yeah, he’s one of Wayne’s neighbours.

At this point I was feeling comfortable enough that I wanted to talk to him about Vancouver’s homeless situation, but he was cornered by a guy in a rumpled Armani jacket who was allegedly a high-powered defense lawyer, so I didn’t get to talk to the chief of police. Too bad.

So, I guess I can either masquerade as one of the Entitled People, or else they are too polite to point out that I’m not one of them. Either one is fine by me.


So I get in from work and there’s a message on the machine:

“It’s The Dad. Dinner with your brother on Wednesday.”

My brain: What? Bo will be in town? Was someone supposed to tell me this? Hey, I work Wednesday until 9. I don’t do dinner. Don’t they know this? Okay, I’l cancel my tutoring gig. That will be okay, right? Right?

And Dad has gone out so I can’t call him and ask him about it. I even called Bo in Philly, but he’s not picking up, either.

Sometimes I wish I had a family that could communicate.

No Shark Repellent?!

So, since my father is going to Hawaii on the 27th, I thought I would get him Hawaii-based presents, like a novel set in Hawaii, and shark repellent. But WTF? They don’t sell it in Vancouver. And they laughed at me at the dive shop when I asked for it.


Farts and Giggles.

Okay, sometimes my job is just totally worth it.

I had a little guy in the class today. He’s six. And I don’t know what he had for lunch, but he was Mister Fartypants. They didn’t even smell as far as I could detect, they just made a kind of bliat noise, like he was sitting on a small, protesting sheep or something.

And every time he farted, he would giggle.  Not an embarassed giggle, but a totally ‘That is funny, didja hear that?’ kind of way.

I kept a straight face. Barely.

Too Many Eggs.

So a nice man comes to my house every week and delivers a dozen free-range eggs. He came to my mother’s house. His father came to my grandmother’s house. My family have a long history with The Egg Men.

But there are only two of us in this family. It’s hard to use a dozen eggs a week.

We try, but there are only so many mornings when we have time for eggs for breakfast.
I have been making popovers galore (lots of eggs, snacky, we devour them), but popovers don’t keep that well, and are slightly defeated-looking the day after they are made.

We love the bread products over here Chez MonkeyPants, but I have not tried challah or brioche yet. Any egg breads out there that are not scary/do not involve braiding?
I want to try quiche, but am intimidated.

One thing I have thought of, as we approach Christmas, is just do a mighty vat of nog once a week, get bombed, and get over it. But this may not be the best use of eggs all the time.

Egg ideas much appreciated.

Hey! That Quiz Stole My Blogroll!

So I deleted it.

I knew I was smart anyhow.

Holiday Mood Disorder.

Okay, so it turned December 1st and then I was crying at stupid things. Not sad crying, emotional That’s-So-Sweet crying. I can’t blame PMS, because that was last week, but so far this month I have cried at:

The monkeys in the Telus commercials

The Nintendo or Xbox or whatever game console ad I saw in the theatre last night

The bird on ‘Men In Trees’

The cat sleeping on the bed

A puppy learning to walk in the snow

Now, I’m beginning to think that there’s something wrong with me. I blame Holiday Mood Disorder, which I just made up. I have a theory, too.

It happens because multinational conglomerates have crop-dusted major metropolitan centres with Holiday Mood hormones, which make people so emotional over the holidays they are willing to abandon their Christmas budgets and spend, like, $50 on the mail carrier guy, because they just love him so much and everything. Actual loved ones can expect to get Louis Vuitton luggage sets or perhaps a new Mercedes. If everyone goes massively over budget, there will be more money pumped into the economy at a time when we really need it.

Think about it. I’m pretty sure I’m onto something here. Although sending Holiday Mood hormones into the atmosphere in major cities of North America (Don’t know about Europe, yet. I’ll have to ask) is a major expense, what with atomizers and renting planes and stuff, the rewards are well worth it. MasterCard and Visa can expect multi-billion dollar spikes in stuff charged to their companies, and, of course, will be accruing the reaped interest for a long time to come.

The funny thing is, I don’t really love Christmas that much. It’s a pressureized time where we are expected to feel goodwill towards our fellow humans, and I don’t like most of them much at the best of times. Perhaps this is why my Holiday Mood Disorder manifests around animals and Xbox geeks?

If you need to talk to me, I’ll be right here, crying at pictures of kittens.

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