And Nobody Lost an Eye…

Wiseguy and I are happy grandparents (who refuse to grow up).  We are lucky grandparents to five beautiful grandchildren.  None of them are into the double digit birthdays yet, so shopping for birthdays and Christmas can oftentimes be done in advance.  When I extricate myself from my humble home to go on a shopping spree, I will oftentimes pick up “future” gifts for the grandkids.  If I am in the midst of a clearance sale extravaganza I become quite a neanderthal; hunting and fishing for the best deals.  It was with grandchildren in mind that I purchased an interesting little toy that has left me with an indelible memory forever.

On this particular trek to the store, I ventured into the children’s area and found a toy on clearance called the Penguin Popper.  It looked kind of fun.  In my head I was already debating who would be the lucky recipient of this unique gift.  The eldest (a girl of 8 years) is more into the “tweening” phase of her life and is more likely to appreciate articles of clothing for her “American Girl” doll (or clothing for herself).  Then next in line would the 4 year olds; one boy, one girl.  Now, if I gave it to the boy, who is into wrestling and fake fighting, I  could see his excitement with the toy turning into devastation as one of the other kids would lose an eye.  How about the 4 year old girl?  Well, she does have great tomboy moments.  I could see her getting a kick out of it.  Then I thought, well her cousin (the 4 year old boy) would probably wish he had it (even though someone would lose and eye) and there would be sadness and loss of joy so I couldn’t bring myself to create that kind of drama in our lives.  So…no to both 4 year olds.  The last two were way too young for it.  A two year old and a one year old.  The toy’s packaging stated this as well:  Ages 4 +.  Hmmmm, what to do.  I expanded my search.

I thought about my niece’s kids.  Little dude of 8 months was waaaaay too young.  How about his big sister?  She would love something like this!  She is 3 1/2 years old.  Almost 4.  And she laughs hysterically when people get…injured.  Hmmm, like a mini ball in the eye from 20 paces would be hilarious.  My competent adult brain finally decided that this actually wasn’t such a great kid’s toy to introduce into our family.  I did the only plausible thing.

No I didn’t return it!   Remember the adults who refuse to grow up?  Well, I was so excited about my decision to keep said toy that I couldn’t wait to see Wiseguy’s face light up when he saw our new play thing.  I could picture us popping that ball out of the penguin’s mouth and having the kidlets go chasing after it to see who would get it first.  Then they could ALL take turns playing with it and no one would lose an eye and no one could keep it because it belonged at the grandparent’s house.  WIN WIN!  Right?

When I gave hubby the rundown on how we were now the proud owners of a Penguin Popper, he rolled his eyes in helpless defeat.  Not sure, but I believe (assume) these were the thoughts running around in his brain:

  • Not more junk!
  • Another toy?
  • Someone is going to lose an eye!

The comment that actually emerged was, “Waldo is going to steal the ball, choke on it, and die.”  (Note:  Waldo is our 10 year old super cute and fluffy thief dog.)IMG_3861

Well, I didn’t see that comment coming.  So, me being me, I had to prove that THIS was the coolest toy ever and he would be the most fun grandfather in the history of grandfathers!  Wiseguy turned and started to walk away.  I had to prove my point so I grasped the Penguin Popper in both hands, holding it directly in front of me, and I squeeeeeeezed his stomach.  (I’m assuming it’s a “him” Popper because there is no pretty bow on his head.  If it was a girl Popper they would’ve put a pretty bow.  Also, the inventors probably figured that girls wouldn’t do fun (vicious) things like this, but boys would and so the Penguin is definitely a boy.  Ahhhh, classic stereotyping at its best.)

Here is what happened after the stomach squeeeeeeeeze:

  • Loud POP! sound
  • My eyes opened wide, in a bit of disbelief actually, when I saw the velocity of this little once-inch ball catapult away from me
  • Wiseguy turned to me when he heard the POP!
  • The ball hit him on the side of the head
  • “Are you kidding me?!” emanated in an exasperated tone from my husband’s general direction
  • I laughed…hysterically!

I was in stitches!  I couldn’t breathe.  Tears were streaming out of the corner’s of my eyes.  I doubled-over to hold my stomach.  I couldn’t believe it actually hit him!  Oh, I had read the box while I stood in line to purchase the product.  It contained the usual words of warning:  “Never aim at anyone”.  It also said it could shoot up to 20 feet away.  Yeah, best case scenario maybe, I thought.  And yet, here I was in utter shock as the ball had ejected far, far away and NAILED Wiseguy!  My next thought was quite simple:  I’m dead.

Wiseguy was at my side in two strides (he has long legs and can cover 20 feet in two steps).  He confiscated the Penguin Popper from my hands.  I pivoted and ran.  I ran for my life.  I heard POP! and I turned around.

(Sidenote:  Why is it that when you hear a noise you look toward the direction of the sound instead of running away from it?)

Like a slow-motion movie I saw the ball (mini ball?  ball-ette?) wing by my head.  Wiseguy had missed.  Wiseguy NEVER misses!  He is Super Sportsman extraordinaire!

I am unsure why this next thing happened, but I believe it was from the confusion of NOT being hit.  I doubled over laughing uncontrollably….again.

POP!  Woooooosh!

He missed me…AGAIN!  Saint’s preserve us, I was lucky (or unlucky?).  Wiseguy then unceremoniously deposited the Penguin on the kitchen counter and meandered away.

My next thought:  Best day ever!  So many good things happened to me in that short amount of time:

  • I got a fun new toy since Wiseguy didn’t want it.  Mine…all mine!
  • I actually beat Wiseguy at a (non)sport
  • I laughed and laughed and laughed – my core muscles got quite the workout and all my tension of the day washed away

IMG_5673I am so grateful that I found this toy.  I am grateful that I decided to keep it.  I am grateful that I got to play with this toy.  I am grateful for the once in a lifetime experience I had using it.  I am grateful that Wiseguy finds this story as amusing as I do and doesn’t mind that I have shared this.  I am grateful that he isn’t really considering payback.  Right?  Right????!!!

 

EPILOGUE:  

Waldo got the ball.

He is still alive.

As of yet, nobody has lost an eye.

Sunny with a chance of…wishes?

Last month I walked out of the building I work at and thought it was snowing…in June!  Ok, snow in June might be likely in Nova Scotia, but definitely not something that happens in Ontario.  The weather was warm…way too warm for snow.  After my brain attempted to interpret what Mother Nature was up to now, I finally realized what was happening and couldn’t help but smile.

Remember the lovely fields of dandelions?  Those flamboyant yellow “weeds” that were covering all untended lawns?  Well, the transformation happened.  They went from the pretty yellow, bloomed flowers to the airborne plethora of wishes.  The sky was full of them.

 

I have a unique perspective on life.  I oftentimes see the world with a different lens than most others do.  I try to find the good in all around.  Sometimes it’s hard work as I need to really try and re-focus my thoughts.  We are taught and trained to think a certain way. It is through experience that we gain knowledge.  It is also how we learn to find our own uniqueness in this world of ours.  Just like the dandelions.

As children we are taught about the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan.  We are taught about creepy fuzzy caterpillars turning into beautiful butterflies.  So I say…why can’t the glorious bright yellow dandelion finally join the ranks of the transformed:  ugly to beautiful?  Then again, maybe they shouldn’t be part of that group.  In my opinion, they don’t really have an ugly phase.  We can learn a lot from the dandelion.

SELF-LOVE.  Dandelions don’t know they are “weeds” and are a scourge to be decimated.  They believe they are pretty and they stay nicely rooted and happily populate the world with other happy “flowers” of their kind.  So, be a dandelion.  Believe you are beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks.  Spread your happiness around.  Hang out with other happy people.

KEEP CHANGING.  The dandelion has the ability to reinvent itself.  It starts off nice and pretty and yellow.  It stays like that for quite a few days.  After it’s done sharing its sunny yellowness, the dandelion will dry up into a little round puff ball.  Not only that, but the puff ball is actually composed of seeds.  So, when that puff ball breaks apart, all the little seeds go parachuting to new areas and the circle of life begins again.  How absolutely fantastic is that?!  So, be a dandelion.  Don’t like what is happening in your life?  You can change it.  You have so many ideas about what you would like to do in your life and each idea is like a dandelion seed.  Plant those seeds and see what blooms.

HAVE FUN.  I like to believe that dandelions love when kids come and blow the dandelion seeds and chanting wishes as they do this.  There is something about watching that puffball fly through the air, riding the ribbon of wind that will carry it up to the final wish granter.  Be a dandelion.  Don’t take life too seriously and have some fun.  Do something silly.  Believe that wishes can come true.

YOU AFFECT THE FUTURE.  Dandelions…those wonderful yellow blossoms, become puffballs.  The original flower is gone, but from the seeds of that original flower become the beginnings of new flowers.  Be a dandelion.  Remember that you do affect future generations.  Everything you do on this earth will somehow affect this earthy world of ours.  You, though you do not feel very important, are magnanimous!  You are an incredible being and you do matter.  Your life is important and valuable and you do affect others.  It might be some small thing you do one day, but that seed will carry on and become the birth of another person, another idea, another thought.

After observing the whitened sky, I smiled.  It was a happy, contented, joyful smile.  Life is grand.  I know I’m a small piece in this puzzle of life, the size of a minute bug, but I know I’m vital in this world.  I also know that this world is an incredible place to be if we would just but take the time to look at our surroundings and appreciate all the incredible things that surround us.  Remember to look at the world with childlike wonder.  Remember what it was like when you saw these things for the first time.  Remember what it felt like when you used to make wishes on dandelion puff balls.  The magic lived in that “real” world then, and you can bring it back now.

So, all you green grass lovers and landscapers out there, I would like to invite you to join my world.  In my world, you can escape the minutia of the mundane plots of square manicured lawns.  You don’t need to pamper and water that greenery.  In my world, you can run through the bright yellow fields of dandelions.  And once they become seeded wonders, then race through that field again and watch the sky turn white as snow.  You can wish and wish and wish over and over again as you watch the puffs float freely and unencumbered toward the sky … a reminder that you should free yourself of unhappy thoughts and just let them float up far, far away from you.  When all you are left with are the happy thoughts, use those carefree, happy seeds to plant your new ideas and start growing this wonderful new life you are going to lead.

All I can say is…Be a Dandelion.

 

 

Best day ever!

Woo hoo!  Another year of being alive!  Now THAT’S something to celebrate.  Oh there are those out there who poo-poo their birthday.  They focus on the years of their life that were “wasted”.  They aren’t living their dream life.  They aren’t in the relationship they want.  They aren’t in a job they love.  Me?  I focus on the fact that I’m alive and mostly well.  As a friend of mine said, “I’m on the right side of the grass”.  So darn tootin’ it’s a fantastically, radically, amazing day!  BEST DAY EVER!

So, now that you’re substantially jealous of my incredible feat…living another year by default…what did I do on my BEST DAY EVER?  Seeing as this was my very last year of my 40s and I am careening into the mid-century of my life, I wanted to make it super extra special.  What does a birthday girl do to make her day extraordinarily spectacular?

  1.  Book day off work
  2. Be away from home

Not being at work meant no deadlines hence no stress.  Not being at home meant no cleaning or “home” work which also equaled no stress.  I am sure you were thinking I went all adventurous and did some skydiving or went for a surreal trip in a hot air balloon.  Or maybe woo-hooing as I went white water rafting or maybe zip-lining.  Yes, many things on my “want to do” list.  I don’t have a bucket list.  Buckets get holes in them. (Dear Liza.)  Nope, I kept it simple.

MOST IMPORTANT RULE:  Declare it your BEST DAY EVER!

Then…

Sleep in.  Absolutely lovely seeing the sun shine in through the curtains and gently awaken you.  You rouse from sleep thinking you are tardy for work and then BAM!  Wicked cool realization that it’s your Birthday and you booked the day off.  SWEET!  I declared it my HAPPY BIRTH DAY!  All about ME day.  Time for some FUN day!

BEST DAY EVER!

My birthday started off with a pinched nerve in my back.  My eyes popped open after my extended sleep.  I lifted my head to get out of bed and … OUCH!  I flopped over onto my side like a wounded seal.  I attempted to slide off the bed and to land on my feet.  Every move and every breath seemed to make the pinch worse.  I had the “dropsies” too.  I grabbed my sun dress and it slipped out of my hands, crumpling to the floor.  Good news was I did lots of squats since I couldn’t bend.  (Silver linings folks.  I’m always looking for ’em).  I managed to get dressed and decided that pinched nerve or no pinched nerve I was heading out and about.

I dropped into the driver’s seat.  Yes, dropped my butt into the bucket seat whilst holding onto the Oh Shit handle.   It was a scorching, hot 29 degrees (celsius) and did I mention that the air conditioning in my car did not work?  I drove for over an hour, with my underwear melting and my thighs stuck to my leather seats.  On the bright side I was soooo happy my car windows could roll down and BONUS:  a sun roof that I could open.  I was cruising with my hair whipping around my face.  Booyah!  Good times!  For a little while at least.

There was an accident on the highway as well as road construction on my regular route so I had to divert to city driving.  Slower speeds and lots of stopping at red lights.  Stopping meant no air circulating through my windows.  On a positive note I definitely got my Vitamin D for the day.  There was absolutely no snow in the forecast.  I wasn’t at work.  Happy trifecta!

BEST DAY EVER!

Finally got to my destination and was cheerfully greeted by a pig-tailed little 3 year-old darlin’ who wished me a happy birthday!

BEST DAY EVER!

“How old are you?” she inquired.  I told her I was four.  I left out the “9” part of the “49-year’s old”.  What do numbers really mean anyway?  She smiled happily so that meant it was a good age.  We sat.  We chatted.  We hugged.  We cuddled.

BEST DAY EVER!

Then we trekked to a kitchen supply store (besides makeup, kitchen supplies are my other crack).  I bought an aebleskiver pan.  Say what?  Yeah, new to me too.  The pan was too unique and too cool and too totally cast-iron so it was destined to be mine.

Check out these babies…can’t wait to surprise the fam with these goodies!

BEST DAY EVER!

Had chicken wings AND sushi for lunch.  Best of both worlds.  And a yummy, sticky, fresh baked DOUGHNUT for dessert.  My tastebuds sang hallelujah.   (My thighs screamed in horror.  Meh…can’t please everyone right?)  Then it was time to trek on home.

Traffic…swimmingly good.  No accidents or road construction or anything to divert me from my usual path.  Made it home in great time (while sweating off the calories I had inhaled).  Just in time to go out for more food.  Succulent ribs with a side of super hot fries for my screaming thighs (haha..great rhyme!)  Birthday treat was a colossal brownie, fresh from the oven, with some vanilla ice cream teetering on the top and slowly melting.  Oh glory be to all my gluttony (OMG…another rhyme…and after all this time!  Ok, my thoughts are getting loose with the ghost of Dr. Seuss).

And so it ended.  Another birth day celebration.  A day all about ME.  A day where all I wanted was to spend lots of time being happy and relishing everything in my life.  A day where I was wished a happy day from all:  the kids, grandkids, hubby, siblings, cousins, relatives, friends…oh and even my parents with a phone call from Europe.  All of them wishing that I have a wonderful day.  And do you know what?  Their wish came true because I had the BEST DAY EVER!

 

 

The little things…

I have learned a lot from Wiseguy about relationships.  In the past, relationships to me meant I had to give it my all and expect nothing in return.  It meant turning the other cheek or saying nothing, even if I was really upset because that was how you kept a relationship running…no issues, no problems and lots of denial.  Through thick and thin. For better or for worse.  Right?  Here are some lessons I learned.

BE YOURSELF:  Most people in relationships believe that they are being honest and truthful with themselves.  Have you ever given up doing things you like to do because the person whom you are dating doesn’t like it?  Maybe it’s the opposite.  Maybe you are starting to do you things you don’t like to do.  You pretend to like exercising or maybe you have become vegetarian because you think your partner will love you more since that is their preference.  The same holds true for you trying to change the person you are with.  Accept them for who they are.  Oh sure, people grow and change, but becoming a totally different person just to please someone else is not how to live a happy life.  Be happy with yourself and who you are.  If you love being the yappy, talkative person in the room, don’t become the quiet, shy person when in a relationship.  Be yourself.

SAY THANK YOU:  When you first start dating, you are always on your best behaviour.  You are also very polite and say please and thank you for every little thing.  That should not change once you have been together for awhile.  To this day, Wiseguy will thank me for any meal I have prepared.  Even if he doesn’t like it, he will thank me for making it (and then politely ask me to never ever make it again).  I used to tell him that he didn’t have to thank me.  He explained that since I made the effort, he should thank me.  The children were taught this as well.  Just because you are Mom or Dad or Spouse, it doesn’t mean that your work should not be acknowledged in a positive way.  Feeling appreciated makes for a happier home environment.  Thanks for getting the groceries.  Thanks for doing the laundry.  Thanks for driving us to the party.  Saying a meaningful “thanks” is always nice to hear.

SHOW APPRECIATION / GRATEFULNESS:  When you are dating someone, buying little gifts and tokens of love are usually the modus operandi.  After you have been together awhile the gift giving drops off and there is usually a daily routine that ensues.  Certain chores are done by certain individuals.  One person will do the cooking and one person will do the laundry.  Someone will load the dishwasher and empty it.  One will mow the lawn and / or shovel the snow (welcome to Canadian looooooooong winters).  Indoor chores and outdoor tasks need to be completed.  Now, when your life gets topsy turvy and your usual division of labour leaves you overwhelmed, it’s nice when that 50/50 split can become 70/30 without anyone griping about the sudden amount of work they have to do around the place.  Yes, I am thinking of a specific example.  I am the dishwasher loader/emptier and I am also the garbage-taker-outer.  This week I had some additional errands to take care of and was exhausted just thinking about completing my at-home tasks.  To my supreme delight I arrived home to find the waste and recycling by the curb, the dishwasher emptied, and the dishes put away.  OH JOY!  Yes, it is THAT simple to show appreciation.  Wiseguy appreciated the fact that my life was a bit more hectic this week and I was grateful that he did this without my asking him.

COMMUNCATION:  This is THE most important lesson I have learned.  I would oftentimes assume that Wiseguy knew what I was thinking.  More often than not, I would get angry with him about things that he had no clue I had even thought about.  Not fair.  Even worse, I learned the “silent treatment” from the master…my mother.  Not a word spoken, while I slammed doors to make sure he knew I was upset.  It would be up to him to figure out why I was upset.  Adults tantrums are not pretty.  As adults we have a vocabulary to be able to communicate what is on our minds.  We are not mind readers.  We cannot assume that other people know what we are thinking.  So, if something is bothering you, take the time to talk about it.  Those who do not communicate are the ones who let each little angry moment start a pyramid of disaster.  Brick by brick it builds as you hold every bothersome incident inside and then suddenly CRASH!  One little thing will have the whole pyramid of anger cascading down.  Hurtful things will be said as you dig deep into your memory for past trangressions that the other person had no idea had been bothering you.  Let it out.  Talk it out.

Relationships are give and take.  Relationships involve work.  You are two people who used to live your own way, with your own rules and who now live together while trying to figure out whose rules would be the best to incorporate as a couple.  Start off with these four simple rules and you’ll see how much easier this transition can be.  More often than not, it’s the little things that can make it or break it.

Who’s the genius now?

I am a smart woman.  I have lived almost a half century and there is much wisdom stored in my grey matter.  Truly, I am a competent adult.  I function well in society with knowledge gained through schooling and book learning.  I have experienced many things in everyday life that have led me to believe that I am a bright individual; resourceful even.  So, why is it that when I try to figure out stuff on my iPhone my brain cells seem to pack up and go on permanent vacation.  Why is this so hard?

I never liked computers, rather, I never understood computers and hence my dislike of them.  Right from the good ol’ PET Computer and my inability to do any kind of sophisticated programming…or any kind of programming for that matter.  Sure, I use a computer now.  I am typing on one as we speak.  However, there are many things I am sure it can do besides letting me click, click, click on its keyboard.  I tell myself, “It’s a learning process.”  I tell myself, “I can always Google it.”  Oh yes, even dear Google can’t educate me on the basics on these newfangled programs.  There were signs telling me that I was slowly losing my “hip” persona on the ways of the world.  Old lady brain was just around the corner.

I realized my technological brain was fizzling when I couldn’t figure out the TV and cable remotes.  So many buttons to try to turn on one screen.  I had finally mastered that high-techiness (new dictionary word) when Wiseguy presented his fantastic new projection screen TV!  Gulp.  Was that another remote?  No wait…two remotes?  Did I see a third one?  After installing everything, including surround sound speakers, my wonderful husband scurried off to work and jealously left me to play with our new toy.  After managing to scare myself half to death (and deaf) with surround sound static from my “Poltergeist” TV screen, I hit every OFF button on every remote and proceeded to read a book.  So much for my introduction to technology and being a modern woman.

Now, when it came to the most profound new technology of my generation, I would say the cell phone.  Music lovers would probably say the Sony Walkman, but I was a bookworm so my vote was for the cell phone.  I had pined for it, begged for it, and finally got it.  This was actually not too complicated.  It reminded me of my high school calculator.  I remember using numbers to spell words.  We were so cool (lame…in 80’s speak).  I learned how to program phone numbers.  I could now call people while I was away from home!  Coolest device ever…until the phone’s battery died on me.  Besides not having an active phone I also realized my inability to recall phone numbers.  After that I made sure to memorize at least two numbers in case of emergencies.  Smart right?  Not as smart as the creative minds out there expounding their computer geniusness (new dictionary word) on the world.

Technology grew in leaps and bounds.  Suddenly simple things became super complicated things.  Most horrifically, the flip cell phones transmogrified into a … AHHHHHHH … A COMPUTER!  The thing I could never understand!  These TV-screen-typewriters that used to sit on a desk were now in people’s pockets!  When the kids showed me what they could do I was stunned.  Literally, dumbfounded.  My jaw dropped.  I couldn’t believe that this “phone” could take pictures and show videos and play music and provide instant information!  No more need to store information in your brain.  All you had to do was “Google” for the answer.  (Yeah…first time I heard THAT word I needed a kid to ‘splain to me what a “Google” was).  I was happy living in my flip phone world until that universe expired.

My phone battery died yet again so I went to get a new battery for my exquisitely ancient (7 year old) flip phone.  To my horror I was informed that my phone was obsolete which meant its battery was also extinct.  **funeral dirge**  There were other antique (5 year old) phone styles I could pick from, but Death of a Battery was not something I wanted to relieve again and again.  It was time to move into the future.  I bought an iPhone 4.

The very first thing I did was open the box and survey the instructions.   Then I promptly made sure all the kids would be home for a fancy dinner.  After our fancy dinner I would have them program my phone, show me some of the basics, and ply them with educated questions.  Three hours later I had numbers programmed and had learned how to turn my phone off and on.  I had managed to take fantastic pictures…of my thumb.  With the basics memorized, I followed up with my usual modus operandi…trial and error (mostly error).  I have learned lots via this intense and elaborate technique.  There is no real manual for using this computer…ahem… “smart” phone.  I rely on overhearing conversations, or watching others do stuff and then follow up with the excited “how did you do that?”

I’m on the iPhone 6 now.  I wait for the grandkids to show up for the fancy dinner.  They show me stuff on YouTube and how to download stuff.  Yeah…they’re smart.  Technologically smart.  They know how to use TV remotes too.

But just wait…my time is coming.  One day they will come over for the perfunctory fancy dinner and I will show THEM something they have never seen before.  I can write cursive.  Hah!  Who’s the genius now?

IMG_4729

The Adventure of the Special Cold-Pressed, Exotically Flavoured, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I don’t know how these things happen.  Well, maybe I do.  I am talking about what occurred this past weekend.  I can’t believe it happened again.   Hmmm, actually, I can.  I LOVE TO SHOP!  The worst part is now I have Wiseguy accompanying me on my superfluous treks to the world of eternal shopping damnation.  Is it good to be bad?  Well, let’s analyze this shall we?

This past weekend I had the most difficult decision to make.  It really was a challenge and I thought long and hard about it.  Should I stay home and vacuum, dust, mop, wash bedding, prep my meals for the week, or should I walk away, closing the door to my eternal list of chores, and head out to the far away mall to spend coinage that I should not be spending?  After a heart wrenching debate, I came to the conclusion that life is short and the winter clearance deals won’t be around for long.  Besides, I was in need of my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil and the mall was mere minutes away so best to leave my spring cleaning for when spring arrives in a couple of weeks.  Sometimes it is best to put off until later what you planned on doing today.  Yes, I have a very unique brain function.  So…off to the mall it was!

Wiseguy, not working that day, actually decided to accompany me.  Shock!  Surprise!  (Actually I think this was in the hopes of averting a major shopping spree and bags of blessed goodies to be added to the overstuffed closets at our humble abode.  There we were at 9:30 a.m. pumped up and ready for our trek.  We got to the mall and found the parking lot quite empty.  Beautiful!  Nice close parking so that when we ambled back to the car on tired feet, knees, hips, we wouldn’t have far to venture.  BEEP BEEP!  Car locked and off we went!

As I have professed before, shopping is not just about acquisition.  It’s not just about the bargain hunt.  There are actually many benefits to a day of shopping.

HEALTH BENEFITS:  You spend that day wandering from store to store.  That’s walking.  Walking for three hours is a good work out.  The particular mall we went to was actually a series of connected stores, but to get into each store you had to go outside.  So, we got to be in the great outdoors AND breathe the nice cool winter air as well.  The biggest workout was trying on jeans. That’s a pretzel challenge in itself!  The mobility you need to climb in out of denim while keeping your balance works your core muscles.  Quite the workout.

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING:  After climbing in and out of a variety of clothes you realize that if you just ate more fruit and vegetables and less chips and pizza you could probably pull on those jeans without having to lie down on the bed to make yourself lanky as a piece of cooked spaghetti.  While you’re at it…throw in some exercise!  Nice shapely muscles would look wonderful in those sleeveless tops you just purchased.

SELF-APPRECIATION/LOVE a.k.a. SELF-ESTEEM:  Then again why think about diet and exercise when you know you are a remarkably beautiful person!  You don’t need to lose weight.  You are perfect the way you are.  Nice little love handles and a pudgy little belly are awesome for hugging.  Nice and soft and cuddly.  So, forgo the clothes and shop enthusiastically for shoes.  Shoes are safe.  Whether your body is pleasantly plump or wispily thin, your body size doesn’t matter, but your footsies will feel so spoiled and you will look MAAAARVELOUS!

ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES:  Out of school?  Well, never stop learning as your shopping excursion will lead you to become a student of anthropology.  With enough treks to the malls of the world, you could technically become an expert people watcher and understander (yup, my new word for my very own dictionary) of the ways of humankind’s behaviour.  

DISCOVERER:   Consider yourself to be like Christopher Columbus or Leif Erikson on a journey to discover new worlds…shopping worlds, that is.  New retail outlets are popping up all the time.  Perhaps it will be a gizmo/gadget store.  Kitchen supplies, hunting regalia, artisan foods, new inventions, the [shopping] world is your oyster!  Imagine how popular you will be with friends and family when you tell them about the 70% off sales!  You will become the most knowledgeable and reliable go-to person for anything that people might be in need of.  You will become, not only a famous explorer, but a hero as well.

UP TO DATE WITH COMMUNITY EVENTS:  With all the driving you will be doing, you will be “in the know” of what’s going on in your neighbourhood and other cities too.  You will see the signs for road closures and upcoming construction.  You will see high-rise condos being built and new houses springing up where there was just sparse land a few weeks ago.  Houses for sale, garage sales, grand openings…you will see it all and share this vital information.  You will be the divine Knower AND Seer .

RESTAURANT REVIEWER:  After an arduous day of trekking around from store to store you will have worked up an appetite.  Why not have a nibble at a nearby restaurant or café where you have never been before?  Adventure and full belly all in one shot!

So, as you can see, there are many virtuous reasons for my locking up the house and venturing out into the Shopping-sphere.  It’s educational, full of health benefits, wisdom building, adventure seeking, jolly good fun!

We return now to MY…ahem…OUR excursion to THE outlet mall.  Wiseguy’s hopes of a few simple items were dashed quite quickly (and painfully).  The hop, skip, and a jump for deliciously special olive oil and a pair of gym-worthy running shoes became the WINTER CLEARANCE EXTRAVAGANZA OF 2018!

Oh, I forgot to mention the mental marathon of all the math that is done while shopping. For example, check our these mathematical tabulations:

  • 3.5 hours of meandering from store to store.
  • 4.81 miles (7.741 km) of distance covered
  • 1001 calories burned walking and 800 calories burned trying on jeans
  • 6 billion calories after eating pizza / wings / bread at the local authentic Italian restaurant
  • Infinity smiles after a super successful day of purchasing really neat-o stuff
  • Overload – what your brain does when trying to calculate how much you ACTUALLY spent after all of your 70% off savings.  Yikes!

FINAL COUNT:  4 blouses, 3 dresses, 1 pair skinny jeans, 2 sweaters, 2 slinky spaghetti strap tops, 1 pair running shoes for gym, 1 pair high heeled peep toe shoes, 3 different flavoured herbal teas, gym clothing gear and for Wiseguy 6 Shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair Wiseguy-size (14) comfy running shoes.  One fantastically yummy lunch at Café Amoré with my handsome man.

GRAND TOTAL:  Happy wife = happy life

EPILOGUE:   Almost, but not forgotten, I did get my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil  

Pass Me a Cookie…

My life has been in a happy sort of upheaval the past few months.  I have mentioned that we have been slowly renovating our home.  The ugly walls have been smoothed and newly painted.  We have new elegant stairs and sturdy railings going both upstairs and downstairs.  We recently finished our main entrance as well.  Now, this isn’t a tale about renovations.  This little story is about the joys of unpacking things that were packed away during these renovations.  It’s about rediscovering and enjoying the simple things in life.

A long, long time ago when Wiseguy and I first got together, we were poor.  We managed to find a one bedroom apartment in an old part of town.  We had no furniture.  Well, we did buy a bed to sleep on.  Other than that, we were lucky to be gifted other pieces to fill our empty space.  An old motel tv that had a broken colour tube.  An old round banquet table.  Also a gift.  It was either donate it to us or bring it to the dump so we were lucky to win out there.  The kids slept on fold out sponge mattresses.  Well, you get the idea.  We were moneyless, but we were not short on love and enjoying the life we had together.  As time passed and our careers improved, our financial standing improved as well.  Life became more interesting.

One of the first things Wiseguy splurge purchased was a surround sound system.  We might not have had the best furniture, but when we watched our rented movies it was a theatre type experience.  Amazing!  We bought our first barbecue.  What a joy to have juicy, grilled chicken.  So much better than any of my attempts at cooking (burning) any kind of food.  A good coffee maker was added to our belongings.  A really nice 55″ colour tv.  Yes, we started accumulating the coveted things in life.  We also got to move out of our one bedroom apartment and into a semi-detached home.  This little splurge came with a finished basement and a lovely small pool in the backyard.  We were living the dream!

We are still living the dream.  We moved from that house into a detached home.  It contains seven bedrooms, which we needed to house three children, an elder parent, and a very elderly grandparent.  Years passed and the rooms began to empty as children moved out and the elders left this earthly domain.  Our accumulation of coveted things also grew.  Kitchen gizmos and gadgets?  I am the Queen of that realm.  You really notice the “things” you have when you need to pack them away.  With our impending home renovations there were many “things” that were carefully packed away to be revealed again once the construction was complete.  One of these items was a surprise gift that Wiseguy came home with one day.

Six years ago he came home with an authentic, Made in Italy, Espresso maker!  Mama Mia!  This was not the push-a-button-ta-da kind of espresso machine.

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There was coffee to grind and milk to froth.  There was a learning process and lots of noise and steam and….SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!  I had to make THE perfect cup of espresso and cappuccino and latte.  I couldn’t wait to use it!  I would come home at lunch and make lattes for me and my father-in-law .  It was a ritual!  It was something I looked forward to everyday.  Eventually, that tradition changed.

FIL couldn’t handle the strong coffee anymore.  I gave up coffee altogether and switched to tea drinking.  Home renovations led the magic coffee machine to a new home in a cardboard box to wait out the dust and dirt taking over our home.  Time passed.

Our kitchen renovation was complete and we unpacked the shiny espresso machine.  It sat on one counter.  Too overwhelming.  It was moved to another counter, but with a toaster oven and blender and drip coffee maker, our special coffee procurer was not fitting in with our daily living habits.  The espresso maker went back into hiding.

Our living room and dining room were the next rooms to get redone.  The living room furniture was moved out and a large harvest table was moved in with seating for twelve; room to dine with children and the newly added grandchildren.  The dining room became a nice small sitting room.  Two comfy lounge chairs were added so that Wiseguy and I could have a small nook to relax in.  A beautiful wood sideboard was added to the room and it created a calming rustic feel.  A space was made at the end of the sideboard for the shiny espresso maker.  I learned to drink coffee again just to be able to use this gift of ours.  I was ready!

I created a new Saturday ritual for myself.  After grocery shopping and house cleaning, I would make myself a latte, grab a biscotti, curl up in my lounge chair and just relax.  Since I enjoyed this ritual so much, I elevated it to a nightly after dinner ritual too.  I would sit in my chair, dunk my cookie..ahem..biscotti and just smile.  Life is good.  My home is a happy place.  My life is incredible.  So imagine my dismay when my trusty machine started spurting water out of places it should not.  Why?  Why was it doing this?

It was off to repair shop for diagnostic testing.  It would be at least a week before we could have it back and that was only if there was nothing majorly wrong with it.  Day one after drop off and the withdrawal hit.

The first evening after my new coffee companion was in absentia, I was fine.  Sort of.  Not really.  I missed having my relaxing cup of java with the glorious white foam topping.  I missed dunking my crunchy cookie…ahem…biscotti.  I missed curling up in my lounge chair.  It wasn’t the caffeine I was missing.  I was missing the serene end to my day and my “happy life” thoughts I would have while munching my coffee-drenched cookie and drinking my foamy caffeinated beverage.

Day two.  It got worse.  I actually grabbed one of the Keurig cappuccino cups. It produced a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee, but it wasn’t the same.  No big head of white foam.  No manipulating the steamer rod to get the perfect steamed milk.  The java itself was too sweet, yet, I had a cup every night and sat wistfully hoping that my lounge partner would be back soon.  The days went by and Thursday arrived.  Would it be repaired and returned to my humble abode?

I arrived home from work and nervously opened the front door.  I removed my boots and coat (March and still winter in Canada), and trotted up the stairs.  I stole a sideways glance into our sitting and room and my eyes fell upon a glorious site.  The sun was beaming through the window and sparkling off the highly glossed stainless steel of my metal sitting room companion.  IT was back.  Sitting there splendiferously is all its shining glory!  Huzzah!

Life is grand.  Pass me a cookie…ahem…biscotti.

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