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Goodbye Gumby

I prayed it was a sick, twisted joke perpetuated on Facebook. I didn’t want the rumours to be true. I would have accepted crying all these tears for nothing, lying awake, feeling grief. If only it hadn’t been true.

My daughter’s friend and soccer teammate passed away on the weekend due to an alcohol related incident. The messages were sketchy at first – text messages were passed along among friends, leading to emails, then phone calls – and the details of what happened are still vague. It appears that ‘S’ was drinking at a party on the weekend and passed out, later choking on her own vomit.

When I heard the news I couldn’t help picturing S’s Mother’s face first. I can’t imagine what this has done to her…I don’t want to think about it too hard. To wear her shoes would be impossible at this point. She must feel destroyed.

We called S “Gumby” because, when she played soccer, she seemed to be able to contort her limbs in defiance of both physics and gravity. She could be four feet to the right of where the ball was going to land, but she would manage to stretch her body over to that space and beat her opponent to the play, all the while still running at full speed. She was the most amazing soccer player I’d ever seen, whether she was playing forward or defense or even goalie. Our Gumby was a force! All of this AND she was a great sideline player, cracking jokes and laughing and cheering on her teammates while enjoying a water break.

These teenagers of ours, they are so full of light. They are SO FULL OF LIGHT! Contrary to popular belief they are not the morose, slacker, stereotyped beings we see on TV and in movies. I don’t claim to know this about all teens, but of the ones that I do know? I see this in all of them. They are full of ambition. They are incredibly social. They are good. It’s just that at this age (16-17) teens are stuck between the dependence they still have on their parents and families and the need for independence that’s pulling them out into the “real world”. They are still learning and it’s that pull that sometimes causes them to make mistakes. We just have to hope that most of these mistakes they make will cause minimal damage, because the way this went down is not the way I ever wanted my kids to learn a lesson.

Please do me a favour and hug your teenagers today. Hug them and tell them you love them, even if they squirm and complain. Let them know. I have hugged my Ashley so much this week. We have talked and remembered and cried.

Please also remember that teens WILL drink. They just will. Whether they continue to drink a lot is up in the air, but most every one of them will try it. So, while you’re talking to them about alcohol, while you’re reminding them that you don’t want them to drink, tell them about other dangers besides drinking and driving or public recklessness. Remind them to always lookout for their friends at parties. Heck, how about looking out for all other humans who are drinking? Tell them that someone who is passed out is not sleeping. Loss of conciousness should always be taken seriously and paramedics should be called immediately. They’re going to try new things, but maybe we can help to keep them safe in the process.

Rest in peace Beautiful and Talented S.


Does this happen at your house, too?

The remote for the TV in our Living Room has been missing since suppertime. Every couch cushion has been flipped and every chair searched under. I’ve investigated the bathrooms and the closets and I’ve even looked out on the back deck.

The TV has stayed off for this many hours because, while I’m willing to crawl around on my hands and knees looking for a little black rectangle of plastic, I’m certainly not going to be caught standing in front of the television changing channels and adjusting the volume MANUALLY like some lowly peasant from 1981. I’m also not in agreement with simply watching the television in the basement, because it is all the way down there and I am currently all the way up here.

So, tonight I’m noticing that there are other things to do rather than watching the goggle box. Did you know that people actually walk their dogs in an evening and that it’s still light out around here well after 8 o’clock? And that one can actually clean or blog or read a book, instead of watching reruns on the Home and Garden Channel (Location Location Location is my favourite)?

True story.

The Happening wasn’t (happening, that is)

Dear M. Night Shamalamadingdong:

CHEESE AND CRACKERS boy, did you actually receive real cash money for making this piece of tripe? Really? Really, truly? Really, truly, sincerely? Well then, I would like to request that you to send me mine back.

I want my money back for the movie tickets. I want the $1.45/litre gas money I spent to get there. I want the funds returned for the 5000% marked-up popcorn and cokes I bought at the concession and the $1.59 Twizzlers purchased earlier in the day at Safeway and concealed in my handbag. I want to be paid for the time I wasted sitting and watching this monstrosity (I’ll settle for minimum wage, as no experience was necessary to watch this movie – gawd, did one even need to own the skill of breathing to fill the position? Shall we say $8.50 an hour?)

Say, M. Night? Why don’t you just send me your billing address, then I’ll just go about forwarding all of the expenses as they come along (ie: my therapist, my masseuse, my esthetician, my priest and my neighbour’s dog who I spoke to in an unkind way after bringing all of that disappointment home from the theatre…poor Rover’s gonna need therapy now, too).

Hey M? Can I call you M, because M. Night is so many letters to type. Hey M? You know what I really wanted the most? I WANTED MY FRICKING TWIST ENDING YOU DOUCHE! I could have totally stomached the bad acting and the terrible script and the swiss cheese plotline if only you had provided me with a classic M. Night Shamalamadingdong ala Sixth Sense, Signs and The Village twist ending. I racked my brain for the entire movie wondering how you were going to fool us at the end. At every overexageratted line (think: “Don’t you take her hand unless you mean it!”), I would think that’s going to have something to do with the twist ending. Alas, you left us hanging.

Send me my money.

Yours truly,

P.S. Hey, M. I think I know now why the trees were angry and were taking things out on the humans. It’s because their tree buddies were being cut down and made into paper upon which money was printed and then spent at theatres to watch your movie, by unsuspecting idiots like me.


Reviews I wish I’d taken the time to track down before I went to this movie last night can be found:


…and here

…aaaaand another one

…and littered all over the damned internet.


I’m loathe to ask. Did anyone else catch this flick?


Andie and 3 million of her closest friends (okay, it’s really ten, but they sure do scream like there are a lot more present) are celebrating her birthday in our pool right now. My freshly minted twelve year-old just asked me to take my laptop in the house, so they could tell secrets IN PRIVATE.

I told her no. Beisdes the fact that I’m the adult in charge of fishing them out of the water if I observe them floating face down for more than ten minutes, I’m actually listening to everything they’re saying and publishing it for all to read on the internet.

Actually I would, if anyone was at all interested in hearing who thinks Jacob is a fox, who knows all the words to that Nelly Fertado song or who just farted in my pool.

Psst! Can I tell you a secret?

Do you promise not to tell the Government? Okay, they probably know already, seeing as….

It’s May 20th and I haven’t filed our taxes yet. Eeep! I said it. I’m twenty days past the deadline. I keep looking at the UFile disk on my desk, every night and every weekend, and willing it to just file my taxes for me.

The horrible thing is that it would probably take me about an hour to plug in the numbers from our T4’s, answer a few questions and hit the File Send button. I already have all the documents I need in one pile next to my laptop. What the hell is wrong with me? This is weighing on my shoulders like a ton of bricks and I’m still making excuses in my head like how I should put it off for tonight because I’m so tired and my boss yelled at me today, so maybe I should instead just rearrange the odd sock basket in the laundry room and have a stiff drink and call today a success.

How timely that I should read this excellent book review on The Simple Dollar today. Maybe I should go buy a book tonight. Or simply re-read some of those tips and get started on healing my disease.

Maybe I should finally file those damned taxes.

…that sock basket is incredibly compelling though.

A Tail of Woe

This is my cat, Pizza Maria. I just interrupted her 34th nap of the day to take this picture. She was especially pleased with the blinding flash…as you can see.

This is a piece of my cat’s tail. Notice how it’s no longer attached to my cat. This is the fault of both me and my youngest child. Wait! Don’t call PETA or the SPCA yet. Let me explain.

When we first moved into this house, the cat was extremely freaked out by her new surroundings. She spent the first night cowering in the space created by leaning a table against the bar in the basement. The next day, when we moved the table up to the kitchen, she sought solace underneath the built-in benches in the rec room. These benches are totally retro seventies. They’re made of brick, they’re hollow and they have removable wooden seats covered with cushioning and finished off with the finest pleather money could buy in the age of disco. On that second day in our new house, while trying to coax our frightened kitty out of her hiding place (to use the litter box already….because oh my god cat, how long can you hold it?!), Adam lifted one of the heavy wooden, pleather lids and it fell in on itself landing right on the end of Pizza’s tail. A number of events happened from this point:

  • The cat screamed, Adam screamed, I screamed
  • The cat bolted up the stairs, trailing blood all over the beige carpet. I was behind her yelling, “not the carpet! Not the carpet! Stay on the tile!” I chased her into Andie’s room, visions of the very large deposit we had to pay for her pet-ed-ness when we signed the lease, swirling down the proverbial toilet.
  • I learned that paper towel affixed with scotch tape does not stick to a furry animals tail. Neither does the medical tape from the first aid kit in the van. Nor the last resort duct tape found in one of the ten thousand boxes in the garage (sorry Red Green, you were wrong on that one). But luckily! The tail will stop bleeding a mere few hours after you drop a large object on it and have managed to hold the cat down for all that time to sop up the blood. Also, OxyClean IS as wonderous as they tell you on the commercials and the blood comes right out of the many, many places it hit the carpet (phew!). Don’t keep pets and children without it.
  • So, flash to three and a half months later and the tail was healed as well as it was going to. It was definately broken and crooked at the end, but according to Google there was nothing a vet could do short of amputation, so we didn’t take her in to get checked (we are bigtime believers in saving money via the internet. I performed Richard’s appendectomy thanks to a wiki, we save on cable by just watching YouTube and our cheque from Bill Gates should be here any day now, as we forwarded the 236 emails just as they instructed). She wasn’t fussy about it unless you purposely touched the end of her tail to check it, but sometimes she would rub against one of us and flick her tail at the same time, then yowl and give us a dirty look like it was our fault.

    Friday night, I have the food ready, the house is clean and I’m looking out the window waiting for our guests to arrive. I take a step forward and my foot goes under the coffee table where, unbeknownst to me, the cat is sleeping. My foot lands squarely on the end of her tail, she YOWLS at the top of her feline lungs, scratches the motherfark out of my foot and bolts for the bedroom, stopping only once to look back and shoot me a dirty look and some parting words. That’s when I looked down and found that a piece – a rather large, 2 inch piece – of my cat was still in the living room. There’s a piece of bone in there! It’s rather brittle, proving that the end of her tail has been dead for quiet a while. It’s kind of cool though and looks sort of like a rabbits foot (would it be wrong to hang it on a keychain and use it as a goodluck charm when I play Texas Holdem? Wait, we’re still not calling the SPCA right?)

    I wanted to take a picture of it next to a ruler to show how big of a piece it really is, but all I could find was a protractor.
    Portrait of a tail at 180 degrees

    Then I just started taking pictures of it with random stuff:
    Like my stapler…
    and our bananas and Jack Daniels…
    Then I actually found a ruler. See? Two and half inches! My cat is two and a half inches shorter now.

    We call her Stumpy McStumperson.

    I despise you, Human.

    Best long weekend in the history of long weekends

    For the first time in at least five years, this Victoria Day long weekend was HOT HOT HOT! The temperatures reached up into the thirties and we didn’t have any rain until today…which provided us with enough distraction from the outdoors to get some laundry and cleaning done.

    We swam, we sunbathed, we trampolined, we planted. I cooked some tasty food and sorted clothes out for goodwill. Richard and I went to a wedding. We had friends over on Friday night. We went to a birthday party for my nephew.

    Adam got stuck in the turnstile at Canadian Tire* and I stepped on the cats tail and broke a piece off. Yes. Yes I did. I guess I should take a few pictures and explain this better. Back later.

    (*we had to lift him out, cause he was stuck but good. It was one of those that only goes one way and eventually you have to exit the turnstile or you run into the metal fence. Guess who thought he’d be a smartass and didn’t exit? Good thing he’s pretty)