Because Reindeer Are Assholes

Now, there are a few things you really should know about me, especially this time of year. First of all, I freaking love the holiday season. We have two trees up, with lights around the room that we use instead of lamps. I wear Christmas hats and headbands every day at work, decorated the store with tinsel and garland today, and even have Christmas sweaters and hats for the oddly squirmy Bowser Kitten. The second thing you need to know is that I make epically awesome Christmas playlists. It’s an awesome mix of the classics (Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Ertha Kitt), childhood faves (Raffi, Muppets, New Kids on the Block, Hanson, Rockapella), the awesomely rockin’ and random (Twisted Sister, Korn, Run D.M.C, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and artists you wouldn’t normally associate with Christmas (Weezer, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Stephen Colbert). The last and probably most important thing to know about me is also probably the most shocking, especially considering how much I love all things Christmasy and Winter Wonderland-y.

I hate the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because reindeer are assholes. Don’t believe me? Just ask Big Rude Jake.

I’m sure you all know the tale. I mean, we’ve been singing it every year since 1949 and watching the damn Christmas special since 1964. For those of you in the back who somehow have avoided this story for the entirety of your lifetime, here’s the gist of it:

Rudolph is a reindeer. He’s smart and sweet and kind and caring, but he has a glowing red nose which makes him a misfit. There’s another reindeer named Fireball who has bright yellow hair, but no one bothers him because it turns out he’s a damn bully. Apparently, everyone in this damn “special” is a damn bully though.  Rudolph’s father, Donner, starts mocking him only moments after his birth. Freakin Santa Claus comes to see him right after that. At first, he’s uber impressed with how smart the little guy is, but then breaks out into a song about how every single reindeer wants to pull Santa’s sled, and there’s no way Rudolph ever will with his abnormality. Rudolph’s parents try desperately to hide his nose, making little nose caps out of rubber and dirt. Donner actually tells his own child, right after the lad complains about how uncomfortable one such cover is, that “there are more important things than comfort, like self-respect”. But how the hell is Rudolph ever going to respect himself if everyone around him is mocking him for being a freak of nature?

Of course, the rest of Christmas Town isn’t much better. The elves have their own “pick on the outcast” competition going where they all gang up on the one guy who isn’t very good at his job. Hermy knows he’s not good at making toys, and he has an alternative career picked out. He’s probably the most logical one in the whole damn town! Does anyone respect that? Of course not! They sit around berating him for not being like them, making fun of his love of dentistry, and mocking his lack of toy-making abilities. And of course, Santa is no help. When the elves try out their Christmas song for him, he just makes comments about how Hermy’s section was flat, because Hermy wasn’t there to sing with them. The red-suited wonder just brings down a whole world of crap on Hermy’s head.

Back to Rudolph though. So Donner and “Mrs. Donner”, because apparently in Christmas Town you give up your full identity once you’re married and become just the Mrs., send Rudolph off to the reindeer games. Of course, they try to cover up his nose because they’re ashamed of him for not being like all the others. Somehow Rudolph makes friends with another misfit, the fuzzy-headed Fireball. The two bond briefly, becoming friends. Thanks to finally having someone around who doesn’t just mock him relentlessly, Rudolph seems to build up a little confidence. He’s able to chat up a lovely young gal named Clarice (she still has a name, so you know she’s single) and flies like a damn eagle when it’s his turn to attempt take-off practice. Even that jolly red bastard Claus is impressed watching him fly!

Until that is, his nose cover comes off. His one and only friend in the world, Fireball, wastes no time pointing out the glowing red nose to everyone around him and leads in the jeers of “rainbow snot” and “furnace nose” with all the other reindeer. Even the damn adults join in, pledging to not let their children anywhere near the glowing freak. Hell, Santa joins in! He flat out shuns Rudolph, pretty much saying it’s a pity he’s a freak because he’s the best flier they have. The only one to stick by him is Clarice, who is promptly whisked away by her father who refuses to let his daughter have anything to do with someone not 100% like him.

So, all of this bullying causes both Rudolph and Hermy to run away from home. Luckily, they do this at the exact same time so they wind up running into each other. Bonding over the fact that they’re both misfits who everyone seems to hate with a burning hatred of a thousand supernova-ing suns, the two finally find real friendship in each other. They somewhat form their own small society consisting of just the two of them and a bizarre tinsel hunter named Yukon who uses poodles to pull his dog sled. The small group is able to survive on their own, and even make their way to an island inhabited entirely by misfit toys. You would think this would be the perfect ending to their story: misfits finding their place among those who accept and love them for their unique personalities.

Instead, King Moonrasier gives them yet another variation of the usual B.S. ever bullied child has ever gotten in their life: if you just tried a little bit harder, then maybe you could fit in and people would like you! He lets them spend one single night on the island, and has the gall to ask the trio to keep them in mind when they someday return to Christmas Town. Lucky for those toys they were all genuine and sweet beings who bonded with the trio because that King was just like the rest of the inhabitants of Christmas Town: he was only looking out for himself, and how he looked in the eyes of others. If he let these random misfits of his own kind in amongst the toys, then he would have equals there among him. Obviously, the trio had to go.

So, the trio is asked to leave the only place they’re not seen as outcasts. Rudolph thinks he’ll be a danger to the others, because his “beak blinks like a blinking beacon” as his father always told him, and there’s a giant snow monster out there who seems to want to eat them. He figures the others will be better off without him, and he sets off on his own. Of course, his traveling companions go off in search of him. While all of this is happening Clarice and “Mrs. Donner” set off in search of Rudolph too because this small group of characters are the only decent beings in the whole damn special. They all wind up in the lair of the snow monster, who is ready to eat all of the reindeer. Yukon uses his skills with rocks and a pickaxe to help Hermy use his dentistry skills to save their friends. Of course, this means we have to think that Yukon and his pups are dead for a small time, only until everyone is deemed “useful”.

You see, this is the time in the special where everyone returns home and it’s decided that they’re “worthy” of being there. Hermy’s boss decides that maybe all these people and creature with teeth really do need a dentist around, and sets up an appointment. Yukon triumphantly returns, snow monster in tow, and shows that the now-toothless monster can put a star on top of a damn tree once a year. See, even the scary monster thing is useful! It takes a blinding blizzard and the near cancellation of Christmas for Rudolph to become useful, though.

You see, every single being who once mocked and ridiculed Rudolph suddenly comes to the realization that having a light at the head of your sleigh may be useful when flying in the dark in the middle of winter. Apparently, it had never snowed on Christmas Eve before the birth of Rudolph, so this was never an issue. Santa asks Rudolph not only to fly with him that night but to lead the damn sleigh. Now remember, Rudolph just got back mere hours earlier from a months-long journey through frozen hell, was attacked and knocked unconscious by a snow monster, thought he lost one of his best and only friends in the world, found out that friend wasn’t dead and had actually trained the snow monster, and was now back in the town that had made his short life a living hell up until this point. And here is Santa asking him to guide his sleigh. Forget about the mocking, the torment, the shunning by damn near every single being in the land. Forget that, up until 30 seconds ago you were just some freak they were ready to tolerate so that Santa could go pick up some free (albeit misfit) toys from an island and get a damn dentist in the town already. Forget the mocking that happened from the moment he opened his damn eyes for the very first time on this earth. Forget everything, and guide the damn sleigh so that Santa can continue to be a beloved holiday figure.

And the stupid bastard does it.

Maybe Rudolph has a master plan that he enacted that day. Maybe he was more concerned with getting a home for the misfit toys than with his own childhood torment. Maybe he decided to end the reign of King Moonraker by having Santa take every single inhabitant of his island aboard his sled to be given a new home on Christmas Eve, leaving the King a lonely and hollow shell of a former being. Or maybe, just maybe, all those years of torment just made Rudolph that much more determined to make something of himself that everyone else could see and be proud of; to become something “normal” in the eyes of his father, fulfilling the wish every reindeer father has for their son (since apparently daughters can never fly with Santa).

Or maybe Rudolph has a bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome, making him want to appease his childhood captors, the inhabitants of Christmas Town.

As Big Rude Jake said, you can take what you want from this story. I mean, we won’t let our nation’s kids hear a naughty word or see a naked boob on TV because it will cause them to be scarred for life, ruining any prospects of becoming a normal and functioning adult. Yet, we let them continually, year after year, sing this song and watch this special, celebrating the torment of innocent creatures for the sheer delight of the status quo. We basically drive it into the heads of our young that bullying someone because they are the slightest bit different is perfectly fine once a year. I mean, if reindeer can be stuck-up bigotted sons of bitches, then why can’t we?

I agree with Jake that this story should have continued. It should have shown the days after Christmas, with Rudolph sitting at the sleazy dive bar on the wrong side of Christmas Town, full of disgraced former elves and that weird doll Sally who some say suffered from depression. He should be sitting there, a glass of half-rate scotch on the bar between his hooves, a look of pain and disappointment on his face, pondering the happens of the last few days. I mean, he was physically and mentally exhausted before being propositioned by Santa to be a part of his team and wasn’t of sound mind to rationally agree to any terms. And now here he sits, knowing that his fate is to be mocked behind his back at the water cooler while all the other reindeer are gathering for their post-Christmas rituals. He ponders every little thing the other reindeer said to him to his face as a child and youth and wonders what they’re saying about him behind his back when their boss isn’t around to remind them that he’s useful. Will he ever be worthy of anything without Santa’s approval? Is his entire existence just to spend one night a year in service to others, and then back to the laughing and mockery for another 350+ days? He ponders these things over and over, wondering what will ever become of his life, his relationship with Clarice (whose father once forbade their blossoming friendship based on his nose, but now welcomes him with open arms when Santa is around), his very existence in this Christmas-centered town. He stares into the amber liquid in his glass, fighting back tears as he raises the glass up to his lips and mutters

“…..what’s the use of getting sober when you’re gonna get drunk again…”

Yes, this may be a bleak imagining of Christmas, but it’s true. The treatment of Rudolph was just appalling, and his sudden acceptance without time to rationalize his place in the world could leave him in a perpetual state of emotional limbo.  No, this view doesn’t ruin Christmas for me. I’m probably the most festive person you would ever meet. If I were any more full of the Christmas spirit, I would piss eggnog and crap out candy canes. My festiveness does not get in the way of realizing one of the major truths in this world though:

Reindeer Are Assholes.

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I Am So Old Right Now

Sorry for the two days of silence on here. I had one crazy busy past couple of days.

-Saturday, while I was writing to you all about my Bob Geldof/Santa Claus conspiracy, I had to get everything done. I had my regular Saturday chores to get done before work, plus I had to get done my Sunday chores. On top of that, I had to find something to wear to my Christmas Party, gather up all my stuff to bring to work, and make a list of what I still needed to pick up. Got to bed a little later than I had hoped after a crazy shift at work, but got almost everything done.

-Sunday I had to leave a list of things for the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend to get done while I was at work. We all got pulled for the 9-hour shift, with an hour-long lunch. Had to be at work early because I had the keys to the store, but another co-worker had the security code for the alarm, so we both had to be there together. Walked all the way to work before realizing I left my uniform shirt and apron at home, so I had to call AAB to run them out to me. Ran errands on my lunch break, so I barely got to sit down all day. Was on my feet running cash most of the day.  Actually got threatened by a customer who didn’t bring ID to the store so I couldn’t serve him. Buddy, if you’re stupid enough to stand at my register while holding a bottle, and then loudly call your friend to tell him you don’t have ID with you so he has to come in to buy the bottle, then hand over your money to him while standing right in front of me at my register, then you have no right to get mad and scream at me when I ask for your ID.  Skipped one of my breaks so I could cash out 15 minutes early to go wrestle with pantyhose and get my dress on for the Christmas party.  AAB met me at work, and the work BFF and her fiance picked us up there. Went right to the party and stayed until just after midnight. Drank ALL the red wine, danced in high heels to almost every song, and had my contacts in for 17 hours straight.

-Yesterday, I didn’t want to move. Had a bit of a hangover from all that red wine. The worst part, though, was the physical pain. I don’t go out dancing like I used to when I was in my early 20’s. And I have never made it the whole night without switching to my purse flats before, especially after I hit the dance floor. My legs and knees are just killing me! Had a headache from the combination of red wine and sitting at a table right next to the speakers, so the boss let me wear sunglasses while I worked last night. We all had a good laugh at the fact that I couldn’t crouch down.

All I’ve been saying the last two days is, “I am so old!”. I feel old, physically, right now. I’m really not used to this. I mean, I know that I’m not a kid anymore, despite my behaviour. But my sore knees and aching legs made me realize a lot of things.

I was up there dancing all night with my much younger co-worker. I paid for it dearly the next day. With my current lifestyle, I just can’t randomly jump out on the dancefloor in heels all night long and go crazy out there like I did when I was 23. I could sit around and mope about that, or I could find something good to take away from all this. I can tell now that walking everywhere just isn’t enough. I’m still crazy strong, especially for someone who doesn’t work out. But I’m not toned, I’m not flexible like I used to be, and my cardio just plain sucks. I keep telling myself that I’m going to start doing yoga, or I’m going to work out more. But this experience, feeling so old after just a night of drinking and dancing, shows me how important this really is. I’m not even middle-aged yet, but my knees felt 90 yesterday.

When I was in my early, and even my late, 20’s I could stay out late drinking and still get up for work or class in the morning. I had what now seems like super-human recovery time. These days, not so much. I am still feeling tired and worn out from Sunday night, and this is Tuesday! And you know what? This is a good thing. I don’t need to be going out at night, pounding back vino like grapes are going extinct. I went out and drank too much, and smoked too many cigarettes, and now I’m paying the price. I don’t need to be treating my body like that anymore.

The truth of the matter is that I need to take better care of myself. I feel so old right now because I don’t take the time to make myself feel young. I don’t do my stretches, or work out. I don’t eat all that well sometimes. I smoke, which I’ve been meaning to try quitting yet again. The reason I feel so old is that I’m making myself old. I may be young at heart, and act like an overgrown child at times, but I don’t treat myself this way.

I’m not about to quit smoking and drinking completely today, and go vegan and start meditating and running 5Ks a day. Hell, I haven’t even done anything real to better myself today while I’m realizing all this! I still feel like crap, and don’t want to move. But I know that I need to make some changes, and I need to make them soon.

I finally get two whole days off next week, after a 21-day stretch! I think I’m going to go to the awesome international market on one of those days and grab some mushroom meat. A week from tomorrow, I start my holiday 6am shift. This means packing food and drinks that will keep me going for the day. Like I’ve said before, shifts like this are my healthy shifts. I eat better, I move around more. I get home early enough in the afternoon that I’m going to put forth the effort to at least do some stretches when I get home from work. I’m planning out my to-do lists for the holidays, and I’m going to be keeping myself really super busy.

Hopefully having all this crazed holiday madness right after my post-Christmas-Party pains will be a real kick in the ass for me. I really need to make some changes to my life, and fast.

Santa’s a Little Early This Year, All Because of Bob Geldof

Little kids love talking to me. If I go out shopping, very small children in shopping carts will just stare at me when I walk by. When I’m at work, these same kids will stand there and ramble on about the stickers I give out, and about how their cat had poop stuck on their butt and daddy said really bad words when kitty sat on the white couch, and how grandma farts when you make her giggle. I have this weird childlike quality about me that just draws kids in.

Either that or they just love the hair. It’s a shade of red that’s natural enough to be work appropriate, but just unnatural enough to glow a little. It’s red enough to make me look like a cartoon character, but not the same red that would make you think I’m an undercover clown. Every child wants to be friends with a cartoon character and tell them everything. No one wants to be friends with a creepy ass undercover clown, hiding out in liquor stores though.

Anyway, two years ago I had this really sweet little guy come through my line all upset, with red crying eyes and the biggest tiny frown I have ever seen. No amount of stickers and candy canes could make him smile even a tiny bit. So of course, I asked him what was wrong.

“I tried to get Buster out of the closet and found Christmas!”

I know, that totally explains everything! The little guy’s poor mother had to explain that their dog Buster was hiding in her bedroom closet, and the little guy had gone in there to get him. Turns out the bedroom closet is also where she hid some wrapped Christmas presents.

“And some of the presents said ‘from Santa’ on them. Why would there be presents in there from Santa unless Santa doesn’t bring presents, and it’s just mom and dad buying me thing and putting his name on them?”

His mother looked at me with a strange sadness in her eyes. You could tell she was hoping for at least one more magical Christmas where her little boy believed in magic. Her little guy was heartbroken, and she had no clue what to do to make him understand that Christmas is still Christmas.  So I did what I do in times of crisis: I improvised.

“Oh sweetheart, it’s ok. Santa gets so busy this time of year that he has to deliver some of his presents early. It’s all because of Bob Geldof.”

The little guy’s ears perked a little bit, and he gave me a quizzical look.

“Bob Geldof? Who’s that? What did he do?”

And thus, the legend of Bob Geldof began to take shape.

“Bob Geldof was a very important music person way way back in the 80’s. He wrote a bunch of songs and sang about how stupid Mondays are. And then one day, he discovered Africa.

Africa had always been there, and it is huge! A lot of people forget that Africa is a whole bunch of countries all mashed together in one big continent. Every country has its own people, and it’s own culture, and even though a lot of it looks like a much warmer version of Canada it can be very different than things here in Canada. But Bob Geldof only noticed two things when he found Africa: there was no snow, and people didn’t all celebrate Christmas.

And that’s ok. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Even Jesus didn’t and it’s his holiday! He was Jewish so he would celebrate Haunnaka. And a lot of people in the world celebrate other things that aren’t Christmas. But Bob Geldof decided that Africa needs to celebrate Christmas, even though they have no snow. They could be like Florida or Mexico but on a different continent!

So instead of going to Africa and talking to people there about Christmas, he got a tonne of his famous musician friends to help him sing a song. He got people from a bunch of really famous bands, and Bono, to sing a song with him about how there’s no snow in Africa and we need to feed the world.  And they made a music video, and a lot of people watched it, and it raised a whole lot of money to feed hungry people in Africa. But it also meant that more and more people were supposed to celebrate Christmas because of Bob Geldof.

Well, when Bob Geldof wrote this song he didn’t clear it with Santa! Santa Claus has a very busy night on Christmas Eve and has to fly all over the world. If someone suddenly gets millions of more people to celebrate Christmas, then he doesn’t have time to bring all the presents in one night! So Santa had to go to the United Nations and ask them for help.

Some countries wanted to start a war and to claim Christmas for themselves. Others wanted to tax Christmas, and only let the very very rich countries afford to have it every year. One country even wanted to outsource Christmas, and have people from a bunch of different countries put together Christmas and do all the work since they decided Santa couldn’t handle it. That gave Canada an idea.

‘Santa, what if you delivered a whole bunch of presents early to some countries! We could contact all the parents through our Secret Parent Network so none of the good little girls and boys finds out. The parents can hide all the presents from you with the presents they bought, and they can put them all out on Christmas Eve. This would let you still do Christmas without having to get it all done in one night!’

Santa thought about this for a while. He talked to his elves and held meetings with the reindeer. He even went to the Supreme Snowman Council to see what they thought! Finally, Santa came back to the United Nations. Of course, being Santa, he brought presents for everyone there. And he brought all the presents for their kids.

‘From this Christmas forward, I will bring the good people working in the United Nations building all of the Christmas presents I have for their family that year! And we will put the names of all the countries here in a hat, and I’ll pull out 20 of them every year in July. And those 20 countries will be the countries I bring Christmas presents to early that year! We’ll let the the parents in those countries know, but not the kids. And then we’ll put all the countries names back in the hat, and every country will pick out the name of another country. And we won’t tell anyone what country you picked, and you have to give them a present on the day I come here with my presents in November! We will call this “Secret Santa” and do it every year!’

And all the countries have done this every single year since 1985. They found ways to make sure all the countries take their turns getting early presents to hide, and make sure no countries have to do it too often. And that’s how Bob Geldof caused Santa Claus a whole bunch of grief about delivering presents to everyone in the world, but also lead Santa to create the Secret Santa we use at work.

Does that make much sense to you hun?”

I don’t know if the poor little guy bought it, or if I confused him just enough to make him forget what he was upset about. Either way, he stopped crying sometimes during my story and started munching on one of the candy canes I had given him.

From that day forth, I have used Bob Geldof to explain to any children I meet who find early gifts from Santa why they are there. Most of the parents just laugh, some give me weird looks, and a few need to be told who Bob Geldof is. But in the end, I think it helps spread Christmas cheer just a little bit more each year.

Well, It’s December

So this is life after NaNoWriMo, eh?

I was going to take today off from writing, just gather up ideas and such. Started making a nice spreadsheet last night to track my word count each month, and I thought I could pretty that up a bit. Planned to go through the little pile of notes and scraps of paper on the desk under my computer monitor, and try to organize some sort of topic list for days when my brain just cannot brain.

Instead, I slept in.

It’s the start of December, which means my holiday and financial stress is about to go through the roof. I have a few gifts bought for the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend and have priced out some things for the ever-festive Bowser Kitten. My mother is expecting those damn letter I write her every year, and I haven’t even started them yet. My dad wanted something that I can’t get in stores around here, and that Amazon will not ship to my in Canada unless I pay an extra $47 in shipping….. for a $23 item.  So now I have to find something completely different to get him, but still something that he wants and needs for the kitchen, but not something he can use to make a huge mess in the kitchen and piss off my mother. My sister and my brother-in-law have given me absolutely zero indication of what they want, so I’ll probably wind up making them gift baskets again this year. And all my brother has told anyone is that he wants a nice glass food storage container to bring to work with him.

The only gifts I was totally sure on this year were for my Secret Santa at work (I had to trade someone to get her), and for all the cats in the family. The always giving Bowser Kitten always gets a little bag of treats or a dollar store stocking of toys for the other three cats in my family, and we write their little names on them “from Bowser”. Yes I know, my family is strange.

On top of the whole “buying gifts for everyone that they’ll actually like” thing, I have to come up with some sort of budget for all of this that won’t screw me over in the new year. I’ve been saving up some money to use on Christmas shopping, and have a big pile of rolled coin I have to take to the bank this week to trade for cash to use for that. I can’t really dip into my regular paychecks or put much on the credit cards, though, because once January 1st comes I am once again officially screwed at work. My hours get cut in half as soon as the holiday season is over, meaning I have a few days off sometimes and have to start picking up every single available shift I can once again. Since the schedule changes so often, this is usually how I wind up working 30-day stretches. Some of the weeks in that stretch, I might not even get 30 hours even though I’m working 7 days a week.  So while I’m spending money this holiday season, I have to keep in mind that I’m going to be beyond broke in 6 weeks.

Of course, the lovely people who control the student loans in Ontario don’t seem to think that I’m broke. Because I’m so broke while I try to climb the pay scale at work, I can’t pay my full student loan bill every month. So every six months, I have to fill out paperwork telling them how much money I make, and they determine how much to charge me. My current repayment assistance is good until the end of December, which means I get to spend the next 6 weeks convincing these people that I am not, in fact, a millionaire.

Now, I have no problem paying back what I can on my student loans. They’re money that was loaned to me, and I know I have to pay it back. But they have this program because a lot of people can’t pay the full amount of their bill each month, and it’s supposed to help them still pay things down until they can find higher-paying jobs. For some reason, even though I haven’t changed jobs in years, every December these loan people seem to think that I must have somehow made an extra $50,000 this year and therefore should be paying something like $800 a month to them. After paying my bills for November, scrimping and saving from my paychecks, and buying groceries, I don’t even have $800 left in my account, and this is one of my better months as far as hours go! If I can’t manage that in November when I’m getting around 40 hours a week, how the hell could I manage that in January when I’m down to 20 hours a week?  I have to start scanning and copying pay stubs, writing letters indicating my monthly hours each year, send copies of the schedules up for the new year, and spend hours on the phone while seven different people give me seven different fax numbers to send all of this to, all the while getting mad at me for using a fax number other than the one they gave me even though that’s the fax number their website says to use.  Usually I wind up reduced to tears at least twice just from the stress of it all, have at least one tantrum while sitting alone in my bedroom, rant to somewhat listening Bowser Kitten for at least 5 hours throughout the month, and have 3 separate meltdowns with at least one of them being at work while I fax documents over for the 4th time.

Did I mention I have to bake? We have company potluck, and dessert trays to make at mum and dad’s, and tins to fill for AAB to bring to work, and a tin to make for a really sweet Scotch rep who teaches me all about scotch, and cookies to make for the neighbour who edges our lawn with his weed wacker since ours broke. I have special requests from co-workers, and completely different requests from family, and more requests from friends. I am going to be up to my elbows in molasses and pumpkin spice for at least a week, every day after work, trying to bake a little each day while trying to get everything else done.

Of course, this is on top of all the other stresses going on right now. We have one empty bedroom downstairs we need to rent out, and the other room will be free as of January 1st. So it’s back to showing rooms, waiting on people who either don’t show up or show up three hours early and dealing with the helicopter parents who want to know why we don’t have maid service here. Everything in this house seems to need to be scrubbed, mopped, vacuumed and sanitized right now, and no one else seems to notice. I got rid of the mildew in the bathroom ceiling, and am now working on the mildew growing in the tub lining and caulking. I haven’t even looked at the downstairs bathroom, and I’m afraid to. Somehow no matter who we rent those basement rooms out to, that bathroom winds up a filthy, grimy, mold-filled mess that hasn’t been cleaned in months. If I don’t want to go insane from being surrounded constantly by filth, then I have to keep up with ALL the cleaning around here by myself, yet again.

Add in to this work stress, family drama, getting ready for get-togethers, AAB’s family drama, sobriety issues, cold and flu season, and our upcoming fundraiser at work for Sick Kids Hospital (the angry responses we get from some customers should be a post in itself!), and this is probably the most stressful time of year. I haven’t started working on mum’s letters at all yet. I was also thinking of making the types of cards they make you make in kindergarten for her since somehow every card like that I made her got lost when their basement flooded (but the cards I made for dad all survived).

But for today, I want to do nothing. I don’t work until 4:15 tonight, and I get to work with all the new seasonal workers for the holiday season. This is my first time meeting most of them. It should be a pretty chill shift since we look like we’ll be overstaffed for the night and have four seasonals there as dedicated cashiers (until I need the tallest one to help me face-up the top shelves). Sunday I won’t get a chance to write at all since I work the 9-hour shift all day, and then leave right from work to head to the union Christmas Party. I still have no idea what I’m going to wear since the outfit I ordered on Black Friday didn’t even ship yet. Oh well, just one more thing to stress out about.

Things I Shouldn’t Have to Tell My Grown-Ass Roommates

As you all know, I live with roommates. Since I moved out to go to university, I’ve lived with more than 30 different roommates in a handful of places. With the exception of one girl who moved out of her mom’s house and then lived here for almost 3 whole months before moving back home, none of those roommates have been on their own for the first time when they lived with me. For the most part, these were grown-ass adults who had lived on their own for years before we crossed paths. The majority of my roommates were my age or slightly younger, but I’ve lived with a few older folk in my day. Hell, one roommate was the same age as my parents.

Now, in all of those years, I’ve had to say some pretty ridiculous things to these roommates. Now, keep in mind that these are grown-ass adults. I cannot stress enough that these are grown-ass adults I’m dealing with here. If these were young kids living away from home for the first time, and their parents did everything for them before they moved out, then I’d somewhat understand having to say some of these things. But these are grown-ass adults. These are people who have had careers and apartments, and through some strange quirk in the universe wound up at the university here and lived under the same roof as me after all that. These are people who should know better.

So, without further adieu, I give to you my first installment of Things I Shouldn’t Have to Tell My Grown-Ass Roommates

  1. Clean out the mesh hair trap in the shower. Otherwise, all the gunk that’s trapped in there just clogs it up and makes the water pool at your feet.
  2. Don’t blow your nose in the shower. Snot clogs the mesh hair trap
  3. Don’t jerk off in the shower. There is now jizz clogging the mesh hair trap, and I sure as hell am not cleaning that.
  4. Don’t turn on the AC if it’s not hot out, and then wear a sweater in the house.
  5. 65F is not hot.
  6. Seriously, buy a small fan. It’s not hot out.
  7. An industrial fan is NOT a small fan!
  8. Seriously, the cat is covered in fur. I’m not about to let him overheat. If he can stand the heat, we can too.
  9. Why the hell would you turn on the AC and a space heater?
  10. It’s a bedroom. Not even a huge bedroom. It’s just a small room full of your stuff. How many damn space heaters do you need?
  11. The house isn’t soundproof, and neither are the walls between our rooms.
  12. It’s like 69F in here. You don’t need three fans and the AC on!
  13. How do I know about the fans? Because the damn house isnèt soundproof and they are loud as hell!
  14. Also, I can hear you boning in there.
  15. Either that girl is delusional and really thinks your name is God, or she’s faking. Take your pick.
  16. It’s not my fault the garbage truck woke you up. It’s 3pm, and you stayed up all night smoking weed and watching movies. Deal with it.
  17. Pubes are hair! Clean them out of the damn mesh hair trap!
  18. That little knob you use to turn the oven on…. it works the other way too. Turn the oven off when you’re done.
  19. Same goes for the stove.
  20. And the lights.
  21. And the sink.
  22. Basically, anything you can turn on, you can turn off again when you’re done.
  23. If you drop food on the floor, pick it up.
  24. If you spill sauce on the floor, pick it up.
  25. Same goes for drinks.
  26. Seriously, this is some basic stuff here. Clean up your damn mess.
  27. Crumbs = bugs. Do you want to live with bugs? No? Then clean up your damn mess!
  28. I’m pretty sure when you thaw chicken breast, you don’t have to leave it out on the counter for 4 days.
  29. Ok, your cat has now pulled the chicken breast off the counter and is trying to pull it out of the plastic wrap on the kitchen floor. Pretty sure that chicken is done for.
  30. Are you seriously eating the 4-day old chicken breast the cat was licking an hour ago?
  31. If you’re going to use the oven or the stove, then freaking use it! Don’t put food in there and fo read a book, or take a shower, or go down for a nap. That’s how things burn and fires start!
  32. If your food is black, crispy, and sticking to the pan, you burned it.
  33. If the kitchen is filling with smoke, your food is burning.
  34. If the cat is sitting in front of the oven and yowling, you took your food out but left the oven on. Congratulations, my cat is now smarter than you.
  35. Bacon grease splatters. Clean it up when you’re done.
  36. Same goes for hot oil
  37. How about you just clean up any food you splatter on the stove?
  38. And since we mentioned bacon, you can’t just dump bacon grease down the drain. When it cools, it solidifies and will clog the drain. Then it attracts bugs, and it stinks.
  39. Do you have any idea how hard it is to scrape your solidified exploded chili and cheese out of the insides of the microwave? Just wipe it out after you use it.
  40. No, I don’t mean “remind me to scrub the microwave the next time you see me using it”. I mean wipe up your own damn mess when you make it!
  41. Why is my wet laundry sitting on the basement floor, covered in centipedes?
  42. What the hell made you think you could put double loads in both the apartment’s free washing machines, and then throw them together in the tiny dryer for 20 minutes, and expect them to be dry?
  43. Better yet, why the hell did you take the soaking wet clothes out of the dryer, bring them home, and leave in your hamper?
  44. That smell? It’s the mildew on your clothes. That’s what happens when you leave wet clothes in the hamper for 6 weeks.
  45. How long are you going to leave your wet clothes in the washer?
  46. Why the hell are you yelling at me for putting your wet clothes in the dryer? They’ve been sitting in the washer for eleven days!
  47. Again with the mesh hair trap! If it’s too big to fit through the tiny mesh there, then it’s going to clog it and you need to empty it. Your toenails are definitely too big to fit through there. Get rid of them.
  48. Ok, when the landlord says that I’m the only one allowed to touch the thermostat, that means that YOU don’t touch it! Period!
  49. Access to the internet is a privilege. It’s in my name, so I make the rules. Just because you pay a fee, which amounts to a very small portion of the total monthly bill, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, especially if it’s going to get me into trouble.
  50. Ok seriously, stop illegally downloading MMA fights and porn. I totally know it’s you doing it.
  51. Well, I’m not the one downloading this crap. That means it’s either you or the damn cat, and I’m pretty sure the cat isn’t into Big and Busty Housewives of Macomb County IIV.
  52. Why is your pee on the floor?
  53. Seriously, there’s pee on the floor. I sit down to pee, so we both know it’s not mine. Clean up your damn pee!
  54. While you’re at it, you could work on the skid marks you left in the toilet. I really don’t need to be looking at your poop remnants.
  55. I rent a room here, just like you. The landlord is the guy you pay rent to, who made you sign the lease. We are two different people.
  56. Stop trying to give me your rent. It says right in the lease how to pay the landlord, and it in no way involves giving me money.
  57. Ok if I don’t collect the rent from you, then I definitely can’t give you a rent receipt. Talk to the landlord about that.
  58. Yes, the landlord lives in a whole different province, and the internet is in my name. The landlord and I are still two separate people though,
  59. Ok, I don’t care how much you try to intimidate me. No matter how convinced you are that you can kick my ass, that still does not change the fact that I am NOT the landlord, and cannot write a rent receipt for you.
  60. Stop stealing my food from the fridge.
  61. That doesn’t mean “replace all of my food with your food”.
  62. Ok, you’ve now completely filled the fridge with meat. I guess that means you won’t be stealing my vegetarian protein meat substitutes.
  63. Why are you yelling at me because you don’t like the taste of “mushroom soy veggie meat”? That’s mine, so that shouldn’t bother you.
  64. Seriously, stop complaining because you don’t like my food. If you weren’t stealing my food, then you wouldn’t know you don’t like it.
  65. Ok, when you complain that my food tastes like crap, you’re basically screaming “Hey, I’m stealing your food and eating it when you’re not around!” Stop denying it.
  66. If you throw raw meat on the counter, you’ve got to scrub that counter down and sanitize it.
  67. “Sanitize it” doesn’t mean wipe it down with a rag or a damp sponge. Use some cleaner or bleach or something!
  68. No, you can’t sanitize the chicken after the cat licked it. Maybe you shouldn’t leave it out for 4 freaking days.
  69. No, even bleach won’t work on your chicken.
  70. So yeah, the kitchen isn’t the only common area. If you use a space, clean it up.
  71. Why are there take-out coffee cups all over the living room?
  72. Ok, there is mold in the freaking coffee cups! How did long did you leave them in there?
  73. Ok, I know we had a floor in here the other day. Now there’s just pizza boxes, McDonald’s bags, and empty beer cans. What the hell happened?
  74. Your room is too hot because you closed off all the vents in there, maybe?
  75. Vents aren’t closed? Well then maybe there’s something blocking them.
  76. Ok dude, seriously? I can’t see your damn floor. There are layers of clothes and garbage. Ever thank that might block your vent?
  77. That case of iced tea that’s been sitting on the vent for months is probably what’s blocking the damn vents.
  78. It’s winter now. Not only is that iced tea all going bad from sitting on a hot vent, it’s now officially a fire hazard!
  79. If you put a pan of bacon grease in the bottom of the sink and then fill the sink with water, the water is going to be full of bacon grease.
  80. Anything you try to wash in that water is just going to get coated in bacon grease.
  81. Why are my coffee mugs so slippery? You used the bacon grease water again, didn’t you?
  82. What do you mean “when is the landlord delivering more dish soap”? Cleaning supplies are not included in the rent. We buy our own stuff here.
  83. No, most landlords do not deliver dish soap. Or cleaning products. Or vacuum bags. Or ziplock bags. What the hell kind of landlords did you have before?
  84. The room comes furnished if you want it to. You knew that when you viewed the room, and it says so in the lease. So what do you mean “what’s all that furniture doing in my room”?
  85. It comes with the furniture in the room. Or we can move it out of the room for you. If we move the furniture out, then the room isn’t furnished anymore. It’s not a hard concept.
  86. Why the hell would the landlord let you pick out all new furniture, and then buy it for you? That’s not what “comes furnished” means!
  87. Sure, send the landlord a copy of the Ikea catalog. I’m sure that will totally change her mind and she’ll buy you all new furniture. And then, we’ll take all the old furniture and use it to build a rocketship to go colonize Mars.
  88. Why the hell would you think you could take the landlord’s furniture with you when you move out?
  89. No, the furniture isn’t yours now that you’ve used it. People used it before you too. They didn’t try to take it with them when they moved out!
  90. That beeping sound coming from your smoke detector? It’s the low battery warning. Same thing it was this morning when you asked me what that beeping sound coming from your smoke detector was.
  91. No, the house isn’t on fire. Usually, when the smoke detector beeps and then says “low battery”, that’s a sign that the battery is low.
  92. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that changing the battery might stop that “low battery” beep.
  93. Why is the laundry tub full of dishes?
  94. Ok, how long are those dishes going to sit in the laundry tub?
  95. Is that my favourite tea mug floating in the laundry tub? The one you swore you have never seen in your life and had no idea where it had gone to?
  96. No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t go downstairs and put my mug in the laundry tub. I use the kitchen sink for dishes, like everyone else in the damn house.
  97. No, you can’t use laundry detergent to wash your dishes, even if you wash them in the laundry tub.
  98. No, you can’t use Ivory soap and shampoo if you wash your dishes in the bathtub either.
  99. Seriously, dish soap really isn’t that hard a concept!
  100. Ok, why the hell is there 3 days worth of food clogging up the damn mesh trap in the bathtub drain?

Stay Safe Out There

I helped close up the store last night with the work BFF, the nicest shift leader man alive, and our new seasonal guy that everyone loves. At 9-o-clock we turned off the last cash register, locked all the doors, and pulled out the security gates. The work BFF and I were doing the last minute things (picking up garbage, empty recycling bins) while the shift leader helped our new guy cash out. While we’re piddling about in the office, we could hear banging on the door and a bunch of yelling. By now, it’s at least 10 minutes since we closed, and the store is very visibly closed. It’s dark, the security gates are out, the open sign is turned off, and the store hours posted next to the door say that we closed 10 minutes ago.

Now, we close at 9pm, but the two stores closest to us both close at 10pm. Also, we’re right by the border crossing. Like, if you go out onto the main busy road right outside the store and don’t get into the right lane, you’ll wind up on the bridge and heading over to America. We do get a lot of people coming from out of town who don’t know the store hours or don’t know how to get to the nearest stores. Sometimes they’ll knock on the door just to ask for directions. Also, we’re right by the university, while one of our stores is on a road called University. That store is open until 10pm. A lot of people just see “University location open until 10pm” and assume it’s the one near the university. So, the work BFF and I decided to go out to the vestibule together to see if someone needed directions to the nearest stores.

Last night, it wasn’t lost tourists or someone who read our location wrong. It was three young men who looked to be barely drinking age if they even were.  They were just standing there banging on the door, demanding we let them in so they could drink. WBFF and I get up to the door and tell them through the locked door that we’re closed, but the downtown location is open for another hour. Usually, this is enough to placate people who stand outside our door, demanding booze. Not these guys though. They decided yelling at us through the door would be a better use of their time.

C’mon, I just want one thing!

Dammit, I’m just tryna get my drink on, why you gotta block that?

It’s your damn job, open up the goddamn doors and get me my drink!

We told them all the registers were turned off, the debit machines were off, and the security team would call the police if we let anyone in after the lights go out. They didn’t care. They just stood out there yelling at the two of us. We shut the gate up tight, shook our heads, and went back to the office to laugh at them where they couldn’t hear us. We figured they’d tire themselves out and head downtown to grab a bottle there before that store closed.

About 10 minutes later, we locked the doors for the night and headed out into the parking lot. The new guy got in his car, while WBFF and I walked to hers. We could hear this yelling and then saw a car sitting there honking at our shift leader. It was those three guys! They had sat there in their car, waiting in the parking lot for us. This in itself was creepy enough. But they sat there yelling things at us from their car, watching us walk to WBFF’s car. Then, they sat there in their car, like they were waiting for us to leave so they could follow. We sat there, car off, trying to figure out what to do. I mean, they were pretty pissed off that we couldn’t magically re-open the store for them 10 minutes past closing, make a cash register come to life to ring them through with no drawer in it and sell them a bottle when we legally couldn’t. Like, they were really pissed about that. And then they sat outside waiting for us, and wouldn’t leave until we left. It was really scary.

In the end, I took out my phone and got ready to dial 911 if they got out of their car at all. We sat there for 5 or 6 minutes, trying to keep an eye on them from the locked car we were in. Eventually, they realized we weren’t going anywhere with them sitting there, and they left. Not before driving by us slowly and yelling things at us, and then speeding through the parking lot, almost hitting a minivan and a couple of pedestrians.

Sadly, this isn’t the only time things like this have happened to us at work. I had a group of three younger guys threaten me because I wouldn’t serve them until they gave me their ID. I had the man we refer to as Scary Customer Guy scream at me and shove his pen in my face like he was trying to stab me. We get shoplifters all the time, and more than once they’ve pulled some sort of weapon on our security staff when they try to arrest them. And our store isn’t even one of the two really “high crime” stores in the city!

The point is, stuff like this happens. It doesn’t matter where you are, there is always the chance of crime or violence. Does that mean you should never go anywhere? Stay in the house, hide under your blankets where the world can’t find you? Of course not. You just need to stay smart and be safe out there.

1. Stay In Groups

I’m horrible for this. I walk everywhere and have no problem walking home alone most night. Unless we’ve had an incident in the store, or I had to deny a lot of sales to people in the area, I’m fine walking. My co-workers won’t let me do that though. When we close the store at night, we stand at the doors in a group while the shift leader locks up. Then, we walk as a group through the parking lot, making sure everyone gets to their car ok. We wait and make sure everyone’s car start usually, and everyone gets out of the parking lot ok.

If you’re in a group, you’re less likely to become a random target usually. Some random criminal isn’t going to want to mess with a whole group of people when they could pick on the person who is walking alone.

2. Keep A Legal Weapon With You

I’m not talking about arming yourself to the teeth with guns and ammo. You probably have keys with you. Did you know that putting your keys between your fingers not only makes a great small weapon in an emergency, but it’s also a very low budget way to cosplay baby Wolverine?

We always joke at work that we’re fine in any situation because we have to wear steel-toe boots at work. Those in themselves are a weapon. A kick to the shin or groin with the toe of one of those will stop a lot of people.

Heavy backpacks or purses are great for swinging at people. Large rings make a punch more effective. Keys on a lanyard can be swung around at someone in a panicked moment. There are a lot of things that you have with you right now that can be weaponized.

3. Keep Your Phone Handy

This is the best tip I know. I always have music playing on my phone, so I know it’s right there with me. Know the emergency and non-emergency police numbers for your area. If you think you’re being followed, or you’re in somewhat but not immediate danger, you can always call the police. They’d much rather stop a crime before it starts, or when it’s just starting, then have to clean up the aftermath.

If you don’t feel comfortable calling the police, call a nearby friend. If I have to walk to someone’s house at night, I call them while I walk. That way, I can tell them about anyone suspicious around me. If something were to happen to me, then my friend would not only have a physical description of whoever is bothering me, but she would know where I am so she can call the police for me. She would also be able to hear what is going on as long as I’m on the phone with her.

Well, that’s all the tips I have for today. My work Christmas party is this weekend, and my roots are showing pretty bad right now. I’m off to dye my hair and make myself feel all pretty-pretty again. I am going to work on this topic more at a later date, though, and find some more tips and advise for staying safe out there. I just had to get this out of my head today, because I’m still pretty shaken up about last night.

 

Adjusting

I think my brain automatically went into crisis mode after my last post. It’s like, “Well that’s done, now what?”. One part of my brain knows that I can just keep writing like this every day, even without NaNoWriMo to push me. But another part, the stubborn and cranky part, is freaking out. That part of my brain keeps telling me that I finished this project, so now I need to move on and start more projects. Why would I keep writing when I finished my writing for the month? And while we’re thinking like that, why keep writing into December? I mean, there’s all that holiday stress; my schedule is going to be all wonky; I have all that shopping and baking and wrapping and then re-wrapping once my festive feline Bowser Kitten attacks the presents. Why add more stress to that with writing? Writing is for November, and those odd times inspiration strikes and I have access to my computer at the same time. Why force it?

This is the part of my brain that keeps throwing more and more at me. When I wrote my post on things I’m really not good at and mentioned actually finishing things I start, one of you commented that I have to stop trying to do everything all at once. I need to do my month of writing, make it a habit, make it feel wrong not to do it. Once I have that going for me, then throw another thing in there. Well, this part of my brain really hates your suggestion, as much as I freaking love it. This part of my brain is trying to overload me with thoughts, with ideas, with lists of things that I should be doing all at the same time instead of keeping up with writing.

I’ll let it win every now and then when it’s beneficial to me anyway. On Sunday I had to watch a lot of security footage at work and saw myself on all three of the most unflattering cameras. I had to stare at myself standing at the cash register, very intensely looking up something on my phone for a customer, hunched over the counter. My posture was horrible, and I looked huge. So that part of my brain has been telling me over and over, “Forget the writing. You need to work out! You need to eat healthily! We should meal prep! And eat ALL the veggies! Let’s give up meat and go vegan! I know you haven’t run in years and spend most of your day sitting at your desk, but let’s sign up for a 5K next week!” It’s almost too much for me to handle, being bombarded like that by my own brain.

I caved a bit last night while I was at work. I hit up the grocery store on my break and bought a tonne of veggies. The way I look at it, I should be able to appease that part of my brain at least a little bit just by eating a bit better. When I’m sitting here, I usually munch on chips and drink my Coke Zero. But today, after my writing is done, I’m cutting up some veggies and making some stuff to keep in the fridge so it’s convenient for me to grab a healthy snack. I’ll go make some carrot sticks and celery sticks. I’ve got stuff for pico de gallo, which I can throw in anything. Need something on your toast? Pico de gallo. Making an omelet? Add some pico de gallo. Craving junk food? Chips and pico de gallo. Need something on your pasta? Olive oil, cayenne pepper, and pico do gallo. I think I might make a cucumber salad too, just because I could probably eat a cucumber every single day if I had one here.

Even just sitting here trying to type, my brain is shouting so many stupid things at me. I have a few topics left over from this month that I had planned to write about. I also have a bunch of scraps of paper from me jotting down ideas at work. When I set out to start this month, I planned out a whole bunch of posts and stuck to that plan in the beginning. When I didn’t have anything in my mind to write someday later in the month, I had my list of topics I could go off of. Now that little stubborn part of my brain is screaming at me: “What the hell are you going to write about now? You think you can go all of December with just a handful of topics? You think this is bad, just remember that you have the whole year to write before November comes back around! You’re going to use up all your topics, and then have nothing to write next year and you’re going to FAIL!!!” A big part of me just wants to curl up with a notebook and start jotting down ideas, no matter how stupid or how bad they are. It’s what I used to do all the time when I didn’t actually write anything. I’d waste all my time fleshing out ideas, making notes, and telling myself that I still didn’t have enough material to actually start a post.  I’d spend more time worrying about not having anything to write with a notebook full of shitty ideas I was sure I could turn into something if I just made enough notes, than I actually spent writing anything.

I know I have to keep up my ideas list. I can’t just rely on my bits of scrap paper floating around my desk. I think I’ll start organizing them, keeping up my lists in OneNote. I have a little writing section in there, and I’m sure I can set something up to keep me motivated. I can go through my ideas from this month that I didn’t use, and start a master list of topics. If I want to make notes on things, I can make a sub-page for that. I can keep track of my calendar, and word counts, and make goals for each month. I mean, I can make my own NaNoWriMo-esque motivational notebook in there to keep me going.

There’s a lot of things my brain is telling me to focus on right now instead of writing, and I really need to sort through it all. Drink more green tea; look for a new job; take up jogging; go do a bajillion push-ups; learn to cook Japanese cuisine; work on Christmas crafts; drop everything and start reading that massive pile of books I’ve been meaning to read. I think I need to find some sort of balance right now, between this and everything else. I mean, some days this month I’d let myself get distracted by things online and spend 3+ hours sitting here banging out 2,000 words while I read NotAlwaysRight and window shopped online stores. If I can break myself of that habit, then I’ll have the time to do the other things my brain is screaming at me to do. Maybe at night, instead of laying there in the dark wishing I could fall asleep while the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend snores away next to me, I’ll just get up and read a little bit. I can find little bits of wasted time in my days, and use that to do the other things my brain is telling me to do (except for the jogging. I’ve always hated jogging, and I don’t know why my brain wants me to do it).

I really do want to keep up with writing. Even if my content right now isn’t great, it’s the fact that I’m actually doing it that matters to me at this point. I spent so many years just not writing anything because the few things I actually did get down weren’t terrific. I basically thought that every single little thing I ever put down on paper or typed out had to be a freakin masterpiece, and scared myself out of actually trying. I was basically too scared to try, because I didn’t think I was any good. But people actually read what I write. They like my posts, they keep coming back to read them. Even if not every single post is amazing, chances are I’ll push something out that is at some point. I just really need to keep doing this.

Only time will tell how much I keep up with this. AAB is really pushing me to keep doing this. He can see a change in me, and it’s brought about a change in him too. I’m happier, and it makes him happier. Do you know what we did on Saturday night that we haven’t done in more than a year? While he was cooking dinner, he had a song stuck in his head. He kept singing it to himself, until I could identify it: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. While he was singing to me, he just grabbed me to slow dance. So I found the song on YouTube, and we giggled and slow danced in the middle of the kitchen at 10-o-clock at night, just being happy together. We used to do things like that all the time, and it’s been ages since we did that. But I’m happier now doing my writing, he’s happier working on learning to cook, and it’s making everything just a little bit better for us. Whether I keep up with writing every single day, or just a few times a week, I don’t know. But this is something I want to work on, even if that stubborn part of my brain is screaming at me not to.