I Am A Garbage Human

I’ve been working a lot more hours at my book job recently. In the beginning I was lucky to get one 4-hour shift for a week, if I got any shifts at all. This week, I’m doing short shifts, but I’m working 5 days this week. Plus I have the 4 days I work at the booze job. Unfortunately, there is not 9+ days in a week, which means I’m not getting days off and have a few days of running between jobs.

Of course, this also means working more out of uniform. For my booze job I have to wear plain black pants and shoes with my uniform shirt. As long as I keep it all clean, I wear the same thing every single shift and no one cares. It’s not the same with the book job.

Dress code here is a little relaxed, but still professional. Some people show up in dress slacks and blouses, others in tights and tunics. Some wear nice jeans, some wear a different dress every day. Some have a very corporate vibe to them, some a bit edgier, some have a majestic hippy flare.

And then there’s me.

I like cardigans, pockets, and black. If I could, I’d wear combat boots or sneakers every day, with a cute dress (with pockets, of course) and a bandanna. I could change it up in the winter with tights and kilts. Adding tights to an outfit is the only difference between my summer wardrobe and my winter wardrobe. Sounds professional, eh?

I’m really not good at this “dressing like a professional grown-up” thing. Many many years ago, when I had my office job, it was so much easier. We sat behind desks in an office, and didn’t really care what we wore. There was no personality to it, no real effort. It was just dark dress pants, collared blouse, and heels. Sometimes I’d throw a knee-length skirt or some dressy boots into the mix, but it was all pretty basic.

But here, everyone has their own look, their own vibe. We’re working directly with the public, and are a different bunch of folk. We’re all very bookish, many of us are a bit artsy, there’s quite a few writers and researchers, and one woman who always seems to have pictures of bugs laying around for programs. Our CEO wears tights and shirt dresses, my manager wears pageboy hats and khakis, and we have quite a few visible piercings and tattoos in our break room. Basically, everyone is somewhat expected to show a little personality in their attire.

But I am a garbage human who can’t manage to combine “looking like myself” and “wearing something appropriate” into one look. Is a sundress and cardigan appropriate? What do I wear on my feet? Is rockabilly work appropriate? Are high heels ok to wear on the quiet floor? Are ankle bracelets professional, especially when they’re locally made and we push the “support local” movement? What’s the deal with bare legs? Or arms? Or face?

I’m just not good at this whole clothing thing. And it’s not just at work, either. I had to go to a friend’s bridal shower this weekend, and stared into my closet for a good 20 minutes before throwing on a long skirt and tank top. Of course once I get there, everyone is in jumpers: bridal party, friends, relatives of the couple, everyone. I was surprised the groom didn’t show up in a floral jumper at some point. I didn’t know jumpers were the thing to wear, and would have no clue how to wear one anyway.

While we’re on the topic of that shower, I am a total garbage human because I had no clue what to do for the shower. I knew enough to buy a gift off the registry, and had it shipped right to the bride’s house ahead of time like she had asked. The friends I went with did the same thing. But then when we showed up, they had presents. Like, they brought secondary presents to go with the presents they already sent. Like a present for the present!

The whole day was somewhat surreal for me. Woman were sitting around talking about families and careers, showing off pictures of kids and grandkids, talking about high school reunions and retirement parties. And there I am laughing in my head because a coworker sent me video of someone pooping in our parking lot that morning. Throw me in a bar, and I’m social. Carnival, totally social. Walking around downtown while checking on my homeless friends, extremely social. In a room full of women talking about regular, everyday things; awkward to the extreme.

I don’t know how to fully human.

I don’t get things like bridal showers, baby showers, gender reveal parties, engagement parties, housewarming parties, or basically anything else that celebrates milestones. When my brother graduated from University, we walked around for more than an hour taking pictures of him all over campus. When I graduated a few months later, I took back my robes and left. I didn’t even bother going to the graduation for my second degree, because what’s the point? I know it’s a big deal and all, but I just didn’t know how to make it feel like a big deal.

These events make me feel so awkward. I know I should be excited to be there, to be helping someone celebrate something in their life. But how? I basically sat around all day saying stupid crap like, “Wow, these potatoes are crisp”, “my what a moist chicken” and other nonsensical food related crap. I skipped the gender reveal party I was invited to right after that, because I can only handle so much awkwardness in one day. And to me nothing is more awkward than forced conversation with quasi-friends while a young couple smashes cupcakes in each other’s faces to reveal what their unborn spawn’s genitals will someday look like.

**shudders**

I know these are all like basic grown-up things that we humans do. We dress ourselves appropriately, we go to social events, and we celebrate milestones. This all seems so basic, and I still can’t wrap my head around it. Much like Jenna Marbles, I only have three looks: booze uniform, flannel-clad and disheveled with ripped jeans and old tank tops, and “what the hell am I supposed to wear, let’s close our eyes and pull things from the closet at random and hop it looks professional”. I have no real clue what I’m doing, whether it’s dressing the part or not being a socially awkward emu in a room full of majestic ostriches.

I’m just garbage at this.

But you know what? I kinda dig being trash. All of the people I’ve run into lately who seem to have it all together, all just seem so off. I’ve talked to people who are beautifully dressed, who have interesting lives and ideas, who do nothing but complain about every little thing. I complain about the things wrong with my life, joke about the dumpster fire it is right now, but I set about fixing things and enjoying the things I do have.

Instead of sitting around complaining the guy sitting at the corner on my walk is always there, and needs to get a life, and that if he took the $8 he made panhandling and put it towards rent he wouldn’t have to sit there, I freaking talked to him. He’s a sweet guy, limited income, who just like to sit and talk to people and has no one to talk to in his life.

Instead of ignoring my debts, pretending like they’re not there, and just hoping creditors will give up on ever collecting payment from me, I’m tackling things head-on. It’s as stressful as trying to bone quietly while your parents are reading in the next room and there’s no lock on your door. But it means I’m doing something about myself, I’m working on improving things, I’m working towards something, no matter how miserable it makes me at times. Would I like to bury my head in the sand and just forget all about this? Of course! But I’m not a majestic ostrich, just an awkward emu who is getting shit done.

Am I garbage? Hell yes! Am I awkward as hell? If you met me once you wouldn’t even have to ask that question, it’s a definite yes. But am I living life, working on me, trying to improve myself and my situation, and taking control of my life. Will I someday be able to navigate social gatherings? Maybe. Will I someday have the put-together wardrobe, the ability to walk in high heels, and hair that doesn’t remind small children of Ronald McDonald? It’s possible.

Just remember: if you’re a garbage human like me, if your life is a dumpster fire, if you are literal trash, things can always get better little bit by little bit if you put some work into it. It’s called a garbage CAN and not a garbage CANNOT for a reason.

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This Adulting Thing is NOTHING like I Thought it Would Be!

So life has basically been throwing gasoline on this spiraling dumpster fire of my very being lately. Today has been especially bad, with one thing going wrong after another after another. Everything just seems to be falling apart around me.

This is nothing like I imagined adulthood would be like when I was a kid!

When I was a kid, my mother’s big thing was “no cookies for breakfast”. I didn’t matter how special a day it was, you could not even look at the cookies until well after lunch time. It may have had something to do with an unfortunate incident involving a family-sized box of Oreo cookies having all of their filling eaten while my mother was in the shower when we were little kids. She stepped out of the bathroom and into the middle of a pile of licked and soggy creamless cookies.

Naturally, I decided that making rules like this was the biggest part of being a grown-up. I would be the one who decides when to eat cookies, or when to go to bed, or what to watch on tv. Obviously being a grown-up was all about being free to do absolutely anything I wanted to do.

Well then work happened.

That was another thing that was nothing like I expected it to be. I was always told “You can be anything want, and can do anything you put your mind to.” Well right about now, the only thing I want to put my mind to is a damn pillow, because I’m on my 8th straight day of work out of 10 days scheduled, with multiple days being either splits at my book job or a split between both jobs. I thought I would end up a respected writer, or a teacher, or a counselor, not working two jobs just trying to get by.

The thing is, when you’re working two jobs and have a bizarre schedule like mine, you don’t exactly get to choose when to sleep. You can’t stay up all night watching cartoons, because you have to get up for work in the morning. And you can’t take a nap in the middle of the afternoon when you’re running on empty because you’re either at work, getting ready for work, or running from one job to the other one.

And all that running around means not a lot of time for cookies.

As I’ve mentioned before, one days like today when I have to run from one job to another without a real break, I grab a bag of random cheap burgers from McDonald’s. Right now it’s almost 3pm and all I’ve had in my belly is water, coffee, and half a can of Coke Zero. When I finish here, I have to walk across downtown (not as far as I make it sound, and definitely not up-hill both ways), change out of my grown-up disguise and into my uniform, and work a closing shift. I don’t have time to be running around grabbing a salad or a box of cookies or whatever else might backhand my fancy. McD’s is on my walk, and McD’s has McDoubles, so that is my food for the day.

So now I’m running back and forth through downtown, hanging out with my new homeless friends that I talk to on my walks, eating bags of cheap burgers and working 13 hour days between two jobs. I don’t have the time to check my ever-growing list of tv shows and movies I want to watch. Instead of going to the beach this summer and walking around in the sand, I’m walking back and forth between works. Instead of going to concerts, or hanging out with friends in coffee shops, or having an epic and confusing love life , or doing any of the things that TV taught me I’d be doing as an adult.

TV and movies made this whole adulting thing seem so glamorous. It hasn’t been so far though. What most of these things leave out is the fact that not only are there negatives to being an adult, but they don’t just magically go away after a few days. When Monica lost her job at the restaurant, she found an even better one in her field, with full-time hours and everything. Not only that, but she had a close-knit group of friends there to help and support her, a friend willing to start a business with her, and a brother who was willing and financially able to lend her money. She didn’t seem to worry about losing her apartment, going without food, or defaulting on her bills.

Same thing goes for Lilly and Marshal. She was being absolutely crushed by credit card debt and hid it from him. A few episodes later, and it’s like nothing had happened. There was only one brief mention of things like credit scores and financial futures for her family, and then it was gone. They both seemlessly moved through their careers, and somehow money just didn’t seem to be a problem for them.

This isn’t how the real world works though.

I have student loans hanging over my head. I built up a good chunk of credit card debit in the first few years after I graduated, just trying to afford things like food and rent. I rent a room in a house with two ex-boyfriends and a random stranger, instead of having the giant purple apartment with a balcony rent-control. I don’t have a revolving door on my bedroom, a walk-in closet full of stylish clothes, or a million followers for my blog.

But what I do have is the ability to see that, even though things didn’t turn out how I planned, I can just make a new damn plan. Maybe this adulting things sucks right now. Who says it has to suck 5 years from now? I can just keep on working like I am, doing what I do, and build from here. And if things don’t adult right in that plan? Move on to Plan B, or Plan C, or Plan W if I have to.

This adulting thing has a lot fewer cookies for breakfast, a lot less sitting in coffee shops with friends, a lot less having a super close knit group of friends to do absolutely everything with. But it still has me in it, and I can do whatever the hell I want with it.

My Roommate Story #3

Hey Sunshine! Just a reminder that EVERYONE who has ever lived with another person has their own tales to tell in the crazy/weird roommate department. What’s yours?

The Finicky Cynic

Exactly a month ago, I posted one of my crazy roommate stories— I can assure you that there’s more wild stories to tell, so here’s another one!

A bit of context if you haven’t read the previous stories: since moving to France in September, I’ve found and have been living in a shared apartment with other people. From September to the end of November, I lived with three French girls, all of them students, and that was when much of the drama and insanity has happened. I’ll call them C, M, and S– C and M are friends, while S is on her own. C and S were fine, but it was M who had made life a bit, erm, difficult (which is an understatement, really). From going off about our window shutters *almost* breaking to a less-than-clean toilet, M was quite the character for the first three…

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The Ultimate Guide To Bounce Back From Any Break-Up

My last ex and I broke up mutually. It should have been the easiest breakup ever. But life gets strange, and I didn’t have this awesome advice to follow at the time.
Read on and enjoy the awesomeness!

If you asked me what any of my exes was doing today I couldn’t tell you.

And do you want to know why?

Because nobody cares.

When we first break up with someone it may feel like the world is coming to an end, but trust me there is light at the end of the tunnel. Breakups get easier with experience so if this is your first time facing this then you can slap yourself now because yes, you are still alive and yes you will get over it.

I came up with a few tips that can be useful if you are having a hard time letting someone go.

Understand That There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea:

I know that you may not want to hear this but this is so true. When you select that special person to take that journey with you in life, it…

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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.

Move From Hell: Moving back to Windsor

My roommates are driving me crazy. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true. Every day I feel my sanity slowly slip further and further away from me. Yet, I stay here. Is it because I love this house? Because this is the only real home I’ve known for years? Because I have some sort of connection to this place? Well, a bit. But mostly, I really REALLY hate moving.

You see, in all my years of moving and helping others move, I can only ever remember one move that was not a total disaster in some way. Ironically, it was our move from my hometown of Windsor to Sarnia, a place I grew to loathe for many years (but have grown a strange fondness for in my oldish age). The only thing that went wrong was an overly helpful aunt with a heart of gold trying to make sure we left my childhood home with sufficient memories with us. This resulted, many months later, in discovering just how much damage a frozen tomato thrown at full force at a sibling can do to drywall.

My family had a lot of bizarre happenings when any of us moved. When my cousin was learning to drive, our aunt moved out into a smaller town in the county and we all came to help her. In a blizzard. With our other aunt letting our newby-driver cousin drive her, my sister, and myself there. Aside from the sheer terror that comes from driving down a county road at 80km/h with a new driver in the middle of a blizzard, no one thought to tell us that there was a steep slope to the left of our aunt’s new driveway. Once we finally arrived at the new house, our driver jumped from the vehicle and rolled down a large embankment.

Another time, helping the same aunt move into a new place, I enlisted the help of my then high school boyfriend. He tripped and fell while carrying a dresser drawer down a flight of stairs, and wound up laying in a pile of my aunt’s underpants.

Of all of our family moves, though, nothing will ever top the move back to Windsor. This should have been a great day, considering how much I despised Sarnia at the time. I spent the few weeks before the move saying goodbye to close friends in the area. My little group of Petrolia-partying friends even made me a very sparkly scrapbook, which I still have tucked away in my memory box today. I was packed and ready to go days early. My parents had the moving company come out to survey the house and our load, to get any special instructions, and to go over general details of the move with my parents. Dad even rented a small U-Haul truck to take the contents of the garage and shed.  It all seemed so simple.

If only we had known.

First off, the moving company showed up with a truck maybe half the size of what we needed. We managed to cram all the major appliances and furniture onto the truck, but still had all of our boxes left. Somehow, the movers grabbed our overnight bags from the hall closet, and the cat carrier for our cat, but not any boxes. We had to dig through the truck to get those things unloaded, and then fit boxes wherever they would fit. Everything that was left was loaded into the smaller truck dad had rented.

We were somehow able to get a trailer last minute and hook it to the back of dad’s smaller truck. My cousin and I crammed as much of the smaller garage things into the back of his pickup truck and attached a pull trailer with the log splitter on the back of that. My mother had my grandma, my sister, and our precious kitty Peaches in the family minivan. They wound up so crowded in there, my sister had to shift into weird positions just to keep things in place. Every time they turned left, brooms hit her in the head. Whenever they turned right, a basketball hit her in the head. She was diligent in making sure Peaches was comfortable the entire time.

In all, it took us almost twice as long to pack everything up as we had scheduled for. We rolled out of Sarnia almost 4 hours late.

When we finally got to the new house we were renting for the next ten months, we started counting the days until we left. The basement, we were to find out later thanks to my mold allergy, was infected with black mold. There was no real heating or cooling in the master bedroom, just lime green shag carpeting. The laundry shoot led straight to the furnace, and the washer and dryer were plugged into an extension cord dropped through the kitchen floor. Months later we would have the house appraised in the vague hope of buying and renovating it. We were basically told that the only way to fix up that house affordably was with a gas can and matches.

As the rest of the day unfolded, more and more things went wrong. Somehow one of the movers put some of mum’s good China int he garage, under a very large box of heavy power tools. Boxes of liquor were left outdoors for hours, with some bottles only having pour spouts instead of real lids. That New Years Day, my cousin and I were to discover the hard way that having them left like that meant that bees and fruit flies flew into the bottles. I can still picture the stream of vodka flying out of my cousin’s mouth as my sister pointed and screamed: “You’re drinking bees!”.

Family members came to help us unpack at what they thought would be the end of the day. Instead what they found was a yard full of cranky, sweaty, hungry people not even halfway done unloading the first truck. My parents did get pizza and beer for everyone, paid movers included, seeing as it is the universal payment for helping someone move. That only gave us a very short break in a very long day, though.

I didn’t get to bed until after 2am that night. Being as stubborn as I am, I insisted on getting everyone’s bedframes put together and all the beds made with real sheets so we could all sleep soundly. You ever drop a screw in lime green shag carpeting?

The next day, dad tried to open the closets in the master bedroom so my parents could unpack their clothes. The doors were mirrored sliding doors, much too big for the closets they were on. Keeping the doors on gave my parents a little over two inches on either side to reach their arms in and root around for what felt like the right outfit. The shower doors in the upstairs bathroom were the same problem. After dad finally managed to pry the doors off and put up a shower curtain, he found that the showerhead aimed a very light stream at his chest. He had to crouch down and almost kneel to take a proper shower. It was like showering at Danny Devito’s house.

As we unpacked, we found more and more things wrong. Everything stored in the basement had to be moved onto wooden pallets because the walls dripped when it rained. Mum lost some of her good China plates that were cracked beyond repair by the weight of the tools thrown on top of them. Poor Peaches could smell the dogs that lived there before us and hid behind the couch for close to a week. Oh, and did I mention a local small religion used to hold ceremonies in our house, and members would drive by to pray and take pictures sometimes.

Very few good things came from that time. I did get two big closets for 10 months, which was great. My sister learned the hard way that when you use spray Pledge on your dresser, you need to be very careful not to get any on the hardwood floors. And Peaches had hours of fun running down the hallways, sitting down, and sliding into the closet doors. Eventually, we caught on to his game and left the hall closet open with a large stack of blankets on the floor.

At one point in that house, I came down with a very bad case of pneumonia thanks in part to the mold there. While that would normally be a story for another day, this post needs some cheering up, so here it goes:

My parents were out for their anniversary dinner, while I was left in charge of my sister, my brother, and my brother’s best friend who was visiting from Sarnia. I was feeling like crap, so I went into the basement to lay down and watch some TV. At some point, I passed out. When I woke up, I hard one hell of a time breathing. My sister called up the restaurants my parents had wanted to try and have dinner at, but they had no one there registered with our very unique last name.

She ended up calling my uncle. He and my aunt came over as fast as they could drive. My aunt stayed home with the others, while my uncle broke every traffic law imaginable to get me to the hospital. We ran red lights, we sped, we passed over the solid yellow line. We were panicked rebels.

When we finally got to the hospital, I was barely conscious. My uncle helped me into the ER, and up to the triage nurse’s desk. She asked what the problem was, and my uncle started telling her that I couldn’t breathe and had passed out a few times and was kinds turning blue a bit. The nurse held up a finger to him, looked at me and said, “No. Let her take a deep breath and tell me.”

My uncle looked her dead in the eye and screamed, “If she could breathe, do you really think we’d fucking be here?!?!” I was admitted to the ER right away after that.

In the end, it turns out my parents registered under a different name at the very first restaurant my sister called. They registered under Griswold, the name of a National Lampoons movie family for whom everything goes wrong any time they try to celebrate anything.

So, that’s the first in a long line of stories of moves from hell. I’ll have more for you later, Sunshine. But right now my wine glass is empty, my pizza was just delivered, and the ever cuddly Bowser Kitten needs to be fed.