Safety First!

Travelling to Powell River for the Family Day weekend, we arrived at the ferry terminal at twilight. Even the wet, yucky weather couldn’t diminish the beautiful scene of water, sky and clouds (lots, of damn rain-producing clouds!)

Once we were on the ferry, my sailor and I went upstairs for coffee and snacks. Our boy and Chihuahua remained in the truck. He was in the back seat (hidden from view by the tinted windows) watching a movie. She hopped onto the driver’s seat the moment my sailor’s bottom vacated it so she could glare at everyone passing in the manner of small dogs who think they should rule the world.

Well into the voyage, the loud-speaker crackled to life with an important announcement:

“Attention! Would the driver of a silver Ford truck with a Chihuahua return to the car deck. Your Chihuahua has turned on your lights.”

My sailor and I looked at each other. Odds are this was our truck/Chihuahua combination.

The beauty of cell phones is that neither of us had to do the walk of shame through the crowded cafeteria to direct our Chihuahua to stop playing with the lights. I texted our boy to ask him to turn them off and please keep a better eye on the Chihuahua of power.

Whew!–mini Marititme crisis averted.

Wandering through the ferry afterwards, I was impressed by some of the signage.

Clearly, safety is a priority on these vessels.

Oh dear! I think I performed this manoeuver (twice) at a reading conference in Victoria last fall. Where were warning signs like this when I needed them?

My favourite BC Ferries warning sing of all time. This powerful image speaks for itself.

There Will be Turkey


Ho Ho Ho! Did you hear the one about the Chihuahua and the turkey?

It ends with the turkey languishing in a hot oven like an executive in a sauna and the greedy Chihuahua drooling beside the stove, hoping the bird will make a last-ditch break for freedom.

We people are merry today because our family’s together and we have a lovely turkey on our table and a wonderful dog sniffing around underneath it. The pooch is happy because my sailor can’t resist those big puppy eyes so there will be tidbits coming her way.

Wishing you everything necessary for a joyous day this Christmas.

The Onesie

I’m always cold.

I don’t like being cold, but I’m too environmentally conscious (read cheap) to turn the thermostat to a comfortable level. In practical terms this means we bundle up–way up–through the long Canadian winter.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the perfect article of indoor cold weather clothing–the adult onesie! This baby wraps me in plush teddy bear softness from scalp to slender ankles. (On the flip side, imagine my sailor’s “delight” when I began wearing my all-encompassing fur suit to bed.)

As I go about my daily routine, I find myself wishing I had my cozy onesie on instead of my day clothes. If only I’d found it in time for Halloween, I could’ve attached ears and a tail and worn it to work for one glorious day!

Recently I discovered the onesie’s only negative quality–it’s impossible to get out of in a hurry.

The contractor we’ve hired to address our house issues turned up almost an hour early this morning.

He knocked on the front door as I was sipping my first coffee of the day. The Chihuahua (never a morning person at the best of times) quivered bleary-eyed, woofing in his general direction. Me? I raced to the bedroom fumbling with the three-foot zipper that bisects the front of my darling onesie so I could climb out of it and get dressed before facing the tradesman.

Sigh, perhaps the onesie is best reserved for lazy weekend mornings when I can lounge around for hours like a content teddy bear.

Nose Prints and Wine

One week of school done, thirty-eight to go!

As relieved as I am to be back at work, I’m exhausted after working five days in a row.

Here are some first week of school stats:

1 glass of wine this week. I was (gasp!) too tired to even drink most days after work.

2 episodes of Vikings. My sailor and I watched Ragnar’s exploits last night because it was Friday night and staying awake long enough to watch two hours of TV was all I could manage.

3 days of leftovers. It’s amazing how far you can stretch one crock pot meal when you’re too limp to cook at the end of a working day.

4 cups of Tim’s new Dark Roast. Determined not to fall back into my daily coffee habit, going through the drive-through only four times this week was an accomplishment!

5 Chihuahua-height nose prints on the living room window. She watched us leave each morning, convinced she’d never see us again. Imagine her delight when we turned up again every evening.

How to be a Boater

We had our first family sail on the weekend. Amazingly, after only one trip, I already have hot boating tips to share. (I’ve never let a lack of knowledge stop me from offering advice! Why start now?)

1. Wear a bathing suit under your clothes. It was scorching hot and the water was clear and calm. I wanted to slip into something comfortable (my life jacket) and slide off the swim platform to cool off, but without a bathing suit (or even a towel), I decided not to. Next time…

2. Get a strap for your camera or cell phone. The lake was so beautiful I was snapping photos like nobody’s business, but with my slick, sweaty hands I almost dropped my phone in the drink more than once.

3. Make sure your Chihuahua is comfortable. Ours had a bit of a rough start to the day. We launched the boat and my boy and I stood on the dock holding on to it so it didn’t drift away while my sailor parked the truck. I couldn’t hold both dog and boat, so I put her on the back deck. She spends a great deal of energy trying to ensure she doesn’t get left behind (or in this case, sent off to sea) without us. Even though I was right there, rubbing her ears while gripping the boat, she yelped and threw herself against the side of the deck trying to get out. Once we were all aboard, she settled down in a comfy spot behind the driver’s seat and enjoyed the ride. Happy dog = happy day!

4. Enjoy the experience. On land, I spend a great deal of time rushing around, ticking tasks off my to do list. Out on a boat, it’s impossible to work through endless chores. It’s enforced relaxation. If you can let go of your responsibilities, it’s very liberating.

5. Have chilled his and hers cocktails waiting in the fridge at home for apres sail–a refreshing bacon beverage for him, pretty fizzy pink wine for her!

Things That Go Bump in the Night

It’s hard to sleep tucked up in my lonely bed. I often read to pass the lonesome hours. Sometimes reading makes me sleepy, but other times, if the story is too stimulating, it has the opposite effect.

At home without my sailor I should have known better than to choose a vampire novel and not just any vampire story, but one written by the king–Stephen King.

I read the opening chapters hoping the unspeakable evil would bypass Jerusalem’s Lot, the novel’s bucolic setting. Of course, it didn’t and the malicious vampire arrived to suck his way though the unwary populace.

Deep into the novel, the plot was gaining intensity. The heroes had arrived at little Mark’s house to warn his parents about the new monster in town when the lights suddenly went out. (Anytime the lights dim in a movie or novel, you know it’s not going to end well.) In this case the fiend strode forth from the shadows, angry a group of mere mortals were attempting to thwart him and thirsty, terribly thirsty.

This was enough for me at zero dark thirty–time to put the book down.

I clicked off my lamp and gasped loud enough to disturb a snoozing Chihuahua. My room was black as the tomb.

My nightlight had burned out!

I’m certain there is some obscure law of physics to explain why a nightlight only burns out on a night you are home without your sailor and have just read something really really scary.

I chewed my thumbnail and looked around. Was that a faint scratching at the window? With a whimper I assumed the universal posture of the scaredy cat–I huddled under the covers and hoped for the best.

The next morning me and my big under eye circles went shopping for a replacement nightlight and a new welcome mat. (My research indicates a vampire can only enter a home if he’s been welcomed in. I’m not taking any chances.)

Worst of all . . .

Standards are slipping.

I haven’t vacuumed in so long we’re ankle deep in Chihuahua hair. I’ve given up on dusting. We’re the only house on our street with an angora mantle piece.

But it’s the personal transformation that’s more concerning.

I’m looking pretty rough these days.

If it wasn’t for the bright red blemishes appearing across my face with alarming frequency, I’d be offered a senior’s discount because I’ve become so pale and haggard.

I’ve pretty much given up on contact lenses. It’s easier just to pull on my thick, spinster-style glasses in the morning.

Worst of all (and it pains me to even share this) I wore yoga pants to the mall!

I’ve reached the point where the dog, in her jaunty sweaters, in dressing better than me.

If my sailor doesn’t come home soon, he won’t recognize me.

Must Love Chihuahuas

What I say: Why is there a pile of clothes on your bedroom floor? I do your laundry and put it on your bed. The least you can do is put it away. Throwing it on the floor is not only disrespectful to me, it creates an unsightly mess!

What he hears: Blah, blah, blah . . .

What I say: Things are going to change. I’m not a servant. From now on it’s your job to load the dishwasher. That’s not too much to ask since you have no chores and I do everything around here.

What he does:


Really??? You’re welcome??? Could he be any more sarcastic? It’s too early to open the wine, so instead of drinking I try to remember my yoga breathing techniques.

What I really need is another adult to help me out here. Sure, I can vent to friends over the phone, over non-fat lattes at Starbucks and over Facebook and I can whine to my sailor over Skype, but it’s not the same as having a supportive grown-up at home with whom I can co-parent.

I’m tired of being the bad cop, setting the limits, enforcing the rules and (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) yelling until I’m hoarse. If I’d wanted to be a single mother I wouldn’t have worn that lacy white dress in front of a room full of witnesses and said good-bye to friends and family (not to mention job prospects) to follow my sailor from coast to coast and back again.

Wanted (desperately!): one co-parent. Must be kind, compassionate and sexy and must look good in a uniform. Must think I’m funny and be prepared to laugh at ALL my jokes. Must love Chihuahuas, burned food and chick flicks. Must be willing to carry my packages on shopping expeditions even when I buy heavy hardcover Nigella Lawson cookbooks, wait patiently outside fitting rooms while I try on dresses and fish my golf balls out of the ditch when I invariably hit them in there. Ability to wipe off slimy balls before returning them to me an asset. The successful candidate will assume permanent designated driver status and will interact in a positive manner with the boy providing guidance and role model-ness. Abilitiy to work evenings and weekends essential in this temporary, unpaid position.

True Confession. . .

004I spent a glorious July weekend holed up inside watching AMC’s The Walking Dead marathon.

It gets worse. . .

The sun was shining on the screen so I closed the blinds. I didn’t want to miss even one gooey walker grin or close-up of Darryl’s manly biceps flexing as he handled his cross bow.

I’m not into horror, really. I only watch for the character development, honest (and Darryl’s bulging muscles, obviously).

After watching all three seasons and conducting extensive online research (yes, this is really what I do in my spare time), I have some tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The earthquake kit I keep meaning to assemble and put in the trunk of my car would be very useful if we had to hit the road, as would a good pair of running shoes. There’s a reason none of the survivors wear flip flops or stilettos. Quiet pets such as cats or goldfish are preferable to yappy Chihuahuas–sorry, Penny!

My number one survival tip in the unlikley event of a zombie apocalypse: stick close to my sailor.

True, my sailor lacks the sexy drawl of a Georgia sheriff’s deputy and he doesn’t have Darryl’s bad-ass appeal (he’s more aging boy scout than bad boy with a heart of gold), but his recent pre-deployment training would probably come in handy.

My sailor is a strong swimmer, a good driver, an experienced camper and can start a fire even without fire starter. I doubt he’d be any good at catching squirrels, but that’s okay because I don’t eat red meat. (Note: I assume squirrels are red meat. I have no experperience either preparing or consuming squirrel meat on which to base this theory.)

Most important, my sailor is steady and dependable and would stick by me even though I’d likely slow the group down.

I just hope he gets home before the zombies arrive.