Rants

A Review of the Coleman Family Tent

Canadian Tire has this commercial.

I did not know about this commercial thanks to the magic of PVR, but when I purchased this behemoth of a ten-person tent for a 5 day family camping trip, Coleman was unwittingly fulfilling all of my unexpressed desires. I wanted to be the envy of all the tenters out there, all one amongst the army of 30 foot trailers. I wanted a tent that would house me, my camping-averse husband, my four-year olds, and my wayward dog for 5 days in a temperate climate during a family trip without causing a domestic dispute.

Is that too much to fucking ask? Yes. Yes, it is.

Set Up

Pros: YES. FUCK YES. BUY THIS TENT RIGHT NOW.

Setting this tent up set me up for a level of optimism I can only describe as “overly confident” at best, but “delusional” is a more realistic term.

Cons: The worst part about setting up this tent was that I had to set down my beer to do it because the poles have clicky things that require two hands. I really tried not to set down my beer, friends, but things just couldn’t be helped. My husband fiddled with this random piece of material that we think is some sort of fly or perhaps, OH MY GOD I JUST FIGURED OUT IT’S PROBABLY A WALL FOR INSIDE THE TENT THAT IS SO SMART BUT HAS VIRTUALLY NO USE TO US NOW BECAUSE I AM HOME WITH ACTUAL WALLS MADE OF DRYWALL AND I AM GOING TO KISS THEM.

THERE ARE TWO QUEEN SIZED AIR MATRESSES IN THERE THIS IS PRACTICALLY THE HILTON

There are two queen sized matresses in there and room to spare. Camping is going to be goddamn aces, you guys. Optimism level: OFF THE CHARTS.

But really, this delivers on the promise of the instant easy set up, if you subtract the hours worth of fiddling with mystery material.

Staying In the Tent

Pros: This tent is large. There is lots of room. It seems durable. There are lots of windows. It is a rectangle. I am a tallish woman and can stand up straight in it, if you don’t count me nailing myself in the head with a lantern at least six times during this trip because I evidently don’t have a short-term memory anymore.

Cons: You guys, being dry is all well and fine when you’re in a car wash for a few minutes, but what do you get when you’re in a downpour with two small people with only passing knowledge of potty training, a camping-averse husband who said (for real, I am not shitting you) “I didn’t change my clothes for three days because I kept thinking we were going to shower” and a dog who prefers feces and rain-soaked kibble to anything else?

The answer is condensation. You get condensation.

I can see the water is beading on the outside, so why is it dripping on my head. This is my thought process for two hours.

I can see the water is beading on the outside, so why is it dripping on my head? This is my thought process for two hours.

This is what I figured out as I clung desperately to the side of the brand new air mattress that required complicated re-pumping every day after having seven children (five not my own) abuse it to the point of disrepair. I had four-year old feet in my face, I was half out of my sleeping bag, and I was getting dripped on. So I had some time to think. And I thought “FUCK YOU, Coleman. Fuck you for making a completely sealed off “family” tent.” No one wants to be sealed off with their family. That is why suite hotels and boarding schools were invented. It’s all well and fine that you can make a neato commercial, but the practicality of having a completely sealed off tent is nil. So basically, I was having angry thoughts.

P1020320

All that air took hours to escape because I did not have the cognitive ability at the end of the trip to open a door or window to let it out.

And then, just as I was getting some sleep, the voice of my dad appeared from the heavens. He’s not dead, so it was especially weird that he was offering us respite in form of a the hotel room key that he and my mom were checking out of, so we could take a hot shower. So weird that I grumbled “but there’s pay showers here”, and he retreated as quickly as he came, but left wine. I thought it was a dream until my husband lost his shit over the fact that there was no hot showers to be had and I tripped over the wine bottle on my way out of the tent. I am drinking that wine right now you guys, and nothing ever tasted so good.

Take home message: Coleman denied me a hot shower by making me think too hard. It does not matter how big the goddamn tent is, friends, if there is no ventilation and five mammalian bodies, you have a problem.

Take Down

Pros: Take down of the Coleman Family Tent is relatively easy because of the magic of presto buttons and neat shit like that. I completely fooled our spectators (my cousin and the assorted kids) that everything was fine because we got it all sort of down minus all the massive air/ventilation problem seen above. And they left for the beach, with us promising to follow shortly as soon as we got our tent in the bag.

Cons: And that is when the proverbial wheels came off the proverbial fucking piece of shit tent.

Friends, I said and did things this morning that I don’t care to repeat. A lovely, lovely couple staying in the campsite next to us who were quietly having breakfast, and who live-in-the-same-city-as-us-so-I-will-probably-run-into-them-at-the-Farmer’s-Market-tomorrow-because-they-seem-like-the-type and their two-year old daughter, did not need to hear the things that they heard this morning. There was a domestic scene of epic proportions, rivaled only by our camping neighbors trying to park a 35 foot trailer in pitch black the night before. I feel ashamed, dear readers. Ashamed at what that tent made me do.

All of this shit had to go back into our van. I would have just set it back up and lived there on a permanent basis if they let you stay more than 16 days. I could have been a charming campground resident who helped you back your trailer in. I had plans. A lot of plans.

All of this shit had to go back into our van. I would have just set it back up and lived there on a permanent basis if they let you stay more than 16 days. I could have been a charming campground resident who helped you back your trailer in and made hilariously burned pancakes every morning. I had plans. A lot of plans. I had a lot of time to make those plans.

I have many reasons for yelling, but that tent became the lightning rod for all of my frustrations this morning. I was furious at Coleman for disabusing me of the notion that a family camping trip could be the joyous family fun times that I was envisioning. Mostly though, I was furious at them for saving the shitstorm right for the end of the trip, when we had lost all organizational capacity. All I wanted was a hot breakfast, Coleman. What I got was a maelstrom of throwing shit around, patronizing, and accusations. Where is that in your goddamn commercial, Coleman?

But on the bright side, at least we didn’t leave the camping tradition of having a major domestic incident aside. It’s right up there with roasting marshmallows and beer fueled hikes.

Rating
Let’s review:
Pros: I was lulled into a false sense of security that everything was going to be ok.

Cons: I do not enjoy 1) being disabused of notions and 2) having all the shit saved for the end of things. I like the shit up front so I can deal with it.

This tent is recommended for the camping-averse and those with short attention spans. This tent is highly recommended if you have lost your sense of smell, prefer moist environments, and you can afford to just abandon it at the end of your trip.

This tent is not recommended for actual families, those in shaky marriages, or people with dogs of any kind, especially ones who have earned the moniker “Smelly” by a horde of children becoming collectively more odorous by the moment.

A Review of the VTech Something or Other

Today I am reviewing a mundane handset telephone. Before you call me a Luddite (which would be perfectly valid, let’s be honest), I own such a phone because I some members of our household are not capable of replacing cordless phones to their bases, and those things are not to be treated as disposable. So here is the phone we bought.

Vtech phone

We spent roughly $30 on this to receive an average of 1 legitimate phone call a week. We’re not terribly popular.

Why did we purchase this phone: Our house flooded and the restoration people packed up every single item in our house, including potatoes and squash, for safe storage. Everything, except for our bloody phone. The phone was subsequently abused, immersed in dust, and scraped across our glass stove top on a daily basis for 4 months by our asshole contractor who I wouldn’t recommend to build a goddamn bird house.

So I purchased a replacement based after carefully reviewing the wide selection at whatever grocery store I was at when I remembered our landline was currently completely useless and dead to us. This particular model met the minimum requirements of 1) being a phone and 2) being a not very expensive phone.

Features: It has all the regular buttons, plus some that are mystifying and some that seem to work according their specified purpose. There are a satisfactory number of cords. You can convey sound messages through the phone and a person can reciprocate if they have a similar device. Your basic goddamn miracle of modern times.

Drawbacks: The cord is kind of short, but this seems like a problem that could be solved at the dollar store if I was really dedicated.

This is as far away from the phone as I can get, which isn’t very handy when Rice Krispies are being treated as confetti.

A bigger problem is that every time you slightly jostle the phone, the handset falls off the base and dials whatever number called you last. This is the landline equivalent of a butt dial and basically the WORST.

This happened just tonight. I noticed at the 43 minute mark (because the phone does have a convenient timer on it from the days when long distance cost eleven gazillion dollars a minute) that it had called a friend of my husband’s.

FORTY THREE MINUTES.

Forty three minutes of everything I was doing maybe being overheard. Can you think of every sound you made in the last 43 minutes? Stop and think about it, pretending you were on candid camera. Are you panicked yet? I FUCKING WAS.

Here’s what I came up with, categorized according to general state of hysteria.

Innocuous:

  • Keyboard clattering
  • Dish rattling
  • Puttering

Unknown, but possible:

  • Eating noises? This is my worst nightmare; 43 minutes of chewing sounds.
  • Any bodily sounds. Did I blow any raspberries on my arm? Did I make that duck sound with my cheeks? Did I do a lot of weird sighing for no reason? Can you hear desperation over the phone? Please dear god, don’t let me have burped a word on someone’s answering machine. For the love of all that is holy.

Shameful things that I know for sure happened:

  • Read news articles out loud and repeating sounds or phrases that appeal to me in funny accents or languages. Like “sweet fancy sandwiches” courtesy of the Fug Girls, but as though Benedict Cumberbatch was saying it. And then if I was from Jersey. I was not successful at either of those things. Then I tried to imitate how Long Islanders say LonGuyland and decided I was stupid and tried to stop.. but didn’t.
  • Random cursing. Not even at things that deserved curse words, just randomly saying things like “fuckballs” or “tits” like a more intelligent person might say “hmm, interesting”.
  • Hum-singing “America, Fuck Yeah”. As in, Amhmmmhmmmhmmm FUCK YEAH! (fist pump) Hummhmmmhmmm every motherfucking day hmmm! (lip smack noise)

Look. I do a lot of stupid things, and I don’t need to spend MORE time emergency apologizing to my friends. Landlines are supposed to be safe like that! Thank you, friends for not being jerks who would post my soundtrack to YouTube timed to funny cat videos.

Conclusion: The VTech phone is a piece of garbage, but I would recommend it for those who don’t seem to have a need for privacy, like that Lohan person or Bigbum Sextape. Or people who are full time mimes and thus don’t have to worry about embarrassing noises. Also, the relatively low cost of phone is deceiving when you have to factor in bribery beer.

Overall rating: F+ for an enthusiastic “fucking technology, I quit you.”

Addendum: While I am at it, I would also like to make apologies for recent butt dialing situations, including (but not limited to):

  • Steph, for alerting me when she heard me crunching through snow (and mercifully avoided mentioning the hissy fit over frozen hot chocolate in my van)
  • My friend C. when I was falling down reasonably drunk at a concert and probably overheard unintelligible mutterings (please god, let it be the unintelligible mutterings and not the shit I managed to be coherent for, like the deep confessions to my neighbor).
  • And my friend I., who my phone seems to have a deep and abiding affection for and calls all the time. My phone has heart hands for you, I. FYF.

Shoot me your digits (do people still say that? did they ever say that?) and maybe one day you’ll overhear some random snippet of the rollergiraffe’s life. Just kidding. You’d have to be here to program it into my phone for me, and have a degree in ancient technology.

Sandy Hook Elementary

This isn’t how I wanted to come back to blogging. I was hunkered down this morning trying to think of something irreverent to write when I saw the news. Newtown. Sandy Hook. Adam* Lanza. These words will be part of our lexicon for decades to come, forever putting to mind this terrible day. Our hearts will break again and again in the coming days as victims share their stories. Families will recount the tales of their lost children, the altered course of their lives. We will be grateful for the bravery of teachers who tried to protect their students. There should be no limit to compassion and sympathy for the families who lost so much today.

We have all witnessed too many incidents of spectacularly senseless violence, so we all know what comes next. The inevitable debate over gun control, school protections, and legislation. The logical reaction to something so irrational, arational, completely divorced from any kind of ration, is to figure out how we can make it stop and how we can send our children into the world every day. I understand that debate; I understand that people on both sides of it want to protect themselves.

As Brother Jon stated, perhaps now is not the time to have that debate; it is time for mourning. However, it is already out there, on Facebook, Twitter, and I am sure in thousands of private conversations. I believe it to be a means of feeling like we would have had some control over the situation. If only gun control laws were tighter, if only everyone carried guns; no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you believe that if only things were slightly different you could control the outcome if something like this happened in your corner of the world.

But what really caused this man to do such a terrible thing? There is no justification for his actions, nothing redeemable, and no way to really prevent it, as scary as that is. Perhaps our only method of shaping the future lies in addressing the root causes of violence in this world, rather than the tools used to carry it out. You don’t pick up a gun to harm someone if you’re not sick in your heart and your head.

*I had originally named Ryan Lanza, as it was reported this morning.

Twin FAQ for the Overly Inquisitive Stranger

Strangers like to make conversations about babies. Baby twins make you into a D-list celebrity at the mall. I don’t even know how higher order multiple parents handle the attention. Most of the time I appreciate that people are good and kind and generally curious and I am more than happy to chat. Every so often I run into a douchehole who interrupts me while I am trying to get other things done, or is just your general expert on every goddamned thing around and here’s what I would really like to say to them.

1. Are they twins?

I am not sure, I just found this stroller at the grocery store. Just kidding, I found them at the playground. I was looking for a matching set.

2. Did you do fertility treatments?

Wow, that came right out of the gate. They were spontaneous, but in general I do not discuss the shortcomings of my ladyparts with strangers. Tell me more about your ovaries, do they function?

3. How do you do it?

I don’t fucking know. Babies have pretty good ways of compelling you to do their bidding. Sometimes it’s like wrestling an octopus, so I feel like I am developing other skills at the same time.

4. Are their personalities different?

Personality is so complex, isn’t it? How do you define ‘different’? What criteria would you use? Do you have a scale for multiple factors for me to rate them? I am not sure if they’d score statistically different in enough categories to qualify as different. Oh wait, NO. You just want to know if there’s an evil twin. No, their mother can be a bitch on wheels when people get all inquisitive though.

5. Are they identical?

Yes, they are identical. (no smart comments needed here; it’s going to get worse)

6. How do you tell them apart?

I don’t fucking know. How do you tell your hands apart? How do you tell these little baby rhinoceroses apart?

Everyone join me in saying awww (desicolours.com)

Chances are if they lived at your house you’d figure out a system to remember which one steals shit out of the pantry all the time and which one thinks he’s a unicorn. I can’t describe it to you.

7. They don’t look identical.

Well, due to the weirdness that is epigenetics and the developmental process, including the fact that my twins developed twin-twin transfusion syndrome late in my pregnancy, there are small differences in their weight, height, face shape etc. And they have different personalities, so they tend to use different facial expressions.

8. No, those kids aren’t identical, I don’t believe you.

Please refer to my comments on epigenetics and, you know, I am not even sure why I am bothering; you clearly don’t know science.

9. They are not identical.

Well, you got me. You win at the “spot-the-difference” game. YOU MUST BE SO FUN AT PARTIES.

10. Well, they just don’t look identical to me.

Six sonographers and my OB were obviously wrong. You know what, just go fuck yourself.

11. Humph.

(ANGRY FACE)

12. Twin boys! Do you have any drywall left?

No.

13. I would die if I had twins.

Probably.

Open letters to inanimate objects, or entities unlikely to respond for other reasons

Dear Peanut Butter;

You are too sticky. Fuck you.

- Maligned mother of two peanutbuttertarians

 

Dear Canada Post;

Those “Do not bend” stickers really mean something. You ruined a perfectly good river otter today.

- Spiritual River Otter

 

Dear friend of my 20 something year old neighbor who parties in the backyard every night;

I am sorry your life is so shitty and that you have to sleep on an air mattress while your roommate sleeps on “the best bed ever.” However, fireworks aren’t the answer to anything.

- Sleepless next door

 

Dear Ruby, of Ruby and Max,

A lot of people think you’re a bit of a harridan, but I think you’re doing a tremendous job raising Max on your own. However, there must be a lot of resources for orphaned rabbits out there. Perhaps you should look into foster care or moving in with your grandmother permanently to ease some of the burden and enjoy your youth. Rabbits are really only young for a few months tops, so stop wasting precious time.

- Concerned parent, watcher of too much treehouse

 

Dear Smartphones,

You are ruining my desire to be a luddite. Also, you are ruining our basic math and conversational skills.

- Still a luddite (for now)

 

Dear Basic Math Skills,

We need you now more than ever. It should not take a 40 minute phone call and a trip to Home Depot to figure out what went wrong. I blame the smart phones.

- Math literate

 

Dear Current Cell Phone,

You are not a smart phone and therefore you are disappointing. However, if you would have been delivered to me some time circa 1985 I would have both been freaked out and marveled at the amazing things you could do. I am sorry I curse at you all the time. I blame the smart phones.

- Owner of crappy cell phone

 

Dear Weather,

Stay glorious.

- In love with mother nature for the moment

 

Dear Higgs boson,

I understand you’ve been hiding for some time and that you have something to do with converting energy to mass. Can you please stop doing so at such a furious rate in my three year olds?

- The Rollergiraffe

 

And a special for Le Clown:

Dear Toopy and Binoo,

I have never been so profoundly grateful for something that irritates me so much. I alternately want to stab my eardrums out at the mere suggestion of your appearance and find your creators so I can wash their feet and kiss the hem of their robes. How do you make small people listen so well? Is this a skill that can be learned? Do I have to befriend a mute cat and stop wearing pants? I will do it Toopy and Binoo, if only you’ll show me the way.

- Paradoxically yours

P.S. There is one episode that starts out pink instead of blue, and it’s all my children will watch. You have also taught them to be those nerds at the movies that notice slight variations and develop a need to hoard them. How did you do that? You are wizards.

Unsolicited advice from a crusty old broad

Hey dude (do you guys still use the word dude? we used it a lot ironically when I was your age. I don’t know what the douches are hip with or something now)

I won’t lie; it was freaking amazing when you yelled out “nice bum, where you from” today when I was untangling my kids from their car seats. I have lost five pounds and a bit of twin skin recently, and that made my year. Sadly, I am being serious. That kind of thing doesn’t happen to me very often anymore and I’ll take the validation, even if it comes in the form of a half-baked eighteen year old in the passenger side of his buddy’s sweet ’91 ford tempo.

As a form of thanks I want to pass on a little advice: the suburbs at 6 pm is a terrible place to cruise for chicks. I know the shotgun approach is popular among lads your age, and I have heard that it is sometimes met with success. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to hop in a car full of sweaty dudes who yell out rhymes? I am not questioning your methods so much as your intended sexytimes partner. Look for young nubile women, not women anywhere within ten yards of a minivan wearing mom jeans and a disapproving look. I know most of the things that come out of your mouth right now are made of testosterone, melting through any kind of social filters that might prevent you from making such an egregious error (look up egregious on your iPhone, I promise you a good vocabulary will help you actually bag chicks with actual nice bums and other parts). There are no hot chicks here except for maybe a few sanctimonious yoga moms and trust me, you are not ready for that; that is for advanced users only.

Get to the mall or a club or some douchey restaurant with terrible food and too loud music where girls are pretending to develop a taste for red wine or wherever girls your age hang out before you speak one word to any female. I am literally old enough to be your mother. And not even a young teenage mother, just a regular mother. Just realizing that makes me sad, and also now kind of squicked out at the fact that I was even momentarily flattered. And mad. I would never let a son of mine yell at women like that! YOU GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT YOUNG MAN SO I CAN TALK TO YOU. You don’t treat women that way. Go to the library instead and seek out interesting age appropriate girls and treat them with respect. Also, put on an actual shirt; tank tops are not cute on boys and this is not the Jersey Shore.

You’re welcome,

Crusty Old Broad

In defense of kids on airplanes

I know, this one is a tough sell. But people like this who write about charging a tax for parents who can’t make their children behave make me feel all hulk style angry. Or maybe not angry, but a little hopeless.

Look, I get it. I have been there with a screaming two year old in my lap squashed into the window seat wishing we were seated in the emergency exit row so we could jump out end all of our suffering at thirty thousand feet. And I have twins so people are extra mad to see us on the plane. I have purchased drinks for strangers and closed my eyes and prayed to every god I could invoke for the screaming to stop. It’s useless; once a child is screaming that shit is happening and there is nothing you can do about it. Around the second hour in, most parents I know are in tears too and mentally calculating how much a one way rental from Montreal to Vancouver is going to be. Or how to build a raft to get back from Hawaii. Or whether their destination should just be their new permanent home. Stress begets stress, so the horribly embarrassed (and by now almost deaf) parent is worried about how to make a living as a hula dancer and whether you can actually live in a sand castle, the child is becoming increasingly distraught because they sense that when they get out of that horrible tin can Mommy is not even going to be able to keep up with their lego habit anymore. It’s a vicious cycle.

Traveling with kids sucks. If you’ve never tried it, go get a friend of yours drunk to the point of belligerence and try to get them from bed in the morning to a plane without incident. You are in charge of all the luggage, the transportation, food and drink, bodily functions, and everyone around you is holding you directly responsible for keeping the mood light. Sound difficult? Now imagine that your friend is not only drunk but only has a mild grasp of the english language and a seriously underdeveloped awareness that their actions have an impact on others. Basically, you’re fucked.

But I continue to travel with my kids anyway. Through the magic of airplanes my kids have been able to meet their great grandma and spend time with their grandparents, aunties, and uncles. In a world of limited vacation time where four day drives separate us from our loved ones, the airplane is the only way. Airplanes are the way kids get to experience the ocean and know that Europe is a real thing, not just some place that gets built when we arrive (am I the only kid who suffered from this delusion?). They expand kids’ worlds and there is so much value in that. The pain of traveling is well worth the experiences that it brings, which is something I always found before kids. Now it is just amplified.

I’ll tell you what separates the bad experiences from the good ones; a good seat mate. On our most disastrous flight I had an uncooperative seatmate who refused to even share the armrest and radiated hate lasers from his eyes at us for four hours. The flight was turbulent and our tv wasn’t working so there was no escape. Cue four solid hours of screaming. On our next flight I sat next to a very kind lady who engaged my kid when he started to get antsy beyond my control, whipped out her iPad and let him play Plants vs. Zombies for nearly two hours. I was so grateful I offered to buy her a house, but she felt that would be an inappropriate gesture.

You don’t have to like children. You don’t have to like my children. But the social contract requires you to be respectful and trust that I am going to do my best to keep them calm. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Instead of worrying about how we are ruining your day, rolling your eyes at me, shoving your seat back violently to show how put out you are, and writing hateful blogs about how all parents are terrible and children should be raised in cages like at large scale factory chicken farms, try shooting me a sympathetic look. Or ignore me for all I care. Just don’t build a voodoo doll in the airplane bathroom and concentrate on my untimely demise for the entire flight because I can sense it. If you want to try some advanced humanity, maybe struggle with the overhead bin for those parents who are busy trying to get their kid comfortable and under control (it’s a rare parent who won’t).

I am the first to admit that children don’t belong everywhere, but they do belong on planes with their families going the places families go. And maybe there should be family sections. But if they’re going to charge extra for that maybe it should be all you can drink too. With babysitters. And limo service with car seats already installed.

SOPA – Stop it

Stop it with the internet censorship, US. Seriously.. it’s a terrible idea. Without the internet working the way it does how would we ever Keep up with the Kardashians? How would geeks and lonely moms everywhere vent all their frustrations and pretend like their lives are normal and FINE? HOW WOULD WE KNOW CATS LIKE CHEESEBURGERS? Our lives would be terrible. Within a week of enacting SOPA I am pretty sure every city in the US would be burned to the ground. And that’s not a threat, I just think that most people would go insane the first day that their favourite website was blocked and start everything on fire. The internet is providing us with some good distraction while the economy spirals out of control, the environment slowly gets replaced with plastic and wars rage all over the place. At least let us have that while you fuck up the world in a thousand other ways, ok politicians?

P.S. I wish I could join you in the blackout. I seriously do, but I am no technical wizard. It is way too much for me to figure out how to install a plug in, so go visit Wikipedia if you want to look at a blacked out page. And be glad there’s people out there leading the charge against these things, because if I was in charge of the internet it would still be a scribbling in a notebook somewhere that I discussed over Friday Night Pints.

P.P.S. I figured it out and now you can’t read my post. I am a wizard.

my wizard offspring

P.P.P.S. I am not actually a wizard. I am literate and I can follow simple instructions on the internet.. like the little check box that WordPress so helpfully provided because they care. You should too. Write your congressperson and let’s hope they’re literate too.

What does a hotel concierge do?

I used to travel a lot for work and years of forgetting things, running out of things and looking for things to do has led me to believe that the concierge is the MVP of the hotel world. Their job is to make guests happy, and I’d imagine that would involve some fairly bizarre, wonderful and sometimes unpleasant requests. We are staying in a hotel right now and  have used some of the traditional requests like bringing up a cork and wine glasses so often that they now just leave fresh ones for us. But add two year old toddlers to the mix and we’re really exploring the limits of what a concierge will do.

Examples:

1. A hotel concierge will slightly panic when you come into the hotel demanding booster cables and start calling every hotel staff to see if anyone has any if you are scary enough. A concierge will not be able to actually boost your van though for liability reasons. This will make sense to you the next day, but not while your van is stuck in the parkade. The concierge will be kind to you no matter how much you freak out.

2. They will arrange cleaning staff to come to your room and deliver various bags when your son’s poopy swim diaper melts all over the bathroom and ruins a towel. The cleaning staff will not actually help you clean it up though, and you will ponder whether it makes more sense to throw the towel away and risk being charged for it or to put it in the laundry bag they’ve provided and hopefully let them throw it away. And in the future bring only your own towels for use at hotels because now you know what kind of abuse hotel towels take.

3. They will learn your name after you freak out at the restaurant staff for serving your toddlers raw hamburgers. Especially if one hamburger has a large piece of plastic in it. In fact, after that happens, they will pay for your meal, your internet service, your parking and just about any other thing that you want.

When we checked in we were behind a line of unruly musicians who were bound to cause trouble. I bet none of them shit on any towels though.

Oh f@#% it.

So I have a problem, y’all. I can’t pick a carpet. I want to be eco friendly and such, but the only one I can find so far is made with corn sugar polymers. So basically my kids would be walking all over high fructose corn syrup. I have so many issues with corn subsidies in the US that end up stripping the soil to create an overabundance of cheap beef, enough high fructose corn syrup to make us collectively obese and drive up the need for fertilizers and pesticides. And now they want me to buy a carpet made from that shit? Ok, I just decided. I can’t buy a corn fiber carpet.

Wait. Why am I choosing new carpet, do you ask? Did you not just go through renovations and have a terrible experience? Well, let me tell you. That shit got worse.

This is my house.

Ceiling not where we left it

Seriously. No, this is my house.

This used to be my main floor bathroom

This used to be my main floor bathroom

I think I might keep the curtain idea

Reasonably sure we had drywall in our basement just a few days ago. And our living room and our dining room.

Evidently I built up a lot of bad renovation karma complaining endlessly about my contractors. I still think that 6 months is unreasonable to redo two bathrooms, but now I would gladly go back in time and say only kind things about them in order to reverse the bad juju hex they put on me. The plumber came to do the final, final, final installation of the tap on the clawfoot tub. I was excited to come home and take photos of the completed bathroom and finally take a bath in my tub on a cool rainy day. The kids were drowsy and would go down for a nap. But something was odd; I couldn’t get the front door open and the roof over the porch was leaking. I finally wedged the door open and my motherfucking ceiling was hanging down into a puddle and water was pouring out of the light fixture. Needless to say, the tap installation went horribly wrong. I am not going to get into that because there is a mountain of blame to pass around to a few people and if I think about it too much I am going to start feeling all stabby again.

I locked the kids back in their carseats. I rushed in to try to find the water main shut off and checked out all those precious mementos that should be safely locked away in a safe deposit box. They weren’t, and I was minutes away from losing all of our photos, my kids baby stuff and all those things that you should take better care of. Now they’re in a pile of boxes in my kitchen that I will probably never unpack. I grabbed my laptop so I could get our insurance info: note, not a smart place to put this in case your internet is out.

The dogs were locked in their crates getting rained on in the basement, so I let them out and shoved them outside. They promptly ran away. I don’t blame them one bit; that’s what I felt like doing too. So while I was on the phone with insurance I had to keep randomly yelling “MAEBY, GET THE FUCK BACK HERE” like a demented, indecisive dog trainer. Eventually I was in a standoff with one dog at one end of the street and one at the other, neither budging. I couldn’t go back in to get dog treats, so I rifled through the van to see what was available. I found a peach and held it out to either dog. Neither was willing to get within 10 feet of me, probably out of fear that I would lock them in for more water torture. I set the peach on the ground. Willis couldn’t resist and slunk toward the peach, grabbed it, and ran away. So now I still had two dogs on the loose and I was down one peach. I hope our insurance adjustor was used to salty language.

My husband finally got home and corralled the dogs and then promptly proceeded to reach the same level of freak out panic that I was at. I ran to find a neighbor to watch the kids and dragged my poor neighbor’s mother in law out of their house and ran around trying to grab things.. anything. Just things. Then I threw things in the van with the kids and the dogs and fled to the safety of my parents house, abandoning my husband to defend us against the evil plumbers and the spectacular fight over insurance.

Things have basically gone downhill from there and we find ourselves homeless for months and having to make a lot of decisions. I am decisioned right the fuck out already, so I am not sure how this is going to work out.

So basically focusing on bourgeois problems like the source of carpet fibres and corn subsidies is keeping me from bursting into tears in the liquor store because we are homeless and I am sleeping in my parents unfinished basement. Ok, I totally burst into tears at the liquor store today, but thinking about carpet kind of helped me keep it under wraps.

And here's me on a toilet in my kitchen. That's a future gauge for whether your day is working out as planned. Toilet in kitchen = not working out, generally. I don't know, maybe you do want a toilet in your kitchen. It's my gauge then.