Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The BC Effect and the Legend of the February Flowers

In a few short days I will be off to celebrate the big 4-0 with my BFF who lives in the beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. I love Vancouver, especially this time of year.  Winter in Canada is really cold, everywhere other than BC.  This winter has been especially cold and miserable, so I am looking forward to enjoying some warm spring air. But this enjoyment comes at a price. I am referring to the BC Effect.

For those of you unfamiliar, the BC Effect is a syndrome that all people that live in BC suffer from, but the ones most afflicted are those who originated from the prairies. Once that u-haul crosses the border from Alberta to British Columbia an invisible mist engulfs the head of the soon-to-be resident and alters their molecular structure in a way that makes them forever convinced that BC is indeed the most extraordinary place on the planet. No other square foot of earth on any continent can contend with the enchantment that is British Columbia. I have family, friends, former co-workers and acquaintances who have all moved to BC, and they all suffer from the BC Effect.  And there is no cure.

Now, I will concede that there are definite advantages to BC. It scores big points for scenery, warm winter weather, an impressive cultural element and the shopping is spectacular. And the people, for the most part, are very positive. Really, really positive. Stepford, positive. Nobody is fat, or smokes, or harms the environment or drives around in an obnoxious oversized pick-ups with naked women on the mud flaps. They walk everywhere possible, recycle and eat organic food. It can be quite enjoyable.

The BC Effect does, however, remove all logical perspective and the ability to have a solid base in reality. This manifests itself in many ways including a consistent (albeit subtle and polite) distaste for other locations to live (mostly directed at the province from which the BC Effect sufferer originated), as well as a burning desire to convert the non-believers. They’re like born-again Christians, but they worship at the altar of the God of Weather. Anyone from the prairies who travels to BC in during winter months is signing an invisible contract that allows every single conversation to begin with how our weather is horrendous and far far inferior to the weather they get to enjoy in BC.  We are expected to actively participate in this conversation, and it’s not over until we concede to their superiority and adequately verbalize our jealousy.

An example of BC Effect is the legend of the February Flowers. In BC the flowers bloom relatively soon into the new year, usually around the middle of February. I have heard about these mystical flowers from every single person I know with BC Effect, and to hear them tell it by February of each year the minute you step out your doorstep you are greeted by masses of blooming bouquets so exquisite that you are immediately rendered mute by their splendor. These flowers are in fact so amazing, that BC Tourism passes out little packets of kleenex at the airport so the new arrivals can appropriately deal with the aftermath of the exploding orgasm that will inevitably occur once eyes are first laid on the February Flowers.

And I’ve fallen for this before.  My first February trip to BC I rushed out of the airport as fast as I could because I couldn’t contain my excitement about getting to see FIRST HAND the February Flowers. I had dreams of posting selfies with these flowers that would draw jealous oohs and aahs from my facebook friends and colleagues alike.  What did I actually find?

These, ladies and gentleman, are the February Flowers:

Me: Huh? That sorry little group of crocuses? THOSE are the February flowers?

BC Effect sufferer: Yes, but….. they are flowers! In FEBRUARY!

Me: Oh. Umm….yeah, they’re nice.

BC Effect sufferer: It’s FEBRUARY! And there are flowers, right there! And there is no snow on the ground!!

Me: Yeah, but it’s pouring rain and I’m just as freezing as I was when I left Saskatchewan.

BC Effect sufferer: But, I have flowers at my house too! Just wait until you see them! Flowers! In February!

Me: Hey, yeah….okay. They're great. Ummm……. do you need to borrow my kleenex?

I have since paid for my lack of flower enthusiasm by having to have The Weather Conversation multiple times throughout the years. In fact, some BC Effect suffers actually CALL ME in Saskatchewan during the winter months for The Weather Conversation whenever they are feeling particularly smug. I’m pretty sure those calls coincide to when the housing prices jump to $950,000 for a 750 sqft bungalow built in 1965 located 45 mins from the actual city, so now I just roll with it.  

I leave on Thursday. BRING it, weather Nazis. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Week of Me

This is a super politically incorrect thing to say, but I will admit that while I miss them, I don’t hate it when my children leave my house to spend time with their father. It helps they are older (8 and 12), so they understand what is going on, they know they’re coming back, and they have a good father. And the unintended result is that I have time by myself. And OMG it turns out I am my favorite person to hang out with! I seem to always want to do the exact thing I feel like doing. Like, every single time.

Last week was Christmas, and aside from a bit of juggling here and there for the actual holiday, I had the kids for the whole week. But now it’s the week after Christmas, so their father has them this week. And my workplace made the absolutely dazzling decision to shut down the two weeks around Christmas and New Years, because who would have a culture emergency during that time anyway? Artists are shitfaced at the best of times, never mind all the sparkling shenanigans going on at years end. So that means I have an entire 7 days without any work or parenting responsibilities WHATSOEVER. I’m pretty sure the last time that happened I was twelve.  

The Week of Me started yesterday at noon.  I have a whole list of stuff I’m going to do.  In no particular order:

  • De-Christmas. Fucking needles.  And not the fun heroin-y kind either. 
  • Make turkey soup from the decaying carcass in my fridge. ……It’s more delicious than that sounds 
  • Find a new series on Netflix and watch it ALL in one sitting. Only breaks allowed are to pee and make more nachos. Suggestions welcome. For both series options and nacho toppings. 
  • Drink beer in the afternoon without guilt or feeling like a cast member of 16 and pregnant. But, you know, old. And not at all pregnant.
  • Go cross-country skiing. I’ve had this idea for a while now, but it is frequently thwarted by the fact it’s often -40 here. And I’m not too sure where the trails are. And I don’t really know how to do it. And I don’t have skis, poles or boots. Let’s put a pin in that one. 
  • Have a dance party for one in my kitchen with the music blasting.  Check! 
  • Decide what bathing suit(s) I need to bring to the fabulous warm-holiday I will be taking with SuperKeely and Politica at the end of January. I’ve lost a decent chunk of weight lately, so it might be fun. Then again, it’s BATHING SUIT shopping.  Generally speaking I come away from that experience feeling like Hagrid in drag. 
  • Organize my itunes. Why hasn't someone invented some kind of software program that intuitively knows what song I mean when I type in “that song from the 90’s with the guy with the high voice and long drum solo”? I mean, really. 
  • Increase my ‘fuck that guy’ list by one. This guy has been MIA for more than a week after standing me up last Saturday. Real nice, eh?  This list is now at two, by the way (the ex-husband earned the first spot). I have high hopes 2014 will see a significant increase.  ;)

I’ll keep you all posted on how my Week of Me is going.  So far, it’s been everything I thought it would be and more.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dipping a Toe Back in

So even though I’m 40 years old, I’ve never really been on a real, scheduled-in-advance, adult-type date. Dating for me up until this point has really been a series of random teenage hook-ups fueled by cheap schnapps and my desire to french kiss boys in the back of a Buick Skylark. Then I got married at 20 years old and such tongue-action in the back of muscle cars was frowned upon.  

Now that I find myself a single adult for the first time ever, I have started doing relationshipy things in a less, uhh…. organic way, than I used to. And a couple of weeks ago I was asked out on a date. By a man. He wasn’t even drunk and I had no idea what kind of car he drives. Although he did tell me his favourite band was AC/DC so I’m assuming we’re taking some kind of two-door American car with a shitty muffler and personalized plates.  

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

It started innocently enough as a work meeting, but heading into the third hour it was becoming pretty clear it wasn’t a work meeting anymore. We talked about our lives, kids, (failed) marriages, hobbies, likes and dislikes (this is when the AC/DC thing came up. I just tried to move on as quickly as possible), and all the things people talk about when they are genuinely interested in getting to know one another. It was something I hadn’t done in a long time. I liked it.   

I still wasn’t calling it a real ‘date’ because the way it went down was the grown-up version of the schnapps/muscle car make-out sessions of my youth. Only with less tongue and way better liquor. But when we finally had to leave, only because I needed to collect my children, he asked if he could call me. That seemed super grown-up and datey so of course I said yes. And I liked him.

We went out about a week later to Blues Night at a local pub. I met him at this club because I was scared if he picked me up he would just drive me to the outskirts of town and dismember me. That happens a LOT on Dateline, and I really didn’t want to end up as a story narrated by Keith Morrison.  Anyway….

When the band started playing he coaxed me to his side of the table, and I reluctantly complied. He put his arm around me and I immediately stiffened up. I separated from my husband of 19 years just shy of six months ago. I’m still raw, still reeling, and I live in a small city. Any number of people I knew could have seen me sitting there coupled up with this man. I wasn’t ready to answer questions about it.  I didn’t have any answers to give anyway.  I said yes to a date, and for now and into the foreseeable future that is the end of that story.  But no one I knew saw us, and I did my best to stay relaxed and enjoy myself. I had a good time. He smelled nice and laughed a lot.

When the night was over he walked me to my car. He’s tall..about 6 or 7 inches taller than I am. And it was cold outside. He was standing very close to me, looking down at me, and when I looked up he kissed me. His jacket was open so I put my arms inside it and around him and just went with it. It was grade 10 ALL over again and it was awesome.

We made-out on the side of the road for about five minutes and I let him grab my ass. Then I listened to AC/DC songs all the way home.


Just kidding.  I don’t like him THAT much.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The one where I resurface and start talking again

Dear Internet:

First of all, I would like to apologize for abruptly leaving for three years without so much as a ‘Dear John’ note or a forwarding address. Some shit went down and I was relocated into the witness protection program.  Since 2011 I’ve been living as Maxine Fisher in Idaho.  I have a potato farm and raise pheasants.  Kind of like the “Rabbits for sale – pets or meat” lady from Roger and Me.

Just kidding. I got bored and lazy and just stopped dealing with it.  But a few notable updates have occurred since I last checked in:
  1. I am still at my bowling alley job, I still really like it, and couldn’t be happier I made the move when I did.
  2. I'm getting divorced. I didn’t really want to get divorced, but in the immortal words of Mick Jagger, “you can’t always get what you want”.
  3. But you know what?  Turns out Mick knows his shit, because “sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.”  I didn’t really know it six months ago, but I needed to get divorced. And that’s all I have to say about that.
  4.  Fat Chick …..I’m still dealing with that, but after getting SUPER fat again, I’ve managed to lose 35 pounds since September.  It started off as the misery diet, but somewhere around mid-October it became the fuck-you diet.    Spite = Best. Motivator. Ever
  5. I am a single adult now for the first time in my whole entire life.  And I'm going to do some stuff. Fun Stuff. Grown-up stuff. And I want to write about it.

For example, the other day I went on a date.  My first official date. Like, ever. (Taylor Swift voice)

I’m 40.  

See how much ground I have to make up here people?

I’ll tell you about that later. Baby steps and all.