Stuff my dog taught me

and stuff I'm figuring out on my own

xmas-gifts

xmas-giftsI go Christmas shopping with a list. It is a good list. It is a clearly written list. It identifies the people I need to buy presents for and beside each name are a couple of gift ideas… things I think they would like to find under their Christmas tree or in their Christmas stockings.

Eventually I will manage to purchase the items on that list, or at least reasonable facsimiles. But despite all my planning and self-instruction, I will also spend an embarrassing amount of money on things that will inevitably wind up in a yard sale box, the un-used bottom drawer of a dresser (the one that doesn’t open and shut properly), or the kitchen cupboard where all of the strange, purpose-less gadgets live.

The list of items I cannot stop myself from buying EVERY Christmas is long and includes:

  1. Christmas pajamas for my entire family. Usually red. Almost certainly plaid. (No one but me will wear them past December 31, but I will continue well into summer and eventually find myself sitting on the beach wearing a scarlet-hued cover-up that says “Ho Ho Ho” on the front and “I’ve been naughty” on the back)
  2. An insane number of peppermint flavoured and peppermint scented items including teas, chocolates, chapsticks, candles, skin creams, car deodorizers, and socks (yep… peppermint-scented-aroma-therapy socks are a real thing!)
  3. REALLY EXPENSIVE jars of gourmet condiments and sauces and pickled things that will be opened once then buried on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator behind the turkey. In mid-March I will follow the scent of mould and discover a line up of glass containers filled with fuzzy blues and smoky grays. Not wanting to spread whatever virus is undoubtedly fermenting within, I will guiltily shove them into a garbage bag and spend the rest of the day feeling bad about not recycling the containers.
  4. A locally produced wine or, worse yet, an “ice” wine that tastes like Jack and Jill cough syrup and costs as much as a bottle of Grand Marnier.   The local wine will eventually be poured into spaghetti sauce. The “ice” wine will be re-gifted to my mother-in-law on some occasion. She will, in turn, re-gift it to a friend she doesn’t like that much. And the ice wine will live on forever, eventually crossing international borders, until it is finally consumed by someone in Britain – because they will drink anything.
  5. A 500-piece puzzle that will be half-assembled over the holidays. I will leave it on a folding table for most of January, dusting it occasionally until the cat finally puts an end to the torment by eating a corner piece. (Note: $500 vet bill if piece does not re-emerge in the litter box within 24 hours)
  6. Over-priced mittens for each of my children. They will go missing by the 28th… maybe the 29th. They will be replaced by Walmart mittens that will remarkably make it through the remainder of winter. I do not know why, but I do know that over-priced mittens are lost 200X faster than regular mittens. It’s a fact. Google it!
  7. A board game that I am certain my entire family will love. We will open the packaging on Boxing Day, argue about the rules for half an hour or so then give up and watch a movie.
  8. “Reading” socks. These are giant socks that do not fit into your boots, continually slide off your feet and set off static electrocution every time you touch another human being.
  9. Slinkies, Rubic’s Cubes, and some wooden version of tic-tac-toe. Entertaining for all of five minutes.
  10. Calendars with pictures of puppies, or kittens, or women saying quippy things about feminism or wine-drinking or both. They will be stuck up on our walls in January but no one will turn the pages so whatever puppy or kitten or feminist/drunk woman made it to the first month’s spread will enjoy 12-months of exposure while poor Feb-Dec puppies and kittens and feminist/drunk women will never be seen again.

There are lots more things… like Santa-shaped lollipops that no one eats… and bowls of nuts that are utterly un-crackable and end up in the compost bin at some point mid-February… and lottery scratch-tickets that might end up winning $2-$5 but never get cashed in.

(I am really starting to appreciate why my grandmother bought everyone socks)

santa-hat

santa-hat

I seldom re-post my past ramblings, but this morning, I stumbled upon this gem from November 2014 and was amused to discover that the thoughts going through my head this morning were an exact match with those from two years ago.  Circle of life, my friends…  

The Halloween pumpkins have been composted and the Remembrance Day poppies are off the lapels, so it is obviously time to commence Christmas! My husband believes that he is able to hold off the madness for a little longer by banning the singing of carols until at least December 1st. I humour him, but even as I hum top-40 radio ditties, my mind creates lists and I begin stockpiling candy canes. This is important because if you don’t get your peppermint canes when they first hit the shelves, you will find yourself stuck with tier-2 flavours like cherry or the dreaded eggnog. (Question: Who came up with the idea of a children’s treat that tastes like a rum-infused drink and is the colour of dog pee in the snow?)

As a working woman with a horde of offspring, I approach Christmas with a military precision.  But as anyone with army experience will tell you, no matter how much time is invested in strategic planning, things get messy and chaotic once you have boots on the ground and are in the throngs of battle. Already I am facing a ‘back order’ situation on one front and have had to re-adjust my initial budget to cover last-minute tickets to a Christmas play (Yes… November 27th is considered ‘last minute’ in the world of Christmas productions… guess the local thespians have not gotten my husband’s memo about the pre-mature launching of festive cheer!)

I have also had to adjust scheduling to avoid a potential time-management crisis. This year, my youngest has decided that she would like to ‘make’ gifts for her friends, which will erase at least one mall-shopping day from the two I had originally designated (a dramatic 50% loss). The result has been a need to remove certain comforts from the remaining day, including food court dining (30 minutes), Starbucks coffees (15 minutes x 2) and bathroom stops (15 minutes x 3). I will also need to refrain from engaging in any conversations with friends or family I may encounter, limiting myself to hand-waving and shouting ‘Merry Christmas’, while steadfastly remaining on task.

Homemade gifts will also add to the bottom line of the Christmas budget since these delightfully non-commercial items will require $50+ in materials, packaging, etc., plus the cost of having the carpet professionally cleaned (since the dog will inevitably eat half of the crafting materials and choke them up in the living room), plus the cost of having the kitchen table re-sanded (because there will be at least one glue gun ‘incident’ and a series of knife gouges made by the mysterious house guest known only as “wasn’t me”).

There have already been a few casualties: three rolls of wrapping paper I bought on sale last January were crushed under a box of Halloween decorations, the dog chewed up a Santa hat, and I ticked the wrong box on an online order, so my niece and nephew will be getting gifts wrapped in baby shower paper.  Despite these minor incidents, I am declaring myself the victor of week one. I have a few gifts hidden away in the attic, my office chair is piled high with candy canes (peppermint!) and I was able to get my hands on the “good” advent calendars (The Laura Secord Shop ones with the chocolates that DO NOT taste slightly soapy). My children and I have not-the absolute-worst seats to a live theatre production of “A Christmas Story” and I have found a website that offers “child-friendly” instructions for creating scented bath salts. (I wonder if this will also be “dog-friendly” or if I can expect Buster to be pooping peppermint for most of the holiday season). 

I am feeling pretty good at this point… staying strong, staying focused, and staying on budget. Of course, much of my budgeting success can be credited to my willingness to adjust the bottom line as required. For example, at the beginning of week one, I had a “breakeven” goal in mind, while I am now aiming more for “get it paid off before next Christmas”. Ho! Ho! Ho!

like-icon

like-icon“I am right. I am right. I am right…” sings my inner voice. This is the background music of my life. Sometimes I barely hear it, but it is always there. And when someone upsets my sensibilities by doing something I think is unsafe, or unproductive, or rude, or disappointing, the volume rises and the chorus fills my head until there is hardly room for other thoughts. In that moment…

I need to do more than share my RIGHT opinion. I need to thoroughly trample the obviously WRONG opinion and leave nothing but crumbs where it used to be!  

The problem is that this incessant, mantra-humming inner voice seems to live in the squishy gray matter of the Wrong-Opinion People too. Arghh! So what are we, the Right-Opinion People to do?

Long ago and far away, in the pre-historic times before social media, arguments might be held at family gatherings, in dimly lit bars, and in brightly lit coffee shops.   Opinions would be articulated in the Letters to the Editor section of the local paper. The passionate might don a slogan-ed t-shirt and the truly obsessed might erect a homemade placard on their lawn. Eventually, throats would tire, pens would run out of ink, t-shirts would fade, and Mother Nature would blow over the placards. Then, when the volume of the “I Am Right” refrain had petered out a bit, the more reasoned among us might begin to hear each other. However, in 2016…

We can SHARE our Right-Opinions with the push of a button.

And since we are most frequently sharing with the like-minded souls of our Facebook/Instagram/Twitter minions, it is highly likely that our rightness will be confirmed with “likes” and “shares” and positive “comments”.   Together, we will feed our Right-Opinion egos with video-clip confirmation that important people – like super-models and 20-something pop-stars and late-night talk show hosts – agree with us. And we will vilify the Wrong-Opinion People with language we would probably never use if we were talking to them at a family gathering, or in a dimly lit bar, or in a brightly lit coffee shop.

In public, we will speak of weather, sports, and Netflix plotlines. Our t-shirts will promote nothing more than a name-brand and our lawns will be unpolluted by signage. We will not need to stress ourselves out by engaging those pesky Wrong-Minded folks in actual dialogue. Thank Goodness. Because THOSE people are so certain that they are right! It is infuriating!!!

Behind closed doors we can SHARE our Right-Opinions with wild, reckless abandon, and UNFRIEND, UNFOLLOW, and HIDE the Wrong-Opinion People, but to what end? 

There is US and there is THEM and ne’er the two shall meet. WE will scream amongst ourselves and THEY will do the same. Our battleground will be the comment-sections of YouTube and Facebook, and the hashtag madness of Twitter, where the most extreme among both US and THEM will smash into each other with Gladiator-like fury (from the protected enshrines of their homes).

Those most capable of cranking the inner-voices of the like-minded to full fever-pitch will prevail. And the reasoned will wait… and wait… and wait. And hope that when the volume finally goes down we will not find ourselves permanently deafened by the sounds of our own voices, and will still able to hear each other.

annoyed-face

annoyed-faceI realize that many people are still firmly committed to reading nothing but heartfelt articles by celebrities about what they plan to tell their children in the aftermath of the American election. The whole experience was like watching a car crash in slow motion and it is hard to think (or talk) about anything else, but…

We all need to think (and talk) about something else.

Life continues. And letting The Donald eat up all the space inside our heads is allowing him the greatest victory of all. So we must push him out. Sniff some flowers, kiss the top of a baby’s head, and buy a bottle of the “good” wine (a.k.a. more than $20). Laugh. And slowly dial back the overwhelming fury you may be feeling by taking measured steps back to a time when you were just slightly annoyed by tiny, foolish things. Allow me to help you on the road to recovery by sharing…

10 Things to be Slightly Annoyed About:

  1. People who sit in Starbucks with their laptops… for hours. I just want a chair where I can sip my over-priced frappa-crappa-mocha concoction. So why must I lean against the wall, like a girl no one wants to dance with, while half a dozen millennial stare intensely at their Mac screens and type out C-grade term papers?
  2. The Apple Genius Bar. Seriously? Is there anything more obnoxious than that title? And a little FYI… when your products mess up so frequently that you must line the back of every store with a help counter, a little more humility might be in order. 
  3. Uggs.  Kudos to the marketing folks at that company for managing to sell a bedroom slipper for $200+ a pair, under the premise that it would be the perfect footwear for trumping down slushy streets in the dead of winter!
  4. “One size” clothing. Note to the Brandy Melville Corporation: Your t-shirts fit my cat. Many women are larger than my cat.
  5. Lip balm. I buy lip balms almost every time I go to a drug store.   I put them in my purse, my coat pockets, and the cup holder in my car. But when my lips are dry, they are gone! Who is taking my lip balms and why?
  6. Movie characters that wake up and kiss each other. Am I the only one grossed out by this? Because I don’t care how hot you are… morning breath is disgusting.
  7. Passwords.  I cannot log into Netflix, Crave TV, iTunes, or any of my favorite online shoe store accounts without first clicking “forgot my password”. I have added 1s and 2s and 3s and capital letters and the “#” symbol to the familiar names of streets, pets, and Simpsons characters in so many combinations that even my Mac keychain is getting stressed out.
  8. Cereal packaging. If luncheon meats, ground coffee, and frozen bags of fruit can be put in re-sealable bags, why not the Rice Krispies and the Cheerios!?!
  9. 30-minute parking. I attended a recent business event where the entire circumference of the conference centre was lined with 30-minute meters. Seriously!
  10. Bicyclists that pedal down the centre of the lane. I get it. Bicycling is healthy and environmentally friendly and the world would be a better place if we all drove bicycles. But I want to travel at the speed limit, and when the light turns red I don’t want to be stuck staring at a stranger’s spandex-covered ass, and when the light turns green I don’t want to wait an extra 30 seconds while they try to shove their feet into the little stirrup things on their “Tour de France” style bicycle.

I hope my list of trivial annoyances made you grin, or grimace, or both. And I welcome you to ‘Share’ so that others may benefit from a social media post that isn’t accompanied by an image of Donald’s bright orange face!

oops

oopsI suffer from Foot-in-Mouth disease. There is no cure. Symptoms worsen when I am tired, or over-worked, or have had 2+ glasses of wine. And the condition is exasperated by my genetic inability to make small talk.

I live in a neighbourhood where everyone has mastered the art of chatting about nothing (except me). At social gatherings, people benignly talk about tennis, skiing, or power walking for hours on end, and ex-spouses smile politely while sharing living room space with their new lovers.   Sometimes I can make it work for short periods of time, especially if my husband stays nearby to steer my conversations back into the shallows when they start to drift into murky seas. He is the Picasso of small talk.

But even after 30 years together, none of his upper-middle-class social skills have rubbed off on me. That’s how I know my condition is incurable. For instance, when someone compliments my wardrobe, I always reply by telling them where I bought it and how much I paid for it. And if I am talking to a person who has obviously just had work done, I cannot take my eyes off their suddenly Angelina-Jolie-like lips or the flat space on their forehead that used to have wrinkles on it. Where as hubby can talk sports with a person whose previously bald head is suddenly covered in short, wiry hairs and not seem to notice. He is THAT good.

I suffered a bout of Foot-in-Mouth this weekend when seated at a table with a lovely woman who mentioned her “organic” tatoos. Seriously?!? If that peace symbol on your ankle has stayed blue and pink through 1000 showers, there is obviously something non-bio-degradable in the mix. Just sayin’. With hubby shooting me his please-shut-up look and the rest of the group taking a prolonged interest in examining their wine glasses, I knew I had stepped in it, but it still took me a few minutes to let go, and no one ordered another round of drinks. Sigh.

I feel badly after it happens. Usually. And I spend a lot of time afterwards beating myself up for being THAT woman. But I AM THAT WOMAN… and everybody knows it. So maybe I am approaching this the wrong way. Perhaps my Foot-in-Mouth should be given the consideration generally afforded to those with peanut allergies or scent-sensitivities; and maybe at least some degree of responsibility should be shouldered by those who create the hazardous situations that exasperate my symptoms!

I have checked online and it does not appear that there is a medical alert bracelet for Foot-in-Mouth, but I submitted an email suggestion so… fingers crossed! In the meantime, I am compiling a list of triggers so that folks can be more pro-active in protecting both my well-being and their own. For instance:

  • If you are a middle-aged man, please avoid me if you are travelling through the city streets on a bicycle while dressed for the Tour-de-France. This is a high-risk situation in which there is a 99.99% chance that I will mock you.
  • When making sports-related small talk, please avoid conversations in which you pass judgement on female athletes based on their clothing choices. This is guaranteed to induce a feminist rant.
  • Please remove the “Slow Down Because We Love Our Children” sign from your front lawn before I come over. I will feel obliged to point out that (a) everyone loves their children, and (b) half the streets in our neighbourhood have speed bumps when less-affluent parts of the city can’t even get their centre lines painted. See?!? Just thinking about those signs sets me off!
  • If you are currently on a juice cleanse or have recently completed one, please don’t ask me over until your enthusiasm for the experience has waned and you can avoid espousing the health benefits of 7-days of starvation.
  • And if you feel like republicans in the U.S. may “have a point” on some issues, I must politely request that you simply forget my name and phone number.

Hopefully, the Medic-Alert folks will soon come up with a symbol for Foot-in-Mouth and I will be able to just point at my bracelet when a woman who has injected botox into her crow’s feet begins a conversation about the importance of eating only organic fruit.   Or when a man whose wife stays at home with the children offers me advice about time management. Sigh.

In the meantime, I must ask for compassion from those around me and assure them that even though I fail sometimes, I am always trying to be polite. Except with the republican supporters… and the men in bicycle shorts… and…

fooddiary

fooddiaryI have gained a bit of weight over the past year. The good news is that, as it turns out, my thyroid is underperforming. I am very disappointed in my thyroid for not being more of a team player. The bad news is that while a daily dose of synthetic hormones (yummy) will eventually improve the day-to-day performance of my lazy-ass thyroid, I will probably have to get rid of the existing pounds on my own. Sigh.

A friend suggested that a good first step would be to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks. This seemed painless, and you can eat while you record your food intake, so…

Two weeks later, I know a lot more than I want to about what I eat, when I eat, and most importantly, why I eat. And one thing I know for a fact is that hunger is not the #1 reason I shove food in my face. In fact (spoiler alert) it is #25 out of 25.  Surely I cannot be the only woman who eats just because…

  1. It is breakfast time
  2. It is lunch time
  3. It is supper time
  4. There is something edible less than an arm’s length from my body
  5. I am in a grocery store
  6. I am unpacking groceries
  7. I am making food for someone else
  8. Someone near me is eating and is willing to share
  9. I am sad
  10. I am angry
  11. I am depressed
  12. I am happy
  13. I am bored
  14. I have done something good and deserve a reward
  15. I have done something bad and must be distracted from my guilt
  16. I am drinking (my record keeping indicates that I consume the equivalent of 2 square inches of cheese and 8 crackers for each glass of wine)
  17. Something in the refrigerator is nearing its expiry date (so I eat half a package of hot genoa salami instead of an apple because apples literally last forever!)
  18. I am lonely
  19. I am with friends
  20. I am watching television
  21. I am reading a book
  22. It is past 10pm and I am still awake
  23. It is stormy outside
  24. I am at a movie theatre (because movie popcorn is made of crack cocaine and unicorn kisses and no one can resist it. Google this… I am sure it is a fact!)
  25. I am hungry

 Note: While writing this blog post I became overwhelmed by the need to nibble on a cookie… or two… or the entire first row inside the OREO package. So I guess “I am writing” must be #25, which means that “I am hungry” is #26. Sigh.

heels2

heels2Here are just some of the things women DO NOT do in high heels. Ever.

  1. Work as plain clothes detectives, private investigators, on-site forensics experts, international spies, emergency room doctors, or any other vocation in which spontaneous running may be required
  2. Teach school. The sexy schoolteacher is a figment of the male imagination – like mermaids and sirens, and dogs that bring you beer
  3. Go shopping. Especially in grocery stores. Why in the name of God would I wear stilettos to the Superstore?
  4. Push strollers, play with children, or otherwise engage in active parenting
  5. Curl up on the sofa at the end of the day
  6. Cook, bake, or otherwise function in a kitchen
  7. Meet up with friends. Seriously?!? If you have to wear foundation, mascara, lipstick, and a 3” pair of heels to a hen party, you are not hangin’ with the right hens
  8. Seduce their husband. Note: If you say “let’s do it”, the husband is happy. Seduction complete. No need for wardrobe changes or uncomfortable footwear
  9. Travel on planes
  10. Run

Even in the imaginary world of movies and comic books, I am confident that no female action hero would choose stilettos. Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, the Black Widow et al should be wearing Nike Frees because that is what people wear when they need to jump and leap and run and generally kick ass.

That is what real women do every day. We jump and leap and run and generally kick ass. And we do it in comfortable footwear.

holding-hands-mother-and-child

holding-hands-mother-and-childHer dad and I helped her carry everything up three flights of stairs to her dorm room.  And I remembered when she used to wrap her tiny hand around my index finger and we would slowly count the front steps to our house while she worked her way up. 1…2…3…

 I tried to put her sweaters away but she didn’t want my help.  And I remembered when she used to say “myself” while insisting on dressing herself, even though she couldn’t work the buttons and would inevitably wind up throwing a half-naked tantrum in the middle of her bedroom floor.

I reminded her about the flashlight I packed in case there was a power failure, but she wasn’t listening.  And I remembered setting up an aquarium in her bedroom because she didn’t want people to know that she was still (at age 5) afraid of the dark, so instead of a nightlight we turned on the aquarium bulb when she went to bed (so her fish could swim in fake sunlight).

I ran out to the grocery store and brought back a bunch of food that she didn’t ask for and seemed a bit annoyed about (because storage space is limited).   And I remembered that sometimes she likes wheat thins but sometimes she likes rice crackers, and hummus is her favourite study snack. And she needs chocolate for “sad” days and apples for mornings when she is running too late to eat breakfast and Chip Ahoy cookies because they are delicious!

I wandered aimlessly around the campus while she got her student card and her orientation package because I wasn’t quite ready to leave.  And I remembered coaxing her to order for herself in restaurants, and to stand in movie ticket line ups, and to put food on the conveyor belt at the grocery store. And how proud she was to be a “big girl” who could take care of herself and help mommy.

Then I gave her a quick hug and a kiss and got in the car. And let her father be the one to get the longer hug and the longer kiss because everyone in the family knows that he’s the “softie” who gets upset about this stuff.  And I sat in the passenger seat of a Subaru station wagon and remembered the smell of her newborn head. And the way she folded in against me when I nursed her. And the feel of her tiny hand around my index finger…

leaf

leafThe white board in my office looks like the wall of a prison cell, lined with stick marks as I count off the days of August. “Soon,” whispers the hopeful voice inside my head. “Soon.”

The voice whispers because it knows that I must keep my feelings on the down-low. Because in my world, there is a cult-like enthusiasm about summer and admitting that you find the whole season exhausting and stressful is a blasphemy. Yet I know that I am not alone. In the grocery store line up, women like myself make cheerful chitchat about the great weather, and trips to the cottage, and barbeque parties, but we smile through gritted teeth and everyone is stopping at the liquor store on their way home.

It is time for September…

I want to put my horribly uncomfortable strapless bras in a pile on the street and run them over with my car. Then I want to go inside and put on an outfit that covers both the cellulite on the back of my legs and the slightly wobbly flesh of my upper arms. This outfit will include at least one clothing item with pockets. It will accommodate the wearing of full-ass coverage panties. And it will cover both shoulders so that I can wear my super-comfy bra with the thick, dependable, beige straps. I get excited just thinking about it! 

I want to put a bunch of stuff in my slow cooker and have it turn into dinner while I am at work. I want to eat meat that doesn’t taste like a combination of Montreal steak spice and barbeque sauce. I want to stop feeling guilty because I never get around to making watermelon salad and end up dumping giant, hammock-shaped cuts of over-ripe fruit in the composter every week. And I want to drink a glass of wine inside, where there are no hornets circling the rim and no black flies doing the backstroke in my pinot grigio.

I want summer “vacation” to end…

There is a genuine risk that I may violently dismember the next person who talks about how they are dreading the end of summer and having to “get back to the grind”. Because I have been in “the grind” for the past two months and trust me… “the grind” is a lot harder when you are trying to figure out what to do with a 12-year-old every weekday and the summer camp you paid $400+ for now demands that you take most of Friday off work so you can show up and watch campers perform their interpretive version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The chorine in the local pool has chewed up all of the family bathing suits and I can’t buy new ones because the stores sold out of bathing suits back in May when they began stocking the shelves with “Back to School” wear. The pretty flowers I planted in spring died at the end of July when we went to the cottage for a week and forgot to pay someone to water them, so the deck is now decorated with giant pots full of their spindly brown corpses. We’ve lost all of the beach towels and the water bottles and the sunglasses. There are six left-foot flip flops in my front porch… and they all smell like hockey bags.

It is time for September.

poop-emojis-big-poop

poop-emojis-big-poopEvery morning, I place my hand inside a small plastic bag and use my makeshift glove to pick up dog poop. On good days, Buster the Schnauzer kindly produces solid, log-like poops. On other days, he is not so kind.  This is the price I pay for having a dog. Do I enjoy cleaning up after him? Definitely not. But it’s only a few minutes of grossness in return for my enjoyment of his endlessly amusing antics and unconditional love.

There is a little crap in every relationship.

My husband is cranky for a solid hour when he first wakes up, my children are genetically incapable of picking laundry off the floor, and my dearest friend is perpetually 30-minutes late. I cannot control these things any more than I can control Buster the Schnauzer’s bowel movements. And since I am rather fond of my spouse, my daughters, and my best-y, it would seem short sighted to separate myself from them in order to avoid such minor irritations.

It must also be pointed out that I produce a fair bit of crap myself. I talk too much (constantly), drink too much (occasionally), and react loudly to any situation involving the -isms (e.g. sexism, racism, Republican-ism). My hair perpetually clogs the sink in our upstairs bathroom, I claim all money found in the dryer as my own, and I will drain someone else’s glass of water if I am thirsty.

We all have crap.

I suspect that those people who loudly proclaim that they “don’t put up with any crap” are very lonely.  I believe the secret to happiness rests not in avoiding crap but rather, in finding effective ways to deal with it. I cannot stop Buster the Schnauzer from pooping in the grass but I can make sure I always have a plastic bag in my pocket.

So I try not to have in-depth conversations with my husband in the morning. I pick one day of the week to insist that my girls clean their rooms and try to let it go the rest of the week. And I lie to my friend about the start times for movies.

I also do my best to minimize my own crap. I bought a snake-like device from Canadian Tire for getting hair out of drains, put a money jar on top of the dryer, and started lugging a water bottle around with me.   And I recently kept myself from responding to a clearly misogynistic facebook post (although that damn near killed me and I know that I cannot maintain that degree of restraint long-term without dire health consequences).

Adjustments aside, I have accepted that I come with a little crap. For example, I plan to be buried with a mid-price Malbec (Just sayin’).  And I suspect that I will always be a talker (I am from a long line of talkers).

I say a silent thank-you every day for the friends and loved ones who seem to find my crap endearing, or at least tolerable.   And to those friends and loved ones, I solemnly vow to also tolerate their crap (and to find at least some of it endearing) because…

Love means never having to say you’re sorry… just for being a little crappy.

Cordelia's Mom, Still

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