I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

There's no use crying over spilled coffee

It's the weekend and my parents have come to visit me in the city.  After lunch, it's customary for my parents to either make coffee at home or go out to the coffee shop.  Because my mother wasn't feeling too well, I made the pilgrimage to get coffee.  Two mediums with double milk for them and a large with two milks, two sugars (a.k.a. a double double) for me.

Arriving at home, I pass two coffees to my parents and place mine on the kitchen counter.  I had a sip before and it needed a little bit extra sugar.  After adding a spoon of it into the cup, I place the container in the cabinet, shut the door and tap the full cup with the edge of my hoodie.

What comes next is nothing short of a deluge of coffee.

In a few seconds, the liquid managed to get itself on the counter, floors, in front of the kitchen cabinets, inside of the kitchen cabinets, underneath the kitchen cabinets, on front of the dishwasher, underneath the dishwasher, inside of the dishwasher (still can't get my mind around that one), on the stove, on the side of the oven and underneath it, too.

The splash was so massive, the coffee managed to hit the other wall of the kitchen.

"What happened?" my mother asks as she begins to walk towards the kitchen.

"Nothing.  The coffee spilled," I say as I go to the hall closet to grab a mop or towel.

"Whaaa?" I see my mother about to step into the puddle of brown liquid.

"Stop!  Don't move.  Don't come into the kitchen."

"Why?" She's trying to look around the corner of the cabinet.

"There's coffee everywhere.  It's everywhere.  Don't move.  Go back into the living room.  Don't.  Come.  Into.  The.  Kitchen."

As she skulks back into the living room, I start to sop up as much of the coffee with a towel into a large bowl.  Fuck, this is a lot of coffee, I think.  How could one cup of coffee make such a mess?

With most of the coffee now in the bowl, I go to the sink and pour it out.  In one quick swoosh, it splashes out of the sink and back onto the floor.

"Fuck," I say to myself.

"What happened?" asks my mother.

"It's alive.  This coffee is alive," I say incredulously while looking down into the sink.  My shoulders are slumped forward, in a pose of defeat.  "I just poured it into the sink and it slipped out and back onto the floor.  It's alive."

Feeling bad for me, my parents take a little of their own coffees and put it into another cup.  I thank them because after 15 minutes of cleaning up this mess, I feel like I deserved something.  And I was dehydrated.

True, there's no use crying over spilled coffee, but now I know to leave the cup far away from me when I grab something to sweeten it.

Friday, December 15, 2017

My father wants to smell good for Christmas

On Christmas day, when it's time to open the presents, my father will inevitably shake the package I give him while he's siting in his overstuffed recliner.  It's tradition.

"Is this something that smells good?" he asks every year.

"No, it's not," I reply, focused on my own lack of gifts.

"It's not?" My father slumps his shoulders and pouts.  He thinks it's a bottle of cologne.

"What do I tell you every year?" I look up at my father, still cross legged on the living room floor.

"You get me something that smells good for my birthday."

"And what day is today?"

"It's Christmas."

"Exactly.  Wait a few weeks and you'll get something that smells good."

It's not as if I didn't buy him something for Christmas.  I do that.  I just don't buy two bottles of cologne a year.

Good thing his birthday is only a few weeks after Christmas because I couldn't deal with six months of a grown man pouting.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


Like many children her age, my niece requires the attention of every adult within a 10-mile radius. It’s not co-dependence; it’s just that she wants someone to play with her because she doesn’t like to play by herself. It makes sense, even for a two-year-old.

Even though I enjoy playing with my niece, there are times when I need a bathroom break. Lucky for me, my mother is in the other room and can distract her while I take care of business.

In a matter of seconds, my niece finds me with her version of the Doppler radar. You can practically hear the beep beep sounds speeding up as she gets closer to her target.

“Uncle?” asks my niece on the other side of the door as she knocks. “UNCLE!!” she yells as she knocks even harder. Good thing the door is locked, I think, or else she’d be able to come into the bathroom.

What happens next is the knob starts to turn and I begin to panic. Shit, she’s coming in. When it turns all the way, she walks into the bathroom with a big smile on her face. I clench my muscles while sitting on the throne.

“Uncle!” She smiles and comes towards me. She’s such a pretty girl, but it’s unfortunate she doesn’t know anything about personal boundaries, yet.

“Hi, B. Go outside and wait for uncle.” I wave my arm towards the door for her to get the hint. “He’s almost done.”

As she walks towards me, I grab a hairbrush that’s sitting on the counter. “Here, take this brush and brush your hair outside.” I point towards the door with the hairbrush.

She walks towards me, grabs the brush and puts it back on the counter. Then, she takes a roll-on deodorant that’s sitting in a basket and begins to twist off the cap.

“No, don’t do that.” I lean forward to stop her, but she’s out of my reach. “That’s messy. No, no…” She doesn’t hear me. She unscrews the top and begins to roll it on her face.

“Hands?” she asks as she points the roll-on at my hands.

Oh, what the hell, I think. “Yes, hands.” I lay out my hands and she rolls deodorant on them. I bring them to my face and inhale deeply, hoping she’ll do the same.

Mmmm. They smell nice?” I ask her. She does the same hand-to-face motion and nods her head.

“Face?” she asks. Now, why would she want to do that? I think. Before I say anything, she’s rolling the deodorant on her cheeks and forehead. There’s a light film that’s reflective in the overhead light fixture. It resembles mucus.

Where the hell is my mother, and why isn’t she telling my niece to get out of the loo?

She brings the roll on to my face and I tell her to put some only on my cheeks. As she’s doing this, I’m pulling my pants up and my sweater down since they keep on falling down and shimmying up, respectively.

When she’s done, I swipe my fingers across my cheeks and smell them, hoping she’ll do the same. She doesn’t. Instead, she unexpectedly asks something I’m not waiting for.

“Bum?” There’s a Can I? smile on her face.

God, no. This is one of those times where your patience is gone and you want to pick up the roll-on and throw it away, but you can’t because you’re sitting on the throne.

“No, no bum,” I say, exasperated.

“Bum!” She gets excited as she begins to pull my pants down and my shirt up. I, on the other hand, am trying to push her away with one arm, twist my body around and down so she won’t see anything and pull my sweater down with my free hand. She’s stronger than I thought, and just as lithe as a Martha Graham-trained dancer.

“Leave uncle’s bum alone. Go, go and put some on uncle’s feet.” I wiggle my toes even though they’re barely seen under the fabric of my pants.

She bends over and rolls some deodorant on the top of my toes. The slimy substance is cold and makes my muscles tense up. After a few swipes, she’s disinterested, and goes back to my bum.

“Leave uncle alone and come into the kitchen,” says my mother. “Grandma has something here for you. Get out of there and let uncle finish his business.”

Finally, I think. What the hell took you so long?

As I’m pushing my niece’s head away with my hand and arm, I hear my mother coming closer, as evidenced by the thwacking of her slippers on the floor.

She walks into the loo and looks at us, disinterested and non-plussed. We’re in a tangle of limbs, with me half-naked and my niece attempting to roll deodorant on my bum.

“Come, B. Come with Grandma.” She practically pulls my niece out of the loo by the arm and gives me a look that doesn’t mean Sorry, but says You should’ve been quicker or else this wouldn’t have happened. When she closes the door behind her, I finish as fast as I possibly can, and wash up.

As much as I love my niece and enjoying playing with her, she has to learn that the loo is off-limits when it’s in use. And I have to learn to lock the door when I’m using it.

Note:  This is an unpublished piece, written several years ago (my niece is no longer a toddler).

Monday, July 10, 2017

I don't have time to be indirect

Having a type-A personality means I don't have time - or patience - to dick around.  Things are planned in advance because I lead a busy life.  So, when one of my friends passive-aggressively mentions I don't have time for her, I tell her I'll set aside some time for coffee for us to catch up.

We like each other a lot and get along very well, but that's only when we can coordinate things to accommodate her.

She doesn't like my original plan, so I let her pick the day, time and place so I wouldn't have to hear any complaints about how I make all of the final decisions.  In the end, V chooses an outdoor patio for lunch, close to her, so she doesn't have any excuse to back out at the last minute.

Before I go to bed, I have a feeling I'll be getting a morning text from V about cancelling lunch the next day.

The next morning, my phone shows a missed text from V: It's not too miserable out, is it?

It's part of her code talk - she never directly says she wants to cancel.  While some people say "Can we move this to another day?" she'll have a message that, if read between the lines, is her way of bailing.

I knew this was going to happen.  V regularly does this, like frequently "remembering" a previous commitment (which doesn't make sense since she doesn't work and has plenty of free time), or becoming "suddenly ill" an hour before we meet only to get miraculously better the next morning (and having the strength to go to a few events and posting them all on social media).

That's fine.  I'm busy and have a lot of work to do today, I text back and go back to work.

At noon, I get a text from V.

Well I'm here so you better be soon, LOL.  It's followed by a phone call.

I don't reply to either.  Don't have the time for this, or for her.  Hope she got the hint.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Washing the sink

About once a month, my parents come to spend the day with me in the city.  We have lunch, gossip about the suburbs, and occasionally go out to grab coffee/dessert.

Before they arrive, I spend half an hour cleaning the house because I know their expectations.  Your home is your kingdom and if your kingdom ain't spic-and-span, then it's value drops exponentially... at least in their eyes.

After hanging up their coats and dropping their bags at the door, we get ready for lunch.  The table is set, the food is being heated up (my parents bring it because, to them, I can't cook), and my mother turns on the tap in the kitchen and begins washing the sink.  Yes, the sink.

Even though I washed the dishes before they came, the sink wasn't clean enough for my mother.  I see her scrubbing away, taking the water stopper out and using the Brillo pad on it - this takes precedence over eating.

"It's a good thing I'm here to do these things," she says, exhaling and nodding her head in disagreement.

"No one told you to wash the sink," I reply while sitting at the dining room table with my father.

She raises her head and glares at me.  She doesn't care for my answer. 

Since she has nothing to do, my mother feels like she needs to do something in order to feel needed.  Anything. She no longer needs to raise her children (they're grown), be a romantic partner (my parents love each other, but my dad is past the smooshy stuff), or work to please her boss (she's retired).  Her worth as a mother, wife and employee has dropped and she needs to be reassured that she's still wanted (she is, but doesn't need a participation ribbon).  Like most mothers, she just wants people to tell her "oh, you shouldn't have" even though she's the one who shouldn't.

Inevitably, she comes to the table and we have lunch.  The sink washing doesn't come up in conversation.  If she wants to feel wanted, next time I'll tell her my bathroom tile needs to be regrouted.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Smizing in passport photos

It's the time to renew my passport and it had to happen right before I was needing it.  Why couldn't the date be in the summer when I had a little bit of a tan, instead of the winter when I don't have one?

There's a camera specialist near my home that also does passport photos.  Pricing is almost the same at several businesses in the city, so it's a wise (and easy) choice to go to a place that knows photography instead of a random storefront.

Catching the eye of a CSR, I inquire about the pics and she takes me to the centre of the store to help me out.  There's a small set-up with a while background, a stool (with kiddie booster seat) and a professional flash.  She directs me to sit up straight on the stool, picks up a large DSLR camera, pulls it up to her eye level and looks into the view finder.  I look right at her.

"Stop smizing," she says behind the camera.

She's right in saying that I am.  Ever since Tyra Banks taught the world the term (to smile with your eyes without smiling with your mouth - not as easy as it sounds) on America's Next Top Model, it's been my go-to when taking pictures.

I try again.

"You're still smizing."

"Really?" I drop my shoulders.

"Relax your face.  You're doing that smirk thing with your eyes."

I laugh a little to relieve the tension and let my face relax to the point that I'm actually trying to pull my facial muscles down in an attempt to semi-frown without looking angry (again, much more difficult than it sounds).

"Chin up... up... up," and I hear a click of the shutter.  "Here, come look at the photo.  What do you think?" She plugs in the camera to an iPad and shows it to me. 

"It's hard not to look at the camera without looking angry," I say.  The photo looks alright.  A little paler, a little less smize-y, but ok.

"Yeah.  They don't accept anyone smiling, but if you smize they might consider that a smile and the photos won't be accepted."

True.  I'd rather comply than having to run back and forth and get another set of photos.  I want my passport done quickly and don't want to wait around for the - approx. - 20 days it takes to get a new one.

And if I don't really love it, I only have to bite my tongue for five years until it expires.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Don't text me when I'm busy

It's one of those busy days when I'm out of the office, running around the city.  Not only am I dealing with in-person meetings, but also phone calls and an inbox that never seems empty.  Fun times all around.

While making my way to a meeting, I get a text from L, who is asking about an event we went to last year and wants to know when they're having it again.  Then, there are two more texts following it, both about the same thing.

"Try emailing XXX." I text this while walking.

I'm busy and don't have time to check last year's schedule to verify an event she wants to go to.  It's a lot faster for her to email them.  I'm not planning the event.  I mean, come on; do some of the lifting.

My phone keeps beeping while in the meeting.  I get three more texts from L about the event, scattered with the occasional "I miss you friend" and "Let's get together next week one week one afternoon."  This is from a person who doesn't reply to texts for weeks, and sometimes gets - serendipitously - sick on the day we're meeting only to get miraculously better the following morning.

"I'm running around all day.  Best to email them for details."  I text quickly.

This happens during my work day.  I only get a reply from L in the middle of the evening.

"You are so difficult sometimes!  LOL."

Difficult?  Hardly.  I have more than one full-time job, manage a team of people, run around from meeting to meeting while tackling the occasional errand (all without the luxury of a car or an expense account that reimburses me for cab fares).  She doesn't work and has plenty of time during the day while her kids are at school to email an event coordinator.

And an additional annoyance is the "don't worry still love you!" notation tacked on the end of the occasional text.  Don't do that.  Only Hollywood people do that.  It's cloying and unnecessary.

Here's an idea:  For next time, instead of texting me 18 times, it's faster for you to email them from the start to get the correct information.  Don't waste my time when I'm busy with your texting.

I mean, some people...