Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wherein I lose a shed, my neighbors regain seven feet of property and my kids hopefully gain a work ethic.

Upon gaining possession of what I like to call The Fun House, I stepped out onto the deck to gaze out over my postage-stamp sized queendom.  The northwest end of the teeny tiny yard contained what could generously be called a shed, although for all appearances, it had a greater resemblance to some bombed out pile of wood rot.

I had to reef on the plywood doors to open them.  Cautiously I had stepped inside and upon gazing at the ceiling (or lack thereof) and then at the floor (or lack thereof) I immediately marched back inside and informed the children that they were not, under any circumstance, to step foot inside the 'shed' or they would die.

No, this was not a threat.  It was a simple fact.  The thing was clearly a death-trap.

Oh, there was also the matter that this structure, if you will, encroached a good seven feet onto one neighbour's property, and two feet onto another.  Far be it from me to guess at whether or not the shed, which the Well-Travelled One and I have guess to be roughly 60-odd years in age, pre-dated arbitrarily drawn property lines or the shed was unceremoniously dropped onto what was 'roughly' the corner of the yard.

Anyway, this encroachment kept us from doing anything about it for a number of months as we pondered what the etiquette is in demolishing a frighteningly unsafe structure that straddles two properties.

Last spring, I had chance to meet the neighbour who has the misfortune of sharing this monstrosity and with some hesitation she asked what we planned to do with it.  When I mentioned that I hoped to tear the blasted thing down, I have never seen someone's eyes light up so brightly..

Apparently the former owners of my little abode were unreasonably attached to the shed in question and had, on numerous occasions, refused to have the thing torn down, even after the neighbour offered to have her son and potential son-in-law come tear it down for FREE.

Not long after, The Well-Travelled One embarked on a mission over the summer months to single handedly dismantle this portal to hell, at risk of personal injury and respiratory infection from gord-only-knows what airborne toxins were kept in with all the animal bedding and so on and so forth.

This weekend we borrowed my parents pick-up truck and approached the back-yard neighbor about accessing the shed from their yard.  Never have i seen someone so excited about the prospect of someone driving a Dodge Ram across their lawn.  We proceeded to make upwards of five trips to the local dump, filling the box (not the cab.. See, I got it right this time!) to the brim with all manner of rotted wood, torn vinyl siding, I don't-even-want-to-know what kind of pathogens and enough nails that I could have built a replica model of the Eiffel Tower, to scale.

Okay, so I might have exaggerated slightly there.

We even got the kids in on the project with the promise of a decent hourly rate for helping out.  The little one was unfortunately limited in what she could do, given her size and tendency towards unwieldiness. However, she was able to put her destructive streak to good use by helping break down window frames and chunks of wall with a claw hammer, and otherwise helping to fetch tools and such.  

Surprising was how well the oldest took to the work.  I've been struggling lately with how to deal with my 12-year-old's sense of entitlement and adversity to hard work when it comes to earning money.  I've been tearing my hair out in frustration as she complains about not having money, wanting expensive things and yet not being willing to work towards them, unless absolutely convenient, and then completing task seemingly with the least amount of effort possible.

Thing is, when she puts her mind to it, she can work hard and work well.  When we went back-country camping, she was the most vocal about her inhibitions where the 8km hike was concerned, but she made it through with little complaint.  Yesterday was a prime example.  She was hesitant at first with helping me load and unload, gingerly picking up small pieces of wood and carefully placing them on the truck.  Rather than slowing down as they day wore on, by our third and fourth dump trip, she was tossing and and heaving beams onto the woodpile like a champ and leaping in and out of the truck box with the agility of a gymnast.

Both the girls worked exceptionally hard, as did my love, and by the end of the day, the former death trap had been reduced to a manageable pile of rubble, a scant 2-3 more loads and the cursed thing should be gone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Checking in

I'm still alive.  Just busy.

Last week I had a second colonoscopy, since the first one contained some abnormal cells, I guess?  The internal medicine guy I see, who is a vaguely intimidating, yet oddly comforting older Irish-maybe-Scottish dude informed me that after 10 years of being diagnosed with colitis, your chances of getting colon cancer goes up somewhat and as such I should be getting scoped every two years.  

Basically, something showed up that the lab and the good doctor were unsure of, so they sent the results down to a specialist in Toronto (this was back in June I believe).  The specialist, as well, was stumped.  So I got scheduled in for another scope, this time to be biopsied every 10cm of my colon.  Hot, right?

On one hand, I'm not gonna lie.  I'm a little concerned.  Because some thing is not nothing.  On the other hand, saying "something showed up on your test and we're not sure what it is" is far from "Holy Shit, look at all that CANCER."  So I figured I'd just be a sport and go for the second scope, and take whatever comes with it, and hope it turns out like that Pap test that came back abnormal.  I just kept going back until I got a few normal tests and they tell me I don't have to come back in for another year. Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy.

I kind of screwed up and caused myself some extra discomfort during the pre-scope cleanse.  I couldn't remember whether or not coffee was allowed, so I erred on the side of not having any.  Boy, did I pay for THAT.  In the immortal words of Dave Foley "I'm not sure what's in caffeine but I'm pretty sure that without it, your head caves in."

So I did a caffeine free cleanse, so I could have a camera inserted where no camera should ever go and then topped that off with a dental cleaning because I am, ladies and gentlemen, a special class of masochist it would seem.  Speaking of masochism, I have agreed to go camping.  In October. In a tent.  Because that is a good idea?

I jest, I'm sure it will be enjoyable.  I'm looking forward to some fall colors in Muskoka with The Well Travelled One.  

In other news, I have an opportunity to be an extra in a movie that is being filmed locally.  I just need to see about getting a day off.. I'm not entirely sure I have any personal days left.  But if I can swing it, I'd like to do it as there are a number of locals also taking part and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Well, that's my brief update.  Hopefully with winter approaching I'll at least have a bit more to talk about.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FYI (If you're a nosy asshole)

This post. I mean, this friggin post.  

Had the *ahem* pleasure of reading Mrs. Hall's lengthy missive to the teenaged girls who have Facebook friended her precious wee boys regarding the seemingly scandalous selfies young girls seem to like to take of themselves.  Mrs. Hall is quite concerned that her boys may be exposed to these wanton adolescent hussies, posing in their pajamas in sultry poses.  Some of these girls are even (gasp!) not wearing bras!

Mrs. Hall is trying to raise young men with a strong moral compass, who don't "linger over pictures of scantily clad ladies."  Which is apparently quite impossible to do when there are pictures of teenaged girls posing for selfies on the Internet.  Any female friend of the Hall boys who thinks of posting a vaguely sexy picture of herself online should consider themselves as good as blocked because Mrs. Hall only wants her boys thinking of girls respectfully and Gord knows, being a sexual being and being a human being worthy of respect are two mutually exclusive things.  Well, if you're a girl.. Isn't that right Mrs. Hall?

Mrs. Hall, I noticed that your boys are posted all over your blog in beachwear, which some would argue is much more revealing than pajamas or even a towel.  I guess girls (or non-hetero boys) can easily un-see that, though can they? And still think of your kids as people worthy of respect?  But you said yourself, once a boy sees a girl naked (or in towel, or in pajamas or without a bra) he can't unsee that.  You seem to have a high level of confidence in your boys' ability to behave like gentleman and not like rutting animals.  Or maybe not.  Because if you did, the spectre of some silly, pouty pictures wouldn't loom such a threat.

There are a dozen good reasons to be careful of what you post online.  Surveillance, online weirdos and pedophiles, and the fact that stuff you post does NOT GO AWAY are all things we should be concerned about and I agree that we should be encouraging kids (and adults, of any gender) to be extra self-critical of what they post.  These safety and privacy issues don't seem to be on your radar, however.  You seem more concerned about not letting these girls sully your preciouses virginal little minds.

I find the attitude that in order for men to respect and cherish women they must not think of them sexually is a harmful one.  The implication you've made here is that a girl or woman cannot be sexual while still being worthy of respect.  That is what we call, in feminist circles, slut shaming.  And it is harmful.  Girls are continually sexualized and objectified by our culture, while simultaneously being shamed if they dare to be sexual on their own terms.  A girl's history or perceived history can be used against her in sexual assault cases.  

Mrs. Hall, if you want your sons to be men of integrity who eventually meet and possibly marry women of character, teach them that a woman's worth is about more than her sexuality.  Teach them that being sexual and being a person worthy of respect.  Teach them their respect for someone should not be predicated on their sexual history or whether or not they're wearing a bra in their profile picture.  If you can't teach them that, I think my soon-to-be teenaged girls would be better off blocked.