Polka-dot Poop

Denver made the trip to St. Mary’s with us for his first (and last) farm visit.  We learned the following things about him in the short time he spent there.

  1. If you don’t point out a cat and encourage him to chase it, he won’t even notice it… even when there’s three of them within 5 feet of him.
  2. Once you do point out the cats he will growl – from the safety of between your legs, or behind the sliding door.
  3. He’s a perfectly lovely house guest – he’ll just lie in his bed upstairs and not make a peep.
  4. He loves cat food
  5. If 4 of his people come by and then leave again – he will be mad, and he will find a way to let you know.
  6. Even if you’ve put your dirty clothes in your bag – make sure you zip the bag closed
  7. Eating and digesting underwear makes for an upset puppy tummy, and it also makes him very thirsty.
  8. What goes in must come out – but it’s hard to do.
  9. Dog stomachs do not digest underwear very well, which makes for polka-dot poop
  10. Once it’s out of his system he will return to his energetic self.

Home Sweet Home

The parents are back from there adventures in Alaska, and that means the Boy and I have returned to our apartment. Back to a smaller television, no more dog, but air conditioning that works – so that’s cool (Haha punny).

We spent the weekend in St. Mary’s this weekend, golfing (of course) and starting our friends off on the right foot by FULLY participating in their Buck and Doe.  I paid for my enthusiasm with a nasty headache and a sad tummy on Sunday, but it was totally worth it. Good times had by all.

Best news of the weekend – we got the Boy’s car back.  Hurray! Better than that, it didn’t cost us several months rent! HUZZAH!  Friendly Frank fixed the problem – caused not by a bad oil change, or a missed oil change but by a crack in the intake gasket.  Basically, anti-freeze was getting into the oil and the ticking was caused by a lack of initial start-up lubrication…. or something.  What I know for sure is that Frank was ready to only charge the Boy for parts – super generous but not a fair value of his time or the money he saved us.  So the Boy was sure to give him a bonus, and a BIG thank you.  In the end even though the money went to and from different accounts – the car was paid for mostly out of change we saved in the last 8 months! Score!! He also took a look at the brake line and now the Red Rocket is not only riding without ticking – it STOPS with ease!

In other news we are invited to another wedding for this summer.  These friends of ours are getting hitched left, right and centre!  Conveniently, this unexpected invite lands on the one weekend of the summer that the Boy has off and we don’t have anything scheduled.  Our summer is officially booked.  But two weddings in two weeks – I think I may need to find a new dress.

Summit Anyone?

Today’s the first day of the G8/G20 summits in Huntsville and Toronto.  I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been a bit on the fence about the whole thing.  It’s not really the meetings that have me on the fence, I think it’s probably a good idea for world leaders to get together and have a conversation on a regular basis.  But it’s the price tag that I and many Canadians can’t get over.  The current estimate $1.1 BILLION.  Yes, that’s Billion… with a B. 

Now I’m no political wizard.  And if you were to check my debt to savings ratio you would likely assume I’m not a finance guru either.  But Billion?  With a B? That seems a bit excessive to me.

I’ve been staying at my parents the last couple weeks and with that comes the treat of a daily newspaper.  It’s so refreshing to stay in touch with the world.  This week, obviously, there has been a LOT of talk about the summits.  The Toronto Star from my daily skims has seems to be sitting on the same 10 foot fence that I am. 

On the one hand, there is this article talking about the price tag.  Highlights include that this is the most expensive summit EVER.  Not only that, but $930 million of that budget is totally on security.  All that fuss over the fake lake, and it turns out that’s just a drop in the bucket.  Take it out and it wouldn’t even make a difference. 

On the other hand, these things need to happen.  They need to happen in a public place.  And as a Toronto Star editorial discussed this week – Canadians could stop whining about the traffic nightmares for a couple of minutes and be proud that Canada is playing with the big boys this weekend.  We’ve not only been asked to join the grown-up table – but to host the party.  I can’t find the article online, but basically the argument was you can do it for cheaper on a private island where security is a more manageable issue.  Or, it could be at the UN every time – which is actually something I was thinking of in all of the debate.  But this is the problem with both of these solutions – the point is for it to be in a public space.  The point is for protestors to be able to protest.  For differences in opinion to be heard.  Finally, the point is that the United States, and New York specifically is not the centre of the world. 

So in the end, where leaders meet shouldn’t matter.  But it does.  Protestors need to protest.  Pictures need to be taken.  But I still think it could have been done for less than $1.1 Billion, with a B.  And the fake lake is just silly.

Here it is - fake lake Toronto. It's not even outside!

Image from here Continue reading

The Apocalypse is here.

I thought it would be stormier.  But it’s a humid beautiful day in Newmarket.  No matter.  We just had an earthquake.   Since that’s not a regular occurance – it must be the apocalypse.

That is I assume it was an earthquake.  Either that or there has been some sort of bomb that just went off in the area.  Weird.

If I don’t make it through –  I love you all.

Mom – don’t worry it was only 10 seconds long.

Keeping friendships alive

June is friendship month in my life.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost too many friends in my twenty-something years, and it seems to be that June is the month for remembering those that I’ve lost.   They’re sad events no doubt, and I’d rather that we didn’t have to have them of course, but they bring a silver lining – it keeps my friendships alive with those that may have drifted away.  Even if I only see friends once a year – we are forever bonded by the person we all loved and lost.  As I was thinking about how to blog about the weekend I started to think, these events are really a celebration of friendship, on all fronts.

So with that in mind, this weekend the Boy and I headed off to Kitchener to golf and remember our friend B-Rad Harries.  Brad played volleyball for Western with the boy for one year.  He was in a car accident June 6, 2006 caused by a reckless driver going way too fast, passing far too many people, and inevitably crossing the median and crashing into Brad’s car that was innocently driving along in the opposite direction.  Alcohol wasn’t a factor.  It was mid-day.  Miraculously, Brad survived the crash.  Friends that were living in London were able to visit him.  His parents were able to tell him how much they loved him.  For that I’m sure they will always be grateful.  Brad was making a really strong recovery, but injuries run deep and complications are complicated.  He passed away as a result of his injuries two weeks later. 

How can I encapsulate the spirit of Brad? I can’t.  But I’ll give it a shot. 

Every year that the Boy played volleyball for Western I chose a new team favourite.  From the rookies each year I’d pick the one that I loved the most.  In the Boy’s second year I picked Brad.  He was awesome.  Adorable. Talented.  Musically talented that is – just awesome.  Not so much with volleyball – I mean he was better than most.  Certainly better than you or me,  but he didn’t play regularly.  He was usually in charge of the video camera.  But the great part about him – he always had a smile on his face when he did it.  He was genuinely happy to be part of the team.  It didn’t matter that he didn’t play.  He was just happy to be there.

A bigger testament to his awesomeness, even more so than being my favourite.  Brad passed away after his first year.  He only had 8 months to make friends with the Western volleyball boys.  This year was the fourth annual B-Rad Invitational.  These boys come from all over Ontario, one came all the way from Saskatchewan this year, to remember their friend.  You must be a totally awesome person for people you’ve known for only a short time to not let their friendship with you fade over time.

The weekend recap involved best ball golf.  I am happy to say that Team Meaghan won (in our hearts) and that I made actual contributions to our team (hence the name).  We ended up at 6 under – my best golf score ever!  Turns out I love best ball – it’s so much fun, and far less frustrating.

We “camped” it wasn’t real camping because we didn’t use our tent.  Turns out twenty-something single boys do not seem to know how to prepare for camping – and brought nothing.  So we all crammed into a Yurt (a permanent tent-like contraption, pitched on a deck, with bunk beds).  The boy and I used our air mattress and confirmed it does have a slow leak in it somewhere.  By the morning my hips were on the floor and my head and neck were contorted in awkward angles.  It’s now Wednesday and I’m still sore.

Finally we were reunited with friends that have spent the last 9 months in Australia.  They got home the day before but cried “Jet lag be damned – we wouldn’t miss it!”  They weren’t able to golf, but they did join us at another friend’s Buck and Doe (that’s country talk for wedding shower).  We’re growing up, but keeping the memory and friendship alive of the great guy we lost along the way.

All in all an exhausting but really wonderful weekend.  Blogging a shout out to B-Rad – you were my favourite rookie of all time, hands down.

Pictures to follow – but still staying at Mom and Dad’s… the camera cord is there, but the battery is dead.  FOILED!

Another Celebrity Sighting

There’s been a lot of talk in the GTA about the G20 and G8 Summits.  Are they worth the BILLION DOLLAR price tag, the inconvenience, the traffic nightmares, the $1 million 10cm deep “lake”.  I have been on both sides of the 10 foot high fence on this one.  On the one hand world leaders should probably get together.  On the other, why not get together at the UN?  That’s what it’s there for, no? 

Today, all of my hesitations were put to rest as I was able to add another celebrity sighting in this small town called Newmarket, Ontario.  President Obama paid us a visit.

Before I divulge this VERY exciting story – I will recap the celebrities I’ve seen so far.

  1. Mike Holmes – Holmes on Homes.  The boy and I were out for a walk in our neighbourhood full of century homes, when I saw that very distinct back of the head.  The Boy says it wasn’t him – just some contruction worker.  But I know in my heart there will come a rainy Saturday afternoon when I’ll be watching Holmes on Homes and I’ll see it – the Boy and I walking in the background.  Why would there be several cranes and 30 people standing around looking at one little house.  Mike Holmes.  That’s why.
  2. Jackie Chan.  This is not a real celebrity sighting of the Mike Holmes or President Obama caliber – so don’t get too excited.  But I was walking out of Starbucks with Mrs. M of ahandmadestory and she did a double take.  “I swear that guy looked just like Jackie Chan!”  I assure you he did not
  3. Daniel Craig – 007.  Okay, so I didn’t actually see him.  But he was here.  Filming in Newmarket for realsies.  The boy and I did see the lighting truck that had Main Street Newmarket lit up like it was mid-day at 9pm in March.  And since we know he was here then filming Dream House, Twitter and Google told me so.  I vote that’s pretty close to a celebrity siting.  Probably closer than you’ve gotten to a Bond.
  4. President Obama.  The truest of the true sitings.  Today.  On my afternoon walk I saw him – in a helicopter.  I’m not making this stuff up.  There were two military looking helicopters flying pretty low over Newmarket.  I couldn’t tell you which one he was in, although if I had to guess I’d say the first one but I am certain of my assumption it was him.  Sure the G8 doesn’t start for another 4 days.  But we all know he’s flying into Pearson and then going by helicopter to Huntsville – it’s not like we spent $10 million readying the airport up there for him, (Oh wait… we did and no one is using it) and he’s clearly heard about traffic going North on the 400.   The clincher for me though, how I know it was him – wouldn’t it be easier to fly him in a few days early when people are least expecting it?  Perhaps he, the first lady and their adorable children are spending a few days in Huntsville before the hoopla begins?  I’m sure they’re finished with school.  And it’s not like they’ve got more pressing issues – like the worst environmental disaster in American history to worry about.  Nope.  Huntsville.  That’s where they are if you’re looking for them.

So, as you can see even though I may say Newmarket is in the boonies of Northern Ontario – it’s really a hot bed of activity.  A real “must see” on any Canadian tour.  I’ll start making preparations for the Queen’s arrival.  I’m sure she’ll be passing through during her vist next week.

The Art of the Barbecue

This has been the continuous argument in my house the last few weeks.

Me – “You don’t make dinner”

Boy – “Yes I do, I barbecue.”

Me – “That’s not making dinner.  That’s flipping meat.  It would be like saying you made dinner if I did everything to prepare and then you put it in the oven – that’s not you making dinner, that’s you putting it in the oven.”

Boy – “There’s more to barbecuing than that.”

Me – “Hardly”

Boy – “Blah blah blah… you don’t think I do anything… blah blah blah”

Me – “I’m not saying you don’t do stuff, I’m saying you haven’t made dinner – beginning to end in a long time.”

Boy – “Yes I have, I barbecue”

And it continues.  Mostly this argument is just to bother the Boy, but there are days when I am genuinely bitter when I come home from work, and he gives me the look that says, “what’s for dinner?” It drives me crazy.

In an effort to show the Boy that there is nothing special about barbecuing I took on the challenge.  Let’s clarify, this is not to say I haven’t done it before – I have.  Recently in fact I made delicious pork tenderloin on the barbecue.  It was cooked to perfection if I do say so myself.  But the other day he was cutting the grass (because we’re at my parents) and I was leaving shortly to meet my sister for a quick shopping trip after work (she was going to zip into town after work… from Guelph) so I took on making hamburgers.  Now, these aren’t just any burgers – they’re my Dad’s burgers.  They’re homemade, different every time, throw in whatever is about to go rotten in the fridge, add some cheese, add some meat, one always falls apart burgers.  Turns out they’re impossible to cook.

They fell apart.  Almost all of them.  Of 4 there was only 1 that stayed completely intact. I was frustrated.  I had to go.  I must be a blogger now because my first thought was – “I’ll need to blog about this.”  I called the master.  I lost the argument.  Barbecuing is contributing more to making dinner than putting something in the oven.  It takes patience.  It takes finesse.

I was ready to admit all of these things to the boy, but he was cutting the grass and apparently can only attend to one thing at a time.  When I asked him for help, he was not terribly helpful, “Yeah, they’re hard to cook.” When I asked him to come and tell me if they were done he said, “I don’t know when they’re done, they’re impossible to tell unless you break one apart – how long have they been on for?” I replied, “I don’t know.  15 minutes, maybe?” Boy in frustrated can’t you see I’m cutting the grass tone, “They’re probably done.”

I tried to ask him if he wanted his now, since I had to eat and run – but he started the lawnmower again.  I’m not going to lie – I was annoyed with him.  I had this lovely plan of admitting my inferiority in barbecuing skills, letting him know I was hopeless without him.  I would clearly starve if it weren’t for his mad skills… and nothing.  Grumpy.  Because he was cutting the grass.  So I went shopping.

When I came back we had a discussion about his grumpy pants, which he explained with, “I wasn’t grumpy, I was cutting the grass.”

Lessons of the day.

  1. Barbecuing does take some practice
  2. Leave cooking Dad’s burgers to either Dad or the Boy
  3. Boys can’t multitask

Happy Weekend!

Random Things…

  1. Men that honk their horns at women.  This has happened to me twice in the last week.  What is this? What is the ideal outcome of honking your horn at a girl while you are driving down the road?  Or yelling and waving at a group of girls that are golfing while you drive by in your golf cart?  Do men think that this is impressive?  Seriously.  What is the best case scenario of this situation?  I don’t understand.
  2. People that misspell words common words.  I understand that spelling is not everyone’s forte.  My sister can give you multiple reasons that spelling tests in elementary schools are perfectly useless.  But a basic understanding of the English language is an asset I think.  I notice this especially on Facebook.  Congradulations?  C’mon.  Give me a break.
  3. Young couples that dress alike.  Drove past a couple in their early twenties that were walking in the park in matching white outfits.  I was looking for a golf hat the other day and ended up with a pink one – because the white one with green lettering was too similar to the boy’s golf hat, white with black lettering.  They were actually different – but the boy felt they were too similar.  After seeing this couple, probably a good call.
  4. People with flags on their cars that are not actually watching the world cup – nor do they have any understanding of soccer.  It’s both random and hilarious when you discover they have no idea what’s going on. This is not to say that I do… but I don’t have a flag either.
  5. When you hear something random in two places in the same week.  This might need some explanation. I was listing to my This American Life podcast last weekend titled “Held Hostage.”   The first story was about a radio program in Colombia where family of hostage victims can phone in messages to their captive loved ones – in the hopes that they have access to a radio.  One girl they interviewed sends a message to her father who has been held hostage for 12 years, every year on her birthday – she was turning 13 in the interview.  I listened to that on Saturday – thinking that’s so sad, he’s likely dead and they still hold on to hope that he can hear them.  Tuesday morning I opened the paper (which I only did because I am staying at my parents) to find an article about three hostages that have been found and rescued, after being held hostage for 12 years.  I went to work, I googled.  Same family.  Random.
  6. When you get your family news from Facebook – and not from your family.  Family in Whitby if you’re reading – I’m talking about you.  You’re moving to Calgary? WTF? 

Do you know what stinks?

Boy’s feet. Specifically boy’s feet that have been in work boots all day.  They’re hot, they’re sweaty, they’re gross.  Boy takes shower – feet no longer stink, hurray! But do you know what does? Boy’s socks.  They’re wet and smelly and dropped into the hamper only to be discovered on laundry day. 

Gag me.

I do our laundry most weeks.  I have noticed that the Boy’s socks are simply gross.  So I’m determined to fix this problem.  Off to Joe Fresh – 8 new pairs $6.  Score! 

The Boy doesn’t think this will help… he thinks it’s the boots.  He’s probably right.  Next effort – new insoles for the boots.  If that doesn’t help – maybe new boots… or new feet one of the two.

It gives me a glimpse into my future with stinky teenage boy feet.  I think I’m really starting to appreciate why my parents left my brother’s shoes in a mall garbage can one summer after camping.  A whole new level of stinky.

7 hours in the car beats $3500 anyday

Well, the boy and I went and talked to Mr. Midas on Saturday.  He was once again extremely helpful.  Beyond helpful actually, he didn’t even charge us for the work that he did! Awesome.

The boy asked Mr. Midas, “Will it make it home?”

Mr. Midas – “Oh yeah it’ll make it home.”

Me – nudging boy “you might want to tell him that home is 2 hours away!”

Boy – “Oh yeah, will it make it to St. Mary’s – it’s about 2 hours away.”

Mr. Midas – “Off the record – yes.  But maybe write down some tow truck numbers along the way… and take the back roads.  Don’t get the RPM’s too high – maybe 80km or so.

Boy and Meaghan = Happy.

You see, Boy’s dad has a friend that likes to take apart cars and put them back together.  So instead of paying Mr. Midas to tear apart the engine and find out it’s total garbage – $1500 for figuring that out – we drove it to St. Mary’s for friendly Frank to figure it out.

So we crossed our fingers and we drove… and drove… and drove.  I hate the back way.  It’s SO long and there are no landmarks!  Just fields. At least when I’m on the 401 I can break my 2 hour trip into 20 minute segments… not the case taking the back way.  Just long and flat and boring.

But we made it.  I gave the boy a thumbs up about halfway there, and he gave it back.  He said he was going to give it to me earlier – but he was afraid he’d jinx the car and as soon as he put his thumb up it would die… or explode.  Happily it didn’t.

So now Friendly Frank has the car.  His initial assessment is that the oil was changed on April 1st – but there is some sort of crack in the engine or something somewhere – so something is leaking in, and it’s making it dirty.  Also the ticking stops after about 10 minutes… this apparently is a good sign.  He thinks he knows what’s wrong – and he’s hoping it won’t need a completely new engine.

We dropped it off, stopped in at Boy’s parents, no one home, left, forgot the tent – turned around, left again.  We stopped in Stratford for some lunch and got back in the car and went home – thankfully taking the highway!  Total time round trip – 7 hours. Total time in the car – 6 hours.

We’re hoping that this is the Love God’s effort to see us through.  Keep your fingers crossed too please.