Man, I hate it when I write a really, really long blog post, and then people just trying to clear their reader over lunch click on Turtlehead and see reams and reams of unbroken text – like, can’t she even do us the favour of including a photo, for heaven’s sake – and so they move on.
However, I am way backed up with blog post ideas and I have to clear my head so today, you get a bonus two posts in one! Hope your boss wasn’t expecting you back from lunch any time soon.
So this weekend!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
On Saturday I went to the mall specifically to share my views on garbage collection in this city. I am very passionate about garbage collection and green bins and LORDY, what people put in their recycling boxes. Here’s a sample of some of my past bloggy rants on that subject.
Anyway, the City of Ottawa is considering changing the pickup schedule, among other things, so that the green bins are picked up every week all year around, but garbage is only picked up every other week. I’m totally in favour of this plan. With our family of five, our green bin is straining to contain our bi-weekly compostables, and I could easily fit two weeks’ garbage in our garbage can.
The City was hosting a series of open houses/consultations on this subject, but they’re over now (except for one in Richmond tomorrow evening if you’re really passionate about it). But you can still go online and fill out a survey on this issue here.
So! My point here is that I went to Bayshore Mall on Saturday to see the Open House and to make my views heard. There was a guy there with an iPad who was gathering survey results, so I chatted with him and he wrote down my answers.
And then – there was a quiz! A recycling quiz! They show you 10 items, and you have to sort them correctly.
SHEER HEAVEN, I’m telling you. I just about busted with excitement. And of course, I went ten for ten. It was almost ORGASMIC, how joyful I was. AND, I was the only person so far that day (it was almost the end of the consultation time frame) to go 10 for 10.
I AM THE QUEEN OF RECYCLING.
I know I should be ashamed or at least mildly embarrassed at how happy I was to get 10 out of 10 on a recycling quiz. However, I cannot hide my delight. It’s like I took a test on being a good person and then got an A+. Not to mention it gives me authoritative backing to continue being an obnoxious, judgmental jackass about the contents of other people’s blue boxes from now until eternity, and there’s nothing I love more than being an obnoxious, judgmental jackass, so THAT ROCKS.
Could I USE any more capitals? Do you SEE how awesome I am?
And that was pretty much the best of times.
Now for Sunday.
We had tickets to a 9:30 a.m. Kinderconcert at the NAC, and Lord in Heaven, why is the poor NAC always involved when this family has a crisis? Anyway, the Captain and Sir Monkeypants had another engagement, so it was just going to be me and the girls, With one of our extra tickets, Gal Smiley invited her friend ShyGirl.
Saturday afternoon, the Little Miss spikes a fever and goes downhill from there. But she can’t skip the concert, because Sir Monkeypants won’t be at home, and I really felt we just couldn’t cancel on ShyGirl because we’d only invited her the day before.
Sunday morning the Little Miss wakes up feeling perkier, so we drug her up good, and she seems fine, so we decide to go for it.
Now here is my fatal error. At the NAC we park inside, so we always leave our coats in the car. So Gal Smiley asks me if she can wear running shoes instead of boots, since she’ll only be going from our garage to the NAC parking garage and never setting foot outside. And I say, in super slow motion with heavy drums-of-warning in the background, “Suuuuuuuuuuure.”
When I was a kid, if it was wintertime, no matter where we were going, we wore boots. I can hear my mom’s voice so clearly, “What if we get stopped on the side of the road somewhere? You have to be prepared.”
I heard that voice in my head on Sunday morning, and I thought, “I should throw the girls’ boots in the car, just in case we get stopped on the side of the road somewhere.” And then I thought, “But, Sir Monkeypants will totally make fun of me, and seriously, in all those years growing up, did I ever once get stopped on the side of the road somewhere? Well, there was that one time, but one time out of like, 500 times is pretty small chances. So forget it.”
FAMOUS LAST WORDS. Or thoughts. Whatever.
I pick up ShyGirl and with the three girls in the back, we’re off to the concert, in gently falling snow creating mildly slippery roads.
Then a light comes on in the van, indicating we are out of washer fluid. So despite plenty of salt coming up on the windows, I couldn’t clear them very well.
Then ANOTHER light comes on in the van, that looks like a fishbowl floating in squiggly water, and I was all, WTF? But of course I just kept on driving because when you ignore something, it just goes away, right?
Once we were parked at the NAC in the underground garage, I pulled out the manual and looked up the funny symbol, and it turns out it means “low tire pressure.” So I had a look around, and sure enough, one of the back wheels is about 60% flat. FABULOUS.
It was time for the concert, though, so we went up and watched it before I did anything about the car. It was about “Orphea,” a feminized version of Orpheus, specifically about that time he went down to the underworld to bring back his wife (“grandfather” in this kids’ concert version). If you know the story, you’ll know that Orpheus manages to convince Hades to let him bring his wife back, as long as he does not look back. But he can’t help himself, and he does look back, and his wife is sucked back into Hell.
I knew this story, but I figured there was no way they’d end a kids’ show like that, but OH MAN, WAS I WRONG. And no offense to the players, who were amazing, but seriously? Two seconds after the end of the play I have three crying girls on my hands. Why didn’t the grandfather come? When will she see him again? Why, dear Lord WHY, did she look back?
(I’ve answered that question at least 50 times since Sunday morning, by the way. Never gets old. Oh wait, IT TOTALLY DOES.)
So! The girls are sad, and now we have to go deal with the car. While the girls snack and sniffle, I call Sir Monkeypants and he recommends that if the tire is not completely flat, to get to a gas station and fill it with air, then get home and we will figure out what to do from there.
So I come out of the NAC and start nervously driving around downtown, in the snow with a partially flat tire, looking for a gas station. Did you know that the downtown core has about as many gas stations as my recycling quiz has wrong answers? As in, none?
Not to mention the fact that there is this one street that runs along the canal – Queen Elizabeth, maybe? Or something like that? – that once you are are accidentally on it, cannot be ever, ever exited? And if you do find an exit, you’ll be lost, lost, lost in tiny side streets made six-feet narrow by parked cars and snowbanks on either side?
So there I am, lost in the city, driving blind because we have no windshield cleaner, on three wheels on slippery roads, with someone else’s kid in the backseat, and another kid sick and about to move out of the medication window, to a combined chorus of “We’re starving/We’ve passed that building twice already/Why did the grandfather have to die (sob),” which I believe is the very definition of GOOD TIMES.
We wound up driving around downtown for 45 minutes, the whole time I was convinced we would blow the tire out and I’d be stuck on the side of the road, in winter, with kids with no boots on. I was obviously asking for it. Do not mess with fate, Lynn!
If my mother read this blog, she’d be commenting furiously right now, all YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER and HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING and CALL ME, I WANT TO RE-TILE THE BATHROOM AND NEED YOUR OPINION.
And to add insult to injury, Gal Smiley and ShyGirl passed the time by playing a name-that-tune kind of game, and Gal Smiley used excerpts from the legendary art-house film High School Musical 3, while ShyGirl used the hipster Pride (In The Name Of Love) by U2. Total pop culture education fail for me, right there.
Eventually we found a gas station at Bronson and something-right-by-the-highway. And of course, their air pressure injection machine thingy was broken. So I did what any tough, strong woman would do, and called my husband hysterically and cried. Oh yes, hear me roar.
I decided to bail on downtown, and we drove home very slowly using about a million back roads. I found gas station along the way near Riverside and Hunt Club and got some air in the tire (HEAR ME ROAR) and an hour-and-a-half later, we made it home where I passed out from stress.
Or actually, it was because I had caught whatever was ailing the Little Miss, and spiked my own fever, and then quietly died. On the side of the road somewhere.
And that was pretty much the worst of times. Does that make my weekend work out to even steven?