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Monday, October 19, 2015

You made your bed, now lay in it

Tara’s fingers fumbled for the pen and paper she kept by the sink. She heard the truck pull up and ran to the kitchen window with hopes of writing down the licence plate number but it was too dark. They always waited until night fall to dump their garbage on the road behind her house.

She couldn’t understand it. The city dump was a five minute drive away. They accepted all garbage for free yet people continued to treat the road behind her Newfoundland Housing unit like a dumping ground.

It irritated her to no end. What really made her mad was it happened on a weekly basis. One day it was an old dishwasher. Another a box spring and mattress. Then a discarded TV.

Did they think they could throw their garbage in her back yard because she too was garbage?

She wasn’t having it. She pulled on her old sneakers and walked through the dewy grassy yard to where it met the road. It was an old couch this time.  She lifted the end and dragged it down towards a ditch. The legs of the couch were digging into the gravel next to the road making it harder to pull. She became more determined and tugged so hard it felt like her fingers would break. A tear snuck from her eye and slid down her cheek. She lifted her face to the cool wind to dry it.

Tara had made the decision a long time ago not to cry. She ran out of tears when her daughter was born. As she struggled to drag the couch toward the ditch a memory from the morning her mother found out came flooding back to her.

The urge to throw up came upon her so quickly that morning she barely made it to the toilet. One second she was fixing her hair with the new straightening iron she received for her 15th birthday. The next she was on her knees holding on to the toilet seat throwing up her breakfast. Her mother heard her choking up the vomit and came running in the bathroom. “Are you ok?” Her concern turned to disgust when Tara lifted her head. “For fuck sake Tara you’re pregnant aren’t you?”

Tara didn’t know what she was talking about. Her mother always thought the worst of her even though she was on the honour roll and excelled at everything she was in. A while ago she had gone a little too far with her boyfriend but when she refused to do it again the next night he broke up with her. Tara was relieved really because she wanted to break up with him but didn’t know how. Surely she couldn’t get pregnant the first time.

Her mother stormed back in the bathroom as she was wiping the puke from her face. “Get dressed. We’re going to the doctor.”

Two hours later the doctor confirmed she was six weeks pregnant. When she got home her mother slapped her across the face. It was the first time in her life she had been hit. Tara began to cry uncontrollable while her mother went into a tirade of name calling from “Whore” to “disgrace to your family.”  Soon her father came barging through the door. Screams and shouts were heard from the kitchen while Tara lay on the bed in her room curled up in a ball. She heard her father’s footsteps on the stairs. She was sure he would fix everything. He would protect his little baby girl as he always said he would. Her bedroom door flung open.

“You fucking little slut! What if the other lawyers in my office find out about this? I’ve worked my whole goddamn life to put this roof over your head and you thank me by laying on your back for some punk, ass boy.”

She sat up in shock. Her mother came running in the room behind him. “You’re getting an abortion. I have already called the doctor’s office to arrange it. We’ll say it was a rape.” She looked Tara square in the eye. “It was a rape wasn’t it?”

“No.” Was all Tara could get out. The appointment was made for the abortion and that morning Tara’s mother came into her room asking if she was ready like they were going to the dentist. Her father went back to work immediately so no one in his office would suspect he had family issues. It was very important to keep up the family fa├žade in order for him to make partner.

She refused to go. At first her mother stared at her in disbelieve. Then she tried pleading her case. She went through the whole “You’re ruining your life. You won’t finish school. Your friends will make fun of you.”

Tara refused the abortion. Her parents refused to accept their 15 year daughter being pregnant. It came to a head one night when her father grabbed clothes from her dresser, angrily stuffing them into a garbage bag and throwing it in to the back of his Mercedes. “You want to be a whore. You go live with the whores!” He drove her to the welfare office and parked the car in front. He grabbed the garbage bag and threw it on the sidewalk. He opened the passenger door and dragged a hysterical Tara out of the car. “This is what you want. This is what you got.” She watched him drive away waiting for her father to come back for his baby girl. He never did.

The next morning a social worker found her crying and shivering on the doorstep. They found her a boarding house first. After the baby was born she moved to a townhouse. She called home the day her daughter was born hoping her mother’s heart had softened. Her mother’s only words were “You made your bed. Now lay in it.” Then hung up the phone. No one came to visit. The social worker drove her and the baby to their new house. Before she left, the worker pulled a package wrapped in pink paper from her briefcase and gave it to Tara. It was a tiny pair of pink pajamas. She used the paper to line the bottom in the second hand dresser in her daughter’s room. It was still there.

She pushed the couch over the edge watching it roll down the embankment and disappear in the dark. Tomorrow when her daughter went out to play she would not see garbage in her back yard. She would not know that she had grandparents who considered themselves too respectable to acknowledge her.

That day started out with so much hope. Her high school diploma came in the mail. She had finished by correspondence and graduated with honours. It was the last document she needed to apply for a university grant. She was working on the application when she heard the truck. “I made my bed. Now I’ll lay in it” she said as she closed her backdoor and locked it. “But at least it’s my bed mom. At least its mine.” 

It’s a hairy situation

If I ever end up in a home for the bewildered, I have a pact with my daughter to pluck my chin hairs.

My greatest fear about growing old is not ending up in a home, or having to wear Depends, it’s that my eyes will get so bad I won’t notice my chin hairs are reaching my nipples. (Which will be dragging on the floor by then anyway!)

I know beauty is on the inside, yadda, yadda, yadda, but I can’t handle the facial hair thing.

Along with everything else menopause brings you can add excessive facial hair to the list.

This proves God is a man! Because if God was female, when women reached menopause their stomachs would get flatter, their breasts would get firmer and they would remember why they went upstairs and would only have to pee once per day.

It has become an all out war between me and my hormones.

I wake up in the morning, turn on my magnifying makeup mirror and began the daily hunt-and-peck. I feel like an adolescent boy searching for those first signs of becoming a man, except, I am not a man. I am a middle aged woman going through menopause and giving Mother Nature the middle finger on a daily bases. I run my fingers under my chin, I can feel one but I just can’t find it. At least they are now coming in white now so I don’t notice them right away. A new trick I learned is to run my mascara lightly over the area then they are easy to find.

It’s so unfair. Hair on a man’s body denotes strength and sexiness. Hair on a woman’s body denotes old hag.  While I am plucking hair out, hubby is in the bathroom mirror wishing he could grow some back.

I wish he could go through menopause.

Let’s face it, no man dreams of Jeanie with the light brown hair…. On her upper lip and chin.

I tried laser hair removal at a fancy spa. $1500 later the over Botoxed, over face pulled lady told me “Oh, it doesn’t work on white or blond hair. You should try electrolysis.”


You couldn’t tell me that $1500 ago?

I spent weeks letting her zap me with a laser, which feels like someone snapping you with an elastic band, only to find out it doesn’t work on light hair! I would have grabbed her by the short and curlys but from the dark brown hair on her head I got the feeling she didn’t have any.

So I tracked down one of the few people in town who can do Electrolysis. Believe me, you don’t want to go to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. For $20 and 15 minutes, Debbie at Samshara Spa solved my facial hair problem in 4 weeks. Now I just go back for a touch up every month or so. Keep in mind electrolysis is not pain free. She inserts a needle in the hair follicle and zaps it. It hurts a little more than plucking with tweezers but a lot less than being snapped with an elastic band. It also works on blond hair as well as dark. Now that Debbie has rid me of my chin hairs, she’s doing my eye brows and side burns. Apparently I am turning in to Chewbacca in my old age.

Now you know what they say, “A hair on the chin is worth two in the bush.” So Debbie introduced me to the Brazilian. (This is where men should stop reading. You wouldn’t be able to take the pain.)

The Brazilian proved to me that I could survive Guantanamo Bay while laughing in the face of my captors. She tells me some clients take an Ativan before a waxing, some have a few drinks and get their husbands to drop them off.

Not me. I go in drug and alcohol free and let this 5”2, 100 pound Ninja pour hot wax over my Who-Ha and rip the hair from my body. I am from Freshwater Road, so I am tough as nails.

It’s no longer uncomfortable now. We talk about our kids, vacations, she’s wearing rubber gloves while spreading hot wax with a pop-cycle stick.

We never talk about politics or religion. That would be weird.

I don’t want to split hairs but everyone has their own pain level.

 Let me describe the pain level… It’s a real hair raising experience.

Now, I’ve given birth twice and had a six hour back surgery. So I know pain.

The first rip is like being kicked in the Who-ha. I can’t lie.

The second one is like walking on a Lego block without socks on. By the time you’re half way through, the endorphins kick in and you can’t feel anything. By the time it’s over you just want to go home, roll up in a ball and rock for a while. The next day, you feel great and you book another appointment.

Ladies, this is something you do not want to try at home! The last thing you need is to be locked in your bathroom after pouring hot wax on yourself and chicken out. When that wax goes cold, it becomes sealing was and closes up all holes around it. You will have to call the Fire Department to help you out and ask them to bring the Jaws of Life.

 Although, Debbie tells me she does her own Brazilian. Now that’s a woman I would follow into a battle.

So menopause has thrown me another curve ball but Mother Nature is not winning this round. Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin. I won’t be letting my hair down anytime soon.

I’ve also made a pact with my Bestie, Nancy, when we end up in a senior’s home we will pluck each other’s chin hairs.

It’s a pinky promise that we will not see hide nor hair in our old age.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour- and why I am never eating seafood tacos again

While Madonna and her flying nuns were pole dancing on Crucifix stripper poles, I was throwing up on a security guard in the lobby of the Air Canada Centre swearing to the EMS workers that I was not drunk!

I should start this story from the beginning….

Months and months ago I sat at my computer continuously typing my seat preference into the Air Canada Centre’s ticket screen to get Madonna tickets… the Holy Grail of all concert tickets. Her Rebel Heart Tour was crossing Canada and I wasn’t going to miss it. I sat there for about 20 minutes pressing the button like I was playing a Swinging Bell machine. Then, finally, Jackpot! Two tickets to see Madonna live in concert in Toronto on October 05th!

We talked about it for months. Counting down the weeks, then days, then hours till we were on a plane and on our way. The weekend was going to be perfect. We spent our first day at the outlet mall where I bought the most beautiful Michael Kors purse. Then we went to supper at the CN Tower 360 Restaurant. The next day we drove around Toronto anxiously waiting for 8 o’clock to go to the Air Canada Centre to see the Queen of Pop.

Around 6 o’clock we went to supper at Casey’s Pub near the Air Canada Centre. I was too excited to eat so I just had a salad and Shrimp tacos. At 7:00pm we got in the lineup waiting for the doors to open with all the other Material Girl fans and a homeless cat.

Seriously, the cat was homeless. It was sat on a pole with a sign that said he couldn’t make his rent. I have a picture and I’ll put it with this blog.

Finally the doors opened and after buying over $100 in merchandise to shut me up, hubby and I went to our excellent seats!

Turns out Madonna is not a fan of being on time and didn’t start until 9:45. Luckily, there were enough drag queens and characters in the audience to keep me occupied. The last time I saw that many sets of prayer beads in the same room, I was at Catholic school and they certainly didn’t wear them with cone bras and lace tops. I was the only one in my row not wearing a sequins gown and I was most likely the only one born a girl.

Then the lights went down. The audience erupted. The drag queens cried and I was on my feet. The
most elaborate army of Chinese warriors carrying large Crosses appeared on stage from thin air. A cage was lowered to the stage and “Like a Virgin” out she strutted…. Madonna in the flesh.

Everyone was in awe. The 14 year old me had wished I had also wore my cone bra and lace top. My stomach was flip flopping with excitement.

The show was nothing short of phenomenal. You’ll never see another show like it.

An hour into the show I realized my stomach was not flip flopping with excitement, it was just flip flopping and I had to get to a bathroom quick. I looked at hubby and said “I got to use the bathroom” and ran across four drag queens while Madonna sang “Like a Prayer.”

This is when the night got interesting.

By the time I got to the bathroom I was sweating profusely and blacking out. And against all my Mother’s warnings, I sat on a public toilet seat without wiping it down first and then lost about five pounds.

The sweat was burning my eyes and I was screaming in my head “Not now! Not now! I need to get back to Madonna!” I tried to stand up but my legs were like rubber. I texted hubby and said “Woman down in the bathroom come quickly!”

A few moments later I heard him calling out my name. I managed to get myself together and stagger out of the bathroom. I could tell from the look on his face that I didn’t look like the Material Girl I once was.

The colour was drained from my face. Even my lips were white. My hair was soaking wet and I was dragging my coat behind me.

“Are you alright? You look like hell!” He grabbed me by the waist and dragged me to a side door. “You need some air.” A security guard opened the door and put a chair outside so I could sit down.

“I think I just got overcome with heat. I am alright now.” I told him and the security guard. I stood to walk back into the arena then a sudden urge to die came over me and I ran back to the door but the security guard was not as quick on his feet as hubby, who had moved out of the way, and while the Material Girl sang “Material Girl” I threw up all over my new fake snakeskin cowboy boots and the security guard.

I kept apologizing in between heaves and he kept saying it was ok but I knew he secretly hated me.

EMS responders showed up and took my vitals while asking me, then hubby, then me, then hubby, again and again how much I had to drink and what drugs I had been doing.

“Smell the vomit!” I told him. “I didn’t have anything but fish tacos!” But I knew from the look on
their faces they didn’t believe me.

If I had to know I was going to throw up on a security guard and pass out at a Madonna concert I would have drank a bottle of Vodka just to look cooler than I did at that moment, standing in a pile of puked up fish tacos!

After sizing up the mess and realizing I was completely sober they cleaned me up and gave me some water. “More than likely food poisoning” one EMS said.  I was determined to see the end of the concert so hubby tried to get me back to our seats. I got to the top of the stairs and knew if I threw up on the drag queens they would scratch my eyes out and I was in no shape to take on a queen in 5 inch heels and a micro mini. So hubby dragged me back to the hotel room.

While I got cleaned up for bed hubby went to get me some water. By the time he got back I was passed out, naked on the bathroom floor with my arms around the toilet and I woke up to him putting cold cloths on my forehead.

“Don’t move me, don’t move me” I protested, “I have to stay here tonight.”

Hubby sat on the edge of the bed waiting and trying to figure out what to do next, while I lay on the floor hugging the toilet. Then I remembered something….

“Remember the romantic evening we had planned?” I asked him.

“You smell like puke. I think that ship has sailed” He smiled back.

“Well. Actually the look on your face right now looks strangely familiar and I just remember where I’ve seen it to before…. Our first date!”

“Really?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Our first date was a concert at MUN’s Student Center. I was hosting the concert and I was extremely nervous about being on a first date and bringing a cop, who actually looked like a cop, to the Thompson Student Center. So I drank too much to make myself look cooler. Then we went back to your place and just when you were about to kiss me I threw up and you spent the night holding my hair out of the toilet and putting cold cloths on my forehead!”

I was surprised at the accuracy of my memory at that moment.

“So this is romantic! It’s a total recreation of our first date. Except I am throwing up fish tacos instead of Labatt Lite and my hair is short so you don’t have to hold it out of the toilet.”

“It was red” he answered dully

“What was red?”

“What you were throwing up on our first date. You were drinking coolers…. And they didn’t make you any cooler.”

“Oh, I can’t believe you remembered, that’s so sweet!”

He picks my limp body off the floor, helps me get into bed and wipes the dried puke off my face. Then in a final act of true love, he moved my new Michael Kors purse to the other side of the room.

“Where are you going with that?” I asked.

“Moving it so you don’t throw up in it.”

“My God that’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for me.” I choked back a tear, then realize it was actually more fish tacos and ran for the toilet.

So we may have missed the end of the Madonna Rebel Heart concert but my rebel heart was very content laying on the floor of a hotel bathroom watching hubby watch Sports desk while I sang “Crazy for You” in between heaves of fish tacos.