Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hostile makeover.

"The usual." I felt like saying.

Ten-piece nugget meal, no sauce, two double cheeseburgers, a Jr. chicken, and a chocolate milkshake.

"Plato, honey, what you you having?" I thought, looking in the rear-view mirror.

The Little Bastard and I were in the McDonald's drive thru, having a discussion about moral virtues. In a nutshell: how he had them and I didn't.

"You suffered an injustice." I said. "Why aren't you angry?"

I wanted to rip someone's face off. I was pissed. I was menopausal Carrie.

He just shrugged his shoulders and said, "What's the point? There's nothing I can do."

"Yes.... Yes there is something you can do!" I bleated. "You can get mad. You can spew bile-laced fire. You can do donuts in their rose garden. You can slam your fists against the wall of gross unfairness. You can phone and hang up a million times." I roared. "You're like Pa on Little House on the fucking Prairie! How can you be so accepting and kind, when you just got the shit end of the stick?" I continued, spittle landing on the steering wheel. "I'm so bloody mad I ate a block of cheese and an entire row of Candy Cane Oreos, before shoving the other row down the garburator." I would have lost my hand going in after them, had reason not stepped in.

Then out it came.

"That's because you're a hostile person." the Little Bastard said, calmly, under the glow of the golden arches.

The elephant in the room jumped into the backseat with Plato.

"You're goddamned right I'm a hostile person." I said, only I pronounced it hosTILE. "I come from a long line of hosTILE women."

"It's /ˈhästl/ not /ˈhäs-tīl/." He corrected, dipping his nugget in the milkshake.

"Oh my god how can you EAT THAT?" I screamed, ignoring his Grammar School wisdom as he plopped the chocolate covered grease ball into his mouth.

And with that, the subject was changed.

Had I not been mortally hungover in Philosophy 101, I would have argued Plato's "He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it" as complete and utter bullshit. Plato was never a mother. Mothering bears account for the majority of injuries and fatalities in North America.

I just sent my cub on the road to Cape Breton. I need a break from hockey, and he needs a break from me. I have the weekend papers and and a filthy house. Both will get dealt with over the next 32 hours, but in the meantime, I have plans. It's I HEART HFX Local's Small Biz Saturday, so I'm going to throw my money around an independent business or two, with hopes of winning a shopping spree. I also have an appointment at Flaunt. I'm tired of my Movember moustache, and they have a new Registered Massage Therapist. Lord knows I could use some therapy.

One day, my grandmother's neighbour was out waxing his car, and in the course of a brief conversation, he called my grandmother a wing nut. I let it go. I was young, and decidedly less hosTILE – choosing instead to take the high road. I chalked up his comment to small town ignorance – and, truth be told – my grandmother was a bit of a wing nut.

Later that night, after walking her dog (and nipping at the Courvoisier she kept in her nightstand) I took a sharp turn off the high road and scratched my wretched morals into the left rear quadrant of his shiny car.

Justice had been served. On a sesame seed bun.

Make an appointment with Lindsay at Flaunt by calling 425.0020.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The dysfunctional network.

The Facebook message said: "I'm really sorry to hear about your mom".

The message was from my cousin Janis, who had been sending me messages through Facebook for quite some time before I even realized she was "that Janis". My mother's sister Carley's daughter Janis. I haven't seen her in several decades, and didn't recognize her last name.

Never mind.

I am in a hotel room in Moncton. My mother had a massive heart attack, Wednesday, up on Georgian Bay. This is now Friday. I found out this morning, through Facebook.

I called my brother in Toronto this morning, about 2 seconds after reading the message. And it went something like this:

Brother: Hello. (sleepily)

Me: Why am I getting Facebook messages that say, "sorry about your mom"?

Brother: Didn't you get my message?

Me: Apparently not. I am in Moncton. What happened to Mom?

Brother: Oh, I left you a message Thursday afternoon, saying mom had a massive heart attack Wednesday and was shipped down to the intensive care in Kitchener.

Me: So, Mom has a heart attack Wednesday and you leave me a message Thursday afternoon? How fucked up is that!?

Brother: You go to bed early. I didn't want to wake you. You're an hour ahead.

Me: You weren't calling to chat about the Leaf's game! I think under these circumstances it's ok to wake someone up... on a Wednesday afternoon.

Brother: I didn't find out until Wednesday night.

Me: Oh. So when I didn't respond, did you not think to maybe to call my cell, or send me a text, or maybe an email? I'm in Moncton. Mom's been lying there since Wednesday with the phone not ringing.

Brother: There are no phones in the ICU.

Me: Is she going to be okay?

Brother: She needs a quadruple bypass.

Me: I doubt they'll do a quadruple bypass on a serial chain smoker.

Brother: I gave her nicotine patches for Mother's Day. She's not smoking any more.

Me: You gave her nicotine patches for Mother's Day?

Brother: Ya. She sounds surprisingly good.

Me: What do you mean, she sounds good? You haven't gone to see her yet?

Brother: No.

I am in a shitty hotel room in Moncton. Overnight, it went from a balmy autumn, to a winter wonderland. I am here without a warm coat or gloves.

I am totally unprepared.

For decades, I have been waiting for my mother to apologize for "dropping the maternal ball". Opening a dialogue with two words.

We are the Royal Tenenbaums, minus the childhood success, a fur coat, and a character or two. I am Margot –although not adopted – even though it has always felt that way.

Mrs. Tenenbaum: Well, I don't think it's very intelligent to keep an electrical gadget on the edge of the tub.

Margot: [in bath] I tie it to the radiator.

I haven't laid eyes on my mother in over ten years. I called the hospital in Kitchener to see how she was doing, and a nurse handed her the phone. My brother was right – she sounded good. I told her about my Facebook message, and how funny and screwed up it was that I had to find out that way – and she laughed. She said she always thought a heart attack sent a shooting pain down your arm, but this was right in the middle of her chest. And how after calling 911 she didn't have time to grab her makeup, but she had lipstick and mascara delivered to the ICU. And the food was bland, so she asked for salt, but they gave her something called Mrs. Dash. She even laughed when I asked if the ambulance had maybe, with any luck, run over her dog. I hate her dog. I also have spent most of my adult life being angry at her.

She dropped the ball. My parents both dropped the ball.

I am alone, in a shitty motel in Moncton.

Maybe it's time for me to kick it out of the way and move on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ephemera ever after.

"I hope you're not looking for your bank card." The Little Bastard said, smiling, as he watched me rifle through my wallet.

"No." I thought. "I'm looking for a condom, so I can go back in time about 16 years."

"Because it's in my sofa." he continued.

With that, the me inside my head lunged across the table and grabbed the asshole by the throat, wrestling him to the ground.

The other me, let out a resigning sigh, and said, "Please tell me you're kidding."

It had been a particularly hellish week, and we'd wheeled into the Lion's Head for a little sustenance and a vodka cooler. As it turns out, the Little Bastard had borrowed my bank card earlier in the day, and like most things that go missing, it somehow managed its way into the teenage abyss that is his sofa. I say his sofa, because it's as close to a man cave as he's going to get – and as soon as he moves out – I'm dragging it to the curb, and setting it on fire, using his collection of broken goalie sticks as kindling.

Suddenly, faced with the dilemma of having no money to pay the bill, I had little choice but to drive home to fetch the card.

"Do you know exactly where my bank card is?" I asked, stupidly, wondering where in proximity to the dent his boney ass has carved out in the corduroy sectional that was nice for about 2.5 hours, about 7 years ago.

Just as the Little Bastard was about to speak, the waiter arrived. I told him, the waiter, that I was leaving, but the Little Bastard was staying, and I may, or may not be back. In the meantime, get him, pointing at the Little Bastard, to wash dishes or scrub toilets or whatever, because I did not care. And I stormed out.

The Little Bastard's sofa was covered with shit from one end to the other. Ice cream sandwich wrappers, skates, headphones, corn pad, Subway napkins, socks, xBox controllers, a plate, mid-term report card, 2 hideous-yet-identical hockey jackets, boogers, chemistry notes, the Lindbergh baby, dog hair, baseball mitt, a pair of boxers, what may or may not be the end of a turkey bacon ranch sub, and a Bandaid.

But no bank card.

I bent down and felt an excruciating pain where my jeans were cutting me in half. I unbuttoned my pants – already regretting my decision to go with the suicide wings instead of just plain suicide – and got down on all fours.

There was nothing resembling a bank card under the sofa, but if anyone is missing a furry bathing suit let me know.

With that, I got up, and lifted the cushion. The cushion on which the Little Bastard spends most of his waking hours.

That cushion.

I won't describe what was under that cushion, but I managed to scrape up $11.57 worth of sticky coins coated with fluff.

But no bank card.

By this time, the vodka had worn off and I was sweating like a pig. I fired up the computer and transferred money from my account to the Little Bastard's account. I knew exactly where his bank card was, because it seldom leaves the wallet on his bedside table.

Then I drove back to the Lion's Head. Slowly. With my pants undone.

He was waiting for me outside, and quickly ran in to settle our tab. After the deafening silence that was our ride home, I instructed my offspring to clean his TV room, including the sofa.

"Get the vacuum out of the basement and suck up all that crap, because anything that doesn't get sucked up, or put away, is going in the garbage."

I continued.

"When you're done, you are officially banned from sitting on anything upholstered in this house until further notice." And I went to bed.

The next day, the Lodge at White Point burned down. In a heartbeat, I no longer cared that he was slowly slinking from the hard kitchen chair, back on to his sofa. I started working for White Point back in 1995, when I couldn't get my pants done up because there was a 10-pound baby brewing inside. That was 16 years ago, this month – and they have been the fixed mark on my turbulent horizon ever since.

Throughout his lifetime, the Little Bastard and I have not only been guests at White Point – they have been our family. Waiters have watched him grow, marvelling at how he got to be so tall eating nothing but beige food. We've napped on the beach. Learned to golf. I pretended to LOVE burnt marshmallows. We played endless games of chess by the fire in Founders Lounge. We even squabbled like family on occasion – but we never went to bed mad, and we always raised a glass, or two, before tucking in under the old White Point wool blankets I'd pull out of the bureau.

So, I dream of the day when I can set the Little Bastard's sofa ablaze – but when that time comes – will I be able to torch life's lost and found?

Because memories, and love, are all that really matters.

And there isn't a bank card in the world that can compete with that.

For updates on the Lodge rebuild, frequent