How the Blog Broad Steals a Little Christmas

So my partner “C” has never seen the original 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  First, how one goes 35 years without ever having experienced this animated Holiday masterpiece is beyond me.  Secondly, how old AM I?  I’ve literally watched it every single year of my TV watching life.  When I was young, it got marked on the calendar when it would air so I wouldn’t miss it.  It just completes Christmas for me annually.  I still love cartoons, I make no apologies.  I think if I had kids no one would even question it but I can’t play the it’s for my kid card.

For your viewing pleasure:

Infact, earlier today while I was catching up on my favorite bloggers, I came across a post by one of favorites A Fractured Faith.  It’s a husband and wife team.  They’re great and a must follow.  Their 11 year old daughter, an aspiring blogger herself, shared her report on C.S Lewis and I was suddenly reminded me of how much I enjoyed the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid.  Whenever the 1979 animated version aired, I HAD to watch it.  I did a quick search on YouTube and there it was.  I watched it while doing laundry.

Other old Christmas cartoon favorites for me include A Garfield Christmas Special (which we plan on watching next); A Charlie Brown Christmas, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman and the 1964 stop motion animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  

Even though I’m all B’ah Humbug this year, I still enjoy watching my old Christmas favorites, not just limited to cartoons.  My all time favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story, followed closely by National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  I watch these every year.

Be honest, you still like cartoons don’t you?

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?


Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Substitute Gifts and Crying 8 Year Olds

My parents (now divorced) were not wealthy by any means.  I grew up in a trailer on a plot of land owned by my father’s side of the family.  My father, an auto mechanic, earned a less than modest wage and my mother was a homemaker and stay at home Mom.  I know now that she suffered from anxiety and crippling depression, but back then I just remember her reading a lot of books.  Come Christmas time, the books would be set aside for holiday baking and decorating and the wrapping of the gifts.

I wasn’t much of a snooper because I enjoyed the surprise.  I’ve always been a lousy liar so trying to feign surprise or gratitude was beyond my kid skills.  Honesty is the best policy, an adage I still believe in.

Another reason acting surprised was a challenge was because my parents… well, my mother, I mean let’s be honest, my father NEVER shops for other people.  He gets everyone around him to shop for him so he never has to set foot in a store OR you just get some crumpled twenties in a card.  My mother was solely responsible for making my Christmas a success.  The only problems were that a) She had extreme anxiety and HATED shopping or going out in public in general and b) She only had the money my father gave her to buy my presents.

Crack whore BarbieI first learned my mother was a Substitute gifter when I asked for my first real Barbie at age 5.  All I had were those flimsy soft plastic dolls that kind of resembled Barbies but clearly weren’t.  They were like Barbie’s ugly cousin from the valley.  Remember those?  Somebody would squeeze a leg and that was it, the leg would stay that way like some kind of deflated sucked in, fucked up amputee.  I never had a Ken doll either.   My parents seemed to think that Ken would be anatomically correct and that was something I didn’t need to see.  a) I’m gay.  That would NOT have been a problem. b) Most people realize that Barbie and Ken dolls do not have genitalia.  They just have bumps and lines where genitalia should be.  I had a Tony Doll.  Tony’s whole body was made of that crappy collapsible plastic that the valley whore “Barbies” are made from.  My cousin used to squeeze his head until it flattened out and stayed that way.  Eventually, Tony came apart at the waist so Barbies would fight over who would date Torso Tony, complete with head, and who would date Legs Tony ultimately making him 2 separate entities.  Fuck Tony.

Then I wanted the Barbie camper.  Boy for a lesbian, you sure liked Barbies.  Yes.  Yes I did.  I made up Soap Opera like stories that sometimes played out for days just like in my mom’s Soaps.  One Barbie would be gay, another would kill herself over a lost child or ruined career.  Tony would come apart and love 2 women at the same time.  I was a little dramatic, and again, I watched my mother’s Soaps a little too frequently.

Barbie Camper 70s

When Christmas arrived that year I was beyond stoked!  Oh man I wanted that camper complete with tiny barbecue and little steaks and a picnic table and chairs and a shower inside..  It was SOOO COOOOL.  It was all I talked about for months.  Christmas day came, I opened the very last present with all my hopes tied in that bow I carefully (my mother reused the bows) removed and placed aside.  The box didn’t seem big enough though.  Maybe it has to be put together I wishfully thought to myself secretly praying.  Here it comes….  It was a horse.  The Barbie horse.  Not the cool Palomino with the jointed legs either.  Just like, a plastic horse statue of sorts .. I did not ask for this horse.  Why Mom?  That year, my cousin got the Barbie camper.  I cried in my bedroom when I got home from visiting her.

The next painful lesson I learned was when I asked for the Lego Space set.  I’ve always been in to space, astronomy, Star Trek and Lego so the Space Set looked like it was for me and the commercials were awesome!  I planted my seeds and eagerly awaited the 25th.

80s Lego Space Set

Unwrapping all my gifts, I saw no Lego set.  There was one more.  A huge heavy box.  Oh Snap!  This must be it.  Tearing back the paper… I saw…  horses.  More fucking horses!  It was a Loc Blocs Medieval Castle.  Jesus, they didn’t even get the time frame right!  Going back in to history when I wanted to go where no woman has gone before.  I couldn’t hide my disdain.  “But.. this isn’t Lego Space at all..”  My mother assured me that this had way more pieces and would be more fun.  “Look, it has a drawbridge“, she persisted.  I didn’t care about the drawbridge, the smug little faces on the Loc Blocs knights’ stupid faces.  I wanted to build a damn space ship.

I came home the first day back to school after Christmas vacation to find my Loc Blocs castle fully assembled, working drawbridge and all, and my parents tipsy.  To this day, I’m not crazy about horses.

Do you give your kids substitute gifts?  Don’t you love your kids?  Why would you do that to them?  Did you get substitutes as a kid?  #KidsRemember

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

 

Images

Barbie Camper  http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2014/01/20-perfect-nostalgic-toys_80s-toys_90s-toys/

Crack whore Barbie-ish  https://www.pinterest.ca/terribunz/barbie-bashin/?lp=true

Lego Space  http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?8236-LEGO-Classic-Space-(1980s)-Does-anyone-remember-this-specific-LEGO-piece

Tag Along: A Christmas Tag (Blogmas #2)

I tried to finish this last night but I’m still having issues with my wrist and hand.  Pretty sure I broke something or at least, fractured bone(s).  Typing can be painful and using a mouse, almost impossible but here goes.  Better late than never.

I’m tagging on to OHWords Christmas Tag.  Apparently, bloggers post questions and you answer them in your own blog and share the link.  I’m not the Christmas-y type so I’ll do my best.

 

1. What is your favorite Christmas Tradition?

I used to love filling my dining room table with Christmas goodies and snacks and having people drop by all day Christmas Eve.  We’d have egg nog, my tree would be gorgeous and the Christmas tunes would be blaring.  That was my old tradition.

Now, the tradition I look forward to is Christmas Day breakfast.  Surprise, Sam likes breakfast food.  After the presents are open and the mess cleaned up, we retreat to the kitchen to indulge in the annual breakfast.  Last year, my sister in law made this amazing French toast bake.  I hope she makes it again this year because quite frankly, I’ve been thinking about it ever since last Christmas

2. Where do you spend Christmas?

At my mother in law’s house in Pubnico, Nova Scotia.

3. What is your favorite Christmas Song? 

I have 2.

Silent Night by Stevie Nicks

Carol of the Bells by the Trans Siberian Orchestra- you know the one that’s mislabeled as Metallica everywhere.  I thought it was with Metallica up until today when I researched it.  Color me disappointed.

4. Do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving?

I’m Canadian.  Our Thanksgiving is in October.  I usually wait until the second week of December.  I’m not one of those fools that put holiday decorations and trees up in November.  It probably stems from growing up with my father, The Grinch and The Grinch’s wife.  We didn’t put up our tree until usually a week before Christmas.

5. Tinsel or garland?

Neither.  It’s not the 70s anymore and I don’t feel like pulling tinsel out of my dog’s arse.

6. Who are you most excited to see this Christmas season?

Probably the little nieces.  They’re so adorable.  Blonde hair, big blue eyes and full of spunk.

7. Do you own an ugly Christmas sweater?

Nope.  But if I did it would probably be Doctor Who.  I saw a Dalek Christmas sweater and I want it.

8. What is one Christmas food you cannot live without? 

Now, I’m all about the lobster dip.  And cashews.  I love cashews.

9. Peppermint or gingerbread?

Gingerbread.

10. Have you ever tried fruit cake?

Yes.  I love fruitcake.  Preferably dark.  I’m the only person I know that loves fruitcake.  It’s spectacular with tea.  If you receive a fruitcake this year and don’t want it, I’m considering opening a P.O box specifically for your fruitcake donations.

11. What is one thing you asked for this Christmas?

I don’t really ask for anything.  I could use some socks and underwear.  I need a new IPad.  All of my devices are 5 and 6 years old respectively.  it’s getting to be quite the hassle.

12. If you could be any Christmas movie character, who would you be?

I would be Clark Griswold and have a big old fashioned family Christmas complete with a bohemoth tree.  Unfortunately, I am more like the Dad from A Christmas Story.  “Frag-il-ay.  Must be Italian.”

A Christmas Story Dad
It’s a major award

 

Well, there you have it.  Feel free to tag along..

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

 

Images

The old man admiring his major award  http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/a-christmas-story-movie-facts/the-leg-lamp/

New Traditions and Eating Your Face Off (Blogmas #1)

So I see that people are well in to their Blogmas traditions of writing Christmas inspired posts each day leading up to Christmas.  

I’m not going to give you my favorite cookie recipes, because I don’t have any.  I’m not going to tell you the best places to go or shop because, I’m poor.  I don’t Christmas shop because I can’t Christmas shop.  This is the third year in a row I can’t shop.  I only earn a little bit of money each month from blogging and doing my neighbor’s laundry.  It doesn’t equate to much.

Why don’t you make something for Christmas?  Well, you see I am short materials to do any of the crafts I typically do.  I need yarn (and frankly I am not a gifted knitter), I need paints and canvases as I am out of all those.  I don’t have ink in my printer, so homemade cards are out, I don’t have any construction paper either so.. Crafts are out.

To be honest, I kind of hate Christmas now.  I have no contact with my family.  They don’t want to see me.  My illness has inconvenienced them where I owe them money for an old loan.  They don’t even believe I have an illness, I’m simply lazy.  I have a lot of resentment towards my family now.  I don’t care if see them anymore.  To lose control over your body at a fairly young age and NOT have any support, love or compassion from your parents is miserably lonely and I’m so angry at them all (my parents are divorced and remarried so I have 4) for never being there for me.  Ever.  Any time in my life I have needed help from my parents, they’ve ignored me.  Just like when I lived with my father growing up, he ignored me.  I felt invisible.  If I cried in my bedroom- he simply turned the volume up on the TV.  I took myself to the hospital and paid for my own medications and pads.  He wouldn’t even buy me pads.

My mother hasn’t spoken to me in years banning me from ever calling her house.  I guess I was a little too happy the last time I called, it seemed to offend them somehow.  Oh right, they’re negative assholes.  All of my parents are negative narcissistic Nellies.  

The new Christmas tradition with my partner includes us travelling via ferry to Nova Scotia and driving a couple of hours to her family home to spend Christmas with them.  Her mom always has a beautifully decorated tree that I sit and admire.  We get together Christmas morning and open gifts with the little nieces, a.k.a the cutest little girls in the world.  Watching their excitement as they tear open presents is pretty adorable.

Everyone down home makes fantastic foods and sweets.  My sister in law makes this to die for lobster dip that really is a gift in itself.   I can almost taste that velvety creamy delectable dip piled high on a salty ripple potato chip.  I also really look forward to my mother in law’s cooking, particularly her stuffing.  The brother in law is a lobsterman so there’s often fresh lobster which was always a tradition for my father as well.  Lobster for Christmas Eve.  I LOVE SEAFOOD.  I usually try to fill up on as much as I can we go back to Nova Scotia. 

Yeah, so I guess Christmas is about food to me now. 

And the Doctor Who Christmas episode of course.  That’s a tradition.

I love homemade cookies, shortbread, gingerbread, fruitcake, squares, pie, and cake.  I love hors d’oeuves and finger foods.  I love turkey dinner and more importantly, the Boxing Day Turkey sandwich.  This is a sandwich that combines leftover turkey, gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce (homemade not canned) in to a sandwich that I literally think of ALL year long.  I begin anticipating it heavily as I help package up Christmas dinner and do the dishes.  You think I’m helping, but I’m really surveying what’s remaining for tomorrow’s sandwich rubbing my hands eagerly together like some kind of holiday sandwich fiend.  

So even though I don’t spend the holidays with my family, I am grateful for my partner’s family.  Who really are better people anyway.  I just wish I could buy presents for people.  The fun part of Christmas is giving people gifts.  Not getting but giving.  I usually get really stoked when I have found the perfect gift for someone, it just makes you feel good.

We don’t have a tree in our apartment although we would love one.  There isn’t much room for one and we really don’t have the money to buy a tree, the lights and ornaments and stuff so it doesn’t really feel like Christmas for us until a couple of days before when we arrive at her mother’s house.  It won’t feel like Christmas for a while yet.

The Blog Broad Blogmas
My beautiful fiancée, the Blog Broad & Lucy the dog

What are your traditions?  Are you participating in Blogmas this year?


Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

I Can’t Throw it Away, These Things are Valuable to Some People…

mangrove tree  Trying to pull it together after a week of pure exhaustion.  I have Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis everywhere and degenerative disc disease so I have bouts of pain and exhaustion where I fluctuate from suffering from insomnia to chronic fatigue.  I spent the evenings unable to sleep and having to nap in the afternoons.  My brain has been so foggy.  I’m somewhere in that space between not really awake but not exactly asleep but walking around. Miraculously.   Yesterday I went out with 2 different shoes on and I didn’t even notice.  Everything I eat makes me feel like I’m going to be sick.  It’s like having the flu.  I woke up this morning completely soaked.  Had to change and crawl back into bed.  I barely remember because I was still partially asleep.  I couldn’t wake up and get up so I slept.  I slept until 11am.  What woke me was another nightmare.

 

I usually dream the same things over and over again.  The world outside is chaos.  Something has happened.  Something from the skies.  We’re always watching the skies.  People are travelling in small groups of people trying to stay safe and unnoticed.  There’s no food, and there is destruction and devastated buildings everywhere.  We have to to stay quiet and unnoticed because if they hear us, they will take us.  I don’t know who they are.  I never see because I usually wake myself  up screaming.  My dreams are terrifying and violent.   I’ve had dreams similar to this for most of my life.  I have had PTSD for most of my life.  Another way I wake up is I’m yelling at my parents.  Usually my father.  We fell out a couple of years ago over money.  He had co signed a line of credit for me in 2007 to go back to school.  I went back to get certified in Fitness Instruction, Personal Training and Nutrition and Wellness.  That was going to be my career and I was really good at it.  Then I got sick.  I had to have emergency surgery one night from endometriosis complications.  I was off work for a while but I was unable to ever fully return to my normal capacity.  Over time my Fibro came back full swing with new symptoms added.  Arthritis became crippling some days.  I missed time from work and kept getting fired from job after job.  The stress of not being able to eat or pay rent or take care of everything while being sick and getting sicker was awful.  Again.. No support or caring from my father or stepmother.  I was put off work years ago because of illness.  My stepmother thinks I’m lazy and so does my father.  Kept telling my to get my shit together .  I’m sick not lazy.  They don’t understand that I am actually ill.  So when I was unable to keep up the payments on this line of credit, my father cut me out.  He told me he did not want to see my face.   That was almost 2 years ago now.  My mother and I haven’t spoke in five years or so.  She has a lot of health problems as well, in fact we share many of those- thanks DNA, but I was told by my stepfather years ago that I wasn’t to call there anymore.  If I had something to say, to put it in an email.  I know my mother has moments that she could speak to me for five minutes.  She chooses not to.  She’s chosen not to since I was 26.  I had a rocky relationship with my mother until about 12 where we became friends.  I say friends because she was never consistently in my life like a mother should be.  My father just ignored me but she would be in and out like the seasons.  In while my stepfather was away at sea and she was lonely, out once he retired.  

 

All I’ve ever wanted is to feel loved by my parents and to feel close, but instead I felt like an old antique piece of furniture being passed back and forth.  “Well I don’t want it right now, so I’ll just store it in the attic in case I need it for something, I mean, I can’t throw it out, these things are valuable to some people.”  I guess not everyone gets the supportive advice, the encouragement, the hugs, the “I love yous” , the birthday cakes, the gifts, the help, the empathy, the compassion.  I’ve been pretty much on my own since 13 with the occasional help from them of say groceries for my birthday.  I’ve lived with my father but I was ignored.  Like not even told there was dinner ready ignored.  No one noticed my good grades, no one noticed how hard I was working at university, or the fact that I never asked them for anything.  Ever. (Except for that line of credit in 2007) I overdosed at 18 on Valium and slept in my bedroom for two days and no one noticed.  When I got married in 2011, my mother and stepfather didn’t attend my wedding, nor did I receive a card or a present.  I noticed my youngest step brother got married this past month, my invitation seemingly lost in the mail.  My stepfather made it to his wedding I learned.  My stepfather.  He taught me some things and helped me different times but he was more of the same.  There, then not there, then don’t call me.  

 

All this stuff seems to come up when I go through a flare.  I guess it’s because it’s when I feel most vulnerable.  I so wish I could hear an encouraging “I love you” or a hug or “I’m sorry that you’re having these problems, can we help?”  I hear my partner talking to her mom and sister on the phone and there’s always this little piece of me that breaks a little inside.

 

My parents are getting older, approaching their seventies and I know that things will never be resolved with us.  The chaos I grew up in, the things that happened to me and not having their help, their protection, their guidance or love.  Even my health needs went unmet which in turn has complicated my health now.  In today’s world, I would have been removed from that home.  I saw things and knew things children should never know or be exposed to.  Nothing…  There will never be anything different with them.   

 

Seeing how difficult it is to attain mental health help in addition to the family doctor I am waiting for, 2 years now.  I felt like the only means available to me is to write about it.  I can’t afford the treatments that many people have access to and I have no health coverage.  The only thing I have is my writing.  I have hesitated to really put things out there for a long time.  I already got yelled at by my brother because of “how I write about our parents” he is my step mother’s son from her previous marriage.  Her only child.  He got taken care of well.  Very well.  I on the other hand was not her problem.  He doesn’t realize that despite us living under the same roof for 6 years we have lived very different lives.  

 

My family doesn’t care about me.  I have one cousin that I wish lived closer but I even tend to keep her at arm’s length because I don’t trust she’ll stay in my life either.  My now ex wife cheated on me and we divorced in 2014 so yeah, now I have some serious abandonment issues and PTSD and chronic pain and poverty and bad credit and all the other shit that comes with being chronically ill.

 

I prefer for people to think of me as witty and happy and clever so I tend to only write when I’m feeling upbeat but that isn’t realistic.  Life isn’t always like that.  Sometimes, life is just shit.  

 

I hope I feel better tomorrow.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Image

“Mangrove Trees” by 9comeback  www.freedigitalphotos.net 

 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't sweat the small stuffI learned an important lesson from my step father.  When He first entered my life at age 12 he seemed a burly rigid man.  He was tall and broad across the shoulders, physically strong; he was a navy man.  He served for over 20 years on submarines as a sonar technician.  He was at times, an asshole, but I appreciated his efforts in keeping me on the straight and narrow and providing guidance to me when my parents were more consumed by themselves than how I was doing.  They had just separated; my father moved in with my now step mother and my mother began dating my now stepfather.  He showed up on a motorcycle with these ridiculous goggles on his face.  I later would learn he was a huge dork.  A Star Trek lover and fan of ABBA I wondered what this man could possibly bring to my life.  In addition to our mutual love of Star Trek, he had a sense of humor as well.  So we bonded.

I was an awkward teenager morphing into an awkward adult and stressing over something stupid.  Probably a shirt or my hair or some adolescent girl shit.  My step father says, “Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff.”  He later would offer solutions to whatever I was complaining about and rectified it quickly and efficiently.  He would do this many times over the course of our relationship.  Over time I learned he was right and this phrase would become a daily mantra to me in my adult life. 

So many times I have caught myself stressing over some minor detail and thought, “Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff.”  There are bigger things in life to stress about. 

I carry this through my personal life as kind of a philosophy.   There are things worth fighting over and things that aren’t.  I’m not gonna berate my partner for leaving her dishes in the living room or socks on the floor.  Who cares?  It doesn’t really matter in the long run.  

The things that are important to me are things like loyalty, honesty, kindness and love.  I try to focus on those things and try to keep things in the big picture.   Sure, my dog sometimes craps on the floor.  I could yell at her which would upset her and me OR I can remember that overall, she has given me 6 years of unconditional love and laughter so a little shit doesn’t matter.  Shit happens.  Which is another one of my personal philosophies/mantras.

Morpheus what if I told you

The next time you are about to have a freak out over something, ask yourself this?

How will I feel after I work myself up with anger?

What kind of reactions and/or emotions will this provoke in those around me?
Does it really fucking matter?
Ask yourself this

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Shit happens.

Shit happens

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam
Images
Shit happens to make room meme https://pics.onsizzle.com/shit-happens-to-make-room-for-a-shift-to-happen-5839415.png

What if I told you meme https://i.imgflip.com/pr0do.jpg

Ask yourself this question https://i.pinimg.com/736x/cd/ed/40/cded40983f805281cbe63e306aceb3b4–good-advice-good-ideas.jpg

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff https://pics.me.me/dont-sweat-the-small-stuff-lum-skye-21183656.png www.pickle bums.com #Skye

Summer Road Trips and the Perfect Place “To Go”

A guest blog post by Ocean Hayward

Road trip

It’s summer road trip season, and I’ve been partaking all summer long so far.  My husband and I have been driving back and forth around the Maritimes visiting friends and family.  Yes, summer road trips- those long trips in the car filled with highways lined with nothing but trees for miles and miles, rest-stops, gas stations, fast food and sitting in the same position for hours on end, squirming around in the seat trying to find that sweet spot where your legs, neck and back don’t ache.  And, of course, holding in your business until the next rest-stop or exit.

Growing up, I went on a lot of family road trips in the summer.  My father generally drove and one thing about my father is he is always in a hurry.  He hates traveling, so whenever we went on our trips, he wanted to get there and back home as quickly as possible.  It’s because my father is not a public pooper.  The only place he will drop anchor is at home.  We’ve been out at stores, restaurants or family get-togethers and my dad will rush us all out to take us home because he has to shit.  I, too, suffered from the same shame about public pooping, (either a learned behaviour or inherited one, I’m not sure which) for years until the “Best Buy” incident. 

My husband and I were on a road trip of our own to visit his brother in Ontario and we drove through the U.S. because the gasoline is much cheaper there.  On the way, my husband wanted to look at laptops at Best Buy because electronics are also much cheaper, even with the exchange rate.  When traveling, I would always hold in my bowel movements because the shame, oh, the shame of shitting in a public restroom.  But when you’re on a road trip, you don’t have the luxury of driving home to use the toilet.  So there we were, my husband and I, in Best Buy, and that’s when the poop pangs hit me- my bowels weren’t going to allow me to wait to use the bathroom until our next stay in a hotel.  So I didn’t walk, I literally RAN to the Best Buy bathroom, without even saying a word to my husband who was examining each electronic item, the prices and doing the math for exchange rates in his head.  He didn’t even realize that I had disappeared.

The nice thing about the Best Buy bathrooms is that usually they are empty.  I was so relieved (Pun intended) when I got into the bathroom and there wasn’t a single other person in there.  I think that people don’t generally need to use the bathroom when shopping for electronics like they do at gas stations or rest stops off of the highway.  Probably because most people shopping for electronics are not that far from home, and they probably don’t stay in the store long enough to feel the urge.  So I had the WHOLE bathroom to myself.  I checked under each stall to ensure I was indeed truly alone, and I was.  It was quiet and clean, and I let it all out!  Afterwards, I felt empty in a beautiful way that only people who have held in their shit for more than a day can understand.  I was in there for a very long time.  When I came out, my husband immediately looked up to see me come out of the bathroom.  “Was that you?” Apparently the smell of my “brand” had emanated out into the TV department where my husband had moved to do more price comparisons just outside of the bathroom.  He was actually puzzling about the smell and wondering if the Best Buy had an issue with their sewage system. It didn’t.  It was ME!  But you know even though I stunk up the entire Best Buy bathroom and surrounding TV department, I didn’t care.  No one in that Best Buy in New Hampshire knew me and I felt so good to have it all out.

But back to my dad, where I learned to become a dysfunctional pooper in the first place, (Hey, Dad, EVERYBODY POOPS!) and his mad rush to get the family road trips over as quickly as possible.  Our most memorable road trip as a family was when I was 17 and had just finished the eleventh grade.  My brother was 12 at the time.  We lived in Nova Scotia, on the eastern coast of Canada.  My mother wanted us to visit her sister who lives in British Columbia (BC) on the west coast of Canada and instead of flying, my parents decided to drive to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, BC because supposedly they wanted us to have a learning experience out of it by seeing all of Canada.  (FUN FACTOID: Canada is the second largest country in the world!) As the trip progressed, I began to see that the learning experience part was more my mother’s idea. My dad, on the other hand, saw driving as a way to save money instead buying plane tickets for the four of us (which would have been very expensive and may have caused my father anxiety about the possibility of having to have a shit in the tiny airplane bathroom.)

The funny thing is we didn’t actually see much of Canada at all.  I mean, we saw it.  Some of it.  On the way up, we drove by the “Big Nickel” at the Canadian Mint in Sudbury, Ontario.  Then, in my dad’s rush, we skipped Manitoba and Saskatchewan altogether and drove through Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana instead.  We even passed by the site of Custer’s Last Stand.  We drove through the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  Thing is, although we saw all of these things, we didn’t really SEE them.  We saw them through the car window, yes.  Whenever we asked to stop to actually SEE any of these things, you know, as in get out of the actual car and walk around, my dad said, “You can see it from here just fine.”  So our photo album of our trip to BC consists of blurred photos of mountains, plains and the Big Nickel with the edge of the car window bordering each scenic panavista and landmark.  An important lesson I learned from driving across Canada is that it’s very difficult to get good photos from a car window.

Another thing I learned is that families should not take road trips across an entire continent together.  My brother and I fought with each other the entire trip.  My parents had to separate us by having one of us sitting up front with Dad while the other sat in the back with our mom.  We still managed to annoy each other diagonally from time to time.  And we constantly fought over who would drive “shot-gun.” Remember shot-gun?  Running and trying to call out shot-gun at the first sight of the car so you would be the passenger in the front seat?  This was back in 1991 too, so we didn’t have any smart-phones or even hand-held video games like a Game-boy to distract us from the long drive.  There may have been Game-boys available but my parents wouldn’t have bought us both one, so we would have just fought over that too.  Smart-phones would have been a blessing for us.  It’s not like we could really see much of the country anyway, since my dad was speeding across Canada in a mad rush to get back to his beloved porcelain throne in the sanctity of his own home. So a smart-phone would have really made things a lot easier for all of us.  Today, families can go on road-trips and not even talk to each other for the entire trip.  In fact, maybe another part of my father’s rush was to just get some peace and quiet from the constant bickering between my brother and I…  in the bathroom, of course.

We also had to use maps.  There was not GPS or Google Maps to direct us.  So we had all these road maps- they folded up into the size of a pamphlet but when you unfolded them, they took up the entire front seat.  Then one of us, usually my mother or I, would read out the directions to my father.  We didn’t have computerized voices, but it didn’t matter because we were quite capable of mispronouncing place names.  Then there would be arguments over which way we were supposed to be going, and points where we would get lost.  My father was surprisingly willing to stop for directions when we would get lost, unlike the usual stereotypical man.  I think it was because of how he was always in a hurry to get the trip over with.  He was happy to get directions so he could get to his “home bowl” a little bit quicker.

I feel truly sad for my father, who at 70 still hasn’t learned the wonderful lesson I learned at the Best Buy that day with my husband in New Hampshire: if you have to go number two in public, you should just go do it, because it feels a lot better after and it doesn’t create as much of a stink as it does after holding it in for 2 days.  And no matter how fast you try to drive across Canada and back, you’re still going to have to poop at some point before you make it home.  So to anyone else who’s ever had anxiety about being a public pooper, I say take the advice of the Nike ads, find yourself a Best Buy bathroom and “Just Do It!” 

~ Ocean 

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net  “Cars Traveling With A Blurred Image” by RK008