Stupid Is As Stupid Looks

In what wouldn't be considered shocking by anyone who knows me or has ever waited for me to update my blog (sorry), I am what I like to call 'selectively lazy.' I often have the best intentions, but I have this annoying habit of putting off today what I can totally do tomorrow. 

In my defense, life is short, there are so many books to read, the laundry is unending and, well, anything that resembles work requires a commitment I'm just not ready to make.

This tends to drive my husband insane. It constantly shocks him what I will and will not do. Shovel out an entire flowerbed and replace all the soil, by hand? No problem. Answer the phone even though it's sitting next to me? No thank you. Clean the house from top to bottom? Of course, I am no slob. Pick up the mail? That would require energy I'd rather use to match sock pairs with, thank you very much.

I like to think I'm charming with my eccentricity but my husband would argue I'm annoying. It's that po-tay-to pah-tah-to syndrome. We're the yin to the other's yang. 

Over the years, my husband and I have managed to find a balance. He picks up where I slack off and I manage what he doesn't want to, or can't. It's a balance and it all tends to even out in the end. Which was why, when he was last home, I was shocked when he told me I had to go and renew my vehicle registration. Myself

He is upsetting the delicate eco-system my systemically lazy-self thrives in!

"What? You didn't do it for me? You always do it for me. I took the kids for their drivers' tests! I sat through 30 collective hours of drivers training! I pump my own gas! WE HAVE A SYSTEM BRUCE!"

"I know! I tried renewing yours when I renewed mine but there were FINES. And your registration expires today so you better get on it."

I tried acting shocked that there were FINES but my daughter helpfully remembered that time when I was caught speeding while taking her shopping and dammit, what good is it raising children when they won't contribute to any sort of plausible deniability you've tried to assert?

"All right, I'll do it myself. But the next child of ours who needs driver's training is your responsibility."

My husband ignored my tantrum and continued sorting through the mountain of mail I've ignored and left accumulating on the counter since well, forever.

"Did you know there are Christmas cards in this pile? I was beginning to fear we had no friends or family who love us. What is wrong with you?" he chuckled as he gleefully ripped into another holiday card three months past its prime.

"Mail annoys me," I huffed. I didn't have time for this. I had a vehicle to register, another broken hearing aid to get fixed and a medical delivery to pick up for Knox. And groceries! Someone has to feed all these people. Food doesn't find it's way into our pantry itself. Who has time to open mail? Send me an email if you require my attention. I'm busy being selectively lazy.

So off I left to run errands while stewing in annoyance that my day of leisure was being interrupted by the tedium of life. 

Hearing aide brought in to be fixed: Check.

Medical delivery picked up at hospital: Check.

Groceries purchased: Check.

Chai tea latte procured: Check check.

As I was leaving the city my husband called. I listed all my accomplishments, proud I had finished all the errands required and could sink back into being selectively lazy once more.

"Did you renew your registration?"


So I turned around and headed to the nearest registries office I could find. Being a responsible adult is hard work.

There was no line up at the registry and I thanked the Universe for small miracles as I walked up to the lady behind the counter and passed her my insurance and registration papers. "I need to renew my registration please." 

"I need to see your driver's license." Right. It had been a while since I've done this. I dug out my license and handed it over. She looked at it and then looked up at me.

"Your license is expired."

"What? No way."

"Yes," she said as she counted off fingers. "Over FIVE months ago."

That moment, right then and there? It's what I refer to as a 'wet your pants' moment. She pulled out a desk calendar and flipped back and counted months and days as I held my breath and prayed to every Deity known to mankind. 

"You're lucky. If you had waited a few more weeks, you'd have to jump through quite a few hoops to get your license back. Did you not get the reminder statement sent to you in AUGUST?"

The stack of unopened mail sitting on my counter flashed before my eyes.

I mumbled something and readjusted my toque and smiled winningly at her. I would admit to nothing.

"We will have to renew your license as well as your registration. And it appears there are fines which will need to be paid too."

"Yes, yes, of course." Shame and embarrassment coursed through me and I could feel nervous sweat trickle down my body. 

(Side note: Those fines? Turns out they were all my HUSBAND'S. How do I know? Because they were all photo radar fines from places he's worked and I've never been too. While driving a car also registered in my name. Booyah. Score one for this lawbreaker.)

"You'll have to follow me. We need to update your photo."

Wait, what?

"Um, can I keep my hat on?" I asked hopefully, knowing that I had two-day-old hat-hair hiding under my toque. 

"I'm sorry, no. But we do have a mirror you can use if you like." Great. So I can see the rat's nest I'm about to have immortalized. Helpful.

I took my toque off and tried fluffing my hair but I could see the lady try and stifle a chuckle. Surely this was punishment for letting my license lapse so long.

"You'll also need to remove your glasses."

"But the glasses are my best feature! I'm not wearing any makeup."

"Well you can smile, but you aren't allowed to show any teeth."

Double helpful.

So I swallowed hard, took off my glasses, refluffed my hair and hoped for the best.


The lady looked at my photo, and for the first moment in our encounter, offered me some sympathy. "We can retake the photo if you like."

I walked over and looked at the computer monitor. A greasy ugly triple chinned slightly drunk looking terrorist looked back at me. This photo makes my passport photo look like a super model.

Artistic rendering of what actual photo looks like. Only picture it WORSE.

I looked at her, and then remembered I'd been driving without a license, for FIVE months, with CHILDREN in my vehicle, and I stuffed my hat back on and put on my glasses.

"No, this will be fine. It will be my own personal hair shirt every time I look at it."

I got home, still slightly damp from sweating bullets and retold my story as I put away groceries. "At least I'm good for another four and half years before I need another license!" There is a bright side to everything, no?

My husband nodded as he passed me more groceries and then asked, "But did you remember to pick up the mail?"


Growing Out While Growing Up

I sat in the kitchen last week and watched as my hair stylist cut and curled my daughter's hair. (Yes, my hair stylist comes to my house. Yes, she is awesome.) Ken's graduation photos loomed before us and with each wisp of hair curled and wrangled into position she resembled more of the beautiful adult she is morphing into and less of the disheveled six year old she once was. I couldn't help but sigh.

I used to have hair like that.

What, you thought I was going to talk about how hard it is watching your kids grow up only to let them go? Please, I'm not that deep. 

(Note to self: You should write that post.)

(I will. Just not today.)

When I was a young child my hair was fine blonde wisps that, when not dirty with the sweat of a hard day's child's play, floated like finely spun spider webs and shone like gold in the afternoon sun. Time tarnished my hair, vanity bleached it, and finally, over a year ago, aggravation hacked it all off.

But vanity is a hard thing to let go of, once it's climbed onto your back like the monkeys at the Rock of Gibraltar. I watched my daughter's teenaged locks shimmer with the glow of youth as she tossed her mane over her shoulders and instinctively my hands went to my own head of hair.

Okay, so the monkeys of Gibraltar were less on back and more on my head. Whatever.

I'm rocking the dirty dishwater blonde/brown hair, highlighted with the greys I never knew I had all while trying to grow out the pixie cut my husband loathed and lose the ten pounds I invariably gain over the holiday season.

It's a bad time of year to have mom hair. God bless the toque.

Nothing says 'youthful and carefree' like covering up what is now effectively a mullet, with a fuzzy hat with hands that clap when you squeeze the pompon on the end. The boys' on the basketball team love it.

(Love can be defined here as rolling their eyes and mocking me in the locker room, but hey, they do it with affection.)

The last time I tried to grow out my hair from a pixie cut, I was numb with grief. My kid had just died and it didn't matter that I had dyed my hair an atrocious shade of brown that looked green in certain light. I just didn't care. (Oh hey, it only took me eight years to find an upside to grief. There really are silver linings to every storm cloud. Go figure.)

However, the only thing I'm grieving right now is the size zero pants of my youth and the fact I've reached the age where people just automatically assume I'm old enough to be somebody's mother. It doesn't matter that I'm four somebodies mother; my ego has firmly strapped on the blinders of aging and is planted in the land of delusion.

This makes growing out a short hairstyle painful. Toss in the whisker from a new neck mole just discovered, those tedious chin hairs that dodge tweezers, cheek fur growing increasingly thick and more lines on your neck than on the front page of a newspaper and I've decided I'm never cutting my hair again.

I'm going to go full on Crystal Gayle, unless of course my hair starts to thin, in which case, I'm buzzing it all off and asking my grandfather if I can borrow my (bless her soul) grandmother's wig. 

The older I get, the more comfortable I tend to be with how I look. I no longer exercise or diet to stay thin; instead I work to stay strong enough to ably care for Knox; I rarely wear makeup beyond blush and mascara and only because I tend to look a tad corpse-y without it, and I can't remember the last time I showcased my 'girls' or for that matter, shaved my legs.

I am what I am, as the saying goes, and I'm pretty happy with all that I am. 

Except for this mop on my head. 

I walk past a mirror and I laugh. I can't help it. The mullet shag look amuses me, as does the fact the longer it grows, the frizzier and curlier it becomes. There was a time I'd kill for curls. I don't recognize the middle aged mom staring back at me. 

The only golden hair locks in this house are the ones on my teens' heads and I'm slowly making peace with that. Time waits for no one and waist sizes and hair follicles change with the passing of time. My beauty inspiration may be less Gisele Supermodel what's-her-name and more Helen Mirren nowadays. I'm learning the fine art of aging gracefully.

Even with the toque that waves.

Which is why, (yes, there is finally, 800 words later, a point to this prose) when I received a message on Facebook last week (thanks Maria) that someone was stealing the pictures I post on my Facebook page and passing them off as her own profile pictures, I chose laughter over frustration. 

It wasn't the first time it's happened, and likely, thanks to the grace of the Internet, it won't be the last. Some poor soul out there is so unhappy with how she looks that she chose the face of some random middle-aged blogger to pretend to be.

I know how it feels to be so desperately unhappy with everything about oneself that what is reflected back at you in a mirror saddens and dismays you. I live with the beauty of my youth reflected back at me every time I see my teenaged daughter and I know my reflection is not what it once was.

But, bland and boring coloured mullet hair aside, it's going to be all right. I've still got it going on, it just takes a moment more to see it. Joy and love is reflected with every crinkle in the corner of my eyes, persevering through the age spots and whiskers. It's a different type of beauty, but it's there.

I hope you find your beauty and your strength, anonymous photo thief. 

I hope that you can one day look in the mirror and laugh at the bad hair and love yourself through it.

At the very least, I hope you find the wisdom to steal pictures from someone who doesn't have to carefully angle the camera to hide her chin waddle and use a million filters to smooth out the wrinkles like I always have to.

But in case you don't, let me help you. Here's a picture you can use anytime you decide your own portrait is unbearable:

You're welcome.


Who Let the Dogs Out?

This past week I was convinced a mischievous ghost was haunting my house.

Weird things were happening. It was subtle at first; so much so that I hardly noticed it at first but one morning, at around 6 am, I realized something was out of place when I opened my eyes.

I woke up and the first thing I saw wasn't this:

There was no giant dog with his head on my bed, breathing moist warm dog breath right into my face in an effort to wake me up. In fact, there was no giant dog anywhere in my bedroom.

I called Abbott's name a few times and waiting to hear the familiar clicking of his paws across our floor but the only thing I heard was the chirping of the birds from outside my bedroom window and the soft whirr of our ceiling fan.

Worried, I got up to look for Abbott, hoping one of the kids had locked him in their bedrooms with him over night and that he hadn't been dog napped in the dead of the night when I noticed something out on our deck.

I looked outside the front door and saw this staring back at me:

"Let me in Mommy!"

Weird. I didn't recall waking up and letting my dog out in the middle of the night but maybe one of the kids did. I didn't give it any more thought as I crawled back into bed with my big puppy.

Except the same thing happened the next morning.

And then the next morning. 

And the morning after that. 

I kept waking up to realize my dog is not in my face and finding him outside on the deck. The kids claimed they weren't letting him out and I know I certainly wasn't, so WHO LET THE DOG OUT?

*Who let the dogs out?*

*woof woof woof woof*

(Sorry. That song is the worst earworm ever.)

After a week of waking up and finding my dog randomly outside on my front deck, I was starting to freak out. The idea of someone opening up my front door, luring my giant dog outside and then rooting through my underwear drawer (I have no evidence of that actually happening, but my imagination is ACTIVE) I was starting to lose sleep. 

Every morning as I let the dog back into the house in the wee hours of the dawn, I'd peer around nervously looking for the ghost/goblin/creeper who was messing with my dog and I and Abbott would just look at me like this:

It was the look of a guilty hound if I ever saw one. He knew what was going on, but the damn dog just wasn't going to tell me.

I thought about setting up a sting, to bust the intruder but that seemed like a lot of not sleeping and well, that seemed like work.

I thought about asking the kids to set up a sting but they're already talking about having me committed to an institution of some sort and well, why give them more reason?

I thought about having an exorcism performed but when I mentioned it to my husband he just laughed and told me to stop watching scary movies.

I went to bed that night determined to catch the criminal/ghost who was messing with my dog. The next morning I woke up to Abbott breathing in my face and pressing his nose into mine.

He was in the house! 

For the next few days, all was right with my world. Abbott was exactly where he was supposed to be in the mornings. Everything was back to normal.

Until I started seeing my dog outside in the middle of the day, when he was supposed to be inside, with me.

The only people who are home in the days are Knox and myself and neither of us is letting the dog out.

So who is letting the dog out?

*Who let the dogs out?*

*woof woof woof woof*

(Sorry. I can't help myself.)

And then last night, I saw this:

My front door was wide open. Immediately, I looked around for the dog. He was on his dog bed, his ears cocked, and he was looking at me with an "I don't know" look.

"Damn gremlins," I mumbled as I shut the door.

I walked into the kitchen, wondering if I really was losing my mind and busied myself with unloading the dishwasher.

That's when I heard it. 

A click. The click my door handle makes when it's opened.

I ran to the front door and I saw this:

I stood there for a few seconds and worried about ghosts when it dawned on me. 

My dog is taller than the door handle. 

Abbott is the ghost/gremlin/creeper.

Abbott learned how to open the front door.

I needed proof though, so I put the dog back in the house and then I stood on the deck, calling his name.

And just like that, my dog was using his paw to open the front door, like it was no big deal. All those mornings I found him on the front deck with the door closed? His big arse must have pushed the door shut. He can open it from inside the house, but he can't pull the door open from the outside. It's one way only dog magic up here.

I'm spending the day baby proofing my front door today because my dog is an escape artist.

I guess I should be grateful I'm not insane. At least not yet. Between the dog and the teens, surely I'm well on my way.

Don't worry Mom. I'll get you there yet. #crazytown

*Psst: Have you commented on this post? Go save a life and help the Shot At Life campaign succeed. Go be someone's superhero today.