Saturday 28 July 2012

BATHING SUIT HELL or My War with the Madonna Suit

Last week I had to do something that engenders the kind of enthusiasm that might be associated with a mass accident on the Gardiner Expressway.

I went shopping for a bathing suit.

“Do you have anything with winches?”  I say to sweet little Clerkette.

“Is that a brand name?”  She squeaks back.

It is obvious from the start this isn’t going to work.  Clerkette looks all of sixteen.  She comes back with a two piece that might possibly fit a Barbie Doll.  A real one, not life-size.

“Let me make this clearer,” I say patiently.  “Things have happened to my body in the last twenty years.  I may be a little hard to fit.”

“No problem,” she says cheerfully.  “We have just the thing.”

I look around the store.  Walls of colorful bathing suits on racks, all looking about size 2.  The price tags, however, are size 20.  Why is it that the smaller the article, the greater the cost?

Clerkette comes back with a couple of fuchsia ribbons hanging from her fingers.  “Try this,” she says.  “It’s a Tanga.  They fit everyone.”

I squint at the ribbons.  “Where is it?” I say.

Men don’t have to deal with this.  No, indeed. Here’s what happens when a man goes into a store:

Man:  “I need a bathing suit.”
Clerk: “Do you want blue or red?”
Man:  “Blue is good.  How much?”

But back to Clerkette.  I try again.  

“Do you have something that is a little more structured, if you know what I mean.  Something that ‘lifts and redistributes’.”

“Ah!” says Clerkette.  “You want our ‘Madonna’ model.”

She hands me a steely black suit with hard cups that looks something like a medieval torture device.

“Perfect!” I say.  I go into the wee change room to try it on.

What ensues is a monumental battle between me and the suit that lasts about fifteen minutes.  (Shoppers: 0, Fiendish Designers: 1)  Finally, various bits of me have been forced into the chambers allotted to them.  Breathing is possible, barely.  I look in the mirror.  The result is not bad.  

Which is a good thing, because there’s not a chance in hell I’ll ever get out of it.

Saturday 21 July 2012

I'm Not Fat - I'm Post-Pregnant

Recently, someone asked me if I were pregnant.  First came the shocked silence.  Then fits of maniacal laughter rocked the table (thanks a LOT, Jan and Christa…)

I have determined there are only three ways to handle this (beyond the obvious one of homicide. Hey – I’m a crime writer.)

1.       Admit to a Fashion Crime.  “It’s the top,” I say, shaking my head ruefully.
Or to quote my daughter: “Mom, baby-doll tops are so – like – last year.”
Hopefully, I was wearing a baby-doll top.  Where can I buy more?

2.        Admit to being Post-Pregnant
Take it from me: it’s perfectly legitimate to laugh charmingly and say, “Oh I’m not pregnant anymore, but I’m still carrying a little weight from my last pregnancy.”
This is absolutely true.  I am.  Never mind that my kid is now shaving and reading The Globe and Mail. 

3.       Take it as the Real Compliment it is
Always look on the bright side, says I.  This stranger thinks I could be pregnant.  HA!  This deluded stranger thinks I look young enough to still have a baby?  Ten years ago, I wasn’t young enough to have a baby.  Are they blind?

Never mind!  BINGO!  Note to self: Continue with the anti-aging strategy.
Keep eating until all the wrinkles fill out.
Works for me.

Monday 16 July 2012

CAR TRIPS AND OTHER TORTURES reprinted with permission

Once again, it’s the time of year when parents experience a complete loss of their senses and decide it might be fun to take a family vacation.  This usually involves piling the kids and other nonessentials into the car, and leaving all of the essentials, like peace and quiet, behind.

My parents used to do this every summer.  Sometime around mid-July, Dad would decide that it was absolutely criminal for kids to grow up never having seen the Big Nickel in Sudbury.  Or the Big Tomato in Leamington.  Or Dead Rear, Alberta at dusk.  Then the maps would come out and the red magic marker would trace the intended route, and Mom would start making tuna sandwiches for the cooler.

It’s absolutely amazing what can happen to an otherwise intelligent and amiable sales manager who’s confined to a station wagon with two kids and a dog for thirty-six hours.  In fact, I’m convinced that General Schwartzkopf could not survive the ordeal without becoming a sobbing slobbering wreck.

Like other families in the 1960s, we had what you might call a routine for car travel.  Dad drove and yelled at the other drivers who were all lobotomy victims out on a weekend pass.  Mom also drove while Dad was driving and generally dispensed useful bits of information and comments like “Eeeek” and Wooo”. The dog would bark each time we passed another car, or he saw another car, or he thought there might be another car within a six mile radius.

My brother and I played cretin games like “I spy with my little eye” for the first half hour and then beat each other up for the next thirty-five.

When we got to a ‘place of interest’ things generally calmed down.  This was Dad’s cue to get out of the car to stretch and wander about with a blank look on his face.  He would eventually stumble into another aimlessly wandering Dad and they would begin an animated discussion on how to get to the next ‘place of interest’.  My brother and I would whip through the ten dollar star attraction, and then hit the tuck shop in search of sugar substances.

The dog loved it.  It was the highlight of his life, these opportunities to sniff dog smells and contribute a few of his own.  He was probably convinced that these trips were entirely for his benefit – which isn’t far off the mark, since he undoubtedly had the best time.

After the ‘Rest Stop’ – drolly named – we would pile back into the car, where Mom would recommence Dad’s driving lesson, and my brother and I would punch each other out in the back seat.  This would continue in normal fashion until the dog – having eaten unidentified ground goodies at the previous stop – threw up in the car.

I refuse to perpetuate this ritual with my own family.  Instead, I’m going to import lots of greasy, sugar-loaded junk food and buy some DVDs.  The dog can throw up here just as well as in the car, so why leave home?

Thursday 12 July 2012

Just Released! A PURSE TO DIE FOR

TODAY is the official Launch Date!
Now available from Imajin Books in ebook, paperback to follow.  And it's not trashy time travel - it's campy mystery!
 What's more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer sale?
                        Stalking a killer...
When fashionista and television celeb Gina Monroe goes home to attend the funeral of her late grandmother, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder.  who is the dead woman in teh woods behind the family house?  And why is she dressed in Milano designer clothes?
"a delectable concoction of savory and unsavoury characters, sex, delicious humour and suspense"  Garry Ryan, award-winning author of Malabarista 

Sunday 1 July 2012

BRING MONEY...more stand-up, reprinted with permission

If you are looking for a quick way to develop a valium habit, I suggest you take at least two kids to Wonderland.  Any sunny day will do, but if you want best results, go on a Saturday during summer. Try to pick a day when it’s at least 90 degrees and humid.

The first thing you’ll discover at Wonderland is that everything is designed to extract money from you.  Everything.  Even the parking lot.  There you are, in the middle of nowhere, and you have to pay for parking.  There isn’t much else around except cows.  I firmly believe that if someone bought 10 acres several hours north of here, paved it, and put up a Parking sign, people from the city would drive all the way up there, simply for the novelty of finding a place to park.

Our family has a pre-set routine for checking out rides.  We watch for a little while, and it if looks quite reasonable – almost sedate, in fact – we hand over the huge amounts of money to ride the “Yah Yah Alpine Express” and climb aboard.  At which point, it turns upside down and travels at a blistering speed designed to ensure we are so preoccupied with survival that we don’t care about the loss of the remaining loose change from our pockets.  Usually about this time, when we’re whizzing around like air in a turbine engine, my prescription sunglasses fly off, never to be seen again.  I’ve often wondered if there are millions of sunglasses parts grinding away among the mechanical workings of rides everywhere, making things safer for all concerned.

Food is no problem, unless you actually get hungry.  It is probably called “fast food’ because in order to get it, incredible amounts of money has to leave your wallet at warp speed.  Or maybe because eating the stuff encourages fasting?

By this time, your kids will be whining continuously from the heat, the noise, the smell, the crowds, the candy floss and the odd sickish feeling in their stomachs.  With any luck, they’ll wait to throw up until you’re back in the family car, heading for home.

As for going home: they don’t allow you out through the gates until you can prove that you’ve spent all the money you have.  So you may as well hand it over at the entrance when you first arrive, avoid the whole ordeal altogether, and just go home.