Friday, April 9, 2010

Trapped in the frenzy


I walked into the house after work no differently than I have done hundreds of times before.

There was no sense of foreboding, no feeling of impending doom. Just me coming home after a hard day in the salt mines.

But danger was there, it was lurking, waiting for the unsuspecting victim to step into it's steely jaws of misery.

What, you ask, was the trial I was facing?

Was it a rampaging horde of Mongol warriors bent on taking over the world and they decided to start with my house? I wish.

Perhaps a rabid timber wolf had some how wandered down from the wilds of northern B.C., found its way to my home, snuck through the backdoor undetected and was waiting to pounce the moment I walked in the room.

I should be so lucky.

I did not even see it until it was upon me, until I was in its grasp, it was then and only then did I realize my wife had entered the spring cleaning madness zone.

It caught me completely by surprise. She was in a full-blown spring cleaning frenzy by the time I walked through the front door.

The cleaning tsunami began to build in the morning while I was blissfully working away, ignorant of the situation brewing in my castle.

Once home, it took me a while before I became aware of what was happening, and by then I was being swept away in the cleaning frenzy like a cork in the ocean.

The Missus started by asking me to put a couple of things in the garage, no big deal, so I put the items in the garage and went back into my humble home to see what else my beloved needed.

It was then that I froze in my tracks, and the full gravity of situation hit like a bird flying into a window.

There she was, standing on a desk reaching to the far corner of a top shelf, cleaning every last speck of dust from the most hard-to-reach places in the house.

I knew that could mean only one thing and I was officially recruited to help with the spring-cleaning frenzy.

The orders then came fast and frantic: ìCould you please pass me that dust rag? Take those out the garage. Do we need to keep these? What are these? Put that in the garbage. Does this go on the keep, give or throwaway pile?î

My mind was spinning. How had I not seen it coming. It happens every year, but this year I walked into it like a blind cat running into a rottweiler.

My first thought was to clutch my chest, fake a heart attack, wobble around a little bit and hit the ground moaning and groaning.

Then, as she went to call 911, I would bolt for the door, jump in my car and head for the hills until the frenzy was over. Perhaps I could find a nice cave or something to cower, I mean, live in for a week or two.

Sorry children, but you are on your own. When it comes to the frenzy it is every man for himself and you would have to find your own way to get through.

Besides, I have been enduring the frenzy for a lot longer than you young uns have, so it is only fair you take up the slack.

But I did not feign a medical crisis, instead I did what any self-respecting husband would do.

I squared my shoulders, looked my wife directly in the eyes and proclaimed, ìYes dear, what ever you need.î

I am sure the fake heart attack would not have worked anyway, as once she realized I had escaped she would have found my cave and, after giving it a thorough cleaning, would have guided me home for continued participation in the joyous springtime ritual.

I am not sure exactly what the next few days will bring, but with talk of rearranging this room, removing stuff from that room and buying cleaning supplies by the truck load I have a pretty good idea.

Does anyone have a cave I could rent for a few days?

Doggone strange stuff


It's funny how animals bring people together, especially dogs.

When walking the hound, it is not uncommon for other hound walkers to stop and chat about their dog, your dog, a dog they had when they were a kid or a variety of other canine-related topics.

While the strangers are chatting it up, the dogs are circling each other trying to get the best angle to sniff the other dog's butt.

Once again, I am glad humans shake hands when they meet. Sure it may not be the most hygenic thing to do as germs can be transferred and what not, but compared to how dogs greet each other it is just fine thank you.

The beasts give people a common ground from which to start a conversation, even if it is about a critter that would just as soon hump your leg as form of social interaction.

I guess any animal could be the catalyst for conversation, but you don't see many people taking their cat for a walk, so dogs are the predominant conversation starter.

And why not, dogs are better than cats anyway, as any dog person will tell you. Now before all the cat huggers cough up a furball, I have nothing against the kitty critters, I just prefer dogs.

We got my son a cat a few years back so I do share my home with a distant, self-absorbed creature that knows they are the centre of the universe, but enough about teen agers, we're talking about animals here.

We are a multi-cultural home with cat and dog live in near perfect harmony.

Part of that is because we have the mellowest cat to ever walk the planet. Nothing phases this cat, which is nice because those spastic, bounce-off-the-walls-at-the-sound-of-a-bug-fart cats drive me crazy.

I am convinced the cat and dog made an arrangement when Murphy the mutt arrived as a 10-week-old puppy.

ìHey, little dog, c'mere. Tell you what, let's make a deal. You don't annoy me and I won't kill you, sound good.î

Apparently they had an agreement, because the two get along very well, even though Murphy does still want to wrassle with the cat on occasion, but more often than not it involves the dog bouncing around wanting to play and the looking at him with the I-will-kill-you-in-your-sleep look.

But when taking your dog for a walk, it is a natural to strike up a conversation with other mutt people.

Typically the conversation centres on the dog, which makes sense seeing as how I do not know you and have nothing else to talk about other than the weather, but once in a while I come in contact with some one who offers too much information, waaaay to much in this particular case.

We were strolling down the street when an older gentleman approached walking a dog about the same size as ours. While the dogs were busy sniffing each other's posterior region, we chatted about the silly things dogs do.

This gentleman decided to let us know his dog preferred to sleep on the bed between himself and his significant other.

ìHe's a little dog so we don't mind, it just makes it kinda tricky when we want some loving,î he said much to our distress.

OK, pal, you know what? That is information I do not need. In fact, that is information I will never need. In fact, I could have gone to my grave without that information.

My wife and I suddenly realized we had to rush home to do, um, er, anything that did not involve talking to this guy so we excused ourselves and made good our escape.

Calm down 'little' man

So there I was, driving along the highway like I have done a thousand times before, minding my own business while rejoicing in having survived another day at work.

Ahead of me in the fast lane was a car that was not going very fast. In fact, it was doing about 80 km/h along a 90 km/h highway.

Did I mention the car was in the 'fast' lane, not the drive-at-less-than-the-speed-limit lane?

That information plays a role in this tale.

I was cruising along at around 10 km/h over the posted speed limit, which is no biggy because even then some people were passing me like I was on a skateboard.

The speed limit along this stretch of blacktop often seems more like a suggestion than anything else. I have seen some drivers going so fast they broke the sound barrier as they passed.

But on this day, it was not a fast driver who was causing distress to other motorists, but a guy who knew the world should do what he wants, so going slow in the fast lane is perfectly acceptable.

I pulled up behind said driver, and after slowing down I flashed the lights of my car a couple of times indicating I wanted to use the passing lane to do just that and if he wanted to drive like he was cruising the block, he should do so in the slow lane.

He declined to move over, so I went into the 'slow' lane, and passed the slow driver. While passing, I glanced over at the car and thought nothing of it.

As soon as I was past him, he began pointing to something in the sky. At least that's what I think he was doing as he kept using one finger to point upward.

Looking skyward, I failed to see anything, so I continued on my way. Suddenly Mr. Fastlane found the accelerator and pulled up behind me, still pointing at whatever it was he saw in the clouds.

I came to a stop light and Mr. Finger roared up behind my car, braking at the last moment.

It would seem either flashing the lights of my little car, passing his larger car or daring to look in his direction was a tremendous insult because this guy was obviously annoyed.

The light turned green and I proceeded like I always did with Mr. Angry right behind me. As I pulled onto a side street Mr. Bozo continued past me down the road, again pointing to the heavens with what appeared to be the only finger he had left on his hand.

Perhaps the others were chopped off in an industrial accident or something. I felt bad for the poor guy, having to go through life with only one finger, and it happened to be 'that' finger to boot.

He was a younger fellow, I would say in his early 20s, and from what I could see of him he was rather large. You know the kind: no neck, head slightly larger than a ripe pumpkin only not as smart.

After watching his tirade and single-finger salute for several minutes, I tried to think of what I did that was so offensive as to evoke such ongoing anger.

I did not cut him off, give him a dirty look or even return the single-digit sign language, but somehow I had committed a great offence against him and he wanted to make sure I knew it.

I thought about it for a long time before the answer became clear.

He wasn't saying 'You offended me,' nor was he saying 'You disrespected me and I am not happy about it.'

I realized what the meathead was saying was, 'I have a very small winky and that really upsets me and I am not bright enough to deal with it in any way other than directing pointless anger at those around me.'

It all became clear after that realization. Why else would a full-grown man show such hostility for absolutely no good reason if he did not have some personal issue he was trying to compensate for?

Hey pal, it's OK. Many creatures on this planet have the same handicap. Mice are a prime example and you don't see them flipping the bird to people and acting all hostile for no real reason.

My advice would be to accept yourself for who you are and relax a little bit, no matter your short comings.