Monthly Archives: April 2012
Last night, after a long day of doing chores* around the house and preparing for an intimidating meeting I had at work this morning, I decided to end my day with a nice hot shower. We’ve recently been watching The Walking Dead (Lost but with a zombie apocalypse instead of a plane crash) and it glamorizes the hot shower so much that I have gained a renewed appreciation of late.
I went to grab my fresh-out-of-the-dryer towel from the hook behind our bedroom door, expecting to sink my hands into soft, fresh cottony warmth. Instead I meet vaguely damp coldness. Ugh. This is not the stuff of laundry detergent commercials. Where is my kitteny-soft hug? Towels dry slowly here on the eternally damp West Coast so I’m not unaccustomed to this icky finding, but dammit, today I did laundry and I should be hugged in squeaky-dry cotton right now!
I turn on my heel to face my primary suspect, who is sprawled out on the unmade bed. “Did you use my towel??”
John looks at me, all freshly shaved** innocence. “No! Well maybe.“
“What do you mean ‘maybe’? Did you use it or not?”
“Well I used A towel.”
“Why would you use mine when yours is right here?” I say, gesturing toward the other white towel hanging on the hooks, still immaculate and virgin.
I wonder about the side effects of the muscle relaxants he took earlier.
And then a sliver of light appears under the solid door of marital incomprehension: “You DO realize we have designated towels right? That this one hanging over my robe is MY towel and the one hanging over your robe is YOUR towel?”
“I have a robe?”
For the briefest moment I sincerely doubted the foundations of our household and indeed, the very existence of possessions. Only the slightest glint in his eye told me that last part was a joke, but the sheepish look gave away the fact that he had not actually realized until this moment that the towels were supposed to have their own designated users. Unbeknownst to me, all this time I had been living in a free-lovin’, loose-moralled, anything-goes, towel orgy.***
All right then. As long as we’re on the same page.*In which chores also include Titanic 3D and a hockey game.
**His play-off beard barely had a chance to take root before it was shaved off this year. I guess there really is a silver lining to everything.
***Do your worst Google. (Image source.)
John and I move slow. Reeeeeealllly slooooooow. I don’t mean literally – we’re known to knock over amblers on the street – I mean in life. In decision making. We like to take our time, really ponder our options. Maybe sleep on it for a night or 400 (or 4000 in the case of deciding to get married). To us, every little task in life is like docking the space station: we must approach it at just the right time, at the optimal angle, and with peak efficiency or the consequences will be dire.
We might choose wrong.
Of course, most of the time the consequences are just that we might not get the best lamp ever made, or we might be forced to pick a new paint colour, or be subjected to a movie that didn’t move us to our very core. Horrible outcomes clearly, but not dire.
The irony is that we are immobilized more by the little things than the big things that actually could have dire consequences. We bought our home within days of hiring a realtor and haven’t regretted it once. We did our research ahead of time but in the end, it was largely a decision based on our gut and one we made in about 48 hours. But ask us to pick a rug for said home? Well that took months. I have a hard time making decisions, John has a hard time acting on them; turns out we perfectly complement each other in ensuring that we never get anything done.
No surprise then that the major projects in our home remain undone nearly three years after we moved in. That’s three years into the five that we initially planned to live here (though that timeline has likely been extended – turns out five years is not that long and we’ll need at least a couple of years just to decide to move).
In that time we’ve managed to tackle the small things. Things for which the decision making was relatively simple and the first step was clear. Pick a paint colour and then slap it on the wall. Remove the old door handles and screw in shiny new ones. Rip out old crap from the closet and install new shelves.* Not that it still didn’t take us forever to do all those things but we managed to overcome the hurdles because the decisions were at least limited. And we knew which decisions were there to make.
It’s not nearly that simple when you want to gut and replace an entire bathroom and most of your kitchen. These tasks actually start to resemble that space shuttle docking a little more. We have done research, we have talked to family members with renovation experience, we have gotten ourselves a clue, but we are not builders. We have never done this before. Half the time we don’t even know the right question to ask, never mind the terminology to make the question understandable to someone who doesn’t speak in whatchamacallits and thatmetalthingamagigs?
And digging right to the heart of our reason for stalling: What if we start but don’t do things in the most, bestest way ever? Or god forbid, what if we make a mistake? We don’t do mistakes. We ponder our way out of ever having to make one.
Which is why our bathroom has been sitting half ripped apart for the last two months.
But hey, you know what that means? We ripped it apart!! And that, my friends, is progress in our
Welcome back to North American Things That I Still Find Weird Despite Spending Two Decades Here: Age Appropriate Activities EditionI was born in Finland but have lived in Canada since I was 11. In the years since moving, my penchant for soap-boxing has combined with nostalgic childhood fairy-dust into the terribly annoying habit of picking on North American ways of doing things. And then telling you about how much better it is across the ocean (conveniently omitting any unflattering bits). This is just one of the many perks of interacting with me! I suppose I should also mention that I continue to live in Canada and have no plans to move, so take that as you will. Not that that makes me any less right.
I have done most of my adult-ifying in North America, but that doesn’t stop me from finding it all rather weird.
Exhibit A: Letting kids drive. Because 16 years old is a kid. That’s not just my opinion based on the mind blowing ignorance they display online – I’m pretty sure actual medical professionals will tell you that teenagers do not have fully developed impulse control. Which turns out to be essential for holding back the impulse to pimp up your
car metallic one-tonne murder-device with other smelly teenagers, loud music, and a lead-heavy foot on the accelerator. My point: I’m pretty sure you should at least be trusted to wield a vote before you can wield an automobile.
Exhibit B: Not letting adults drink. I’m referring here to the narrow band of adults between the ages of 18 and 19 in Canada (which I find slightly silly) and 18 and 21 in the US (which I find ludicrous). I’m no lawyer but I believe for most other purposes the law considers you to be an adult after 18: you can vote, you’ll get in pretty deep shit if you break the law, and you can buy a gun! - all years before you can be trusted to operate a beer. But then again I’m one of those wacko liberal European types who thinks alcohol is better introduced slowly and in the safety of your parents’ home than through a beer bong at a frat party. (Are beer bongs a thing? Seems like they should be. I honestly have no idea.)
Exhibit C: Not letting adults out after dark. Specifically to establishments that offer dancing and drinking. I haven’t quite figured out the finer details but as far as I can tell this applies to anyone who has children and/or is over the age of 40 (if you’re a parent in your 30’s it’s vaguely acceptable – as in you probably won’t have the authorities called on you – but be careful). Acceptable forms of socializing for these mature stages of adulthood appear to be: the PTA, dinner parties with other couples, coaching a sports team, and mommy-yoga. If you leave your house in the evening hours to socialize in other settings you are clearly a cougar/non-dedicated parent/creeper in a mid-life crisis.
Luckily in Finland it is quite common – practically expected – that people go out regardless of their age. On a trip a few years ago I had the best time dancing up a storm with my mom at a bar where neither of us was out of place and we both actually liked the music. In fact, no one considers getting married/having children/turning 30/turning 40/turning 50/turning 60 to be the end of fun. And AMEN to that.