Thursday, February 11, 2010

the little cheesecake that could

Steve Peterson loves his desserts. I mean LOVES. I pride myself on being a chocoholic of sorts but he puts my sweet tooth (teeth)to shame. This is a man that once ate an entire box of Betty Jane Gremlins in one sitting. What I'm about to share ranks in my top ten funny stories in Candaia thus far.

Just a recap--Kurtis and I lived with his parents (Steve and Shirley) for about 5 months while our house was being finished. ***NOTE***If you want to get more of a back story check out my introduction blog and I explain it in a little more depth*** One afternoon, I found Steve rustling through the fridge looking for a snack. I couldn't tell what he was after but his head suddenly popped up and he was grinning at me like a little school boy. I leaned over to check out what had made him so happy. In the fridge was about 3/4 of a humongous cherry cheesecake. It was taking up an entire shelf of the already overstuffed fridge. The cake was leftover from some family event or other that, right now, has slipped my mind. He looked at me again and you must know, Steve has these big blue eyes that light up when he is excited. I kid you not when I say, he looks like a child who is all excited about Santa coming on Christmas Eve. He started to pull the cake out of the fridge as carefully as possible. He was handling this thing like you would a newborn, when suddenly FLOP. The cake goes face down on the floor. There was a brief pause. Steve let out a distressed "Oh No" and looked at the cake, then looked at me with I swear, a tear in his eye. He was so excited about that cheesecake and there it was. Dead, dilapidated, red cherry guts splayed across the linoleum floor. I, being the sympathetic person that I am, burst into hysterical laughter. I told him I was sorry that his cheesecake had gone splat but we could always buy another one and it was no big deal. But Shirley--who came out of nowhere, I mean I didn't even know she was in the house--burst into the room talking away promising Steve it was no big deal and it was fixable. Fixable? The cheesecake had fallen flat out onto the floor. The FLOOR. Who, besides June Cleaver, had a kitchen floor you could eat off of? I took a moment to look at the floor, then gave Shirley a skeptical look. This woman, you never know what she's going to do. Anyway, in about two seconds time, she had swooped into the room, and as she consoled Steve she took the now right side up piece of cardboard that the cake had been sitting on, put it underneath what was once the top of the cake, and scraped the cake onto the cardboard bottom with her bare hands. Between laughing hysterically and puking a little in my mouth I begged Shirley to tell me she was kidding. The cake looked like it should be on the isle of misfit cakes. It was lopsided, totally disheveled and there were little pieces of dirt and dog and cat hair she was picking off of it. "Oh, it's fine! It was only on the floor for a second or two," she waved me off as she picked the dirt off the cake. Steve had lost his appetite for the cake and was now munching on a cookie. I was in shock. Shirley put the cake back in the fridge. Smiled and tootled out of the room.

It didn't end there.

That evening, after dinner, Shirley asked who wanted dessert. I remember the exact moment because I was in mid-sip of my water and literally stopped mid gulp. I knew it was coming but I still couldn't believe it. "What's for dessert?" asks Steve. "Cheesecake!" Shirley explains in excitement. Mind you, no one knew of this experience except Steve, Shirley, myself and Kurtis--because I OBVIOUSLY told him about the earlier incident. Also, keep in mind, at this time Kurtis's brother Kyle and his wife Molly were living there too. Steve and Kurtis, who knew of the cheesecake's tainted history willingly took a piece and so did everyone else at the table except me. Shirley was laughing a little and kept "shushing" me so I wouldn't say anything to Kyle or Molly about the dirt laden cake they were about to eat. Needless to say, the pieces were cut, the plates were passed and everyone sat at the table eating their cheesecake with a dumb grin of enjoyment on their faces. I kept my hand over my mouth the entire time trying not to laugh or puke. I had tried to kick Kurtis (under the table)out of taking the cake but he would have none of it and ate the whole piece--as did everyone else at the table. Mutterings of "this is so good" drifted around the table "Lauren, you should try some" and so forth. I had my Seinfeld moment later that evening as I was upstairs getting ready for bed, I literally said out loud, "did that just happen?" It did. I feel like there should be a moral to this story...something like: for all you cheesecakes out there...even if you think you're dirty, ruined, disgusting, unhealthy and totally inedible someone might still like you and try to save you? I don't know. But I do know, I have a hard time eating dessert at Shirley's house to this day.

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Against the Grain: Stories of a Midale Misfit by L.C. Weis Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

on plumbing

I've quite looked forward to writing this entry. It was between this and old man "senior" hockey league but I will save that for another day because in all honesty, that's more of a rant than anything else. Tonight, I dedicate my blog to plumbing and the mishaps I've had with it since my big move across the border. This might be a little ranty as well, but bear with me.

I wonder what it means that I have such issues with plumbing. Freud--the sexist bastard--would probably say I'm stuck in my anal phase of psychosexual development or something nutso like that. I'm not really sure what it is, but since I've been up here, I've had some major issues. I'm going to break it into three parts: the farm, the job and current home.

The Farm

When Kurtis and I moved up here, his parents graciously let us stay with them until our house was finished. I was under the impression it would be for a month or two at most and it turned out to be six. I need to note that I'm an incredibly independent person and I'm not a huge fan of roommates, so living there for six months was NOT healthy for me. His parents were great to let us be there and definitely did their best to make us comfortable. Even with tat, it didn't help that we were living in the middle of nowhere on a huge farm about 15 minutes from metropolitan Midale (snort). I had no car for the first three months, knew no one and was dealing with some major homesickness. Aside from all that, might I mention that Kurtis's brother had also moved back and he and his pregnant wife were in the same situation we were in. So let us count it up, that's Kurtis, Lauren, Kyle, Molly, Steve, and Shirley living under the same roof. Might I also add that Steve and Shirley have a cat named Hutch, Kyle and Molly have two cats and I have a dog Norbert. They were all there too. SO it was literally a funny farm.

OK, so we all lived on the farm where there are two bathrooms. A huge one upstairs--the one everyone preferred--and one RIGHT in the entryway. Now, I'm not really good using facilities around people. I like to be left alone and there needs to be a fan going. What I'm saying is that I avoided the downstairs bathroom at all costs. I grew quite used to and fond of the upstairs, spacious bathroom with its fan and privacy. The first of my plumbing issues began one evening in the midst of a thunder snow. Sometimes in Midale, we get thunder snow, where it is thundering and snowing--not raining--at the same time. I'd say this was in December sometime. I happened to have a bit of a tummy ache and that night I happened to also be in the upstairs bathroom when the power went out. DONE. No big deal right? Wrong. Apparently up there, when the power is out so is the plumbing. I'm not sure if that's how it always is or not, but it certainly was the case up there. I flushed and nothing happened. I was mortified-wanted to die mortified. I came out and was asking Kurtis when the power would be back on and he said it could be in an hour or out all night. At that point I was wondering what the heck we would do if it was out all night and I needed to use the restroom again. He just shrugged and told me to pretend it was an outhouse. "Oh yea, perfect," says I. It was like, no big deal Lauren just pretend its an outhouse. HA. Luckily it was back on in a couple of hours.

Now, on the farm another magical thing happens. It's called all the pipes freeze and the toilets don't flush and the water stops working. I never knew this happened until one morning I went to use the bathroom and noticed the toilet seat was down when typically it was up. I didn't think much of it until I opened the lid and had a good morning surprise left by someone. I tried to flush and nothing happened. Kurtis--who had been awake already--tapped on the door and let me know that the pipes froze and the upstairs restroom didn't work. This happened at least five other times I was there. One of the times was during an uncomfortable time of the month for me and I didn't realize they were frozen until too late. Another time came a morning after Kurtis and I had been out until 3 am celebrating a hockey win. I was laid up in bed dying. ***NOTE***for those of you who don't know me well, I get the WORST hangovers in the world. I am sicker than a dog in the morning and continually convinced I am dying***Well, I needed to visit the bathroom because the room was still spinning at 10 am and just as I made it to the toilet I saw the note "frozen pipes". As I puked in the nearby wastebasket, I couldn't help but be grateful a note was left this time. For the rest of that morning I was running up an down the stairs, sick as can be for the whole world to hear in the entryway bathroom. The first time I came bounding down the stairs Shirley let out a little "ah!" If you ever watch Seinfeld, it sounded exactly like Jerry when he is dating the two face. I'm not a pretty picture that early and that sick.

The final part of the farm that caused some trouble for me was the fact that they hauled their water. Sometimes, Steve forgot to check how we were doing on water. I can't blame him, he was busy and there were a lot of people living there, so the water supply didn't last as long. Well, again, I woke up one morning and tried to flush but nothing happened. NOTHING. I thought the pipes were frozen, so I went to wash my hands and suddenly was splashed in the face with exploding water. After cleaning up and wiping down the mess the water had caused, I was informed that they were out of water and we would have to go haul some.

It was a constant battle with the bathrooms while I was on the farm and I have to say, one of the best things about moving into our house was that our pipes wont freeze and we don't have to haul the stinking water on a weekly basis.

The Job

The company I work for is located about 5 minutes from the farm we were stying on and about 15 minutes from our current home. I work in a trailer out there that houses the administrative people. We call it the hallway because that's basically as big as it feels. The hallway is equipped with sinks and two bathrooms. We first got the hallway on the site last Janurary(ish) if not earlier than that. Everyone knew I was coming to work for the family company and that my job called for me to be out there consistently. But for some reason--which to this day is beyond my comprehension--they didn't get plumbing put in until about three weeks ago. That's over a year without plumbing up there for no reason whatsoever other than to make my life miserable. They had a porta-potty. I asked Kurtis if that's what I was expected to use with mild sarcasm. The porta-potty was used by all the men on site, as well as any truck driver who needed to relieve himself while he was unloading his haul to our site. Needless to say I refused to use it because I liked to keep with my record--disease free since '83! I had to start changing my diet so that when I was at my job I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom. I stopped drinking as much water and gained amazing bladder control that I fear will catch up with me and haunt me throughout my older years. Before our wedding, I wrote on the big ease board "Lauren wold appreciate plumbing for her wedding present from you." One of the guys wrote underneath it "good luck" and my request was mysteriously erased off the board some month later. I finally started threatening to go pop squats outside in the middle of the site for the world to see. Everyone--including myself--knew that would never happen so that did little to help me. I went as far to look up immigration rights--I am under a work permit up here--and found that had I wanted, I could have called in the troops and FORCED them to get plumbing because it was impeding on my rights. I threatened this too but no one took me seriously.

About a month ago we started talking about hiring another woman--I was the only one working up there at the time--and MAGICALLY, about a week after she started, they decided to tie in the plumbing. I thanked everyone for so clearly showing how unimportant I was and to this day am still nursing my anger, pride and bruised emotions over the whole situation. I mean, SERIOUSLY?? Did that just happen??

Current Home

We pay income tax to the city for lots of fun things. One of them is supposed to be for the upkeep of the city. Although the city knows and recognise that the sewer system is wiggidy-wack, they refuse to actually fix the problem and continue to patch up the messes here and there. This equates into messages over the loudspeaker at the Mustangs game "just a reminder, the water will be shut off until 10 am tomorrow for repairs". Awesome. Aside from that, there is some sort of pressure issue in the town, so that from time to time, the toilet sounds like it's swallowing itself. It gurgles, slurps and shakes. Shakes to the point that it throws the lid off of the back tank. The water sputters and does nothing until it suddenly comes spewing out in a spray that gets everywhere. I don't care so much about the sputtering, but I do care when it scares me enough that I physically jump or yell. Once, it was so bad that when I tried to do laundry, the pressure literally blew the hose off of where the hose hooks up to the wash machine. Water everywhere. Apparently, like many things up here, this will never be fixed because it's just too much work and, well, "just because". That's the answer I always get. "Why don't you fix it?" I ask. "Just because" says the town office lady. "Just because" says Kurtis and everyone else I ask.

So, as you can see I have had some MAJOR plumbing issues since my move to Canadia. I'd like to think there's a reason for it. Am I getting some kind of payback? Is making me a better person--it's not, it makes me a bitter person. I guess the only reason I can explain why this all has happened and continues to happen to me is "just because."

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Against the Grain: Stories of a Midale Misfit by L.C. Weis Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A brief introduction

I'm not sure how to even start a blog. Hello? Dear readers? Dear John? HA-sorry, I've been catching the previews for that movie lately and I can't help but gag a little each time the movie is advertised. I probably just lost a handful of people who read or may potentially read this blog because you go for those types of movies. You will have to excuse me, I'm a little jaded. 26 and jaded...scary thought. OK, so let me start by telling you I get off topic--see the above lame attempt at an introduction.

Here's the dilly. My name for this blog is L.C. So you can all just refer to me as that. Some of you reading this know my real name. Please, humor me and forget it. Call me, write me and think of me as L.C. ***NOTE***I'm NOT copying Lauren Conrad off the Hills in ANY way, shape or form. Spare me the insult please.*** OK back to the point. Call me L.C. I recently moved to a teeny tiny town of about 400 peeps called Midale, Saskatchewan. That's in Canada, or as I lovingly refer to it as Canadia. My husband and I met in college. He was a hockey player who had started out in a division 1 school, only to have the program pulled after his first year. He came to St. Norbert his Sophomore year licking his wounds and voluntarily settling for a division 3 school and the inevitable end to his career. I, on the other hand, came to St. Norbert willingly choosing to "be a big fish in little pond" as to "being a small fish in a big pond." Basically, I didn't get into the college I had wanted to and told myself that it was a blessing in disguise. It probably was, but I'm still a bit bitter of that college which I will not mention. I could probably write a whole separate blog on how we went from casual friends to marriage but I will save that for another day, month, year, whatever.

Kurtis and I were married just this past August, in what I think was probably the most fabulous wedding ever. For some reason, every bride thinks that of her own wedding so if anyone reading this is curling his or her nose into a snarl I will not argue with you. I'm sure yours was just as fabulous and wonderful. Kurtis was born and raised in Midale and a couple of years ago a family business venture that went from a random project turned into a big project and business. I moved up here willingly--though, not without a great deal of reservation--in November of 2008. Please keep in mind that I'm from a city of 60,000+ and lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin--a city of over 100,000--for 6 years. Ever since the day I crossed that border into this uncharted territory, I've been making mental note after mental note of all the strange adventures I found myself living on a daily basis. Let's just say I fit into my town about as well as Cinderella's stepsisters fit into her glass slipper--for those of you who are unfamiliar, that is not good at all. It's actually painfully wrong. I was definitely a misfit. The problem with the people of my new, lovable, EXTREMLY old school little town was that they found themselves face to face with an opinionated, educated, liberal, feminist, strong willed, woman who was absolutely under NO circumstances going to conform to anything she didn't want to conform to.

Time passed a year passed. A lot has happened. I have some great friends, a lovely home, and loving husband. That being said, day after day, I felt myself falling further and further into a funk. I couldn't help but feel like I was slowly starting to decay--losing my sense of self. I certainly did not fit into this town. In fact, the word misfit is just perfect to describe me. One definition I found online said something to the effect of "disturbingly different". I love it. It's so true. So, tonight as I was chit-chatting with my mom, she told me to find a creative outlet. The job I am currently working is about the most polar opposite of a job I would ever enjoy doing. I'm an English and creative writing major who works with numbers and spreadsheets on a daily basis. Talk about a slow, painful death. In Midale, there are no such things as opportunities for creative outlets. There is a nice little book club but I don't think the women would be able to handle some of the things I would inevitaly say about the books on their list--I don't want to cause any heart-attachs, strokes, etc. I can't hop in my car and go to a Barnes and Noble because the closest one is over an hour away. No cooking class, no art class, no photography, nothing. I write on a daily basis--that's a blatant lie--I WISH I wrote everyday. I TRY to write but I always find my works circling around similar story lines which give no outlet for my current frustrations and funny stories that I so want to share. SO, tonight I had my "aha" moment and decided to start a blog. In the coming days, weeks, months, whatever, I hope to share with you some of my struggles, stories and funny adventures that I've had and am currently having here in Midale. Let me tell you, I am having a whore of a time trying to assimilate. ***NOTE***by "whore of a time" I in no shape or form mean I am whoring myself out to men at Rosie's, etc. I need to remember some of you will need to get used to my sense of humor. Oh, and you will learn what Rosie's is in the coming blogs.***

SO, please stay posted. I hope that you enjoy the happenings of my strange, crazy life. I hope that I offend no one, and if I do, you probably deserve it--sorry but it's the truth. Also, I by no means feel responsible for my spelling or grammar. When I was little the teachers always told my parents "it will come". Well, it never did. So much for private grade school. Anyway, please read, enjoy, comment and venture with me down the shitty gravel roads of the town with me...a Midale misfit.

Creative Commons License
Against the Grain: Stories of a Midale Misfit by L.C. Weis Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.