Today’s Special: A Ticket and a Tow

29 May

Parking on the street downtown is always a risk for a ticket and a tow, especially when the no-tow time is within such a limited window. What makes the parking situation downtown even worse is that the ticket and the tow always come as a two-for-one deal. They’re like one of those sickening couples that are glued at the hip, finish each other’s thoughts, and are constantly canoodling together. You never get just a ticket, or just a tow. It’s always both and it’s always annoying.

My latest experience with this infuriating couple started on a late night in February when I was too lazy to walk the ten cold minutes from my apartment to my boyfriends. Instead, I take the elevator down to the parkade five stories underground, spend 10 minutes driving up from the deepest depths of the earth, and drive ten minutes in late night traffic to park outside my boyfriends place on a main street downtown. Since the parking is free after 10pm and it’s already eleven, I take little notice of the signs, walk to the entrance, and buzz in for the night.

Seven thirty a.m. rolls around after the snooze button has been hit for the 5th time. I roll out of bed and head for the warm and steamy shower. Ten minutes later with towel on head and toothbrush in hand, I’m standing in front of the closet, looking for something to wear.

I guess that towel and toothbrush must have looked pretty damn good because before I know it, I’m being thrown onto the bed and the towel and toothbrush are strewn carelessly across the floor. I mumble some words about being late for work and needing to move my car but I’m assured there is no need to worry, parking is free until 9.

Thirty minutes and another shower later, I’m throwing on a pencil skirt and heels and am finally out the door with a smile on my face and a skip in my step.

Stepping around the corner, I didn’t need to even see the empty space where my car had once been before I knew that parking was not actually free until 9am. I only needed to see that all the other spaces were empty, and that there was a flow of cars coming down the end of the lane where my car had been parked the night before.

Taking in the scene more closely, several signs indicate in bold red font that there is clearly no parking after 8am. Having lived in the building for over three years, and having parked on the street multiple times, it seems odd that my boyfriend would make such a mistake…

The sound of a register “ka chings” in my head as my good morning feelings turn to annoyance. It seems that good times are not cheap.

Cab to tow-yard: $15
Ticket: $50
Tow: $90

Total Cost to my Boyfriend for Lying About the Parking Time in Order to Get Sex: $155

How to Contract Strep Throat… Again

27 May

Strep throat is not like the chicken pox. You don’t just do your time and be done with it. I didn’t know this until recently. Two days ago in fact.

The last time I got strep throat, I was on my deathbed, alone, waiting for my mom to come pick me up and save me from the 17 killer chainsaws in my throat.

But this time, however, I was able to take someone down with me.

I woke up on Thursday morning with bad breath. Not a big deal, right? Doesn’t everyone wake up with bad breath? Sure, but when you breathe on the person in bed beside you and the horrified look on their face physically melts from the toxins in your Good Morning, you know something is possibly amiss.

Having experience with throat bacteria in the past, I look for a flashlight to check out the situation. Being unable to get the right angle, I ask my boyfriend to shine the light down my throat and see if anything looks weird in there.

How the hell am I supposed to know what strep throat looks like? He asks. I grab my laptop and google some images. He leaves the room, unable to proceed with the task at hand due to ultimate disgust. Whatever. I find a compact mirror and ackwardly try to assess the situation. Looks okay. Nothing is swollen, no white dots. Good to go.

A couple days pass and it’s now Saturday morning. My dragon breath is getting worse and worse so it’s time
to hit up the ol’ clinic and get swabbed. Wait time is one hour and the waiting area is filled with disease ridden monsters. I try to hold my breath but an hour is a long time.

After about 45 minutes of iPhone scrabble, my phone battery is dead and I’m left to my mind’s own devices. I begin to look around the room and check out the crowd. Every once in awhile I catch someone’s eye and I know that they’re thinking what I’m thinking: What is this person waiting to talk to the doctor about and could I possibly catch it by sitting here near them in the waiting room?

An hour and a half into my wait, my name finally gets called and I go in. I tell the doctor that I have terrible breath and I think I have strep. Popsicle stick in the mouth and he shines a light for about 3 seconds. He says that’s probably true and writes a prescription.

Although I’m obviously not happy with the result, after waiting for so long I’m relieved to finally be leaving and book it out the door. I start up my car and pause. This guy didn’t even swab, didn’t even do any tests, he just wrote me a prescription for antibiotics. Are they allowed to do that?!

I contemplate my two only options: go back and ask for a test, wait for the results, possibly get worse strep while waiting… or just go to the pharmacy and get the prescription. Plan B it is.

En route to the pharmacy, I call my boyfriend to give him the good news – that I was finally finished at the clinic.. oh and you’re going to have to get checked for strep, since it’s highly contagious. Needless to say, he was not impressed. And as he’s reading this over my shoulder right now, he’s equally not impressed that a) I gave him the strep and b) I’m laughing about it.

Running on E: The Hidden Dangers of the Suburbs

15 May

Contrary to popular belief, being downtown at night is just not as dangerous as being in the suburbs after dark.

Of course there are a number of murders and stabbings, muggings and drug deals downtown at any given time, but that is only because the amount of people per capita is high. If instead of a two-storey house with a small yard housing a family of five in the suburbs, you built an apartment building with 22 floors and ten people living on each floor, you’d find you had more people doing creepy things than your small family.

When you walk downtown at night, there are people everywhere. The later into the night it gets, the less likely these become people that I would generally befriend or even make eye-contact with, but none the less, I feel that if I were to scream bloody murder while bear masing a mugger, someone would come to my rescue. Or at least help the police later with a good description of the culprit.

This is not the case in the suburbs. Take the average suburban street – let’s call it Chestnut Street – or any other type of tree or noun relating to a tree. Walking down the street there is the odd street light, barely illuminated a three foot radius on the block. Lurking just beyond the reach of this circle of dim light are numerous areas for potential muggers and rapists to hide – trees, shrubs, old sheds, parks. And it doesn’t help that the wind is almost always blowing when you alone in the dark in the suburbs. Not only does this wind bring movement to creepy, rusty forgotten tricycles, but it also helps to mask the scratching and dragging sounds of the escaped convict as he limps toward you in the night.

But normally these things don’t concern me. Now that I’m a high class professional living downtown, it is not very frequent that I’m alone in the suburbs, especially not outside in the dark. But such luck can never last, and one Saturday night I did find myself alone in the suburbs.

It all began last Saturday night as I was visiting my parents in the suburbs about an hour drive away from my chic downtown apartment. Having been fed an unnecessary amount of food, my body gave me no choice but to succumb to a quick nap in an attempt to wake up from my food coma. A couple hours and a good pool of drool later, it’s already midnight and under no circumstances do I want to stay in the guest room out in the ‘burbs.

Yawning above the steering wheel, I pull out of the drive way and start heading east towards the highway in my recently purchased and fresh off the assembly line new car. Not used to all the gauges and buttons yet, it is awhile before I realize that the gas gauge is below the E line and the car is running on empty promises.

Now, when you buy a new car, there are some things that seem to slip the mind of the salesperson that they neglect to tell you. These things are quite important, especially if you are going to be filling up gas at midnight in a sketchy suburban gas station. But we’re not there just yet.

The first gas station I see is situated at the start of a dead end road. There is a forest behind the station and the trees move like ghosts. Locking my doors, I continue onwards, knowing that there are two more gas stations in a more well lit area a few miles up before the highway.

Pulling into gas station number two, the lights are off and the metal window covers are locked in place. But since I’m paying with a credit card and wouldn’t need to go inside anyway, I pull up to the pump and insert my card. After the fourth time trying to enter my pin and having it fail, I get creeped out, jump back in my car and drive to gas station number three, which is directly across the intersection.

The lights at gas station #3 are on, but again the metal window covers protect the attendant station. I cross my fingers and insert my card. It works! I lift the nozzle, hit regular, and insert the nozzle.

Now back to what the car salesman neglected to tell me. Click, plop. $0.03. Five seconds go by. Click, plop. $0.07. Another five seconds. Click, click, plop. Six seconds. Click, plop. $0.09. Had it been a nice sunny day, this hour long fill up would possibly have been okay. But it was not sunny, it was not nice, and it was not daytime. At no point did the sales person mention that not all gas station nozzles will easily fit into this car. Cursing that sales person, I continue with my three-cent per minute pump.

Somewhere to my left I hear a slow scratching sound. My palms start to sweat. I slowly move my eyes to take in the scenery while not moving my head. Trying to look inconspicuous. Nothing but the wind. I continue the agonizing process of willing gas into my tank.

I suddenly hear something to my right and whip my head around. Rustling tree leaves. Moving shadows within the trees. With only $0.20 on the receipt, I shudder, jump back into my car and lock the doors.

Damnit. I will not make it back downtown on only $0.20 and although good on gas, my brand new car will likely not make it to a further gas station either. I will have to go back to gas station number one.

I slowly inch up to the pump, taking in everything but not moving my head. Trying again to look inconspicuous. Not noticing any direct murderers or rapists, I get out of the car and insert my card. Success. Insert the nozzle and the gas is flowing. As I’m waiting for the car to fill up, whistling a tune, I notice a car parked in front of the other pump. How did I not notice that before? Squinting to see better, I notice there is no one in the car. Hmm. Odd..

I look into the gas station store but see no movement, no people. I look over to the gas station bathroom, but the lights are all turned off. Why is this guy parked beside the pump and not in one of the parking spots if he’s left his car here for the night? I scan the empty dark parking lot. Where is this guy? Could he be hiding somewhere? My gaze goes from left to right and then slowly behind me. My already clammy hands again begin to sweat.

An unnatural sounds infests my ears from the left. A crinkled candy wrapper scrapes across the ground, molested by the wind. Across the street, an open gate bangs against a fence.

I hear a crackling fuzz coming from behind me and my hairs on my neck prickle outward. Breathing heavily I take a slow look around and see nothing. Cautiously, I put the nozzle down then fumble for my keys. They’re not in my pocket. My eyes frantically search the seat of the car for the elusive keys.

Suddenly, a voice booms behind me. Without even looking I defensively grab open the door and slam my body inside my car, locking the door mid-stride.

Within the safety of my car, I slowly crack the window, looking and listening for my potential murderer, one hand on cell phone, 9-1-1 ready to go. Again I hear the low crackling pitch. Breathing heavy I put the car in gear and hover my foot over the gas, ready to burst forward at any given second.

“Ma’am” a faceless voice crackles “You’re using full serve”. My eyes zoom to the meter and it is about 20 seconds before my frightened brain can function again. $90 is slightly higher than usual… even with the current ridiculous gas situation.

Not caring, I roll up the window and speed away, en route downtown at 100kms per hour. I don’t care how safe people think the suburbs are.. My sanity can’t handle that kind of stress.

Rise and Ride: Getting There is Half the Fun!

3 May

Waking up at 6 a.m. to burn 600 calories on a stationary bike is a hill you should not want to climb.

You know that feeling you have when it’s about 9 pm on a Sunday night and you feel fantastic. You’re relaxed from a stress-free weekend and have as much positive energy as a kid on his way to an undiscovered playground. Your mind is whirring at a steady pace but because it’s late, you make big plans for tomorrow instead of tonight.

While getting ready for bed, you and all your energy together decide to up the wattage and wake-up for the 6:30 a.m. hour-long spin class the next morning. You commit to it. There is nothing that could possibly stop you from going to that class, because you feel so damn good right now. You’re cruising comfortably and you go to sleep motivated and with a smile on your face because you are the best.

The next morning, although you were expecting it, the six a.m. mountain comes around too fast and is significantly more daunting now that it’s before you. The 8-hour flat course up to this point went by so fast it’s like you didn’t even rest. And what the hell happened to all that energy you had last night? Is it possible that sleeping actually expends energy instead of refreshing your supply? Your brain has no capacity to contemplate this paradox and so you hit the snooze button again, momentarily obscuring the view of the mountain.

Six fifteen and your mind is gearing up all possible excuses not to go to this class, to justify closing your eyes and succumbing to your 600 thread count, goose down comforter. But your mind misses a gear and somehow your guilt makes a pass on the right and you’re in the bathroom by six eighteen. Has it always been this cold in here? Freezing in your sports bra and panties you brush your teeth, staring at your haggard face in the mirror. Is this what being healthy looks like, you ask yourself. Your brain grunts, turns over and doesn’t respond.

But your triumph over getting out of bed gives you confidence. You begin to relax a bit, enjoying the momentum behind you. Knowing you’re ahead, you ease up a little and let your mind’s RPMs slowly decrease. Although dressed, all of a sudden you’re back underneath the covers with your eyes closed and your mind blank. Just resting. Just for a second.

Six-twenty-four and the horns and cheers of the alarm go off again jolting you back into the race. You muster all of your energy. Although you’ve done this climb before, you always severely underestimate the effort required. The air feels colder now than it did six minutes ago. Each second that passes becomes more and more agonizing. Painstakingly you push the right leg out of the covers and down to the floor, followed by the left, up then down, trying desperately to keep your movements under control. The process is so demanding that it feels like you’re going in slow motion. Almost there, you throw everything you’ve got into it, rip the covers off your body, and grunt out the front door.

Once out in the fresh air and past the point of no return, you sprint the entire route and arrive at the gym at only + 3 minutes.

You enter the already sweaty room, grab a towel and fall into line at the back of group in an effort to hide your tardiness. Through the mirrored front wall you catch the group’s disapproving glances but you don’t care because you had a solid performance in the earlier stages of this race and are proud of your comeback.

But however smug you are, you can’t help noticing that the pedals on each bike in the room are already turning in a circular motion, at least 100 RPM’s. Even your worn-out mind notices that something is not right here. You force your eyes and mind to finally work together and take a good look around the class.

That’s right – the class is jam packed full of superhuman early bird pedal machines, now increasing speed to a minimum of 110 RPMS. You, it seems, will be left behind at 0 RPM’s this particular morning.

Defeated, you exit the class, head bowed in shame and slowly head toward the main gym.

A clock catches your eye on the back wall of the gym and suddenly a finish line materializes itself in your mind. Now very alert, you sprint towards that finish line, significantly faster than your original route.

You cross that finish line into your apartment at exactly 6:47. Given the time it would have taken you to shower and get ready had you actually participated in the class, you justify that you would be late for work regardless. You throw your gear to the ground, reset your alarm for 7:45 and settle in for your recovery.

Race Time: 47 minutes (Personal Best).
Distance: 0.6 kms
Calories Burned: 25 of 600.
Current Status: Alive, at least until tomorrow’s race.

Air Travel: What Not To Do at 30,000 Feet

9 Jun

It’s a given that at some point during your business career you will need to get on a airplane, fasten your seatbelt, and fly through the air at 600 mph. Prior to heading to the airport, everyone will be wishing you a good flight and you’ll be hoping the same.

But people don’t hate bad flights. It gives you something to talk about when you come through the arrivals gate and you are bombarded with the the obligatory “How was the flight?” You just can’t wait to say “Oh man, you wouldn’t believe this one…”. Most of the time you can’t even wait for the arrivals gate. The second the seatbelt sign is off and the plane is on the ground, your blackberry is booted up and you’re madly typing “OMFG. U won’t blieve this flight!! LMFAO :-D, this guy…”

The following tips will help to ensure a safe and comfortable flight and hopefully help you avoid you being “that guy”.

Unacceptable Airplane Actions (DON’T):

  • Understand that traveling from the west coast to London, England is a long flight. However, this does not mean that you should let your three feet of greasy black hair down and comb it out into the shared aisle space for 45 minutes. If you must do this, please at least leave your socks on to cover your overgrown gremlin toenails
  • If the person in the aisle seat is female and working on her laptop, and you are an older male of festively plump proportions sitting in the inside seat beside her, it is not appropriate to “save her the effort” of getting up by attempting to “squeeze by” her in order to go to the washroom. Not only is this not physically possible, but even if you went ass first to avoid making it “awkward”, the woman is still throwing up in her mouth.
  • Although it is important to encourage reading to children, reading a novel out loud to your child on a red-eye flight is not acceptable. Try melatonin or on of those child-size bottles of scotch instead.
  • Avoid Mexican food before taking flight. Contrary to popular belief, pressurized cabins do NOT mask the scent of a bad burrito to the person sharing your armrest, and the oxygen masks will NOT fall no matter how much that person begs the flight attendant for one.
  • Trenchcoats. Seriously. Just leave them at home.
  • Just because the person beside you had to take their iPod off for landing doesn’t mean they want to talk to you for the 45 minute descent and taxi to the door.

Acceptable Airplane Actions (DO):

  • If there is severe turbulence and everyone is screaming, and for some reason you’re not scared enough to be white-knuckled to the armrests, please assume the prayer position and make sure to pray for all the people around you, not just your selfish self.
  • If no food is offered on the flight, not even a bag of measly pretzels, and you pull out a bag of delicious smelling Peanut M&Ms or similar snack, do offer the person beside you some. Note: this does not mean that said person is obligated to talk to you at all during the flight. This is a one-sided kind gesture and karma will get your back later. Just be patient.
  • Most likely during a red-eye or longer flight you will become drowsy and nod off for awhile. Consider a breath mint, or perhaps some gum, prior to your sleepy head tilting itself sideways at the perfect angle to direct your heavy dragon breath on the person beside you. Don’t worry about choking on the mint. The person beside you will be so grateful of your delightful breath, that they will no doubt immediately apply the Heimlich maneuver and save your life.
  • Do watch the safety video making sure to read the English subtitles, especially if flying a foreign airline where they attempt to incorporate humor into the video. “Yes, Foreign Flight Air, I did watch the safety video! It showed a guy smiling and lighting a fire in the washroom garbage can. There were lights, fireworks, and smiley faces. Of course I thought it was acceptable, if not encouraged, to smoke on the plane!”

Share your best flight story in the comments. You know you have one just waiting to be re-told..

Thigh High Stockings and Why They Should Be Avoided at Work

6 Jun

Nylons, panty hose, tights, stockings.. whatever you want to call them.. are a staple in any young female professional’s wardrobe. As you browse the nylon aisle at the drugstore, you will come across many different types. Reinforced panty, reinforced toe, ankle socks, fishnets, and my (formerly) personal favourite: thigh high.

These beauties have an adhesive rubber-like material that sticks to your legs, holding the stocking just at your thigh, allowing you to avoid the ancient and uncomfortable garter belt. These nylons are amazing for the following reasons:

  1. They are sexy. From the lacy tops right down to the silky toes. Most importantly, you can wear them under a power suit and strut around the office with extra confidence, because while everyone assumes you’re wearing granny panty nylons all the way up past your bellybutton, you’re actually wearing the stuff dreamed up for hot nights.
  2. You will never get runs in your stockings from going to the bathroom because you don’t need to pull them down.
  3. There are not as constricting as regular tights. You can actually breathe and move in these things, relatively comfortably.

However, despite all the great reasons for wearing these sultry stockings, there is also reason to avoid them:

This reason will come about one day while you’re walking to work in the middle of downtown and one of the “sticky” tops of the nylons will no longer be plastered to the top of your thigh. Slowly but surely that nylon will slip down and you will end up with a crumpled mess on top of your new Nine West pumps. And you can’t just nonchalantly pull it up because doing so in a pencil skirt would require hiking up the skirt past your waist and exposing your pasty derriere to the entire street.

It’s not just the fact that it’s in a crumpled mess around your ankle, the fact is that because you’re wearing something sexy, it’s unlikely to be skin colour and blend in with anything. It’s likely some form of black or “night shade”. And what makes this worse is the fact that you know both of them didn’t come down.. just the right leg.. so it makes it really difficult to convince passerby’s that you’re simply bringing back 80′s workout gear.

Feeling the nylon slip down your leg will force you to run into the nearest Starbucks, praying that there is a public washroom. The branch you enter into is small, barely fitting the line-up of people extending right to the door. Cutting through the crowd and getting several angry looks from pre-coffee caffeine addicts in line, you make it to the washroom only to discover, of course, that you need to obtain the key from the front.

Half limping in an effort to keep the nylon from dragging, you grab the key from the front and make it into the one-stall washroom, with only a few confused (intrigued?) looks. You overlook the fact that you are about 2 blocks from your office and it is likely that several of your co-workers were in the line and saw you and your disheveled nylon. If you didn’t make eye contact, you don’t believe they saw you either.

You yank the nylon back up only to feel the slow slipping of the rubbery elastic band again slipping down your thigh. Because you don’t carry a garter belt in your purse for such occasions, at this point your problem solving abilities are seriously challenged. Out of nowhere, your brain comes through by remembering all those times throughout summer where your sweaty bottom stuck to something plastic. You slam your hand under the tap and wet the inside of the rubber piece of the nylon. It sticks! Success!

You shamelessly exit the washroom and proceed to confidently continue the walk to work. No big deal. Just another morning in the life. Waiting in line at the elevator at your office, the now familiar slipping feeling returns. Grasping the side of your leg like you’ve been stabbed, you apply pressure to your skirt, in a desperate attempt to keep the stocking up, at least until you get to your desk.  Hobbling along, hand on thigh, you make it to your desk and assess the situation. You have three options:

  1. Don’t get up all day. Not for meetings, not for lunch, not for coffee, not for the several bathroom breaks required after the coffee.
  2. Find some sort of adhesive. Tape? A stapler?
  3. Rip off the nylons, throw them in the garbage, bare-leg it (proudly) until your coffee break, then run downstairs to the drugstore like a maniac and buy a normal pair of nylons that hug your waist, not your thighs.

Option #3 wins and the rest of day goes on as normal, albeit not as sexy.

Has this happened to you? Has anyone come across a thigh high stocking that actually stuck for multiple wears? Please share!

Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Maybelline: The Stress of Makeup-Less Business

28 May

Have you ever come across a time when it’s 6:30 a.m. and you’re in a hotel room in Silicon Valley, California, the brand new suit you bought for the big annual meeting hanging in the closet, and you reach into your makeup bag to complete the masterpiece that is your face by applying the oh-so-necessary mascara, only to find the key item missing?

Step back about 15 hours. You’re packing a small overnight bag so you don’t have to check it for the flight. You’re trying your best to fit everything into that pathetic Ziploc bag and you curse the facial product industry for making everything just slightly over 100mL. Because you have a bit of traveling to do, you leave putting your makeup on for last as to get the freshest face for the longest time possible. Dancing along to Lady Gaga on your iPod, you coat your eyes beautifully with a new Revlon Grow Luscious, grab your bag and book it out the door.

Fast-forward about 7 hours. You’re reached your hotel and check in for the night. Looking forward to a good sleep in a fairly decent bed, you thoroughly wash your face, making sure to cleanse, tone, and finally apply a solid night cream.

Eight hours later, you awake suddenly to the sharp RING RING RINGGG of the wake-up call. But you’re not fazed. You’re confident because you were asked to come to this important meeting, you have a fantastic new suit that fits perfectly, and you straightened your hair the night before and it still looks good.

Now return to 6:30 a.m: I am in the middle of nowhere, just about to leave to an important meeting, and I am missing my mascara. Had I noticed this significant dilemma eight hours earlier, I would have left the all-day grime of travel and sweat on my face the night before and slept with my face pointing at the ceiling all night to avoid smudging!

Of course when traveling for business, odds are that you are traveling with a male colleague as opposed to female. The problem with this being that unless said male is a businessman by day, drag queen by night, he likely does not own mascara, let alone bring it on business trips. I rip open the blinds. Look left, then right, then directly ahead. No CVS, no Walgreens, no hookers with purses of which I would pay $1000 for a partially used mascara stick.

Since this Revlon is usually the absolute last (and most important) item I put on in the morning, I now only have 10 minutes since noticing its absence until we leave for the meeting.  Googlemap. There is nothing within miles. I contemplate my options: go to the lobby and ask the front desk if they have any? Break into someone’s room and hold them up with a mini bottle of shampoo and a Do Not Disturb sign folded into a sword?

In a last ditch effort, I attempt to fabricate mascara out of watered down eyeliner and try to paint my eyelashes with a liner brush.  Failure.  My previously relaxed body is bordering on nervous breakdown.  Tearing open my computer bag, I see a black Sharpie and get down to business.  After five minutes of frantic “drawing” of my eyelashes (apparently not the same as drawing on eyebrows), I realize it is useless. My eyelashes are now somewhat black, but just as frail and pitiful as if I had no makeup on at all.

Out the window I see my male boss heading to the rental car and looking for me. Utterly defeated and now stressed as ever, I head out while having one last depressing look in the mirror. Outside, I get in the passenger side of the car, avoiding eye contact. There is no comment, but his facial expression betrays that his mind is contemplating that I must have got severely wasted the night before, alone in my hotel room, which would explain the haggered look of my eyes, and the aura of complete stress emitting from my body.

The car starts and we head east towards the meeting. I flick on the radio: “Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set, baby, I was born this way. Thanks for the support Gaga, but I still look like shit.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.