Back in Van, baby!

Well, I did it. I managed to survive buying a place in Vancouver in a stupid market. I looked for three full months and still ended up having to move all my stuff into storage while I couched surfed for three weeks before getting into my new place.

I’ve been here for about seven weeks and am still adjusting to the urban noises – having been in the burbs for the past 20 years; sirens wailing, garage doors to parkades opening and closing at all hours, upstairs neighbours testing out their tap shoes at midnight, motorcycles revving randomly and someone yelling, “Argh!  I don’t like when it oozes!” at top volume about 2 am while being chased down the street  by a women yelling, “Get back in the house!”.

But, with all that comes a 25 minute walking commute to work! Who-hoo! I just strap on my backpack and head out. Yes, I’m the geek who uses the hip and chest straps so the weight is evenly distributed. I look a little like a bondaged marshmallow, given my fair skin and hair. I like to think I give the people driving over the bridge a “WTF” moment when they see me.

I can also just step outside my door and within minutes be at all sorts of restaurants, and cool clothing and furniture shops. Of course, there’s also some sort of halfway treatment housing apartment at one end of my block and an odd church thing at the other. It’s not a church like I grew up going to, it looks more like an office building and I’m not sure what deity they worship — perhaps it’s the almighty Justin Trudeau or Bradley Cooper? I’d happily give up my Sunday morning for Bradley Cooper as long as I could confess about it later.

I’ve pretty much abandoned using my car since I moved here. My legs and my bike are my new best friends. Well, my bike less so since it’s a bit heavy and the spring-loaded security doors into the bike room make it difficult to get in. I spent 15 minutes trying to reenter the room the other day with a laden down bike. I had to flash my fob at the security panel then try to prop the weighty door open and simultaneously push my heavy bike through the door. My wheels kept turning every which way and the bike tipped catching me in between the door and bike. I imagine it is what it feels like trying to make it through the birth canal ass first.

Trying to get out of the parking lot is equally as goofy, well for me. I soon realized that, despite the extra weight I put on, my bike and I do not weigh as much as my car and I do. Together we can’t exert enough force on the rubber tubing on the ground to trigger the garage door to open. I have to stop on the tubing and jump up and down without falling off my bike. Then, when the door opens, I have to quickly jump on my bike and ride up a very steep hill. Twice I’ve had a late start on my bike and gotten 3/4 of the way up only to have the door close while I’m weaving around trying to get some momentum to get up the hill. Extremely good comedy for whomever reviews our security footage. I only hope my good ass cheek was pointing toward the camera.

All I need now is some furniture and to figure out how to fit everything that I need into such a small space. Well, since I once survived a very small womb with a large twin brother, I imagine that I’ll figure out how inhabit my new space without getting squished and losing a lot of oxygen, like I did then.




Buying a place in Vancouver


Now, along with overbidding on the listing price, going in with no subjects and with a deposit cheque in hand, apparently buyers are submitting heart-felt letters to their potential seller in order to sway them. Here’s my draft. What do you think? Will it give me the edge over the competition?

Dear seller,

By now you’ve probably poured yourself a large glass of wine (no judgement) and are sitting back sifting through the mountain of offers your realtor has sent you.

You’ve been looking forward to this moment all weekend. Anticipation mounting every time you received another text from your realtor telling you how everyone has been “oohing” and “aahing” about your place. You did get a bit concerned when she texted you to say there was a creepy dude there randomly yelling out dialogue from horror movies, although you were especially disconcerted to hear he had one extremely disturbing prediction: “Trump’s a shoe in!”

Now, back to your pile of offers. Some you’ll immediately toss aside with a disgusted sigh (hopefully not mine) as you gleefully move on to the others. Finally you’ll group the contenders into heaps based on the crazy-assed amount of money they’ve penciled in, crossed out, re-penciled in and smudged accidentally as their agent tugged the paper from their clammy hands.

Now, another big swig of wine and perhaps one of those fancy chocolates someone brought you from Paris, the ones with no expiration date … wonder what tomorrow will bring after you down a few of those….but, I digress.

All the piles have numbers to your liking. You check to see if any of them have tried to sneak in some pesky subjects on the contract, but you won’t find any because anybody with any skin in the game knows that the right to put subjects on the biggest purchase of their life is on par with the rights serfs had in the feudal system.

Next is to determine if the dates could work for you and then to just pick the biggest number. But wait! You could weigh in one more factor – the human factor. Who is the person behind the offer? Well, let me tell you about me.

For the past month, I’ve spent every Saturday and most Sundays looking in other people’s houses between the hours of two to four. Realtors follow me around telling me how the layout makes it seem bigger and that it has this great ‘flex space’, possibly even a ‘junior bedroom’! (Seriously, it’s 7 x 5 feet; it’s a large closest and nothing more. Can we all agree to stop kidding ourselves about this?!)

The private listings my realtor sends me are like some sick addiction. I scour them trying to imagine how close to real life the pictures are, or wonder what that odd railing thing is that I can just see through the bedroom window. I try to remember all the important details I’m supposed to look for: concrete building, avoid anything labelled ‘cozy’ etc. Like online dating, the pictures rarely are the same as the condo I see in person. That is until I walked into your apartment.

I’ve eaten twice my weight in carbs since I saw your place. I fell in love the minute I walked in the door and took in the open concept. The living space that would allow me to put more than one piece of furniture in it and the balcony that has room for three whole people on it! A bedroom that could actually be used. Unlike so many places I’ve seen in which the bedroom is just barely the size of an area rug, closed off behind blue, sliding glass doors; no space for a dresser or even a lamp.

But, you have to know that the feeling is mutual – this love of mine. I heard the kitchen call my name. I swear it sang, “Hey big spender, spend a little time with me.” I’ve never really thought of myself as a big spender, but this Vancouver housing market has sure changed that.

Half a mill for less than 600 square feet? Sure, that seems about right. What’s that you say? People in other parts of Canada can buy three houses on five acres of land for that? Well, yeah, but then they have to live in other parts of Canada. In places where they actually get Canadian winters instead of just mold behind their ears.

Oh, what’s that? You’ve finished your wine and are getting ready to speed dial your realtor? Okay, well, thanks for listening to my heartfelt letter begging you to accept my offer. Just one final word before you go:


What the HAF?

cheese 2

Well, it’s day two of the New Year and I spent part of it at an open house get-together with some friends. While chatting to a few of my soccer mates in the dining area, talk turned to one of my friend’s snug orange shirt and her very pronounced boobage.

Esmerelda (not her real name), fondled them proudly and said, “Yeah, I know, check it out, but, unfortunately they’re part of a matching set.” She looked down and patted her belly, “They came with what I’m calling my ‘baguette belly’. I picked that up from our extended trip to France.”

I said that I had put on about 10 or so pounds myself, someone else said they gained about eight and a third said she’d put on 20 lbs. We all agreed that it was a good thing that at least Esmeralda’s holiday-acquired fat (HAF) resulted in holiday-acquired hooters (HAH!).

A few of us decided that we needed to make a pact to drop our HAF and soon. Although, the person who gained the 20 lbs, let’s call her Audrey, said she couldn’t possible do that yet because she needed to have her knee surgery first, then work with a personal trainer that her ‘not-yet-husband’ gave her for Christmas.

She punctuated this thought by waving a large slice of cheese at me, all the while being careful not slop any red wine out of her goblet. Then Audrey took a bite out of the Giant-Assed Slice (GAS). I pointed out that she could start right now by handing over the wine. I made a grab for it but she bounced me away with her 20lb-heavier boob & belly combo and smacked me with her GAS.

We all decided that technically we were still in the holiday season so we didn’t have to start losing the weight now, which was a good thing since I suddenly found a glass of wine in my hand and half the wheel of double-cream Brie oozing through my teeth.

Now I’m back home and eating as much of the Christmas chocolate and cookies I can so that I don’t have any in the house when the holidays REALLY end. So, what are you looking at? Go peek in your fridge and see what you need to eat before Monday! Then you can buckle down, put your GAS aside, work off that HAF and say goodbye to the HAH!


That bitch almost hit me

Well, nothing quite wakes you up on a sleepy Friday morning like almost being hit by a car.

I was walking the last part of my commute, a mere half a block from my office building, when I sauntered across the underground driveway to an apartment building, like I do every work day. I glanced down the ramp, saw a car approaching and thought, “yep, she sees me” and I continued to walk.

Back into my brain I go. Running scenarios for some work issue I was trying to figure out and already planning my first task… “What the Fuck!” – – Internal alarm bells are going off, I look up and realize she’s still heading my way, and pretty fast. I stare sternly at her, as if that will make her realize that she’s about to hit me.

Even though I hate math (don’t let me calculate the cost of the hotel for us or the tip at dinner), I believe there is a super smart mathlete in the back of my mind, tied to a chair by the cool brain cells. She suffers in silence but has quietly been untying her ropes (insert tense, suspenseful music here) for just such a moment. Springing from her shackles, already having calculated the exact number of seconds I had before getting hit, she smacks the big red panic button in my brain, which forces my body to set legs in motion and to bend oddly like a giant ‘c’ to get important organs out of the line of the impact.

Just like a lot of these people did;

The driver didn’t even realize that I was there, even after I dropped an F-bomb in her direction, she didn’t even change pace as she barreled out onto the street.

Guess I should count myself lucky. I could just as easily been typing this from a hospital bed with a leg and an arm in a sling. Thank God for that nerdy mathlete in my brain. 🙂

Some of my friends are the hottest ever

menopause image

At a recent Christmas party with some of my soccer mates, talked turned to “girl talk”. “Girl talk” evolves over the years; it starts with boys, hair and makeup; shifts to men, careers, hair and makeup; then to husbands, kids, career and that ‘fucking’ mom in the PAC who still does her hair & makeup.

Then you get the “girl talk” of this age.Today, women in my age range start to talk about “the mental-pause”, better know as menopause. One of my teammates is at defcon 5 in menopause. She warns those of us not there yet about the fun of hot flashes. I’ll relay some of her humours tidbits.

I’ll call my friend Esmeralda, to protect her identity, and Big E for short. E is 5’11 and full of muscle, a true warrior princess who has headed balls (on the soccer field) that most men would shy away from. She’s been concussed, hit, done her share of hitting, birthed four large children and can make a mean recipe of Almond Bark.

Anyway, she tells us that regularly she’ll sneakily open her bedroom window widely in the dead of winter, hoping to cool down the sudden furnace-eruptions in her body. Her husband is not impressed. She throws blankets off in the middle of the night, cursing like a sailor losing in a midnight poker game; her husband the sudden recipient of both the comforter and the ‘blue’ language. He also has second-degree burns where she’s touched him in her frantic strip show.

They come without warning, while she’s teaching the youth of our city, don’t worry, no cursing there. She opens windows in the classroom and parents picking up their kids wonder why they are dressed in hats and mitts from the lost & found.

She says it’s particularly, um, interesting when you experience a hot flash that goes right into your vagina. She says there is nothing quite like “lava vag” as she calls it, or “hot twat”. As she’s telling us her stories, she has a hot flash and we have to put her in the garage to cool off for ten minutes. One of our friends says she could stand out on the bridge deck at the airports where they load the planes because it’s quite cold out there.

That leads us to concoct our brilliant plan of saving airlines billions of dollars by having their menopausal staff go out and de-ice planes for them. A few of those hot babes lying on the wings will help them cool down, de-ice the plane and give the male passengers something to look at. It’s win-win-win situation!

Maybe they could do the same with the SkyTrain. They could send their menopausal staff to warm up the rails on the tracks. I’ll let you imagine how they’d do that.

Embracing the Mid-Life Crisis: No Boy Toy, just Stand-Up Comedy

“Ok, wait say that again? You want to do what? Have you lost your mind? You wouldn’t catch me up there doing that! Nope, rather have my Twitter account hacked by a porn star.”

That is what every single one of my friends said when I told them I was going to take a stand-up comedy class that ended with me having to get up on stage and do stand-up for 5 minutes. Ok, well not those words exactly. Some of them just scrunched their faces up like I had emitted a bad smell, others chuckled nervously and avoided eye-contact.

In any case, I did it and survived. Here you can watch it if you like. See? Not nearly as bad as having your Twitter account hacked by a porn star. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing. )

Online Dating: Next Exit – Spinsterhood

Like a lot of single people, I’ve done the online dating thing. My friends love it because they get to hear all about the strange dates, emails and profiles I encounter.

I’ll start by sharing some of the odd messages I received and then sharing some of my more memorial dates,well, they’re really “meets” — as in a first meeting in person. My rule of thumb is to keep it short, sweet and with at least two exits.

Some commonalities that these men’s profile pictures have is that they are often taken from miles away, they’re wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, frequently they are topless and often they are holding a large fish they just caught. What I think most men don’t realize is that, unless we’re trapped on an island or on the show Survivor, women really don’t care about fishing or seeing you with a fish.

Their profile write-ups or messages are an English teacher’s nightmare — seriously, I know some teachers that would slit their wrists over the, I would say,”poor grammar”, but it’s really non-existent grammar. Nary a capital letter in sight, nor a comma nor a period, yet strangely, a properly used semi-colon. WTF! While reading some of these emails or write-ups, I’ve literally thought, “If you were in front of me now, I would smack you with that damn fish!” I’m not demanding perfection, I know I’m not always right, but throw a comma in here and there and maybe a capital letter. Is that too much to ask?

Online you have a user name and then a place to put a status or a one-liner teaser. Mine was: Man Wanted: Bed warmer and other light duties. Pretty funny I thought. I’ve seen some funny ones guys have used, but then seen some weird ones.

User names and one-liners that make you go “hmm”

  • lickalotapuss96
  • ifearwomen
  • Hay there
  • **** off trashy girls!
  • Old dogs, children and watermelon wine
  • How’s your bin?

Message(s) Received

Here’s a  little sampling of the types of messages  I  got online.

The Boy Next Door – NOT!

He looked nice and pleasant, but his short write up went something like this: I am looking for a woman to tie me and beat me. I really want to be dominated. (next paragraph) I enjoy biking, roller blading and long walks in the rain.

Smells like a pig farm

The profile picture could have come from the 30’s with all its grainy gloriousness, and was taken from 50 feet out. He was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap. I’m surprised there was no fish. In any case, I read the email he sent. Like some inner stream of consciousness, it floated on and on.

“Hello im (name removed) if youd like to meet a guy and go for a drive just past mission theres a mud run my brothers there big bad truck or a patio pub lunch today yah im a little older but youd get treeted like a lady and youd day will be fun if you really wanted to we could pull the boat out and go boating and also whats your name”

Something about the words “mud run”  reminded me of Pickton. (Insert spine shivers here.)

Under the category of “they have a whole section for that” 

  • I’m enjoying the summer and am in the need of a casual meeting…
  • Looking for company tonight?
  • I’m in town from L.A. for the night …
  • Then there was a guy who emailed me photos of his junk

Let’s get personal, personal, personal (sung to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical)

“So dose the carpet match the drapes or is it lanolium is fine to ask or what about do you have a gag reflex lol Yes I am a jackass. You want to know anything please ask if you want to see if I’m crazy ask my name and check out my Facebook I’m kind of normal lol”

It’s okay, we’re family

I received a very poetic and shamelessly flattering email from a man and went to check out his profile. The first picture was him in a suit with the words, “Photo Shoot” under it. Hmm, model? photographer? Next picture was an artsy-type of photo of a women’s back. She was sitting with her legs folded beside her and glancing over her shoulder at the camera. She was naked. Her arms and hands bound with rope. Then another picture of a different woman, also naked, also tied. And then, yet a third. The grand finale was a picture of him taken from above. He was naked with ropes criss-crossing his body and a small pouch covering his Don Johnson.

Well, I just had to know. What was it all about? I emailed him, and asked, “So, what’s with all the pictures of tied-up naked women on your profile?” His reply? “They are bondage pictures of my sisters and cousins in Kazakhstan.” My next move: DELETE!

On to the actual dates 

These are true! I kid you not. I actually had these experiences.

One way to ensure a fast get-away

I met a man for drink at a pub, and as the date was wrapping up I said,”Well, I guess we just need to get the bill from the waitress”, to which he replied, “I already paid for my drink at the bar, so you’re up to bat.”

Racist? Who me?

I met a guy for a drink. He knew I live in Richmond, and before my butt hit the chair the second sentence out of his mouth was: “Huh, a white girl from Richmond.”

Run Forrest, Run!

I met this fellow in a funky pub/restaurant downtown. The minute he arrived at the table, he began talking and for the next 45 minutes I think I got three sentences in — all while he consumed an entire plate of chicken wings.

Now, what you need to know about me is that I can talk the ear of a deaf nun, so this gives you an idea of how much he was yammering on. There was something else odd but I couldn’t quite place it. He said a phrase that sounded like a key message his parents had been feeding him since a young boy. Something like ” I’m equally smart and loved and respected”.

At one point he said,” Oh, look at me talking away about work. My mother always says, “Let the lady talk and don’t bore her with work talk.” So what do you do for a living, Jennifer.” What you need to know about this is two things: One, I immediately had a flash of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, “my mother always says…” and two, my name is not Jennifer…not even close.”  When I casually corrected him as I began, or so I thought, to tell him what I do for a living, he launched into 20 minutes explaining how he knew that and how he had even practiced remembering my name.

I never liked you anyway :P~

I always try to be friendly, but maybe that’s not a good thing. At the end of a date with a fellow that I really didn’t feel any chemistry with, he asked me if I’d like to go out again. I stammered out something lame that I can’t remember, but he got the picture. When I got home he had sent me a message through the dating site saying, “I didn’t really want to see you again anyway. I only asked you because I felt I should.”

Right out of a Seinfeld episode

I had arranged to meet a guy one work night for a drink. I was meeting him later in the evening and having dinner/drinks on a hot, sunny patio with my buddy Jake first. We sat in the hot sun eating, drinking and laughing for a few hours and then Jake walked with me to the other restaurant so I could meet my date. As I hugged Jake goodbye, I could see a man who clearly recognized me and I realized this was my date.

Oh, my. He was wearing an almost-lime green suit, white socks and white sunglasses. I don’t even think George Clooney could pull off that look. I clung to Jake, but he just brushed me off and waved goodbye with a smirk on his face. Lime green suit and I said our ‘hellos’ and headed up the stairs. When we were seated he gave me a mango — long story, but definitely a red flag I had missed. It took me all of five minutes to realize that my date was a bit physically and mentally challenged. I immediately felt bad about criticizing his outfit.

Wait, is that in the bible?

I was excited to meet this man because he sounded nice and was cute, according to his pictures. We met for a drink and I was pleasantly surprised that he actually looked as good in person as his photos. Our conversation flowed easily until he asked me this question: “So, how adventurous are you? Y’know, in bed.” I asked for his definition of adventurous and it turns out he was talking about threesomes and explained that he’d had a few. “Well, might as well get some info, an inside look at a world that’s foreign to me”, I thought. I found out a lot of interesting things about how there are a lot of rules for couples who pick up singles for this activity.

I figured I would not be seeing him again, but a few days later we texted and I figured, not sure how, that somehow we could get over this threesome thing. On our second date, we met again for drinks and the conversation ranged from Freemasons, conspiracy theories, 911 being an inside job and ended with religion. Definitely not boring. When religion came up I made some comment about feeling that all roads lead to Rome, i.e. all religions lead to the same universal God, force whatever. That’s just where I’m at now-adays. But, he wasn’t impressed with that and said, “Oh, no, but that’s not true. There is only one saviour and it’s Jesus Christ our Lord.” Turns out he was a born-again Christian. I shit you not. Needless, to say, that was our last date. My friends know him as the Threesome-loving Jesus Freak.

I’m no longer doing the online dating thing, so I’ll have to go back to the old-fashion way to meet a man … standing on the street corner.