How to Be a Canadian at Disney

Can Mickey Collage

Happy (nearly completed) Canada Day, peeps!  Can’t stand the day myself – that’s what you get for a young lifetime of stupid Can Day celebrations that soured you on the entirety of the holiday (loved starting to drink terrible beer in my best red-and-white duds at eight in the morning with my friends, hated the inevitable skirmish I’d get into with my boyfriends or friends as we desperately tried to find each other 10 minutes before the fireworks in a sea of drunk(er) revelers on Parliament Hill.  Did anybody check the giant lemon?!)

Although I’ve really no reason to continue hating the holiday, since in the intervening years, I’ve had moderately alright to even not-so-terrible Canada Days and…*tails off remembering somewhat recent year grandmother tricked her into visiting relative at very remote Cabin in the Woods (actually, it’s quite a lovely cabin in the woods, totally free of elaborate death mechanisms designed to appease the pagan gods.)*

It’s basically just a day ending in Y for me, albeit one where I’m infinitely more inclined to sport a fly red-and-white mani in honour of July the 1st.  And this year I gave it a Disney twist to go along with the Canada Day video I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, which is all about being Canadian at Disney.  Which pretty much amounts to having good manners, having good manners whilst drinking, using words like “whilst” and screwing around at the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.  See for yourself below, eh?, and happiest of Canada Days to you all, my Canuck friends, all two remaining hours of it. 😉

Small last minute edit: Just as I was about to click the Publish button on this post, I heard a smattering of fireworks going off, looked out my livingroom window and was treated to a lovely, impromptu, 10 minute-long fireworks display just across the river.  So maybe not ALL of my Canada Days have been horrid. 🙂

Frosty Freeze

frosted flakes 1

That’s me!  Or rather, I’m frosty and freezing.  To paraphrase Captain Raymond Holt of Brooklyn 9-9, where I live (Eastern Ontario, Canada) it is colder than Cocytus, the frozen lake of Hell.  And has been that way – resolutely, aggravatingly so – all. week. long.  We’re talking temps that dip into the mid-20s (NEGATIVE 20 DEGREES) but owing to BS metrics like windchill, actually feel like they’re in the -30s.  I haven’t been warm all week.

Anyhow, all that to explain how these nails, which started out in a tropical place, wound up looking more like frosted snowflakes.  Because everything in my life is frosted in snowflakes these days, so why not also my manicures?!  Also because the glittery purple polish I chose, a nameless stocking stuffer I received last year, is itself just frosty enough to make what started out life as floral fronds into ice cold lace daggers.  Or sorry, as you may know it, snow.  Because there’s also been a ton of that this week as well, inexplicably – it’s really not supposed to snow when it gets this cold, but somehow, it’s managed BOTH at the same time!  As have I with these nails. 😉

frosted flakes 3

Merry Christmas, Holy Shit, Where’s the Tylenol?!

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house…there wasn’t an effin’ peep, because I was trying to be as quiet as possible so as to hear my postal carrier’s knock on the front door.  Which never came, because I’m talking about Canada Post here, and they are wildly incompetent thieves, charlatans and goons.

To back up this cheery Christmas fable a beat or two, the union representing Canada Post, the taxpayer-funded Crown corporation that manages the Canadian postal system, launched a short-lived, pre-holiday strike that was about as successful as their usual approach to business – drowning in complaints, the federal government quickly legislated them back to work, with a promise to re-open the negotiations in the new year.  And I vehemently hope that when that time comes, the government mails out the invitations via Canada Post, so they never, ever get to their recipients.

Our postal system is, and always has been, a colossal joke.  But I thought it was just your garden variety unionized incompetence.  But with this strike, timed to inflict as much damage as possible on customers (commercial and civilian, Canadian and global alike) they have shown their true colours – they are ignorant, crass opportunists willing to hijack an entire holiday for their own dubious gain.  The Grinch comparisons are apt.

What has my fur up today is the fact that I rearranged my entire schedule so I could be home for a time-sensitive, need-it-by-this-weekend delivery.  For days now I’ve tracked my package as it’s bounced back and forth between various distribution centres, many of them hopelessly backlogged because of the short-lived strike.  Also, not too surprisingly, there are reports of continued intentional slow-downs and informal strikes by the most devoted of the union’s members.

Without getting into the politics of UNION GOOD/BAD (I have actually worked in both kinds of environments, and each system has its pluses and minuses) I believe the union’s demands to be wildly out of touch with Canada Post’s proven track record of near-complete ineptitude.  You won’t find a person in this country who doesn’t have multiple stories of misplaced mail, destroyed packages, completely undelivered packages, disinterested, snarky customer service and trampled landscaping.  On review site trustpilot.com, there are 917 reviews for Canada Post, and a full 93 percent of them fall under the bad/one-star category.  The one thing they seem to do consistently well is piss off their customers.

Like yours truly, who sat here all morning – didn’t run down to the gym, didn’t push the vacuum around, didn’t even take a call that might have tied up the line – anticipating a delivery that I KNEW was not going to come.  And it didn’t.  After some hours, I went down to the mail room, and there in my mailbox, nestled in beside the bills that always seem to show up on time, was a delivery notification informing me that I could not be reached, and I could pick up my own damn package at a postal outlet tomorrow afternoon.  You cannot access my mail room without accessing the entire building as a whole, which means the carrier was here, actually IN my building, and couldn’t be arsed to drag his lying butt up to my apartment or, alternately, call up and ask me to come down and meet him.  The truly galling part of all of this is that a different delivery, this one through UPS, showed up on my doorstep about two minutes later – nice, friendly guy carrying out his professional duties like a professional.  Take notes, Canada Post.  Then drop them on the slushy ground, step on them and lose them under the seat of your van for the next three and a half months.

And please take note, Canadian government, of the taxpayers who are no longer willing to broker with a bunch of lying, duplicitous laze-abouts.  Because the fallout is greater than just some people being horked off that their Christmas gifts didn’t arrive on time.  Rather, we’re talking about the wholesale defrauding of the Canadian people and their postal partners.  Canada Post’s service has NEVER warranted the nearly bulletproof protection afforded to it by its government and union affiliations, and the organization as a whole has done itself precisely zero favours with this pre-Christmas Grinch grift.  ANY negotiating leverage they think they may have amassed is about as effectual as their actual service.

Last year, completely dissatisfied with my dealings with both Walmart and the entire Loblaws group of companies, I sought to cut both out of my retail experience.  And for the most part, I was successful – I think I shopped at Walmart maybe five times in 2018, and even less than that at a Loblaws-owned entity.  It was a pain, and in many cases the workarounds I found were more expensive than if I had just gone to the stores in question in the first place, but sometimes our convictions are more important than nabbing 72 rolls of three-ply at a low, low, low price.

2019 is the year I cut Canada Post out of my life.  That this may harm businesses I like to shop from is without dispute, but I will no longer deal with any company that uses the postal system as their default carrier.  I will find alternate carriers to transport my goods, and if I can’t manage that, I simply won’t buy from that retailer in the hopes that they, too, strike this toxic entity from their business rosters.

Shame on you, Canada Post, you petulant, foolish children, and thank your lucky stars Santa isn’t one of your employees, or this year you’d be getting jack shit.  Merry Christmas, ho ho ho, and oh yeah – get fucked.

Fall Fun Fridays: The Failing Grade Edition

Tree Collage

Good morning, friends, and welcome to another beautiful autumn Friday!  As of late, the weather around my neck of the global woods has been quite uneven – one moment it’s so cold, we’re all breaking out our toques and parkas, and the next it’s so dank and humid, we’re firing up the air conditioners for one last summery go-round.  But there’s only one way this all ends, and that’s with snow.  I suppose that’ll be here soon enough.

So being the end of the work week and all, it’s time for another edition of Fall Fun Fridays, the casual little blogging challenge I’ve been, let’s face it, whiffing hardcore with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid, who are decidedly not whiffing it.  Excuses, excuses, but my Fall has been rather disrupted by ongoing renovations to our apartment.  They’re not going super well, I keep injuring myself (I’m looking down at a throbbing cut on my thumb right now for which I probably should have sought stitches) and I haven’t been able to put out any of my usual decorations, including my beloved Halloween town.  Here, let’s take a peek at it from two seasons ago; that’ll make me feel peppier.

Halloween Town

Anyhow, all that to say I haven’t exactly been feeling the Fall this year, as the kids might say.  Looks like it’ll take another emergency infusion of Disney’s absolutely bonkers approach to the season to set things right – fortunate, since we’ll be back in about two weeks’ time. 🙂

This week’s prompt contemplated hands-on activities – your favourite Fall recipe, craft or some other DIY-able.  I’m actually right in the midst of putting together some fortifying chicken stew for dinner tonight with my parents – that seems like a very autumn dish.  But it won’t be ready for – *checks time* – oh, another five or so hours!  So until the timer goes off, I’d kindly direct you on over to my friends’ blogs, where they’re sure to have pulled out all the seasonal stops.  Happy weekend, friends; hope you get a few moments to get out there and enjoy all it has to offer.

Woefully Unprepared

Blackout 1

That was my husband and I this weekend after back-to-back tornadoes struck our hometown of Ottawa, Ontario on Friday evening.  The storms – a rare, although not totally unheard of occurrence – tore through the city in a matter of minutes, leaving utter destruction in their wake – flattened homes, uprooted trees and a completely decimated power station, which knocked out electricity to nearly 180,000 homes and businesses, ours included.

In the eerily still moments that followed the lights going out, it began to dawn on us that we were not in the best of positions to ride out anything longer than half a day’s power outage.  In an effort to curb mindless munching, we keep precious little “emergency” food in the house – crackers, granola bars – or even easy to prepare things like salad and sandwich fixings.  So we had no food, and a rapidly thawing freezer full of things that could only be heated up.  We also live in a condo apartment, so we have no barbecue, gas stove or hot water heater.  Also a multi-storey walk down to and then back up from the garage in order to check the news on AM radio because neither one of us carries a data plan on our phones, choosing instead to tap our home or public wifi, which is great practice in terms of saving money and curbing poor phone habits, but terrible in the event of an actual emergency, because when the power goes out, so too does the wifi.

On Saturday evening we braved the roads – signal lights out, all intersections down to the mostly respected honour system – and went over to check on my parents, who were having a veritable blackout party when we straggled in, weak from a diet consisting of nothing but dry Mini Wheats straight from the box.  Bustling about their gas fireplace-warmed kitchen in a cozy-looking jewel toned robe, my mother laid out their bounty of “eat this now”s, expressing concern that it wasn’t much (my mom’s definition of “not much” being wildly skewed, of course; their granite-topped kitchen island was crammed with a tantalizing assortment of salads, deli sandwiches, dips, heaping bowls of leftovers and half a chocolate cake!  I nearly burst into tears, but crying would have gotten in the way of all the eating; we fell on this unexpected feast with gratitude.  My parents are pretty awesome.

We rode out the remainder of the weekend in our apartment doing what we did all weekend long – cramming as much reading as we could into the daylight hours before passing out from boredom about two hours after sundown.  When the power came back on, I nearly cried, again.  It was a bit of an emotional weekend.  Having the power off was its own challenge, sure, but it was the weekend-long information vacuum we were plunged into that made the whole situation that much worse – I was utterly furious that for all our expensive devices we have jacked up in our faces at all hours of the day, when it really comes down to it, we’re still just sitting in the dark, clueless.

And the silence – it was deafening.  I never realized before how much white noise I like to have in my life.  I have slept with a full box fan bearing down on me virtually every night of my life.  I score nearly everything I do – cooking, cleaning, blogging, driving, personal care, working out, travel, socializing – to a vast assortment of playlists and favourite music.  I work on an asskicker of an Alienware gaming computer that pumps out a low, never-ending hum.  I nearly always have a movie or a show queued up on our TV; extra white noise points if it’s one I’ve watched hundreds of times before (jest not, I’ve definitely seen Beetlejuice and The Lost Boys more than 250 times each.)  At one point Saturday night as I lay in bed struggling to fall asleep to the deafening din of nothingness, I thought, “Is this what Simon and Garfunkel were singing about in Sound of Silence?”

In our defence, I will say we weren’t completely lost souls in all of this.  We actually had a very productive weekend – my husband, who fought off an emerging cold all last week, finally gave in to the germs and allowed himself to just rest.  I used the downtime to finish one book, start another (on the Wall Street implosion of 2008, for pity’s sake!) and take up the entirety of our second bedroom floor.  And last night, in something of a stroke of waste-not, want-not brilliance, I cannibalized three different Hello Fresh entrees that I was utterly crushed at the thought of having to dispose of, cobbling together a rather posh and large feast of Tex Mex-inspired salad and balsamic-drizzled caprese salad with naan bread, by candlelight.

The power came back on about 10:30 Sunday evening, and we were beyond thankful for it.  Then we started to get a picture of the true destruction to our city, of which we were mostly spared.  Aggravated and inconvenienced for two and a half days, yes, and I had to throw out virtually all of the contents of our refrigerator (once again, I nearly cried; I absolutely loathe wasting food) but thankfully spared the indignities of so many of our neighbours – leveled homes, flattened cars, uprooted trees and lives.

But this entire incident has taught us a few crucial lessons.  First, Mother Nature hates us, and she has good reason to.  Climate change exists; you simply can’t deny the negative impact our wildly wasteful lives have on the environment.  And if you do, boy howdy, do I have a one-way ticket to Mars for you right here, my friend.  But secondly, and most important to our immediate lives, we discovered, as I stated off the top, that we are wildly unprepared for any emergency situation, big or small.  So we’re formulating a more responsible plan for next time, because there will be a next time, because see above, re: climate change.  And also something about history something-something and being doomed to repeat it.  Unless we learn our lessons, to close off this circular argument.

And now we rebuild and heal up and try to return to something approaching normal.  Get better soon, Ottawa.

Blackout 2

My Canadian Roots

My Canadian Roots

Here on the final evening of the Canada Day long weekend, I wanted to do a manicure inspired by Canadian manufacturer Roots, designers of one of my favourite items of clothing of all time, my pink Roots Athletics sweatshirt.  Considering there was not a Canadian kid alive in the mid-1980s who didn’t have one of these sweatshirts (including yours truly!) there are no photos of me in my beloved baby pink, mint green and white pullover, because we didn’t run around with cameras all jacked up in our faces at all hours of the day.  So I have no “adorable” throwback photos to share with you, just my nostalgic memories of an iconic Canadian trend (really, everyone had a Roots sweatshirt; they came in an assortment of bright rainbow hues – my best friend’s was a gorgeous indigo blue – and some people had one in every colour.  And they were not exactly inexpensive either.  Not bad for a sweatshirt bearing the silhouette of a chunka-butt beaver.) 😉

Northern Humidity Sends Its Love

Happy Canada Day, friends!  Because it’s hot as beaver balls in my neck of the Canadian woods (hotter and more humid than Orlando, Florida, whose summer weather I’m convinced occupies its very own circle of hell) I am celebrating this national drinking day holiday indoors, as close to my air conditioner as humanly possible.  I see a lot of Trailer Park Boys in my immediate future, as well as the possibly ill-advised plan, given the humidity, to have a roast turkey dinner at my parents’ house tonight, because apparently we are masochists (or are we?  My parents’ house boasts some very nice central air, and I think there’s no foodstuff more Canadian than gravy; we will put it in and on anything, including, but not limited to, toasted sandwiches, fries and cheese curds, and pizza.)

I didn’t do any new nail art to commemorate the 1st this year, but I thought it would be fun – and, let’s face it, easy! – to look back at these Canada Proud manicures I’ve done over the years.  They feature a wide range of beloved Canadiana, from Timmy’s and 50s, to traditional maple leaves (not to be confused with the Maple Leafs) and the almighty beaver.  Happiest of days, Canadian pals!

Finger Candy Gets a .ca

Trailer Park Mustard Tiger

Timmy Ho

Beaver or Dog?

Team Canada

Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk

The Tickle Trunk

One-Fiddy