It’s all in the signs

6 Comments

I admit to having a warped sense of humor.  But in my defense, I have many friends who share my love for the strange and twisted things that make us laugh.

There is a road sign about five minutes from my house that I am assuming leads to a lovely cottage on Lake Muskoka.  It was really just an innocent sign until I told a friend about it and our back and forth texting about that sign had us both in tears we were laughing so hard.

The simple amusement about the sign itself turned into a full-on laugh fest when we thought about invited guests coming up to this cottage but, before they drove down the road, they decided there was no reason to go any further.  The point was moot.  We pictured groups of people milling about at the end of the driveway wondering why they even made the drive up in the first place.  The more we thought about it, the more we laughed.

My friend drove up here to have lunch and we made a point of stopping in the driveway to take some pictures of the sign.  The laughter that we had shared before was brought back quickly as we sat in our seats, tears staining our cheeks as the laughter started all over again.

Now, every time I drive by Moot Point, it makes me giggle.  One innocuous sign is now the thing that can bring a smile to my face because it brings back memories of sharing great laughs with someone who is just as warped as I am.

May I please go to the bathroom?

4 Comments

When I was a child, doing dishes was the worst form of torture I could ever imagine.  We didn’t have a dishwasher so dishes were all done by hand and we all took turns washing and drying to make the arduous chore seem more fair.  But it was my least favorite thing to do.  I would have much preferred vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, dry-walling, rotating and balancing tires or removing my own spleen….anything but washing those bloody dishes.

I don’t recall if the genius idea came to me in a dream or if I had a sudden flash of brilliance after one particular dinner but, once the meal had been consumed, I asked if I could go to go to the bathroom.  No parent can effectually deny a child the right to heed the call of nature, so off I went.

Once that bathroom door had closed and I had engaged the lock, I became a teenage version of a forensic pathologist.  I carefully opened each cupboard and slowly examined and took stock of its contents.   In essence, I took so much time doing absolutely nothing that by the time I unlocked the door and went back to the kitchen, the dishes were done and nobody had seemed to notice the length of my absence.  The plan was brilliant….until eventually my brother caught on to my shrewd strategy.

After his realization of my great scheme, my trips to the bathroom after dinner were much less regular (pun intended).  The guy that I looked up to, that I thought would battle to the death for me, had thrown me under the bus.  I could only try to tune out the sound of his laughter as he closed the bathroom door before I even got close to that portal of escape that would separate me from the dishes.  Perhaps I should have changed my strategy and just gone to the bathroom right in my chair.  That surely would have resulted in a swift and heady dismissal from the dinner table and a one-way ticket straight to my room!

As fate would have it, I don’t hate doing the dishes anymore.  I learned a very valuable lesson about cleaning as I cook so the pile of dishes at the end of the process is not larger than the house itself.  It is a rare day you will find dirty dishes in a pile in or near my sink but rest assured, they don’t stay there for long.

Even birds can have a lapse in judgement

6 Comments

For the past two mornings, I have been brought back from my slumber into consciousness by an obnoxious sound.  Before I share my story, let me first paint a scene in your mind.

Picture a tiny white cottage nestled in the midst of three acres of extensive woodland.  The dense underbrush is stippled by towering century-old Maple and Oak trees that seem closer to the sun than to the ground.  Branches perpetually invite forest creatures to share their space and many birds use the strong limbs to begin their spring ritual of attracting a potential mate.  The songs of the frogs fill the night air as the barred owls call from one tree to another.  These soothing noises lull me into sleep.

Mornings are usually accompanied by the soundtrack of chirping birds.  The melodies of Chickadees and Red-winged Black Birds are the first strains I hear and they help me welcome the morning with a peaceful sigh…..until yesterday.

My rhythmic breathing was suddenly caught in my throat as I was rudely awakened by the simulated sound of a jack hammer.  The noise would stop long enough for me to hear the fading echo and then begin again.  In the middle of this wooded sanctuary, a Pileated Woodpecker was pounding his beak on the old TV antenna that is affixed to the house directly beside my bedroom window.  This beautiful, albeit destructive bird, truly could not see the forest for the trees.  Although surrounded by a plethora of massive trunks, it chose to continue to bang its beak on the metal tower and showed up again this morning to do it all over again.

(image credit)

I caved to the will of the shortsighted bird and got up early to take my dog for a walk.  The familiar sounds of the usual morning creatures were there to walk with us and when we got close to home, I heard the familiar banging sound coming from my neighbors house.  Out of the myriad number of trees to select from, this bird had found the only two needles in nature’s haystack.  I can only wonder how long it will take this feather-brained bird to realize it’s barking up the wrong tree.

 

The Church of the Fish

2 Comments

Times have certainly changed.   When I began my career in the hospitality industry, food allergies were not even a blip on the culinary radar.  The kitchen was, for a Chef, a playground with no rules.   But all of that has changed.

These days, I make a point of asking each person making a reservation at the lodge if anyone in the family has any food allergies or food restrictions that we should be made aware of before their arrival.  The answers always weigh more heavily on the ‘yes’ than the ‘no’.  And although some of the guidelines we are made to adhere to are more preference than necessity, the kitchen now has to deal with a list of these instructions for each week of our summer season.

Now, while I completely comprehend the severity of an ingested or inhaled allergic reaction to a food, it does not negate the fact that I am more than moderately amused by the inability of our Sous Chef to pronounce one of the more prevalent choices in the current realm of dietary options.  A Pescatarian is a person who does not eat meat but will eat fish.  And each time I have the opportunity to add that choice to our “allergy” list for the week, my smile cannot be missed.   As I walk into the kitchen with that list, I calmly await the moment that she will read the list aloud and say the word “Pescabyterian”.

church of the loaves and fishes

(image credit)

According to Karina, somewhere there is a church for vegetarians who occasionally eat fish.  And that latest hotel guest, that new addition to our list of dietary anomalies, is a member of its congregation.  Each time she reads the list aloud, the words Pescatarian and Presbyterian become intertwined and I am reduced to a public school version of myself, unintentionally (not really) laughing at the combination of the two expressions.

Pescabyterian – a member of the religion of vegetarians who consciously choose to eat fish.

It may be juvenile, but this marriage of words helps alleviate some of the stress in our summer.  It gives us the freedom to laugh at the increased amount of tension in an already volatile environment.  And it allows a break for laughter in a scene that is meant more for drama, creating an oasis of calm in a sea of chaos.

One simple word, whether Webster chooses to recognize it or not, has the power to change the trajectory of our day.   Let’s hear it for the Pescabyterians!

A built-in rinse cycle

5 Comments

I have to post this story again because the pattern seems to have emerged again today.

Working in the hospitality business goes hand in hand with working long hours.  I can adapt to the hours but my dog is the one who takes the brunt of my lifestyle.  I will never leave her outside on a chain to battle the elements – she is firmly ensconced in our home, lazily spending her hours watching the wildlife from the comfort of my bed.  I have several people who are more than willing to come over and let her out during the day because she is such a happy dog and, for me, having her be the excuse to leave work for thirty minutes is wonderful.

dog 005

(a much younger Callaway)

During these long days, I often wonder how she invests her time.  Is she reorganizing my kitchen cabinets?  Has she mastered the satellite remote?  Does she inventory my refrigerator?  But each day when I get home from my struggle to survive my sometimes 10-14 hour days, she is there to greet me and nothing in the house seems out-of-place.  Until recently…..

I returned home from my usual work day and I was greeted by the reassuring excitability that I have come to expect.  The house, as usual, was completely intact.  The garbage was untouched and the serene ambiance wrapped its arm around my shoulder and pulled me into its embrace to welcome me home.

My attention was immediately diverted to the duvet cover on my bed and what seemed to be a single article of clothing bunched up in the middle of the bed.  It wasn’t shredded, however the entire shirt was extremely damp.  She had been licking my shirt and focusing her attention on the armpits of the shirt.

Now you have to understand that my closet is hidden by a decorative cloth shower curtain that poses as a makeshift door.  Somehow, she was able to pull back the shroud of the curtain, move the articles of clothing she had no interest in, leaving them in a heap on the floor, and gingerly lift the shirt from the middle of the pile of laundry in the basket.  She also strategically replaced the curtain so nobody would catch on to her devious plot.

As much as I miss her during my day, it broke my heart to realize how much she truly missed me during her day.  The writing was on the wall, or in this case on the bed.  My scent comforted her during her lonely day while she waits for me to return home.

We are only at the beginning of our busy season but, before I know what happened, my work days will become shorter and more structured.  My time with her will increase and perhaps her need to be close to my deodorant-saturated shirts will abate somewhat because I will be here in the physical form and not just the odoriferous form.

And who knows, perhaps in the meantime I can save myself a fortune on laundry!

When you don’t want to mince words

3 Comments

sure_logoIt is no secret that I love words.  I like to articulate my responses in a way that is concise without being too verbose, but I do like to phrase my answers in a meaningful way – especially if I am replying to a significantly valuable question.  I want people to know I have truly ingested the words they have spoken and taken the time to formulate a well-constructed response.

But there are those less wordy than I, those who choose to avoid the commitment of a lengthy answer and spare any unwarranted emotion by responding with a simple, one-word comment.  While that single word may convey the necessary feedback to the initial query, sometimes the person posing the question is left thinking that the responder cannot be bothered to take the time to formulate a proper retort.

Upon chatting with a friend, he told his tale of how he had fallen victim to the easy out of a one-word answer.   He had received a rather detailed text and he simply wrote back “Sure”.  After I had admonished him for his complete avoidance of all other words in the English language, we both had a good laugh.

He was incensed by his own lack of effort and every time he repeated the word ‘sure’, we laughed even more.  After we had expelled all the laughter we could, obviously at his expense, he thought it would make a great idea for a blog post and asked if I would be able to write about it.  I said the only thing I could think of – “sure”.

(image credit)