[content warning: mention of disordered eating and fatphobia]
This past weekend was the BC Day long weekend (I believe the first Monday in August is the long weekend across Canada, with Province-specific holidays; I know it was Alberta Heritage Day as well as BC Day, f’ex), so I got to spend four days at the Ogre’s house instead of just 3. (We’re currently searching for a place to move in to together, but in the meantime it’s week-at-my-house, weekend-at-his.)
His mom had to head down to Washington this weekend to visit a friend. She asked us to come with because she’d not been feeling well all weekend and felt safer having an escort. Also, she said, one of the things she was picking up was my birthday gift — so there was some incentive for me!
First thing we did as soon as we got across the border was find a Jack in the Box. Jack in the Box is by far our favourite fast food place and we will always make time to visit one when we head into the Western States. (It doesn’t exist out east. I don’t even think it exists too far east of the West Coast.) And by “we” I mean “Amoeba Cat and Ogre”. OgreMom has a lot of food sensitivities, so eating at fast food while on a road trip is sort of a really terrible idea (especially when she’d not been feeling well for a few days before).
My normal meal at Jack in the Box is the Ultimate Cheeseburger, which is basically just meat and cheese and bread, but this time they had a new one — with bacon. So it was meat and cheese and bread and meat. I was in heaven. Even if we went at the wrong time of year and couldn’t get specialty shakes. (You know what this means? We need to go on more road trips to Washington, preferably around specialty-shake times.)
Something else new about JitB: they now have calories listed on their menus.
I guess this is something that helps folks, and I suppose some people like knowing their caloric intake upfront. I’m also guessing it’s common across US fast food places (it’s not in Canada), to help combat the “obesity epidemic”. (Because obese people are the enemy, folks. We’re the new communists, donchaknow.)
Personally, I found it incredibly upsetting, and were I in a worse state of mind that evening I probably would have been triggered. When I noticed the calories on the menu, I felt like I was being publicly shamed for choosing a meal that was so high in caloric intake. I felt like everyone was watching me, looking at the thing I was choosing and how BIG that number was beside it and judging me for it. And, as I feel every time I look at the calories on a piece of food, I started to feel the slippery slide into my eating disorders.
I had to force myself to look away and not think about it, though I managed to snap a picture as we were leaving. I repeated a mantra over and over in my head that Ogre loves me and doesn’t judge me for the food I eat. He never tells me to eat less; he doesn’t try to control my food input. Which is quite magical, considering, well, every other guy I’ve dated and lots of other people in my life that I’ve not been romantically involved with. Oh, yeah, and society at large. (Har, a pun.)
Anyway. I’m digressing. I may spend time later to go into this in greater depth on another post, to give it the time and attention it deserves. For now I’m just going to talk some more about my road trip.
Something that made me about as excited as JitB? This:
If you don’t get the reference, I feel sad for you — because you are not watching Bob’s Burgers, and you are missing out on laughing so hard you cry and pee yourself. Get thee to a Netflix and watch. You will not regret it. (If you do regret it…well, it’s safe to say you probably don’t share my sense of humor. Which is sad. I am sad now.)
True story: it’s my heart’s dream that someday the Ogre and I are Bob and Linda and our kids are Louise, Gene, and Tina. Also, I may or may not be obsessed with the show because I basically am a combination of the three kids.
After JitB we pretty much headed straight to the person we were visiting, with a few stops for gas and bathrooms on the way. (Man, gas is cheap in Washington. No, the exchange rate doesn’t make it a “no real difference” sort of deal; Washington is paying around 3.50 a gallon and Vancouver is paying around 5.20 a gallon. 5.20 Canadian is about 4.90 US, not 3.50.)
The visit purpose was two-fold: visit the kittens, and pick up OgreMom’s stuff. Including my birthday present. Which is awesome. You will see this in a minute. First, however: KITTENS.
This was the kitty we were going to look at, so OgreMom could take pictures of him to send to a friend who’s a vet to get a bit of a consult. The kitty has some sort of hip problem, so his legs just sort of spread-eagle no matter what. He wasn’t in much, if any, pain, and he was cool with being held and cuddled. His legs just splay like crazy, but it really doesn’t stop him from crawling all over the place and dragging them behind him. Because of this I think he should be named Troy, but no one appreciates my constant references to Community. (And yes, I realize y’all can’t exactly tell by the picture, but the kitten is fine with being held like that and it was only long enough for me to snap a picture, anyway. Don’t worry, Ogre may look big and scary but he actually knows how to handle cats. His mom only fostered a million kittens while he was growing up.)
So, anyway, here are some more pictures of kittens:
After kitten-cuddle-time we took a look at OgreMom’s packages, including…(drumroll please)…my birthday present!
You see, a few months ago I shared a t-shirt on Facebook that I desperately wanted and couldn’t buy, along with my size and a note to my friends that if they wanted to get it for me I would love them for a very long time. I didn’t actually think anyone would get it for me, as the sale was short-lived and times are tough, but…
Now, if you don’t get the reference, I actually kind of wonder where you’ve been for the past three decades. Reading Rainbow ran for 23 years on PBS. It encouraged children to read and exercise their imaginations, and — this is the best part — it was produced and hosted by LeVar Burton.
As far as TV shows go, I was raised on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow. At first, I wondered why Geordi was without his visor, but then the concept of actors vs. characters was explained to me, and I adjusted.
The show helped foster a love of literature in me. Despite my eventual voraciousness regarding books and my high levels of reading comprehension, for a while mom was afraid I wouldn’t actually learn to read, period. It never came easy to me, and even now I am an extremely slow reader. I have to be awake and alert if I want to read books and comprehend them, and it takes me a while.
For someone with those difficulties, fostering a love of the literary world could be difficult. But on the TV, I had Geordi — Geordi, my friend from Star Trek, one of my favourite characters from that show, the guy who seemed safe to me. And here he was, showing me that reading could take me anywhere, and help me be anything. I could go twice as high.
So you can see why I’m overjoyed with this shirt. It proclaims my love for Reading Rainbow without being billboardesque, and its appeal to the imagination harkens back to the theme of the show. Definitely up there among some of the best birthday gifts ever.
After our visit, we headed home — and to a Wal-Mart. Whenever Ogre is in the States he picks up underwear from Wal-Mart (or wherever else has the same-priced underwear, but often it’s Wal-Mart because of the odd hours he keeps — they’ve usually got a 24hr-open store). Canada doesn’t have the underwear he likes in his size, so we must go to the States and buy underwear made in the face of the looming problem of fatties within the nation’s borders. Oh no! Hide the children!
I mean, I find it sort of fucking ridiculous that he can’t find underwear that fits him up here. You would think that regardless the moral panic surrounding the very existence of fatties in whatever country they would at least supply us some fucking underwear. I mean, seeing as it’s such a problem when we show the slightest amount of skin.
I, too, have trouble finding underwear that a) fits, b) is the style I like, c) is comfortable, d) well-made, and e) in my budget. By “I have trouble,” I mean “I usually wear underwear until it just disintegrates so I don’t have to go through the horror of shopping for more for as long as possible.”
I digress again. Apparently the Amoeba Cat is grumpy today.
So, we went in search of some underwear, as all his current pairs are approaching sainthood. (‘Cause they’re holey…get it?) While we were there we decided to see if there was any junk food that we couldn’t easily get in Canada. Also, I took a picture of some booze I saw that I wanted to remember at a later time — as it was 2:30 am when we were shopping and my brain was unlikely to remember the details without some help.
Kinky Liqueur isn’t something I’ve seen up here in Canada, though that doesn’t mean it’s not around. I don’t actually go booze shopping very often. At any rate, whenever I get a chance I’m going to pick some up and see if I like it.
I really wanted these pants, but alas. So instead we found junk food to help me keep said amazing ass. (This was Ogre’s comment. I laughed.)
There wasn’t much in the junk food section that we couldn’t get at home (where it would be better, too; sorry, USians, but your Oreos taste like crap), but we did find two really cool things: pop made in Mexico, meaning it was made with actual freaking sugar and not HFCS, and one of those Nutella snack things they sell in Europe, sans the chocolate milk portion.
The Mexican-made pop (no pictures, sorry) came in a 24-bottle case. In glass bottles, no less. 12 Cokes, 6 Sprite, 6 Orange Fanta. Out of the three of them the Fanta has the worst ingredients, but still — no HFCS.
And they all taste so much better than Canadian- or US-made pop.
Overall, a really fun and productive trip (I got an hour of work done, if you can believe it). We stumbled back into our home at 3:30am; Ogre and I didn’t fall asleep till 7:30 or so.
Next time we road trip to the States we will hopefully have more notice before leaving and the trip itself will be a bit longer. I’d really like to make trips to Washington a more regular part of my life again, even if it’s considerably harder to do so now; my trips to Seattle with Mom are some of my fondest childhood memories.
And on that note, I’m signing off. I’ve been up for far too long because my sleep schedule is all screwy again, so I’m in need of some slumber.
The worst of this move is over, thankfully. Moving out of a place is a lot harder than moving into. (Also I think there could be a sexual innuendo in that sentence, but I’m too tired to make it work. Feel free to give it a try in the comments.)
As soon as I got off the ferry I drove to Pirates and Fairies on Lake Sasamat. I arrived just as the sun was setting, which was around 8 p.m. I’d missed three meals out of eight of the weekend, as well as my big chance to actually make an announcement about selling my books. I ended up selling exactly zero copies of Bellica or glasstown, which did not help my already pretty sour mood. Missing half of an event I look forward to all year sucks lizard eggs.
I was very tired. So tired I spent most of my time sleeping, eating, and frakking (and not as much of that part as usual; that’s how tired I was). I didn’t even feel like dressing up, and that’s one of the parts I look forward to the most — running around in costume screaming “ARRRR I BE GLITTERTITS MCGEE! PREPARE TA BE BOARDED UNF UNF UNF.”
But, you know, it was good. It was a time away from the stress, as much as I can get away from something that follows me like a Time Beetle on my back. It was also lovely because my boyfriend is lovely, and madly in love with me. He saved bacon from Saturday morning for me in the cooler in his cabin. ALL DAY. And he saved me dinner, because he knows how much I love pulled pork. So when I arrived, I got to stuff my face with meaty goodness that symbolized his deep and abiding love for my crazy ass. That’s a pretty awesome thing to arrive to, especially when you’re an emotional eater. Eating food to symbolize love when that food actually does symbolize real love? Way cheaper than therapy.
The apartment in Coquitlam needed to be ready for me to move into. This meant there needed to be space for my stuff, first of all, and that my grandparents’ stuff needed to be moved out. That is, we needed to move out what we could of my grandparents’ stuff — part of the reason I had to get rid of my bed is that we couldn’t get rid of the two singles in their old bedroom (it’s like an episode of I Love Lucy every night, except instead of my husband in the second bed, it’s my mom — nothing says awkward more than being 26 and having to share a bedroom with your mom; luckily, she’s travelling a lot and spending a lot of time in her other house in Powell River. Also my boyfriend’s house is close to my new apartment and he has his own bedroom).
Something my mom had noticed a week and a half or so before the end of the month was that the washer was leaking. It was a stacking unit and it had been in the apartment since Oma had bought the place — 20 years ago. It was also a pretty good washing machine and dryer combo — it had never let us down before. So mom called a repair guy.
It was unfixable. The bottom had completely rusted through and we needed to get a completely new washer. And dryer, because a stacking unit is useless if one part is broken.
So mom went to the Brick, and ordered some new fancy HE (High Efficiency) machines for the place. They were separate, but you can stack them if you have a kit, and she also got a drawer to put underneath the washer into which I can put laundry detergent. This has the added benefit of making the washer and dryer tall, meaning I don’t have to bend as much. It’s not going to be as easy on short stuff mom, but then what kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t help my mom with household chores? (A shitty one, if you need the answer spelled out for you. If you’re an adult and living with your parents, you better fucking pull your own weight around the house.)
The Brick dudes arrived shortly thereafter with the washer and dryer, and of course mom had to be there for that. Except…oh, they didn’t have the stacking kit. So they put the washer on the drawer and left the dryer in the dining room until they could come back with the stacking kit and get it all set up. The next possible date they could arrive? Friday, September 7th.
Mom may have blacked out with rage, waking up with dried blood under her nails. I can neither confirm nor deny that.
We now had more problems than we’d started out the day with: not only did we no longer have the use of TG’s truck to get rid of some of the big stuff, including the mattress and box spring, but now we had to work on getting the truck to Courtenay Car Centre and getting it fixed.
We worked on the second problem first. Mom arranged for her and TG to wait by the truck for BCAA to tow it to the car place (this is two days later). She would then come down to Nanaimo to help me, as well as somehow cramming my massive mattress into the Pegasus (her Volvo station-wagon; mine is the Galactica — yes we’re giant nerds).
I was expecting mom to arrive at my place mid-afternoon, but she was several hours late. Apparently she and TG had waited in the blistering hot sun for BCAA for over two hours. They couldn’t call, because his phone was out of minutes, and she’d forgotten her phone at home. So finally she drove around in search of a phone she could use, and called BCAA again, asking where the hell they were, and it turns out the original request for a tow had gotten lost in the system. She arranged for them to tow without her presence, which for some reason hadn’t been possible before (yay silly company policies), and then came down to my place.
She’d instructed me to fold my mattress in half and tie it with rope. It’s all foam, so this was feasible…just not easy. She walked in to find me lying on top of it in an awkward position, shouting more bile and vitriol at the thing than I thought I had in me. She came and helped, and with our combined fattitude and lexicon of swear words we got it done.
Being fat can be incredibly useful when one is moving or packing a very full suitcase. I’m just saying.
Some of you may know that I moved recently. I talked about it a bit before my blogging, social media, and Youtube hiatus — not a planned hiatus, by the way, I just got so bogged down with the realities of moving and other work (like finishing the proofing of Bellica‘s third edition) that I literally had no time to write or video myself doing stupid shit.
All of my moves have been difficult, but this one seemed harder than most of them. Probably because it was just me and my mom doing most of the heavy lifting, and I have a spinal injury (that is now doing a lot worse than it was). Also because the place I was moving into was even smaller than my two-room basement suite that I’d resided in for one and half years, and I had to not only pack my belongings but, horror among horrors, sort and organize them so I could send half of my stuff to storage in Powell River (read: mom’s garage). I also had to get rid of stuff. My biggest problem was my double-sized foam mattress that I dearly loved.
I’m not really good at either of these things. Well, ok, I am good at organization, but it takes me a long time, and I didn’t have that time in August. So it was very stressful, trying to get it done SOOPER QUICK, as my timetable demanded. I was also trying to get out of my place a day early so I could make it to Pirates and Fairies on Lake Sasamat early on the first day (Friday, the 31st of August). Pirates and Fairies is an annual event that I’ve attended since 2010. It’s where I met my boyfriend, and his mom runs the whole weekend. It’s a hell of a lot of fun and I was planning on being a vendor and selling books there this year, so I needed to get there on time.
You can probably guess by my saying the above that I didn’t make it on time.
This move was a clusterfuck of clusterfucks. Each cluster of fucks was created out of smaller clusters of fucks, down and down and down until we got to hypothetical particle clusterfucks.
Today I drove from Nanaimo to Comox, and from there I took a ferry to Powell River. This was quite a feat for me, being the longest piece of driving I’ve done since before my spinal injury. It was painful, but not too terrible, and some stretching and walking made my back feel…well, less cramped, if not awesome.
Why am I visiting the Hellmouth this small little town, you ask? To visit my mom. And the dog, who was so excited to see me I’m newly bruised in places I didn’t know I could bruise. To say Tyee is exuberant would be understating things.
Mom’s small house is a mess, being in the middle of renovations, but still a familiar and comforting place to me. Even if it is bloody cold and in a town I dislike. Once Mom arrived home (about two hours after I did) I asked her what her wireless password was, so that I could write this post and do some other things. An hour and a half and one call to Telus tech support later, and I got online. Hooray!
Of course, now I’m way too tired and I don’t even remember half of what I was going to say in the post, so I’m just going to leave you with a video from last week of Mom and Tyee howling together. (I just uploaded it to YouTube tonight, but it is from last week.)
Tomorrow I do something regarding filming some poetry, or something? I don’t remember.
Saturday night we spent in Salem, Oregon at my friend Indigo’s place. Her house is HUGE and with rent so reasonable I half considered picking up and moving there like, yesterday. (There being Salem, not necessarily her house.)
Sunday morning afternoon we headed north again and stopped in Portland for a visit shopping trip, as mentioned before. Leaving Portland was interesting, as they apparently don’t believe in signs. Orbathrooms. We decided that a 2 hour movie could be made –called Road Trip 4: Escape From Portland — about some tourists trapped in endless freeway loops and one way street routes, never sure how to leave. Eventually they starve to death.
Sunday evening found us having dinner at The Keg (just outside Seattle) with my long time good friend Priscilla and her boyfriend. Steak = my reason for living. It was awesome to see Priscilla again — she looks happy and healthy, which makes me happy (now if only I could find a way for my friends’ good fortunes to make me healthy too!).
We stayed in a Best Western right by the Space Needle that night. I’ve been to the Space Needle before, when I was a young child. Some sort of family trip — I barely remember seeing the thing, and don’t remember going up it at all. I hope next time I go to Seattle and have more time I can go up it again, and perhaps remember this time.
The next morning I rose late, cutting short my breakfast with my friend Finn. Regardless, we sat and chatted for an hour over coffee, and she bought a copy of my book. It was good to see her again. We shared dog stories.
Oregon has no state tax. This is like a stranger in a van offering candy to us 14%-tax-beleaguered British Columbians: dangerous, but oh so tempting.
Our trip to Seattle got delayed a bit when we decided to stop in Portland. Mom bought shoes (so what else is new?), we both got books, I picked up a pre-loved copy of Destroy All Humans, and then we may have wandered into the Apple store and I may be writing this blog entry on an iPad.
Wait! Before you write me off as just another spoiled white kid, let me elaborate. The iPad is a business expense so we write it off. We’re not just writers, you see: we’re publishers as well. Katje van Loon (autocorrect changed my name to “Kate” — bad iPad! No cookie) writes books published by The Pack Press, run by Mom, and Jana van Loon runs Stars Above, Stars Below Publishing, which puts out Kaimana Wolff’s (ie, Mom’s) novels and poetry. Each house also puts out books by other people and non-profit organizations, and we offer publishing services to those who wish to self-publish.
We’ve nothing against being self-published, but many contests do — and we want to enter those contests. Same deal for many writers’ festivals: your publisher needs to get you in. Not to mention, as a mother-daughter writing team who publishes each other’s books, we have many opportunities to promote each other — which is much easier than promoting oneself tirelessly. Less spammy, too.
Finally, my mother and I trust each other’s judgement in various areas: she’s an accomplished, professional editor, fantastic at in-person social networking, has knowledge of how to do business and understands finances (ie, how to make money), and has years of expertise in several areas, most importantly law.
I have a near instinctual grasp of our modern technology and know how to utilize it to our advantage. I understand Internet social networking and excel at it as much as I fail at face to face. I know InDesign, and I’m good at cover design and book block design.
We’re both dedicated, determined, and we have keen eyes for errors in each other’s works — you’d be amazed at what sneaks past in the first 7 edits/read-throughs. We help each other shoulder the burden of publishing a book on your own — being an indie author is difficult, time-sucking work, and it is not an easy way to make a buck. You’re spending almost every hour of the day working — sometimes for very little return, at least at first.
You want a good, professional book that people will a) take interest in and b) love or at least like? You have to put in the time or money, and it takes a bit.
So, we bought an iPad. It is another tank for our arsenal on the battlefield of the publishing world. We’ve small publishing houses; we need every weapon available.
That is, it’s a really long and narrow semi-legal basement suite with two bedrooms, a bathroom that used to be two closets (so, two bathrooms: one with a toilet, sink, and toiletries, and one with a shower), a kitchen that redefines the term “galley kitchen”, a bar, and lots of wood paneling.
I think it’s pretty neat-o, myself.
Upon meeting up with him in Union Square at his workplace, my brother took me to sushi (because he’s awesome, that’s why) and then we walked a lot and met up with his boyfriend, who had just bought forty dinner plates. I asked my brother if they needed forty dinner plates; he said they did not. This seems perfectly reasonable to me.