No longer hidden…

It was the ’80’s, the heyday of Much Music, a Canadian music video station similar to MTV in the States. Now we could not only hear the songs  we liked but watch the imagination of the artists (or their staff) when it came to the videos. The only disappointment was it meant the end of the Solid Gold Dancers and our chances of getting on stage in what looked like a gold tinfoil leotard and dancing to the hits of the early ’80’s. I know my sisters and I weren’t the only ones who pondered this career option.

I liked watching and listening to the music but there was very little out there that I liked enough to remember both the artist and the songs. One of those artists was Cyndi Lauper. I loved that she didn’t care about what people thought of her and wore what she liked. And I loved her song True Colours. The only thing I disliked was the relationships added to her videos. Time after Time mentions nothing about a relationship yet it permeates the whole video. And in True Colours she literally pulls some guy out of the water to kiss him before moving on. Relationships and physical intimacy made me uncomfortable, even though I had no idea why and having her add both to her videos bothered me. It almost felt like a betrayal, something I’d never try to voice and couldn’t explain.

It was years later that she came out as a lesbian, which wasn’t a huge surprise, although I still wished she’d gone more neutral in her videos. Maybe she didn’t have the option. [it was years ago that a friend of mine told me Cyndi Lauper’s a lesbian and today that a friend told me it’s her sister who is one. Thanks C. Proofreading’s always a help]

It was years after this that I discovered Pentatonix through a Christmas video playing on Facebook. I loved their harmonies and voices and started searching out more songs. Eventually I bought enough of their songs that half my exercise album is their vocals. We even went to see them in 2015 with Kait and her boyfriend J.

Something that’s not hidden (like it was in the 1980’s) is both Mitch and Scott are gay. Even so, I figured they’d end up singing about girls because, hey, that’s what happens. My heart lifted when I saw this:

… and it still lifts each time I hear it. I’m so glad times have changed.

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An evening with friends…

The days are slowly ticking down to my summer move and I am anticipating a lot of things. One thing I’m going to miss though, is my biweekly karaoke dates with my friends A & S. We laugh, talk about our lives, and most of all sing. Trying new songs and sometimes failing spectacularly. I don’t recommend singing Hey Jude for example. Great song with 5 minutes of random syllables at the end.

One song I tried yesterday was Pentatonix’s Sing. I had no idea how hard it was to sing that song acapella. Wow! My impression of  them just soared and it was already high to begin with. I’m also determined to master that song. I’ll post it when I finally do.

Yesterday I videotaped myself singing Candle on the Water as sung by Helen Reddy. If you want to hear, please click on the picture 🙂

Colin’s first concert…

You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I had everything all planned. Colin was freshly showered and zir outfit was waiting on zir dresser, as far away from the cats as I could manage (while still keeping it in the apartment). My morning schedule was going to be hectic; involving shopping, getting cash-back for laundry money, hitting the gym while the laundry washed, then going upstairs for a shower. But it was doable and would leave us enough time to paint nails, put on makeup, etc before heading out for an early dinner.

My first sign of trouble was the odd sort of gurgle our toilet gave when I flushed. The slight trickle of water when I went to wash my hands was my second. I called the superintendent and was informed the water was off until 5pm. No shower… no laundry… and no gym either (unless I wanted to go to the concert smelling like a warthog in August).

I’ve lost just over ten pounds since January (and three inches around my waist) which leaves me with exactly one pair of pants that fit. They were at the bottom of my laundry basket. Kait lent me some clothes and was subsequently alarmed by the result; she kept saying it looked good but wasn’t a “Mom outfit”…

Michelle's outfitI figure the experience was good for her; I’m not just a Mom. Plus the outfit looked great with my sparkly shoes…

my sparkly shoes

Then Colin came out of zir room in stained track pants and an old grey t-shirt. The legs of zir good pants “felt funny” rubbing against zir leg hairs. Kait suggested skin cream and I suggested shaving (since Colin shaved zir legs consistently until last fall) but Colin insisted neither option would work. Colin’s autistic and it grew quickly apparent zie was heading straight for a meltdown. We live only a block away from Value Village and while we didn’t have time to shop, having Colin attend the concert naked wasn’t an option. We walked out the door less than an hour before we had to leave for the concert. My plans for the day were completely blown.

Like usual Colin headed straight for the men’s department, where zie did a quick visual scan of the area and found nothing. Not that anything can be found while speed walking and scowling. Then we headed over to the ladies department where we immediately found two pairs of pants and six purple shirts… and thankfully an assortment of shoppers who smiled at Colin as we wandered through the racks. The jeans were only a bit too big  and the shirt fit perfectly…

Jeremy found wifi

We were walking into the back door of our building as Kait’s boyfriend J pulled into the front parking lot. Colin quickly changed and we went running out, forgetting Kait’s cigarettes in our rush. My original plan was to be at The Old Spaghetti Factory by 4pm, instead we were stuck in traffic somewhere on our way to Mississauga, the correct turn off slowly fading in the distance. We were later than I planned but thankfully early enough to actually eat.

This was J’s first time at The Old Spaghetti Factory. He was surprised by the antique carousel we were seated beside…

Old Spaghetti Factory view from table

… then I took him to see the stained glass mural of the Toronto Blue Jays…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Colin hurried over to join us and I overheard one boy ask, “Is that a boy or a girl?” I don’t think Colin heard him though and we left right away so I have no idea what anyone said in response. Hopefully an adult said something positive. Hopefully. It wasn’t me this time. I wasn’t letting anything spoil Colin’s night out.

We all plowed through dinner. I even paid while we ate in the hopes of speeding things up a bit. Poor Colin was disappointed we were going to leave before our ice cream but I promised we’d stay for ice cream on zir birthday and we’d eat in the antique elevator (much to zir delight).

Kait and J dropped us off in the lineup before leaving to get a replacement package of cigarettes. Kait figured it would be fine because the line was long…

This doesn't show the back and forth line in front of the theatre.

This doesn’t show the zig-zagging line in front of the theatre.

…and the doors weren’t opening for another 20 minutes anyway. I texted her several times to say the line was moving and to hurry. The last time was to say we’d just gone through security. That was when they arrived. Kait was able to reach over the fence to get their tickets at least (with the help of a security guard). I watched them go to the back of the line and hoped they wouldn’t be too far from the stage.

This theatre was unlike any I’d ever been to. We walked into a huge open room which, judging by the wooden floor, was built for dances and not concerts. A stage had been set up at the far end and the room was already crowded, even though the line behind us was bigger than the one in the picture above. The room was as packed as a delayed bus at rush hour. I couldn’t pull my cellphone out of my pocket without pulling the hair of the girl in front of me (my apologies if that’s why she moved). It didn’t take long for Colin to realize the VIP space above us had actual seats.

“Wait,” he blurted. “You have to pay extra for seats now? What are they going to do next, charge us for oxygen?”

The lady beside us started laughing.

We waited for an hour and a half, listening to canned music and sweating. Colin at least had zir electronics to fiddle with, which kept zir quiet and calm…

Jeremy waiting for Pentatonix

And then the concert started. The group was amazing and we were close enough to the front for me to get some good shots…

Pentatonix3

In the interest of not loading each one separately.

A quick photo montage in the interest of not loading each one separately.

I love having optical zoom on my camera, especially since my usual view of the stage looked like this…

Cellphones... everywhere...

Cellphones… everywhere…

Once the long haired girl left, I ended up behind a young man who I figure might possibly be Mitch‘s biggest fan. He was so excited when the show started and yelled “I love you Mitch!” regularly while making heart shapes…

Mitch's biggest fan

… it was really sweet 🙂

Poor Colin found the outright screaming overwhelming but otherwise enjoyed the concert. I think what impressed zir the most was the bathroom attendant.

“Mom, they’re paying someone to sit inside the washroom and hand us paper towels. Can I give him a tip?”

Zie listened to Pentatonix the whole way home.

Our view as we left the theatre.

Our view as we left the theatre.

Cloudy with a chance of cold…

Okay, so it’s not cloudy and it’s a lot closer to *holy crap freezing* than merely cold but the title stands (simply because I hate writing titles).

Jeremy stayed up until about 4am Sunday morning.  Zie knows zie’s been missing school every single Monday for weeks due to insomnia and hoped that staying up for 36 hours straight would allow zir to sleep Sunday night. Which didn’t happen and zie missed yet another Monday. I called on my way home from work to ask how zir chores went. I hadn’t left Jeremy with much, just tidying zir room and taking out the recycling.

“I didn’t get anything done Mom. It felt like someone was shooting daggers across the room into my eyes and I kept having to keep them closed.”

Jeremy can be more than a tad dramatic but that one left me speechless.

“Umm…” I finally stammered. “Uh, how are they feeling now?” Is there actual blood? Do I need to call 911?

“They feel okay now,” zie said. Phew.

“Can you go across the street and buy laundry soap?” I asked tentatively. Jeremy instantly panicked.

“No! I can’t do that, I really can’t.”

Laundry would have been nice. I’d spent a half hour plunging the urinal at work and really needed to wash my uniform. I have no idea what the urinal was clogged with. I have no interest in finding out. Thankfully I have an extra uniform so the laundry wasn’t a dire emergency. A shower was more important and I didn’t need laundry soap for that; just Jeremy’s “soap for hair”.

Then along came today. Jeremy called work in an absolute panic. Zie’d set the alarm for the wrong time (which zie hadn’t because I’d watched zir set it the night before) and was going to miss the appointment. I assured Jeremy that zie had plenty of time; everything would be fine. I got off the phone once zie stopped crying and went back on the floor only to hear the phone ring. I sighed and immediately turned around.

“Make it quick,” my manager snapped as she handed me the phone. “I need this for actual work today.”

I got on the phone to find Jeremy having a panic attack. Zie was hysterical and struggling to breath but I managed to get zir calmed down. The other manager was sympathetic and allowed me to call Jeremy back a short while later. I was relieved to find zir sleepy and a lot more relaxed.

The first manager sent me home less than an hour later, likely her idea of a punishment because I’d been off the floor too much, but it was a relief for me because I was worried about Jeremy. I didn’t like how panicked zie’d been and didn’t want zir home alone.

I called zir twice on my way home and both calls went to zir voice mail. I knew I’d go home and find zir fast asleep but couldn’t help worrying. Jeremy swears the EffexorXR’s helping and zie’s no longer suicidal but that doesn’t stop my fears. I left a second voice mail and wondered if my heart was pounding loud enough to be heard.

Jeremy was sleeping peacefully when I got home, which was a relief. Zie was still peacefully asleep four hours later, which was not.

“Come on Jeremy,” I sighed impatiently. I put my hand on zir shoulder. “Emma and Mark are going to be here in another hour or so and I’ve woken you three times already. You need to get out of be-”

My mouth snapped shut as zie opened zir eyes. Both whites were vivid scarlet, which explained zir dagger comment from yesterday.

“How’s your throat?” I asked. I felt Jeremy’s forehead then realized that was pointless with the mini electric fireplace blowing across zir bed.

“It’s sore,” zie whispered. Great.

“Go back to sleep,” I said quietly then turned out the light. Zir school will just have to deal with Jeremy missing yet another day of school. It’s not like they’re teaching zir anything at this point.

The school board official called while I was talking to Emma and I quickly called her back. Gatineau has not returned any of her multiple phone calls, despite them telling me they were eager to talk to her (and me signing a stack of release forms giving them permission). Plus she has no leads on other schools. Her only suggestion was to get Jeremy in to see the doctor about anxiety, which I’ve already done.

Thankfully my call with Emma was more fruitful. She picked up laundry soap while they were grocery shopping and she and Mark are going to take me to the drug store for eye ointment (which I’m beyond grateful for considering it’s -20C).

And for our good news… we’re going to see Pentatonix in two more months!!! This will be Jeremy’s very first concert. I can’t wait, not only to enjoy the music but to see Jeremy enjoying the music! For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, enjoy…

Happy birthday to me…

It’s my 44th birthday tomorrow and I had my party yesterday, which a whopping three people were able to attend. Ironically enough, two could only stay for an hour then they left and an hour later the third guest arrived, so I had my party in shifts.

P couldn’t attend as his husband M was working and he’s too shy to come on his own, but he sang happy birthday to me on the phone and promised we’d all get together soon. Emma’s at her boyfriend’s family cottage for the weekend but she booked my actual birthday off and is taking me out to our favourite Thai restaurant for lunch. And two more friends are taking me out for dinner on Thursday.

I was my usual scatterbrained self although, like usual, I went into the preparations with the best of intentions. I even made a list of chores just so we’d be organized. I was determined I would have all the veggies chopped for the tempura and start frying it by 4:30pm so I’d be ready for guests to arrive by five.

The morning started off quite relaxed. We both took turns eating breakfast and showering then I leisurely washed the dishes while Jeremy cleared all his electronic bits and pieces off the table, couch, floor, computer desk, and chair. Then he cleaned the guinea pig cage while I gave the piggies a bath and trimmed their nails. Okay, that part wasn’t relaxing for the piggies but they smelled a lot better.

By then we were both starving and took the time to eat at our newly cleaned table.

“You’re so pretty,” I blurted after watching Jeremy for a while.

“Not handsome?” he asked, looking at me quizzically.

“Handsome too,” I agreed. “Would you rather be called handsome?”

He shrugged then said, “Not really.”

“What would you rather be called?” I asked. He shrugged again. “How about fabulous?” I suggested.

Jeremy snorted. “Like that would even work,” he said with all the scorn a seventeen year old could muster.

“You look fabulous,” I pointed out. I could tell by his expression he knew I was right.

“Yeah, I guess…” he murmured. “How about good?”

“Okay,” I agreed. “You look good.”

We cleared off the table and went back to our chore list. I was still confident we’d be more than ready in time. I could see my table all set; a scattering of glitter sprinkled across, my rattan lights softly glowing, my cake all covered in the candles we’d bought yesterday (I’d been aiming for mini sparkler candles but Jeremy fell in love with the rainbow candles with coloured flames instead), and my snazzy paper straws.

Four thirty found me yelling at Jeremy, “What do you mean you used all the vinegar when you cleaned the guinea pig cage? What am I going to mop the floors with?”

He looked at the empty bottle and shrugged. “We’ve got red wine vinegar under the cupboard. Would that work?”

I pictured the apartment smelling like the dumpster behind a bar then realized it was moot, there was no way I could sweep and mop before five o’clock and I still hadn’t made the frosting for the cake, let alone decorated it… and hadn’t even started chopping the veggies that I was supposed to be cooking right this minute.

“Are you okay Mom?”

“Not last time I checked,” I replied. “Can you sweep?”

He made a valiant attempt while I got the frosting ingredients out. Then I pulled the cake out of the freezer and sighed. I’d already had to dump the centre of both layers because they were gooey (vegan here… I didn’t poison anyone with raw egg goop) but they’d sunk even more. I put a bunch of frosting in the centre, hoping to fill it out a bit then started spreading frosting over the top. Crumbs started rolling everywhere but at least I was coating the whole cake in Oreo crumbs so they wouldn’t show up. That was when I realized a cake covered in baking crumbs looks like it got dropped into the dirt then dusted off and stuck on a plate. Hopefully it would taste good.

Jeremy was quiet when my first two guests were here. He said “hi” then went right back to the computer and his game. Then my third guest arrived and he turned into a model host. He insisted on giving her a tour of the whole apartment, introduced her to all the cats, and showed off his electronics. She’s a new employee, he’s never met her before, but somehow they just clicked. He got out a charger so she could charge her phone then showed her some features. At one point in the evening he made a huge derp face.

“I’m so handsome,” he joked.

“I thought you were good,” I quipped. He looked at me like I’d completely lost my mind.

“No, I’m handsome,” he said patiently.

Alrighty then. He’s handsome in public and good in private… at least until everything changes again with no warning.

The evening moved on to sharing different songs. It turned out we all love Penatonix. We listened to a couple of their songs then my coworker had a song to share where everyone took turns playing the same guitars. I shared a version of Royals sung a capella by a teen using a cup for percussion. Then Jeremy plugged his speakers into his netbook.

“I have a song,” he announced. He could barely hold back his grin. That grin just screamed mischief.

“Let me guess, Diggy, Diggy Hole,” I said drily. “It’s a Minecraft song,” I added before I sang a bit of the chorus. I only needed to sing a bit, the song is very repetitive. Jeremy’s grin grew wider.

“I bet it is,” she agreed. “He’s got a suspicious look.” Jeremy giggled.

A few soft piano notes… this definitely wasn’t Diggy, Diggy Hole. Jeremy had put on Same Love.

He started playing Same Love about a week ago, ostensibly for me. I like the song but I’ve never hunted it out (other than when it first came out and I showed it to both the kids) and don’t have it saved on my computer. Jeremy has it saved on his though and plays it several times a day.

My coworker started singing along and Jeremy switched from an “it’s just a joke” grin to a genuine smile.

It was a great day.

My Oreo cake

Radioactive and other random stuff…

I’ve spent the past two weeks organizing a dinner for after work tomorrow. Jeremy’s meeting us there and is thrilled because it’s his favourite restaurant. It’s mine too, as well as several of my coworkers; the food is so addictively good I joke they put crack in it.

Afterward, Jeremy and I are heading to Superstore to buy him at least one new pair of pyjamas. His only pair that are even remotely wearable are the silky pants I gave him. The rest are either way too small or look like the losing end of a fight with a weed whacker. It’s not like I never noticed, I’ve brought him into the pyjama section a couple of times over the past few months and each time he’s barely given them a glance. He wasn’t interested. I don’t think we got close enough to the shelf to riffle through for sizes. We certainly never got anywhere near trying any on.

I figured bringing the shopping trip up in advance might help avoid any surprises and misunderstandings in the store. Jeremy had been horrified when I suggested he get coloured jeans and yelled at me in the middle of Superstore this winter (only to quietly walk back later and pick them up on the way to the cash register). I figured suggesting checking out the women’s pyjama section might get a bit more reaction if it was sprung on him suddenly in public. My ears could not handle more of a reaction.

I got my chance as we were walking across the bare (and quiet) lawn to his counselling appointment.

“We’re going pyjama shopping tomorrow after dinner,” I began and Jeremy nodded.

Phew, I was more than half worried he was going to insist he didn’t want any, holding out for that $50 mail order pair of TARDIS footie pjs from the BBC shop. The sizing is much too vague for mail order.

“I was thinking we’d go to the men’s department first to look and, if they didn’t have anything you liked, we could check out the women’s department. I want to get your idea of what we should do.”

“Pick up a dress, underwear, and makeup,” Jeremy immediately replied. I was reasonably sure he was joking but deadpan humour always confuses me.

“I don’t have the budget for a new wardrobe,” I pointed out. “I’ve got a dress in my closet I never wear that you can have if you want. Does this mean we’ll wing it with shopping tomorrow?”

He agreed that winging it sounded fine and we headed in for his counselling session. What Jeremy doesn’t know is I looked up the pyjamas online. The pair I gave him is from Superstore and they have several similar pairs available, while the men’s department seems to be mainly cotton plaid. I have no idea which Jeremy will prefer. He continually surprises me.

We bounced, laughing, onto the bus after his session and tumbled into our seats.

“Did the driver just call you ma’am?” I asked once we were seated. Jeremy shrugged.

“Yes, he did,” Jeremy informed me as we left; the driver’s “goodbye ma’am oops” trailing along behind us.

“Does getting called ma’am bother you?”

“No,” Jeremy replied.

I don’t know when I’ll have an update on the letter to his teacher that I wrote yesterday. Jeremy accidentally forgot it at home today in his rush to collect his electronics, so it’s still sitting beside the computer.

His electronics consist of speakers (which he took from a broken TV then did something to in order to get them to work), various cords, and his DS (to play music). He took it all with us this evening too and played music the whole time we were outside. Most of the time, he played Radioactive, as sung by Pentatonix and Lindsay Stirling. This wasn’t a surprise; I’m reasonably sure he’s played it at least 200 times since I bought it last month. Best dollar-something I’ve ever spent.

I also promised him I’d share it here because it’s a great song: