i love you, diet coke

Abby Ellin is powerless over Diet Coke. So is Dan Kois, but he’s in a much better place about it all. “What this topic truly needs”, I thought, “is my own two cents as a lifelong Diet Coke drinker slash addict”. My platform isn’t as wide as the NYT or Slate, but oh MAN do I love words, so I’m jumping into the fray.

Diet Coke. I’ve been drinking it near non-stop since I was 13 years old. We had a soda vending machine in our school, and I hit that thing up several times a day until I could source my own supply, and I’ve never looked back.

People have been trying to get me to stop or at least cut back on my Diet Coke consumption for as long as I can remember. An ex boyfriend once brought me a Super Big Gulp of Diet Coke from 7-11, but he mixed the Diet Coke with regular Coke in an attempt to trick me into thinking regular Coke wasn’t so bad. It didn’t work. We broke up (5 years later, but I’m certain this contributed to the end of the relationship).

When I was younger, Diet Coke was tied to my identity. I was the girl who lived on Diet Coke and Tic Tacs. The occasional lemon slice in my drink saved me from scurvy, but there was not a lot else that passed my lips. I also felt like garbage most of the time, but the Diet Coke had nothing to do with that. It was just a coincidence, is all.

Did you know Diet Coke used to come in 3 litre bottles? It was so great. Give me a straw, a bottle, and I was literally set for the night. I was a Swatch Dog and Diet Coke head through and through, and I was happy as a fucking clam. I have a personal rule of always bringing my own drinks with me wherever I go, and it started from this period of my life: anyone else could easily grab whatever was on hand to drink, but I had very specific requirements so it was just easier to supply my own. To this day, you can guarantee that if I leave the house, I will have a travel tumbler full of ice and Diet Coke and probably an extra bottle stashed somewhere for thirst emergencies.

There are currently 53 710ml bottles of Diet Coke in my house. This is approximately 4 weeks’ worth of Diet Coke; fewer if Ed gets thirsty and dips into my supply. I only allow it because he is the transporter of my Diet Coke: we buy flats of bottles at a time, but I am weak and brittle so he does the heavy lifting. For this, I allow him access to the stash. He knows not to abuse my benevolence, or there will be hell to pay. I don’t know that this house has ever NOT had Diet Coke in it since the day we moved in, and I plan to keep it that way for the unforeseeable future. I’m set in my ways, okay. I am an old dog. I do not need new tricks.

My addiction (if you insist on calling it that – I prefer to think of it as a partnership) is easy to maintain in North America, where Diet Coke is available almost everywhere. That’s not the rule, though, and while it’s rare that I find myself in a place where Pepsi is the only option, it rarely affects me because I bring my own drink. You can keep your Pepsi and your various toxins. I’ve got my own back.

Unfortunately, Diet Coke is not universal. There are large parts of the world where Diet Coke does not even EXIST, and sometimes I go to these places. I’ve had to think long and hard about some of our trips where I won’t have access to Diet Coke: do I REALLY want to go there? I almost always do, so I have to come up with a way to manage myself. Sometimes, I’ll try to power through. The longer the trip goes, the more irritable I get – I’m not getting any caffeine and it can’t be fixed through other means, so what do I do? Suffer, that’s what. Here are some of the places I haven’t been able to get any Diet Coke, and how I survived:

  • Cuba: Coke isn’t sold in Cuba at all, for obvious reasons. They have a national soda – tuKola, which does have a diet variety – and it’s terrible. We were there for a week. It was difficult.
  • Japan: I was too excited for this trip, and forgot to check the availability of Diet Coke. This was a huge mistake, as Japan does not sell any diet drinks whatsoever – no Diet Coke, no Coke Zero, no Coke Light. I had an extra 1L bottle with me that I nursed for as long as I could, but by the 3rd day in Japan, I was completely out of Diet Coke. I ended up drinking a lot of Milk Tea, and then I got diabetes. True story!
  • Spain: Spain has Coke Light. Coke Light is garbage. Suffered the first time, then started stuffing my suitcase. Last time we were in Spain, I managed to make my supply last until we got to Madrid, so just over a week – that’s pretty good, but then I spent the remaining week being sleepy and unrefreshed.
  • Morocco: There is no Diet Coke in Morocco.
  • Amsterdam: There is no Diet Coke in the Netherlands. For this trip, I stuffed my suitcase full of Diet Coke. It’s always risky – I don’t really recommend putting pressurized contents in your suitcase – but I was desperate, and all the bottles survived the trip. I was caffeinated until the last three days, which is pretty good.
  • France: There is no Diet Coke in France. It makes me grumpy and sour, and then I just blend into French society.

This is going to sound stupid (to you; to me it’s just logic), but part of the reason I love traveling to the UK and Ireland so much is because Diet Coke is readily available. I may not always get it in my favourite format, but it’s there and easy to find and always delicious, so it feels like home.

Speaking of formats, you better fucking believe that the format of the Diet Coke is important. We all have our favourites. Here’s my own list of preferred Diet Coke formats, going from marginally acceptable to outright delightful:

  • Straight out a bottle or can, like a neanderthal
  • McDonald’s fountain Diet Coke. Super cheap in the summer, easy to get, almost always acceptable if not actually decent.
  • Wendy’s fountain Diet Coke
  • Five Guys fountain Diet Coke is always amazing
  • Chipotle fountain Diet Coke – this is my go-to when in New York, because there are more Chipotles there than any other restaurant and the Diet Coke is always great
  • From a can or 500ml bottle, over a ridiculous amount of ice
  • 2L bottle, over a ridiculous amount of ice
  • 710ml bottle, over a ridiculous amount of ice

I might also be addicted to ice. Anyway, any of the above list is an acceptable method of Diet Coke delivery. Other methods are fine in an emergency, but not ideal: 7-11 fountain pop used to be my go-to when I had very little money AND taste, but it’s actually disgusting. Same with Burger King – their fountain pop is okay if there is a Situation, but I would prefer to get it from any source listed above.

.. as long as it’s fresh.

What, you didn’t know Diet Coke had a shelf life that affects the taste? Oh, honey.

When we buy my weekly supply, the bottles must have a date at least two months out. If it’s any closer, or gord forbid PAST that date, the Diet Coke tastes sour and skunky and sad. I’ve been known to empty and recycle entire flats of expired Diet Coke, because my vices are really very reasonably priced, so why should I settle for sub-par? I’m better than that. I deserve the freshest Diet Coke available, and I will hold out for it. I’m not unreasonable, I just know what I like.

And I like Diet Coke.

Sometimes I worry about my consumption. Earlier this year I had issues with my heart rate, and my doctor suggested I cut back on my caffeine. Thing is, Diet Coke has far less caffeine than tea or coffee. I can drink my usual daily amount (2x 710ml) and still intake less caffeine than someone drinking a single cup of coffee. More than a regular Coke drinker, but who cares about them?

DrinkCaffeine
12oz/355ml can of Coke34mg
12oz/355 can of Diet Coke46mg
12oz of coffee140mg

My daily intake is an average of four cans of Diet Coke, which puts my caffeine intake at 184mg. More than one cup of coffee, but who stops at one coffee? And more specifically, who cares about them?

I did actually try to find a fountain Diet Coke dispenser for the home, but I got nowhere. This would be a lot easier if I was in the US, but up here you can only buy the bags of syrup if you’re a restaurant. I’ve tried to talk Ed into getting a Coke Freestyle machine in which all the options are Diet Coke, but he muttered something about a prenup before walking away so I don’t think we were on the same page. He does put up with my needs though, which I appreciate. And I really do try to make my habits not affect anyone else whatsoever – it’s very rare that I’ll hold up a group because I NEED MY CAFFEINE FIRST (looking at you, coffee people) – I just bring it with me. And if I need to duck into a store to grab some more, I’ll catch up with you.

Diet Coke isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. For starters, it means more for me. And yes, it’s possible that the staggering amount of chemicals I’ve ingested over the last few decades means my remains will not decompose but rather stay eerily preserved for future historians to uncover and study with dignified awe and esteem. We all leave our mark on the world one way or another, and mine shall be a glorious glowing crater of a crypt that someone will mistake for some sort of holy relic and I’ll spend my eternity being revered by people who have greatly misunderstood my message.

But in the meantime, it’s going to be one hell of a satisfying ride.

none of these are drinks: they’re a stash jar, tiny purse, and a tinier portable battery.

red, gold, and green

All of that excellent worrying, wasted.

I did call Expedia yesterday to see if I could use the credit. I had a direct flight to London Heathrow picked out for late April on Lufthansa that was well under my original ticket price, so I called up the special hotline for wieners with travel credit and tried to set everything in motion.

I failed, though. Apparently Expedia DOES check with the airline to see if the credit is valid, and Lufthansa came back saying I had already been issued a refund. There was something fucky going on with the site too, as my faux-credit showed a “must use” date of November 2020 when it had been showing as end of August 2021 up until the day I made the phone call. Alas, someone on Lufthansa’s end is maintaining that database of flight credits REALLY well, and as it turns out, I don’t actually have the credit that appears on my Expedia account.

No free trip for me. I think I confused the hell out of the poor woman at Expedia, because when she said I had been issued a refund, she swore up and down I would get it in the mail soon. I thanked her for her time and for checking for me, but I think she was waiting for me to flip out on her. I can’t imagine most people, when seeing they have a credit on their account, would just go away after being told it was in error, but .. well, I already received the refund (twice). I knew she was right, and I wasn’t going to try and push the issue any more than I already had. I mean, I picked up a PHONE and DIALLED a NUMBER and frankly that was enough social interaction for at least a week.

Definitely not the end of the world. I saw it through to a resolution, and while it wasn’t the ideal outcome*, I can’t be sad about it.

*: I’m pretending that the “ideal outcome” would have been a free trip, but let’s face it: had the credit actually worked, I’d just get shiny new anxiety about a thousand other things, up to and including imagining some sort of Final Destination scenario had I actually gotten on the plane. Frankly, this is for the best. I can book my own damn trip, with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the trip.

Fingers crossed the world gets unfucked between now and September, because I really really REALLY want to go to New York.

karma chameleon

My anxiety is really superstitious. If I don’t complete the rituals involved in dozens of insignificant acts, the world will end and it will all be my fault. I don’t have time for that kind of existential crisis, so I cross my fingers and throw salt over my shoulder and never give my bad thoughts voice or they’ll come true and that would really suck. No ladders or broken mirrors or umbrellas opened indoors. Can’t hang a new calendar early, or even change the page – mostly because that would be really confusing, but also bad things will happen apparently so I just avoid it altogether. No need to invite the bad times, right? And there’s lots of wood around to knock on, so we should be okay.

My superstitions go hand in hand with the idea of karma. It’s generally pretty easy to avoid being a bad person, but somewhere in the back of my mind I worry that the point system is real and any time I’ve accidentally littered I get negative points and that’s why I don’t know math. It’s stressful and it makes me have internal debates about doing things that are beyond inconsequential, but WHAT IF. I swear I’m not indecisive, I’m just weighing the contents of my soul so if you could just give me a minute here, everything will be fine.

All of this is to say that I have an ethical problem of my own making, and I’m not sure what to do about it: Is it “bad” if I take an opportunity I did not earn?

Before I explain fully, here are some pertinent facts:

  • This is not a tangible object
  • If I don’t follow through, it ceases to exist
  • No one will miss out on anything if I take it OR if I don’t
  • No one will lose any money if I take it OR if I don’t
  • The odds of getting “caught” are almost non-existent
  • Taking the opportunity (or not taking it) will affect zero people other than myself

.. but I didn’t earn the opportunity, nor did I pay for it. It’s not mine, but it could be if I took it. So, do I take it?

I was supposed to go to Prague in April of 2020. That didn’t happen for obvious reasons, and I was given a flight credit from the airline. To use the credit, I have to book a flight before the end of this month for travel before the end of July 2022. If I don’t use the credit, it simply disappears. I can’t transfer it to anyone, or use it for anyone other than myself.

No brainer, right? Use the credit, book a flight, maybe go somewhere next year.

This is me, and nothing is ever that simple. The problem? I received a refund for that flight.

.. twice.

Prior to my flight, all airlines and agencies were telling customers to “go through your bank” to deal with pandemic-cancelled trips in the hopes your credit card company could come through for you. It took several hours on hold with a bunch of different companies, but eventually my bank did reverse the charge for the flight. The money came with a warning: the airline is given an opportunity to fight the charge reversal, and if that happens, the bank would claw that money back until a resolution is worked out. I left the money where it was, but no one ever came for it and whatever statute of limitations the bank put on that refund has long since passed.

I didn’t know that would happen, though, so I also submitted a claim against my travel insurance. I didn’t think anything would happen there, because in the ten years since I became an International Kimli of Mystery, not once has travel insurance ever worked out in my favour. Not even for our Super Typhoon’d trip to Japan that we didn’t take in 2019, for loophole reasons. I guess “global pandemic” isn’t something the insurance companies wanted to deal with, so they processed my claim and cut me a cheque.

Because of my aforementioned anxiety around karma, I actually tried to return the funds. I called the bank multiple times, but could never get through to anyone to explain the situation and eventually I stopped trying. I think I reasoned with myself that by waiting on hold for longer than I waited to get the charge reversal the first time around, I had done my due diligence in trying to do the “right” thing. I forgot about the duelling refunds after that, because I had so much going on in my life at the time. So busy. Jam-packed life of action.

Time rolled onwards, and it’s now the summer of 2021. Ed and I have both received all vaccines, and things are starting to look positive for the first time in almost two years. I logged into my favourite booking site to do some wishful thinking when I saw a button that said “Check your credits”. I did, and wtf: I have a credit with an airline. For a flight I’ve already been refunded for, twice.

Now what?

I could book a flight, of course, but would it be “wrong” of me to do so? And if so, by who’s standards? If I had to choose an entity that would suffer from my deceit, I suppose it would be the airline – but at the end of the day, do I really care about an airline’s bottom line? No. Fuck ’em. If they didn’t screw me, they’d screw someone else.

So that’s what I’m wrestling with. What would you do if you were me? As I see it, my options are basically:

  1. Try to book a flight. What’s the worst that could happen? By next summer, the Kappa Beta Phi variant will limit our freedom anyway, so I’ll probably just end up with another credit and have the same non-problem.
  2. Ignore the credit. I’ve already been given my just desserts, and I had seconds. Taking more would just be greedy.

Each of the refunds I’ve been given for the cancelled Prague trip come from different corporations – the bank, the travel insurance company, and now the airline. No one is going to hold a meeting with the other companies to find out if anyone has been double or triple-dipping during the pandemic confusion, so if I DO try to use the credit – strictly for science, obviously – no one loses out, the airline would just re-sell the seat. If I don’t take it, the only person who loses out is me. I really do hate losing out, but .. karma.

What’s stronger: my need to see this through just to see if I can, or my anxiety?

something about this feels suspect

making plans

We have a trip scheduled.

It’s not the road trip to Edmonton that we’ve been trying to take since 2017 and have been foiled each time by the planet (smoke from fires, landslides, unseasonable winter conditions, COVID, radioactive Q-supporting yeti, etc), although that is tentatively penciled in for August – no, we have a Actual Trip planned.

We’re going* to New York in September.

Folks, I am basically beside myself with excitement. Not because we get to fly somewhere, not because we get quality time with excellent friends we haven’t seen in 18 months, not because it’s somewhere other than my beloved balcony – no, I am super fucking extra bouncy excited because of EATING.

Fuck my complicated fat girl relationship with food, I am 100% going to eat my way through New York the entire time we’re there and oh my god I cannot wait. Yeah, we have some non-food related plans while we’re there – there’s a Kusama exhibit I’ve been dying to see, and I really want to go to Coney Island and ride the Wonder Wheel again – but the rest of the time? We will be walking and eating and wearing masks and eating and also there will be a lot of eating and Diet Coke from Chipotle because fuck Chick-fil-A forever.

We get in on Friday night and my plans involve taking off my pants and ordering Chinese food (or as my people call it, “food”). That’s it. No pants and white rice all night long.

The last time we were in NYC was November 2019 as a consolation prize for that whole “no-Japan-because-Super-Typhoon” thing, and it was the first time we’d ever had Chinese food in New York. It was fucking incredible – like, I was very sad that I was full. It was probably the best Chinese food I’d ever eaten – suddenly, all the sitcoms talking about Chinese food in New York made sense. I’ve been patiently waiting for our triumphant return to the city so I can eat all the food I didn’t eat during the pandemic, and I cannot fucking wait. I don’t even feel guilty about how much I’m looking forward to food in New York, that’s how excited I am.

Everything is paid for and planned, but the actual “going” part is the only question mark at the moment. The border between US and Canada isn’t open yet, but it’s actually always been open for flights – we just can’t drive there (and I really want to). Only remaining complication is the America’s refusal to acknowledge the Astra-Zenica vaccine as valid, and unfortunately that’s the one most Canadians have – Ed’s rocking a half AZ, half Moderna life, whereas I’m a Pfizer baby through and through. Will it be resolved before we go? We’re more than two months out, so while it’s obviously time to start packing, we don’t know what’s going to happen. As of Tuesday, double-vaxxed Americans can come to Canada, but we can’t go down there until at least August 21st – and there’s no guarantee that this’ll be worked out before then. Hell, Québec is even offering AZ-vaxxed folks the opportunity to get a THIRD shot so they’ll be allowed to cross the “No AZ” border. Not entirely sure why a third untested shot has more protection than the proven-everywhere-except-the-US AZ shot has, but .. well, America. Nothing makes sense there, including why the Chinese food is so good in New York. Is it drugs? I hope it’s drugs.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself here, but I’m also trying to book .. something. I don’t know where or when, but something. I have a large credit with Lufthansa that has to be booked before the end of August, and used before the end of July 22 .. but where do I want to go? Will MWC happen next year? Would Ed even get to go to it if it does? Or should I just throw all these unknowns in the trash and book a comforting and long-overdue trip to London? The UK is terrifying right now, but surely it’ll be better before next July .. won’t it? I don’t know. I hate not knowing.

I’m going to practice wearing a bib!

this makes me uncomfortable!

operation overkill

This may be the dumbest thing I’ve set up yet.

So, some backstory. As you might know, I spend most of my free time on my balcony, cultivating my new lifestyle as a cannabis aficionado. While the actual weed part is all fine and good, I find I’m far more excited about all the collecting and categorizing and displaying I get to do: tiny jars are absolutely my jam, and there are a lot of them. Not every provider labels products the same way, so I’m left with a disorganized assortment missing the important information that goes into making an informed choice about the strain you’re about to enjoy. This lessens my fun a little, because I like order. Organized order, with shelves and codes and coloured jars, and shit.

I also like electronics, and needlessly complicated solutions to problems that aren’t really problems at all.

Yeah, you know where this is going.

Over the past week, I’ve been wracking my brain to think of how I can display information about what strains are currently being smoked, which bong they’re in, and what’s in the grinders, in addition to knowing what is in each unlabelled stash jar, and what’s on hand as part of our (Ed started it, I’m just here to complicate things) collection.

I have the Raspberry Pi and Hyperpixel display I set up as a Sonos album cover display last summer, but I couldn’t find any projects online that would do what I want. I thought about making a Twitter account that just tweeted the weed information I sent to the account, but nothing seemed quite right. The following list of ideas were tried and discarded:

  • Setting up the Raspberry Pi as a Twitter board
  • Setting up an Android tablet as a Twitter board
  • Using iPhone widgets to display a single Twitter account
  • Use a whiteboard
  • Set up a wall iPad that displayed a Google Doc

.. none of those worked. The Twitter account idea seemed solid, but when I tried it I didn’t like the character limits – and I’d have to mentally remember which tweets were out of date and which were still valid. Using a whiteboard was probably the easiest solution, but I don’t like easy and I have ridiculously large handwriting so I’d have to basically make a chalk wall that Ed would just draw dicks all over so that idea was out. Also, it turns out there ARE no iPhone widgets for Twitter, and the ones I tried (Aviary and Twidget) weren’t great: one wants to show a random selection of your entire timeline, and the other made me log into the separate account I made (@halfwackhoots, although I’m probably going to delete it soon) every day. Using Twitter as a public message board would technically work, but it wasn’t the most attractive application of my idea.

I needed to think bigger.

Like, digital signage bigger.

Obviously I don’t want a billboard for my balcony, but what about a small screen? All I really need is something that can play a slideshow of images, and accept them from a wireless source. Something like .. a digital picture frame.

Welcome to my cafe, apparently.

I found a small, wireless digital photo frame that I can send pictures to with an app. I’ve been spending most of my free balcony time not smoking cannabis, but making little posters of our collection and what we’ve been using, so there’s no more guess work about what you set up last night but can’t remember in the light of day. I have minimal graphic design skills, but I have another app that provides me with thousands of templates so I just pick something that looks cute and then waste an evening making dumb little signs:

It’s not a perfect system. These cards have a limited shelf life in that the text expires, so when we’ve finished with a particular strain or bowl and change to another, I need a new poster. I can’t imagine I’ll be doing this every single time, but for now that’s exactly what I’m doing and it’s the stupidest thing ever but it makes me laugh every time.

Stop on by the Halfwack Smoke Shack! We have a great selection, no prices, and many cats to pet!

I really need to teach myself Swift so I can make the organization apps I want but don’t exist. I’d like an app that allows you to track the strains you’ve tried and how you liked them, then suggest other strains you might enjoy based on your list. This exists for craft beer and wine, but not for cannabis. I’d also love an app that I could insert some text and have it generate me a poster and automatically send it to the frame. I can’t control the contents of the frame remotely, so when it’s time to hide a poster because it’s no longer in use, it’s a manual process to hide it via the frame’s UI.

I’m still working on a poster that shows the contents of the unlabeled stash jars, and one for the No Fun Box (we don’t often find strains that are a no-go but there are some. they’re kept in the “polite company” airtight container.) At this rate, I’m going to get really good at early Web 2.0 graphic design. If this whole tech writing thing doesn’t work out, maybe I can fall back on posters.

I’d say I need a new hobby, but that’s what led to this. At least it’s not a spreadsheet.

but i get up again

Disastrous Failures for Thursday, July 8, 2021

  • My skin thinks we’re 15 years old and every trauma – and there are a lot of them – gets a new celebratory pimple
  • Half the contents of the fridge fell out and I broke one of the bowls we already didn’t have enough of
  • I COMPLETELY FUCKED my dev environment and needed to call in the big guns to unfuck my dev environment
  • I tried to be sneaky and put a file where there ought not be files and that probably did not help with the fuckening
  • CUSTOMERS ARE CONFUSED AND I’m pretty sure it’s all my fault for not anticipating people not knowing what an expand icon does I mean the first thing I would do is click on it to see what happens but maybe that is why I am made of disastrous failures and not rich with retail successes
  • I’ve been annoyed at all four cats at different times this morning because it is apparently Love Cats, Not GitHub Thursday and I was caught unaware
  • We ran out of creamed corn.

Relative Successes for Thursday, July 8, 2021

  • I didn’t exactly FIX my dev environment, but I did create a workaround that resolved everything nicely
  • Then I pushed a patch to fix something I missed, but everything is where it should be now
  • Ran into a Documentation Emergency and was prepared for it and have fixed things to an appreciated degree
  • I got a new hat and it is great
  • I thought I lost a couple of videos we took on motorides out to Fort Langley but I remembered the existence of a second SD card and there they were
  • The cats still love me even if I had to push them off my desk around 18 times
  • When I order another set of bowls to replace the one I broke we will then have 7 bowls which is much better than 4
  • An Adventure is planned for the weekend!
  • I got more creamed corn.

*explode*

the famous variant

One of my variants is super famous for some reason, to the point of having a dressing room rider to ensure their/my every desire is met before and after a performance/event/coup/insurgency/orgy/etc.

This is our rider:

  • 12 x 2 litre bottles of cold Diet Coke with an expiry date no sooner than 2 months out of the current date
  • 6 coolers full of ice (4 for bottle storage, 2 for ice for drinks)
  • 6 large bottles of ice cold Dasani water
  • 4 bottles of Cherry Blackberry Mio water enhancer
  • 2 party-sized bottles of Mott’s Clamato (Extra Spicy)
  • 2 tins of Matt and Steve’s Caesar Rimmer
  • 1 large bottle of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 large bottle of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 limes cut into wedges
  • 12 large drinking glasses
  • 12 reusable straws
  • 4 fresh fruit platters
  • 1 x large bowl of baby carrots
  • 1 x large bowl of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 x large container of jalapeno ranch dressing
  • Random selection of adult items from this site only
  • Bouquet of dahlias in random colours
  • Electronic charging station with lightning, USB-C, and mini-USB connections (x4 each)
  • Peanut M&Ms in a serving dish shaped like a pineapple (not an actual pineapple)
  • Secure, fast wi-fi
  • 2 x Flopping sofa, for flopping
  • 3 x pairs of scissors

It’d be nice to demand this stuff, but let’s face it – I’d be mortified to make demands of anyone, let alone a list of things I need for my own comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be comfortable .. but this is all stuff I’d bring myself so no one else would have to worry about it. I don’t go anywhere without my own Diet Coke, reusable tumbler/straw, and emergency Mio supply. If I want a Caesar while I’m out of the house, I’ll get it myself. Ditto M&Ms. When I was in the hospital last, I got in trouble for doing my own medication injections and tech support on the devices they left plugged into me. What? I’m very self-sufficient, until it comes to spider removal and phone calls.

What’s on your rider?

the house on myrtle street

Remember that time I worried my mother was a scheming murderess straight out of an Agatha Christie book?

The plot has thickened to the point that people are trying to market it as the next evolution of oatmeal. Tired of steel-cut oats? Try some racism!

Backstory is probably important. TL;DR:

My mother is Chinese, and as soon as she is introduced to the rest of the family as a companion to Gentleman X (first wives are always out of the picture, and all children are hella grown), everyone assumes she is a gold digger. They tell their father/brother/uncle to “be careful” and not let my mother out of their sight for fear she might .. steal their millions? There are never any millions. These are just old, lonely dudes who appreciate her company for some weird reason. If my mother was a gold digger, she’s terrible at it. She also has the patience of a saint, because there’s the long con and then there’s my mother being in a “relationship” with these guys for decades before there’s any kind of payoff (which doesn’t exist). It’s weird – these guys always have family, but they’re nowhere in sight to help care for their elderly relative. When my mom steps in, they’re suddenly all concerned about ol’ dad and whatever fortune he is obviously squandering on this gold digging temptress who wears men’s jeans and 5 layers of sweaters from 1983 because she is arthritic and cold.

Also, this:

In between complaining about lottery numbers and asking about my cats, my mother mentioned that her companion was going to add her to his will and not tell the rest of his family about it. Oh, good. That won’t cause any potential problems AT ALL down the road.

My mother’s companion (the same one in the post above) suffered a fall in his home several weeks ago. He’s fine and he’s out of the hospital, but he’s also 92 years old and was living in a large house all by himself. My mother would help him out daily, but just as a friend.

After his fall and hospitalization, they moved him to a nursing home so he could get medical care and support around the clock. He’s very happy there and I believe he’s allowed to have his cat, which is awesome.

What’s NOT awesome is that his family – some daughters, I think – are contacting a lawyer to look into my mother and his will, to see if she’s getting anything of value and to investigate whether she coerced him into leaving her things/money/the house. He told someone my mother was “his girlfriend” and it got back to his family, and they decided to take this information and be racist fucking assholes with it.

My mother doesn’t want his house. She doesn’t want his stuff, or his tools, or whatever they think holds value in the house. She’s never claimed to be his girlfriend or partner, just a friend she helps who gives her money (like, $20 – $40 at a time) to buy groceries for the both of them, not just her.

I am FUCKING LIVID at his family for being unbelievably racist motherfuckers who are siccing lawyers on a 92-year-old man – their father – and his friend because he might have left her something in his will. We don’t even know that he DID leave her anything, although he has hinted at it from time to time. My mother had nothing whatsoever to do with his will – I don’t even know that he gave her Power of Attorney as planned, because she certainly didn’t have anything to do with getting him into a nursing home – she just brings him food and things he wants from his house and visits.

But she’s clearly after his money.

FUCK THOSE RACIST CUNTS for making my mother worry about lawyers, being racist assholes who think my mother is a gold digger based on the fact that she’s Chinese, for making me want to DEFEND my mother when I don’t even really like her all that much, and for not keeping my mom’s friend’s last name so I could hunt them down easily on social media and send the wolves after them.

I AM SO MAD. If my mother ends up needing to pay (or ask me to pay) for a lawyer to deal with this bullshit, I AM GOING TO PUNCH HIS FUCKING FAMILY RIGHT IN THE GODDAMN UTERUS. You fucking despicable cunts.

It is too motherfucking hot for me to be this mad right now.

As of tomorrow, my mom is two weeks out from shot #2. I might have to pay a visit to Victoria, in my most threatening clothing (which tends to be rather warm – no one looks dangerous in a frilly sundress) and delinquenty-looking hat, and just .. be angry.

Luckily, hanging out with my mother makes me angry. I may not be very good at physical damage, but I am very good at being angry.

Angry.

i’m on it, seagull.

how to help

Ed and I thrive today because our ancestors came to Canada to work on stolen land. Even today, we live on the unceded territory of Kwantlen, Á,LEṈENEȻ ȽTE (W̱SÁNEĆ), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Semiahmoo, and Coast Salish nations.

I love Canada, but Canada is not a place worthy of celebrating this year. To that end, Ed and I are donating our Canada Day wages to the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society and True North Aid. We are privileged to be in a position to do this, and we are only in this position because of our ancestors and the stolen land they were given. I am reading, and learning, and listening. If you’re able, please help in any way you can. We are ALL thriving – whatever your level of thrive may be – because of our ancestors and the atrocities committed to build this country.

Here are some resources that friends have shared with me.

There is so much work to do, and it’s on all of us to help.