Saturday, October 10, 2020

ROBBLOG #858- Cutie and Cooties


Look. Here's the absolute truth!

Covid 19. It's for Sissies!! 
The real disease that was much, much bigger and deadlier than Covid 19 could infect Boys- and Girls, at the touch of a finger back in the good old 1960's.
What's that you say? 
Yes, I say.
It was the most infectious disease in Canada- ever.
It was "Cooties".

Wikipedia defines "Cooties" as-
"A fictitious childhood disease in Canada used as a rejection term and infectious "tag" game."
What does Wikipedia know about anything!
Take it from me, Cooties was real and the worst and was spread by the slightest of touches.

Cooties unlike Covid 19 took sides.

More girls had Cooties than boys- naturally.
That according to a recent study and rightly so.
This "recent" study comes from a major university. Never mind what university and where it's located.
Cooties can be caught and thrive in many places on Boys. 
It can be on hands or feet.
On a cheek, a shoulder or thigh.
Cooties can be caught on almost any part of the human body- yes even there.

I am sorry, I cannot go into detail on how a "you know what" could get Cooties, however,
I will tell you that back in those days, I hoped that Mr. Luker would give me Cooties. That's a private boyhood infatuation and I will not under any circumstances describe my want for Cooties on my
"hoo haw" and why I wanted Arthur- I mean Mr. Luker, to give them to me. 

Mr. Luker taught me several subjects- including PE.
That's "Physical Education."
He was my home room teacher and quite the stud- in the eyes of a young man like me.
You know, I think he liked me.
He didn't give me Cooties but he did give me an "A" in PE on my Christmas report card. That "A" slipped to a B at Easter and finally a C- in June but I still respected him and would have gladly received Cooties from him.
Is that dirty?
If I had a photo of him in gym shorts back in 1962, you'd understand.

Now, pay attention!
With Boys, Cooties was selective infecting various body parts.
Boy friends would run up behind me and slap me on the shoulder and say-
"Hah! You got Cooties. You got Cooties!"
Mostly it was Boys giving me Cooties although one Girl- Frances Johnston, delighted in slapping me on the buttocks and saying in a weird, witchy tone-
"Robbie's got Cooties. Robbie's got Cooties!"
Then, she'd laugh and run off down the street to attach her Cooties to some other poor unfortunate.
I hated Frances when she gave me Cooties. Why couldn't Peter Ferguson or Randy Switzer give me a good dose of Boy Cooties but oh no, it was Frances "googly-eyes" Johnston.
Yes. Really.
Frances was the devil's child.
Once I traded records with her. It was a 45 record of Cliff Richards singing "Summer Holiday". In exchange for her getting Cliff, I got  Dion De Mucci's "Donna the Prima Donna". To this day I regret that exchange and wished I had of opted for Cooties- in this one circumstance at least.
When she wasn't giving me "Cooties", Frances would turn to me in History class and say-
"Wanna laugh?"
"No!"- I'd say back, "Not in Miss Leith's class. She'll cast a spell on us or at the very least send us out into the hall.
We'd laugh anyway and we were never sent down- not that I recall.
Cooties might even have been much more pleasant- even from Frances Johnston, than having a spell cast by Miss Elizabeth Leith.

I wouldn't want Cooties from Miss Leith either.
I'll bet she'd try to pass them on to Frances though. I mean Frances was the kind of girl who deserved Cooties. Well, her and Cathy Rutherford.
Cathy Rutherford.
Cathy wore bright red, whore lipstick in Grade 6. Mrs. Cox almost had a heart attack the first day she sauntered into class adorned in Satan's favourite colour of red!
She could give Cooties through the air without any physical touch whatsoever that Cathy Rutherford.

Anyhoo, the study concluded that girls- even to this day, have way more Cooties on their hands than men.
Good to know.
I wonder how many Cooties they have on their whole bodies and what would happen to the world- as we know it, if they passed along all their Cooties to the rest of us?
It would be apocalyptic!

I hope I have taught you something today. Even though you think Covid is tough and nasty- and it is, Cooties was nasty in it's own right too.
Nobody died from Cooties according to the study but it still makes my flesh get all bumpy and hot when I think of getting Lukercooties.

Even now and then I daydream about Mr. Luker in his tight, high-cut gym shorts and all the chances I had to ask him to give me- a good dose. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

ROBBLOG #857- Cardboard


First of all Darlings if you start reading this RobBlog and have no idea what I am talking about, you'd better read ROBBLOG #853 and then come back to #857.
I'll wait....

Ok, now we're on the same page.

The motions of moving are in full swing. Boxes are everywhere. Our house smells like a cardboard factory. If I ever happen to be homeless, I'll feel right at home in a cardboard box in the middle of a busy road.

"You had a box?"- my brother would chortle, "I remember as a kid we sat in the middle of the road without a box- only a newspaper."

I'd reply- "You had a newspaper? We'd have someone shout the headlines from passing cars!"
and so it would continue.

After five weeks of knowing we are moving, I have come to accept a couple of facts.

Fact One, I think I will enjoy living in our new neighbourhood. We worked hard and travelled a long way from Ontar-ee-ary-oh and now we are movin' on up. 

Fact number two, I realize that this house we are leaving is not the final resting place for the Mister and I. Of course the "final" resting place will be when I go to be with "The Lord"- me and a billion others. No, I jest.
I mean the final resting place as in where I'll live and breathe after this move. They'll be rolling me down the cliff out of this new place when I'm called up yonder. Although, it could be a much quicker journey to Hell for me where I'm sure Dear Satan would welcome me with fireworks and pits of molten lava.
I digress.

" So, they're really movin' on up?"

Also under fact number two I need to add a "catch phrase"- as in Fact number one. This phrase is "Trailer Park". Now I must apologize to any friends or neighbours who read this. In the past three weeks since our property has been sold, I have heard this neighbourhood referred to as a "trailer park" three times by three different people. None of them live here. Once from a person at another location in the valley building more new homes for people. I'll call him Cleave.
Cleave said- "Well it's good you got your money out of that place because it's just a trailer park now."
We went- 'What??"

These days I find myself singing while packing boxes and I smile so broadly my cheeks ache.
Last time I packed up the house in Ontario- it was a chore.

Maybe it's my heart singing on the outside.
Maybe the smell of cardboard is making me high.

I can hear my Brother.
"Gee, when I was young we didn't have cardboard- only stiff brown paper!"

Friday, September 25, 2020

ROBBLOG #856- Rrrrrrrrrip


I know many of you have not been sleeping well.

You are all worried sick about my packing plans. 
I can feel it- in my tape dispenser hand.
Well, Dears, I am here to tell you to relax.
I have started the packing following the plan I talked about in the last blog.

Yesterday I packed 23 boxes.
23 boxes!
As I picked up my trusty tape dispenser I deftly stuck the tape to the side of the first packed box-
Ah that lovely sound.
I ran the dispenser along the top of the box and down the side.
I hadn't lost my knack!
I was excited!
I quickly folded and taped box 2 then, stuffed it full of bric-a-brac.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip! Rrrrrrrrrrip!
I was a master at the craft of packing boxes and thank goodness, I had not lost my
way. I believe I was a perfect 10 in my performance.

The Universe in all it's craziness was smiling down upon me- watching me.
Look at me rrrrrrrrrrrip!

Then, this morning after a couple of cups of coffee, I made my way downstairs.
I picked up Mr. Tape Dispenser and began folding boxes.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip and Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip again.
I was masterful.
I stuffed boxes with DVD's, photos, Christmas ornaments and  VCR tapes.
Yes! I still own a few VCR tapes and a turntable and a receiver too.
I don't give up on the past that easily Girlfriends.
I respect the past and think of what could have been if DVD's- not to mention colour televisions
had not been invented.
What would we do with our free time?

I guess a conservative estimate would be 54.
Fifty-four boxes in total.
I would hope Mr. O'Toole would agree with my numbers even though he- as most Conservatives, find it hard to agree with anybody or get along with anybody.
Enough now.
Back to the task at hand.

The number of boxes I now have packed.
I hear your gasps...
I amaze myself at times too.
Right now I am ahead of schedule and ready to relax for the weekend. I do keep a couple of boxes at the ready, in case the mood to pack just one more strikes me.
As an experienced packer, I know- like a smoker and a young man who craves relief, that the need to pack could strike at any time of the day. It's the reason I stand ready with my tape dispenser full and my felt marker handy to record package contents.

I am sure, in time, someone else will benefit from all my "box-making" and packing experience.
Nevertheless and furthermore, The Mister and I  have found our reason to hitch up the oxen and strike out for a new land full of hope, glory and promise. 

Que the heart-wrenching musical finale....

FOOTNOTE: I hope all you ladies have put away your white purses this being three weeks post Labour Day.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ROBBLOG #855- Elephant Toes and Cardboard Boxes


Damn. Elephant Toes!

I'm sitting in the sunshine in my white flip flops and I look down and see Elephant Toes.
You know...that's when you see those little wrinkle lines that elephants have on their legs only now they're on my toes.
Well, that's just wonderful.
Now, I need Botox on my toes.

Could be worse I suppose.

Anyway, other things to worry about. To think about.
Number one on my mind is packing an entire house.

I'm thinking it seems like I just did this a short while ago and then I slap myself and realize that I have packed recently- a short three years ago.
The difference this time is the packing and shifting will be much easier.
This time the Mister and I are not moving half way across the country- three time zones.
This time it's about 15 minutes from the west side to the east side.
The upper east side.
To the mountain and almost the top of the mountain.

We've "borrowed boxes" from an Ontario friend from Owen Sound who just moved here in July. Another friend- from Mississauga Ontario who moved west in June is also supplying us with boxes. We, in turn, will pass the boxes on to a neighbour who is also on the move in our valley.
It's a cardboard chain.

I have the packing process all figured out- in my head.
I am leaving our main level untouched- for now.
I will begin by packing lower level items. Three cabinets in particular which hold family photographs in frames, a Santa Claus collection and more. Last time all these items had to be packed and wrapped in paper and bubble wrap and carefully place in heavy-duty cardboard boxes or plastic tubs.
This time a bit of paper and careful placement in a box.
It's a short trip remember.

This time too I'll not have to wrap painting after picture after print because of the short trip. I'll take these off the wall at the last minute and load them into the van. They'll travel with a towel or two tucked between and will be fine.

Once the pictures are removed, I am going to cover the nail holes. I bought this stuff that fills the holes. It goes on pink and dries white. Then a quick run over with some sandpaper.
A dab of paint and voila a perfect, untouched wall.
Some friends say- why are you going to all that trouble?
It's because I want to leave the house in pristine condition.

At least all the packing and the lifting of these boxes will be light.
We are leaving the heavy stuff for the movers because at my age,
I don't want to drop a dresser on my "Elephant Toes"!

Monday, September 14, 2020

ROBBLOG #854- Shopping for Dollars and Things


It's has begun.

The Holiday Season- or should I say "the Season of Holidays".
We just put Labour Day to bed and here comes Thanksgiving, Harvest, Halloween and Christmas.
I should include "Remembrance Day" as well but every year somebody, somewhere gets their tits in a wringer over this special day so, I don't believe I should refer to it as a "holiday"- even though Federal Employees garner extra pay and a day off to boot.

Anyhoo, I was looking at Home Depot online when what to my wondering eyes should appear-
but a scary, life-size clown bopping out of a huge jack-in-the-box! 
For only $288.
I'll take a couple at that price!!
You too can have a disturbed-looking clown for your front yard this Hallowe'en.
Actually, no thanks. 
We have one living and breathing in our very neighbourhood. Much scarier than the Home Depot version by the way. Remember my last Blog when I said the Mister and I were moving again? That means the life-like, disturbed clown will not be in our new neighbourhood. Gee, I might have to fork our $288 after all...

Also at Home Depot Online, there was a cute old witch in a rocking chair for under two hundred dollars. I remember seeing her in the store.She rocked and cackled with a cat skeleton on her lap.
No thanks.
The cackling is what we are moving away from!

Just below the photo of the clown and the old witch in her rocking chair, there was a bevy of Christmas Trees.
Branches outswept.
Straight out.
Trees were Flocked.
Not Flocked.
Pink and
Black (?)
How Jolly.
Scrooge would be proud.

It doesn't take long for all these items to appear once mid-September has bit the dust.
There's a time for shopping.
There's a time not to shop.
There's a time to shop again...
There's a time to window shop and a time to online shop
or a time to not bother shopping at all.
I think it's all in the bible under Ecclesiastes or The Book of Testicles...something like that. 

I'm doing a lot of online shopping these days for the new house up on a hill I told you about. It's quite convenient for days I want to shop or I can just leave it alone for days I don't care to shop.
It's that easy.
I have been shopping for many items because time is of the essence- like flooring underlay and curved, chrome shower rods that the Mister and I shopped for today.
We actually originally had shower doors in 3 out of the four bathrooms.
I know.
4 bathrooms!
It's not right is it when so many people in Alberta are having to live without semi-automatic rifles.
Sometimes, life just isn't fair- is it?

We kept the shower doors for the Master Ensuite but opted for an easier method of cleaning now that we are in our golden years. A new shower liner from the dollar store is much easier than climbing into a tub and trying to spotlessly dry a pair of glass shower doors.
A lesson we have learned from past homes.
Older but smarter...

Enjoy this "Season of Holidays" whether you choose to shop or not.
Of course with covid, I understand that holidays like Hallowe'en might just be cancelled saving you all kinds of candy money. Your jack-in-the-box clown may have no one to scare.

I hear that Santa and his Elves are practicing physical distancing at the North Pole as they work away on this year's gifts. However, his yearly appearances in parades and shopping centres may be on hold for 2020.

We can only hope for the best this "Season of Holidays".
I know that the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is hoping to continue the yearly event by marching on November 15th. 

Time will tell...
and what the Hell is Santa doing marching through Toronto streets on November 15th? 
Good Grief.

Monday, September 7, 2020

ROBBLOG # 853- A House Isn't Always a Home


Well My Dears, it's been a few weeks- hasn't it, since a new ROBBLOG appeared.

I have an excuse.
We all have excuses but mine is a fairly good one.

The Mister and I are on the move...again.
Our wonderful home on this wonderful Island called Vancouver Island has been sold.
~take a moment to let it settle in~

Most of our friends are aware of our decision.
It is the new, new adventures of The Island Boyz. The last adventure of moving to this Island- three years ago this past August 23rd, is still fresh in our minds but we are moving on.
Moving forward.
Movin' on up.

We are putting down new roots again and NO we are not going back to Ontario.
I had to chuckle though.
A few days ago I overheard a neighbour gleefully tell yet another neighbour that we had sold and even knew where we were moving and that it was a done deal.
It was not.
I was sitting right in the van in our drive and heard all this speculation.

So I guess you're wondering why we are packing up and moving on.
Well, most recently, I was told to "Fuck Off" while standing in my own yard listening to the "high school" talk and fuck this, fuck that language coming from an outside party.
That party and the ensuing "personal direction" I was told to take was the straw that bent the poor camel's back.

We texted our real estate agent that night and when he called the following morning I said-
"List us!"

A simulation of the Mister and I
An artistic simulation of The Mister and I

The surprise in all this?
It took only two weeks from that call to be where we are now.
Our house is sold- in two days.
We have bought new again after looking at 10 "pre-used" homes over the past months.
It's been a whirlwind!

When we made our final decision on a new location, our agent told us  "from the start that I knew this is where you needed to be".
I am happy.
The Mister is happy.
We love this house.

The house we will leave in a few weeks has been nice.
I like it.
I like it a lot.
We put our heart and soul and design into this house but I never, ever fell in love with it- not like our Pine Tree House back in Old Home in Orillia, Ontario.

I already have "pangs in my heart" when I walk into this nearly completed new house.
I believe I do love it already and our view!!
Holy shit, I mean!
A lake.
Several mountains.
The Ocean.
A gulf island- Saltspring, plus a view back to the mainland around Grouse Mountain.

It's a dream come true.

It's been a whirlwind these past 14 days.
It's been stressful too.
My shorts are fitting much looser these days.
My sleep has been interrupted as has the husbands.
It's been hard to turn the brain off.

So Kids, that's my excuse.
A change once again and perhaps this time the last until I stand in front of the Pearly Gates and tell old St. Peter-

"Pete, it's been a Hell of a ride!!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

ROBBLOG #852- Honk


It was just past eight-fifteen.

The brilliant golden sunlight of a late summer morning danced on the small pond across the yard from my kitchen window.

I grabbed my old blue windbreaker from behind the kitchen door and slipped it on over my head and shoulders as I hurried outside. The zipper had broken months ago and "over my head" was the only way I could get it on. It was like an early morning wrestling match. I just didn't have the heart to pitch it in the bin. Of course, I could have grabbed a hoodie from the hall closet but I was in a hurry. Harriet, Lulu and Mr. George- my Toulouse Geese, would be waiting by the rickety picket fence for our morning walk.

We walked every morning at the same time.
A walk first and then all three would patiently wait for me to pour their morning feed into the three empty bowls that sat next to the old barn door.

A minute later I rounded the corner of the barn opposite the old cherry tree and there they stood. Mr. George was tapping one webbed foot looking indignant and wondering why he should have to delay his summer hike because of a human who obviously didn't value the purpose of a time clock.

"Hey Kids"- I called.
Harriet and Lulu honked a good morning in unison but I could see that Mr. George would take a little longer to warm up this morning due to my tardiness.
I understood how he felt.
Yesterday morning I was barely awake when I had to pull on my wellies at seven thirty to herd the sheep back up the path and into their pen. Someone hadn't closed the gate after letting them into the yard after a cozy night in the barn. That someone wasn't bright-eyed and bushy-tailed yet.

Now, one might think it was me who left the gate wide open- I suppose, however, it was more likely Karl. Karl was the hired hand.
He was probably a little tipsy after spending a few hours in the local pub as he was want to do. He'd perhaps forgotten his late night checks around the yard as he stumbled into the cottage at the edge of the apple orchard.

Sometimes I wondered if Karl understood any of my broken German at all. The past three months, I had insisted he speak to me in his native tongue- mostly. I was preparing for a tour of Germany ending with a wonderful cruise of the Rhine.
I think maybe a tour of England's Cotswolds might have been easier to prepare for!
Maybe next year.

The girls- and Mr. George and I, headed off through the south gate and along the leafy lane.
They honked happily to each other looking up at me now and again expecting me to join in the morning conversation.
I was interested in all the usual barnyard gossip.
I really was  you know.
It was an entirely different world.

The ducks- according to Harriet were being their normal "quacky" selves and interrupted the Toulouse's quiet morning.

Mr. George insisted on quiet in the morning too. According to him, Bobbi the grey mare consistently whinnied at the morning sun and insisted on all that "horsey" singing to welcome the summer morning- much to the chagrin of Mr. George.

Peter the Pig and his girlfriend Brenda kept their pen in a horrendous state and something must be done to rectify the situation. At least according to Lulu.
"It was most distressing" she honked, especially when folks came over for a visit and had a chance to look over the driftwood fence into the pig's pen.
"A regular sty to be sure!" she added as she waddles along.

We had reached a turn in the lane where we headed left into the apple orchard. Harriet and Lulu chomped on a couple of fallen apples while Mr. George strolled over to the stream that cut across the orchard, eventually emptying into Lake Bee just on the other side of the road. He had a quick flap in the warm water and re-joined us as we head back through the orchard, past Karl's Cottage- where it was still very quiet- and into the barn yard.

I grabbed the bag of feed and filled all three Goose Bowls to the brim. All of the Toulouse Geese honked their appreciation- even Mr. George. I headed back to the house for coffee taking one last look over my right shoulder never expecting to see Karl standing at the door to his cottage slurping from a large mug.
I smiled and walked on to my kitchen door.
Soon, the enduring ritual of a country day would control all of the hours ahead.

The country life.
It's the quiet.
The animals.
The clear blue sky and the sparkling waters of Lake Bee and Karl too.

It was the very definition of a bucolic lifestyle and I loved it.
All of it.