I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Smizing in passport photos

It's the time to renew my passport and it had to happen right before I was needing it.  Why couldn't the date be in the summer when I had a little bit of a tan, instead of the winter when I don't have one?

There's a camera specialist near my home that also does passport photos.  Pricing is almost the same at several businesses in the city, so it's a wise (and easy) choice to go to a place that knows photography instead of a random storefront.

Catching the eye of a CSR, I inquire about the pics and she takes me to the centre of the store to help me out.  There's a small set-up with a while background, a stool (with kiddie booster seat) and a professional flash.  She directs me to sit up straight on the stool, picks up a large DSLR camera, pulls it up to her eye level and looks into the view finder.  I look right at her.

"Stop smizing," she says behind the camera.

She's right in saying that I am.  Ever since Tyra Banks taught the world the term (to smile with your eyes without smiling with your mouth - not as easy as it sounds) on America's Next Top Model, it's been my go-to when taking pictures.

I try again.

"You're still smizing."

"Really?" I drop my shoulders.

"Relax your face.  You're doing that smirk thing with your eyes."

I laugh a little to relieve the tension and let my face relax to the point that I'm actually trying to pull my facial muscles down in an attempt to semi-frown without looking angry (again, much more difficult than it sounds).

"Chin up... up... up," and I hear a click of the shutter.  "Here, come look at the photo.  What do you think?" She plugs in the camera to an iPad and shows it to me. 

"It's hard not to look at the camera without looking angry," I say.  The photo looks alright.  A little paler, a little less smize-y, but ok.

"Yeah.  They don't accept anyone smiling, but if you smize they might consider that a smile and the photos won't be accepted."

True.  I'd rather comply than having to run back and forth and get another set of photos.  I want my passport done quickly and don't want to wait around for the - approx. - 20 days it takes to get a new one.

And if I don't really love it, I only have to bite my tongue for five years until it expires.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Washing the sink

About once a month, my parents come to spend the day with me in the city.  We have lunch, gossip about the suburbs, and occasionally go out to grab coffee/dessert.

Before they arrive, I spend half an hour cleaning the house because I know their expectations.  Your home is your kingdom and if your kingdom ain't spic-and-span, then it's value drops exponentially... at least in their eyes.

After hanging up their coats and dropping their bags at the door, we get ready for lunch.  The table is set, the food is being heated up (my parents bring it because, to them, I can't cook), and my mother turns on the tap in the kitchen and begins washing the sink.  Yes, the sink.

Even though I washed the dishes before they came, the sink wasn't clean enough for my mother.  I see her scrubbing away, taking the water stopper out and using the Brillo pad on it - this takes precedence over eating.

"It's a good thing I'm here to do these things," she says, exhaling and nodding her head in disagreement.

"No one told you to wash the sink," I reply while sitting at the dining room table with my father.

She raises her head and glares at me.  She doesn't care for my answer. 

Since she has nothing to do, my mother feels like she needs to do something in order to feel needed.  Anything. She no longer needs to raise her children (they're grown), be a romantic partner (my parents love each other, but my dad is past the smooshy stuff), or work to please her boss (she's retired).  Her worth as a mother, wife and employee has dropped and she needs to be reassured that she's still wanted (she is, but doesn't need a participation ribbon).  Like most mothers, she just wants people to tell her "oh, you shouldn't have" even though she's the one who shouldn't.

Inevitably, she comes to the table and we have lunch.  The sink washing doesn't come up in conversation.  If she wants to feel wanted, next time I'll tell her my bathroom tile needs to be regrouted.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Don't text me when I'm busy

It's one of those busy days when I'm out of the office, running around the city.  Not only am I dealing with in-person meetings, but also phone calls and an inbox that never seems empty.  Fun times all around.

While making my way to a meeting, I get a text from L, who is asking about an event we went to last year and wants to know when they're having it again.  Then, there are two more texts following it, both about the same thing.

"Try emailing XXX." I text this while walking.

I'm busy and don't have time to check last year's schedule to verify an event she wants to go to.  It's a lot faster for her to email them.  I'm not planning the event.  I mean, come on; do some of the lifting.

My phone keeps beeping while in the meeting.  I get three more texts from L about the event, scattered with the occasional "I miss you friend" and "Let's get together next week one week one afternoon."  This is from a person who doesn't reply to texts for weeks, and sometimes gets - serendipitously - sick on the day we're meeting only to get miraculously better the following morning.

"I'm running around all day.  Best to email them for details."  I text quickly.

This happens during my work day.  I only get a reply from L in the middle of the evening.

"You are so difficult sometimes!  LOL."

Difficult?  Hardly.  I have more than one full-time job, manage a team of people, run around from meeting to meeting while tackling the occasional errand (all without the luxury of a car or an expense account that reimburses me for cab fares).  She doesn't work and has plenty of time during the day while her kids are at school to email an event coordinator.

And an additional annoyance is the "don't worry still love you!" notation tacked on the end of the occasional text.  Don't do that.  Only Hollywood people do that.  It's cloying and unnecessary.

Here's an idea:  For next time, instead of texting me 18 times, it's faster for you to email them from the start to get the correct information.  Don't waste my time when I'm busy with your texting.

I mean, some people...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Unfriending your friends to parent your pets

For those who know me know that I like pets even though I don't currently have any.  That being said, I treat them like a pet, not a person (although it's not a popular opinion among animal lovers).

In short, a pet doesn't talk, is covered in fur/feathers, doesn't vote or pay taxes.  Not too long ago they were regulated to the outdoors, but ever since they've been - super - domesticated, they've lived the life of riley, with many people raising them as if they're children.

My friend Z is the embodiment of this kind of pet person.

Even though she's passive-aggressive to most things in life, she's more caring than what she lets on.  Her pets have meant a lot to her (this stems from abandonment issues related back to her absentee father who later left the family and divorced her mother), and that's an issue.  She's far too attached to them.

She's bailed several times over her pets.  One dog of hers was never healthy from the time she adopted it from the pound (it has acupuncture, physical therapy, and even takes the occasional dose of anti-anxiety medication), so she stresses over it.  She's a parent to her pets.  And because of this, the dog takes precedence over most things in her life - especially human relationships.

And while pets offer "unconditional love" (I don't believe this since there are many pets that are real bitches), they're not the ones who will date you, be there for an emergency, answer the phone when you need help, or tell you when you look good in that pair of pants (even if you look fat in them).

When you're always pushing people aside for the sake of your pet, they feel neglected and begin to fade away from your life.  They shouldn't be surprised when they realize they no longer have any friends when they put their pets first.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Nickel and dime

Recently, a friend and I went on a trip and it was agreed to use her Uber account to curtail on pricey cab fares.  After the trip, we'd split the fares evenly and I'd write a cheque for my half.  Approximately a month after we return, I get an email with the invoices (as per my request) to reimburse her.

To my surprise, the amount was way, way larger than anticipated.  In fact, it was impossible that we took 12 Ubers in two days (this doesn't include the rides I took by myself on the same trip).  How was that even possible?

Being the part-time accountant that I am, I go through every charge, item by item, and add up the numbers. To my surprise, I see my friend overcharged me by almost $50.  She included rides that I wasn't even on in the cluster of charges and thought I wouldn't notice.  I noticed.  Oh yeah, I noticed.

Presumably, she saw all the invoiced rides with Uber in the heading - over a spread of several days - and added them together.  That was her mistake.  I wasn't going to let it be mine.  But, since we're both adults, I was going to let this go and pay for my half.
   
To start, I removed the extra charges that had nothing to do with me, then I removed half of the charges she shared with me (i.e. cab fares), added them up, divided the amount in half, multiplied it by 1.5 (rather than the actual US exchange rate of approximate 1.35, because I was feeling generous) than rounded up the number by a few dollars.

In the end, she ended up getting more than she should've received, as per the correct calculations.

Not long after she collects the cheque (she wanted me to personally deliver it, but I wasn't going to travel 45 minutes - 1.5 hours if you include return travel - to the other side of the city), I got a passive-aggressive text a week later that referred to my accounting practices.

In the text, phrases like "I wouldn't try to nickel and dime you my friend" and "money issues break up way too many friendships" are thrown about.

My reaction was WTF.  I don't reply.  She got her money.  I was done.

When I meet my sister the next week for lunch, I tell her about what happened.  Then I show her the text.

"Whatever." She rolls her eyes.  "Are all of your friends idiots?" She passes the phone back to me.

I don't know, but I certainly wouldn't nickel and dime them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gold digger's accomplishments

On more than one occasion I've heard of people talk about their accomplishments.  Brag is a more appropriate definition, though.

It's all about the big house they live in, the luxury car they drive, the designer clothes they wear, the exotic trips they take, the four-star restaurants they eat at, and so on.  The #blessed hashtags basically write themselves on social media.

The thing is, none of this would've happened if they weren't dating (or married) someone with a lot more money then they have.

All of these people mentioned in the generalist of terms has a richer partner is the one who pays for everything.  True, when it comes to partnerships, one person usually makes more than the other; it's never a marriage of equals.  But, when one person makes 4x the income of the other, it's another story.  Inevitably, you'll hear the - defensive - story of when the couple who went out to dinner and less affluent one paid the tab.  That's a tiny drop in very large bucket, to be honest.

Of course, not everyone is like that.  Some happened to date/marry another person who has money.  Others, make it a goal to date/marry another person who has money.  Who knew that being a gold digger with an agenda is an accomplishment?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The human embodiment of the Exxon Valdez oil spill

For the launch of patio season, many bars and restaurants host small parties to celebrate the fact that many people - especially those who don't live in cities with long summers - have been hibernating for the past 6-8 months and are excited to get some sun with a side of rum and coke.

After my friend J and I enjoy a few too many cocktails on the patio, we walk towards the exit and run into J's Russian friend.  She's standing with an older man, dressed like a captain of a yacht (navy blazer, white dress shirt, opened midway down his torso) only without the jaunty cap and a lot more gold chains and grease in his hair.

As the Russian turns her attention away from the grease captain and towards me, he leans toward her, his face inches from mine, and says to her, "You can do better."

Ballsy, yet incredibly rude.

"Well, I just heard that," I say loud enough for our group to hear.

"Yes, that was rude," says the Russian.

With that comment still lingering in the hot summer air, the three of us (J, the Russian and myself) turn around and walk away from the human embodiment of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  We talk for a few minutes before I head out.  When you're drinking for over two hours and don't have a thing to eat, your body reminds you it's time to call it quits.

Before I head off, I lean into the Russian and say, "By the way, you look amazing in that dress."

"Oh, thank you." She's flattered.  That's something that greaseball wasn't able to do.  It doesn't matter, though.  As I walk out, I notice he quickly found another group of hot women to hit on.