The Mark of Stupidity

Enough time has finally passed that I can share this experience. It’s taken about thirty years, but I’m over it.


I think.

I was home sick (or sick-ish, it’s possible I embellished the severity of my symptoms as a child). I was camped out on the couch in the family room and in between cups of tea and reruns of “Facts of Life” I came across this popper toy I had gotten from some machine somewhere at some point. Those details are fuzzy and irrelevant. I also can’t recall why I had it at that particular moment. What I do remember is inverting it on the table beside me and watching it fly high in the air. That was fun for a few minutes. Then I discovered that if I just pushed it, it had suction cup-like properties. I could stick it on my hand, my foot, and, hey, why not try the old forehead.

I put a popper on my forehead.


This was not labelled with all the appropriate warnings
This was not labelled with all the appropriate warnings


This poorly planned experiment was followed by a nap. I was awakened a short time later by one of my sisters shaking me and frantically asking, “what happened to you?! Are you okay? Look at your head!”

I stumbled up and over to the main floor washroom to discover two overlapping circles on my forehead. Like two loonie-sized hickeys. Right in the middle of my forehead.

Unfortunately, I was nearing the end of my stay at home and there was no way my mom was going to let me wait it out for the few days it would take for the marks to fade. Thus began, Operation Cover Up.

Mom, my sisters, and I tried various make-up and hairstyling techniques, but at best we muted the red. There was no way those circles would be hidden. It was the eighties, so I had big bangs, but even those couldn’t cover the damage I’d inflicted. And so we launched the second part of the operation – Cover Story.

It’s not easy to create a plausible back story to explain why you have two perfectly round bruises on your forehead, but I did it:

“I was heading downstairs and at the same time my sister rushed up and opened the basement door and slammed it open and I whacked my head on the door.”

Completely believable.

Airtight alibi.

I rehearsed this story several times, making sure to include just the right amount of detail. I added a smidge of righteous indignation at my sister’s thoughtless door-opening with a hint of surprise that it would leave such perfectly circular injuries. It was a glorious cover story. I almost started to believe it myself.

The following evening I was at church for our girls’ group. I told my story and everyone bought it. I was home free. I was going to get out of this disaster a little wiser, but with my reputation intact. THESE FOREHEAD HICKEYS WOULD NOT DEFINE ME.

We were waiting for our rides home when my friend turned to me and said, “yeah, your sister told us. You stuck a popper on your head. Twice. There was no door. See you tomorrow.”

The real lesson here is: you can have the best cover story for why you have a hickey Venn Diagram of Stupidity on your forehead, but it’s only as strong as your weakest link. Or sister with the biggest mouth.


Your turn. Dumbest injury you’ve had. Share.

Risk Management

I’m not much of a risk-taker. You won’t catch me bungee jumping or hopping out of a plane. That’s just crazy. Appropriate risks include trying a new flavoured latte or buying the generic version of my preferred soap. However, once in a while, inspiration hits and I will tell that nay-saying voice inside my head to pipe down.

One evening I finished up my grocery shopping and went to the Tim Hortons in the same plaza to grab a coffee (just my usual black decaf, wasn’t feeling daring). As I got back into my car I noticed a man crouched near a pillar in a darkened corner between the drugstore and First Choice Haircutters. Most shops had closed down for the evening.

I heard a little voice say to me, “you should help him.”

Me: You know, I’m almost in the car, going over now is a little obvious. I’m sure someone else will be by soon.

Voice: Nope. You. Go.

Me: I walked by earlier and he didn’t ask for anything. We’re good.

Voice: Go.

Me: Look, he appears to have had enough cash to buy some smokes. Heading home, my coffee is getting cold.

Voice: GO.

Me: Fine.

I grabbed a five out of my wallet and nervously headed over to the stranger. I took a deep breath and boldly held out my hand.

“Here, this is for you.”

He seemed a bit startled and took his earbuds out. He paused, looked at me, looked at the money in my hand, back at me, and said:

“I’m not homeless, I’m just on my break.”


Your turn – any embarrassing incidents to share? Perhaps one that required you to never wear your favourite red jacket to a certain plaza again for fear of recognition?

Is it on Sale?

There is a closet in our basement that I believe was intended for linens or something, but has been repurposed into what I call “The Food Bunker”.

We have four growing boys to feed and that adds up. Our commitment to keeping our spending down involves savvy shopping. Bearded Husband is quite adept at keeping the costs down. He seems to have memorized the standard price of everything.

Me: Hey! Chicken is on sale. I can stop on my way home.

BH: If it’s not less than $3.00 per pound, don’t bother.

I can’t keep those numbers in my head. In fact, I had to check that price with him before I wrote this.

Me: I picked up Oreos, they were on sale.

BH: Less than $1.99? No? Hope you kept the receipt.

Living on a budget means you have to be patient.

Me: We’re out of apples.

BH: I know. I’m waiting for the fall when they go on sale.

I’ll just start taking some Vitamin C supplements for a while.

When there are sales, we stock up. And I mean stock up. That’s when the Food Bunker really comes in handy.

We'll be eating vegetarian for the next while, boys.
We’ll be eating vegetarian for the next while, boys.
No one is allowed to be lactose intolerant for the next few weeks.
No one is allowed to be lactose intolerant for the next few weeks.
You may have sliced black olives or French sliced black olives, but no kalamata - they weren't on sale.
You may have sliced black olives or French sliced black olives, but no kalamata – they weren’t on sale.
You are in luck, natural AND processed peanut butter were on sale.
You are in luck, natural AND processed peanut butter were on sale.

The boys have grown up with the understanding that very little is bought that is not on sale, or at the very least on for a reasonable price. But they use this knowledge to try to get non-essentials into the grocery cart.

Son: Oh! Can we get these? Look, they are on sale. I love those chips.

Me: That’s a featured item, it’s not on sale.


Son: Can we get some Fruit to Gos?

Me: Not on sale.

Son: But that is a good price…


Son: Cheesestrings are ON SALE. Can we get some? You never buy us those.

Me: Nope, still a rip-off.*


Living within our means and keeping to a budget doesn’t mean we don’t treat ourselves, though. In fact, look what we are enjoying today (please ignore the pink sticker).

I haven’t indulged in these because raisins are involved.
They might be 50% off, but they are 100% delicious.

What do you do to save a buck or two? Seriously, I’d really like to know.


*More of my thoughts on Cheesestrings coming soon.

How to Eat Chips like A Spy

You know there are chips in the cupboard. Delicious chips. So crispy and flavourful. You should probably share them with the other five members of your family, but four of them are in bed and one is out for a bike ride. Wondering what to do? Wonder no more! Here’s your Guide to Eating Chips Like a Spy.

Step 1: Select your salty snack (I recommend Sour Cream and Onion, but the choice is yours). Be warned: you cannot pull off this mission with a bag of chips.

Spies only eat chips in a can. Brand of choice: Pringles.
Spies only eat chips in a can. Brand of choice: Pringles.

Step 2. Do NOT remove the safety seal. This is KEY, just peel it back far enough to fit your hand.

Seal removed = mission twarted.
Seal removed = mission thwarted.

Step 3: Eat chips. But crunch quietly. If you get a curtain call from any small children who should be in bed, deny any chip smell on your breath. Repeat after me, “Weird, I guess sometimes apples smell like chips.”

Step 4: Do not, do NOT finish all the chips. Leave some in the can. This provides you with plausibly deniability.

"Hmmm....I'm not sure who finished the can."
“Hmmm….I certainly did not finish the can.”

Step 5: Keep in mind that this technique should be used sparingly, or someone will catch on. Save it for desperate times or special celebrations, like emptying the dishwasher and finding no rejects.

What snack tricks do you have? Be honest, I know you have one.

How to Handle Defeat with Grace and Dignity

How to Handle Defeat with Grace and Dignity

Welp, the results for the 3rd Annual Blogging All-Star Challenge are in.

It was an honour to be nominated. We really gave it 110%. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask, right? RIGHT?!

(click on the link and check out some really great writers. A big thanks to Rob and Ricky – for real).

A Little to the Left

Hanging pictures takes forever. It wasn’t always this way. As a student I moved into a new place and BAM! Pictures, posters, bulletin boards – hung within hours of setting up my futon. Oops! A little too far to the right? No problem!  Just hammer in a new one a smidge further over (using my deodorant dispenser as a hammer). Oh, no! My Anne Geddes poster is coming loose at the top? Nothing a little extra sticky tac or masking tape can’t fix.

Did I worry about the paint peeling off? Nope. Did I worry about excessive nail holes? Not me – that’s the next tenant’s job to cover up.

But now. Now hanging pictures has become a bigger deal than buying a house.

First, which frames? Do we match them to the couch? What size? A whole bunch of small ones? A smattering of large? Don’t even get me started on matting. CAN WE MIX AND MATCH?!?

Then we need to decide which pictures to put in the frames. We have 4 boys, so clearly we have 716 of the firstborn and about 4 or 5 of the following 3 kids. How can we convince them we love them all the same when obviously there has been photo-taking discrimination over the past 8 years?

Ok, we got some frames, pretty sure we know which rooms and which pictures. But, are we really sure? Really, really sure? Yes? Great! Let’s get to it!

No, no, not when the boys are around. Too chaotic, we need to focus. Well, maybe if they are watching TV we can hang a couple. Put on a DVD and let’s see what we can accomplish!

Now comes the debate about height. I stake my claim in the “lower” camp, while my darling, bearded husband prefers “higher”. We dance around this potentially volatile issue for a few minutes. I raise it a millimeter, he feels it’s a win and on we go.

Level? Check.

Pencil? Check.

Nails? Check.

Hammer? Not sure. (I did not use it last, contrary to popular opinion).

We’ve averaged 2 pictures hung per year.

Not too shabby.