Tuesday, 8 January 2013

On Accidental Blindness

So, after my little rant earlier about how desperate I am for me time, I got to thinking about the me time I've had in the past, what I've enjoyed about it, and what I would or would not do again.

I don't know about you guys, but for me, the list of 'Things I Would Do Again' is often eclipsed by the list of 'Crap. That Was Stupid ' (see '*Appendix A' for an itemized list). However, sometimes, 'Things I Would Do Again' and 'Crap. That Was Stupid' come together in a cacophony of fun. Most of THOSE things aren't repeatable in a blog, or won't wash out of a Las Vegas hotel room carpet (Ahem. Shawn.), but every once in a while, they're G-rated enough to share.

Years ago, when Jason and I only had two kids, we bought a condo. The condo doesn't really figure into the story, except to explain to you that we had funnelled our already meagre resources into buying the damn thing and paying the mortgage, taxes, and condo fees, which, when combined, were roughly 19824659% of our monthly income (See 'On Poverty'). We had no extra cash, and I worked full time nights at Starbucks, only to get up every morning to get Isaiah to school after Jason left for work and spend the day parenting two year old Liz. I felt then as I do now. Drained. With no elastic in the budget, and with Jason and I never actually being in the same house at the same time, there was very damn little I could do about it.

And then, in a discussion with my best friends in the whole wide world, Jamie and Lana, we discovered that we were all feeling that way, and we decided the three of us would go away, sans husbands and kids, to relax.

Since, at the time, we were all in a similar financial drought, we decided that 3 nights in a hotel in Edmonton, shopping, perhaps drinking a bit, and hitting a spa, was the perfect plan. We picked a date far, far into the future, so that we could water down the apple juice and feed the kids store brand Ichiban to save money, and when the day arrived, we piled into Jamie's brand, spanking, used Chevy Lumina for the trip.

We had a blast. In the 7 hours it took us to get there (time lapse caused by the fact that Whitemud Drive crosses all of Edmonton eleventy-one times and covers roughly two-thirds of northern Alberta and most of the Northwest Territories and at no time actually connected with the street we needed), we talked more than we had in years. I did much of the talking, as I was allowed to neither to drive or navigate (my best friends were too kind to say it, but no one wanted to die that weekend, or get eaten by wolves in the back country). We found things out about each other that we had either never known, or had simply forgotten. We stopped at the A&W in Somedamnwhere, Alberta, and found out that restaurants in places north of Calgary smell funny. We sang along with the radio, and we giggled till we had to pull the car over. We curled up on the beds in our hotel room and drank till we wished we hadn't. We played Speed, our favourite card game since high school, eight thousand times. We ate real Mexican food, and tried mole sauce for the first time. We found out that Mexicans have a cruel sense of humour and that mole sauce was an evil waste of good chocolate. We window shopped, and real shopped, and found out that stores in places north of Calgary smell funny, too. We found a teeny, tiny, out of the way spa, the owner of which, when we told her we were three exhausted moms on a brief vacation away from our families, called in a massage therapist on her day off just so we could all have massages at the same time. Lana and I watched Jamie not be able to eat a Cinnabon because she was too hung over to look at the icing (it was fascinating because it was the one and only time ANYTHING has ever trumped Cinnabon), and at some point, we decided to go swimming. Near the end of the trip, the three of us spent a few hours screwing around in the wave pool. Jamie and I even got brave enough to go down the two really, really huge slides (screaming all the way), and  catching a TERRIFYING amount of air about halfway down. Lana calmed us down at the bottom.

At this point, Jamie had an awful hangover, a chlorine high, and a mother of a head cold coming on. When we got back to the room, her head ached, she reeked of swimming pool, her eyes were itchy, and the cold medicine wasn't helping. Lana passed her the bottle of Visine that she keeps with her contacts, and told her to put a few drops in, and maybe her eyes would quit bugging her so much, at least.

Jamie tilted her head back, dripped a drop of Visine into her left eye, and let out a shriek so high pitched that it sent small breed dogs for miles around into a frenzied panic.


What a wuss. Lana and I stared at her. Seriously? What was wrong with this woman? It was saline, for heaven's sake. We understood she wasn't feeling particularly well, but my God, did we need this kind of drama? I can't specifically remember, but I believe that at that point, we made her lie down on the hotel room bed and one of us held her head while the other one put the drops into her other eye. And the screeching doubled, in both volume and intensity.


It was at this point that I started to think that perhaps what Jamie was saying had some validity  No one can sustain a sound like that unless there is something, no matter how ridiculous, behind it.

"Oh, for crying out loud," said Lana, "look- it's just eye drops. I use them all the time." And with that, she tilted her head back and gave the bottle a good, healthy squeeze.

I assume that West Edmonton Mall over-chlorinated their pool because so many people used it. Who knows? They may even have stopped using chlorine altogether- I haven't been back to Edmonton since that trip. It seems, however, that this particular brand of eye drops reacts negatively with chlorine, and by the time the two of them had stopped screaming and I had gotten their eyes washed out, they looked like we'd spent the last 3 days smoking some really good Silver Haze (I actually had to look that up. If it's wrong, don't tell me. It sounds cool.) It was awesome. They blinked funny for hours afterwards, and leaked involuntary tears all the way back to Calgary.

To this day, whenever any of us does something incredibly dumb, someone invariably starts to yell "IT BURNS, IT BURNS!!!!!!!!!!" When you have friends as good as mine, sometimes you are lucky enough to participate in 'Things I Would Do Again', and be the one too smart to commit 'Crap. That Was Stupid', ALL IN THE SAME NIGHT.

These are the me times that I treasure.

*Appendix A ('Crap. That Was Stupid'):
  • Every decision I made between September 1990 and October 1993, specifically those regarding boys and booze, in that order, aside from the decision to date Jason. That one worked.
  • Acid wash jeans.


  1. As always, hilarious and real! Fantastic!

  2. Thank you!!!! It's something I enjoy doing, and I love that other people can appreciate it!!!