Breaking Toilets, Saving Raccoons, and The Hunger Games

Behold the various things that happened today:

My grandpa rescued a dying raccoon, I delivered the killing blow to our now-broken toilet, the first real snow of the season decided to fall in all its fluffy white prettiness, and I had a semi-awkward moment at a clothes store. First, we shall chronicle the tale of Eddie and the Raccoon. My grandpa is great.  He’s sixty-something, tall with thin grey hair and even though he’s getting a bit slower and less active, he still runs ten kilometers, even in the driving snow. His hands are gnarled and shaky with arthritis but he still rides his bike; he’s got Asperger’s syndrome, at least that’s what me, my mom, and my dad think (and I’m pretty sure we’re right), and he actually doesn’t mind Arcade Fire, which is a huge success for me since every relative I get over to my side of the AF bandwagon is another boost to my overall happiness. Anyway, Eddie runs down by the river a few times a week, and he saw the raccoon, thinking it was a cat or something first – two days later he came back and it was still there. According to him, it looked up at him, sadly. When I went over to visit with my dad he was talking about calling somebody to take care of it – eventually we got past our collected social issues and he called the city number to get in touch with the Humane Society. Hopefully that raccoon, as I speak, is currently curled up somewhere warm and safe, instead of dying out in the cold and snow – thanks to Eddie’s kindness. So don’t worry, various wounded animals of the Ottawa bike paths: my grandpa has you covered.

Second thing that happened – not nearly so heart-warming and Christmas-worthy as the raccoon getting saved – is the small issue of the clothes store. We were wandering around the mall after getting dinner (a large plate of stomach-burningly awesome fried spicy chicken and noodles, from the place with the Chinese lady who gets a kick out of me always eating with chopsticks), and I’d mentioned to my grandma that I wanted a new vest, because the one I have belongs to my uncle and is about ten sizes too big, so she wanted to get me one. When it comes to clothes, she’s unstoppable. I think she should be a professional shopper, on one of those fashion shows where they dress up unstylish people in nice things. Anyway, I didn’t need a new one or anything, but it’s better to go along with my grandma when she wants to do something nice for you, I’ve realized, so we went around looking for a good store – the tailor place for men was suggested, but I felt vaguely worried about going into a store specifically for men, in case they looked at me funny, so we went to a men and women’s place, where they actually did look at me funny anyways. We found a vest, a nice extra small thingy because I’m both skinnier and smaller than the average man, and went over towards the change room, the one on the men’s side of the store – a worker with a pen over his ear was nearby, and my grandma said, ‘She just wants to use the change room.’

Barely-there moment of surprise and weirded-outness. The man said, ‘Sure’.

Oh, God, Nana, I thought, taking the hanger and quickly slipping into the change room. You could’ve just said ‘he’ and it would’ve spared us the awkwardness. But I know that would never have occurred to her. I went in, tried the vest on, and it was just a little too tight, which I was vaguely thankful for, so we wouldn’t have to go up and buy it and receive another vague funny look, and besides she wouldn’t have to spend money on me; so I put the vest back and we got out of there. I think I got another brief glance from the worker. It wasn’t really much to get flustered over – the guy was accepting, even if he had that brief moment of being confused – but the part that bothered me the most was how awkward my grandma looked, as I tried on the vest in the men’s change room. She hid it well, and she deserves endless points for always being accepting of the fact that I wear boys’ clothes – but maybe it’s a little different now, since that was a men’s change room, not a kid’s one on the boys’ side. I could tell she was vaguely uncomfortable – but at least she let me do it. How many grandmothers would let their granddaughter do that? Probably not very many. She actually handled it better than I did. I just did my ‘be silent and look inconspicuous’ routine, while in the inside my stomach was doing death-leaps all over my insides.

Goddamn society. It sucks.

Anyway, moving on, a little while ago I broke the toilet. In my defense it was already about to break by itself – the handle wasn’t working, so I took the top off, wanting to employ my abilities of handiness, instead of just running downstairs yelling for my mom, and what I saw was not encouraging. The wax part of the handle was almost completely worn away, hanging only by a thread; I nudged it, and it fell into the water in the back of the toilet. I realized that was not a good thing. That was when I ran downstairs yelling for my mom.

I really am trying to be more handy these days. What I’ve learned is that, contrary to what everyone thinks about me, I can actually fix things sometimes – in fact, I’m not that bad at it. I once rigged up a shelf for my books when I realized there was literally no more space in my incredibly overstuffed bedroom – I got a lid from a container, tied it around with some kind of strap from something using the posts of my bunk bed, and piled some books onto it. It was hard to get it tight, and often it sagged, constantly leaving me with a fear of books falling onto my feet while I was asleep – but they never did fall off. I was proud of myself for that. I also figured out how to get my record player working on my own – which isn’t easy since the technology is so old – and, possibly my finest invention of all time, a bow and arrow that worked for five minutes before it snapped in half. But it worked for five minutes! I found a nice bouncy string for it, made slits in straight sticks as arrows, and fired it against my bedroom wall, making my dad come downstairs and ask me what the heck I was doing. I showed it to him and he thought it was cool. Even though it wouldn’t shoot straight, I could see how actually hitting someone might be painful, and although I would never shoot it at someone randomly, I could foresee uses for it against bad people. No one’s going to bother you if you’re walking down the street with a bow and arrows.

Part of my reason for wanting to be more handy is that my mom still has little faith in my independence – and also I want to prove that I will one day, possibly soon, be a helpful addition to the working side of my family. I’ve been spoiled by my grandparents, so I don’t usually have to do much to help them out – and besides, Eddie insists on fixing everything himself, so there’s no real need for me to get involved. But still; I’ve got skills, usually unhelpful ones (like making bows and arrows), but sometimes helpful ones. I got a computer in the lab at school working just by plugging in the cord at the back when everyone else was stumped. I have my uses, I do – even if my main uses are writing random blog posts and providing my cat with company on stormy, wintry evenings.

Yes, by the way, it’s winter – just look outside. Well, depends where you are. If you’re in Ottawa, look outside, behold the wintry whiteness, the snow which sits on the roofs of the houses and on the bare branches of the trees. Take a deep breath, steel yourself, stuff hot pockets in your boots, because there’s going to be six more months of this.

However! One upside of the winter is, as always, the rinks – with any luck, the rest of November will be freezing, so the old hockey guys can get off their lazy butts and go freeze the outdoor rinks. They usually wait until around Christmas, but if the weather’s going to be as cold as this from now on, they may as well start now – I’d even do it, if I knew how. I don’t think just a lot of water bottles in the trunk of the car will do the trick; you actually need a hose for flooding a rink, and shovels, and experience. I flooded a rink once but someone was helping me – also I’m a random teenage “girl” with no right to just go and flood public rinks when I feel like it. And then, eventually, they’ll get the canal ready, complete with food stands, and yonder lovely beaver tails, sugary and doughy and oh-so-sticky on your freezing fingers, and I’ll probably go down a few times, maybe after school, and skate around a bit. I like being able to skate. I learned via playing with the boys in the house league – the first year I sucked so much that I was totally dedicated to getting better, and I did, somehow; now I love it, even though I haven’t played hockey in a few years. I like just skating, though – it’s tiring, your legs hurt afterwards, and it can be horribly cold, windy, and generally unpleasant on the canal – but it’s worth it just to glide along the ice and feel the pure enjoyment of it. I don’t know who I’d skate with; preferably not by myself. You get lonely, skating by yourself on that great winding expanse of ice – maybe I could ask Devin, although it’s unlikely he’d get around to actually doing it, or Nathan, although it’s unlikely I’d be able to muster up the courage to ask him. I don’t know if Zoe skates, or if she even owns skates – I’d like to go with her, though.

Oh right. We went to see Catching Fire yesterday, and it was great. I loved it. Several times I was on the verge of crying – and I NEVER cry over movies, with the exception of The Road (after The Road I actually full-out sobbed for about five minutes, I couldn’t hold it in, it was a bit weird), so you’ve got to know it’s good, if I get so affected by it. I thought they did awesomely with the casting – that’s the main edge that the Hunger Games films have over other movies, the perfectness of the casting. In this movie I found Gale more tolerable (I hated him in the first one), and Katniss was just as awesome as ever. I loved to see Wiress and Beetee, who were my favorite new characters in the books, played so well by those two actors. It was pretty freaking great.

I’m getting cold. I think the chair and my desk are actually the coldest place in my room, which just figures, since it’s the place I spend the most time at. I remembered to close the window this time, though, and I opened the vent. I completely forgot to drink my tea while it was hot and when I did gulp down a mouthful it was lukewarm, verging on cold, and it made me shiver. Cold tea is gross. Except cold pizza isn’t – cold pizza is way better than warm pizza, in my opinion. I don’t know how you could possibly feel otherwise about that. Except apparently every single person does.

So, anyways. It was a snowy, cold, wintry day, and some interesting things happened, which I felt were worthy of writing down in this somewhat pointless blog thing I have. Well, I shouldn’t say pointless, it’s good to at least get my thoughts out, whether anyone is reading them or not; and I actually would rather that no one read them, while at the same time some part of me wants at least one person looking it over. I don’t know.

Tomorrow is Sunday, so school can go screw itself until I have to go back there on Monday. I actually did pretty good in my two classes – somehow I nabbed an 87 in English and I even squeezed out a 75 in History, which is surprising, since 80% of the time all I do in there is scribble mustaches on famous people’s faces. Plus a few weeks ago I saved a ladybug from a windowsill and it was crawling up and down my hand for the entire class, so you can bet I wasn’t taking in the lesson. Afterwards I took it outside and put it down on a bush. I assume they hibernate. I just didn’t want it to die, stuck in the class – it couldn’t even fly anymore.

Once my dad and I were out for a walk, and we saw a bee, lying dead inside a flower. I don’t know if where you die really matters, but it soothes my conscience, anyways, when I know that someone or something died somewhere familiar and peaceful – and what a beautiful place for a bee to die. I felt that was the least I could do for the ladybug, just bring it back outside so it wouldn’t die on the windowsill and eventually get swept off into the garbage by some uncaring janitor. Maybe it burrowed down in the dirt after munching on some leaves, or whatever they do, to wait out the rest of the winter.

I have a soft spot for animals, even if they’re bugs. Although don’t talk to me about worms. I purposefully avoid stepping on them, which I feel is about the best they can ask for from me – but I will refuse to save one from the pavement. Hopefully it’ll squiggle its way back to the grass on its own; I never want them to die, but I don’t care enough to actually pick one up. Same with ants – my eternal vendetta against them means that I have very little qualms about poisoning them. Spiders, though, I really like – when you pick them up, they tend to spin webs from your fingers – and they eat other bugs, which is a bonus. Daddy long-legs, though, aren’t my favorite – I like the jumpy skittery ones the best. I also like snakes, and I don’t understand when people say they hate them – I touched a garder snake a few months ago which was out sunning itself in the middle of the path – its back was all dry and soft, and it was pretty cute. I’d like to get a pet snake but it’s unfortunate to say I think my cat would eat it.

So, this post has been rambly, even by my standards. I’ve covered all sorts of things that in any reasonable universe shouldn’t be remotely connected to each other… broken toilets, raccoons, the Hunger Games, insects, school. Whatever. Welcome to the inner workings of my mind, as Ms Mr said.

See you later.


About thecellarboy

17. I write, play music, and have a cat that likes to bang his head against doors until they open. View all posts by thecellarboy

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