The View From the Window

Lucy was a quiet outcast frequently distracted by thoughts of her failing family and directionless life. Her friends were an odd assortment of exchange students, band-geeks and misunderstood rebels who smoked obscure brands of native cigarettes like they were sacred. She wasn’t sure exactly where she fit in, both with her friends at school and with her family at home. She was as uncomfortable in her own skin as one could get, and spent most of her time walking around looking down at the ground, or sitting in her bedroom staring out the window.

Her senior year of high school was her most traumatic ever.  Her parents separated, her brother announced that he was Gay and began a full time drugging career, and she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. Her awkward and unsure demeanor always scared people off and made them uncomfortable around her. It was like they sensed her discomfort and personal trauma. Nobody knew how to communicate with her without feeling burdened by the conversation. Lucy often sat alone on the windowsill of her bedroom window wondering what to do next. She didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life and felt she had little control over the things that happened to her in her life. She just knew that she didn’t want to end up like her mom Mary or depressed and drunk like her father Clyde

Lucy had never really felt much of a connection with her mom; who was one of those women who had kids and made a family life out of necessity, not because it was something she really wanted. Mary was a real estate agent and worked hard day and night closing deals to acquire more shit, more wealth, better cars, and more stature while her husband Clyde sat in front of the television with a bottle of Canadian Club staring at his dusty guitar dreaming of what might have been. Mary pretty much ignored Clyde for the most part and really only spoke to him if she needed something from him. It was largely felt that he was a mistake in her life, and often the kids were made to feel like that as well.

Clyde, as depressed as he was, was at least real. And he had a good (albeit dysfunctional) connection with Lucy. Sure he got drunk and slurred his words sometimes, or cried about his wife Mary, but they talked about lyrics and life and analyzed people around them. Clyde was a machinist and always felt resented by his wife Mary. He tried and tried to make her happy and eventually just gave up. He was always made to feel like he was some sort of low-class loser that she just “got stuck with”. Lucy’s older brother Aaron was the spawn of this mismatched love made in a watering hole. Mary wouldn’t talk to him anymore since he announced to the family at dinner that he was gay.  And Clyde, well he just kept trying to figure out how to talk to his son man-to-man about a topic he knew nothing about. So Aaron was pretty much ignored by everyone except Lucy.

Aaron had felt resented since the day he was born. He didn’t feel like the joyous addition to a family that most first-born children are, he was likened more to a dirty little secret. He knew that if it weren’t for that drunken night when his parents conceived him in what was supposed to be a one night stand, they likely wouldn’t be together. His first 5 years of life were spent being shuffled around at various daycare centres while Clyde busted his ass on the nightshift, sleeping during the day and Mary disappeared selling homes, closing deals, and working out incessantly at the gym forgetting about her motherhood duties and lower middle-class reality.

And then came Lucy… Surprise! Another drunken resentful night of sex combined with Mary’s steadfast resistance to the birth control pill. At least after Aaron they made an attempt to be together by getting married. Lucy wouldn’t remember, but apparently after she was born Mary disappeared for 3 months to “figure her life out” while Clyde took a leave of absence at work to carry the weight of single parenthood, the loss of a wife, and worry of finances on his unprepared shoulders.

Mary came back, after two affairs, several hotel rooms, and tanking sales figures at work. She realized that in some miserable way, her real life was what propelled her to sell and be the relentless bitch of a real estate agent she was. She ended up tripling her sales figures that year and went on to become one of the top selling agents in the region. No one was really sure why.

Lucy was fifteen the first time her mother said “I love you”. It was forced, unnatural and totally awkward. Lucy was escorted home by a police officer after her seventeen-year-old boyfriend crashed the car they were driving home from a keg party. Her boyfriend died. Lucy miraculously got nothing more than whiplash and the pain of a dead boyfriend.

Clyde held her hand supportively as she explained the story to her concerned parents. Mary just glared at her in amazement, wondering how she managed to escape unscathed.

Tears streaming down her face she cried “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know he was drunk. I swear”

“We’re just glad you’re okay” sighed Mary “And also… I, I love you Lucy. I want you to know that. I always have.”

It was no surprise that a year later her mom was finished. Finished with the family, finished with Clyde and finished pretending to be the warmhearted family woman that only her family knew she wasn’t. Mary went full boar with her selfish material-driven life and shallow career. Aaron moved out with some new friends and Lucy stayed in the empty shell of a family home with her dad.

When Mary and Aaron left, the house seemed different; calmer, quieter, a little bit more depressing, but also a little nicer. Clyde frequently sat in the quiet of the dimly lit living room pouring himself glass after glass of Canadian Club while his daughter sat concerned and reflective looking out of the window in her bedroom. They ate dinner together in the evenings and sometimes watched Jeopardy together.

Late one evening Lucy wandered into the living room to talk to her dad who was sitting in his chair quietly, staring out into the backyard. He didn’t hear Lucy wander in.

“Oh hi Luce” he said in a defeated voice

“Dad… We are gonna be okay”

“I know we are,” he said

“It’s just us now.  She never wanted to be here anyway. And Aaron is still here, he just doesn’t live here.”

He looked down into his empty glass and then stared up at his beautifully insightful daughter. He wanted to say something, anything, but couldn’t find the words. A tear fell from his eyes as Lucy sat on the arm of his wingback chair and hugged him tightly holding his head close to hers, while the warm glow of the television reflected on their faces.

Writing Update

Poor Lingo Slinger Blog. It’s the bastard child who lives in the basement feeding on crumbs. I have been very busy lately, with my writing especially. You wouldn’t know it by looking here, but my writing career (the one I actually get paid for) has been going very well, so my own work has been taking a back seat lately in favor of client work.

I decided not to post any further chapters of my recent WIP book since I am seeking representation for it (just have to be careful with how much I post). Just wanted to post the first few chapters to gauge interest, so thank you to those who provided feedback and comments. If you do want to read it though, drop me an email and I will send it to you personally to review and provide feedback on when it’s finished. The stuff I posted here was raw, unedited and needed some restructuring – so I have since changed a few things. I am hoping to have the book finished by the end of this year so I can start querying it out by January.

So anyhoo that’s what’s up with my writing stuff lately. I am often posting instagrams on Twitter, the occasional VSS or checking in here and there, but aside from that haven’t had much time for blogging. I am working on my author website right now though and will link that to this website eventually.

So thanks for dropping in! Feel free to connect on Twitter or Facebook if you want another way to contact me.

Cheers!

 

The Santa Debacle

After a week of puking, ear infections, sick cranky kids fighting every 5 minutes, and house-bound lock down – Christmas Eve was a welcome arrival. I even got us out of the house at a reasonable time and arrived at my parents house for 2 o’clock (normally unheard of for me). But this year I was an incident away from having a complete nervous breakdown and needed to get this thing we call Christmas underway for the sake of my mental health, and my daughters (who would surely be helicoptered into the wall if they had one more fight, whined or screamed in my ear one more time). I was teetering on the brink and they knew it. So I put on my happy excited Christmas Eve face and got us out the door and up to the bustling metropolis of Cayuga, Ontario – population 1500, presents in tow.

Christmas Eve is the only evening of the year when my normally bedtime allergic children ask if they can go to bed continually between the hours of 5pm and 7pm hearing a resounding NO from me. My reasoning is purely selfish. Because I know that I am going to be up until 2 or 3am playing Santa and getting drunk with the adults and don’t want them potentially waking at 5am to drag my hungover ass out of bed so they can start opening their presents. Around 7 we watched Despicable Me while my crazy 14 month old nephew pulled hair, gave us Manchester Hello’s (shockingly painful head butts), got up and down from the sofa 65 or 70 times, screamed and tried to eat our feet with his sharp little baby teeth leaving our socks wet with his strategic slobber.

At 9 o’clock bed time had finally arrived and the girls couldn’t have been happier. They had literally waited ALL DAY to go to bed and all of the waiting had finally paid off. In my family we have a tradition (a British thing) where the kids choose a pillow sack from the linen closet, place it at the foot of the bed (to be filled by Santa) and leave cookies and milk beside the bed along with a carrot for the reindeer. Well my mom makes a legendary spiced carrot soup and had chopped up all of the carrots for the soup. Everyone KNOWS you can’t give a reindeer carrot coins, so we instead told the girls that the reindeer were getting tired of carrots, (because everyone leaves carrots) and that they should instead give them parsnips, because parsnips are like luxury carrots, but taste way better. This satisfied their Christmas Even logistical requirements, and we set off to their bedroom to leave the spread out for Santa.

At about 11 o’clock after a few gin and tonics I decided to venture outside in the snow to go to my car where Santa’s gifts were hiding. None of them were wrapped. I was going to leave them unwrapped in their sacks this year until my mom said “what do you mean you’re not going to wrap them? Well that ruins the fun.” So her guilt trip was successful. I felt guilty and started an assembly line of wrapping with my mom, sister and aunt – interrupting our game of Euchre. We had the gifts all wrapped pretty quickly and set in the living room ready to be drop shipped into their bedroom where they would be sleeping soundly while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

This British custom of going into their bedrooms to drop the presents at the bottom of their beds, removing the cookies, milk and carrots and returning the cup and plates to their proper place was RISKY business. Every year you run the risk of your children discovering that Santa is no more than a tipsy parent hiccuping into their room with presents pretending to consume raw carrots (or in my case parsnips), cookies and milk. The logistics always made me nervous.

We had our first mission attempt at about midnight. My mom slowly opened their door, swiped their pillow cases and had her hand hovered over the cookie plate  until one of my daughters sat up abruptly and said “what are you doing Grandma?” My mom thinking quickly said “Uhhh nothing sweetie. Go to sleep. Just making sure Santa’s cookies and milk are alright.” She left the room unsuccessful and we realized it was perhaps too early for this mission. We continued playing cards and had a couple more drinks. Shortly before 2am, with everyone tired and ready for bed –  a second attempt was made. This time my dad tried, citing that he had done this for years for my sister, brother and I and knew the exact timing and process to pull off a successful operation. He slowly turned the handle on the door to their room, snuck in with their (now full sacks) of presents and quickly backed out shouting “NO. GO TO SLEEP.” He exited their room saying “shit she’s not going to sleep.” After my dad’s exit, I could now hear chatter coming from the bedroom. My sleepless daughter had woken up her twin sister and they were now looking around the room and putting pieces of this puzzle together.

I had to intervene and FAST.

I went into their room and laid down with them. “Mommy I saw Dandad come into our room with a pillow sack and it was full of presents and now Santa isn’t gonna be able to bring us our presents.” She started to whine and sob about Santa not being here yet and asking questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer. “Shhhh” I said “Go to sleep. Santa can’t come until you’re sleeping.” By this time her sister also had some commentary to add to the situation. “Well mommy Santa isn’t here yet and what if he doesn’t come to our house?”. Growing tired of their objecting little voices, I shushed them and raised my voice “Well if you don’t go to sleep then maybe he won’t come because you’ll mess up his entire route. You wouldn’t want that would you?  GO TO SLEEP.” Five minutes of silence went by and the questions and whining started up again. I stood up and said “That’s it – Santa is going to have to eat his cookies in the living room because you won’t go to sleep!” I grabbed the milk and two plates and exited the room with them crying “Noooooo mommy no” behind me. I gave them to my dad and returned to their room to lay down with them again. “Dandad has called the North Pole” I told them “and Santa is going to leave your gifts in the living room this year since you won’t go to sleep and you’ll mess up his route if he has to wait for you.”

I started to see the slight break of day by the time they both finally fell asleep, I estimate it must have been about 6:30 or 7am. I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep in before they shockingly awoke on Christmas morning. I woke up to my sleepless daughter screaming “SANTA DIDN’T COME MOMMY” running out of the room crying. My other daughter threw herself on the bed, face into the pillow bawling intensely. This before I have had a chance to fully open my eyes and process what was happening. “No no, he left your stuff in the living room remember?” I said to her. “No he didn’t.” she shouted. “He didn’t come.” As my dramatic daughter cried into her pillow beside me, with me telling her to go look in the living room – her twin sister who ran out of the room was now screaming with glee as she discovered the presents Santa left for her in the living room, and observed the empty plates and milk glass. This perked up her bawling sister who sprung out of bed and ran into the living room excitedly – ready to rip open her gifts. I trailed behind them, eyes barely open, not wanting to be awake at such an unholy hour and still bitter about the horrible night I had.

So we dodged a bullet this year and managed to divert their attention away from the shoddy operation that was the Santa Debacle. *Phew* another year where my kids believe in the mysterious magic of Santa (unless they just don’t wanna tell me that they know what’s going on). Next year there may be a few adjustments to the logistical operations. Things like trusting that they’ll go to sleep so I can sneak into their bedroom and risk being exposed. Forget the risky bedroom business (tradition or not). I’m done with that one.  And carrots are now yesterday’s news! Parsnips are the new carrots!

Joey Fallon’s Life

He had a sort of unusual way about him. Could never quite look anyone in the eye and preferred the company of cats with the glow of his computer screen adorning his face and the low hum of infomercials coming from his 1983 floor model television. It wasn’t always this bad, at one time he had a life, a personality, trusting eyes, and a smile on his face.

This was Joey Fallon’s life.

He grew up in a small village in England. The eldest of 4 boys in a working class family with a typical alcoholic father, passive aggressive mother and walls that had tobacco stained on them like a design finish. His mother couldn’t stand the sight of his father and worked 12 hour days to avoid the responsibilities of motherhood, marriage, and the sad reality that she called life. At the age of 18 he escaped the village and set off to London to rack up a huge student debt and hopefully become something in life. He distanced himself from his parents and siblings and started a fresh life with a new personality; successfully convincing people that he was a well-adjusted intelligent hipster rather than the trainwreck child of an alcoholic he really was.

This worked for several years. He had posh new friends, a great job in the financial sector, a healthy bank account and enough people around him to make him feel secure without his family, who always seemed to make things worse. But that all came to a crashing halt when his brawl-crazy and clearly resourceful brother Bobby showed up on the doorstep of his flat with tears in his eyes and said “Joey – Mum’s dead.”

With the news of his mothers passing Joey’s father began drinking even heavier than he had before (which no one thought possible). Scotch was now on the breakfast menu and he failed to acknowledge or attend something he formerly had called “a job”. They forgave him for a while but he was eventually fired for being a drunk and not giving a shit. Joey had to pack up his apartment and do the only-obligatory-because-his-asshole-brother-had-found-him thing… Move back to the village he loathed so that he could get a substandard go-nowhere job and help to support his disaster of a family. His three brothers were still finishing up high school and couldn’t work yet and his dad was too busy shitting himself, verbally assaulting the world and punching holes in the wall with his feverish booze-induced rages.

Although he was educated in economics and was a Junior analyst in London, the best Joey could hope for in the Village was a bank teller job making one third of what he made in the city. It didn’t take long before landing that; where he worked with 3 other heavy set less-than-graceful women, one with a gap the size of a chicklet in her front teeth. Every day he showed up for work, dealt with the familiar penniless villagers, and lost a piece of his soul so he could bring home enough money to pay the mortgage and stop his whole family from drowning in sorrow.

This went on for three years until his youngest brother Dave was finally old enough to get a job. All four boys were now working, which meant Joey could run away again and escape the reality that he so desperately wished to disengage from. His father would die a drunk and hadn’t made any progress on the road to sobriety; he drank booze with the desperation of a man in a hurry to die.

Joey began stashing away money to save for a plane ticket to Toronto, where his cousin Carl lived with his new wife and child. Life in Toronto would surely be better than here. And he wouldn’t have to think about his drunk of a dad and his dim village roots anymore. When he arrived in Toronto, he walked into a bad situation. Carl had been fired for fucking his secretary and his new wife had filed for divorce and taken the kid. Every night Carl took Joey out to get drunk at a dimly lit pub on College Street where the regulars wore lines on their face from hardened lives of broken dreams. They sat and wallowed in their sad lives, exchanging war stories and plotting out their next moves in a city where they could easily get lost. Carl looked at Joey with tears in his eyes and said “what the fuck am I gonna do now mate?”

Joey swigged back his whiskey and remained quiet.  No advice. no words of wisdom and no way to console his hurting cousin. All he could think about was getting back into the game, getting a good job in the financial sector again, and turning his life around. But he knew that this grungy little bar wasn’t gonna get him anywhere, and would be the downfall of him as long as he continued to hang around with Carl.

After a few months of drunken debauchery, the same old stories, the same table at the pub, and the same regulars; Joey packed up and left his cousin without notice. Took an apartment in the East end of the city. An affordable dive with one room; furnished with furniture that looked like it had been picked up from the side of the road, and a floor model television that barely recognized colour. He woke up early every day and delivered resumes to offices all along Bay Street, hoping that he would land a job and begin his ascent to success again. After five weeks of pounding the pavement he was finally offered a position in the mail room at a major investment firm. They told him he would have to work his way into the big leagues. He accepted the position with a glimmer of hope in his eyes and barely a dollar in his old leather wallet.

Joey worked for months in the mailroom wearing his best threads, trying to weasel his way up by getting to know the investors and executives in the firm, occasionally going on coffee and lunch runs. He made friends with one of the analysts at the firm and started drinking with him at lunch time and at happy hour. It wasn’t before long that Joey started  getting a bad reputation at the firm for showing up drunk, stinking like whiskey and cigs, and violating the women in the office with tasteless sexual prowess. He lost his job in the mailroom and found himself once again drunk on the battered old couch in his one bedroom apartment, listening to an infomercial for the magic bullet. He shot back a finger of whiskey before passing out; dreaming of a life he would never come to realize.

A Thing For Food

I have this weird obsession with taking pictures of food and I’ve been doing it a lot lately. As soon as my schedule clears out a bit (which as you can tell by the frequency of my posts – hasn’t been often) I may have to venture in and mingle with the foodies… maybe create a new food blog.

Anyway. Hi 🙂 How are you? I can’t apologize for life, it happens. And it tends to be crazy when you’re a single mom, writer and a serial entrepreneur. But I am going to try to post more frequently here. I miss my blogging days!

Peace & Peaches!

Lingo

Mmmm enjoy:

Sushi @ Zipang in Vancouver 🙂

Breakfast is served

Annd… this one… Well let’s just say it was a stoner experiment. Yep. This is stoner food at its finest. This my friends is a Cheetos Oreo combo! I have no idea what the thinking was here. But it made for an interesting photo!

If I were to write a personal ad

Okay so I’m not the type to host Tupperware parties, have dinner on the table at six, and give arduous blowjobs every night for spending cash. And if I disagree with you, I might make you feel like a total fucking idiot, but never on purpose I swear. I will never expect you to pay for everything and will always feel better knowing that I make more money than you or if you’re doing well, that I WILL make more money than you. That way I will never be dependent on you for my sense of self-worth or liveliness… And you can call me your sugar mommy. Just don’t let that be interpreted as a license to be a lazy fuck with a sense of entitlement who contributes nothing. Because you will find your shit on the front lawn burning in a garbage can spray painted with the words “BUH BYE NOW”. I will always turn my head and appreciate pretty 20 something year old men who I deem as delicious eye candy, but don’t worry… They aren’t you and couldn’t handle me anyway. I will probably turn the TV off or change the channel if you are watching sports because it simply does not interest me, and hey – you do what you want on your own time, but sports is not my kind of idea of time well spent together. I am more into talking about IDEAS and wanna hear more than just your opinion on that last goal. If you listen to bad music, I am probably gonna call you out on it and attempt to re-school you in the art of tunage. I like surprises and will surprise you if you surprise me, that’s how it works. If you stop surprising me. I’ll probably stop surprising you, and well… then it’ll just be kinda boring and predictable won’t it?! I don’t like boring. Every day I wanna do something different, learn something new, and be inspired. If you play the guitar or drums, I like that. I will write lyrics and we will sing together and make music… But not bad music… Good music. Music that makes your insides feel like they are going to burst open into the heavens and touch everything around you. I won’t like it if you’re needy, but a little bit of adorable jealousy is okay from time to time. You’re gonna have to be okay with my relentless digital flirtations because it’s all a part of the package and one of the things that makes me who I am, so if you’re not secure enough with yourself better find the door and fast because I will chew you up and spit you out! I like tattoos and body piercings and accessories with pink skulls on them… It would be nice if you had at least one piercing or tattoo, but don’t worry… by the time I get my hands on you you’ll be tatted LARGE and I’ll be lovin’ up on ya! But please don’t tattoo mommy on your arm because that is a huge fucking turn off and I will probably vomit and then punch you. If your mommy is a big part of your life that’s sweet… Just don’t let her come up in conversation too often or you will see the back of my head as I run like the wind… away from you! I will not cram my lovely little toes into ridiculous heels EVER. I like Chuck Taylors and will rock them hard. I am not a Barbie girl and don’t plan on having bunions when I’m older. If you refer to women as “bitches” better get a safe distance away from me before my foot finds its way in between your legs and you start screaming like a little bitch. Women are women… ladies… girls… females…. goddesses…. call us what you will…. But bitches we are not. (Unless we lovingly refer to our own girlfriends that way… then it’s cool… just not for you). If you are a liar we’re not gonna work out… I don’t respect people who can’t tell the truth and will probably see right through every lie you deliver, whether I tell you that or not. If you’re happy living a lie I’m sure there’s some broad out there willing to live it with you… I am NOT her. And last but not least, don’t ever offer to pay half on a date because that is cheesy… Not just cheesy but super cheesy. Like stinky blue cheese. I’ll pay… Or you pay… But we’re not in fucking high school here. Be a man and pay for the date you cheap ass motherfucker!

A Message For You?

Today’s message brought to you by the universe. Enjoy…

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