Tag Archives: The Genealogist

Friends with musical benefits

So I have this friend.  Her name is Vivian and she runs the stellar ramble on blog, although she doesn’t get to post as often as she would like on account of the cute little boy she done popped out about 11 months ago.  Vivian is awesomesauce of the most delectable variety, and one of the big things around which our friendship revolves is music.  We met nearly 12 years ago; her then-new-boyfriend now-husband and I had been friends for about 10 years prior to that thanks to a little organization known as the Canadian Naval Reserves where we both were employed as musicians.  Funny, huh?  Anyway, I remember meeting her at a New Year’s Eve party in 1997.  This was our first outing after our first son was born – he was a week old and we took him to a rocking party.  Cool parents?  Or parents who should be investigated by Family Services?   Discuss.

I really don’t remember much of the party, but I do remember meeting Vivian,  and I remember thinking how great she seemed, which turned out to be true, of course, and have I ever mentioned how my first impressions are always right?  As in always?  So anyway, time went on and we would see each other at different events and occasional social things, but it was really only a few years ago that we started hanging out on a more regular basis.  Why did it take us so long?  Mostly it was because that New Year’s Eve party baby was followed 2.5 years later by another baby, and there was much child-rearing and shit like that going down.  While my womb was not barren, my social calendar most certainly was.  And the other thing was that even though we had always impressed each other with our knowledge of music – bands, artists, etc., as well as the ability to speak in song lyrics (seriously) and our fondness for a wide variety of styles of music, it was the magical revelation of our love for one band in particular that set the wheels in motion.  And led us to where we are today.  Which is hardcore groupies.

Now, let me explain that our hardcore groupie-ness basically amounts to going to see as many live shows of this one band as well as many, many others as is humanly (and monetarily) possible.  This has led to some heady times, my friends.  When you have a friend like this, the sky is the limit for musical possibilities.  If I say “M.I.A. is in Toronto next month” she says “I’ll get the tickets”.  If she says “What about going to see The Sadies some time??  I say “OMG yes, they’re playing in Hamilton next week, let’s do it.”  Or, even this email from Viv a couple of months ago:  “In exactly two minutes I am buying tickets for Joel Plaskett”.  Just assuming I am in, and of course, every time, I am.

And it isn’t just that we go to these shows together and have a great time.  No, we experience these shows together.  Depending on who we see and what is going on , there might be high emotion, giggles, squeals, tears even.  It’s never weird or embarrassing for either of us, it’s just real and being in the moment.  And there is ALWAYS a post-gig debriefing where we dissect the show, replay the songs, elaborate on bits of banter.  Practically a written review, people.  And every time it is just awesome.

In high school, I got into a lot of different bands, a lot of different types of music, a lot of different styles.  Very typical of this age group, you’re trying on personas, trying on music until you find a genre that fits.  Except?  Except that I kept evolving with my musical tastes while a lot of my friends didn’t.  Not that they didn’t have preferences, but if they were fans of jazz?  They wouldn’t go see a punk show.  If they were into Ska?  Forget going to see a folk artist.  So I learned to enjoy different artists and styles in the privacy of my bedroom with my records.  Stan Kenton and Teenage Head; The English Beat and Fleetwood Mac; The Who and Mozart.  Not to mention the soundtracks to the musicals I loved.  You get the picture.  University was better, there was more access to music (hello, legal drinking age) and more people to share it with, but I still found that there were the “types” among the people I knew, and sometimes even suggesting “hey, who wants to go see Bruce Cockburn?” would get you shunned.  I did have a couple of friends who were open-minded about music, and  I was certainly pleased as punch to finally meet The Genealogist (3 years post-uni) who also had some varied musical tastes, which was a huge  plus (even more than his killer shoulders and nice ass that I totally checked out as he walked to the bar on our first meeting and no, I am not ashamed to admit that).

When you have been friends with someone for awhile and then one day the two of you  have that “aha” moment where you realize that you’re actually incredibly connected by something as personal and as magical as music?  Well to me, there is nothing better.  I know that our concert-going will likely slow down as Vivian’s little boy gets older, she’ll be occupied by the same things that occupied me when our guys were smaller.  But at least we both know that the desire to go and experience will still be there, even when the possibilities are not.  That’s ok.  I am prepared to wait.  And to take what we can get in the meantime, knowing that that real connection will always be there, no matter how infrequent the occasions.  Music can do that, when you’re with the right person.

What’s the buzz, tell me what’s-a-happenin’

They say it’s been a bad summer/season for scavenger wasps, and I couldn’t agree more.  When we were camping on Lake Erie ofver the Labour Day weekend, a few of us went to the beach and as soon as we popped a beverage, there were dozens of the little shites, just everywhere.  The Genealogist and I tried to have a cold drink out on our deck last weekend, and as soon as we sat down the wasps were all like “oh hai!  you guys have beer!  we love beer!”.  So that put an end to that pretty quick.  It’s a pain in the ass, because our summer was so stupidly wet and cold and crappy, and now that it’s at least sunny 6 days out of 7, it would be nice to enjoy the outdoors before the snow flies (which given the coldness of my nose before I got out of bed this morning could be tonight, for all I know – brrr). 

Anyway, we’ve had a bit of a problem with these waspy buggers getting in the house (no I don’t mean our neighbours haha!).  Our main floor bathroom seems to have one or two at any given time.  Fortunately they’re dopey as all get out, so they don’t bother us too much – they just fly around all stupid-like, banging into the mirror, the lights, etc. and then most of the time they just succumb to their own stupidity.  Occasionally we have to whack them and dispose of the bodies.  And lately, the wasp graveyard has become a little on the overcrowded side.  Hmmm.  So that prompted us to take a look around.  Holes in the screen in the bathroom window?  No, good.  Holes in the screen door leading out to the backyard?  No, good.  Boys leaving the everloving door open as they breeze in and out?  Oh hell yeah.  But could that actually account for the copious numbers of wasps each day?  Not likely.  There had to be an explanation!

Let me backtrack a little bit and tell you about our upstairs bathroom.  No window there, but there’s been the occasional wasp up there too.  Such a puzzle.  We figured well maybe some of them are even more stupid that we thought, and they were just flying upstairs to try to get out.  It happens.  So it’s been annoying, but manageable.

The other day as I was killing another three in the main floor bathroom, The Genealogist said, rather smartly, “do you think there’s a nest outside above the window?”  Aha!  Brilliant.  That would explain the sheer numbers of them, but not really how they’re getting in. Hmmmm.  So after work yesterday I went to pick up the mail at the side of the house and had a look at the bathroom window from the outside.  No nest at all, but what i did notice when I looked up – looked wayyyyy up – that there is a bit of exposed brick (our house is brick, but painted) that caught my eye.  And as I watched, at least a dozen wasps were FLYING IN TO MY HOUSE THROUGH A LITTLE HOLE IN THE BRICK!!

So I showed The Genealogist what I’d discovered, and so we thought, well at least we know where they’re coming in.  As we went back inside, we both thought it was odd though, that while the hole is near the upstairs bathroom, they were coming in to the main floor bathroom.  And then I had a realization: “But that explains the humming sound in the upstairs bathroom”, I said.  And then I freaked the fuck out.

You see, lately we’d been noticing a faint sound, that was hard to describe, coming from the wall behind the sink.  I thought at first it was just the pipes (old house, lots of creaks) or maybe (ewww) mice?  But no, it was too – I don’t know – rhythmic, I guess is the best word.  Very faint, but pretty constant.  So now we know.  Great.  Thousands upon thousands of wasps, living in our wall.  And we think they are coming through the fan in the main floor bathroom.  Holy shit.

So far, as I’ve said, it hasn’t been too crazy, and not at all like a 70s disaster movie, (and really, what was it about the 70s that there were so many crazy-ass movies about killer bees and wasps and other bugs?) but still.  It’s a bit disturbing to know you’re sharing your home with these things.  It’s not like it’s an annoying nest near your front door, but rather that they’re IN YOUR HOUSE.  What’s separating us from the nest in the wall?  Ancient drywall, that’s what!  I, for one, am not convinced that that is enough.

So we have called the wasp-remover people, but they can’t come until Monday.  WTF?  Don’t they realize we could be dead?!  Stung to death?  Won’t someone please think of the children?  Ah well.  We’ve managed thus far, hopefully there won’t be any trouble.

And if not?  Well, fortunately I have watched enough movies to know that I can totally make a flamethrower using a lighter and a can of hairspray:  “Suck it, wasps!  Where’s your queen now?! Bow to the new Queen of the Wasps!”

Which in my case, totally works on so many levels.

By way of introduction

While this whole blogging thing doesn’t feel new, I guess I actually am new here, so I thought I would introduce you to the cast of characters who surround me on a daily basis, etc, etc. 

But before I go there, can I please just say that it is COLD this morning in my part of the world.  COLD.  We barely had a summer here, and now it’s only the 11th of September and it’s cold.  Wearing a sweater in the office, thinking about busting out the tights cold.  Single digits when I woke up this morning cold.  I truly dislike being cold, and I had high hopes for a hot September to make up for a wet July and a sucky August.  But this?  DO NOT WANT.

Okay now, back to me.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before, I will do my best to make it brief and painless:

I live with three men.  The Musician is 11, The Artist is 9 and The Genealogist is around the same age as me, and he is the one I am married to.  The other two I gave birth to.  We have a nice old house in a nice old area of our city.  The boys can walk to their respective schools, I can take the bus to my place of work, and The Genealogist has about a 20 minute commute to his employment.  I don’t know if that is important or not, but there it is.  We own exactly one car and we need a new furnace.  The Musician has just been fixed up with braces, thus beginning the decade that will beoome known as The Poverty Years.  Okay, not really.  We are comfortable and fortunate and insured and alla that.  It’s just that by the end of all of this, his mouth will be worth close to double what I paid for my first car.  So yeah.

The nicknames?  Oh.  Well just to be clear, it’s not that I’m all afraid of the internets finding me and my family all ooga-booga scary like. With what I’ve given you so far, you could probably very easily find me should you want to (and if you’re not creepy, you totally should look me up!)  It’s more that I just have recently started referring to the boys as The Musician and The Artist in actual conversation with friends and colleagues, so I thought I’d continue that here.  The Genealogist?  Well I just came up with that now.  And it’s my blog so I’m keeping it, although I reserve the right to shorten it if spelling Genealogist should ever become annoying. 

So there you have it.  It’s nice to meet you.  I’d shake your hand but my fingers are frozen solid.  Did I mention it’s cold?