Alberta

An Open Letter to Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig

To the Whirlpool CEO, Jeff Fettig,

Dear Sir,

My recent experience with your Whirlpool W10219708A Compact Front Loading Automatic Washer has been, how to put it delicately, something of a bit of a joke. Were I a calm and reasonable person, I might describe it as mildly frustrating, perhaps even undesirable. Instead, I find that the simplest and most effective way to describe said experience is to equate it to that of a Shakespearean tragedy, with more irony than even the Bard himself could possibly muster in this day and age. I am, therefore, obligated to write to you now and express my dissatisfaction with as much vim and vigor as I can muster. Vim, because that is one of the cleaning products I utilized after the A10 error supplied by your clownish machine caused my laundry room to flood, and vigor, because that was the rate I wished to strangle myself after I was able to finally run a successful load of laundry without calling in a local priest to exorcize what I can only assume is the restless spirit of some North American Buffalo God whose golden idol was bulldozed to make way for our condo.

Spoiler alert: The priest was useless and the rabbi has since stopped returning my calls.

But I am getting ahead of myself, as I am want to do when I find I have wasted the majority of my day scooping water out of the bottom of a washing machine with a ladle.

My husband and I purchased our condo just over two years ago, and were most thrilled to learn that appliances such as a washer, dryer, stove, and fridge would all be provided by Whirlpool. There is nothing quite like pulling the plastic off a shiny new brushed steel appliance. I suppose I might equate it to the sensation of peeling the top off a yogurt cup or, to give an example you are more familiar with, unzipping a dufflebag filled with grand wads of cash that you can roll around in naked.

But the good times were not to last. Fairly soon we began to notice several things going awry, least of all the fact that our neighbour down the hall turned out to be absolutely insufferable and, quite frankly, a bit of a dick, as well as the presence of a mad pooper in our building. Those issues were negligible though, when compared to the vicious, insensitive flashing of the A10 error which began to appear on our washer’s display. I’m sure you aren’t aware of what A10 means, given that you probably do not furnish your house with the same appliances that you sell. That would be silly. Why use an itty-bitty stackable washer and dryer when you can pay orphans with baby smooth hands to wash your clothes for you in the local enchanted spring? I am, of course, only assuming your local spring is enchanted. Ours is filled with geese, and thanks to a series of unfortunate events involving the retrieval, and subsequent returning of their eggs, I can confirm they are not enchanted.

A10, sir, means there is a clog. A nasty old boogery clog that is preventing the washer from draining. There is only one solution when an A10 error happens, and it is quite possibly the most aggravating solution your company could have possibly come up with. A10 means taking a flat blade and prying off the bottom bit of the washer (in my case I opted for a butcher knife so I could feel marginally superior to the machine I was servicing) and then proceeding to open the small valve at the bottom to clear out the blockage.

Youtube ensured me that this was very simply, but could get messy as there might be a bit of water in there, so make sure you have a towel nearby to mop up any mess.

No man, woman, child, or god could have predicted the torrential flooding of water that gushed from my washing machine. Indeed, had I not been wearing arm floaties there was a very strong chance that I might have drowned at that moment. Frantically I shoved the plug back into place and raced for more towels as the now soapy, mildew-esque water began to seep into our baseboards, which are now permanently warped, thank you so much. I threw every towel I had at the floor, watching helplessly as they became instantaneously soaked by the deluge of dank washer water.

Now here I must offer kudos. It is very convenient that the means to dry said towels is so close by. Theoretically one might able to toss the ruined towels into the dryer with one hand while sopping up the mess with another. However, I must caution you that towels, when soaked absolutely through, are rather heavy and thus, when attempting to pile them into the dryer, you can expect them to drip to the point where you may slip and fall on the linoleum, only to find yourself being crushed beneath a mountain of towels, quietly whispering ‘why’ as your life flashes before your eyes and the room around you grows dark and cold.

If you manage to struggle free from the pile of death and you manage to get those towels into the dryer, you are still up shit creek, as I learned. Because much like the vagina of your mother, it is still absolutely soaking in there.

That was rude of me. I’m sorry. I’m just so upset that I wasted my own day off doing this whole process over and over again.

Oh, didn’t I mention that? This is not the first time we’ve received the A10 error. It has happened multiple times over the last two years and, fortunately, we have become masters in the art of hastily acquiring towels, bed sheets, and duvet covers to cover the flood in order to prevent even further damage to our walls and baseboards.

Where was I? Oh yes. So you’ve managed to survive the flooding, the crushing, and now the drying, and somewhere a long the way you’ve found a spare dry square of cloth that you can place under the Magical Faucet of Neverending Water. You’ve probably accepted at this point that no amount of specialty fans or emergency clean up will help with this issue, so you might as well let yourself be baptised in the abysmal flood of suds. Miraculously, there is an end to the water. Somewhere between the swearing, crying, and fighting with your spouse, the washing machine does appear to be fully drained and you are able to carefully pick out the microscopic piece of lint that managed to ruin your entire load of laundry, your baseboards, and, at this rate, your marriage. Now you put it all back together, press the cancel button, let the machine finish draining automatically, and do a test run on “Spin/Drain”. Yes, you’ll have clean underwear for work ye-

Are you serious? Are you fucking kidding me? There is another A10 error? There isn’t even anything in the machine! I just cleaned out the trap! There is literally no reason why this machine should not work unless for some reason it is cursed in which case Whirlpool better have a damn exorcist on retainer because apparently I need one!

I’m not going to mince words any more than I already have. I am frustrated. In a wild effort to do several loads of laundry today (because your machine is only slightly bigger than a bread maker and thusly I have to do my four bras in two separate loads) I have soaked, dried, and soaked again the following:

5 towels

2 Duvet Covers

1 King-Sized Fitted sheet

6 rolls of Off-Brand paper towel

7 paper napkins

1 Fuzzy blanket

Untold number of hand towels

 

These are the atrocities of war. The victims of untold flooding. The smell of mildew is now firmly embedded in the above textiles and as such they have been relinquished to a cupboard which we have deemed to be our “Emergency Stupid Washer Is Broken” cupboard where we can grab them, as well as a bottle of vodka, at a moments notice. The duvet covers were unsalvageable even after being washed in a real machine. The off-brand paper towels were as useless as one might expect them to be, however I believe given the amount of fluid ounces of water that was used that day, even Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper would have had their work cut out for them.

Now let’s talk about the smell. Yes, the smell. I don’t know if you have any idea what it is like to live in a condo, and before you decide to call your pent-house suite a condo let me explain: a condo is a living space where you can stand on either end and long jump to the other side without much effort. Condos are tiny. They are tiny and cramped and they do not come with air conditioning unless you pay extra, which we would have done except that we had already used up our ‘extra’ budget on a washing machine that is probably imbued with the spirit of Mrs. Topechka, an angry Ukrainian Turn-of-the-Century Pioneering Woman who does not care for our new-fangled ways. So there was no room in the budget for an air conditioner, which, given that we live in Alberta, means we rely heavily on fans during the summer. But not all the fans in the world can stop heat and water from crushing together and creating the stench.

Let me tell you, when something stinks in a condo, it really stinks. My husband’s mildewy dress shirts, for one thing, which he put in to wash over night only to wake up and discover an A10 error the next morning. Our towels. The towels we used to clean our bodies with. All of these things, now forever drenched in the scent of mold, mildew, and probably my tears. And the stench in the condo is horrendous. The water sat in the washer for less than 12 hours and yet the smell that culminated in our condo is so ripe that it is literally transcending time. I can feel my eggs shriveling up in my ovaries. My children will be born with a perpetually puckered nose simply because the odor in the condo is clinging to everything. My cats curled up into the corner of the den and projectile vomited everywhere before dying abruptly. My dog has turned rabid and is now locked in the bathroom, which I imagine is making her even more upset given that the bathroom is right across from the laundry room and is probably the second most smelly place in the condo.  They say Vicks Vapor Rub under the nose is a good way to deal with the smell of decaying bodies, but what they don’t tell you is that smearing it all over your face will only serve to help the smell of mold and mildew permeated deeper into your pores. I am actually molding as I sit here and type this.

But yeah, sure, shit happens, right? Roll with the punches. I did try to make a game out of it for a while. I played “What will dry these towels faster: The Majesty of the Sun or This Perpetually Disappointing Whirlpool Appliance?” I am sorry to say by the end of the saga it was Majestic Sun: 4, Whirlpool Appliance: 2. Of course, those games only take you so far, especially as you spend more and more time steeping in the smell of mold, watching water trickle carefully out of a small valve that you have adjusted the perfect amount to avoid more flooding. It makes a person introspective, really gets you thinking about life, the universe, and how goddamned crappy an appliance has to be if the smallest item not classified as a textile in the washer somehow causes it to have a grand mal seizure. I mean, let’s be honest here, I know it’s a small appliance for a small space, but I should be able to leave a receipt for a box of tampons in my pocket without having to worry if the neighbours below us are going to have flooding in their kitchen.

And yeah, cleaning your pockets is always a good plan prior to doing a load of laundry, but give me a fucking break, I actually do have other things to do (aside from today which I dedicated entirely to watching water trickle from a valve, did I mention that yet?) I have a condo to clean, a rabid dog to walk and/or put down, food to make, actual work to do for my actual job which I am actually paid to do, and clothes to pu- Oh, well. I guess I don’t have clothes to put away at the moment, but we know whose fault that is, don’t we? The point is, people generally live very busy lives these days, and worrying about a scrap of lint in a pocket is not on the top of my priority list. If your product cannot sustain itself in those little moments, how can anyone ever expect it to clean the grass stains off of my metaphorical snub-nosed child’s soccer gear? Failure to do its most basic job in the face of slight interruption does not bode well for the longevity of your product.

And before you ask What about warranty? Yeah, that was a year long. And as is tradition with all things produced in the 21st century, it broke roughly 6 minutes after said warranty expired. Of sure, we called in the dealer a couple times, but that was about as useful as nailing a banana to a fruit bat. It was not useful at all, and was incredibly pointless and, in the long term, will probably result in the loss of life.

So what is the point of all this, you might ask, knowing full well that you are going to receive a snarky reply.

The point is I assumed Whirlpool was simply a brand name and not a description of what I could expect draining from my washing machine. The point is I would very much like to know why the Whirpool washer has the constitution of an anti-vaxxers child in a room full of whooping cranes with nasty coughs. The point is, I would very much like my washer to not break down the next time I forget to pick each stray thread off of my jeans with a pair of tweezers prior to washing them. The point is, I am horribly disappointed with your product, with its ability to do its most basic function, with my ruined towels and bed sheets and duvet covers, with my warped baseboards that will detract from the resale price of the condo and, perhaps finally, I am disappointed knowing that it will only be a matter of weeks before A10 comes back and we have to repeat the whole process all over again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my head in our Whirlpool oven. I’m not sure if I’m hoping it will work or not. One thing is certain, the outcome either way is sure to be exciting.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky

An Open Letter to Kevin O’Leary: You’re making us O’Weary

Dear Kevin O’Leary,

Listen, Kevin, we need to have a talk. No, I don’t have a million dollars to offer you, and no, dinosaur soul juice does not flow through my veins, but I am an Albertan, so listen up.

You need to stop. Stop. Stop, Kevin O’Leary. Stop talking. Go away. I will give you, what do I have here… $6.45 for you to go away right now. You are a money man, and if you stop talking right at this very moment, you will be six dollars richer. That is a total benefit to you. Invest it in ties or hair plugs or whatever it is you’re really into right now.

Kev, Kevin, Kevvy-baby, please. You’re embarassing yourself. You do see that, don’t you? A million dollars? One meelllllion dollars is your offer to ‘revitalize’ the Albertan economy? Have you been to Alberta lately? Do you know what houses are priced at? A million smackos will get you half a house out in Silverado Dressage, and not the nice half. A million dollars is a painfully arbitrary number. The sort of number a fanciful child pulls out of their underdeveloped brain when asked “How much money does Mommy and Daddy have?”

And you think you can somehow bribe our democratically elected representative to leave her position? Do you know who does that? The villain. The villain of the movie tries to bribe the leader of the free world, and when the leader laughs uproariously and flips the villain the bird, the villain proceeds to produce a giant galaxy destroying laser.

Because that is what they do in the films, O’Leary.

You can’t just bribe away democracy. That isn’t what democracy is. That isn’t how democracy works. You are bribing the wrong people. You need to be bribing me. Bribe me so the next time an election comes around I don’t vote for NDP. Bribe me. It’s easy. I am cheap. 

In fact, if you give me $1000 towards my editor fund, I will, hand to God, never mention you again. I will not pepper your Twitter news feed with aggravating comments that reveal my total incompetence and my lack of education in the area of whatever it is you are engaged in. Sharks? No. Dragons! That was it. Christ, how did you get put in charge of dragons? Dragons are fucking huge, man. Is that why you don’t have hair? Do you not want to talk about it?

And maybe you thought by offering the province ONE MEEEEELLION dollars you would somehow cause the overall population of Alberta to resort of a coup d’etat or, as I’ve heard it is called now, a kudatah. But you underestimated several things about us, O’Leary, and I feel as if it is my job to eduate you. Please take note of the following things:

  1. We like democracy. Democracy actually works for us. In fact, Alberta is an execllent example of why democracy works. We are generally very conservative and yet we voted in the NDP’s because the Conservatives were literally making us retch in the streets. Yes, First Past the Post is a flawed system, but we’ve made it work so far, and will continue to do so into the future.
  2. One MEEEEEELLION dollars is quite effectively nothing. It will not revitalize our province. It’s estimated that in November, Calgary lost over 35,000 jobs due to the collapse of oil. Your one mil. isn’t going to satisfying them, let alone revitalize our economy.
  3. Rachel Notley, despite your apparent belief, is not some sort of Oil Necromancer who has siphoned the wells dry and thereby created this current troubling scenario. She inherited these issues from the Conservative government. The oil industry does not collapse under the direction of a single individual. We are talking years of fiscal mismanagement and dependence on a single industry. That is the fault of many, not just one, and trying to place the blame on Notley and bribe her to leave office just makes you look like an uneducated blowhard.

You are a money man, and that is fine, Kevin, baby, but you are clearly lacking in several key components of ‘humanity’, namely the ability to critically and rationally examine a scenario and avoid political pandering. If you wanted to really help Alberta, you would invest in CalgaryNEXT KathleenNOW. 

Please, Kevin O’Leary. Stop making fun of our democratic practice, stop mocking it by suggesting our Premier ought to succumb to bribery. Please stop talking. Please go away. And to the media, stop talking to him. No one cares. If anything it makes us sad every time we have to acknowledge that Kevin O-Is-For-Opinionated-Leary has said something, be it intelligent or… whatever it is that keeps leaking from the corner of his mouth.

Stop, please, just stop.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Sawisky

Integrity Commissioner

Extra Life 2015 – A Week Late

Last week was the official Game Day for Extra Life 2015. Unfortunately I couldn’t partake as I was busy screaming at children and their parents. Now, you might be saying to yourself “Tell us something about you that we don’t know, Kathleen.” If I am to be honest, I was paid to scream at them. I was paid by my place of work. I was paid to pump up the copious parents and their wee children who had arrived for the grand opening of our American Girl Boutique. It was great fun. I spent the day meeting and talking to parents and kids, escorting them through the store as I threw on my best Ol Timey Radio voice and waved my hands around like a Wacky Waving Inflatible Arm Waving Tube Man. Some parents were even kind enough to thank me for the job I did on twitter, which was jolly good.

But, that meant while I was screaming at children, all my Extra Life buddies were busy with bloodied fingers and sore eyes, taking part in a 24 hour video game marathon for our local Children’s Hospital (which I have spoken about before.)

Well, a week later, and I’m getting off my ass to do it. Cheryl will be joining me again this year, as will Shawna. My goal is $1500, and at this point I’m only at $340. It doesn’t matter, though, because it is the thought that really counts. Sean Rooney and his team raised over 40K in the memory of their son, Dominic. That money will go directly to ACH and help them remain one of the most prestigious Children’s Hospitals in North America. We are so, so lucky to have access to the research and staff at ACH, and every year around Extra Life time I feel the need to reflect on my time as a patient as ACH.

Like most sick kids, I never really had the capacity to look at my situation with any sense of rational thought. I never looked around and mused about the remarkable things happening all around me, about the lives being saved and lost within the bright walls of ACH. I never said, “Golly! The medical research taking place here is out of this world! Surely we, as a community, ought to go out of our way to support this fabulous institution!”

I was, simply put, a dumb kid with no concept of the world that revolved around me. In many ways I am glad that my education focused heavily on rational thought. I constantly wonder if I would be capable of looking back at my time as a patient at ACH with gratitude if it weren’t for the teachings of those around me.  For Doctor Harder, who stepped into the role of a father and still keeps my graduation picture on his desk; to Evelyn, who became a close friend and comfort to my mother. To Doctor Salo, who took on my case with his dry sense of humor and, to this day, is the only person I want on my side when Skynet takes over (because he is, and I quote “Not afraid of no toaster”.)  To my teachers who showed more patience than necessary through high school, as I adjusted to my life in this new and relatively disagreeable body, who offered me books and words of comfort every time a surgery came around. To the professors in College in University, who put up with my sarcasm and helped me hone it in such a way that the energy of it went towards educating others instead of fueling my own regrets. To my mom, who stood by my side for every surgery, every x-ray and MRI, who brought Momma Bear forth when needed, and joined me in outlandish and childish commentary about other patients during the long hours in hospital waiting rooms. To my husband, who stands by my side now, through everything. Who does it without being asked, knowing that I am perhaps a bit too stubborn to acknowledge that I need him there, when the truth is I do, for every appointment.

I do this ridiculous marathon for all of you, because you taught me how to survive, and help me to do so every day. And knowing that the love and compassion you showed to me was not meant for me alone, but meant to be shared with those who I encountered as I got older. I will continue to show compassion, thoughtfulness, and rational thought on a daily basis because that is what I took away from Alberta Children’s Hospital. Every child who walks through the front door of that amazing structure is fighting their own battle, be it cancer, blood diseases, autoimmune diseases, or broken bones. They don’t know it now, but they will learn compassion and thoughtfulness as well, probably years after the fact, when they are older and capable of reflecting on their experiences.

So tomorrow, if you are having a lazy saturday, join myself, Cheryl, and Shawna as we play games of all sorts for ACH and all the kids in Southern Alberta who have, and will eventually use ACH in some capacity.

We will be streaming via twitch here, starting around 10 am MST.

Donations can be made here.

There will be singing and antics and various games. Cheryl will also stream, I imagine, as she has a much larger and dedicated audience! There will be Moscow Mules to drink (I bought a bag of limes just for this event), popcorn eaten, and lots of Beemo and Vivi time in front of the camera.

Help me support Alberta Children’s Hospital, a week late but hopefully not a dollar short. If you can’t spare a dime, then please consider sharing this with your friends and family.

Thank you,

Kathleen Sawisky, esq.

Integrity Commissioner and also Prime Minister of Canada Hur Hur

In Which Someone, Who Won’t Be Named, Forgot Her Limits

Perhaps one of the greatest struggles for anyone suffering from chronic pain, aside from the suppression of the frequent homicidal rages and the desire to kill or be killed, is the acknowledging and subsequent acceptance of new limits. Limits imposed upon said person because their body, whether they like it or not, probably now has the structure of al dente spaghetti and a single wrong move will result in hours if not days or even possibly centuries of excruciating pain.

Maybe it’s because I am young, or naive, or have the mythical sense of invincibility, which I am told people my age suffer from, but I just do not know my limits.

Oh sure, I can grasp the psychological impact of chronic pain. I can deal with the emotional highs and lows. I have even learned how to properly speak of my pain without resorting to vulgar swears. Okay, that last one is a lie. Fuck chronic pain, but still. I really mastered 90% of what the CPC was trying to teach me. I am vocal enough about my pain to ensure my health professionals listen to me; I am in control of my medication; I find the sunnyside of life mildly more interesting than the other side of life.

I have not, however, learned to accept my limitations and, when recognizing said limits, I still refuse to speak of them. I am woman, hear me groan in agony as I limp towards the finish line.

At this point I would make some pithy comment about my limits not being the mountain I will die on, however yesterday I am fairly sure that is exactly what happened. Because we decided to go on a nice little hike in Banff. And now I feel dead. So dead.

In our defense, we did not plan on climbing the mountain. It is generally accepted that I am not capable of taking part in such activities unless I have all my morphine with me, and also possibly some sort of sherpa who is willing to tote my fragile corpse back to the car. We had planned on hiking/walking gently over man-made paths through Johnson Canyon to the Ink Pots in Banff. My understanding was that these Ink Pots contained some sort of magical fairy, much like The Legend of Zelda, who would grant a single wish to me if I played the Song of Healing. Let me tell you, if that damn fairy was actually there I would have wished to be transported directly back to the car.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We had planned to move through Johnson Canyon, only to arrive in Banff and discover it was closed for repairs. Because nothing says “Preserving natural sites” by repairing them with man-made tools. No, no, I understand. It is done to prevent obese tourists from getting wedged between canyon walls. But still, we could have used some heads up.

Still, that magical wish-granting-fairy was too much to miss, so we decided to access the Ink Pots via Moose Meadows. Meadows. Sounds picturesque, right? Maybe a moose or two? Something extremely Canadian that would undoubtedly fulfill my Canadiana quota for a day or two. When the average person thinks meadows,  the generally accepted synonym is probably not mountainous switchbacks that equate to roughly 124 flights of stairs… one way. That is, I imagine, more of an antonym.

And yet that is precisely what the Moose Meadows Trail is like. No moose, not a single meadow, and somehow it managed to be uphill both ways, like some sort of Man vs Wild on Acid experience.

It was just over 11 kilometers altogether. For you American’s, that is generally accepted as “not that bad of a hike”. It was really only the uphill part that caused issues. Oh, and the deep downhill part. And the roots, the winding, the questionable animal prints and, finally, the disappointment that was the Ink Pots at the end of the journey. To be fair, had we known what we were in for by taking the Moose Meadows Trail, we probably wouldn’t have raised our expectations to the point where we imagined magical wish-granting-fairies. Had we expected five beautifully coloured, naturally occurring springs (one of which was frozen over. Yes. Frozen over) we might have arrived there thinking “Ah yes, that was quite the hike for this lovely sight. Now let us return home.”

Instead, as Alex so eloquently said, “This is fucking it? This is what we came all this way for?”

But this isn’t about the nature version of the disappointing Armstrong Cheese Factory experience. This is about limits. If I had known how difficult the hike would be for the… ahem… mildly disappointing Ink Pots, I would have listened to my body which said, roughly every 1.2 kilometers “Turn back. Just turn back. Tell Alex you are sore. You will regret this the next day.Turn back, you foolish cow!”

We did not turn back. We completed the entire hike.

Last night, after doping myself into a deep sleep, I stirred, just enough that my body shifted in the glory that is our bed. The pain was excruciating. It jolted me straight out of my sleep. Turns out I didn’t have to wait until the next day to regret the hike or those goddamned Ink Pots. I just needed to wait an hour or two after falling asleep.

I don’t want to be limited simply because my back is full of delightfully polypy degenerative arthritis. I certainly don’t want to be limited because of the constant, agonizing sensation of someone punching me repeatedly in my vertebrae. I would like to be able to hike and see the highly overrated Ink Pots (although once was probably more than enough for me.) I would like to not have to take copious amounts of morphine just to roll out of bed the morning after these adventures.

I also want my goddamned one wish, because bitch, I want a pony.

Extra Life 2015 or ‘Dammit, Cheryl!’

I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t ready for Extra Life this year. This would be my fourth year doing the annual 24 hour video game marathon, and I had originally given myself a goal of $1500 in an effort to top what I did last year.

But things happen. Life gets in the way. And somehow the increasing strain I was feeling in my back and the constant, reverberating pain that was beginning to eat away at my sense of self and sensibilities left me feeling as if this year I just couldn’t do it. I love gaming, but this year was just one year too many. My body couldn’t handle the stress, my mind was already strained from trying to remain happy under the pressure to be miserable, and now I was working.

But dammit all, Cheryl just had to message me on Facebook, innocently inquiring as to my plans. She unknowingly planted that seed, that tiny idea that was, from her end, innocuous and innocent. Not to me though. My brain, twisted as it is, interpreted it as Kathleen, you are letter yourself and the Children’s Hospital, which you owe so much, down if you don’t do this. Don’t be a big dumb baby.

Shut up, brain. Shut up!

But there you have it. My big dumb-dumb baby brain is back in Extra Life 2015 mode, and with only 2ish weeks left to fundraising I have put myself into one hell of a corner. I won’t make my goal, but I refuse to change it. I said I would raise $1500 and dammit, I will try. I will bribe coworkers, guilt if need be. I will beg family, I will post pictures of my nasty-ass spine and I will describe in vivid detail what it is like to have to take 12 children’s Tylenol instead of suffering a suppository only to then throw up artificial grape flavoured nonsense. It was like vomiting up Hell itself, by the way.

I will do it all in order to remind you folks that every year hundreds of thousands of kids utilize the various hospitals that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network, and that ACH here in Calgary is particularly important to me. It was a second home growing up, and offered me a family I never thought I would need, let alone want.

If you have a dollar, a dime, a quarter to spare, please consider donating, if not to me then to someone else. Maybe there is another hospital closer to where you live, where your own child has gone, or where you yourself had a broken limb mended in your childhood. Support these amazing organizations in any way you can.

Me? On November 7th to 8th (or possibly 8th to 9th depending on my work schedule) I will be playing video games for 24 hours straight. I will live stream it and complete challenges. Full disclosure: It will be all Fallout.

Click here to view my Extra Life page and, hey, maybe make a donation too!

An Open Letter to Ken King and the People of Calgary: “Can I interest you in KathleenNOW?”

Dear Mr. King,

What joy! What glory! What a day! Your introduction of the CalgaryNEXT project, as well as the financial requirements from the people of Calgary in the form of taxation to fund your glorious megalith project slash homage to commercial greed is, without a shadow of a doubt, the single most HI-larious thing that could have been announced this week, followed very closely by the discovery of a colony of anthropomorphic dogs on Mars who exist for the full purpose of reciting Shakespeare.

(more…)

The Story of Dean

Theory: We all have one person we are allowed to hate. One person who, when mentioned, drives us so close to the edge of insanity that we would rather throw ourselves off the cliff into the thorny hell below than spend another moment thinking about that one individual. My husband has such a person, and last night I met mine.

His name is Dean.

Dean is a horrible person. Dean has the personality of an aggressive badger that has been caught in a rainstorm and, with no concept of social norms, has decided to take out his years of pent up rage and frustration on the nearest person. Dean has all the charm of Darth Vader, hopped up on bath salts, having gotten a taste for human flesh. Dean is reason for climate change and, I am almost 100% sure, the Mad Pooper of Building 3000.

Dean is just the worst.

Dean is what happens when you combine the current cast of Saturday Night Live with a large swarm of locusts that have all been taught to play kazoos and the kazoos are on fire.

I had the gut-wrenching horror of laying eyes on Dean last night at a meeting for our condo board, wherein “I might just literally be Satan” Dean decided that the best way to air his grievances was by publicly humiliating our cheerful Property Manager by demanding “Why haven’t you returned any of my emails?”

(Note: He is apparently the only one with this issue, which may or may not be a telling point.)

Now, I like our Property Manager. When we lost our original key fob, she was all over getting us a new one made. And when I went to get said fob, there was some miscommunication, and this Property Manager immediately left her lunch break to make a new one for me, and then apologized profusely for making me wait. She is British and lovely and has never let us down.

Which is why, after she initially apologized for not returning his emails, and Dean continued to berate her repeatedly, I felt the need to interrupt him and explain that she had apologized to him already and the subject could now be dropped.

I got wild, uninhibited satisfaction in watching him turn to look at me. The shock on his face indicated that never before in his existence as a puddle of human excrement had anyone dared to interrupt him, and he had no reply to make. The reactions of those running the meeting were equally amusing as they raised eyebrows at me and smirked.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there is a need for good communication when in a position of authority. If our Property Manager made an error, she has now been more than made aware of it and she will obviously try her utmost best to not make that mistake again. However, to call someone out publicly in such a way is a show of power. It is Dean trying to say, “Listen, I get that I am a total gargoyle of a human being, so here, let me put all the attention on you.” No one ever accomplished anything by trying to ‘out’ someone in such a way, and while it was rude of me to interrupt him, I like to think of it as more of a karmic balancing act. My actions simply neutralized his own, thus restoring the balance of the world.

“I’m a Frogman, Ra-ra-ra” Dean also used the term “Point of Order” during the meeting, which was just so pretentious I almost vomited koolaid all over my shoes. Point or order? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were in a Forum to Address the Misanthropic Ways of World Leaders. Clearly this is a serious situation and not at all simply a meeting where we, as condo owners, form our new condo board. Super serious, guys.

Unsurprisingly enough, Dean volunteered to be a condo board member. Me, being me, could not help but do a quick political calculation in my mind, which went something like this:

I have no desire to be on the condo board, yet I despise Dean. If someone votes for me, they may theoretically no longer vote for Dean. Ergo, if Dean loses, I win. If we both lose, I still win.

I did not win, thank goodness. I have no time for condo board meetings. More importantly, however… Dean lost. It led to a very important realization in my life…

I don’t want to win. I just want Dean to lose.

Note: You may be asking yourself, Why, Kathleen? Why hate Dean so much? To which I am reminded of Hannibal Lector’s feeling on rude people. They are no good. They also, apparently need to be eaten. I am, of course, not prepared to escalate this conflict to such a point. I’ll probably just keep passive-aggressively using his name in puns (Thanks, Community). Honestly, I would have let it go, but as the meeting was winding down yesterday, the Property Manager came around to collect the contact information for the new board members. She sat briefly next to me and was visibly shaken, close to tears. Because that’s what happens when you publicly humiliate another person repeatedly. It actually bothers them. Go figure. I can’t abide that. It was neither the time nor the place, yet “Punch me in the kidney” Dean seemed to think he had the right to act then and there. Basic compassion goes a long way, and I aim to teach him about it, one way or another.

Dean you later!