Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What's in a name?

My name is unique. Donloree. I used to be Donloree Dickau and I grew up in Puyallup – let’s all pause here and say a collective, “Wow!”.

I love my name and have never wanted a different name. Unfortunately, my name is complex. People seem to always think that ‘Loree’ is my last name, especially over the phone. I am constantly explaining that it’s all one big name, one big first name. My name also puts people into a stunned moment of shock when they first hear it. A look of confusion and a thought of, “What the heck did she just say?” runs across their face before they can cover it up. This continues to humor me, and it’s been happening for over 25 years!

My biggest frustration about my name is that everyone tells me how unique it is and then proceeds to ask me what the story is behind my name. If my name was something like, oh say - Sharon, no one would ever ask me that. This conversation would never happen to ‘Sharon’ on her first day of work:

New co-worker – Hi, it’s great to finally meet you, my name is Fred. We’re very excited to have you on board here at the office
Sharon – Thanks. I’m glad to be here.
New co-worker – I’ve been meaning to ask you, where did you get such a beautiful name? There has got to be some story behind it. Did a man named Ron share something with your family around the time of your birth and your parents created the name ‘Sharon” because what Ron shared was so meaningful? Or something even better? Do tell, I can’t wait to hear!
Sharon – Umm…no. My mom saw the name, really liked it and so they named me Sharon. That’s about it.
New co-worker – Oh…I see…

When I got married my last name changed to Hoffman, which I thought would be less problematic than Dickau because people have actually heard of it! In elementary school whenever there was a substitute teacher, I knew when they came to my name because there was a huge, pregnant pause in the D section of the roll call. I would usually pipe of with a “Here!” before they could muster up enough courage to slaughter my name. I thought that this new last name of “Hoffman” would lead to fewer questions about the origin of my name. But as per usual, I was wrong. Now everyone asks me if I know some Hoffman out in some small rural town. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone, I married into the family!!

Since my first name tends to be really confusing for people, I try to make life easier for everyone involved. At restaurants and other public places that require your name, I have been known to give a name that isn’t my own.

  • Penelope. This seemed like a reasonable name – known, yet not extremely common. Penelope seemed like a good compromise of normalcy and uniqueness all rolled into one. Unfortunately, the 15 year old girl that took my name down at Tony Roma’s apparently didn’t pass spelling. She seemed highly confused, and after my third explanation of how to spell it I gave up and let her spell it “Paneloppie”.
  • Cherise. I love this name, I think it’s an absolutely beautiful name. After the more normal name, Penelope, didn’t work out I decided to go with a different unique name. So the next time I had to call and make a reservation I gave ‘Cherise” as my name. Note: make sure to know how to spell your fake name when you give it. You come across as very flaky when you don’t know how to spell your own name.
  • Susan. This is a great name to give. It’s common, no one asks you how to spell it and there is no story to go along with it. Although if you are at a busy Starbucks it can lead to severe confusion. The woman that is actually named Susan may inadvertently steal your beverage and then be very upset because they made the wrong drink for her. So much customer dissatisfaction just because I didn’t want to spell my name loudly four times and then listen to the barista stumble over it 3 minutes later.
  • Matilda. At Lulu Lemon they require a name when you go try things on. They write your name on a white board that is attached to your door. I just didn’t feel comfortable having my name being displayed for the whole ‘luon’ wearing community to see, so I stated that my name was Matilda. I kept an extremely straight face and even acted appropriately offended that the change room woman was trying not to burst into giggles because my name was Matilda.

I used to work with a man named Roger that pronounced my name, “Dawn-Lori”. His quirky pronunciation was noted by many people, but no matter how many times people told him the correct pronunciation of my name is “Dawn-lah-ree” he continued with the “Dawn-Lori”. This annoyed me to no end, I thought the best way to combat this was to pronounce his name, “Row-Ger”, unfortunately I never got up enough nerve to say it to his face. Although many, many people came to refer to him as “Row-Ger” over the years I worked with him.

I have always wondered if my name has contributed to my quirkiness or if it had something to do with the fact that while my mom was pregnant with me, she tripped and ended up rolling down a somewhat large cliff at a beach on the West Coast. I guess we’ll never know. All I do know is that a girl with the name Donloree Dickau that grew up in Puyallup could never ever end up normal!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


One day in the middle of Spring, my husband asked me what I was wearing on Friday. This question stopped me dead in my tracks. Why would Jon ask me about what I was planning on wearing in two days time? He never, ever cares about what I wear or what he wears for that matter. This question alerted me to ask, “Why, what’s happening on Friday?” He responded with, “It’s the Celebrate NAIT banquet at the Hotel MacDonald.”

For those of you that don’t know what the Hotel MacDonald is in Edmonton, don’t be misled – there are no giant slides, hamburgers or Fry Guys. The Hotel MacDonald is one of the fanciest places in Edmonton…it slightly resembles a castle. When the Queen comes to visit, this is where she stays – she even has a suite reserved just for her at all times. Needless to say, I went into near cardiac shock. I finally managed to sputter out, “I have nothing to wear! Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?!” Jon didn’t understand my reaction because for a man, this was more than sufficient notice. Men only have to choose a shirt and tie to wear with their suit, which always fits even if they did eat a chocolate bar every afternoon last week at work to help them get through the day. Women, on the other hand, have to coordinate their dress with shoes, earrings, accessories and perhaps even the dreaded nylons all while squeezing into “foundational garments”. I only had two days to find something that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in if the Queen decided to show up, talk about stress!

I know that many women state that they have nothing to wear, but it was actually the truth – I had nothing to wear. I didn’t own a dress, well except for my wedding dress and it would just be weird to wear a large white satin dress with a crinoline to this event. So I did the only thing I knew to do – I declared a state of emergency at the Hoffman house. Then I called my girlfriend and explained the current crisis to her – she was at my house in 8 minutes flat to help me scourer Edmonton, and if necessary, Northern Alberta for an appropriate dress to wear. My husband is the President of the NAIT Student Association, so I knew that I would have to find something head table-worthy. We immediately headed out to Whyte Avenue to find something trendy, interesting and perhaps expensive. After all, it really would be Jon’s fault if I had to drop $400 on a dress – with only two days’ notice I had to do what I had to do.

We headed into Avenue Clothing with determination and focus and began to methodically search their one of kind clothes. I tried on 17 different dresses, some obviously not my style, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The very last dress that I tried on fit perfectly and was on sale! This never, ever happens – I think even God felt bad that I didn’t have a dress to wear. It was a beautiful chocolate brown color with large teal flowers splashed on it. It looked great on me and would work perfectly for the event. While in the change room with the dress still over my head, I yelled out in exuberance to my friend, “It’s just so great that I found a one of a kind dress that fits and is affordable! Knowing me, I would have to purchase a dress that every woman in the world has and show up to find some other woman wearing my dress, but not with this one!” I’m not sure if she could make out the muffled shouting, but she agreed wholeheartedly. Since the shopping trip was so successful, we went out for expensive coffee and chatted happily.

On the night of the event, I rushed home early from work to do my hair, fix my makeup and put on my one of a kind dress. By the time Jon arrived home, I was feeling sassy and all ready to go. He rushed to get ready as well and then we were off to Hotel MacDonald. I was feeling like we were on an expensive date, but we didn’t have to pay for anything! How great was that? Jon even dropped my off at the front door and some man in an expensive suit opened the door for me and took my coat. It was decadent. I felt like a movie star (note: the scene doesn’t include our old rusty sputtering Chevy Cavalier). I sat and chatted with two of Jon’s Vice Presidents while we waited for the third, Lars-Erik, to show up with his girlfriend.

Finally, Lars-Erik came through the revolving door with Sabrina. I stood to meet them, only to have the breath knocked out of me. My very trendy, one-of-a-kind dress was walking towards me with a splash of curly red hair arm in arm with Lars-Erik. My mouth flopped open in a very un-feminine way and I stuttered and stammered trying to get some words out. Everyone in the room stopped to see what would happen next, it was turning tense and not one word had been spoken.

Once I got my mouth snapped back into place, I introduced myself and stated that she had great fashion sense. She seemed extremely relieved that I didn’t freak out on the outside like we both were obviously doing on the inside. Suddenly, my husband popped back into the room and stated loudly, “Cool, you and Sabrina have the same dress. Awesome.” Yeah…it’s awesome if we were twins and 4 years old, but we were neither of those things. My plan to not do anything embarrassing if the Queen decided to drop by was no longer an option.

For the rest of the night, we both tried to make the best out wearing the exact same dress since there was no repairing the obvious damage. My only thought to fix the problem was to superglue our butts together and be conjoined twins for the rest of the evening. It had the possibility to make things a tad bit less weird or even weirder still. We both opted to pretend that it wasn’t actually happening and stood side by side with dignity.

I think what really happened was that I jinxed myself in the midst of my exuberance at finding a ‘one of a kind’ dress. Next time something great happens to me, I will keep my thoughts to myself and not announce them to a whole store filled with shoppers!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Look of Busy

Just the other day I was riding the train home from the University and noticed an ad up for Diana Krall's CD - "Look of Love". She was obviously displaying this look while posing for the picture. I don't have this look. When I rise out of bed like she was, I have the look of frumpled (that would be frumpy and crumpled working together). Since I don’t have this “Look of Love”, I pondered on the looks that I do have – and one popped into my mind right away. While working for the government these past few years, I have had to develop and hone the “Look of Busy”.

The “Look of Busy” is a necessary evil while working for the government. During my first few months at the government, I kept asking for more work, completing things way before they were due always let people know that I had more time to do more things. These actions were met with scorn and disdain. I quickly came to realize that the government enjoyed moving at the pace of a water buffalo and so I had to slow right down and meet the expectation of not getting much done. It’s so opposite from the real world of work! If you ask for more work or complete your projects on time or *GASP* before they are due, people start to think you are slightly dull and perhaps mentally challenged. After all, the work is just “so hard and complex”. Obviously, the only reason I was finishing on time or early was because I wasn’t doing it correctly and I am dumb. So, in an act of self preservation, I developed the “Look of Busy”.

What does the “Look of Busy” look like? It’s a complex look that takes years to perfect.

Stage 1 – Develop a furrowed brow while people talk to you and give you work.

Stage 2 – Bring 5 inch binders shoved full of useless documents printed from the internet to all meetings and shuffle through them constantly. Make sure to mutter intermittedly and take copious notes at the meeting. Some people have found that loud, mournful sighing helps.

Stage 3 – Create a disarray of papers, file folders and reports on your desk that have no use whatsoever. People will steer clear of your desk because you are already working so hard!

Stage 4 – When management gives you new things to do, give extended project deadlines: “Well, that would take a non-busy person about 3 weeks to complete…today’s February 12….taking my workload into consideration *SIGH*…I could probably get it to you by September 1. I hope that works, it’s the best I can do.”

Stage 5 – Create non meetings to fill up your calendar so that when people go to book a meeting with you your schedule is completely booked up. Put the most unimportant things you do in your calendar. Some people that have earned the equivalent of a PhD in the “Look of Busy” have calendars like this:
8:30 – 9:00 – Arrive at work (late)
9:00 – 10:00 - Fill water bottle from water cooler on opposite side of the floor and see how everyone is doing on the way back.
10:00 - 10:30 - Coffee break
10:30 – 12:00 – Check email, make personal phone calls to relatives in different countries and pay bills.
12:00 – 1:30 – Extended lunch
1:30 – 3:00 – Print off useless documents from the internet and shuffle papers
3:00 - 3:30 - Another coffee break
3:30 – 4:15 – Do a few moments of actual work and turn it in late due to the ‘hectic schedule” of all government employees.
4:15 – 4:30 – Leave work (early)

Now, I only made it to Stage 3 of the “Look of Busy” and I found it wore on my soul! Imagine how it would be to work there for 35 years! Apparently the pension really helps…or so they say. Most of them could tell me exactly how many minutes they had left before their blessed pension kicked in. Now, all I can do is feel sorry for them as they work diligently at not working.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Not For the Faint of Heart

I went to a step aerobics class once...notice how I stated that I only went once. Step aerobics has become a once in a lifetime experience for me. Now, there are two different kinds of "once in a lifetime experiences", ones that you cherish and hold close for a lifetime - such as going to the Taj Mahal, seeing the pyramids or meeting someone famous and the other kind are anything but cherished. This second category of "once in a lifetime experiences" are events in your life that you desperately pray never happen again, in fact you go out of your way to make sure that they never, ever happen again. You commit whatever resources, time and energy it takes to ensure that they remain a "once in a lifetime experience".

My very brave friend invited me to go to the local YMCA with her to spend our evening in a step aerobics class. She promised that the class was beginner friendly and easy for everyone of all levels of fitness, it was a class that she really enjoyed going to. With her vow of a good time, I grabbed my Nikes and sweat pants and we were on our way. Looking back, I am unsure as to why I agreed to go with her…that part of my memory is fuzzy and remains a mystery to me. I followed her with a blind faith and abandonment - after all, she had no fear of taking me with her...what an naive woman!

Upon arrival, I noticed that I was severely out of place. Everyone else seemed to know each other and no one offered their gift of friendship to me. Perhaps it was because I was in oversized sweat pants and wearing Ronald McDonald t-shirt that I got years ago when I was a teenager working at McDonalds. I didn’t own any clothing with lycra, and even if I did I definitely wasn't about to wear it in public! I held back hoping the class would start soon.

Suddenly the gym fell silent as our lithe instructor fully clad in spandex walked in. She shouted in a very peppy voice to the class, "Good evening everyone! Please come and pick out your step and l..e..t..'s g...e...t STARTED!" While she bounced around at the front, I headed over to pick out a step - who knew there were choices? I was late getting to the step selection location and the only step left was very large and extremely purple. This step was the mother of all steps...I think that Andre the Giant is the only person that could use this step with ease. I had no other choice and so I took it hoping that God would somehow lengthen my legs for this class. By the time that I realized that the mammoth purple step was my only choice, the rest of the class was already in position, ready to follow the poster girl for spandex to better fitness. I started to hurry towards the back of the class with my step in tow. Apparently I was going too quickly for the gym floor, because it suddenly formed a speed bump of some kind to slow me down, which I promptly tripped over. My body started to hurl towards the earth and I promptly let go of my gianormous purple step and screamed for help. Do you know that a large purple step clattering across a YMCA gym floor is a deafening sound? I was unable to hear properly for days following.

After retrieving myself and the enormous purple step, I meekly walked towards the back of the class, hoping to become anonymous. Unfortunately, that was no longer an option, since the whole class had turned, wide eyed to watch my progress with the gym floor. I humbly took my position in the back row. Even the instructor seemed at a loss of what to do next. Apparently, it is quite uncouth to throw your step across the gym floor and fall over screaming prior to the start to class. I should have realized that this was only the start of class and that I should turn tail and run before I lost all of my dignity.

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the instructor recovered from her shock and started the class. "Kick one two three, over the box, whee!!" she announced while leaping over her step, hands gracefully flying in the air. As I attempted the graceful leap over the step my hands flew into the air as well, mostly to keep me from falling over and starting a domino effect in the class. It seemed that no matter what I did in the class, I was never with the class. I was constantly running around the step trying to get on the right side of the step to do some sort of lunging event just to realize that the whole class had moved over the other side of the step. I felt like a dog chasing her tail – it’s a never ending process and you keep going in circles while people watch you make a fool out of yourself. Let’s just say that my circling the mammoth purple step resulted in less than a superb work out. At the end of class I was merely dizzy and embarrassed.

The next week when my friend wanted me to go to class with her again..I was somehow too busy to attend. It was just really too bad...I had such a great experience the week before. All I know is that there should be some sort of clumsiness assessment guide you take prior to enrolling in a step aerobics class. They could have to take the test before the start of class and if you score a 5 or more out of 6, you should not be able to take the class.

Clumsiness Assessment Guide

Please answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following questions – 1 point for ‘Yes’ answers and zero points for ‘No’ answers.

1. Have you ever tripped over something non-existent in public? (e.g. a crack in the sidewalk)

2. Is your purse a menace to all displays in department stores and needs to be checked at the door?

3. Do you have a history of tripping up escalators and riding up to the next floor on your face?

4. Have you ever lost your shoes and tripped over a curb while crossing the street at a busy intersection downtown and inadvertently stopped traffic?

5. Would be people you know well be concerned about your personal safety if you picked up a new hobby such as cycling due to your past clumsiness history?

6. Do you blurt out ridiculous comments that you wish you could cram back into your face once they’ve been stated at least once a day?

0 – 1 points – Step Freely! Book yourself in as many step aerobics classes as you want and flaunt your coordination to everyone else in the class.

2 – 3 points – Step Cautiously. Try one class and see what happens. It is unlikely that you will be cursed with a step aerobics mishap, but give special care and consideration while in class.

4 – 5 points – Step Fearfully….be afraid, be very afraid of what may possibly happen if you go to a step aerobics class. There is a 20% chance that nothing crazy will happen to you, but you do want to take that chance??!?!

6 points – Don’t Step!! We must be twins separated at birth! Whatever you do – avoid all group exercise classes, they are a threat to your health and the health of others!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Queen of the Typos

I think that I deserve the title - Queen of the Typos. I make the most ridiculous typos and some days they are just completely hilarious!

Just yesterday I had a job interview and was really nervous about the whole event and feeling quite nauseated. I decided to email my husband about it so that he could commiserate with me. In the email I stated that I was so nervous that I that I want to "bark". I obviously meant to type, "barf", but "bark" just came out. Can you imagine if I actually barked when I was nervous?!

Frightened Stranger on the Street - "Um...excuse me sir, is...is that woman barking over there?"
My Husband - "Uh, yeah...appears so..."
Frightened Stranger on the Street - "Do you think she's ok? Perhaps we should call Alberta Hospital and see if anyone has escaped lately. That would be the responsible citizen thing to do, don't you think?"
My Husband - "Nah, she's just nervous - she always wants to bark when she gets nervous - it just happens sometimes."
Frightened Stranger on the Street (backing away slowly) - "I see...."

Another time I was telling my mom about all the things that I was doing and how I couldn't seem to keep up with the madness in my life. So I announced to her in email, "I am just so busty!!" Obviously, I meant to tell her that I was busy, not make a statement about my bustline. She just told me to get over myself!

Well at least they are humourous and keep people laughing....

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I found myself at a crossroads the other day - at a place that I have never been before. I found myself in the hair products aisle at the local grocery store, more specifically, I found myself in the hair dye section. This is a place I had passed many times before, but never dwelt in previously. I am only 26 years old, but find myself with an extreme amount of wizened, grey hair…so much so that my coworkers have commented on the amount of it. Apparently it is nothing to worry about - if only I was 49 years of age! So the other today with this comment rolling around in my head, I decided to peruse the selection of hair dyes that might lessen my semi-elderly appearance.

Do you know that there are a hundred and one different hair dyes you can purchase?! How do you subjugate your hair to a mere number and ridiculous name? I could have been No. 4, Sun kissed Melon or a No. 26 Cinnamon Twist, or No. 36, Smooth Ebony. How do you choose? Do you choose according to your personality? If you are a bit silly, do you choose the melon, or if you are spicy do you have to go with the cinnamon? I found this so confusing! Since they didn't have a color named "Donloree", which would have been preferential, I decided to go with no. 21, Burnt Almond. After all, I am a bit nutty and have been burnt a few times in my life, I thought this hair color was truly descriptive of who I am! Besides, the cover had a peppy-looking woman on it that appeared to be really enjoying the hair dye experience. How could I forgo such an exhilarating experience??!?

The little boxes promise so much, but how can I be sure that what they promise will really happen? One of the boxes was out right away - they promised to chase away all my grey hair! I mean, I don't really like them, but if they all get chased away I won't have any hair left! Having no hair left would be a bad choice for me, worse that keeping the grey hair I currently have. I also decided that the grey hair is giving me more volume since they are much thicker than my normal hair and have a tendancy to stick out past my normal hair. I suffer from limp, straight hair, so this is really changing the landscape of my hair - one positive in world of negatives. Many of the boxes promised thicker and healthier hair after dying it, which seems to be an extreme contradiction to me. You glop who knows what kinds of odd smelling chemicals on your head and at the end of this your hair is supposed to be healthier? Uh, huh...If my luck holds true, all of my hair will fall out and then grow back lime colored!

King Solomon tells us that "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life". I don't know about this....when I look in the mirror, I don't seen any splendor, just gravity and stress hard at work on my body from living the busy life. Let's be honest here, King Solomon was a man. All men look good with some grey hair - also he was rich and the ruler of the land, he set the trends back then! Of course it was a crown of splendor....he was the king! I would like to know what he would say about it if he were a 26 year old woman just trying to appear only 26. Somehow, I think he would be singing a different tune...

After finally selecting a number and color, I still was unsure if I should purchase the hair dye. What does this mean about who I am? Does this officially make me old? Is this the next step before menopause...if so I don't want to take it!! What does this say about how I feel about my "crown of splendor"? Since I was feeling indecisive and old looking I plopped the little box into my cart and promptly hid it beneath my carrots and potatoes. Unfortunately it didn't stay hidden for long, the moment of truth looked me square in the face when I arrived at the cash register. I had to decide whether or not purchase the "No. 21, Burnt Almond" to help me look more my age and lessen my elderly appearance.

In a moment of sheer boldness, I purchased the hair dye. Then I proceeded to let it collect dust in my bathroom, constantly goading my conscience and reminding me about how I appear to be way older than I actually am. Some days I would take it out and muse on whether or not that was the day to cover up my very coveted "crown of splendor" or continue to pretend that it doesn't exist.

After much contemplation, I decided that I should go for it and commit my hair to a new color. So I took a deep breath, glopped on the No. 21, Burnt Almond and spent 20 nervous minutes desperately trying not to drip all over my cream bathroom floor. After putting myself through such mental anguish, no one really noticed! Can you imagine the nerve of these people not to notice - my husband included??!? And to top it all off, it gave my hair an odd orange-like quality.

Since I had already taken the plunge and gotten my feet wet, I jumped in all the way to my armpits! I decided to try it again and went to the next darkest color - this woman looked a bit more subdued, perhaps more like me. I put it in the other night...now my hair is super duper dark! Yikes! I looked a bit like Cher, and that's not a good thing...it would be good for Cher, just not for me. Also, it appears as though I have a bruise at my left temple, but it's just dye that I can't seem to remove from my head! I felt like a freak show at work, constantly trying to cover up my new "crown of non-splendor"! After all of this, I might just go back to letting the grey roam wild and free on my head. Perhaps "Au Naturale" is the best way to go... who really knows?

If you don't have grey hair yet, be relieved that you don't have to contemplate the deeper question of life, "To dye, or not to dye...that is the question."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Reaching Out

Have you ever wondered if God is sitting up in heaven laughing his head off at you? Sometimes I think God watches me and must be wiping tears of laughter from his eyes and gasping for breath, unable to stop the hysterics.

In Edmonton there is a wonderful part of the city called Whyte Avenue. Whyte Ave is full of unique shops, interesting homes and great one-of-a-kind places to eat – it’s the epitome of urban living. One winter evening I met a bunch of girls at one of the coffee shops on Whyte to talk about life, marriage and why all women intrinsically need chocolate every day of their life…you know, the important things in life! My husband, Jon, was a student at that time and dropped me off at the coffee shop and went on to Chapters to do some studying while I contemplated the great mysteries of womanity* with my girlfriends. I felt inspired and uplifted as I walked through the snow towards Chapters to find my husband – I felt as though the world was at my fingertips and any problem was not too great for me to conquer! The urban setting, gentling falling snow and people out shopping were extremely picturesque and I just felt happy all over.

I arrived at Chapters and saw my husband in his red winter coat and trendy haircut through the large picture windows. He was leafing through the magazine section, and love for him filled my heart and overflowed onto the sidewalk – I was puddling everywhere. I decided that it would be romantic for me to sneak up and surprise him with a cute little ‘boo!’. So I stealthily snuck into the store, slipping behind magazine racks and other customers. I was so happy that small giggles were escaping from me and people were starting to look my way to see what was so funny. I resolved to control my giddiness and purposely snuck up close to Jon, turned to scare him, only to realize that it wasn’t my husband! Thank goodness I realized that before I scared some strange man to death! My giddiness quickly died and embarrassment known only to me, filled my cheeks and painted them a bright red. I quickly tried to appear as though there was some magazine right in front of my husband’s twin that I desperately needed to read. I think it was a Harley Davidson magazine…at that point, it was the most interesting thing I had ever seen in my whole life and I was officially a biker chick as of that moment!

After desperately trying to appear normal, I calmly replaced the magazine and walked to find my husband. The amount of relief that filled me after not making a fool out of myself was indescribable. I found Jon upstairs in the finance section reading some horrifically boring book about RRSPs or something equally as mind numbing to me. I decided to not mention the near deathly embarrassing event to my husband, there was no need for him to know how ridiculous I am. Some days, I enjoy keeping up the appearance of being normal and fitting into society.

I finally peeled him away from the very dry finance section after mumbling a few “uh huh…”, “sounds intriguing” and “mmm…” types of things to his ecstatic musings on the current financial book in hand. We walked hand in hand to the escalator and smiled...as romantic as this seems, I was only holding his hand so that there wouldn’t be a quick retreat back to the finance section!

Upon our arrival downstairs, we were immediately distracted by the discount books – Jon and I quickly went our separate ways. I browsed each book, got new ideas that I could do at home without purchasing another $4.97 book and felt inspired. I looked up and didn’t see my husband anywhere in sight. I sighed, realizing that the pull of the finance section must have gotten to him. I ran upstairs to peel him away once again, but he was nowhere in sight. I glanced over the railing and saw him in the magazine section. Sighing at my misunderstanding of my husband, I ran downstairs to see if he was ready to go home.

Seeing him reading the magazines, the earlier giddiness I felt in my heart overwhelmed me and I decided to do something completely silly. Jon is an athlete, and I have gone to many of his ball hockey games. When someone scores a goal or does something good they give each other a slap on the bum. All the men seem to really enjoy this…it must be some sort of male bonding ritual. Anyway, I personally had never given a slap on the bum to someone else and decided that today was the day. After all, he seemed to really like it in hockey, so why not at Chapters? I felt somewhat nervous to put my plan into action, but my giddiness overwhelmed me, so I went ahead full steam. I slid up beside Jon, looking straight ahead so not to burst into hysterical giggles, reached out, grabbed his bum and asked, “Want to go home?” I looked at him to see his answer, only to find that I had inadvertently grabbed the strange, looks-like-Jon-but-not-Jon, man’s bum. He was shocked and backed away quickly and answered fearfully, “Uh…not with you!” The poor man’s wife was looking at me with a shocked and somewhat angry expression. I turned away in complete humiliation to see my Jon bent over with hysteria, laughing on the other side of me. Not only did I grab some other man’s bum and proposition him – I did it in front of my husband!

Terror and shame overtook my person. I was so embarrassed that I was unable to talk in a normal voice. I started to scream my rationalization for physically assaulting some strange man in Chapters. “OH MY GRACIOUS!! I AM SO SORRY!!! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE MY HUSBAND! SEE??? HE’S RIGHT THERE, YOU HAVE THE SAME COAT AND HAIR – LOOK!! OH MY, OH MY!!” I frantically looked around for escape, only to notice that the whole store had become strangely silent and everyone was staring at me. Before I knew what was happening, I was sprinting out of the store and running as quickly as womanly possible into the harsh -20 degree winter, only to realize I had no idea where the car was! But I couldn’t stop running, the fear and shame of the situation was chasing me down the street…as was my husband! We were both gasping for breath – him due to the uncontrollable laughter and me due to being out of shape.

At this point, I think that God was laughing even harder than Jon. He must have known that a great part was coming up in my life, popped some popcorn and invited some friends over for the comedy viewing that Thursday evening. Life is meant to be enjoyed and to be lived with full gusto. How often do we fail to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the ridiculous chaos that happens to us? Sometimes it’s all I can do to thank God for my funniness and silliness, otherwise life would be too dull to keep going!

*Womanity – The complexities of the woman condition, which increases 10 fold by families, bad jobs and trying to communicate with men.