Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day scrooges


" I hate Valentine's Day. And I hate Cupid... stupid fat baby going around shooting people with a bow and arrow."
Reba Hart, from Reba

While many opinions exist as to the origin of St. Valentine's Day, it's modern day existance serves to bring out only the best in my husband.... and the gag-reflex in others. 

I admit, until I met my husband, I used to be one of those grumps. You know who they are: They sneer at anything overly sweet or romantic. They roll their eyes at couples showing any sort of affection in public. They grunt and simply walk away when coworkers greet them with a "Happy Valentine's Day!" They are the modern day Valentine's Day Scrooges. 

Okay, so while I was never a real Scrooge, I just hated everything to do with Valentine's Day. And it was all because I was single. All this day ever served to do was remind me that, while others were engaging in romantic bliss, I was alone... so very alone. 

One of my former employers recognized this in many of her employees, so she arranged for all the female staff members to receive a single red rose at work each Valentine's Day, which I thought was a really nice touch. Even though it wasn't coming from a boyfriend/spouse/significant other, that rose made me feel special and helped take away some of the bitterness I felt towards everyone else receiving gifts on that day.

Thankfully, though, I won't ever have to feel that way again. This year my husband has made Valentine's Day a week-long event. It started with a bouquet of yellow daffodils (my favourite flower) and three red roses. Then came the surprise (hand-delivered at my work) "Haley the Kissing Hedgehog". Then the heart-shaped candies and rose-shaped candles. Then the hair straightener (something I've wanted for a long time but would never buy for myself). And finally a heart-shaped ice cream cake (see photo above) and heart-shaped pizzas for dinner. 

Between Christmas, my birthday, and Valentine's Day, I've been showered with attention from my husband over the last month and a half. And while I'll never forget how awful it felt to be alone on this day all those years ago, I've happily put it behind me and will forever be grateful for the relationship I have now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Caution: Wind Gusts

Me:             "I hate the wind! It can ruin a perfectly good day!"
Husband:   "But what would the Prairies be without wind?"
Me:            "Pleasant."

If You're Not from the Prairie
David Bouchard

”If you’re not from the prairie,
You don’t know the wind,
You can’t know the wind.
Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core,
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door.
As children we know when we play any game,
The wind will be there, yet we play just the same.
If you’re not from the prairie,
You don’t know the wind.”

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Christina Rossetti (poem), W.O. Mitchell (novel) 

Who has seen the wind?
 Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
 The wind is passing thro'.

Who has seen the wind?
 Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
 The wind is passing by.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Road ragin'

"I don't have road rage, but other drivers do.... and that makes me REALLY MAD!"
Me, circa 2001

Yes, I coined that gem while at work several years ago, and my friend Angie still, to this day, can do a hilarious reenactment of the event. 

Not so amusing, though, is that a few days ago my husband was the victim of a frightening incident involving road rage. He was nearly hit by another driver in a red Pontiac who failed to stop at a stop sign. To get the other driver's attention, my husband immediately honked at him. And unfortunately the other driver didn't take too kindly to that.

The Pontiac's driver proceeded to cut off another vehicle in order to then ride my husband's bumper before changing lanes and then cutting back in front of him. The driver then stopped his vehicle in the middle of rush hour traffic -- forcing my husband to stop behind him -- as he turned on his four-way flashers so his passenger could get out. 

The Pontiac's passenger, who literally appeared to either be drooling or frothing at the mouth (drug addictions can do that to a person, or so I hear), stormed toward our vehicle, fists raised and mouth-a-cursin', and started pounding on my husband's driver's side window. The incident was over within a few minutes, but it left my husband understandably shaken.

But, sadly, this isn't the worst of it.

My husband filed an official complaint with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), but after having read his statement, the officer in charge proclaimed, "Well, this was really your fault, you know." And he said it more than loud enough for everyone in the waiting area to hear him. 

"I'm saying this out loud so everyone can hear me: You should never honk at other motorists, because it upsets them."

While I will concede his last statement -- yes, we all know no one likes to be honked at -- I'm appalled that he would suggest my husband was somehow to blame for all this.

It was NOT my husband's fault that this moron ran a stop sign and nearly hit him. 

It was NOT my husband's fault that said moron was too clueless to even realize he had just broken the law. 

And it was NOT my husband's fault that this clueless moron and his passenger clearly have anger management issues and should not be behind the wheel.

Under normal circumstances, I am a staunch supporter of the EPS. When stories of alleged police wrong-doing pass through the newsroom that need proofing, I'm constantly giving the benefit of the doubt to the officer's involved. I know that police work is often unforgiving, and many of our local detachments are understaffed. Their officers are overworked and underpaid, and they do the best they can with the resources they have.

But we could have done without the arrogance today.

I know the routine. My husband knows the routine. But, please, save the attitude for actual "bad guys" who are breaking the law, not those of us simply trying to bring some justice back to our roads.