Means to an Endy, Day 2

Means to an Endy, Day 2

Welp, that was fast. The e-mail said we’d get a confirmation within 1-3 business days once the order’s been processed. It’s been less than 24 hours and we have a tracking number. I wonder if the process’ll be as smooth and as fast if we ever end up returning this thing? Not that I want to. I just want to wake up feeling like I’m seventeen and supple again, with a spine that doesn’t scream when I get up in the morning. Did someone say exercise? I think the hubs is mouthing “treadmill” at me as I look him dead in the eye and wolf down some chips.  You know, just to make a statement. Jesus. Aging is rough.

[UPDATE] Woke up to a notice on the door from UPS, who were sorry to have missed me. All told, that makes delivery within two days of ordering, which is pretty impressive. Not impressed with the hit and miss, but that’s more a courier issue, not an Endy one. I suppose I should just be grateful they didn’t leave it in the lobby. Endy’s website says the courier will make two attempts, so they’ll be trying again tomorrow. Their postman always rings twice! (Sorry. I had to.)

Means to an Endy, Day 1

Means to an Endy, Day 1

My back has had it. His back has had it.

The mattress we’d purchased before moving in, once so brand spanking new, once so perfect, once thought to last for at least ten years, has had it.

We’ve had it.

Sleep has been shitty at times. There is nothing I dislike more than my sleep getting messed with and waking up feeling like someone’s been using my back as a trampoline. It can’t possibly be because I’m on the wrong side of my thirties and my body is ravaged by time and a few extra pounds, my masseuse says it’s my mattress and she’s licensed, so there. It’s the mattress.

I’ve spent the last two months researching mattresses. Trying this, that and the other, feeling like Goldilocks except all the mattresses were in different stores that were far apart. I was looking for a bed without coils, or memory foam or all the little extra doodads that are supposed to help you float into dreamland but are, in actuality, a complete waste of time. The best mattress I ever had was a solid block of foam that was almost as hard as the floor, and I’ve despaired of ever finding one close to it, short of shipping a king-sized mattress from Mandaue Foam all the way across the world.

Finally, after months of subliminal messaging from Casper and Endy, the hubs suggested jumping on the bed-in-a-box bandwagon. I trust his instincts when it comes to buying certain things; he doesn’t hem and haw quite as much as I do. When he knows, he knows. We chose Endy because the price point isn’t too painful and it’s made in Canada (yay, patriotism!). Yes Endy, your ads, which are EVERYWHERE, are working.

And no, Endy isn’t paying me to write about it, or give it any reviews. No one is holding a gun to my head, I just felt like documenting the first hundred nights (not EVERY night, I’m not Scheherazade), because that’s their trial period. Like Casper, Endy gives its customers 100 nights to see if the mattress is worth it, and if it isnt, they’ll take it back and refund in full, no questions asked. That’s what their website says, anyway. So in the grand tradition of throwing money at the problem, here goes nothing!

Standing Still

Standing Still

I roll the window down
Feel like I’m gonna drown in this strange town
Feel broken down.. feel broken down
Jewel Kilcher, Standing Still

According to the internet, everything I’m doing is  wrong. I’m slicing a mango wrong – the correct way involves a glass. I’m packing my suitcase wrong – roll, don’t fold. I’m making my bacon wrong – bake, don’t fry. I’m squeezing my toothpaste tube wrong – use a binder clip to help push every last bit of goop up through it’s nozzle. My life is wrong, I’m wrong and I’m useless without the internet.

It’s insidious, the kind of negging that used to be relegated to magazine covers like Cosmopolitan, that well-meaning font of wisdom on  how to live your best life. Cosmo has always been about how to lose weight, have better relationships, make him want you again, all with the subtle inference that the reader is boring, vanilla and unattractive and that the only way to be a fun, fearless, female is to buy their magazine. That’s the internet. It’s like a cover of Cosmopolitan, turned up times a thousand. There’s no subtlety at all.

Well the internet can go hang. I decided to stay away from it this past weekend, going cold turkey, because somehow I had just had enough. I wanted to confront my own personal FoMO, and see if I could beat it.

In the never-ending barrage of information that is the present-day internet, our real and our online selves have merged, and FoMO, or fear of missing out, is that nagging anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, leaving us out of the loop, contributing to the feeling that missing out will contribute to a lifetime of regret, and so will not joining in. It’s just one of the many effects having a life online has on a body. There’s the sense of validity we gain from getting poked, tagged, liked, shared and talked about, the feeling of connection and belonging that can sometimes be even stronger in the world of the virtual rather than the real.

But it wasn’t just the FoMO. It was also the stark reminder that comparing myself and my life choices to someone else’s can give me crippling insecurity and lead to very damaging questions. Questions like, why can’t they be fat, what’s wrong with me, why them, why not me – a smorgasbord of whys that ultimately lead nowhere good, the kind of downward spiral that doesn’t feel healthy, or even good, and if there’s anything I dislike (and I know I dislike a lot of things), it’s being made to feel less than. And here I was, doing it to myself.

So I made like MTV, and unplugged.

And it was good. So good, I’ve decided to do without the internet on weekends.

I hadn’t realized how noisy and over-saturated the digital hum had become until I purposefully disengaged from the Matrix.  There’s an almost audible absence of sound, digital sound, a silence that expands. There’s a freedom in not knowing what Mr and Mrs Smith are up to, a peace in not being up to date and not caring. Trump what? Oil pipeline who? FIFA World Cup how? None of it. Not a single thing matters, and it feels so sweet. Like a big burden being lifted, this burden we place on ourselves to be informed, to be in the know, to seem together, to be “with it.”

It’s not that I no longer want to know what everyone is up to. I just don’t need to know about it all the time.

 

Illustration by Penelope Gazin, from Vice.

 

Last Weekend Tonight (in bullet points, with links)

Last Weekend Tonight (in bullet points, with links)
  • Shiny Happy People
    • new platform sandals
    • Pretty!
    • My feet are white and delicate! I’m a girl!
    • Why did I spend a whole afternoon walking?
    • And now my feet are yesterday’s ground up meat.
    • mein gott, the pain
  • Ikea
    • where I never leave empty-handed, despite my best intentions
    • same goes for you, Costco
    • Kitchen brush for 99c!
    • meatballs, yay
    • material for a new curtain
    • Yep, one. Singular.
    • would’ve flunked sewing class if it weren’t for my mother
    • which reminds me of that cross-stitch project I took on and never finished
    • it’s been three years, I really should complete that thing
  • Peek Freans Cookie Outlet
    • because I decided to send a box home to the fam
    • best place to get Oreos on the cheap
    • Le Hubs to me: What are you sending them, diabetes?
    • Me to Le Hubs: because I’m sweet?
    • sending them Omega 3 though
    • and pistachios, because my Dad loves them
    • my Dad, who wanted a trailer hitch for his Sorento, try fitting that in a large LBC box, Dad
  • Design Republic / Urban Mode / Casper Showroom
    • need new mattress, my back can’t take much more of this
    • I hate getting old
    • test drives are a must, 100 night trial offer bedamned
    • Urban furniture and design stores + expertly staged, ultra-expensive furniture = major inferiority complex
    • I may as well be living in a shack with donated goods from Habitat for Humanity
    • Casper vs. Endy vs. just choose one already godamnit, my feet are killing me
    • Oh well, Endy it is.
    • all I want for Christmas is Mandaue Foam
  • Storage Wars: Northern Treasures
    • getting some bang out of my Netflix buck
    • for when I want to binge-watch my tits off
    • one man’s trash, another man’s treasure
    • I’ll stick to dumpster diving, this is way too stressful
    • What kind of idiot leaves real gold jewelry in storage?
    • Maybe a dead one. Oops. Sorry, Lord.
    • Will Netflix ever get the original Storage Wars?
    • Does Roku support the A&E app for Canada?
    • Ugh, geo-blocking sucks!

One Chilly Evening

 

You fall in love with some places instantaneously. For some, it’s New York City.  Others, Rome. For me, it was Amsterdam. All it took was a single stroll.

Falling in love is something one does without conscious thought, and, more often than not, without any expectations. For a city that was never on my bucket list, Amsterdam surprised me. It was a place I’d mentally pigeonholed as a city people went to for sex and weed. But like so many other sister cities with a rich and varied history and culture, Amsterdam transcended that narrow-minded view. I loved it from the moment I found myself lugging my suitcase down a warren of narrow alleys that were at once claustrophobic and thrillingly mysterious, feeling a little lost, wondering what was around the next corner,  and finding rows of red-lit windows in the early hours of the morning. Without consciously meaning to, I had found myself in the middle of Amsterdam’s infamous red light district, struck by the realization that business never stops. I loved it. I loved the matter-of-factness of it all. There were cheese shops and crepe shops, sex shops and weed shops all within minutes of each other; flower shops, antique shops and a restaurant with an old carousel in the middle. It was weird, welcoming, unapologetic and wonderful. I loved what Amsterdam was trying to say: that humans love sex just as much as they love cheese, so why treat one with any more shame than the other?

Amsterdam is a city that marches to the beat of its own drum and allows everyone else to march to the beat of theirs. If there’s anything I can appreciate, it’s that. It’s an old city, built on commerce and art and I loved everything about it. I loved that it had charm. I loved that it had big fat french fries with mayonnaise and rich, buttery slices of apple pie that sat like a stone in your belly. That it had sweet little poffertjes dusted with icing sugar, and flavourful black licorice. Best of all, that they had FEBO, an automatic “restaurant” with all sorts of strange sounding krokets, and you never go wrong with whatever you pick even if you have no idea what it is, because everything in FEBO is just so damn tasty.

I loved that Amsterdam had cobblestone streets and little street-sweeping machines that came out at night to clean them. I loved that it was designed with not just longevity, but beauty in mind, its core shot through with bridges and canals that  surprisingly do not smell like sewage. I loved its public transit, which was easy to understand despite being in a different language, that people bicycled everywhere, that it was equal parts familiar and not, that its residents don’t really use curtains, and peering into a residential alley is like being like a little human in the middle of giant dollhouses. Everything is open, if you don’t avert your eyes. I loved that windmills were just half an hour outside of the city.

I miss Amsterdam. I miss it whenever I’m out in the middle of a chilly night, walking through the streets of Toronto, breathing in the cool night air the way I was the other night. Something about that combination, a midnight stroll and a lingering chill takes me back to a night when A and I, ravenous and excited, once traversed the streets of an electric city, holding hands and looking for a FEBO.

Enough

Enough

The goal was to be stoic. To endure. To get through a single winter without a word of complaint. To brush snow off my shoulder like Jay-Z.

Welp, so long, goal. Because this me losing it. This is me reluctantly counting the days since winter started and once again being reminded that almost a third of a year is devoted to the one season that can kill you, while the weather pundits do their best to rain on my parade because CBC and the Toronto Star have predicted an ice storm this weekend and I can’t. I just can’t.

I can’t sit back and think people probably have it worse in Saskatchewan. That this is paradise compared to Greenland. That I know someone who lives in Norway and never even complains that it’s made of snow and the sun never sets. All the little mental tricks I employ to make myself feel better have worn thin, because it’s mid-April, I’m still wearing a goddamn winter coat and insulated boots to work and now an ice storm is brewing. All I want to do is stop wearing knits but the weather won’t let me and it’s driving me insane. There was snow on the ground yesterday! In April, for God’s sake.

I tried finding Canadian memes to cheer me up, but I’m beyond laughter. Any more of this weather, and you will find me huddled in a corner, incessantly rocking back and forth with my hands over my ears. Yes it’s that bad and yes I’m that far gone and now I’ve run out of words to say so I need to go and calm down somehow. I hereby delegate any further expressive duty re the impending ice storm to Miss Bianca del Rio, who says it better than I ever could.

biancahatesyou

 

Image from Ohh Deer

 

The Paralysis of Choice

Lately my weekends have been spent at home, doing nothing. Not that I’m forever out and about, but it’s very unlike me to let a month go by without at least attempting to discover something new. These days though, things seem to be rote. Even my food adventures are rote. I’ll visit my favourite  bakery in Chinatown (I’ve found Hong Kong style bakeries to be closest in taste to Philippine-style breads), maybe drop by my neighbourhood jerk joint for oxtail if I feel like it, or  hit up my secret go-to in Ossington – which I refuse to name because I selfishly don’t want it to get too popular – for Portuguese rotisserie chicken. I’ve slowly felt myself falling into a rut, which is not something one should fall into, not when one lives in Toronto. There’s so many things to do and to see, falling into a rut is almost inexcusable.

But there’s only so much adventure I can bring myself to do. I spent a year or two feverishly trying out new things, the goal being to find something I liked and could stick with, a huge chunk of the new things being places to eat at. Like where to go for brunch. (Check.) Or Cajun. (Check.)All-you-can-eat Indian. (Check.) Ramen. (Check.) Peking duck. (Check, check.)

So I sifted through the morass of my internal wiring, trying to see what was up. Is it getting older? Laziness? Predictability? If I’m being entirely honest, I think some of it is that. And then it hit me. The real problem is having too many options. I feel inundated with them. It’s Toronto. Turn a corner, and something’s happening. A new restaurant. A new Instagram-worthy little nook. Something. There’s always something, and I find myself with so many options, I feel paralyzed by my inability to choose.

Even deciding to stay in and watch something can be paralyzing. What platform do I use? Netflix? Hulu? Amazon Prime? And once I decide which one I want to use, another round of choices begins. Do I watch a TV show? If so, what show? Do I watch a movie? If so, what genre? And once I decide on a genre, what movie? It’s exhausting, like my life is suddenly a long-ass exam comprised mostly of questions with multiple choice answers.

It’s been said humans are only capable of making a finite number of good decisions in a day. Once we pass that number, the quality of our judgment starts to decline, one main reason tech titans like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg always wear the same thing any given day; it lessens the amount of choices they have to make, freeing them to hopefully save that mental energy to make better choices.

I don’t really know where I”m going with this except to say that’s what I came up with today. The inundation of all that’s possible and all that’s new has me paralyzed.  I sometimes find myself with so many options, I’m wracked by indecision, struggling with the inevitability of regret, because I know no matter which choice I go with, I may end up regretting not choosing differently. And I don’t like regret. It tastes bad. Indecision tastes bad too, but it’s a little more palatable, so I end up on the couch refusing to make a choice. Which comes with its own taste, and its own brand of regret.