Tag Archives: non-fiction

Suck it, Sanipod!

Public bathrooms have really upped their technology game.

Toilets flush themselves, water magically appears when you place your palms in the communal sinks, hand dryers have become so powerful that you can literally watch your skin get sucked dry in a matter of seconds.

What a time to be alive!

Most of these newfangled public bathroom upgrades are pretty self explanatory and have been implemented to make doing your business away from the privacy of your own home a less disgusting experience.

Last week, I was with my family at a museum out of town when my daughter and I needed a bathroom break. We found a seemingly standard public restroom and used stalls next to each other. Lucky for me, it was my time of the month and I needed a fresh sanitary napkin. Just as I was about to swap my old pad for a new one, I noticed there was nowhere to dispose of my “waste”.

No tiny silver box drilled into the stall wall! What was a girl to do?

It was then that I noticed a white plastic tube fastened to the wall beside the toilet. It looked exactly like the picture below.

sanipod

I don’t know why, but when I first entered the stall, I thought that it was an overly large air freshener and didn’t really pay it any attention. Upon further scrutiny, I discovered that this tube was in fact a space aged, feminine hygiene disposal unit. The word “Sanipod” was written across the front of it in cursive writing.

Jazzy!

I wrapped my used pad in toilet paper and was excited to use the Sanipod for the very first time, but then I got totally confused. How the hell was I supposed to get my feminine “waste” inside the tube? There was no obvious opening, no little trap door or tiny garbage shoot. There were no directions visible on the Sanipod. What was I missing? I knocked on it a little and then my daughter started to ask me what I was doing. Wanting to avoid a conversation about maxi pad disposal with my five year old in a public bathroom, I panicked and put the used pad in my sweatshirt pocket. Feeling like a moron, I washed my hands and then stealthily tossed my pocket pad in the garbage on our way out of the bathroom. For the rest of the afternoon, I couldn’t get the stupid Sanipod out of my head. Why couldn’t I figure out how to use it? What was wrong with me? This was a product designed for menstruating women. I WAS A MENSTRUATING WOMAN, DAMMIT.

Our day at the museum was coming to a close and I knew that I couldn’t leave without solving the riddle of the Sanipod. I informed my children that they all needed to use the bathroom before leaving. My daughter and I entered the very same bathroom and used the very same stalls.

There it was again. That smug little Sanipod. Hanging on the wall like it was better than everyone else.

I channelled my inner Crime Scene Investigator as I scrutinized the Sanipod. What was I missing?

Suddenly, I noticed a small black circle on the very tip of the Sanipod. I touched it and nothing happened. Frustrated and about to give up, I held my right hand just above the black circle thinking that maybe it would somehow sense my presence like the faucet in the communal sinks. Like magic, the top of the Sanipod popped up exposing a small compartment for my personal feminine “waste”. I hurried to change my pad and giddily placed it in the Sanipod. With a cool swishing sound, the top of the Sanipod collapsed back down on the tube as I faintly heard the dull sound of my pad hitting the bottom of the inside of the tube.

SUCCESS!

I HAD TRIUMPHED OVER TECHNOLOGY!

SUCK IT, SANIPOD!

Researching the Sanipod for this post, I discovered that it comes in both black and white and a variety of sizes.They are available for both personal and commercial use. You can also get decorative wraps for your Sanipod if you desire to make your feminine “waste” tube more cohesive with your bathroom decor. In my opinion, the best feature of the Sanipod is its unique shape. Does it remind you of anything?

Anything at all?

sanipod 2

Thanks for reading and I wish you all positive Sanipod experiences!

Your friend,

NFred.

 

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Trick or Carrot Stick! Our First Diabetic Halloween.

Santa filled his stocking with socks, underwear and Pokemon cards.

The Easter Bunny left Lego around the house instead of chocolate.

Sugar Free Jell-O has become his staple dessert at birthday parties.

But what do you do with your diabetic child on Halloween? A holiday that revolves around candy?

My boy is excited to go Trick or Treating in his new Storm Trooper costume. He’s pumped to run around in the dark with his brother, sister and friends. But he keeps asking me what we’re going to do about the candy and my only answer so far has been “we’ll worry about it on Halloween”.

BUT HALLOWEEN IS TOMORROW AND I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.

Clearly I need some help…and fast!

Sam’s one year diabetes anniversary is on November twenty-fourth. This will be our first rodeo having a diabetic child on Halloween. Because he’s on injections of both slow and fast acting insulin twice daily, he needs to eat a regimented amount of carbohydrates at certain times throughout the day. So what does that have to do with Halloween?

EVERYTHING!

Halloween is all about running wildly from door to door while pigging out on candy. It’s about staying up late and bending the rules when it comes to bedtimes and proper nutrition.

BUT YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH A DIABETIC CHILD.

Maybe I could go around to all of the houses in my neighbourhood and ask them to offer carb free, diabetic friendly foods like veggies, meat or cheese to the Trick or Treaters instead of candy? And while I’m at it, I’ll ask all of the kids to say “Trick or Carrot Stick” instead of Trick or Treat?

Clearly I’m delirious.

As I sit here and stress about ways to include my son in all of the Halloween fun, my husband comes up with a plan.

“Sam, how about Mom and Dad buy your Halloween candy from you and then you can use the money to get yourself something special? Like a new Lego set?”

“Really? So I can still Trick or Treat?”

“Of course,” my husband replies with a smile.

What just happened here? Did my husband just solve our Halloween dilemma?

“Sam, you’re sure you’re okay with not eating candy with your brother and sister?” I ask to make sure he fully understands.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Oh and maybe I could donate the money to the JDRF instead of getting Lego?”

What? Who is this kid?

“That’s a terrific idea” I say as my heart swells with pride.

As a parent of a diabetic child, all I want for my son is to be included. Whether it be soccer, hockey, class potlucks or Trick or Treating, I simply want him to know that having diabetes won’t stop him from doing anything that he did before his diagnosis. Sure, we might have to get a little creative, but nothing is impossible. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year it’s that my son is ridiculously resilient.

I’m still relatively new to the complex world of parenting a diabetic child and I would gladly welcome Halloween tips from any Type 1 parents out there! I’d love to know how  you make holidays and other special events inclusive for your kids. Feel free to let your suggestions fly in the comments! I think that my “Trick or Carrot Stick” idea is a pretty clear indication that I need all of the help that I can get!

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

Your friend,

Natasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NFred’s Delicious Little Secret.

I couldn’t quite place her, but I knew that she looked familiar.

It was at my son’s hockey evaluations a few weeks ago. She was registering the kids as they arrived at the arena.

“What’s your name, Honey”, she asked my son. He answered and she sweetly told him which dressing room to use and wished him good luck.

As I sat shivering  in the stands, watching my son play, it suddenly came to me.

IT WAS HERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

A few years ago while working at The Toy Shop, I had a customer who was very upset with the quality of our free gift wrapping service. I remember that she bought an item and asked to have it wrapped. As I was removing the price tags, she went off on an unprovoked rant about how poorly wrapped her previous purchase had been and that she had to redo the whole thing HERSELF in her car because she was too embarrassed to give such a horrible looking gift. I apologised and took extra care to fluff the tissue and curl the ribbon to perfection. When I asked her if it looked okay, she rolled her eyes, snatched the bag from my hands and said, “I’ll do it myself” before storming out of the store.

It was one of the most perplexing customer interactions I’ve ever had in my entire retail career. How could someone be so upset about a totally optional and completey FREE service?

I sat there in the stands, my butt frozen and fingers numb and I smiled. As if this was the same woman who just called my son “Honey”! What I delicious little secret I had.

And the best part?

I’ve seen her on a weekly basis at the rink ever since.

 

Needless to say, I’ve been a little guarded in my interactions with her. I’m cautiously waiting for her inner asshat to escape.

In all fairness, I don’t know this woman. She could lead a very difficult life. But there’s just something about people who aren’t cordial to those in customer service jobs. Your server, cashier, the person that pumps your gas are all paid to help you in one way or another. However, being outlets for your misplaced anger is NOT part of their job description.

Anyhoo, it’s going to be an interesting hockey season to say the least! Last week I made sure to wear my staff shirt to see if she’d say anything, but no dice.

Who knows, maybe we’ll become friends and one day we’ll laugh about her inner asshat?!?!!? It’s not likely, but you never know….life is full of surprises…

Thanks for reading,

NFred.

 

 

 

 

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This Is Diabetes.

It’s three in the morning and Adele’s voice is lulling me awake from my clock radio.

I groggily shut off the alarm and rub my eyes.

Two more minutes…I’ll get out of bed in two more minutes.

The next time I open my eyes, forty minutes has passed. Panic washes over me as I get out of bed and grab my son’s kit off of my nightstand.

I squint under the hallway light as I fumble for a lancet and a test strip.

I stumble into my son’s room and prick his finger with the tiny needle while he stays fast asleep. I hold my breath as the meter calculates his blood sugar. I want the number to be over ten so that I can go back to sleep.

It flashes 3.1.

Fuck.

I wake my son and inform him that he needs a “Midnight Buffet”. He angrily gets out of bed and follows me downstairs. He chugs a juice box in a daze while I try to stay awake beside him on the couch.

After fifteen minutes, I test him again.

The meter flashes 4.2.

It’s buffet time.

Still groggy, my son manages to eat a granola bar and some apple sauce. I figure that should hold him until his six-thirty breakfast and morning shot of insulin, but with Type 1 Diabetes, you really never know.

As I tuck my son back into bed and kiss his little face, I’m hit with the realization that this is diabetes.

This and so much more.

It’s the sleepless nights and the never ending worry.

It’s the panic in the pit of your stomach when your phone rings and you see that it’s the school calling.

It’s double guessing yourself as you meticulously calculate insulin doses.

It’s needing a degree in math just to make your kid a snack.

It’s knowing that there are exactly twelve grams of carbs in thirty-seven Goldfish crackers.

It’s having your son yell at you impatiently to hurry up when you have to haul him off the ice to test his blood during hockey.

It’s the mountain of paperwork involved with every new school year or extra curricular activity.

It’s the guilt that your kid has a stupid fucking incurable disease and you can’t make it go away.

It’s your husband switching careers and working the night shift so that one of us can be available in an emergency twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

It’s people saying ridiculous things like, “but he’s not over weight”, or “I could never give my child a needle”, or “he’ll grow out of it”, or my personal favourite, “my uncle has Type 2 and he’s doing great”.

It’s wanting my son to never be left out of anything because of his disease.

Before my son got sick last November, I thought diabetes was just about drinking orange juice and avoiding sugar. I’ve learned over the last nine and a half months that it is so much more. It’s a complicated and relentless disease that never takes a day off or gives my son a break.

There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes. All donations made to the JDRF go directly to research.

If you’d like to donate or if you’d like to learn more about Type 1 diabetes, check out the JDRF Canada website at http://www.jdrf.ca.

Furthermore, if you’re curious about Type 1 Diabetes signs and symptoms in children, I’ve compiled a handy little list;

-excessive thirst

-excessive hunger

-rapid weight loss

-constant urination

– unprovoked mood swings

-always being tired

-looking pale

-dark under eye circles

-sudden stuttering or losing their train of thought

-a sudden loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

I also just want to say that if you ever feel like something is “off” with your child, trust your gut and follow your instincts.

Thanks for reading and also a huge shout out to all of our friends and family who have been so supportive. You know who you are and big love to you all!

NFred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Great Diet Dr. Pepper Incident of 2016.

Seven months ago today my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Throughout this time he’s been showered with love and support from his family, friends, school and community. Diabetes is a shit deal, but my boy takes it all in a stride and makes me proud every day.

Today started off a little rocky. My boy was on edge, grumpy, not his usual bubbly self. When my daughter asked if she could have a loonie for Freezie Friday at school, my son exploded in a rage filled rant about how it’s “not fair” that he can’t have a freezie and that “diabetes is stupid” and that he “doesn’t want it any more”. Every time he has one of these breakdowns I find the only thing I can do is agree with him, because he’s right.

Once he calmed down, I asked him if he’d like me to bring him something special to have when the kids were having their freezies. Last week I surprised him with some diet iced tea and that blew his little mind. On my way to work, I stopped at the corner store and decided to totally freak his freak by buying him a diet Dr. Pepper. Yes it’s full of aspartame and is obviously not the healthiest choice, but come on! The boy deserved a treat after the crappy morning he had. I happily dropped off the pop at his school and laughed with the secretary about how odd it was that a diet pop was better for my kid than a “100% fruit juice” freezie.

Freezie Friday takes place during second recess, which is at two o’clock in the afternoon. At three o’clock I got a text from my husband asking me to call him. I wasn’t busy at work so I called him right away. The first thing he said was “everything is fine” followed by “but there was an incident at school”. My heart sank thinking that my son had gotten sick due to high or low blood sugar. My husband was quick to say that our son was “just fine” but that he had been very upset.

Here’s what happened…

My son was ecstatic about his diet Dr. Pepper surprise! He took a few sips at the start of recess then set his pop down on the ground next the school wall so that he could go off into the yard and play. A few minutes later he went back to have some more and was horrified when he discovered four boys drinking his coveted diet Dr. Pepper! When my son confronted the boys they dropped the bottle on the ground an ran away. With tears flowing down his cheeks, my son and some of his friends found the teacher on recess duty and told her what happened. Together they found the four boys out in the yard and those jerks were promptly sent to the principle’s office.

THOSE.

FUCKING.

JERKS.

First off, what kind of kids see a random drink on the ground and think drinking it ALL is a good idea???

Secondly, my son’s school is tiny and everyone knows about his diabetes. WHY WOULD THOSE JERK KIDS STEAL MY DIABETIC KID’S FREAK’N TREAT???  WHY???

Knowing that this happened to my son filled me with a myriad of emotions. Rage, anger, sadness. I mostly wanted to find the parents of the four boys and ask them why their children were such inconsiderate assholes.

On my way home from work, I stopped by the same corner store that I had been to in the morning and I bought my son his second diet Dr. Pepper of the day. When I got home he was playing in the basement with his brother. I called him upstairs and hugged him a little  tighter than normal. I gave him his replacement diet Dr. Pepper and his eyes lit up as he thanked me. We had a quick chat and he said that some of the boys had apologized and that he had forgiven them.

I’ve had a few hours to cool down (and swear) about The Great Diet Dr. Pepper Incident of 2016. I’m still angry, but if my kid can get over it so quickly then maybe I should follow his lead and let it go.

Thanks for reading my rant and we’ll chat soon,

NFred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paragraph # 30: Paragraph Challenge CRUSHED.

crushed it

Well holy guacamole, I’ve done it.

I crushed my paragraph challenge.

CRUSHED IT.

I can’t believe that I actually wrote EVERY FREAK’N DAY for an entire month.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard.

Very hard.

Did I produce the best writing of my life? Probably not.

Was I super pumped about everything that I posted? Oh heck no!

But I did have a crap load of fun and I learned a few things along the way.

I learned that I write better in the morning, that I really like writing dialogue and that my Microsoft Paint skills are on point with those of a four year old.

Most importantly, I proved to myself that I can squeeze in some daily writing even with my crazy busy life.

So, what’s next?

I have no idea.

I’m going to take a few days to pat myself on the back for reaching my goal and then I’m going to hunker down and figure out my next move.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported me in this ridiculous month of writing. Your feedback has meant so much.

I’d also like to give a shout out to my one reader in Russia. Spaseeba!

Cheers to the future and thanks again for reading.

I’ll see you soon,

NFred.

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Paragraph # 29: Crust.

crust.png

 

I have a red patch of crusty dry skin growing out of my right eyebrow.

It’s ridiculous.

It’s ugly.

And it’s spreading.

I bought some over the counter cortisone cream in a desperate attempt to get rid of the crust, but it didn’t work. In fact, I think my crust liked the smelly cream because it appears to be thriving. As of this morning, I’ve developed two new patches on my forehead.

GAH.

I haven’t felt this self conscious about my appearance since that time in grade eight when I cut off all my hair and the boys in my class started calling me Bill.

Where did these itchy patches of doom come from?

And what the crap are they?

And how the hell do I get rid of them?

My co-worker is convinced that the patches are a result of my gluten heavy diet.

A friend suggested that they might be a symptom of stress.

Another friend said that it might be a sign of dehydration.

I was pretty confident that it was ringworm until Google proved me wrong. Now I’m thinking either eczema or mange.

I know I should just go to the doctor already, but who has the time?

An easier solution might be to cut bangs.

Or to start wearing headbands.

Or to get really large glasses.

Stupid crust.

If you have any crust busting tips, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading and my crust and I will see you tomorrow!

NFred.

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Paragraph # 28: Tired.

tired

 

OH MY GOD!

I’M SO TIRED.

I have no reason to be this bone crushingly exhausted, but here I am, sitting on my couch in my jam jams, struggling to keep my eyes open.

My day at work was pretty uneventful, so I really don’t have any excuse for wanting to go to bed at eight thirty on a Saturday night.

The only exciting part of work today occurred when an older gentleman told me that I should inform all my customers to buy the squirrel socks we sell because his daughter wore them for her government French exam and she passed. I smiled and said “awesome” and then he went on a giant tangent about how hard it is to get a job in the government. I did my best to look busy in an attempt to get away from the conversation, but he wouldn’t stop talking at me. After rambling on for a solid five minutes he told me AGAIN how I should tell all my customers about the magical squirrel socks and then he said “thanks, Buddy” and left.

Buddy? People are so weird.

Tomorrow I have a ridiculous day “off”. A bowling tournament, two hockey games, skating lessons and our crazy annual toy store staff party extravaganza.

I’m going to need a clone, a caffeine drip and a solid eighteen hours of sleep tonight if I plan on surviving tomorrow’s madness.

What’s that I hear? It’s my sweet, sweet couch calling!

Good night and thanks for reading.

See you tomorrow,

NFred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paragraph # 27: Watch’n Videos.

music

 

Remember when MuchMusic and MTV actually aired music videos?

Oh man, those were the days!

I used to tape Much Mega Hits on the old VCR and replay my faves over and over.

I’d learn the lyrics, memorize the choreography and basically rock out with my totally radical preteen self.

Well hold on to your scrunchies because I recently discovered that MuchMusic has a little program called the Friday Night Dance Party where for a whole, glorious TWO HOURS they play nothing but Top 40 music videos!!!

I could literally sit here on my couch, contently watching music videos for the rest of my life.

I don’t know why I love them so much. Maybe because they’re so freak’n random? And nonsensical? And quirky? And ridiculous? And thought provoking? And confusing?

I’ve watched at least a dozen videos tonight and here are some of the highlights;

-Joe Jonas singing while a group of bikini clad women and one chubby gentleman in a Speedo passionately threw chunks of vanilla cake at each other.

-Zayn, formally of One Direction, crying black tears and making out with a model while their heads swirled around in nausea inducing kaleidoscope patterns.

-A girl sitting on a chair, alone in an empty room, emoting deeply to the camera about an ex-lover. She was really sad and I think all she needed was a hug and a home cooked meal.

-A wedding in a country bar between a bleach blond Barbie type and a man with enormous buck teeth who was at least twice her age. Among the wedding guests were a bald man wearing denim overalls with NOTHING underneath and a K.D. Lang look-a-like who owned the dance floor with some killer line dancing moves.

-A gang of dudes on skateboards who all had their faces wrapped in tensor bandages for some reason that I’m not hip enough to understand.

-Justin Bieber getting his stomach licked and then being kidnapped by some guys in creepy masks who brought him and his lady friend to a skate park where they all danced and did sick skate board tricks together.

SO RANDOM.

SUCH ENTERTAINMENT.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more videos to watch.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow,

NFred.

 

 

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Paragraph # 26: Why I Love My Best Friend.

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According to Facebook, today is Friends Day.

In celebration of this holiday that is probably made up, I have compiled a list of twenty-six things I love about my best friend.

 

  1. She is one of the only people left on the planet who still sends actual letters in the actual mail.

  2. She takes epic chin selfies.

  3. I’m pretty sure that if you asked her who her best friend was she would say her dogs and I’m okay with that because her “pets” have never written her a lovely list. So there, dogs.

  4. She drinks maple whisky out of a glass with a skull on it while knitting and watching musicals on TV. She’s the perfect mix of a party girl and your eighty-five year old Grandma.

  5. Her hair gets disgustingly greasy if she doesn’t wash it everyday. Seeing her in all her oily glory makes me feel better about my own appearance.

  6. She swears like a sailor.

  7. She’s so tiny that she can still wear kids sized clothes and sometimes the teachers at her school confuse her for a student. (FYI she teaches at an elementary school.)

  8. She’s going to name her future child Ming Ling because I said so.

  9. When I ask her what I should write about, her standard answer is, “ME! AND MY DOGS!”

  10. We can go from talking about serious life issues to farts in a single sentence.

  11. She holds my hand in public.

  12. Being a vegetarian, she really appreciates it when I text her pictures of meat.

  13. Her first impression of me when we met was that I was a “weirdo”. My first impression of her was that she was “loud”. We both still feel the same way, eighteen years later.

  14. A demolition derby, learning to surf in Costa Rica and acting in a Japanese play are all examples of her random adventures.

  15. She has special seatbelts for her dogs in her car.

  16. She’s a huge fan of recycling, composting, biodegradable household products, the environment, animals and reusable containers. If she hadn’t become a teacher she probably would have become David Suzuki.

  17. Two things that fill her with rage are shovelling her driveway and being stuck behind slow walkers.

  18. She has several friends who happen to be llamas. None of them are her BEST friend…just throwing that out there.

  19. Her eyebrows always reveal her true feelings.

  20. She sing talks CONSTANTLY.

  21. She has a special skirt that she wears when she goes running.

  22. She gets sassy when she drinks.

  23. Her ideal food is dill pickle chips.

  24. Her musical tastes are on point with those of a thirteen year old girl.

  25. Her childhood home strongly resembled a Hobbit Hole.

  26. She uses kindness as the driving force in her life because she’s a nauseatingly good person.

 

Happy Friends Day everyone and thanks for reading.

Now go tell your best friend that they rock and I’ll see you tomorrow!

NFred.

 

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