Been a while since I wrote a post, eh? Well, I got back into KAF about a week and 1/2 ago after 5 weeks off and I’ve been much too busy counting down the time to my next leave to write anything. You see, this rotation is only 5 weeks and 4 days as we re-align our work schedules after some not so useful yet mandatory training in Dubai messed it up. Now that I’ve got my shaves scheduled and the countdown spreadsheet updated, I’m ready to write some shit. So let’s do this:
Only In KAF, You Say? Nope!
M was nice enough to provide me with this week’s fucked up Toyota pic…but this Odarp was in Dubai! The cancer is spreading.
A Reunion, A Reading, A Graduation and Fucking IKEA
With 5 weeks rather than the usual 4 at home, we managed to cram a lot of stuff into this leave. After about a week at home, my wife and I set off on a road trip to my home town to visit my mom. It was a fun trip but let’s start with fucking IKEA.
Yeah, I knew this was coming but that didn’t make it any more untedious. Joanie had our GPS (known henceforth as “Michelle” after the voice we chose) search for the IKEA in Montreal. It came up with three of them. We picked the nearest one and followed Michelle’s directions off the highway. We end up in a maze of streets in a combo-big-box-store/industrial park. I spot the IKEA to my right as Michelle commands me to “Turn Left”. The ensuing conversation was not an auspicious start to my first IKEA adventure. “Mark, she said turn left”. “I can see it, it’s right there”. “How do you know that’s the right one?” “Well, it says IKEA on it”. “Yeah, but maybe there’s another one to the left”. “What’s wrong with this one.” I don’t know but it doesn’t look the same as the last time I was here”. “Maybe it’s new”. “I’m not sure, it doesn’t look right”. “I’m parking right fucking here”. And then we happily skipped our way into the monstrous store.
IKEA actually has a pretty decent system…to a point. You find what you want, write down the stock number on a piece of paper and carry it to the warehouse area at the end to pick it up. The problem is that you have to follow this path marked out on the floor…you can’t just get directly to the item you want via a straight line. This is, apparently, because IKEA is not designed for me or people like me. It is designed for people who shop, not for people who buy.
Anyway, I dutifully trudged along behind my lovely wife as she pointed out things she liked causing me to repeatedly ask “What the fuck is it?”. It was kinda neat the way they have everything staged like it’s in an actual room but I was chagrined to find out that the non-existent IKEA guy who lived in one of the bedrooms had more shirts than I do, and they were much fancier too. Heck, they even had buttons.
Like rats in a maze, we found ourselves at the IKEA cafeteria once we had successfully navigated my personal retail hell. “Woo-hoo…the legendary IKEA meatballs” I naively thought to myself. They looked disgusting in their steam tray but so did everything else. “Hmm…where have I seen something like this before”, I wondered, overcome with a serious case of deja vu. I felt obligated to get the meatballs to see how they stacked up against the Northline’s. Never having heard of Lingonberries, I got the Lingonberry juice. It all sucked. The meatballs were about room temperature and tasteless while the Lingonberry juice tasted, I guess, like Lingonberries assuming Lingonberries taste like vomit. Northline kicked IKEA’s ass in the great Swedish Meatball cook-off of 2013 and Northline doesn’t make me wander through a fucking labyrinth full of ridiculously named household goods just to get lunch. Next time I go to IKEA I’ll be sure not to go to IKEA.
It just so happened that my high school’s 50th anniversary and an associated reunion were taking place while we were in Ontario so I got together with some old friends to go to it along with my brother. My favourite moment was when my brother and I ran into a fellow who was a bit of bone-headed bully as a teen and who, as my brother put it later, “was under the impression we had traveled in the same circles.” The conversation went like this: “So, what are you guys? Doctors or lawyers or some shit?”, he asked. “I’m an engineer”, said my brother; “I’m a mercenary”, I said jokingly. As his perplexed look faded he asked “Were you there that time we poured gasoline all over the road and lit it?” “No” we replied. “Hey, have you seen Mr. Fleming, the football coach? Remember him? Did you guys play football?” “No”, I answered, “I was cut from the team unceremoniously before I tried out”, “I was on the math team” added my brother. “Uh, yeah, uh, I gotta go get a drink”.
My least favourite moment was the somewhat surreal experience of waking up on my friend’s rec room floor at 8 am surrounded by 4 other semi-comatose oldish men. I may be able to still drink like a 17 year old but I get a hangover like a 50 year old.
When we got back home, I attended a reading by my eldest daughter from her latest novel. She writes “erotic paranormal fiction” or what she terms “vampire porn”. Every father’s dream…right? I’m no prude but it’s still fucking weird hearing your daughter read that shit…especially knowing she wrote it. I kept wanting to jump up and say “how do you know that?” …but she is 22 so I bit my tongue.
The highlight of my leave was watching my daughter graduate from the Culinary Institute of Canada at the tender age of 19. I gotta tell ya, culinary school graduations serve the best damn food. They had a mashed potato bar at one of the receptions! I fucking love mashed potatoes. They should send whoever made those awesome mashed potatoes to KAF to slap someone upside the head. Anyhow, I’m very proud of my daughter, Erica, but I wish she’d cook me a goddamn meal sometime.
I was gonna write some stuff about KAF along with my “what I did on my spring vacation essay” but it’s late and I didn’t. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere…sigh. KAF updates tomorrow.
“Babies don’t need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach… it pisses me off! I’ll go over to a little baby and say ‘What are you doing here? You haven’t worked a day in your life!'” – Steven Wright