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I went to Disney World, for the first time, on my 40th birthday.

As you do.

That year, they had a “Come to Disney for Free on your Birthday” promotion.

We were already going to be in Florida and it was the perfect excuse to go.  Disney isn’t cheap and as you may remember, Practical Man loves a good deal, yes indeedy.

He’s just not a huge fan of Disney.

Or crowds.

Or mouse ears.

mickey mouse ears

“You’re not going to wear those when I’m with you, are you?” I could already hear him asking at the prospect of my dreamed-about Mickey ears.

Umm…

SIGH.

I knew this would be the question he would ask because he asked it when I came home with rubber boots that had large, purple and pink flowers all over them.

And when I found the perfect artsy-hippy-dippy-trippy shirt.

He also asked it when I made the first large-ish felt flower for one of my hats.

my eyes showing underneath a blue hat with a large, red, felt flower

But, 20 or 30 large-ish felt flowers later, he’s kind of getting used to me now. I think he’s realized that he can still maintain his preferred position “under the radar”, even when I’m wearing something attention-grabbing, because people are too busy gawking at a 40-something woman wearing items normally associated with 4 year olds, to pay any attention to him.

I don’t mind the gawking.  Adults don’t smile nearly enough so, anything I can do to help in that area is right up my street.

My festooned, childlike street, of course.

(You may recall how much I love a bit of festooning.)

Back to my point, which is that we were going to be in Florida for my birthday, visiting my aunt and uncle.

My first hint that Practical Man didn’t really want to spend a festive 40th birthday day with his dearest at Disney was, well…okay, I married him, so I like to think I know about some of his likes and dislikes.

(I’m always studying, in case we we end up on one of those newlywed games, even now that we are 20 years into our romance.)

Anyhoo, the second clue was that for most of the drive to Florida, Practical Man kept saying to me, “Don’t you think you’d have a better time at Disney with your aunt?”

I tormented him through Pennsylvania and both the Carolinas and Georgia, but knew that, yes, I would have a great time with my aunt Feather at Disney.

She has no problem with Disney, crowds or mouse ears.

And, she encourages things like staying overnight in the Herbie the LoveBug themed Disney hotel (Hurrah!) and eating Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bars (Yum!) and not minding when her niece wears Mickey Mouse ears all day long over her sunhat, even though she’s 40.

I am 40ish going on 4.  Yep, that’s me.

As if it could get any better, the Magic Kingdom folks gave me a giant button at the gate that said “Happy Birthday Christine!” in two foot letters on it and every time there was a parade or a character going by (which was a lot), they would lean down from their stilts with a giant smile and yell, “Happy Birthday, Christine!” which Practical Man would have hated, but which I love-love-loved.

But, my favourite part was the parade that started, right after the sun went down.  All the floats were lit with thousands of coloured lights and it was warm and beautiful with my Aunt Feather and there were fireworks all for me, I’m sure, on my 40th birthday.

SWOON.

The Magic Kingdom really is just a festooned, childlike street, after all.

Have you noticed how “festoon” rhymes with “swoon”?

Last night took me right back there.  It was the Santa Claus parade in my hometown and I was invited to join Fairy Godson and his family and friends at the big event downtown.

lit up train float

Even though there were shades of Magic Kingdom in this festival of lights, Florida it was not.  I was wearing down-filled everything with an added layer of neoprene on my feet, thank goodness.

Brrrrrr.

My magic kingdom for some down-filled undies.

Even though the weather is finally turning a bit more wintery, just for the record, it’s still a bit too early for Santa.

Practical Man has rules about these kinds of things:  no Christmass-y stuff until December 1st.

Or, maybe that’s the earliest date I have cajoled him into.  We definitely follow the “out of respect for our veterans and their families, absolutely nothing festive until after Remembrance Day” rule.

Even though it was early, it felt like the festive season at the parade.  All the kids lined up to catch their candy canes and stickers and wave at Rudolphs with blinking noses and Elves and that giant marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters.

parade float - giant balloon marshmallow man

Who knew that Ghostbusters were festive?

My friend Grover, that’s who.

Fairy godson was taking it all in, with a line of other kids his age.  They were, like me, wrapped in down-filled everything, from head to toe.

Little boy wearing winter clothes

Sucking on candy canes, naturally.

I was jealous of their ear flaps.

It was 16 degrees Celcius yesterday afternoon, my friends.  The climate changed just in time for the parade and our recent rash of Spring-like-weather-in-November had done nothing to harden us for standing out in the festive wind coming straight up Princess Street, off Lake Ontario.

Did I mention I’d like someone to invent down-filled undies?

But, it was still as lovely as that time at Disney.

elf village, lit up

I had no mickey ears last night but, just look at all the pretty lights!

We waved at baton twirlers and gymnasts (there were a lot) and dancers and pipe bands.  We yelled Merry Christmas at passing elves and tigers and snowmen.  Float riders reminded us that “Santa would be coming soon” and we jiggled to the assorted Christmas tunes emanating from the passing parade.  There was even a ferris wheel float!

I’ve decided I’m a night-time parade kind of a girl.

No matter the season or the location, this kind of joyous, sparkly, celebratory event is right up my street.

santa's float

My festooned, childlike street, of course.

With a side of down-filled underwear.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


Last night at the Hallowe’en dance, I won the prize for Most Original Costume.

jellyfish

In other words:  the costume that looked homemade, had built-in lighting, and seemed as if it needed its own time zone.

Wearing a jellyfish body on your head covers lots of square footage, little did you know.  Also, drunk people sometimes think you’re dressed up as a lamp.

It made me realize what it must be like to be pregnant.

Or a bride with a giant dress.

First of all, there was the bride-with-a-giant-dress challenge of fitting a giant jellyfish head into a bathroom stall.

Jellyfish do a lot of giggling, when they pee.

Unfortunately, jellyfish don’t have bridesmaids to help out with logistics (although a very friendly dominatrix offered her help).

Then, there was the I-must-be-very-pregnant way people engaged with the costume.

That is to say, the jellyfish costume seemed to imply that strangers could get closer than is normally comfortable to me.  There were quite a number of people–pumpkins, the Sith, hippies, and tacky tourists–trying to join me under my massive jellyfish time zone, in a way that was slightly disconcerting.

Hands off the tentacles, people.

No jostling the jelly.

And, please put a few more clothes on, while you’re at it.  This is the jellyfish timezone, not stripper camp.

My jellyfish costume is kind of a (okay, grade 3) work of art as result of Practical Man and I spending more time than adults probably should on something like a jellyfish costume, but this is what happens when you have no kids and like to pretend you’re still 4, like I do, or you’re Practical Man and live with someone who likes to pretend they’re still 4, like his wife does.

Oh sure, I’m not really 4, but how can you not love Hallowe’en?

  • it’s got chocolate
  • it’s got dressing up in fun costumes
  • it’s got making stuff so you can dress up in a fun costume because buying a costume is just plain no fun at all (at least, for those of us who like to pretend we’re still 4)
  • it’s got twirling, if you play your cards right or plan ahead and have a floaty jellyfish costume that is perfect for twirling
  • it’s got prizes for best costumes (more chocolate!)
  • even if you don’t win, there’s chocolate.

Hallowe’en is just awesome.  Of course, I live in the country and no children ever come to our house, no matter how much we leave a trail of candy up the driveway or decorate the house (sniff!) but that doesn’t stop me from trying to buy goodies to hand out to the non-existent children or planning what I’ll wear.

Then, I  seek out every Hallow’s Eve dancing event I can possibly get myself invited to.  Often, it’s at the local village Legion which is fun because they always have a midnight buffet (with cake!) and everyone dances with everyone, which is like it was when I was a teenager in Germany so I get to simultaneously pretend I am 4 and 15 and what could be better than that?

The band is sometimes a bit painful but, really when it comes to dancing, as long as I can squint and recognize the tune, I’m in.  I’m almost positive that last one was Time Warp.  Or maybe, Werewolves of London.

Tra-la-la.

When he picked me up this morning, Practical Man had a great idea for my next costume.

Noooo, I can’t tell you what it is!  This is top-secret, super classified stuff.

All I can tell you is that next Hallowe’en:

  • there will be chocolate
  • there will be dressing up in fun costumes
  • there will be making stuff so you can dress up in a fun costume because buying a costume is just plain no fun at all (at least, for those of us who like to pretend we’re still 4)
  • there will be twirling, if you play your cards right or plan ahead and have a costume that is perfect for twirling
  • there will be prizes for best costumes (more chocolate!)
  • and, even if you don’t win, there will be chocolate.

Hallowe’en is just awesome.

glowing in the dark

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

 

 

 


 

photo credit:  Shawn

Photo credit: Shawn Ford

Someday soon, I’ll tell you about our great northern escape to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s cottage–which they call “the camp” (less pretentious)–and which, despite its beautiful lakeside location, will never be referred to as “the lake house” (even more pretentious) or “the compound” (we are obviously not Kennedys).

Every summer should include a vintage cottage, don’t you think?

Even if it does take approximately 8 hours of driving, countless close encounters with partridge, deer, foxes, and chipmunks (whose furry and feathered mamas and papas obviously never taught them to look both ways for the killer automobiles before they crossed the road), several “comfort” breaks and once, a very treacherous 4-hour detour to nowhere thanks to our bewildered GPS, Emily, who didn’t understand that long-abandoned logging roads from 1950 and bouldered creek beds that have been dry since the same era were not actually ROADS, to get there.

That’s another story and suffice it to say that Emily and I are no longer on speaking terms.

But, hurrah, we arrived without incident at the camp this time and I immediately rushed from the car to one of my favourite features:  the vintage outhouse.

I had been holding it since Mattawa and oh sure, there is indoor plumbing at this vintage cottage but, where’s the fun in that?

Maybe you thought that since I am sometimes a little reluctant vis-a-vis The Nature, that I would never darken the door of one of these crescent-moon-bedecked beauties.

Silly you.

In fact, I consider myself a bit of a vintage outhouse connoisseur and really, who wouldn’t want that written on their tombstone?

The outhouse at this camp is quite the snazzy specimen.   Not only does it boast the requisite reading material (Ontario Out of Doors), but it has a light–all the better to see the mosquitoes with–, a genuine, real-for-true linoleum floor, walls of gleaming white and fetching ivy stenciled around.

Such a refined and genteel outhouse it is, that I’m tempted to upgrade the name of the whole place to “The Compound”.

Take that, Kennedys.

I see your Martha’s Vineyard and raise you one McLaren’s Bay.

The outhouse attached to the Little Cottage at my grandparents’ 60s cottage was not the fanciest version but it holds great affection as it was the first foray I can remember into the world of outhouses.  The Little Cottage was the original “bunkie” on the property, relegated to guest quarters and later a playhouse for us grandkids after the main cottage was built.

Oooh and its outhouse was replete with vintage charm and a certain je ne sais quoi.

First, you exited the one-room Little Cottage through a door into a slatted “hallway” that was for all intents and purposes, outside (all the better for allowing the midnight moon to shine through), complete with a small sink and mirror.  A right turn and another door opened to to the throne itself, festooned with Reader’s Digests galore and, if my memory serves, some of-the-era carpeting and a can of air freshener.

I think that was the je ne sais quoi.

More recently, I have frequented an outhouse that is not vintage, but harkens back to yesteryear with its wooden structure and back-to-basics design.  It involves a slightly perilous climb up a sandy, milkweed and thistle-dotted hill and a door that refuses to stay shut, despite the handy log kept nearby for just that purpose.  Also, our friends must have been anticipating very tall visitors.  Assuming the position (after a bit of a running jump) causes me, at nearly 6 feet tall, to have dangling feet.   It’s worth the slight indignities and aerobic exercise however, for this outhouse boasts a magnificent salvaged window with a glorious view over the pond.

But, the leader in the outhouse division has always been the outhouse at my aunt and uncle’s cottage:  the Stoker Bay outhouse.

(Sound the trumpets.)

With its twin side-by-side holes (one with pink toilet seat, one with blue), chalkboard (for composing Stoker Bay Outhouse Poetry) and Outhouse Poetry Notebook (for the rhyming couplet gems that just shouldn’t be lost to a chalkboard eraser), it was the standard to which all other outhouses have been held, since.

The double seater outhouse is such a rarity these days.   I’m sure I’m not the only one who yearns for those cozy-up-with-a-friend bathroom times because visiting this outhouse was an EVENT.

In the summer, it was hot and full of mosquitoes, deer flies and the odd directionally-challenged tree frog.

In the winter, you had to sit with your snowpants on the seat for a while to warm it up before getting down to the deed.

But no matter the season, you could take a friend (or, let’s face it, become friends as a result) and sit, shorts around ankles, slapping at mosquitoes or shivering while dreaming up your latest outhouse poem.

Now, those were some classic moon-June-spoon ditties, let me tell you.

We pause and ponder life and lunch,
We think of bikes and art,
We ruminate on all things fine,
and then, of course, we fart.

Oh, my years of writing Stoker Bay Outhouse Poetry have served me well, haven’t they?

This high-brow art form was, of course, most appreciated–if at all–by those under 13 (or those slightly intoxicated or those with a Y chromosome or any combination thereof).

Even if a couple of visitors weren’t feeling particularly poetically-inclined, one look through the slightly damp, dog-eared Outhouse Poetry Notebook and the giggling would ensue.

And, if you haven’t giggled in an outhouse, well, you really haven’t lived.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.