Why you need to start your own detective agency, STAT

Melissa Chaib 1

The house on Dever Drive was green stucco. One of those early 80’s shoeboxes that we tried to make feel like home, but that always ended up smelling like something we never cooked. We had lived there for four years by the time the yard sale rolled around.

My brother Colin and I took on the responsibility of the extra float. We also manned the lemonade stand. You don’t know this when you’re a little kid, but lemonade stands are pointless. Nobody ever wants lemonade, they just buy it because you’re a cute 8 year old.

It was July, and it was hot. Desert hot. Dry heat that refuses to let you sweat but makes you feel constantly thirsty. Colin and I propped our little table up in between the two crab apple trees in our front yard, taking extra care to avoid getting tangled in hanging caterpillars.

We sat there for two hours while my Dad heckled with neighbors over the price of his ham radio gear. Our youngest brother, Stephen, lay napping on the grass beside us in his diaper while our last brother, Ben, was busy trying to re-claim all the toys he had previously decided to put up for sale. No one wanted lemonade. The yard sale was full of too many other goods.

“I have an idea” I said to Colin. “Let’s become detectives.”

Colin, 6 at the time, was thrilled to participate. I got smelly markers – orange and cherry scented – and wrote the words out on a piece of cardboard.

DETEKTIVES AT YOUR SERVIS

As I propped the sign up in front of the lemonade, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace from across the street came over.

“Whatchoo got there?” Mr. Wallace boomed.

Oh, we’re detectives now!” I called out.

“No, no” he said “behind the sign?”

I turned, deflated, to get him a cup.  “It’s our Mom’s lemonade” I said “fifty cents.”

He drank it fast and asked for another before leaning in to whisper something to us.

“I’ve got this problem, you see” he began “…it’s my apple trees…”

Colin climbed up onto the table excitedly, prepared for whatever was to come.

“The apples just keep going missing. Do you think you could sort this out for me?”

We took his ten dollars, with a promise of ten more to come when we gave him the answer. He took another glass of lemonade.

Mrs. Wallace looked at him with sparkling eyes and as the two of them walked away — Mr. Wallace to the ham radio and Mrs. Wallace to the Tupperware — Colin and I made the decision.

“Racoons!” we yelled after them. “It’s got to be raccoons.”

Colin held out his hand for the other ten dollars.

And we both knew at that moment our detective careers were over.

***

When did we start to feel self-conscious about reaching for the stars and falling short? When did we start worrying about the logistics of our big dreams and stop doing it because it might be nothing except for kind-of fun? What is it about the dread pirate responsibility that stops us in our tracks? Why, as we grow into the ages where the possibility of success is two-fold, do we pop the top back onto the Pringle container? We don’t need to fear rejection letters and bad Trip Advisor reviews — the only thing we have to fear is not putting the sign up.

This week, go forth and start your own detective agency. Who knows, you might even make a quick 20 bucks.

XOYW1

image credit: Melissa Chaib

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What happens when you accept bad vibes only

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When was the last time you had a week?

You know the kind — everything spirals into a giant catastrophic bad day, every day. It’s like that scene in Finding Nemo where the super cute sea turtles are riding the current all crazy, except they were all like “woah, dude” and you’re all like “fuck, man.”

Well, I’ve had one of those weeks.

So much so that when I woke up this morning I had to put myself back to bed because I was so miserable. I was all maybe I’ll try waking up again, and not being such a colossal C-U-Next-Tuesday. Of course, it didn’t help at all, because Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” woke me up and informed me that I was now late.

Everything from forgetting really important birthdays to smashing Steve’s car to getting ready to move into a new place to having freak-outs about asbestosis . . . (that was totally warranted, FYI. I wasn’t being paranoid) this week has just made me feel crappy.

And it steamrolls. Oh man, does it steam roll. If Monday’s bad you just know nothing good can come from it.

But, last night, in an attempt to make up for that forgotten birthday I told you about, I took a girlfriend out for a well-deserved dinner. The moment I stepped into her car, my entire world was rocked.

Radiating out of this woman, and literally punching me in the face, was the most incredible and powerful and positive and beautiful energy. She told me stories of how she had recently opened herself up to accepting things from *The Universe* (put in asterisks because you can insert whatever you pray to here) and how everything was falling into place perfectly.

& I was like . . . what am I doing wrong this week? I am attracting all the bad vibes. All of them. Every single last bad vibe on the planet I am attracting to myself. But other people are attracting good vibes only. What is the difference between a person who attracts all the bad vibes and one who attracts only good ones?

good vibesI think it’s that whole you get what you give mantra that they use in all those crappy financial advice books. For the record, Scotiabank, I’m not richer than I think, no matter what I invest with you.

Anyway. If all I’m sending out is negative, high strung, whiney energy, it kind of makes sense that those are the “vibes” I’m going to have reciprocated.

Which is why, earlier this afternoon, I thought I was really onto something when I started sloughing things off and slowing down and keeping my complaints to myself. I thought I was doing it right.

But then I bent over and the zipper on my pencil skirt exploded from the pressure of my bass (seriously, how stuck in your head is that awful song?!) and I just stood there like . . .

REALLY?

But in the scheme of things, it’s my weekend now, so I’m just rocking the 1990’s around-the-waist sweater trick until I have a chance to change.

How do you guys attract good vibes only? I wanna be more chill, bro.

XOYW1

Is Pinterest making me more domestic, or . . . ?

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This week’s InfoNews column is up and it’s about what Pinterest can do for you. Originally it was about how Pinterest has made me less of an extrovert but then I got onto a roll about nutella and decided to shift my focus because I was hungry. If you need to be convinced or need to feel justified you can read it HERE.

XOYW1

It’s fall, so chill out already

apples The other day I got quite aggressive with my daily commute. It will fer sher be the death of me one day soon, so I was all “EFF IT” and I put ZZ Top on blast and just plowed through people left and right.

One guy yelled “woah, bitch, Imma get out the way,” which temporarily put me in a better mood — because Luda — but for the most part I was a tornado blowing through the streets of downtown Vancouver looking for any one to challenge me.

Why was I channeling my inner Twister? I don’t have any idea.

I could blame my adrenals, definitely. I’m sure what I need is more sleep and less coffee and a better commitment to warrior pose. But really, who wants practical advice when it comes to learning how to relax? It’s like everything else — give it to me fast and make it work faster.

OK, maybe not everything else.

When it comes to October I always find myself with mixed emotions. The world around us says slow down, but my immediate response is to go full-blown Martha Stewart and start collecting pine cones and leaves for random Pinterest projects. It’s a fragile season for me — one during which I always get sick and crabby — but it has such an exciting energy that I can’t help but want to do everything.

It doesn’t help that it’s my birthday month. (What, you thought I was going to keep turning 27 a secret? Puh-lease. Bring on the cake and flower crowns. Those are the new tiaras, right?) & the last thing I want to be doing during my entire month of birth is stressing out about the fact I have yet to go apple picking.

I always forget to go apple picking.

Sure, fall doesn’t feel like fall without its collection of scarves and playlists and pumpkin spice scented Bath & Body Works products, but that’s not what it needs to be about. The reason it’s a spectacular season is because this stuff happens whether you plan it or not. Your neighbor’s apples will fall off the tree and she’ll bring them over to you and you’ll attempt to make a pie. It will rain on top of dead leaves and you’ll smell something better than any B&BW lotion. Your boyfriend will drag you to tailgate at a football game. You’re going to turn the heat on and bundle up.

These things are all just going to happen. The last thing we need to do is ruin a magnificent naturally occurring season (as they all are) with another one of our to-do lists. So, while I’m not about to stop pinning recipes of gluten-free pumpkin bread and Hunter rain boots, I’m going to stop pressuring myself to go full tilt.

I’m spending this weekend in the mountains with no cell reception, and while I really want to roast marshmallows on an open fire, I’m not going to feel defeated if it rains and I can’t cross it off my to-do list. Instead, I’ll go back to reading my trashy young adult novel under the blankets.

And, without trying too hard at all, my adrenals will thank me. XOYW1

Opinions without borders (or, why you can totally choose to like chardonnay again)

chardonnay

This week’s InfoNews column is up and it’s another column about wine. Just kidding, I only use that as a creative tactic to pull you in and enable you. It’s about having opinions for the sake of having opinions, not for the sake of your values. And it’s an issue.

You can read it HERE.

XOYW1

What it means to be more “Meh” than miffed

bath time

The moment I saw my iPhone hit the layer of Hello Kitty bubble gum scented bubbles on top of the 98 degree water, I saw my life flash before my eyes.

First of all, yeah, I did just happen to pick 98 degrees out of a hat because of the Nick Lachey band. So what?

Second of all, I know the super hot ER doctor told me that for the sake of my vagina I shouldn’t use cheap bubble bath, but seriously? Bubble gum? I’ll take that risk.

Anyway, there I was, dancing around in the bathroom to new Kenny Chesney, plugged into my ear buds when — whoops — my pop and lock got out of control and busted the jack right from the hole. (Technical terms, people).

There went my phone, sailing through the air, and — bloop — right into the bubbling Hubba Bubba scented bliss-pot.

For a moment I stood there — naked and stunned — staring at the dangling white cord still swaying from the dance party, before reaching around and yelling a slow motion “NOOOOOO,” as I plunged into the tub after Siri.

I grabbed it and immediately bundled it in a hand-towel like a little baby Jesus. I didn’t grab rice, because in moments of panic the last thing you do is think about starches. I just sat there, cradling it against my chest like it was a frightened half-drowned daddy long legs.

And then . . . I put it down. I thought to myself meh, whatever.

It wasn’t even out of sheer exasperation — I was like meh over my apple product. Meh, I can get another one. Meh, they don’t charge me until next month’s bill. Meh, it’s just more money I don’t have. Meh, I can Facebook important people. Meh, Meh, Meh.

I was literally more Meh than miffed.

I read a “dating” article recently that explained then importance of the “fuck yes” law, basically stating that if you or another person aren’t all “fuck yes, I’m totally in,” that you’re wasting your time. Honestly, at the time I read it I was in total puppy love so I didn’t really realize it was actually talking more about life than dating.

But standing there — naked and stunned — in my bathroom, Kenny Chesney crooning country ballads into the riptide of my bathtub I realized that was it. If I was more Meh than miffed, what the heck was I needing the device for anyway?

I had a moment of fleeting freedom. I saw myself in Orlando, Florida with my $15 flip phone that I left on a toilet top in House of Blues one Sunday night. I saw myself laughing over pizza the next morning with people who I didn’t ever need a phone to get hold of. I saw myself dancing the night away under Tropical Storm Andrea (it was a thing that summer, Google it), and I saw myself not thinking for one brief moment that I would need to spend FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS on a new one.

Because I didn’t. Because I don’t.

I talked myself — in a span of 45 seconds — into thinking I was never going to use another iPhone again.

And when I uncradled my weeping daddy long legs from his baby Jesus swaddling . . . he worked.

So, clearly, I learned nothing.

XOYW1

 

 

Trying to find a balance between Jim Beam & Jesus

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This week’s InfoNews column is all about trying to find balance in life. Which, if you’ve ever seen me walk in my Jeffrey Campbell Litas, IS KIND OF MY THING. Unfortunately, balancing in life is a little different than in heels . . . so I’m learning.

You can read it HERE!

Also, if you missed my last post about re-integrating myself into real life now that I have a day job again because I was too busy doing my day job to post it (LIKE A CHUMP), you can read that HERE.

XOYW1