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.


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.


image credit: Melissa Chaib


What’s in a name? More like what’s in a FACE.


This week’s InfoNews column is up and I compare Renee Zellweger to Heidi Montag, which I’m sure she didn’t think of before she went and got a new face. You can read it HERE.


Why you might not be ready to let go

cotton candy ice cream

The last time I ate cotton candy ice cream I was 18 and crying over it.

Actually, I was crying over my boyfriend breaking up with me, which he just so happened to do over a bowl of cotton candy ice cream, but I just naturally associate the two.

Thing is, before he broke up with me, cotton candy ice cream was my favorite thing in the world. The way it makes your poop blue for two days because of all the food coloring.

Just kidding, I liked it for the taste.

Anyway, after that whole debacle I kind of swore it off. The break up debacle, not the blue poop. Gross you guys.

I’ve been craving cotton candy ice cream since January, though, and as the most beautiful Indian summer  (thanks global warming!) comes to an end, I thought I better woman up and shove my face full of it before the October rain makes me want cotton candy tea instead. Which I’m not sure is a thing, but it probably is.

As always, I made it a big deal. And by big deal I mean I made sure it was real ice cream and not gelato and that my boyfriend Steve would eat it with me so that I could consider it some kind of grand non-break-up feat and not like a re-enactment of the opening scene of Bridget Jones’ Diary.

“So, are we breaking up?” he asked me on the park bench over my cone of artificially colored and flavored frozen milk. He knew the story.

It was a good question. That would be smart. Complete the circle. Welcome cotton candy ice cream back into my life with a fresh new purpose. I could be in control of the dairy product’s fate once again.

The ice cream started to melt down my hand as I sat there contemplating half-heartedly his suggestion. I licked it up. It melted more. And before I could do anything besides Instagram it, the entire child-sized ice cream cone left my hands and landed face down on the pavement.

Now was my chance.

“No,” I said as I reached for the bowl he had in his hands, “nope, we’re not breaking up.”

As I spooned the ice cream into my mouth in a much less fashionable manner than I had been moments before I realized that sometimes we hold on to things longer than we need to, simply because we’re waiting until we’ll be able to appreciate the fact we have let them go.

I don’t know if cotton candy ice cream will ever be my absolute favorite again — I’m pretty partial to Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked — but I could certainly have a cone-full every now and then and bask in the glory of knowing I’ve let one more thing go.

Because let’s face it, if we’re going to make room to hold any grudges at all in our lives, it certainly shouldn’t be over something that makes your poop multi-coloured.

P.S. I want you to know I asked Steve if he minded being introduced to you all in a post where I talked about poop. He told me he trusted my creative judgement. So, a break up may still be pending.



How I tell my anxiety to F OFF

R Munch

This week’s InfoNews post is up and it’s all about normalcy and anxiety and looking panic in the face and telling it to shove it. I wrote this column last week, but it feels extra poignant now after the passing of Robbin Williams. Some demons are bigger than others, and sometimes making light of them is the best we can do for ourselves. You can read it HERE.

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it