Sunday, June 25, 2006

Give me stain remover or give me death!

The other possible title for this entry was 'My kingdom for stain remover!' It was a toss up. Either title works well - both thoroughly unoriginal I realize but they work. They float the boat.

After all the chaos yesterday - you can bet I had no plans to venture out of the apartment for the remainder of the weekend. I'm not on a lucky streak by any means.

The aroma of Steve-o's fresh-ground coffee pulls me from bed and into the kitchen.

"How's it going, FWG!" shouts an exuberant Steve-o.

"Excellent!" I say. "Damn fine!"


"Do you have any idea how awesome it is to wake up and know that you have no plans- no appointments - whatsoever for the whole day? That you've got ALL day to just relax and get some stuff done!"

"I know. I hear ya."

"It's like winning the lottery, I tell you. No! It's better than winning the lottery. If you won the lottery you'd probably get roped into a bunch of appointments I'll betcha."

"Yeah. Screw that action!"

One minor flaw. What slipped my mind was the giant bag of overdue laundry lurking in my closet. And we don't have a washer or dryer yet. We got a cute little laundry room just sitting there empty, waiting patiently to be put to use. But no machines yet. So I must venture out to the laundromat at some point. All my office pants are in the bag and I have to work tomorrow. Plus I'm wearing my last clean pair of comfy underpants and I don't want to have to resort to an old rabbity pair from the bottom of the drawer. That's just not good livin'.

About 7:30 in the evening I finally decide I've procrastinated long enough. In the parking lot, bag slung over my shoulder, I'm reminded that I have my mom's van. All my laundry supplies are in my own car, which is of course at Brian's - the mechanic.

'Alright. Don't panic. They sell that dreadful powdered detergent in those mini-boxes in the vending machine. I just need stain remover. I'll buy some on the way. No problemo.'

I head west on Thomas Street. Oops. It occurs to me there is a Shoppers Drug Mart 2 blocks from the apartment on Queen Street but I don't feel like turning around now. There must be something else on the way.

Thomas is a bust. After five blocks I turn north on Erin Mills. This is the way to my laundromat of choice. I travel quite a ways without seeing anything but gas stations. I know the laundromat is coming soon. I come to a large plaza and hit the convenience store.

Here there's quite a vast cleanser section. Little 12-load jugs of Tide are $8.99. No thanks. Ah - but there's an adorable little jug of Ultra Sunlight with the little Snuggle Bear on the label. It only does 5 loads but it's on sale from $2.99 down to $1.99! That's only 40 cents a load. Not too shabby. A better deal than the single-serve powder boxes from the laundromat vending machine. I grab the little yellow jug. It really is adorable. I love it. 'Cleans & Softens', the label promises. 'Fresh Twist', it says. I have no idea what that means. I thought at first it said 'French Twist' and hoped for a moment that it might come with a free donut.

I hold on tight to my little yellow bottle while I continue to hunt for stain remover. Looks like he's got everything but.

"May I hep you?" I hear. I look around. The merchant is approaching.

"Do you have any stain remover?"

He seems a little confused. I realize that English is not his native tongue. Unfortunately I don't speak any Chinese.

"Stain remover for laundry," I say. He looks dazed. I point to an imaginary stain on my shirt and then I mime the squeezing of a spray bottle trigger - aiming at the stain. "Tsh-tsh-tsh," I say.

"Ah!" he says. He hands me a Sani-Flush tablet. I don't take it.

"No, no," I say. "Not toilet. Laundry." We play some more charades. I'm no Billy Van obviously.

"Ah, yes!" he says. He grabs a can of Easy Off oven cleaner. I shake my head. I try once more to explain and suddenly he's clear. "I'm sowwy. I have some fo you next time," he says. He points next door to the dry cleaners but they don't sell stain remover of course.

Back on the road I pass another gas station and realize - too late - that it was also a 7-Eleven store. I've already passed it by the time it sinks in. Ah-hah! 7-Eleven! Now this is very interesting. This will bear further examination some time soon. And I'm not even thinking about stain remover. But more on that later!

I come to the plaza that is home to the laundromat. I drive by and check the posted hours. Open 'til 10. Last wash at 9. Lots of time. I already know that they do not offer stain remover. Nor does any other merchant in this plaza.

Back on the road. I'm still heading North. Nothing. I pass the 401, knowing I've got to turn around soon. We'll hit farmland soon. Here comes a big convenience store. Really big. I'm optimistic.

But no luck. No stain remover. Upon my inquiry the cashier suggests I take the highway west to Winston Churchill where there's every store known to mankind. But that's way too far out of the way. 'Screw that action,' as Steve-o would say.

I head East on Derry Road a few blocks. Nothing. I go south on Creditview. Nothing, nothing, nothing 'til I finally hit Britainia. Now here's a big Pharma Plus drug store and a Loblaws grocery store. I'm surely in business now. I weave my way though the throng of low-rider pick-up trucks and pseudo sports cars laced with flags. Italy and Portugal are prominent. The cars are strewn about every which way. It's some kind of spontaneous World Cup tailgate party or something.

In spite of every damn light in the drug store burning, the door does not open. According to the sign they closed at 5. 'Crap!' Back in the van, I cruise by the Loblaws store. I can read the sign. They close at 8. My clock reports that it is 8:10. 'Crap and double crap!'

East on Britainia. South on Queen. I end up at the damn Shoppers Drug Mart two blocks from my apartment - 50 minutes and 10 litres of gas later. Brilliant.

I choose the 'Shout' brand spray at $3.99. Some fabulously tall kid is at the till. He's probably a college athlete.

"Do you have an Optimum card?" he asks.

God! How I'm sick of being asked if I have an Optimum card! They ask me this every single time and it makes me crazy. Just crazy, I tell you. I don't know why it bugs me so much. My kingdom for someone to not ask me for an Optimum card! I briefly consider some annoying answers, just to get even.

'What's it to you?'
'No. Do you?'
'No, but I have a one-eyed cat and a fiddle. Will that do?'
'Yes. It's in my front pocket. You want it - go get it.'
'No. Do you play basketball?'

That would really get him - the basketball question. Tall people hate to be asked that. As they should. It's just an asinine thing to say and it's insulting. People who do this are the same boors who try to humour shy people by announcing, "Hey! Shy person! Keep it down over there! We can't get a word in edgewise! Har har har!" - which of course puts the spotlight on the horrified shy person and further aggravates their shyness. Shy people spend a lot of time plotting the quiet murder of these people but alas, shy people tend not to follow through on such plans hence the boor population thrives.

Stain remover on board, I retrace my old steps. Thomas to Erin Mills and north. Ah! But now I stop at the 7-Eleven, giddy with anticipation. Why? Anyone? Anyone? Because I'm hungry, yes. Of course. But why else? Anyone? Anyone? Because I've become addicted to their burritos! Oh yes. It's true. Hopelessly, madly, shamelessly addicted. I wouldn't kid you about something like this.

Ferdinand's Red Hot Beef and Bean Burritos! That brown slimy paste... Mmmm-mmmm. I tell you, it's a little pocket of brown slimy heaven. And they go perfect with a 1.2L Big Gulp. Furthermore they are literally the perfect microwave food and they are the perfect size. Two of 'em fills up a hungry man precisely.

I make my way to the Gulpery and survey the selection. YES! They have Fruitopia Strawberry Passion Awareness on tap! An FSPA-equipped gulpery is rare. This is too good to be true! You mix about 500mL FSPA with 700mL Coke or Diet Coke and you got yourself the king of all swamp waters. A cocktail fit for the gods for only $1.69 - or $1.99 for the 1.8L Double Gulp.

There's something about the flavour marriage of coke and berries - especially cranberry or strawberry. It's the most delicious non-alcoholic beverage I've ever had. But ever so strangely, Coca Cola - as far as I know - have never explored this. They've had Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Coke with lime - gawd knows what else. But where is the Cranberry or Strawberry Coke? I gotta talk to them about that. That and my new Fruitopia flavor ideas. I got some doozies. You know where those flavor names came from? 'The Grape Beyond', 'Orange Tangerine Wavelength', 'Raspberry Kiwi Karma', etc? Young people came up with them. Teenagers. It's true. Coke (makers of Fruitopia) is one of my clients at work. They tell me so.

Here's some of my ideas:

Cactus Fruit Cacophony
Raisin Cranberry Carnage
Apple Pomegranate Planet
Lemon Lime Jihad

I'd buy 'em. What do you think? Got any ideas? Let's here 'em. I'll bring 'em to the Coca-Cola marketing people.

The pair of burritos go into the waver for a good 2 minutes (this is a long time. 7-Eleven wavers run very hot). This'll ensure they're still hot by the time my laundry is sloshing away in the washer and I'm back in the van enjoying a kick-ass burrito dinner.

And so it played out. I'm sitting in the van, just outside the laundromat, windows down, nibbling away while listening to the sound of the shop's automatic sliding door open and close as various interesting patrons enter and exit.

The opening of this mechanical door makes a noise ever so exactly like the sound effect they played over and over again on a certain tabloid TV show years ago. The sound is like a buzz that falls in pitch, ending in a sort of 'slam' and a lot of reverberation. I can't recall the name of the show. Does this ring a bell for anyone? It goes back a few years. My darling used to make us watch it back when I was prone to cohabitation and TV-watching and all those other ridiculous societal conventions!

It appears the burrito packaging has been remodeled in orange. Curiously I have a hard time finishing the second one. What I haven't realized just yet is that the orange version is actually a different product. This is actually Ferdinand's Extremo Red Hot Beef Bean and Cheese Burrito! Furthermore they are not 300g like the others but 400g! Hence - doing the math - one and a half is all I'm cut out for.

But I persevere. I manage all 800 grams and then head back inside - through the tabloid TV door. This is a great laundromat. Very big. Very clean. Very modern. That's why I go so far out of my way to use it. The digital timers tell me I've still got a couple minutes left on the wash cycle so I carry on to the back of the shop and into the washroom. Here I do my business just as fast as ever I possibly can. Why the speed routine? Anyone? Anyone? That's right. Because they have no lock on the door. Stupid, eh?

I'm attaching a photo of me and my Ultra Sunlight bottle - now with just 3 doses remaining. You can see a bunch of shelves in the background. That's how I spent the bulk of the day. Cutting and assembling shelves for my bedroom. 30' worth. I figured I'd get all my paperbacks onto these shelves. I started with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels as they are the most abundant. I arranged them alphabetically of course, by author. Anderson, Anthony, Asprin, Asimov...

I got as far as Saberhagen. Thirty feet and I didn't even make it to Tolkien - not to mention all the other genres: thriller; adventure; biography; literary... I'm gonna have to buy a lot more shelving material apparently - and a lot less books from now on.


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