why me

Parisian flashback to a Portuguese situation

Friday morning, on my last day in Paris on this work trip, I took a detour. A 30 minute walk, from my hotel to the Canadian Embassy, to take a few snap shots of the building. This was important to me, something I’ve been both looking forward and dreading the entire time. A pilgrimage, of sorts.

Let me tell y’all a story.

June 1, 2017. Teacher and his dance partner (Q – short for queen) were traveling to a dance festival in Lisbon. While waiting for their connecting flight in Barcelona, their backpacks were stolen. Passport, wallet, credit cards, money, ID, everything. Gone. If that had been me, I would have died from dehydration from endless crying. Teacher? Attended the dance festival because 1) Canadian Embassies are closed on weekends 2) he was gonna be short on money in the near-future, so might as well earn his last paycheque for a bit.

June 6, 2017. After 4 days of hard-core partying and dancing, Teacher dragged himself to the embassy to sort through his “situation”. Teacher is famous for his flamboyant style of self-expression (#realtalk) but even so, his update alarmed me: “Vanilla, I’m fucked. They say I have to pay $500 CAD and go to Madrid to a visa office and then if I have more questions I can email this email address for the Canadian Embassy in Paris but I can’t call because that office doesn’t have any phone lines. Oh and I need to provide my leases for the past 5 years. I need a drink. FML.”

June 8, 2017. After 3 days of Teacher and Q visiting the embassy daily, me reading up online on proper processes to follow in their situation and calling the local government helpline, we knew what needed to be done. For Q, easy peasy. She is a Canadian Citizen, the Lisbon embassy completed her application for a new emergency passport same day, all she had to do was sit back and wait. For Teacher? A little more compliqué. Teacher is not a Canadian citizen; he is a Canadian Permanent Resident and must apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) through Immigration Canada. Fun fact: not all embassies offer immigration services – the closest embassy to Lisbon to do so is in Paris. Fun fact 2: the government of Canada has outsourced all Immigration cases to 3rd party Visa Application Centers (VACs) – the 2 closest VACs to Lisbon are in Madrid and Paris. Fun Fact 3: Teacher cannot cross borders with no ID. The application for a PRTD is rigorous, requiring that the applicant demonstrate that they’ve lived in Canada for the past 5 years by submitting proof such as leases, tax returns, bank statements. Standard stuff to carry with you when travelling to Europe. Teacher started the painful process of trying to gather all that documentation. From a distance.

June 15, 2017. It was obvious that it would be impossible to gather the required levels of documentation. The standard application time for PRTDs is 66 business days – from the moment documentation is complete and accepted by Immigration Canada. Meanwhile, Teacher and Q were stuck in Lisbon, with no sources of income, no credit cards, nada. Sure, he was hustling, networking, landing some small gigs here and there, sure his students across the world were organizing fundraisers to try help them out, but this was clearly not a sustainable situation. I happened to be travelling to Paris for work on June 20-23. I offered that Teacher appoint me as his representative, so that I could physically go to the VAC and Embassy and intervene on his behalf, since he couldn’t leave Lisbon.

June 19, 2017. Q’s passport was ready for pickup at the Lisbon office.

June 20, 2017. Q flew back to Montreal, to resume teaching dance classes at Teacher’s school, to alleviate some of his financial burden.

June 22, 2017. I visited the Parisian visa office. I took a number, sitting in a stuffy non-air-conditioned office, with very Parisian employees. It was upsetting see them speak disdainfully to people with similar problems to Teacher’s, just trying to get into Canada. To the extent a person didn’t speak French? Oye. Spoken to like a retarded toddler, and dismissed. Boom. Casual derailment of somebody’s life. My turn. I waved my Canadian passport, smiled, and spoke in French. Initially, the conversation went smoothly. Then the clerk asked me if Teacher had his passport with him. Umm, no, it was stolen, that is why I am here.

“But mademoiselle, without a passport he cannot apply for a PRTD.” K, lady, you realize that makes no sense?

“Mademoiselle, if you are going to doubt my explanations, you can always read on your own time Immigration Canada’s website.” I already did. That is why I am here. Because there is no way that Teacher needs to first apply to have a new Angolan passport reissued, in order to then apply for a temporary PRTD so he can reenter Canada.

“Mademoiselle, I am not responsible for international flying regulations. Without a passport he cannot fly. If you doubt me, please make your way to Charles-De-Gaulle airport, they will happily explain to you the required documentation to board a plane.” LADY. You are pissing me off. Let me show you the document I need for this visa office to reissue, so we can be sure we are talking about the same thing, and then move onto the practical aspects of how we can get Teacher home before Christmas. As I reached for my cell to show her a picture of Teacher’s stolen travel document, the clerk stopped me.

“Mademoiselle, it is prohibited to use your cell in our offices. Please turn it off immediately. If you have something to show me, you must print it and present it to the front desk. No, we don’t offer any printing services: you must come prepared. Yes, I know it says on our website that we offer printing services, but we don’t. That is isn’t my problem. Come back another day. Mademoiselle! I insist that you shut off your cell phone immediately, you are violating our security regulations.” I lost my temper. I replied that she was Parisian, she should know from recent experiences that terrorists aren’t typically white blond girls, with Canadian citizenship, so could she stop being a bureaucratic zombie, and help me help my friend avoid destitution and make it back to Canada?

And that is how I found myself escorted out of the Visa office by 2 security guards.

I was SO mad. But I was also scared. Very scared. What if I couldn’t do this? What if that had been my only chance to help Teacher? If I failed, who else could help him? I sat down unceremoniously on the sidewalk in the middle of Paris and collapsed into tears. I called Teacher, waking him from his nap, sobbing incoherently on the phone about how he would have to spend the rest of his life as an illegal alien in Lisbon.

I had 1 more hour of free time before heading back to work. I decided to try my luck at the Canadian Embassy even though, at the time, the Canadian Embassy was not open to the public, functioning as an administrative office only (since February 2018 it is now open to the public). I showed up, tear-stained face, visibly distraught. I pleaded with the security guard on the sidewalk, showing him on my cell that infamous pic of Teacher’s stolen travel doc, “Please, it’s been 21 days, he is stuck with no money, he cannot travel to Madrid or Paris without ID, I am only here for 1 more day, I cannot skip work in order to be kicked out of visa offices because I forgot to print one miscellaneous paper out of the 457 required docs. Please. I just want to talk to someone to gain clarity on how we can solve this. Please. My friend needs help. Please help me.”

Y’all. Men and tears. It’s a thing. The security guard urged me to calm down – crying in public is not dignified, healthy or Parisian. He disappeared inside the embassy. I sniffled on the sidewalk, waiting. He reappeared 5 minutes later with a coworker who asked me further questions about Teacher’s file. This 2nd guy ushered me inside – success! He brought me water and kleenex, and reassured me that everything would be ok. Finally, the Immigration Guy appeared. He listened to Teacher’s story and was particularly outraged by my treatment at the Visa office – “anyone would have lost their temper, mademoiselle, but perhaps, next time, refrain from using the word terrorist? That is a sensitive topic here in Paris.”

Immigration Guy was SO helpful. We went through the required documentation vs what Teacher had managed to gather over the previous 2 weeks, and determined what could be waived vs the absolutely necessary requirements. I called Teacher as soon as I left the Embassy, gave the news, and went back to work. By midnight, after a flurry of phone calls, we’d completed his application.

June 23, 2017. The day of my flight home to Montreal. I returned to the Embassy to review & submit Teacher’s application with Immigration Guy. Immigration Guy validated it as complete, approved it and classified it as “urgent” which reduced the processing time from 66 days to 14 business days + mailing time.

July 23, 2017. Teacher received his one-time entry into Canada document (PRTD).

July 30, 2017. Teacher flew back to Montreal from Lisbon. 2 months after having his documents stolen. 2 months of lost gigs, minimal income, trapped in a country, relying on strangers and friends generosity to survive. TWO MONTHS.

That’s a story.

It remains one of the most stressful experiences in my life. I’ve never before felt such crushing responsibility to not fuck up, painfully aware that someone’s life was dependent on my ability to successfully execute the mandate I’d been given. I am amazed and perturbed at how much luck played a role in the happy outcome of Teacher’s Portuguese situation. What would have happened had I not happened to travel to Paris for work? Teacher’s life had been derailed for almost 1 month at that point, and with no clear solution to his problem, and no ability to intervene directly on his own behalf, he was trapped. Helpless. What do other people do?!

Lives change in a moment, I guess.

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I mismanaged my mush

If that isn’t the perfect blog post title, I dunno what is.

As I mentioned, the hardest part of having my wisdom teeth removed has been the lack of real food. I am not a fan of starvation. Despite a fully recovered appearance, my mouth remains extremely tender. I can only handle mush. And it turns out that mush requires a certain forethought. For someone who never cooks and only buys bougie packaged meals at the grocery store or the cafeteria, that is a problem. My entire approach to nutrition is based on making reasonably healthy choices at a moment’s notice, with whatever is immediately available to me. Now I am forced to not only think about it, but in most cases exert some effort in the preparation of the consumables. And yes, I consider adding a scoop of protein powder to a bowlful of yogurt to be effort – because that means making sure I have access to yogurt AND packing a serving of protein power AND finding a spoon. SO. MUCH. WORK.

Thursday I stayed at work late, missing my chance to go to the grocery store and get one of their delicious custom soups for lunch the next day. Friday at work, I ran out of instant oatmeal. Oye. I didn’t see the time fly, and by the time I made it to the cafeteria for lunch, they were closing shop. I got a bowl of their vegetable broth. Oye. By 4pm, I was light-headed from hunger. My coworkers offered me snacks, but no-go: granola bars, nuts, carrots and dip… non-mush. No bueno. By 6pm, I gave up. I had spent 3 hours typing a total of 7 sentences. The brain could not function. I admitted defeat. Time to go home and eat.

Convo with TooWhite on my way to the grocery store

It’s a well known adage to never do grocery shopping when hungry. But doing grocery shopping while hungry and UNABLE TO EAT ANY FOOD? Awful.

I settled on a lentil stew (not soup! Woohoo, big girl food!), some freshly pressed fruit smoothies, and for dessert, prune yogurt. I like prune yogurt. I find it tastes like what chocolate yogurt should taste like.

I inhaled the lentil stew.

2 fruit smoothies? Disappeared.

I was still hungry. I knew I was probably not THAT hungry, it was just my body refusing to catch up to calories I’d just consumed, so I drank a gallon of water.

Still hungry. 5 days of only liquids and mush, and my stomach wanted that full feeling of satiation that only happens from chewing REAL FOOD. Preferably with animal fat. #Icouldneverbeavegan.

I tried distracting myself by watching a Netflix special of my favorite French comedian, Fary (check him out, he is so deliciously sarcastic). Still hungry.

As I began watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, I ate a hefty serving of prune yogurt. Yum. So enthralled was I by the difficulties of a choreographed lip sync battle on roller skates with luscious wigs, that I didn’t notice that I served myself second serving. Then a third. The entire container of prune yogurt. In my belly.

I felt satiated for the first time in a week.

2 episodes later, I felt the apartment shake. An earth quake? Odd. Rumble rumble. Not an earthquake. My innards.

I will refrain from describing what happened as my body rid itself of the lentils and juice and water and prune yogurt. There were multiple supplications and exclamations to the Porcelain Bowl gods. Cold sweats. Shattered morale. A dehydration headache.

I definitely mismanaged my mush.

Vanity, dentists and drugs.

I’m getting all of my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow morning. 8:30am.


My parents spent thousands of dollars on orthodontal work to get me to have a functional smile. From grade 3 till grade 10 I had all kinds of hardware in my mouth, expanding my jaw to make room for my teeth that were growing in all directions.  Had my parents not spent that money, I would’ve looked like a shark. Given that I am inordinately vain, especially about my face – I think I am rather pretty – I am extremely grateful that they spared me from that shark fate.

I moved out in 2005. I failed at adulting, too busy trying to learn to survive on my own, not declare bankruptcy, figure out school. Typical early-adult struggle. I didn’t go to the dentist, because I didn’t particularly like dentists and I could feel one of my wisdom teeth growing and I didn’t want to hear that it needed to be removed. #denialskillsonpoint

2010. Two of my wisdom teeth had made an appearance. One became infected, really painful, causing the entire right side of my face to swell. Unacceptable! Emergency appointment at a high-end dentist downtown who prescribed antibiotics, took an X-ray, and advised me that not only are my wisdom teeth growing, they are growing in all kinds of shark-like directions, and one of them has its roots wrapped around the nerve that controls facial expressions. This would be a high risk surgery, because the risk of nicking the nerve and causing facial paralysis was extremely high. See a specialist, stat.

Excuse me, what? Facial paralysis?! I took the antibiotics and never called the specialist.

18 months later, I was due for a cleaning, and as Murphy dictates, my wisdom teeth were irritated and painful. Reluctantly, I dragged myself back to the dentist, mainly in the hopes that he’d prescribe me more drugs. He yelled at me for not having my wisdom teeth removed in the meantime. “Irresponsible! SO irresponsible. I told you. There are only 2 specialists in all of Montreal with the skill-set to remove that tooth. And they are busy. I told you. You are at risk of paralysis. And if you don’t get them removed, and the nerve gets infected, you are at risk of even more problems. GO SEE THOSE SPECIALISTS AND HAVE YOUR TEETH PULLED.”

So, I did what any adult with inadequate coping mechanisms would do. I pretended the problem didn’t exist, and tried my best to forget about it. I’ve done a fairly good job at ignoring it, despite sometimes having almost unbearable pain, and being unable to eat solid foods. But hey! At least I was still pretty and not paralyzed.

These past few months, as I’ve been struggling to get my health back on track, I began to consider going to a dentist. After all… not seeing a dentist for 6.5 years is not really best practice. But I felt I was at the limit of how many problems I could face, I didn’t want to hear that I had 45 new cavities, so I promised myself that I would deal with the dentist in the second half of 2018, once the rest of my life was under control.

Then I chipped one of my teeth eating a scone. Cue a hysterical meltdown. “I’m a terrible person, undoing all the money my parents spent on my teeth. What a brat I’ve been, I wonder how many cavities I’ve self-inflicted due to cowardice. OMG WHAT IF THE NEXT TIME ONE OF MY TEETH CHIPS IT’S A FRONT TOOTH?!”

That isn’t hyperbole. I ugly cried for 30 minutes, as I Googled the best ranked dental surgeons near my home.

That is how I found myself a few weeks ago in a dentist’s chair one block away from my apartment. The hygienist blinked when I told her it had been 7 years since I had a cleaning, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She did a quick run through, and told the dental assistant that she’d have to do some cleaning before determining where the fillings were. I mumbled I didn’t have any. She stopped. “No fillings? And you have only seen a dentist twice in 13 years?” Yup. I told her of my previous experience with Dr. Doom-n-Gloom. She laughed. “Don’t you worry. Dr. Dentist here has pulled out thousands of wisdom teeth. He has seen it all. He will tell you if you are actually at risk of paralysis.” I nodded. She told me to open my mouth, so she could get back to world. I nodded. She waited. I told her I was scared my teeth were so fucked up she would chip them while cleaning them and then I would be disfigured. Twice I made her stop the cleaning. She thought it was because it was hurting me, or I had sensitive teeth. I explained that nope. Didn’t hurt at all. I just was so scared, I had trouble breathing. I needed time outs.

Dr. Dentist examined me. He looked at the X-ray. Good news: other than the molar that is next to the messed up wisdom shark tooth that has turned into a monster-cavity, I don’t have any cavities. I’m lucky. So we made an appointment for my wisdom teeth. Tomorrow. I told him I was really nervous. I asked for all the drugs. All of them. Knock me out, render me unconscious, because otherwise I will not survive this ordeal. I will have a heart attack from the fear that the Universe will use this opportunity to force me to deal with my vanity, by rendering me paralyzed. How could it resist? Even I find it funny, as a concept. And terrifying. I explained to Dr. Dentist, “Sir, I’m still single, you have no idea how brutal it is out there, nobody gives a shit about your personality, so if I am already having this much trouble while I am pretty, can you imagine how brutal it will be if I am paralyzed? Please sir. Please. Don’t paralyze me. I’m too young to be relegated to a life of loneliness and solitude. My face. You’ll take care of it?” He promised. He also admitted that usually he motivates his patients to take care of their teeth for health reasons, but in my case, he could see that I could best be manipulated through my vanity. And so, if I was so vain, surely I could see that smiles with receding gums were not attractive, so perhaps I would consider taking up flossing on a regular basis?

I’ve flossed every day since that visit.

He prescribed me all the drugs. All of them. Including a sedative so that I sleep tonight. Which I appreciate, except that now I have anxiety that I will sleep through my alarm and miss my appointment.

#vainestanxioustrainwreckever

Paris, ville de l’amour & l’irritation extrême 

I just wanted to take pictures, y’all. Really.

I am in Paris for a 10-day work trip. (Check out what happened the last time I was left unsupervised in Paris.) Not complaining at all, but it remains I am not here to visit, I am here to put in 12+ hour days. When I leave my hotel in the morning, it is dark out. When I leave the office, it is darker. I gave myself an objective to try walk 30-60 mins every day, and find something worth taking as a picture. I’ve never really explored Paris at night, this trip would be my opportunity to see the usual landmarks in a different “light”.

Monday night, I met up with a former colleague of mine from my auditing days who has recently moved to Paris. I hadn’t seen him in two years. A delightful evening, bien arrosée, because we accountants = alcoholics and French wine is bae. By the time we said goodbye, it was 11pm. The resto was located in a safe part of town, approx 35 mins from my hotel – perfect opportunity to squeeze in my daily walk and pic quest. My walk brought me to the Louvre, which I needed to cross to get to the Seine bank, where I would need to walk for 15 mins, before crossing over the river.

As I stood on the street corner waiting for the light to change, a man approached me asking me if I was lost, because I looked confused. I answered him (in French) that I was debating if the open gate on our side of the Louvre would allow me to cross the entire courtyard, or whether the gate would be closed on the other end (on the river-side); I did not feel like walking about for nothing. He reassured me that the Louvre gates remained open all night, and that in fact he was walking in that direction himself, to reach the south bank. Perfect.

I really wanted to be in my bubble and enjoy the peaceful Parisian night – it is rare to find a moment where the city is quiet, almost sleeping. Chatty stranger watched me take pics of the Louvre, despite my hints that I did not want to delay him from joining his friends. This is the only pic I managed to squeeze in before Sir Annoyancealot ruined my mood.

Having crossed through the Louvre courtyard, I noticed the normally busy Seine bank was deserted. Great. I said goodbye to Sir Annoyancealot, who insisted on giving me a goodnight hug.

I did not want this hug. It was an impertinence, which he knew – he is French: they have the best manners in the world when they chose. That he was asking/insisting on a hug meant he was up to no good. I was faced with a dilemma: tell him to fuck-off and risk an escalation, or appease him. Boxing experience notwithstanding, I’ve been trained to handle a situation smoothly, just in case. Especially on a deserted street. Guy didn’t seem dangerous, more of a low-key creep trying his luck, looking to boost his male ego. Choosing safety over bravado, I let him hug me, but with arms flexed so that he couldn’t pull me close, and he would feel my strength. He attempted la bise, which he technically achieved, despite me successfully keeping him at arm’s distance.

You’d think he would be satisfied with that, no? No.

Sir Annoyancealot offered to walk with me a little more, even though I told him I wanted to be alone to enjoy the view. He continued talking to me, oblivious (or perhaps enjoying) that my conversation had gone from politely chatty to monosyllabic. I lied about where I was headed, and he insisted on re-saying goodbye, this time holding me firmly by either arm (payback for me having stiff-armed him: he had noticed my strength, and now it was my turn to notice his) with another bise. When his first kiss on the cheek landed on the corner of my mouth, I shoved him away such that he had to take 1-2 steps backwards.

He smiled at me, “Non, mais t’es tellement mignonne, j’ai envie de te croquer, tu sais.” Dropping all semblance of manners, I gave him my boxer look, “Tiens, mec, t’es vraiment mieux de ne pas t’essayer avec moi.” (“But you are so adorable, I just wanna eat you!” followed by “That’s nice, buddy, you better not try to.”) I walked away, and he didn’t follow me.


When I told that story to my colleagues yesterday, one dude shook his head and remarked that no French woman would have let herself be in such a scenario. That comment enraged me. It reminded me of the comment my Arab friend made, after I got lewdly propositioned in Beirut. It implies it is my fault, or perhaps that the women of my nationality aren’t as savvy as the locals. Wrong. I’ve been micro-aggressed in Canada too. This is what it means to be a woman; these are the kind of trade-offs I have to make every damn day, all the time: evaluating if I am willing to put up with possible unpleasant encounters in order to not deprive myself of a beautiful solitary nighttime walk. Evaluating if politeness will be a gateway to a dangerous situation. Evaluating the risk of escalation vs the need for appeasement. Evaluating just how far to react, if the guy is an actual dangerous person or just a creep. Having to be grateful that I have 8 years of fighting experience, because otherwise that would have been a much scarier experience.

I just wanted to take pictures, y’all. Really.


Last night, I left work “early” at 8:30pm so as to give myself plenty of time to walk the 1hr walk from l’Arc de Triomphe to my hotel near Notre-Dame. It wasn’t peaceful, bc 9pm is prime social time for Parisians, and les Champs-Elysées are always crowded, but it was nighttime and I did get my pics.

Behold, Paris at night.

TGIF & TGFM

TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday. And what a Friday. Work was brutal this week – 7:30am meetings, and a barrage of deliverables and issues. Kinda loved it, kinda hated. Need a nap. Or 3 bottles of wine, because hydration is important, y’all.

Yesterday I lived through a real WTF moment. I have a few doozies in this blog, under Dating Misadventures, and while yesterday’s might not be the top one, it definitely podiumed in the Olympics of Awful-yet-Hysterically-Funny-if-it-Happens-to-Someone-Else Trainwrecks. Seriously. I haven’t finished sorting through my reactions, nor am I willing to write about it for the next foreseeable future, because it would breach the privacy of two other people. I swear I don’t understand how I end up in these ludicrous scenarios. I am a good part-time Christian girl, who is sweet, kind, loving and generous and occasionally mildly bitchy and snarky when things get really out of control. I am sure of this. I pay my taxes. I recycle. I donate to charity. I make my bed every day. I am not stupid, nor naive. I am good ppl. So whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do I find myself in these bizarre situations? I blame the male species. If sexual orientation were a choice, I would have switched teams long ago.

Anyhow, today I woke up feeling like I had a hangover. After just a few too many minor incidents that produced work-rage (par for the course in office life – excel files crashing, 2-3 ppl who didn’t take the time to read my carefully worded emails, somebody taking my stapler) I was thisclose to a very public meltdown. Until I accidentally stumbled onto this video by my favorite band.

I challenge y’all to watch that and not have a smile on your face.

TGFM – Thank God for Music.

 

 

Punctuality really isn’t my thing. Mornings neither.

Back when I worked at a Big 4 accounting firm, my tardiness was legendary. I periodically rolled into the office at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30… But as I worked 60 hour weeks, frequently staying until the wee hours of the morning, nobody really complained. I had my staff and all the partners trained to never bother scheduling any client meetings with me before 9:30 at the earliest, because I just wouldn’t show up, sleeping right through it. It wasn’t that I didn’t value punctuality, teamwork or the importance of good customer service, it was just an accepted fact that I couldn’t wake up that early.

When I quit that job to head into industry 2 years ago, all my coworkers roasted me on the necessary changes I’d have to make to my lifestyle, as that kind of tardiness just isn’t acceptable in most companies. At my first job in industry, I cleared it with my boss (VP Finance): as long as I showed up by 9:30, he wouldn’t consider me late. In appreciation of this reasonable concession, I made a point of always showing before 9… sometimes even as early as 8am! I boasted of my earlybird timing when interviewing for my current job, last September. My prospective boss was all admiration, but told me that most of the team started around 8:30, so really no need to come in earlier.

Inevitably, since starting my current job 10 months ago, I’ve succeeded in showing before 9am maybe 4 times. I can’t explain it. Its not a question of commute, as it is almost next door to my former job, approximately 10 minutes closer to chez moi. My body just cannot get out of bed before 7:45… which makes it pretty damn hard to get to work before 9am when my commute is 40-50 mins long! Two months ago I showed up 45 minutes late to an 8:30am meeting with my two bosses and a supplier – the only explanation I could offer was an apologetic shrug, and a “I can’t do mornings”. Big-boss could see how very contrite I was, but he was confused: he is a morning-type, usually at the office typing away at his laptop by 7:30am.

Well.

Next week, on Monday-Tuesday, we (Big-boss and myself) will be hosting an important visitor from our parent company, flying in specifically to see us in Montreal from head office in Paris. To be fully ready for that meeting (day kicks off at 8:30am! YUCK!) I need to follow up on some issues with one of our subsidiaries in Germany. Unfortunately for me, the controller in Germany is on vacation this week, so the only time I can get the required information from him prior to the appearance of my visitor is by having a 7:30am (SEVEN THIRTY!!!!!!!!!!!) conference call with the German controller on Monday morning.

Big-boss has kindly offered to call me on my cell at 6:30am to make sure I am awake and headed to the office. This is both embarrassing and the only practical solution to this disaster in my life.

#preemptivefail

#noshame

#fml

Somehow I never pictured Jesus as a micromanager 

As per my promise to Coach to maintain my fitness levels despite my frequent travels, I have visited in the past 3 months a boxing gym in Beirut, San Diego, and most recently, Denver. My motivation was high this trip, as I will be fighting in a tournament in a week’s time. Never mind my usual concerns with American cuisine (crazy portions, salt, and so many nasty chemicals and preservatives), I was eager to train to keep my cardio, power and eyes sharp. With 7 days between my return to Montreal and my fight, there is no time to get back into shape. I needed to be in better shape than when I left.

I spent an hour googling Denver boxing and MMA gyms before settling on one that seemed combat oriented (I’ve no interest in the fitness cardio-boxing stuff). Monday, I  was warmly greeted by 3 coaches. They worked me hard, or perhaps that was just my body adapting badly to the elevation in Denver. They pointed out weaknesses in my boxing that are similar to what Coach harps on about. For example, to convey that I don’t move my head enough, one of the Denver coaches told me, “don’t be taking the time to admire your work. Don’t be a fool. If your opponent is any good, they’ll make sure you don’t have any time to do so.

I was slightly taken aback when the coaches gathered up the students at the end of class, formed a circle and led a worship prayer. I’m not at all opposed to end my training with a coach beseeching our Heavenly Father to watch over the health of all the boxers at the gym. I’m just used to stretching my muscles instead.

I trained at the gym all week.

On my last day there, as I was working the pads with one of the coaches, he told me that I’m too loud when I exhale: it is a tell, which warns my opponent of an incoming punch. He suggested that I learn to exhale by my nose instead. I was pretty sceptical, especially when he told me that all the good élite & pro boxers breathe by their nose. I’m by no means a true boxing aficionado, but I’ve spent a fair bit of time watching my teammates and all the pros at my gym, and we all exhale through our mouths. I guess the pros at my gym have a ways to learn?

So I tried breathing out my nose while doing pads. Like a lot of people, when I train intensely, my nose is runny. And boy, was it runny that day. My first exhalation produced a 3 foot long and 2 foot wide stream of snot.

Side note: I just googled images of snot, to insert into this blog post. Having done that, I feel a little queasy and will NOT share any of those pics here. You’re all welcome.

Ok, so I lied. Still less gross than what actually happened to me at the gym.

Denver coach encouraged me to keep trying. During the next combo, I exhaled once again through my nose. Another stream of snot sprayed forth. And another. It was DISTRACTING me. What if my snot landed in his eye, or worse, in mine?! After 3-4 tries, I stopped doing pads, wiped my nose on my sleeve (#classy) and told coach I couldn’t do it, I really wasn’t comfortable with switching my breathing so close to a fight (#diplomaticandtactful). To which he replied,

What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can! Do you believe in the Lord Jesus? Yes? Well then He will help you breathe through your nose.

And that is how I learned that Jesus is a micromanager.

http://www.kcbob.com/2013/02/is-god-micromanager.html (a blog post that opines on whether God is a micromanager)

P.S. If at any point in my fight next week I get the impression that I am losing, I will not hesitate to snot-spray my way to a victory in round 3. My poor opponent will not have the defensive skills to combat Snotzilla.