Tag Archives: Theatre

The Genius

My husband’s a genius.

I’m sure you already know this since I usually refer to him as The Genius in this blog. Once in a while, I forget about his mental prowess and have to be reminded of his ability to puzzle out the most complicated mechanical procedures. It’s easy to become complacent when you always have someone around to repair your iPhone when it goes all kooky or replace the windshield wiper motor in your car when it goes on the fritz. Sometimes I need a reminder. This past Christmas Day provided one.

The Genius is the youngest of six and, let’s just say, the rest of his siblings are no mental slouches either. There are two university professors in the mix, a retired high-level banking executive, an accounting wizard, a social worker and, of course, The Genius, who works in engineering. Those that still live in southern Ontario gather every Christmas Day with their children (and grandchildren) at the home of one of the sister’s to celebrate the holiday as a family. It’s a tradition they’ve had for many years, at least as long as I’ve been part of the group (about 15 years). A huge turkey dinner is had and gifts are exchanged among the younger children.

Sometimes, the siblings have an opportunity to show off the cool “toys” they received for Christmas and this past gathering was no exception. The hostess of the annual celebration had received a Bose speaker plus an Apple TV system. The problem was, no one knew how to install the gifts so they worked on her antiquated flat screen TV. Various people tackled the problem throughout the day but no one could figure it out. The final verdict was a new TV would probably be needed to make everything work.

I have a bad habit of volunteering The Genius for various projects without first checking with him – fixing my parent’s water pump and a complicated washing machine repair come to mind. So I kept quiet as I watched the small groups try their best to work through the problem. Wires were connected and reconnected, rerouted through various devices. It was looking like a dog’s breakfast of coaxial cable and power cords. I finally looked over at him and whispered: “Do something!”

Half asleep after a rather filling turkey dinner and hesitant to rise from his very comfortable chair, The Genius sighed.

“I don’t want to just take over,” he whispered back.

“Hook the damn thing up!”

Assisted by his oldest nephew, The Genius surveyed the situation, moving cords and reattaching cables. It made sense to him – of course, it was gibberish to me. It took him about 10 minutes to do what no one else was able to accomplish – connect the Apple TV and satellite system to the TV and have the sound come through the new Bose speaker.

It took him a further 30 minutes to explain to his sister how to use the system. About 20 minutes of that involved him standing patiently waiting for her to finish venting about the fact she didn’t even want the new speaker in the first place.

I leaned over and whispered to the oldest in the family: “He’s never that patient with me.”

She laughed, explaining it was a privilege reserved for older siblings.

Later, The Genius sat down again, exhausted from having to go through every step required to use the new system.

“That was painful,” he said.

“Isn’t fighting with your gifts part of Christmas?” joked one of his nephews.

Of course, the kicker is they weren’t even his gifts.

Currently, The Genius is busy working on setting up my new laptop computer. He’s puzzling through how to transfer about 3,200 ebooks and an iTunes library of about 1,800 songs without losing anything.

I know he’ll figure it out. He always does. It’s one of the reasons I married him.

Most women I know tell me wonderful stories of romantic spur of the moment trips to Paris or helicopter rides over Niagara Falls – the moment I knew I was going to marry The Genius occurred as I watched him take apart the under-sink plumbing in a hotel bathroom.

We were in Stratford, Ontario, for my job. I was putting in a marathon weekend of watching and writing reviews for three Stratford Festival plays. The Genius was my guest. We had already seen two – Equus the night before and a matinee of another play, the name of which escapes me. Our final play was to be an evening performance of Death of a Salesman starring Al Waxman of King of Kensington plus Cagney and Lacey fame.

I was in the washroom getting ready when one of my diamond stud earrings fell off the side of the sink and down the drain. Shit! I went back into our hotel bedroom, explaining to The Genius that, like an idiot, I had lost my earring and it was gone for good.

Five minutes later, he was crawling into the under sink cabinet, a toolbox from the trunk of his car next to him. He soon had the plumbing apart and was banging the P-trap on the floor. Out popped my diamond stud earring plus 85 cents in change. A few wrench turns later, the plumbing was back in place and we made it to the play with time to spare.

Up to that point in my life, no one had ever done anything so thoughtful for me. It has stuck with me all these years. It can be difficult living with a genius – the banging in the basement, tools scattered everywhere, burnt off eyebrows from those failed experiments. When it gets really bad, I remember that diamond stud earring plus the 85 cents. I think I bought a Coke with it.

Breaking out of my shell

I want to make this blog a success because, to be honest, I don’t have a lot of successful things in my life; well, at least none that I can see. To work toward this goal, I have decided to take part in WordPress’ Zero to Hero exercise, which promises to help you develop a better blog in 30 days.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

According to the first assignment, I am supposed to introduce myself, which just goes to show I’ve already fucked up this blog thing and made my first post about my Doc Martin/PC Joseph Penhale meme habit. Shit!

To help remedy this error, I’ve decided my second post will be my formal introduction to the blogging world.

Greetings, venerable ones. I am Manure Gurl, a 40-something writer, editor, photographer, wife and mother who lives in the far rural reaches of southern Ontario, Canada; not quite in two-headed calf country but pretty damn close. To get all the stereotypical mumbo-jumbo crap out of the way, no, I do not live in an igloo, although there are some winter nights when my house is probably as cold as one. I drive a mini van, not a dog sled. I haven’t skied in more than 25 years, I cannot ice skate, and none of my children are involved in hockey (sacrilege!). Instead, they are aficionados of the beautiful game, football/soccer, which is played during the summer on a grass-covered field in warm/hot/stifling weather, rain or shine, or in a converted roller rink in the winter (weird but true).

I know you’re wondering, why Manure Gurl? There are several reasons. When I was younger, my best friend used to joke that my eyes were brown because I was full of shit, which wasn’t too far off the mark (my eyes have changed colour since then and are greenish hazel now). I’m a smart ass, a joker, a teller of tales and love hearing and telling stories, the funnier and more off-beat, the better. Also, my first Twitter handle was ManureGurl (I had to go with the creative spelling because someone had already taken ManureGirl, I shit you not) and I still maintain the account. Of course, the main reason is the name has some relation to my day job, what I do when I’m not writing blogs. I write about excrement – shit, manure, crap, dung, muck, guano, poultry litter, droppings, organic fertilizer. I admit, it’s not what I dreamt of doing when I graduated from J-school (I wanted to be a war correspondent) but it helps pay the bills. As the old adage states: It’s a shitty job but someone has to do it.

I’m hoping to use this blog as a vehicle for displaying my true passion, which is writing fiction and poetry. I’m also a big fan of theatre and opera so there may be the odd review thrown in for good measure and, of course, stories and vignettes from my life, both past and present. My world can become pretty fucked up from time to time and that’s always worth a big laugh. It’s better than crying.

I’m a pretty passionate person and can become somewhat obsessive about subjects and hobbies. I’ve been known to research a topic to death, the more obscure and difficult, the bigger the challenge. My current obsessions include collecting Canadian, U.S. and UK first edition books; reading, particularly the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die; British TV shows Doc Martin and Sherlock; raspberry lemonade; U.S. TV shows Criminal Minds, Mad Men, Homeland, The Killing and The Walking Dead; and losing weight.

I’d probably pee my pants in glee if my blog, or even my Twitter feed, were followed by The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson), British actor John Marquez (@MrJohnmarquez), Matthew Gray Gubler (@GUBLERNATION) or really anybody with a pulse. I know that probably won’t happen, after all these people actually have lives. But it’s nice to dream. And, in the immortal words of that awesome Canadian band, Hedley: I can do anything!