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The Intruder

“Lemme out! Lemme out! Let. Me. OUT!!!” 

My 6-year-old was shrieking as she madly fumbled with her seatbelt in a desperate attempt to flee the vehicle.

She, my husband, mother and I, had just returned to our car, parked on a small town street. It was late - past 10pm - and the sounds of the post-symphony gathering we had just departed, covered the damp grass like a blanket.

As my husband helped my daughter into her booster seat, my mother spotted something scuttling up one of the black sweaters I had elegantly draped over the front passenger seat headrest (in case of a late July flash-freeze).

Because the flickering streetlight on the corner provided a less than satisfying glow, the only opportunities to see inside of the car, were during the brief moments when the doors were ajar.

“There,” my mother urged, “A tail.”

An Open Letter to My Feet

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Dear feet,

I’m sorry.

I mean, here we are in Florida and there you are, completely and totally naked.

But here’s the thing. I forgot your warm-weather shoes at home. In the closet.

As you know, our exodus from the snow-ravaged north was rushed (what with the back-to-back storms heading our way) and as a result, so many things were left behind. My favourite black Capris, that cute sunhat I ordered online, the poolside read I had picked out specifically for this trip… All of it, forgotten. In the cold.

So here we stand, on this gorgeous salty beach, next to my happily barefoot daughter. Exposed. 



The Life Changing Magic of Keeping Nature Out of Your S**t

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I opened the bottom - right hand - cupboard door to look for the colander because those olives weren’t going to rinse themselves.

A hand mixer, several plastic bowls, an electric can opener and a package of millet (hastily placed after our arrival the night before) greeted my eyes with nary a colander in sight. I crouched down to get a closer look and as I peered into the darkness, something caught my attention. It was dark, it was brown and it was alive.

At least, it used to be.

My mom and I laid it on the stove top to get a closer look.

This is Richard, the palmetto bug. Richard is was huge. May he (and his detached leg) rest in peace.



It wasn’t the first time we’d encountered palmetto bugs while on vacation in the southern US and by the way Floridians, you can call them what you want but a cockroach is still cockroach.

Morning Math: The Worst Math of the Day

by Andrea Mulder-Slater




There were two lines at the Tim Hortons kiosk - one for those ordering bacon, bagels and specialty drinks - and another for the rest of us.

As the young man behind the counter handed me my tea, I began digging through the giant expanse that is my purse. Gloves. Princess stickers. Altoids. Chocolate bar wrappers…

I was one customer away from my place at the cash register when I remembered the leftover taxi fare change in my pocket.

When I looked over the railing, I could see that it was turning into a busy morning in the hospital so I was glad to have arrived early. I was tired, but anxious to find out if my mom would be able to come home after a frightening 38 hours involving a blood transfusion.

“One fifty-five, please.”

The girl behind the counter watched my money land on the counter. She began to scoop it up and then, she stared at me.