Open letter to Georgina-onians and passersby

Dear fellow concerned citizens, human prototypes, Georgina’onians, Keswickians, Suttonese, Pefferlawfians, and of course, our esteemed visitors (yes, I made up 60% of those labels).

First, I am not perfect. In fact, I am so far from perfect that I daresay that I am usually fairly reliable in the ‘if it can be eff’d up, she’ll eff it up’ department. My ‘Making A Complete Mess’ track record is a thing that legends are made of. To illustrate my point, I got knocked up out-of-wedlock – YOUNG (no regrets), dropped in and out and back into school, sometimes seasonally (big regrets). I fall off of chairs, can say the EXACT wrong thing at exactly the wrong time like a Trump supporter on speed, and when I’m not chasing my own tail in a futile effort to get ahead, I’ve likely forgotten why I walked into a room. But, even with all of these faults, inadequacies, character flaws and an unrelenting flair for the dramatic, I remain fairly adept at understanding where my garbage is supposed to go and where it is NOT supposed to go.

Again – NOT a perfect track record on this front either. I have been known to occasionally toss a tissue into the blue box, or thoughtlessly toss a banana peel into the ‘regular’ garbage instead of the compostable garbage. So I get it. It happens. But, and much like mine, this is a BIG BUT, even I with all of my aforementioned flaws and rudimentary understanding about our complicated garbage pick up system, know that the ditch beside a farmer’s field is probably NOT the place for my once-loved (on) sofa and love seat. Even I am able to discern that the evidence of my fairly faithful (and mobile) habit of drinking Busch’s beer probably does not belong tossed out my car window while I careen down backroads. And perhaps, most oddly of all, the flowers from my late-beloved whoever should NOT be disposed of, containers and all, at the side of the road. I mean really? How dead inside do you need to be in order to toss Grandpa’s flowers out on the way home from his funeral?

I am not even kidding here, people. I couldn’t make this up if I tried (heart is still beating in my chest, apparently). And no, it’s definitely not a roadside memorial.

Even I, with all of my blonde ditziness, realized long ago that evidence of backseat shenanigans just DO NOT belong on the pavement, naked and exposed where people walk their dogs or go for walks with their families (YAY! for using birth control though, we completely approve of all things disease and unwanted pregnancy preventative – but BOO for tossing it out of your car window with your empty pack of smokes and another one of those damned Busch cans). (Am sparing you the pictures of this one. You’re welcome)

Takeaway containers and beer cans in a paper grocery bag. Really?

And while I’m at it – WHO is still drinking Red Bull and Monster, anyway? That is SO 2012. Move on people. And while you’re at it, take your empty cans with you? Pretty please?

With the spring thaw, so many things come to light. What the snow hid, the warmer days reveal. The sins of the winter and all of that.

We are so incredibly blessed in Georgina to have green space, farmers fields, forestland, wetlands, parks, just so much SPACE to breathe, that it is easy to forget, while taking in all of this natural beauty, that it is NOT the place to toss your left-over renovation materials, drywall, 1970’s shag carpet, evidence of your last beer pong tournament, half-full paint cans, tires, cement blocks, or yes, even your Tim Horton’s coffee cups. Because while I know, that there is very little more Canadian than a Timmy’s coffee (how did that become a cultural symbol?), there is something so very un-Canadian about throwing your Timmy’s cup out your car window. Be honest here, who do you think is or should be responsible for cleaning up your mess?

The contents of your misguided life do not belong at the side of the road. Unless you’re sitting with them, that is.

Your terrible taste in carpeting is not taxpayer’s responsibility, nor do the fox, deer or other wildlife living here want it. Bag it and tag it, leave it with your garbage and the Town will remove it for you. This Stop and Dump = Bad Karma. Bag it and Take it = Good Karma

And, as a special note for visitors: we welcome you to our parks, beaches and roads. In return, we merely ask that you take your garbage HOME with you or use the receptacles graciously provided for your use with our local tax dollars. Our residents and wildlife, do not need to deal with your silo cups, empty potato salad containers, paper plates, plastic forks and the ever-present pop and beer cans. PLEASE.

Use our beaches and our parks. Just don’t be a self-entitled dickhead and leave all of your trash for the rest of us to deal with. It is polluting our land, and waterways, not to mention that it is a danger to our wildlife. And, if one of the local ‘fanatics’ happens to catch you tossing your garbage bags out of your window, you may be run off the road while the sweet sound of banjos play in the (not to) distant woods. And we all know how well that went for those visitors.

This is a forest. NOT a trash receptacle.

The remnants of your family reunion, held at one of our local parks should only be painful for you. The rest of us have our own Aunt Edna’s and Uncle Frank’s to deal with, thanks.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – ugh. Never mind. Just don’t be a filthy miscreant and deal with your own mess.

So, next time you’re out and about and for some reason have a trunk full of shit you want to dump, please visit our local transfer station (so much fancier than saying ‘dump’ isn’t it?) at  23068 Warden Avenue. The fees are very reasonable and you’ll feel awesome for doing the responsible, adult thing with your unwanted goods. Or, even better, before you load all that shit into your car, truck, or bundle buggy, march it out to the curb in front of your house and slap a $1 green garbage sticker on it. The town will pick it up with your regular garbage pick up (black bag day), no questions asked. Those stickers are not very sticky, so make sure you staple or otherwise affix the sticker in plain view.  You can buy stickers at any branch of the library, Zehrs, Pinky’s, the Civic Centre,  there are a ton of distributors all around Georgina. Or, if you’re really stuck, let me know and I’ll drop a sticker off to you – no questions asked.

Out past the edge of a big untidy town was a beautiful green valley. Hidden behind its tall trees were bright flowers and bushes full of birds. In the middle of this lovely place the people of the town dumped their rubbish…There should have been a pretty village in the valley but instead there was a terrible mess.
          ~Excerpt from “The Paperbag Prince”
                               by
                          Colin Thompson

Yours truly, madly and beseechingly,

The Keswick Blog

Suck a what? And how long have I been trapped in a minivan?

So, on Friday, Mr. K.B. took a day off work to get some things done that he has been needing to get done, and also to hang out with me (because who wouldn’t want to hang out with me, right?). Now, remember, we’re married and have four kids living in our house. This means that opportunities for us to hang out together by ourselves (that may be an oxymoron?) come around about as often as that Super Moon deal that we missed last year.

Anyway, so we were out and about town in his car and I was telling him how I didn’t really know how to use his Sirius radio set up, so when I was driving his car earlier that day, I just pushed the one button and left it at that. He started to show me how easy it was to use both the preset channels and to just scan for a station. Then, to demonstrate, he spun the knob and landed on a random station. When the signal caught up to the channel, this is what we heard:

“suck a dick, suck a dick, suck a, suck a, suck a dick…”

and then I was like, what conversation was this fella having that preceded these lyrics? Because if it was anything other than this:

dude is definitely NOT going to get his dick sucked.

I’m no prude or anything, but may I ask just exactly HOW LONG I been being held hostage in a minivan full of kids? When did music change this much? I mean, just yesterday, the kids and I were happily listening to the 2017 Grammy Nominee CD that we borrowed from the library and I was feeling all “up-to-date” and “current” and then today, I find out I have NO IDEA what the hell is going on out there. Here I was, upset that my kids are already being exposed to gangster rap in elementary school, while I should have just been thankful that they’re not walking around the house singing “suck a dick.”

Fuck.

So, two things come from this impromptu music lesson. 1) I’m keeping my head, heart and ears firmly planted in music pre-2000, and 2) It will be another decade or longer before I am morally able to join the ranks of satellite radio subscribers.

They represent me perfectly. The princess and the basket case. C’est moi.

Note: I was going to Google it and try to post a link, but then I thought – with all of the ad targeting bullshit do I really want paid ads showing up for me on Amazon, Facebook, or anywhere else that are encouraging me to suck a dick? Probably not. I’m still annoyed that everywhere I go online I see ads for hemorrhoid cream (you ask Google ONE question about something you heard about models using Preparation H as an under-eye cream and you’re marked for life. Take my word for it, just accept the wrinkles).

Nope. Just don’t do it.

And that’s how my life went from PG to XXX in one turn of a radio dial.

~A.

Kid conversations. Or, Being schooled using a banana analogy

So, this conversation happened at my house tonight:

10 year-old: UGH! This banana has a HUGE bruise! Blech! *insert lots of gagging noises*

6 year-old: *insert hand gestures and adult tone of voice* Okay. I’ll tell you the story of how I ate my bruised banana. Ready? I opened my banana. It was bruised. I just it ate through it and didn’t say a thing about it. Not a word. And that’s how I got through it. Just eat through it. See?

My six-year-old is wiser than me again. You’d think that I’d be used to this humbling truth, but the fact is, I am not. It takes these moments in time, these overheard conversations to remind me that for as much as I think that I’m teaching them about life, it is they who are teaching me.

Because Miss Moon’s banana story is a lot like life. Sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward, not complaining about anything, and just get through it. Sometimes, it really is okay.

Like Miss Moon and Shia say, sometimes, you just have to do it.

Conversations with kids thus far in 2017

As some of you know, Miranda and I just returned from an adventure at the hospital that included an over-night stay. While we were waiting for a room in the Hospital for Sick Kids E.R. Miranda announced to me, rather urgently, that she needed the bathroom. So, off we went, dragging the IV trolley beside us in search of a bathroom. We found one close by.

“Oh, wait a minute, honey. The seat is a mess” I told her once we were inside the little bathroom. She looked over her shoulder at the toilet, “Ugh! Who PEES like that?” she asked incredulously. Before I had the chance to answer, she spoke again, in a low voice while looking downward and slowly shaking her head. “Boys.” she said. “Boys pee like that” she sounded so mournful, so disappointed and just so defeated that I had to stifle a chuckle. She cut a comical, yet heartbreaking figure, all six-and-a-half years of her wearing nothing but dark grey cotton tights and 3/4 sleeve purple top, now cut up the side of the left arm to accommodate her temporary plaster cast, which was supporting her broken elbow.  Her other hand was incapacitated by the i.v. drip and sponge block the nurse had just finished setting up moments before. Her beautiful blonde hair a tangled mess of curls, hair elastics and sleep. And, as I hurried to clean up the seat for her, using the hospital one-ply and a prayer (honestly though – who does pee like that? And more importantly, who leaves it like that?), I had to agree with her, “yes baby, boys sometimes pee like that.” And, hoping that she would sense my solidarity and hear me telepathically, I thought “and sometimes, it’s just enough to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I hear ya, kiddo.”

**************************************************

And then this exchange just happened:

Paxton – Mummy, do you know what I’m really good at?

Me: Everything?

Paxton: Yes. But no. Really. I mean do you know what I’m really good at?

Me: What?

Paxton: I’m really good at sticking my head in a bucket of water and getting an apple.

Me: Bobbing for apples? That’s what you’re really good at?

Paxton: Yup! *beaming and proud as punch*

Me: … *with visions of a 50 year-old Pax living in my basement flashing through my mind*

Thank you, Mr. Einstein for this invaluable insight and truth. I am a believer.

Transition pains and birthday wishes

Lucky me. The New Year and my birthday conveniently occur with only five days between them. This means that I have barely the time it takes to eat a cheesecake before beginning (and failing at) New Year initiatives and deciding (and failing at) birthday initiatives. So, while earlier I blogged about my objectives for 2017, now I find myself trying to put words around more personal objectives and meanings as I pass into yet another (early) year of my 40’s.

It is my birthday on Friday, so the time to get this done is now as short as my skirts once were.

Turning 40 did not hurt. To be honest, it was painless because I did not (and do not) feel it. In my mind, I’m still the deranged, scattered, dippy teenage girl I was (except now I have a credit card, a car and a bunch of kids to drive around). Until now, I don’t think any age has really struck a chord with me. But this upcoming birthday has been bothering me, and I think that I have finally figured out why.

It is because this year, I feel very much like I am on the cusp of a brand new chapter and a whole new way of defining and living my life. And that is terrifying and exciting, devastating and energizing, mournful and celebratory, all at the same time (this may be a side effect of my basket case mental health status).

I have always prided myself on being smart and certain. Not muddled, not confused, not unsure. But muddled, confused and unsure is where I have been residing lately, during this ‘life’ changing of the guard, so to speak (and no, I’m not menopausal, thankyouverymuch).

This birthday is a milestone for me. It’s not a traditional milestone, it’s not 40, 45 or 50, but then, rarely in my life have I done things how and when I was supposed to. Chalk it up to a potent combination of the ‘nature and nurture’ forces from which I was created.

This year will be the year that I finally lay to rest my belief that ‘one more baby’ is reasonable, possible and ‘right’. This year I lay to rest my belief that my life circle and purpose is incomplete without mothering one more child. This year I move forward knowing that I have five beautiful, healthy, wonderful(ly infuriating) children who depend on me to help their worlds make sense and who also need me to  love them, protect them, feed them (possibly the most important item on this list), and mother them. Alas, this is the year that I stop thinking of my body in terms of its function and ability to produce and directly sustain the life of another and start thinking of it more as the irreplaceable, important and worthy entity for the sake of MY survival. To sustain MY life. Because my survival matters too.

Change has never been my forte. I am a planner, perhaps a bit of a control freak (as much as hippy-dippy and control freak go together, that is). I’ve been told (more than once) that I do not shift gears very easily or quickly, and as much as I dislike the sound of that or what it feels like it means about me, I have to begrudgingly admit that it is a true statement. I like things done my way. On my schedule. And I’m not terribly good at trilling “plot twist” and moving on when presented with an unplanned-for idea or event. But I am working on it. My personal goal for this year is to be better at plot twists and plan changes. Oh, I’m not giving up my lists, but this year their role will shift from that of an unforgiving dictator to more of a gentle guide for my days.

I’m looking forward to my birthday this year. I’m looking forward to doing the work that I need to do on myself, to be a different, if not better, version of me. I am looking forward to figuring out who I am and how I fit into this world now that my baby years are behind me and my future is still wide open.

~A.

Parenting is just one long conversation with myself, apparently.

Like many parents, I spend a fair amount of my life time and energy stressing out about and arranging for my kids to clean their rooms, organize their belongings, purge broken toys and to donate outgrown and un-played with games, and generally try to keep the chaos that surrounds them to a minimum. And my smalls are awesome. They never say “no,” they just don’t get the job done. Either they forget and start playing, or they stuff crap everywhere so that it “looks” cleaned up but it’s one bursting cupboard door away from a “random crap tsunami.”

But today? Today was different. Today, I really thought that I had finally achieved a new level of success in my quest. Today, one of them had *finally* taken my words to heart and actually cleaned off the top of his dresser without me asking/telling/cajoling. It was pure magic, I tell you.

This is what I saw when I walked up the stairs and glanced down the hall toward his room:

This is the K’Nex ferris wheel set that he received for Christmas. He spent a lot of time building it and is very proud of it. So, naturally, I assumed that this pride of accomplishment had finally given him the motivation that he needed to finally clean off the top of his dresser without being asked, so that he could display his build.

I was woefully, dreadfully wrong.

After taking a moment to marvel at how great the cleaned up area looked, I made a mistake. I glanced down and to the right.

Everything else that once cluttered his dresser top, now lies in a hoardy pile beside his dresser. 😭

This is not progress. This is not the direction in which I was hoping to go. Ugh.

Three days until the New Year. Think there’s still time to impart the importance of not living in a disorganized, hoardy mess? Yeah. I didn’t think so either.

~A.

Miscellany with a side of stabbiness

Everyday, I update the little Christmas countdown board. When I forget, my 10 year-old is very good at making sure that a) I know it and b) I fix it. So, that’s covered.

The shopping is coming along. There’s already WAY TOO MUCH stuff in this house and Christmas isn’t going to lighten the load any. I quest to declutter is a losing battle right now. I’m feeling quite defeated, I must admit. But, on the upside, I have enough Lego now to build myself a new minivan when mine gives up the ghost.

My weight and my stress level are creeping back up, so I know that it’s time to do something about both those things. Likely tending to one will resolve the other, so really, I just knocked that list down by half. Go me!

Airmiles announced this week that Airmiles will no longer expire. Well, that’s just fucking great. Now that I redeemed almost all of them because I’d rather have shit I didn’t want or need that lose TEN YEARS of collecting effort. Not impressed. Less than a month before they are all set to expire, Airmiles ‘changes its’ mind.’ Um. fuck you very much, Airmiles, you asshole.

And, in more amusing news, last week, I was accused of English being my second language, by someone who, by my estimation, (based on her online writing) is functionally illiterate in English. Are you eff’ing kidding me? To be fair, her exact comment was: “Thanks for the long comment but you may not fluent in English? Read my post again.” Her badly written original question was looking for ways that she could improve her son’s French (“Can anyone give advice if I want my 11 year old son improves his French ?”). I gave her a few suggestions and at the end threw it out there that immersion isn’t for everyone, so not to stress too much if English is a better program for him. Vowed not to help stupid people again. Well, I will, because I can’t say no, but only the polite ones from now on.

Also, if Spellcheck tries, just one more time, to auto-correct “stabby” to “shabby” I am going to get all kinds of cranky. I am NOT shabby. Nor am I “stubby.” But I most definitely AM stabby.

if-the-next-words-out-of

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

~A.

He has a suspicious mind, that one.

It is no secret that my Paxton loves him some apples. Like, he LOVES apples. All four of my smalls do, but Pax, in particular, is the most emotionally invested in them. Our household will easily go though 20 or more pounds of apples in a single week. Raw.

But right now, it is also the second-coming of teething season here at headquarters, as all four of them are now in one stage or another of losing baby teeth and growing ‘grown up’ teeth to replace and displace them. So, biting into an apple, at times, becomes an issue. Particularly if the apple is lovely and crunchy the way I prefer and the way they used to prefer our apples.

So, being the mindful and caring momma that I am (stop snickering!), I starting to set a bowl of apples out on the counter for those of them who either were in the ‘sensitive to cold’ or the ‘it’s wiggly and hurts to bite down’ stages of his or her teething journey. And Paxton, seeing the apples so readily available on the counter, just started to default to the bowl instead of the refrigerator every time he wanted an apple (often 6-8 times a day – no lie).

IMG_2551

But one day last week, he by-passed the bowl and opened the fridge. He found himself eye-to-drawer with an entire produce drawer full (15 lbs, give or take) of freshly washed and ready-to-eat apples. He dug around for the largest one, closed the fridge and took a bite. Then he turned to walk out of the kitchen, shooting me the side-eye and saying suspiciously, “Oh, I see you’ve been hiding apples from me. Huh.” He took another bite and sauntered out of the room, clearly a changed boy whose trust had been compromised on the deepest of levels.

He still tells me he loves me everyday but I wonder, if, in the back of his mind, the idea now lurks that I’m just not quite meant to be fully trusted.

He’s keeping a close eye on me now. I can feel just it.

EDITED TO ADD: I don’t know WHY the picture is sideways. It appears to be right-side up on my screen, in WordPress, in my previews and in my media library. But here? On Facebook? It’s freakin’ sideways. The universe is messing with me again. Like I really need outside forces playing with my fragile grip on sanity. ????

Is his depth equal than or greater than my ditz?

A brief, recent, and real exchange with Paxton, age 7 1/2 years.

Pax, while eating his lunch: “In life, you just gotta have a lotta patience.”

Me, half listening: “Hmmmm? Yes, yes, you certainly do.”

Pax, finished his lunch and while leaving the table: “Yup. A lotta patience. You sure do gotta to have it.”

Time skips a beat and I look up from the sink where I had been washing dishes while he ate and watch his little frame retreat from the kitchen and head toward the living room (otherwise known as the Lego Promise Land). Um. Huh? Wait a minute. I realize that I’m really not sure what he was talking about. Was he talking about ME and my life (with kids, house, work, husband, kids, you know, the usual) and in his uniquely Paxton way, gently reminding me to have more patience because he had noticed that lately I was running short on it or was he talking about life and people, in general? Um, what exactly just happened here?

To put it into perspective for you, I will share that when I was seven years old, my biggest revelation was that the Polkaroo was really whichever fella (in a ridiculous costume) who was partnered up with the girl host in that any given episode and not some separate entity and that was why, time and time again, said otherwise happy dude would bemoan “What? Polkaroo was here? And I missed him again?”

Well, frig then. Either Pax is wise and deep beyond his years or I was just a total dud at being a seven-year-old. I’m really hoping that it’s the former rather than the latter. Because having to admit that your decline began before your eighth birthday is just sad but bragging that your kid is a philosophy prodigy is just bitchin’.

So, there you have it. Another Paxism and another life lesson on this second day of Spring 2016.

#ThisLittleDudeTho ????

???? #ThisLittleDudeTho #MySmallsTho ????

In life, you just gotta have a lot of patience.

Paxton, 7 years 6  months.

You know what is really upsetting?

This. The picture says it all. Tell me you see it too.

Just take a minute to let it sink in and fully appreciate what I'm saying here.

Just take a minute to let it sink in and fully appreciate what I am sharing here.

And while the picture says it all, I will add (this very long, run-on sentence) that when you are trying your best to be ‘healthy’, going about your business and organizing your vitamins so you may have everything ready in order to get your health goals back on track and some previously un-noticed writing on the side of the organizing case catches your eye and only then do you realize that your handy-dandy vitamin organizers were ‘swag’ from a cemetery, it really sort of, no, absolutely, sucks balls.

I immediately stopped what I was doing (mid-week, even) and asked myself: what are they trying to tell me? Are they mocking me? Goading me even, perhaps? And why are they (the cemetery people) pretending that they are trying to help me stay alive when in all actuality, they need me (and everyone else, really) dead to increase their dirty, dark profit margin and to be able to afford all of this fancy-schmancy swag. Because nothing says “thank you for your business, so sorry for your loss and we hope to see you again too soon” like a medication/capsule organizer, right? And really, what other business can you think of that can get away with wishing their target clientele dead and stay in business? I get they may not get a lot of repeat customers but really, maybe another business plan is called for to create another income stream? Also, whatever happened to a good old fridge magnet or lousy desk calendar?

So now whenever I take my vitamins, I think of death. Well played death expert assholes, well played.

P.S. This vitamin snafu did have a bright side. It served as a reminder to me to spend some time on our estate planning, things like Wills, Powers of Attorney, choosing the correct beneficiary for my one-of-a-kind eraser collection – you know, the important stuff that you just cannot leave to fate. ????

P.P.S. Before anyone asks me just how exactly I find myself the mortified owner of these fine specimens of mixed-message marketing, I’ll tell you. They were a thrift store find. Which leads to the obvious conclusions that 1) I am not the only one who found these of questionable taste and 2) I need to inspect my thrift store purchases a wee bit more closely in the future. ????