One morning this week, I had the house to myself. This is a rare and much appreciated happening. For the past two years, I’ve listened to audiobooks using earphones while cleaning and cookiing so as to not disturb or distract others in the house who doing homework or work-work or are maybe just slightly less interested in my literary choices than I (although why they wouldn’t be riveted, I haven’t the foggiest idea. I have excellent taste). On this particular morning though, I stumbled across a mixed CD that I compiled close to twenty years ago. And it is pure magic. The fact that the newest song on the CD is circa 2003, just adds to its wonder(fulness). I popped the shiny disc into the CD player and turned it way, way UP. The puppy did not appreciate the disruption to her nap time and routine. I just looked into her confused little face and shrugged my shoulders at her. I’m not a saint. I have no regrets.
What was this magic playlist, you ask? Well, buckle up buttercup, because this is a mix of the ages (or a mix for the middle-agers who refuse to give up their 20’s card? I dunno. No apologies).
The Ultimate (and Possibly Embarrassing, if I had that gene) Music Mix
1. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot – 1992 2. Wild Thing – Tone Loc – 1988 3. This Love – Maroon 5 – 2002 4. Come on Eileen – Doxy Midnight Runners – 1982 5. Valley Girl – Frank Zappa – 1982 6. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins – 1982 7. You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate – 1975 8. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne – 2003 9. That’ll Be The Day – Buddy Holly – 1957 10. Three Rows Over – Bobby Curtola – 1963 11. Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polkadot Bikini – Brian Hyland – 1960 12. It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy – 2000 13. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – George Thorogood – 1977 14. High School Confidential – Rough Trade – 1980 15. The Gambler – Kenny Rogers – 1978 16. Gasoline Alley – Rod Stewart – 1970 17. Lime in the Coconut – Harry Nilsson – 1971 18. Alison – Elvis Costello – 1977 19. I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred – 1991 20. Boom Shack-a-Lack – Apache Indian – 1994
I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed listening to this oddball mix and how much I can’t wait to inflict, I mean SHARE it with my smalls when they get home from school. If the homework situation doesn’t allow for the blasting of music, I can wait until I have them trapped in the minivan. I’m just that kind of patient and giving parent.
Pitching hard for #MumOfTheYear over here. ~A. xo
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For the past couple of years (read: COVID-years), Saturdays have been home made pizza/panzo and movie night around here. After I make everyone his/her dinner, I head down to Newmarket to do “the big” grocery shop at 2-4 stores, while my youngest four smalls (all now bigger than me) eat dinner and watch a movie with daddy.
This past Saturday night, I toured the first of two planned store stops, followed my list, and filled my cart. I had three free product coupons that I was planning to use, one for milk (mailed from the company because a bag of milk was sour long before the date on the bag, so I called to report it), one for Pringles (never buy these, but “free” is my tipping point) and one coupon for a free box of Special K. I was also price matching a few items, namely four loaves of Country Harvest bread (2/$5 at Giant Tiger, $3.49 each at No Frills).
As I approached the checkout, scanning for an open cash, Lane 3 had the light on and no other customers checking out. I hadn’t seen the cashier who was standing behind the plexiglass barrier before but since she didn’t have a queue, I navigated my cart to her lane. I should have known better, but, no. In hindsight I don’t know if she was having a bad day, found my mask-wearing objectionable, resented having to lift the (5) 6-lb bags of apples I was buying (looking at mostly at Paxton for that expenditure), hated price-matchers, or just thought I was a jerk for wearing skinny jeans with running shoes (no argument here), but Grumpy Gertie (herein known as “GG”) was sour from the onset. She appeared to be annoyed when I declined to buy plastic bags and instead showed her the cooler bag stuffed with bags that I brought with me. Maybe she thought I was bragging? Considering my grocery cooler bag is half-torn from the strain caused by me regularly stuffing it beyond capacity with 4-5 bags of milk (20-25L) and forcing the zipper closed, it is hardly what I would lead with, were I trying to show off my bounty of riches. 🙄
Onward we push. Past the apples, through the cheese bars and the black beans (burritos this week, yum!), over the cucumbers (on sale, $0.69 each, yay!) and then, full stop. We had reached the lone bag of milk. She lifted the coupon from where I placed it on top of the bag and breathed out loudly. Almost as though she was trying to balance her chi or find her patience and resist the urge to thrash me. She looked at the coupon for a long time. An uncomfortably long time. I began to feel a bit warm, a mildly prickly heat down my back, despite the fact that I was wearing a lightweight shirt and long cardigan, no coat, and had done nothing more strenuous than lift groceries onto the belt. She looked up and off, far into the distance, perhaps looking to call someone? Maybe she was new to the job and was uncertain how to process this type of coupon? I was about to say something friendly and reassuring when she looked at me with barely concealed contempt, “can I see your i.d.?” This surprised me a bit, but since the coupon had my name printed on it by the company that mailed it to me, I unzipped my wallet “um, yes, sure. I mean, you shouldn’t need to, but it’s fine.” I showed her my drivers license, feeling my cheeks grow warmer. She looked like she’d like to spit on it, but she doesn’t. She scanned the milk into the system and then keyed in the coupon, just like any other coupon. I looked at the Pringles and cereal sitting, oblivious, on the belt and started to feel a bit sick. I’m not one who enjoys confrontation with strangers. With family I’m all over a good argument or debate and am willing to die upon whatever hill I have chosen as mine to defend, but with strangers I begin looking for escape routes at the first sign of battle. On this particular occasion I took a minute to remind myself that I had done nothing wrong, the coupons were legitimate and valid and I was not wrong for using them.
She plucked a loaf of bread off the belt. I showed her the competitor’s ad on my phone. She objected because I had chosen a raisin bread “Not this one. It’s not included. It costs more.” She looks triumphant. “Um, I think they are all the same price? $3.49? And they all weigh 600g?” My words splutter out, making everything I say a question. She scanned the raisin bread. $3.49 appeared on the screen. She scowled deeply and almost growled. She completed the price match with all four loaves. She doesn’t appear to have any issue with the packages of chicken breast that I had chosen, so I started to relax and feel a bit better. She reached for the Pringles. I handed her the coupon. She doesn’t make eye contact with me and spent the next two minutes reading the coupon, reaching out a hand for the phone and jerking it away again before picking it up. The Ghostbuster theme song played in my head. “Who you gonna call? Ghost…” Stupid head. Shut up. Ugh. I could almost see an angel and a devil, one sitting on each of her shoulders, arguing about what to do with my milk coupon. Another, younger cashier appeared beside her. Startled, GG scans the Pringles and punched the coupon value with her index finger held rigid. The other cashier asked to empty the garage and GG looked relieved. I wondered what GG thought the girl was there to do, was she worried that she was about to be told off? Maybe something like “just scan the lady’s groceries and get on with your life, GG!”? But, probably not and in any event, our time together was not quite done. There was still the matter of the cereal.
She scanned the cereal and I handed her the coupon. “Another free one?” She’s barely able to push these three words out past her clenched teeth. “Yes, ma’am. Last one, I promise.” Smiling. I was almost certain at that moment that if she had a vaporizer and didn’t need her job, she would have ended me there and then. As it was, she didn’t and she did, so after she entered the coupon amount and told me the total, I paid and started to pack up my offensive groceries as quickly as I could.
An older mother and daughter pair were next to be served and while I packed my bags, I was mildly aware of the conversation going on between them and GG. It sounded friendly and congenial. They were talking about the 30lbs of apples I had yet to secure in my mess of cloth bags. I looked up, surprised because GG sounded nice and conversational but not surprised by the topic of their chat. It’s a given that my weekly apple and produce haul always elicits commentary, guesses and judgement from cashiers and other shoppers about what I’m doing with it all. Am I baking pies? Running a daycare or school? Am I a hoarder who can’t stop herself? I’ve heard just about every guess people have. I have given up trying to justify my shopping to strangers so I usually just smile and shrug apologetically and say “the apples are for one of my sons. He goes through about 30lbs of apples a week.” The shock value along usually gets me out of the conversation fairly quickly. This was the explanation I offered GG and the other two women that night. GG’s jaw dropped. Success! Instantly I could see she thought I was probably enabling some 700-pound grown man to eat himself to death. She didn’t say a word. I continued with “well, it’s better than endless bags of chips or junk food, right?” I sounded about as perky Elle Woods and I made sure to smile sweetly. GG let her mouth to close while ever so slowly she nodded her head in agreement. I loaded my final bag into the cart and began to push it towards the exit. I could feel GG’s eyes on me until I got outside into the parking lot.
My first job, as a young teenager, I was a cashier at IGA. I know what the job is like. I get it when you have customer after customer being ugly or unreasonable, taking frustration out on you over things that you, as a lowly cashier, have no power to change or control. Allowing those people to change the way you approach and serve all customers is a lose-lose situation. It causes bad feelings for the cashier and the customer. In that spirit, I hope that GG is having a better day today and that she can find some tiny morsel of hope or goodness that will help carry her through her future shifts. I will shop there again because they tend to have what I’m looking for, and if GG is working again next week, I’ll go through her cash again. Even if I’m price-matching or using coupons. And I’ll be friendly and ask after her day and wish her a good evening/weekend. If I do this every weekend, week after week, eventually she’ll like me. I just know it. And no, there is no end to my pathetic need to feel like people don’t hate me. It’s on my list to work on. Right after finding my six-pack abs and mastering the art of baking the perfect baguette (and yes, I’m aware that those two goals are counter-intuitive).
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This is a true story. There is not one word of a lie, no single misleading statement nor exaggeration included herein.
I was going to start this post with “Honestly” but remembered that is a sure fire way to know that there’s a lie coming your way. Maybe not a pack of lies, but at least one, hidden away on a plate of full and half-truths. And really, honestly, I just would not do that.
Ha! See what I just did there? But again, a lie, no. Humour, yes. Poorly executed, perhaps. Well intentioned? Definitely.
I can already see that this post has gotten off to a very tumultuous and scattered start, so I will begin again. Now.
My daughter is, what we now know of as a “tween” but when I was her age, we called “eleven.” She is growing up, getting taller, discovering new interests and just generally not shadowing me as she did when she was younger and I was her whole world. *insert ugly cry face here* I’ll finish boo-hooing about that later, maybe over a litre or two of Moose Tracks because this post isn’t about her. This post is about me. So, when I started thinking about how she is growing up, I remembered myself at her age and that made me think about shaving. Shaving my legs, to be specific. I was probably 11 or 12-years-old when I first lathered up my baby-skinned, peach-fuzzed leg with a bar of soap, popped the plastic cover from the disposable pink double-bladed Daisy razor (that I likely found under the bathroom sink), and giddy with nerves, made that first long drag from ankle to knee cap up my right leg. No doubt that it was within the first three swipes of that deceptively innocent razor, that it bit into my previously un-scarred, taut ankle skin that kept my bones from protruding from my body in such a way that would have prevented me from wearing conventional clothing, like, well, socks or pants without making a bloody mess.
I remember seeing the shock of red oozing from my ankle and feeling the sting of the slice as the soap mixing with the water ran down my leg and over the cut. Today, such an injury may deter me, for I am now old and wise. But then, I was young, foolish and believed that hairless legs would change my life, so I preserved and finished the leg, with two more hateful bites from my razor to serve as proof of my bold and new-found hairless womanliness.
With hardly more trepidation than a toddler with a fork and an open electrical outlet, I lathered up my left leg This time, Daisy attacked immediately and the skin just beside my inner ankle bone split and began to bleed. Refusing to quit, because the thought of walking around with one shaved leg and one reverse-mohawked leg was not only unthinkable, but more because it did not occur to me that I could quit at that point, I carried on. I believe I had a total of seven incisions by the end of that shower.
My pride was bruised, my ankles were shredded, but I had done it. I felt battered but damn it, I was not beaten.
Over the course of the next twenty or so years, I steadily improved my skills until reaching the point of never cutting myself while shaving (preparing food was bumped up a notch as the activity I was most likely to bleed to death while doing. Progress, see?). Of course, by the time I could shave my legs, unscathed, with my eyes closed, my hair growth slowed down, I got old, and it really was not as important anymore because mini skirts and shorts were not a viable option anymore. Irony, see?
Back to it though, in thinking about how my daughter will, likely one day fairly soon, ask to start shaving her legs, I was flooded with these memories of my own introduction into one of the (million) self-injurious practices in which girls and women were (are?) encouraged to participate in order to avoid social ostracism. I decided that I would respect her life choices long ago, respect her autonomy and encourage her to fully own her decisions over her life and body, and even though it may sound absurd, choosing to shave (or not) falls squarely into this category. So when/if the time comes I will arm her with shave foam (or ratchet bar of soap for my girl!), a razor (with a lovely gel strip attached), and carefully show her the ropes, so to speak. It will be a Hallmark moment. Or at least, that is my plan.
Like all good plans, a snafu has come up. Last week, while I was so busy patting myself on the back and marvelling about how far I have come, in just a few short decades, I looked down and realized that I was probably due for my monthly leg shaving ritual. This time, I did not procrastinate (progress, see?) and I remembered to lather up before getting out of the shower (I take every win, no matter how small, gratefully). Wielding my five-blade, moisture-strip-having Gillette Venus razor in my right hand (freebie received in the mail – holla!), I reached down to begin. All the while, still full of a sense of pride and accomplishment, not really paying attention to what I was doing, because I’m aces at shaving, right? Top drawer, really. The first three passes are routine, and then right at the beginning of the fourth pass, it happened. A sting, so foreign and yet somehow also so familiar to me that I failed to fully process it and so I carried on, until I was almost done that leg, and then it hit me. I was bleeding. I was cut. I had cut my ankle shaving. “Ah hell, no!” I said to myself (and probably said it out loud because I was alone and talking to myself just happens sometimes) and I lathered up my other leg, childishly refusing to even look at the first leg, and to acknowledge the shame it had just delivered unto me. First pass on my left leg resulted in immediate ankle injury and I was so throughly shocked and disgusted that I lost the motivation to care about the possibility of bleeding out on the shower floor and just finished it up, barely glancing at that leg either.
My feelings of self-loathing, disappointment, and sheer unadulterated humiliation threatened to overwhelm me as I turned off the water in the shower. I dried off, but refused to allow the towel to even graze my calves, for they had so let me down, they did not deserve the comfort of being dry. Then, it hit me. I could turn this around. I could take this stupid, humiliating, humbling moment and turn it into folly for others. In that way, I could take shit and turn it into sugar. Or something like that, right? Metaphors, much like shaving (apparently), are not my thing. Plus, if you will recall, I recently lost a lot of blood (don’t let the appearance of teeny incisions fool you), so I am not working under ideal conditions here.
The moral of the story, you ask? It is this: When you begin to think that you have this adulting thing all figured out, when you are almost giddy at the thought of how capable and proficient you are at [fill in the blank], when every fibre of your being is urging you to treat yourself to a reward (trip, vat of ice cream, monster diamond ring) for being so accomplished, so pulled together, don’t. Just don’t. For it is at that precise moment that you (or the universe) will find some way to almost sever your Achilles tendon with a grapefruit spoon that you don’t own or know why you have in your kitchen because you hate grapefruit and its pink sourness or make an online bill deposit and accidentally put the decimal point one space further to the right than you intend to, thus paying $2500.00 against your $250 hydro bill and thereby proving once again that you are in no way, shape or form ready to be left unsupervised with pointy objects or financial decisions.
My friends, I just couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried (and yes, I have tried *sigh*).
Oh, and if ya’ll maybe want to say a little prayer for my daughter, that would be great. I have a feeling she’s going to need all the help she can get with me at the helm (I think that’s a sailing metaphor, but I could be wrong, see admission of ignorance above).
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Updates on the blog are few and far between these days. Life is busy. Anxiety runs high while coping mechanisms continue to fail me. But that’s another post for another day, or not. Today, we have two updates in one post:
First update: While this mummy doesn’t drink, she can relate to just about every single other thing in Why Mummy’s Sloshed, the fourth book in Gill Sims’ hilarious diary-style series. If you’re a forty-something mum and don’t cringe at swear words and do appreciate when other mothers and wives are very honest in sharing just how UGH life can be sometimes, these books may just be for you. So, grab a copy, lock yourself in a closet, or better yet, lock your kids in a closet, go find yourself a comfy seat (just shove all of the sodding laundry onto the floor) and give it a whirl. I’m throughly enjoying this fourth book – laughing, wincing, smirking, head-nodding and uh huh’ing my way through it while my kids interrupt every two minutes looking for answers, justice or revenge. But that’s a normal day around here now, so I may as well read during the lulls in the excitement.
Second update: During our weekly visit with Nana yesterday, I came across this absolute gem of a bookmark and just had to bring it home with me. Now, in hindsight I was shockingly too young to read V.C. Andrews books when I began (um, the fifth grade ?) and I’m fairly certain that reading them warped my developing brain in ways that I am still unprepared to examine. Of course, I also do not remember why I just walked into the living room holding a wooden spoon and one of those plastic knobby things that keep the air in a bicycle tire, but I do vividly remember Cathy, Chris, Cory and Carrie and that bloody attic they were forced to live in for years. Really though, aside from the incredibly twisted and warped family dynamics I read about, I mostly remember the excitement that I felt every time another instalment would hit the bookshops. Not sadly, I no longer have my library of V.C. Andrews books and honestly the mere thought of reading one of those books today hurts my stomach and makes me feel icky, but I do have this small reminder of all those years when I could and would stay up reading well into the night because I just couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it ended. In those days, I could do that just about every night without any ill-effects in the morning, aside from the sadness of not having another new volume to read that day.
While I cannot pretend to remember the precise day I came into possession of this fine piece of memorabilia, I imagine I probably received it from our local independent bookshop on Queen St. East, in the Beach, where I grew up. The man who ran the shop was a bit odd, as was I, I was probably just better at hiding the oddness within. Really though, in those carefree times all that really mattered to me was that he kept me well supplied with reading material (and apparently free bookmarks).
Finally and also, the second photo above serves as evidence that I have officially, formally and actually given up and finally accepted the fact that this unholy, dimpled, sagging, veiny, scarred, jiggly mess of flesh really is my body and not just a placeholder while my real and most excellent body is being assembled and prepped for delivery. And rather than keeping this lot perpetually encased in as much fabric as possible during what has become a ridiculously hot and humid Ontario summer, and causing myself the maximum amount of distress due to heatstroke, I now wear shorts. And overall shorts at that. So, I guess that sometimes resignation really is the same thing as growth, right?
Stay safe, and as always, stay golden. A. xo
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Last year we were shocked to discover that our apple trees had been brutalized. Small branches snapped, broken off, vandalized. Needless to say, after the carnage, we ended up with a total of three apples, from five trees. At first we thought that it was drunk teenagers, but having been teenagers once ourselves, it seemed a very lame thing to do and one that would afford a teenager zero street credibility. Further investigation lead to the conclusion that it was, in fact, a local gang of deer that had violated our trees so brutally. I was kind of at a loss about what I could do about that, since we live surrounded by forests and the deer were here first and quite frankly, I’m a huge scaredy cat and know in depths of my yellow-bellied toes that I’m incapable of taking on a deer (or even a rabbit) who wants to eat my apple tree(s).
Then, while happily and gratefully stripping a neighbours trees of their delicious pears last autumn, I happened to mention the unprovoked attack to him (we have a handful of neighbours within a ten minute walk), and found out that our local mob of deer had been similarly beastly to his trees and that he resolved the issue by using deer repellant spray that he had purchased from Canadian Tire. Great! I thought to myself. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. I’ll buy the spray, I’ll use the spray and the deer will be so disgusted that they’ll just pass right on by our trees without another thought and I’ll be, wait for it, a HERO!
And that’s almost exactly what happened. Or at least, I bought the spray and waited for the weather to cooperate and become warm enough for the trees to start waking up. A few Saturdays ago it was a beautiful, warm, clear spring day and that is why I made the dreadful mistake of thinking that nice weather meant that I could safely leave my lovely inside world and venture into the outside. If you know me at all, you may be able to see how my mistakes have already begun to compound, right?
Well, delusional me, with valiant thoughts of heroism and protecting our little apple trees, grabbed the spray (that Canadian Tire had, strangely I thought, put inside a plastic bag and then tied the bag tightly closed) and headed down the driveway towards the trees. On a mission, as it were. Then it hit me. Like a fart in church. Akin to a noxious combination of gallons of decaying cat urine with rotting roadkill, the smell was seeping from the still closed and sealed bottle. Oh, holy Hera, for someone who lives her life, often with the sole daily goal of not catching the scent anything disgusting, to say that this was unexpected and beyond distressing would be understating my alarm. I am a lot of things (slow, prone to falling down, awkward, to name a few) but I am not a quitter. I held my breath, hastily scanned the instructions on the bottle while staving off hypoxia, turned the little nozzle to ‘spray,’ checked the direction of the breeze and pulled the trigger.
Revolting would be doing the resulting stench a kindness. Occasionally, because Mother Nature can be a cruel mother, the breeze would decide to do a loop-de-loop and the spray would come straight back at me. I felt the mist land on my arms and brush my cheeks. I tried not to breath. I thanked God for aging my eyes enough so that I now wear glasses full-time, saving them from the vile droplets that I was sure would burn my retinas. My next thoughts were to curse myself for already having showered that morning and then I felt sad at the realization that I was likely going to have to burn my favourite overall shorts because there was no way that this particular parfum du sack of decaying warthogs would ever come out of the fabric. I may have let out a little shriek, but more likely it was a string of expletives that I’m still not sure that I know the meaning of, all colourfully expressed as I ducked and dodged the spray-back, determined to get the job done, dignity be damned.
And done, I got it. The apple trees finally done, my conscience kicked in and started flashing pictures of our sad little pear tree that lives alone in the backyard. I pictured it surrounded by hunger deer, all clamouring to chomp it’s delicate little limbs. I decided to head into the backyard to spray it, since that poor thing has been a sad specimen since the beginning and since I brought it here, I owe it a chance of survival. I took a deep breath, held it and sprayed the tree while still dancing about trying to avoid any contact with the vile spray and when I was done, despite my best efforts, that spray was the only thing that I could smell and taste.
I tossed the spray bottle into the bike shed (it was closer than the garden shed), went into the kitchen and washed my hands and arms with soap. I scrubbed them with the dishcloth, and somehow convinced myself that I could get away without taking a second shower and burning my clothes. I prefer to think of my self as hopeFUL, rather than hopeLESS, thankyouverymuch.
I’m not sure how long the smell is noticeable to humans, but when two of my children came home from the park, they asked why our driveway smelled “so bad” and why I was twitching and shaking my head so much. I could not get the smell out of my nose. At this point, I was fairly certain that I had killed my sense of smell and that nothing would ever taste or smell the same again. Which, in hindsight, living as I do with five males, could this “loss” be a blessing in disguise? I am fastidious about reading labels for just about everything I purchase and bring into our home and yet I still don’t have a clue what the active ingredients are or what is in that demonic spray that is guaranteed to work as a repellant against deer and rabbit foliage attacks. I simply cannot bring myself to touch the bottle again, not even to check the brand name in order to look it up online. While I’m not proud, I do own my inadequacies.
So, now, I wait and see. If a single deer touches any of those apple trees, it was all for nought and I’ll have to seriously re-evaluate just how attached I am to the idea of growing our own fruit. Conversely, if the apple trees are allowed to grow unmolested, I suppose I will need to consider the experience worth it, even if we only net a single apple. That said, for the next application I’ll be sending one of these kids out there to deal with it. Oh, stop it. First, I’ll give him safety glasses, gloves, and a barf bag, of course. I’m not a complete monster.
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Generally, I am in constant (non-aerobic, because I’m mostly a sloth) motion and do “stuff” from the time that I rise in the morning until the moment I burrow back into bed at night. It has recently started to bother me just how much more there is always left to do at the end of the day, and then this thing happened (more on that below) and it occurred to me that I may have discovered one of the reasons why I spend so much time doing many things but am never actually done.
One day last week, I had this whole super-snazzy Instagram post typed up and (almost) ready to go, when one of my kids asked to use my phone for some school-related task. Although I should have known better, and in fact, I do know better, I handed over the phone without first copying my post into a Note, and saving it for later. I don’t suppose I need to tell you what happened, but I will anyway (since that’s pretty much what I do around here). As it happened, upon the return of my phone, when I double-clicked the Home button to pull up IG again, yes, you guessed it, IG acted like it was our first time seeing each other that day. UGH. Double Ugh. Ghosted by my own phone. So typical.
That one act of parental selflessness, as a result of a single moment of (play-acting at) adult responsibility, all of my witty musings, my twenty minutes of tapping away on my phone, and what was likely destined to be my IG equivalent of my pièce de résistance, was forever lost. For what was this sacrifice made, you ask? Well my friends, not surprisingly I’m sure, it was for not less than the eleventy-billionth picture of our cat, Lucky, refusing to look at the camera or pose nicely, or do anything remotely cooperative. So yes, I suppose the (absolutely imagined and fictional) loss suffered by the literary and social media worlds is nothing when compared to glory that is this picture of our grumpy cat in the snow:
I am left wondering, however, for which class my eleventh grader needed a current photograph of our cat, and for what purpose? I mean, has the eleventh grade changed that much since I was in high school? Oh wait, yes, yes, it totally has. We didn’t have cell phones, smart phones, the internet or virtual learning. If we wanted to show off pictures of our pets, we had to actually carry printed photographs around with us, and well, frankly, I’m pretty sure any kids who did that were immediately decimated and jammed inside a locker for the rest of the day. Or maybe I just went to a particularly intolerant high school and I was part of the problem? Ugh (although, and for the record, I never stuffed anyone in a locker, nor ordered anyone else to do it on my behalf, so there is that, right?).
Thus, in my typical wordy fashion, a short story made way-too-long, I’m almost certain that the reason that I spend so much time getting so few things done is that I’m basically crap at adulting. And I have also need to work on my feelings of gratitude for having such a prize cat instead of slagging her off for being grumpy (I mean, look at her role model, right?). And also, I’m pretty sure that I have now completely lost my previous (crazy) train of thought, and cannot re-create my lost post. But take me at my word, it was going to be pure magic. Sigh.
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Yesterday afternoon, while two of my smalls (who are all more in the medium-large range, if I’m being honest) worked on their school work and the other two wondered around aimlessly looking for something to do, I finally finished and posted a new blog post. It only took two-and-a-half weeks, and won’t win me any awards but hey, I got it done, right? As I sat back in my chair, I turned to look out my office window, which faces our driveway and the road beyond just in time to see a huge eighteen-wheeler rumble past our house. Hmmm. That’s strange. We never have vehicles that big on our street.
Not two minutes later, one of my kids after another filed into my office. “Power’s out” each said with increasing urgency. It suddenly made sense why the site I was trying to access moments before was still loading. No hydro = no internet. Living up here and not on town services, also means that no hydro = no water. Incidentally, yesterday was the hottest day of the year thus far, coming in at around 31C and humid. Good times. Sigh.
We headed outside to see what might have happened. This is what we saw.
A neighbour was on the cross street and yelled over that an 18-wheeler hit the hydro post. Wonderful. It did not escape my notice that the truck broke the hydro pole clean in half and also that a) was no longer at the scene of the destruction and b) that it broke the same hydro pole that has been broken or knocked over no fewer than three times in the past four years, including this past winter when a snow plow took it out after the first snow of the season. Argh.
Police and HydroOne were called. The intersection was closed off and around six hours later, we had power again, and eleven hours later, our internet was restored. Needless to say, it was a long, crummy afternoon and evening.
Once the power was back on, I finished making dinner (had been using the oven) and set it aside for tonight’s dinner. I did not allow myself a moment of mum-guilt as I fed the children chips and salsa, sardines (they love those), grapes, crackers and cereal for dinner. Not one. single. moment.
As it turns out, our midnight internet fix was temporary, as just moments before lunch today, the internet and wifi died again as Rogers does the ‘real life’ repair on the line. On the upside though, we did get to keep our hydro though, so it only bites a little bit.
Oh, and it’s only Wednesday. Oh boy.
P.S. Just as I finished this post, our internet connection was restored once again. Only a two hour outage today. Progress!
P.P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it. xx
Share the post "Just when I think I’m about to really get stuff done and blaze a new path, something like this happens. Every time."
When I started writing this post, I was almost a week late with it. I am now over two weeks late and barreling towards three weeks late with it. Apparently my time management skills hit the skids when I’m surrounded by six other people, 24/7 who all need something from me. Go figure. That said, I am eternally grateful that those six people are here at home with me, where I know they are safe (from the outside world that is, from me, not so much). Meh.
That said, now that I’m over two weeks late with this, I will offer, in my defence, that I have succeeded in other ways these past two weeks. For example, I have only suffered from five self-inflicted kitchen injuries (with more cussing than actual blood being shed); I have showered EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.; I have prepared meals for seven people daily, without skipping any and done so three times each and every day while also providing the occasional (read: constant) snacks; I have only tripped over the cat ONCE; and finally (and I am most proud of this one) I successfully navigated the weekly grocery shopping TWICE without snapping at or stabbing a single other shopper for encroaching on “my bubble” or for being just generally wretched and oblivious.
So, now that I’ve bragged (read: justified) about me, let me brag about #MyFive. These are pictures of the Mother’s Day gifts each of them made for me this year. All designed, handcrafted, and worked on so enthusiastically and happily. They were each so excited for Mother’s Day this year that it was both touching and a little suspicious. But, my suspicious nature was wrong and they weren’t setting me up for a big confession or repair bill. ?
While I still have a trunk full of kindergartener macaroni art, tin can vases and recycling-material based crafts that I cherish (even if I can no longer identify the artist or the subject) I have to admit that with this years gifts I won the Mother’s Day lottery. ?
2020 has been a weird year so far. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions have been celebrated “under quarantine” which is something completely new for most of us, but it’s still important to celebrate these times and milestones. I have now celebrated 26 Mother’s Days as a mother, and I think that this was the first one that my kids were SUPER excited for the day, which made my day that much more special. Since Mother’s Day, we have also celebrated our wedding anniversary and Miss Moon’s 10th (!!) birthday, quarantine-style. In all honesty I think both occasions were so much more enjoyable spent at home and not feeling the pressure to find a restaurant and piling everyone into the car to spend too much money on sub-par food.
Of course, this is only Day 74 for us. Check back when we’re closing in on Day 100, lol!
P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it. xx
Share the post "A day late and a dollar short, but I’m still here."
As many people know, I have been drinking diet pop for as long as I can remember. For the past fifteen years, I have seldom been seen without a 710 ml bottle of Diet Pepsi in my hand, drink holder or purse. I have very early memories of cases of pink TAB soda cans in our kitchen. After that, Mum switched us both over to Diet Coke and then, well, diet anything. Then, as a teenager I had a friend who only drank Diet Pepsi and was so positively scornful of any other brand, that hanging out with him 24/7 started me on a long, sometimes expensive relationship with Diet Pepsi.
I wish I could say that I suffered all sorts of side effects from diet soda, but I can’t. I’ve always been (relatively) healthy, and over the past year lost enough weight (mostly by accident) that I am finally, and for the first time in over a decade, at what is considered to be a “healthy” weight and BMI and not considered to be overweight or obese.
I am aware of the opinions, studies and concerns that have been shared about diet soda, aspartame, caffeine, bubbles, the colour brown, etc. etc. Honestly, I’ve heard them all and I wish that I could say that any one of those things caused me to question my dedication to Diet Pepsi, but alas, no. What caused me to finally look critically at my choice to continue my decades long habit was when I realized that I was feeling what I can only describe as panicky any week that Shoppers Drug Mart was not offering their weekend deal on the six-pack of Diet Pepsi bottles (because I would NEVER pay full price – for shame!). Being stubborn, independent and headstrong I resent being dependant on anything, I was also unhappy spending money on something so completely unnecessary for health or happiness. Thus, I knew the time had come to end my relationship with diet soda.
My first step was to tell Mr. KB that I wanted to stop drinking diet soda, and so I would stop buying “my kind” but that if he wanted to keep drinking it, I would continue to buy his, of course. He has never really liked the idea of drinking diet pop anyway, but I suppose when it is the only “adult” drink in the house he naturally fell into drinking it as well. He quickly agreed that he also wanted to stop and that we’d do it together. I would likely switch to various herbal teas and he to water. And that’s when things start getting spicy around here.
We are not on town services. This means that our house is serviced by a drilled well and a septic system. We have a water treatment system in our cold room, that includes a softer and UV light. Our water is safe, plentiful, lovely and we never have to pay a water bill (thankfully so since these ever-increasing bills seem to cause many Georgina households a huge amount of stress every three months). But occasionally, and especially in the spring, we can get a slight sulfur odour in our water and while perfectly safe to drink, is off-putting if you’re trying to drink a glass of water straight from the tap.
So our discussions commence. Option A: Do we buy yet another Brita filter and keep it filled in the fridge? This sounds economical and reasonable, I know. Unfortunately though, for some reason, I HATE having to fill the jug. I can’t stand waiting for the water to filter through, then add more water, make sure the jug is full, on top of having to make sure to create and maintain space in the fridge for this awkward pitcher. I just find it so annoying for some reason. Embarrassed to admit that this quasi-irrational reaction of mine may be there reason that we have purchased and ended up donating quite a few Brita systems over the years. I mean, I really do like the idea of the Brita filter, but the reality of having one never works out. Or, option B: Do we install the under-the-sink water kitchen filter we bought a few years back and use it for all of our cold water needs, including cooking? Since we already own the under-the-sink unit (and it came with a filter) and the specs for the one we chose still fit our needs, I was quick to vote for the kitchen sink thingy.
Mr. KB agreed and over the weekend he spent time gathering the bits and pieces needed to install the filter. It leaked. Not at the fittings, but right out the top. Mr. KB is very clever and handy and fixy and nothing he tried was worked to stop the leaking. So, since we need water from the kitchen faucet all of the time, he un-installed it and we weighed our options.
Do we: a) Keep trying to fix this unit? b) Contact the manufacturer and hope that it’s an easy fix (since we bought the unit YEARS ago, there is no way to return it or deal with a warranty claim); c) Chuck it and buy a new one? or d) Just buy the dreaded Brita?
We went back and forth for a bit, but finally decided to go with option (b) as our first plan and agreed to regroup if that failed.
The filter system we purchased was manufactured in Canada, in Richmond Hill to be precise, and that is located less than an hour from our home. I called them up and the woman walked me through the possible issues. She also said that if I wanted to, I could just bring it in and they would replace the itty-bitty spring-loaded o-ring on the bleeder valve, which is what she suspected the problem may be.
My ears (and spirits) perked up. Bring it in, you say? For free? And you’ll fix it for me? Yes, please!
A few days later, I made the trip down Highway 404 to Richmond Hill, filter housing in secured in the seat beside me and within twenty minutes of handing it to the secretary, it had been water-tested and had the o-ring changed out and brought back to me along with a new, free filter! How do you win customer loyalty for life from me? Give me quick service and some free swag and baby, I’m yours. Rainfresh, it turns out, totally had my number.
P.S. Please! Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, but occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it all. xx
In this day and age, it is rare that I see any of the spam emails that come through my Inbox. These new finagled Junk Mail filters have greatly improved since the early years of email (remember those days of dial-up and seemingly endless waiting for downloads? Sigh), when each email had to be sifted through in order to figure out which were from people I knew, people I wanted to know, people I didn’t want to know / or was hiding from and which emails were from people I should seriously consider obtaining restraining orders from. Ah, the 90’s. Bless.
But those days are a long, distant memory now. I almost never think of email spam, since I never see it and only notice the Junk Mail folder when the numbers creep so high that I feel obligated to right click and hit ‘delete all’. Until, that is, yesterday.
Glorious, wonderful, yesterday. The second day of the second decade of my second witnessed millennia, January 2, 2020. It was on this day that this marvelous beauty nugget of prose arrived and landed squarely in my Inbox, addressed, as it was, to my first initial and my maiden name, I was instantly hooked. So impressed was I, that I decided to share it here. With you. Because I’m a giver and this here, this is a gift.
It would appear that this email was sent to me in error. Poor woman. She is far too young for me. And I am decidedly female. And I am married (to a man). And I do not live in Toronto and avoid visiting there if at all possible. And, well, truth be known, I’m just not that into her. *shrug*
In case anyone reading this is (or knows someone who may be) interested in following up with this stable, clearly sincere and trustworthy person on her/their offer of love (even though she/they is/are trite), mutual communication and more than likely a solid financial and emotional fleecing and is currently (or will soon be) in possession of “a real man’s characteristics” ( and just as an aside, I wantneed further details as to what these characteristics are, just in case I do have any), this gorgeous mood-lifting email was sent from (spelled out so as to not create a riot or a clickable link) gregorxharriettee at outlook dot com.
If any of ya’ll give it a whirl, please share the update with me and the rest of us? I love a good happy ending as much as the next girl…
Have you gotten any note-worthy unsolicited emails lately? Ones that aren’t telling you that you’re about to get $26 million dollars from a bank in Nigeria (as soon as you send them a few thousand dollars for paperwork) or to “click here” to enhance your manhood/bank account/secure your account? I wanna know!
P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
Share the post "Perhaps my most favourite spam email of all time has arrived."