How Not To Be A Terrible Parent

January 21, 2014 | Posted in Childhood, cooking, Education, Family, Health, humor, MamaPop, Parenting, School, Writing | By

Raising Happy Kids

Parenting is hard, and as I am finding out fifteen years in, it only gets harder the longer you do it. If you’re the parent of a newborn baby, may I first say “Congratulations!” But then this:  I am sorry to tell you that the days of being up all night for feedings and rocking will soon seem like a day at Super-Duper Supremeo Fun World Extravaganza Good Time Park compared to teenager problems. I’ll give it to you straight – you will love that baby always, but you won’t always like them. But that’s parenting – and why these tips may be useful – because doing the right thing for someone you may not even like is good form when you have kids. So hahaha, sucker;  it’s not about you anymore, and it will almost never be 100% about you ever again.

I make no claims to be an expert in the parenting field, and although my children are good, responsible people, I cannot take all the credit for this. There is something to be said for nature/nurture, and sometimes nature wins. I’ve spent 98.3% of my time thinking about my kids in one way or another since I found out they were coming, because they permeate every decision I make in some way. I’ve made mistakes; some big ones. I’ve even made “Walmart-underwear-aisle-blow-out-screaming-match-hope-the-video-camera-didn’t-catch-that” ones, but I’m also bold enough to say I’ve done what I think is a fairly good job ensuring my kids won’t be communicating with loved ones through a phone attached to safety glass any time soon. There are other”rules” too – like allowing time for active play, showing an interest in their schooling, and others, but the suggestions here are my basic, beginner-level ones, because if there’s anything I do exceptionally well, it’s meeting bare minimum standards.

Throw Them A Goddamn Birthday Party, You Lazy Ass

Kids deserve to be honored for one day a year. I don’t care if you hate all kids besides your own, chances are your child doesn’t. So haul your ass down to the bakery or mix some sugar and eggs together and make sure there’s a cake. WITH ICING. Hang some streamers, get yourself some ear plugs and go forth to Chuck E. Cheese or a bowling alley for two hours. Two hours. You can’t do that? You make me sick. If nothing else, it’ll be good blog fodder.

Teach Them To Cook So They’re Not Doomed To Life In A Take-Out Jungle

Knowing all the fast-food window staff by name isn’t cute at age 3, and it’s not any cuter at 40. You don’t need to enroll at Cordon Bleu or take a class at the local rec center, either. Open a cookbook. Watch the Food Network. Just make sure that by the time your bird leaves the nest they know a lime reamer isn’t for “adult play” and that a garlic press does more than make awesome Play-Doh hair. A couple of basic dishes will do it: a roast chicken, a pasta dish, eggs any way, and something on the grill. Bonus points for a traditional  native dish. Keep your culture alive, ya jerk.

Put Them To Bed Early. Like “Yesterday” Early

Children today are chronically sleep-deprived. Tired kids are cranky and irritable and not much fun to be around, so fix it. Take whatever time you think your child should be going to bed, and then knock it back a half hour or more. Sure, we all have good intentions of 8:30 bedtimes, but once you factor in teeth brushing, the seventh glass of water and all the existential questions sleepy kids ask, you’re looking at 10pm, minimum. Because kids aren’t stupid. They’re trying to wear you down so they can stay up later. They think all sorts of fun shit is going on after they’re in bed. It’s balloon animals and cotton candy spinning clowns as far as they’re concerned. They have no idea we’re just watching Big Rich Texas and dodging sexual promises we made earlier in ill-conceived “If you do the dishes, I’ll…” schemes. Pro-tip: Change the clocks. Knock ‘em back a half hour, and then make it a “no media” night. Then you can say, “Would you just LOOK  at the time!” and not be the bad guy. I do this all the time. My kids think today is October 17, 1976 – I’m that good at it.

Make Sure They’re Disappointed (This Won’t Be Hard)

Don’t fix everything for your kids. They need to handle some bad stuff if they’re going to develop coping skills. Let them feel disappointment and responsibility occasionally. You’re going to have to try very hard to not crumble yourself when this happens, because they’re going to cry and it will be tough. It’s hard to watch guilt tears because they are the very worst kind of all the tears your child will shed. My only tip to you here is make sure your bedroom has a box of tissues. Also, vodka.

Let Them Believe In Stupid Stuff Even If Hipster Friends Taunt You

Let them have fantasies and magic in their life, even if you think the things are stupid or pointless, like the Tooth Fairy or a poster of fluffy kittens in a basket. “Real life” is waiting on the other side of your front door, and it’s going to chew your kids up and spit them out. Then Life will use its own dental bridge to pick its last remaining rotten tooth – because Real Life is a fucking asshole. 

Keep Your House Clean aka Don’t Be Disgusting

I’m not saying you can’t raise lovely, well-rounded, confident children in a disgusting dirty house. Wait; I am. It’s pretty simple actually. Your house need not be pristine, or “Go ahead and lick the doorknobs” sterile, just pick up your shit and maybe don’t make them pee into plastic bags because they can’t get into the bathroom what for the dog hair collection you’re saving in there for “sentimental” reasons. No one wants a slovenly partner in life and if you’re setting the bar somewhere between “Hobo shanty town” and “Tonight on a very special episode of Hoarders,” you’re not doing your kids any favors. Respect.

Make Them Spend Time Alone, But Maybe Not In A Locked Closet

I don’t suggest locking them in a closet under the stairs, but make sure your kids spend some downtime by themselves. If you never let your kids be alone or with their friends without you, you are in for a huge nightmare when you’re just trying to get some work don…Get, out! I’m writing an essay, can’t yo…Sorry, where was I? Oh, right. Time alone. Yes, you need to mak…I SAID ASK YOUR SISTER! Sorry. If you don’t let your kid get use…Oh, for Christ’s sake! I’ll be back in a minute.

Show Them Someone Cares About Their Health Before It’s Too Late

I don’t care if you’re into natural remedies, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, or witch doctors. Maybe you prefer every modern interventionist technique available, whatever. Just take your kids to a health professional regularly. Get their teeth cleaned. Have a garage sale for a braces fund if they need the tracks. Go to the eye doctor, so they can see properly. Make your kid’s health a priority because no one else will ever care as much about them as you do, and if you don’t care, they’re fucked right out of the gate. Feed them the best food you can reasonably afford, prepare it the best way time will allow, and sit down to eat together as often as possible. Look, I’m realistic. My son once ate directly out of the crock pot while we we’re in the car. Life is busy, and health care is expensive, and taking kids to get dental fillings is horrible, but you do it anyway because you’re not an asshole, right?

 

So there you have it. Follow these suggestions as closely as you are able and at the very least you will raise caring, functional members of society who both seek and offer moments of joy to others. Maybe. Sometimes. Or not. Because that’s the thing about parenting – just when you think you’re doing everything right, -everything the way you’ve been told to and maybe even read a book or two with a friendly looking lady in a doctor’s coat on the cover – even then your kid will come to you and ask for money for a Creed concert.

 

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Man Down

October 1, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Health, humor, Irritation Level: High, Parenting, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

Box of tissuesOur home is occasionally taken over in the fall and winter by cold and flu viruses. It’s the cold variety here right now, but luckily it’s nothing serious except that it’s me and I’m not bragging, but I kinda run this place single-handedly. But getting sick is what happens when you have kids who go to school, participate in group activities, and play games like “Who Can Lick the Most Doorknobs?”

My fingers are crossed, and so far I’m the only one down with this thing. While I’m lying in bed, surrounded by damp mountains of tissues and empty pill bottles, the kids are as full of youthful energy as ever. At least, I think they are. I haven’t actually seen them for more than just a second or two in the last three days.

When I get sick my kids avoid me like I’ve got my daybook out and the dentist on the line. It’s not so much that they don’t want to catch the bug themselves, but more  that they are completely incapable of showing empathy when it comes to their mother. When I broke my nose playing baseball last year, one of my children requested my still-being-used-bloody towel – to wipe their shoes on.

 

I’m invisible when I’m not completely healthy, and I have several theories about this. I’m pretty sure it comes down to being afraid of my sudden “fragility,” and them not liking the sudden upset in the household’s balance of power. When I’m not able to function at my usual 65% percent, they hold all the cards and they know it.

But they’re not sociopaths who are incapable of emotion or empathy. I’ve witnessed “Get Better Soon” card making marathons, and one year my daughter gave a huge portion of her Halloween candy to a sick classmate who was unable to go trick or treating. I’ve even dialed the telephone so one of my small children could make a condolence call to a friend whose gerbil had died.

 

But when mom gets a fever and a cough?

Tumbleweeds, friends. TUMBLEWEEDS.

When my kids are sick, I try to make their convalescence period as comfortable as possible. I serve the perfect room-temperature ginger ale – fizz removed -  and the couch is laid daily with the softest lavender-scented sheets. Cool compresses are changed and refreshed like clockwork. I make sure the television clicker is close at hand and I am available for foot rubs upon request. All I can say about these two is that I am impressed with their ability to launch a Kleenex box from 15 feet away via drop kick. It’s a good thing I’m on the mend, and that I don’t get sick too often, because I am definitely not getting any soup delivered soon. That sort of treatment is reserved for sick friends and dead gerbils.

Other Places Where I Was Welcome This Month:

At MamaPop.com I wrote about The Duggars and dating practices, because that’s always a rational conversation.

At iVillage.ca I wrote about how talking to kids is great, but doesn’t always guarantee they’ll do what as we taught.

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I almost stepped on your Gramma

August 29, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Education, Family, Health, humor, I'm a horrible person, Procrastination tactic, Weekly Round-up, Writing | By

This is the post where I should be telling you that the kid’s school uniforms have been pressed and hemmed, the lunch bags purchased and the pencils sharpened, and that all we’re doing now is waiting for the school bus to arrive. All of those things will be missing from this post. Instead, I have a two month’s worth pile of laundry to wash and dry and the kid’s uniforms are in a series of plastic bags scattered throughout the house, purchased as each piece became available. It’s the first year with uniforms at my son’s school, and to say it’s been a bit of a challenge is like saying something something hyperbole something something punchline.

I’m tired. Working from home with two kids underfoot did not go as planned, and the fact that I thought it would work out fine is proof that I am not a complete pessimist. I am now left with a backlog of writing to complete and uniforms to alter and there are several cucumber-sized centipedes occupying my laundry room which make going in there impossible. Yesterday my daughter found a centipede in a box where she keeps extra shoes. It was so large its heartbeat was audible. She pointed to the creature and we knew what had to be done. We burned the house down.

The summer has flown by and I’m realizing just how few summers I have left to spend time with my kids while they’re young. WAIT! I know my blog has been a bit somber lately with all the talk of “kids keep getting older and so do we haha we’re all gonna die one day and everything will be pointless,” but I can’t help it. Ever since I turned 40 mortality is something I’ve thought about almost constantly. When my daughter was young she wouldn’t leave my side and I used to long for time apart, even just an hour to catch my breath. Now she is 14 and her brain has convinced her that she knows everything and I am a withered husk of a woman who’s only purpose of providing her earthly body with a vessel has long expired. See? I can do funny still!

This long weekend coming up will be my time to get some things done around here; things like making lists, pondering said lists, sitting on the couch frozen with fear from the overwhelming amount of work on a now towering stack of lists, and maybe some naps due to “list-fatigue.”

Here’s something that happened recently that had a happy ending: The other day I took the garbage and recycling bins out for curbside pick-up. On the way back up the driveway I almost stepped on a tiny bird. He didn’t move when my foot came down and really it was just blind luck I didn’t step on him. I lay down on the driveway to get a better look. His wings didn’t seem broken and he turned his head to look at me when I moved. I was worried about him, this tiny bird I could have put on the palm of my hand twice over, because we have cats in the neighbourhood and they’re real assholes. I tweeted the Audubon Society because I was especially worried this bird was my Gramma. She hadn’t been feeling well the day before, and she told me she’ll visit me as a bird when she goes. I specifically asked her to do that, saying that if she came to visit it me after death and stood at my bedside tapping my shoulder I would be scared and probably punch her spirit in right the stomach. So a bird it is. The nice folks at the Audubon twitter account assured me that no, this tiny bird was a black and white warbler, but seeing as they had no knowledge of my Gramma’s appearance in the supposed afterlife, I may want to call her to be certain. I got the bird a small dish of water to drink while I confirmed my Gramma was still alive, and when I returned, it had gone. So, while it may have flown away or been eaten by a feral alley-cat, my Gramma was still alive and I now know what a black and white warbler looks like. Although I guess this bird could just have well been your Gramma or your Uncle or your old neighbour, or anyone really. If it was, please know I tried to give it water, and you can blame the cats. So hey; happy endings all around! Except the possibly mangled bird part, but blahblahblah nature’s course and all that.

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My Gramma, still not a bird.

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The bird; probably dead now.

So, with that crisis averted (at least for now), I was able to return inside to survey my growing list of to-do-tasks, a list which grows proportionally with my end of summer ennui.

Here are some other things I wrote in other places this month:

I Like “Em Dirty: In Praise of Blue Collar Men

Miley Cyrus Is Many Things, But Whore Isn’t One Of Them (And So What If She Was)

There’s A New “One Direction” Documentary, But Hold Your Tongue Thirty-Somethings

I will be back in a few days with requisite “Back to School” pictures of the kids, along with “Where does the time go?” cliches and many sad-face emoticons.*

*No I won’t; no one wants to see that shit.

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Winner Winner Chicken Ball Dinner

May 8, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Food, Health, humor, Jiu Jitsu, Parenting, Writing | By

20130508-102031.jpg

Last month I talked about my eight year old son being in his first grappling tournament. He did really well, with one round going into multiple overtimes because he would just not go down. It was awesome and if I hadn’t said some fairly questionable stuff in the throes of excitement, I’d post the video. Ultimately he came in third, and as you can see in the picture above, he’s positively thrilled with the outcome.

One of his rounds went eight whole minutes of constant grappling. That’s a long time to do anything physical and if you don’t think so then you weren’t on my honeymoon.

Last month I also talked about me starting the Insanity workout series. “Oh! How’s that going?”you may be wondering. Please refer to my Craigslist posting under Barely Viewed Exercise DVD’s (some tear staining) for updates to that project.

But keeping in mind that my son was able to work at something so hard that he looked like this…

20130508-102903.jpg

…made me think that maybe I should do something equally as challenging myself. A friend suggested we do a 5k together. This “friend” runs regularly. I run to catch the garbage truck or when someone is chasing me. I am not a runner. I don’t wear or own any article of clothing labelled “Active Performance,” nor do I want to. I like my outfits somewhere more towards cozy and with the ability to hide nacho stains.

With the promise of treats at the finish line, I hesitantly agreed and downloaded the Couch to 5k Running App on my phone. So far I can run for a full three minutes which you may think doesn’t sound like much until you realized that on day one, I literally barfed into a stranger’s recycling bin. That was after 60 seconds of continual running. The thought of any amount more than that was as unfathomable as one day being able to afford my student loan.

So I’m up to three minutes. Go me, right? Nope. I don’t allow myself praise unless it comes in the form of something with cheese melted on it, so I’ll reserve that for the finish line.

Am I enjoying it? Does the pope wear a hat? Oh wait. The Pope does wear a hat. So how about I just tell you HELL NO I DON’T LIKE IT. I hate every single minute of it so far, but it’s good exercise and it’s only half an hour three times a week and maybe it’ll grow on me. But I doubt it. Also, runners, when will I stop crying? I swear I cry every single time I run. Is this a runner thing? Because I can’t get on board with the whole “show emotion” part.

As for my son, all he wanted after his grappling tournament was a fancy beverage and some Chinese buffet. He may be a lean, mean, grappling machine, but he’s not so tough he can’t enjoy a good “Shirley Temple” mocktail with an umbrella and citrus twist. He may also be a 70 year old Boca Vista retiree.

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Sports bras and Insanity. They are related.

April 8, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Health, humor, I'm a horrible person, Irritation Level: High, Parenting, Writing | By

It was exercise day today and I’m laying on my bed right now. It’s after 6, and I should be making dinner, but the fact of the matter is that I can’t move any of my legs. (I think I have two. But I’m not sure, because I can’t feel anything below my chest.)

My chest was spared from injury because my 14 year-old daughter helped me tape my boobs together. I believe that if you are going to do something, do it right and enlist help from those legally obligated to love you regardless.

I’ve watched all the stupid Insanity DVDs in this set and no where is there a woman with a chest bigger than the one I had in grade five. I know muscle takes place of some fatty tissue, but what about the “before” part? Million dollar sports bras are an option but my children have grown accustomed to the taste of red meat and I hate to take that away from them just so I can do something called a “Suicide Jump” without giving myself a concussion.

I am a sexy beast, no?

And so day three of Insanity is over, although to be fair it ended sooner than anticipated when my son found me curled up sobbing on the basement floor with my breasts bound with blue duct tape, so you know, any given Monday.

I wrote some other stuff this week, over at The Huffington Post and at MamaPop.com, all of which is substantially more inspiring.*

* It will not inspire you at all.

Maybe you’ll like this picture of my son trapped under an anvil instead:

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He knows my pain.

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Insanity Workout Update, Day Two: There will be no Insanity Workout Day Two

April 6, 2013 | Posted in Family, Health, humor, I'm a horrible person, Writing | By

Insanity Beach Body Workout

Someone bought me the Insanity (Beach Body) DVD workout set. I’m not sure why I need a “Beach Body.” I live in Canada and beaches aren’t places I’m likely to stumble over on my way to buy winter tires and kindling. You need to make a concerted effort to get to a beach from where I live, and they’re only warm enough to swim in from 2:30 – 4:00 pm on July 26th of any given year. That’s a lot of bother to spend an hour drinking strangers urine and dodging floating band-aids. A “Sit on the Couch and Watch TV Body Workout” I could get behind, but “Beach Body?” No. If Someone really knew me, Someone would understand I don’t have time for “Elite Nutrition” guides which do not contain brownie recipes.

This particular gift from Someone surprised me because Someone is usually perceptive about general gift-giving rules, which clearly state:

  • No creams or lotions which claim to “fade age spots,” “lighten facial hair,” “improve the appearance of wrinkles,” or “lessen the signs of aging.”
  • No appliances – small or large – without express written consent from recipient. (Exceptions may be applicable in cases of ice cream makers or deep fryers.)
  • No diet or workout propaganda, apparatus, or equipment.

Someone said he was going to participate in the torture contained within Insanity’s slender volume of DVDs, but Someone had to go to the beer store after work and then Someone was too tired to do anything but open said beer. Then Someone thought it would be funny to drop things and watch me try to pick them up as the Insanity Fit Test DVD had left me in a state of near paralysis.

Exactly how safe is it to take a paralyzed individual to a beach?

Someone hasn’t been putting a whole lot of thought into his gifts lately.

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Choking on her dust

January 17, 2013 | Posted in Childhood, Education, Family, Health, humor, Parenting, School, Writing | By

car burnout, burn rubber, eat my dust

My daughter starts high school next September. Her grade eight teacher tells me she should be placed in the Advanced Program at high school – that my daughter is a hard worker, a fast learner, and that she retains information.

I hope they offer “Emptying the Dishwasher 101,” and “General Laundry Folding Techniques” next semester.

She does indeed have excellent study habits, and refuses to miss school  for almost any reason. I say this not to brag, but in the same way that I would tell you my son once buried our compost bin in 3 feet of mud and that I am 39 years old and need compression stockings and blood pressure medication– because it’s true.

Last night her future high school hosted an orientation for grade eight students and their parents. Bubbly high school seniors in black polo shirts with popped collars gave the kids warm cookies and a tour of the school while telling them what to expect in terms of uniforms, dances and clubs, and delicious hot cafeteria lunches. They told them all about study abroad possibilities and travel opportunities and how they could earn credits by building schools in the Dominion Republic!

At the same time, parents were corralled into the freezing audigymnateria where school officials in suits and ties told us how much we had to pay for uniforms, how much we had to pay for dances and clubs and lunches, and also how to begin the organ donation process so that we could afford to have our kids build schools in the Dominion Republic.

When the parent presentation was over, the parents of these intelligent, quick-learning studious children in the Advancement Placement program were invited to another room for further discussion.

I was almost late getting there, to that Advanced Placement meeting.

My finger was stuck in my purse zipper.

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Stubble Trouble

December 6, 2012 | Posted in Beauty, Health, humor, Irritation Level: High, Writing | By

Ladies-Facial-Hair

Normally today I’d put up a “Tip Thursday” post, but there’s been a  bit of drama around here and I can’t stop thinking about the problem at hand. Or rather, the problem at face.

This morning I found a hair on my cheek. Rather, IN my cheek.

A freaking cheek hair.

A cheek hair.

A HAIR.

IN MY CHEEK.

I’ll take “Two words that shouldn’t ever go together when referring to women,” Alex.

I know that everyone has a little fuzz on their faces, and that there are bigger problems in the world to spend time discussing. I understand that children go to bed hungry, and blahblahblah I DON’T GIVE A SHIT I’VE GOT HAIR ON MAI FACE.

I am neither a man nor a beast, so why is this happening to me?

I spotted the hair this morning and brushed it away, thinking it was an errant lock from my head. Sadly, this was not the case. It was gray (because OF COURSE IT WAS) and it was glittery. It was at least 3 inches long, and I may save it to use as tinsel on the Christmas tree, if I stop crying in time to buy a tree.

How did it grow so long? Is it possible that it’s been there for many days, or weeks?  OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN THERE FOR MONTHS, HASN’T IT? It took three tries to pull it out and the root was long. It still hurts and there’s a bit of a hole marking the spot of the struggle.

Do I have a horrible disease wherein I start sprouting facial hair while the hair on my head thins and grays? Are my vital organs suffering at the hands of this nutrient-life-force-sucking cheek hair? Is this my “Welcome to 40, Biotch” warm-up? I’ve got 2 months left in 39 and I’d like to spend them facial-hair free, if possible.

I mean, I love a bearded man, so maybe my prayers were misinterpreted somehow?

Is this a precursor of what’s to come?  What can I expect next?

Give it to me straight, friends. I’ll be back to check in a few hours. Until then, I’ll be upstairs.

Shaving.

__________________________________________________________________________

Updated: Uh oh, you guys. It gets worse. Apparently, MUCH worse. Let my friend Sharon tell you:

The Product You Thought You’d Never Need

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Read this when your turkey coma sets in; that way you won’t remember and/or be disappointed

November 22, 2012 | Posted in Family, Health, humor, Parenting, Tip Thursday, Writing | By

Wild-turkey

Today is the American Thanksgiving, but here in Canada it’s just Thursday. It’s kind of special because my kids don’t have school tomorrow, but I do have to go for Parent/Teacher interviews. If past year’s interviews are to be used as my yardstick, I expect to hear a lot of this: “Keep on keepin’ on.”

My kids are excellent students, and know how to fly under the radar. That’s not bragging; it’s disbelief. They’re smart – don’t get me wrong about that – it’s more that I can’t believe they didn’t fall into the genetic trap my family lays down for its members: make them smart, give them a good (albeit twisted) sense of humour, and then put them in a room with a captive audience. Oh, and make sure they have a zero bullshit tolerance and maybe have them over think everythingsinglethingever. Result: We usually quit (or are asked to leave) by high school.

But so far, so good.

Anyway, I’m not well this week (fluish something) and while I am on the mend, I have no energy for a Tip Thursday other than this:

Tips For Not Getting Sick this Cold and Flu Season:

  1. Take your vitamins.
  2. Avoid excessive sugar.
  3. Don’t lick doorknobs.

That should do it.

So just like the big TV networks on a holiday, here’s a re-run for you. If you’re celebrating today, have a great Thanksgiving. And please; if you’re shopping tomorrow on something called “Black Friday,” don’t get trampled. “She Died Saving $7 on a Bagel Toaster” is not something you want on your tombstone.

Cheese Club

(originally run on December 16, 2010)

According to my Advil Advent calendar, Christmas is just over a week away. Until now I felt that I had everything under control in the holiday planning department – most of the gifts we need have been bought, wrapped, and are under the tree. My annual manifesto Christmas letter is almost complete; I’m just holding off with some of the details until I see how the judge makes his ruling. I’ve written my final exams for the semester and with the kids still in school for the rest of the week I finally have some time for leisurely pursuits like my annual leg shaving.

There are just a few people we still hadn’t bought gifts for, so PM and I headed out this afternoon, determined to buy everything we needed today. But after all the shopping I’ve been doing recently, I was exhausted after half an hour into the trip.

(Actually it was probably the episode earlier at a Big Box Home Store that sapped my energy. I’m sorry, but when there are more than 6 people in a check-out line and the cashier is interviewing each customer and counting out their change in pennies I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I’m also thinking that most of my shopping will soon have to be done primarily online for legal reasons.)

We decided to be brave and go to the Price Club. By the time we had walked the 40 acres from our parking spot, I was done. PM and I made plans to split the list and meet after an hour. The next thing I knew I was being woken up by a lady in a smock poking me in the face with a tray of European cheese samples. I took her tray and went to find PM. He was looking at electric saunas.

“Hi there!” He was cheerful. “Look what I found while you were napping on the doggie beds.”

I peered into his Hyundai sized shopping cart and said, “I was tired. That car tire sized wheel of Gouda made me drowsy.” I picked through the stuff in the cart. “Are these the gifts?”

“Um…yeah. Yeah; they are.”

“Huh. Who are the pickled asparagus and sledgehammer for?”

“We’re playing Secret Santa at work.”

“Hmm. What about the 40-pack of mousetraps, 2 qt. jar of Cheez Whiz and the 2011 Monster Truck Encyclopedia?”

“My Mom.”

“Lucky lady. And what’s that?” I asked, pointing to something at the bottom of the cart. “Everything in this cart is for us, isn’t it?”

“I got some pancake mix…” he started.

“That’s a bag of powdered drywall spackle!”

“…and a frying pan that makes snowflake shaped pancakes!”

“For the spackle?”

“If it’s shaped like a snowflake and covered with maple syrup the kids aren’t even going to notice.” He seemed confident.

“Did you find Rock Band 3 for the Wii?” I asked.

“No; but are you sure the kids even want it?” He didn’t seem convinced.

“Absolutely! Yes! Kind of. Probably. I mean, when I mentioned it they didn’t say no…exactly.”

“You told me they were begging for it.”

“Because I think it will be good for them. They need the guitar practice.”

“The Rock Band guitar is an electronic stick with push buttons on it.”

I pressed on. “Regardless, They should master the bass pedal and high hat on the drum kit. Plus, I think they are ready to understand the pressures of the road.”

“Jeni…Jeni, put the cheese down. You are never going to ‘go’ again if you don’t lay off the dairy. And you know that you’re not really in a band, right? It’s a game…something you do for fun – like karaoke or home dentistry. And you really need to stop referring to your minivan as ‘the tour bus.’ I should tell you that people are starting to talk.”

When we left he had to pull his toque down to cover the snowflake shaped red mark on his forehead.

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At least it’s Friday

November 9, 2012 | Posted in Family, Health, Irritation Level: High, Parenting, Writing | By

Burning microphone

I’m putting this out there, partially in the hopes that “giving it up to the universe” will bring some positivity ‘round these parts.

Next week has got to get better. This week was built from the days that feel like no matter what you’re doing –  no matter how hard you’re swimming – you cannot keep your head above water and oh, sweet Jesus are those sharks over there and why are they carrying clipboards?

Things are less than great right now and although I’ve got a good sense of humour, sometimes having an arsenal of other survival mechanisms would be nice. Like, say, a shit ton of money. Or maybe or a raccoon that instead of ripping open my garbage bags, pooped golden bars in my garden. Covered in chocolate.

It’s tiring, this swimming against the current. I hesitate even to write about it because there are people in my life who do not support decisions I’ve made that have put me in this place. But they are generally not kind people, some who even take glee in knowing that I face challenges. That used to make me angry. Then it made me sad. Then angry again. Now I think I just don’t care. It’s like my brain exhausted all the energy my psyche was willing to supply. Is that a coping strategy in itself? Specific mental apathy?

This place is temporary, though. They will be jerks forever.

Obama won. I’m glad. I have a problem understanding a lot of GOP ideology, and although I think their party has some core values worthy of examination, I do not understand where the anger and vitriol of some members towards Obama and Democrats comes from. I don’t understand how women in America could vote for the party who tolerate/allow/perpetuate/condone/whatthehellever hatred of women. Make no mistake; it’s hatred and misogyny and patriarchy and a whole bunch of those other big words academics use to say “hatred of women.”

You don’t limit a woman’s agency or autonomy without a clear subtext of misogynistic ass-hattery. I don’t care if Mitt Romney himself didn’t say things about rape and legitimacy and birth control or not; he didn’t do enough to condemn those who did.

And why do we even care who puts their what where? I don’t even really care about what most people did on the weekend. Criteria for marriage should be thus: Are the participants adult parties willing to enter said union without pressure from outlying forces, either implied or explicit? Yes? Yeehaw! Where’s the champagne?

I’m a Canadian. Does that say it all?

I’ve had access to universal health care and a “social safety net” all of my life, and I’ve used it. My daughter had a fingered severed and reattached and it cost me $7. Yes, I pay taxes –  a lot by some people’s standards –  but I don’t think you could convince me or my daughter that it wasn’t worth every goddamn penny.

Would I be happy to pay if by some stroke of luck I didn’t ever need to use it? Would I be happy to continue to pay the same rate of tax so that someone other than me could use the “fund?” Would I be happy to have contributed to a stranger’s health care by deductions off my own wages - even for a stranger who doesn’t work?

Would I be happy to pay then?

You bet your sweet ass, I would. (Assumption of your having “a sweet ass” are solely those of the author.)

I cannot imagine how it must feel not to have that.

We’re going out tonight, to a comedy club. I hope no one makes any sexist or homophobic jokes, because friends?

I AM IN NO MOOD.

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