Category: Miscellaneous Musings

One car key and one ridiculous amount of snow

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By , March 21, 2014 3:00 pm

snow baby

Vrrrrr. Vrrrrr.

Vrrrrr. Vrrrrr.

My Fitbit was buzzing on my wrist. 7am. I rolled over in bed and realized I was curled up at the foot of the bed.  Mary was sprawled out across the top, three feet tall and yet somehow managing to take up three quarters of a king-sized bed. I tapped at my wrist until it stopped buzzing and immediately drifted back off to sleep.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Silence.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Silence.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

“Oh no!” I sat bolt upright in bed. “It’s twenty to eight! Get up! Get up! Everyone get up!”

Ed staggered down the stairs to get breakfast made and lunches packed while I tried to speed dress the kids.

“Hurry up, get dressed,” I urged.

“I already know! I waaaaas!”

“NO! I am NOT going to school! I won’t get dressed! NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!”

At least the two-year-old just streaked through the house giggling as I chased after her with a pull-up and some clothes.

Then I remembered. The class trip permission form and fees had to be in today. Brilliant.

“But today’s the last day to get your permission slip in for the trip. You don’t want to miss it!”

Somehow I managed to clothe all of the children. (I only count three, but I swear it felt like I was dressing a football team’s worth.) Then, as they were finishing breakfast, I fumbled around looking for the permission forms. Then I needed envelopes. Then I needed my purse. Oh, and a pen.

At some point, I realized the time and started barking out that they were going to miss the bus. Why weren’t they getting their snowsuits on? Where was Irene? Oh no, they weren’t not going to make it. Why didn’t anybody care?!

Maybe if I hadn’t been so fixated on the permission slips, Ed said in not so many words, I could have been helping him. But it was the last day! And I made a special trip to the bank yesterday to get the cash. Fine, whatever. “Where’s the car key?” Ed asked.

I ran around checking all my places. Not in my purse, not hanging on its hook, not in my jeans … and found it in my coat pocket. “Here,” I said, meeting Ed at some point between the front and back door of our house, “Here’s the key.” And I handed it to him.

He was back five minutes later.

“I don’t have the key.”

“What do you mean you don’t have the key? I gave you the key.”

“I don’t have. I don’t … I can’t find it. I put it in my pocket and now it’s gone.”

“But I gave it to you. I handed it to you! What do you mean?!”

Ed had made it as far as the back door, stopping to put on his gloves, and then realized the entire car, parking spot and yard were still buried under two feet of snow — which is why I was so anxious for the kids to catch the school bus to begin with.

He shoveled a path through the backyard to the car and then reached for the key. It was gone. Did he even put it in his pocket? Or did he leave it on the dining room table? Or in the kitchen? By the back door? Did he put it down when he put on his gloves? Or had it fallen out of his pocket in the doorway? Or was it buried somewhere in this backyard full of knee-deep snow?

“What happened to it?!” I was becoming frantic. I had so much work to catch up on and I needed to get everybody out the door. Deadline stress mingled with the anxiety of having to pay unknown hundreds of dollars to get someone to somehow make us another key without having an original. I ran outside and started madly sifting through snow as my anger mounted. The snow was actually past my knees in places. I’d never seen so much snow in my whole life, all of it a soft cushion of infuriating cover. I dropped a coin into one part and watched it quickly sink beneath the surface without a trace.

At this point I should have started to despair. Instead I was livid.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. I HANDED IT TO YOU. I HANDED IT TO YOU. I PUT THE KEY RIGHT IN YOUR HAND.”

I kicked the wall with the toe of my winter boots and the drywall folded in on itself leaving a three foot by two foot rectangular shape indentation right beside the back door. Well, this was a new low.

Cue despair.

Ed wound up walking the kids all the way to school. Luckily I had spent most of my rage on my impromptu demo project (I have been wanting to rebuild that addition anyway), so I was able to do some work before picking the girls up at lunch. By the time afternoon hit, I had a new obsession. Maybe the key didn’t fall out into the snow after all! Maybe it fell out in the house somewhere! Or maybe he put it down and just forgot about it!

I retraced the route Ed would have taken, looking for signs of the key on top of the heaping piles of clutter, nestled in mounds of toys or among the tangle of stray mitts. My god, I thought, I hope I don’t have to properly clean all of this today. I couldn’t find it.

It must be outside after all. Several people on Twitter suggested I rent a metal detector. If only there were an app for that! Guess what? There’s an app for that. I quickly downloaded the metal detector app and tested it out in my kitchen. Sure enough, as I waved my phone over a knife,  the number on my phone’s screen shot way up.

Omg, this was going to make such a good story. I was going to use an app on my phone to find the car key. I’m a genius. The world would rejoice.

Yeah, so that didn’t work. The metal detector app didn’t seem remotely strong enough to find anything buried in several feet of snow and there was way too much random fluctuation for me to figure out what was worth digging for and what was normal. I was back to examining the snow in the backyard again. How would Ed have been holding the shovel, I wondered. What direction was he facing? I tried to figure out where the most likely places for the key to have fallen were and moved a bunch of snow around in a last-ditch attempt to find it.

Nope. It must be inside after all.

I was just finishing a massive reorganization and deep clean of the mud room when Ed came home. “No luck yet,” I said. I was just going to have to move through the house cleaning until we found it. It had come to this.

I had stopped searching to make dinner and was calling the kids to the table when Ed came bounding in the back door.

“I found it! I sifted through all of the snow and finally found it right beside the tire of the car, exactly where I stopped shoveling to look for the key and couldn’t find it.”

By the car! I hadn’t even looked there! Thank fucking god.

Now somebody please remind me to make another copy of that key.

The workday to payday timeline of a freelance writer

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By , March 17, 2014 11:03 pm

The volume of writing work I can depend on has recently decreased. Lucky you! Imma be blogging ALL THE TIME.

No. Really.

I spent a stupid amount of time today putting together this mildly amusing and amateurish graphic. It doesn’t even have anything to do with parenting. And yet, here it is.

The good news — as is so aptly illustrated by my timeline — is that even though I’ve already lost the volume of work, it will be months before I notice the paycheques have stopped. Who said I’m not an optimist?

Freelance writer timeline

 

Passing on the Ban Bossy bandwagon

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By , March 14, 2014 7:47 am

Ban-Bossy-Quote-Graphic_Beyonce
I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on the Ban Bossy campaign that was launched this week by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization and the Girl Scouts of America. I can’t remember the last time so much has been said about so little, so quickly. Not since Maria Kang’s original “What’s your excuse?” Facebook post at least!

I mean, I like Sheryl Sandberg and can get behind her intentions with the Lean In project. I understand what she’s getting at and thought the whole, “Let’s stop calling our daughters bossy” point was an interesting part of her larger message. But this just seems kind of feel-good-rah-rah-rah-go-girls-bring-in-the-Spice-Girls-esque to me. Except she didn’t bring in the Spice Girls. She brought in Beyoncé. And Jennifer Garner. And Jane Lynch. And Condoleeza Rice. Those are some powerful female voices, so maybe it’s worth exploring why the whole campaign leaves me feeling luke warm, after all. Continue reading 'Passing on the Ban Bossy bandwagon'»

#crepepaperhairstyles

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By , March 12, 2014 11:57 pm

Did you see the buzz about the mom blogger and her daughter who design paper dresses? The story is that the mother-daughter pair like to create dresses out of paper they find around the house and then share their designs on Instagram and their #FashionbyMayhem blog. The dresses, many of which are inspired by movie characters or runway fashions, are really pretty cool. It doesn’t hurt that little four-year-old Mayhem is absolutely adorable too. In any case, the whole story blew up a couple weeks ago and there were stories about Mayhem and her mom all over the internet and beyond.

But there’s  one person I know for sure didn’t hear about Mayhem’s dresses. And that’s Irene.

Because if there’s one thing I don’t need in my life, it’s my kids getting any big ideas about “fun” “craft” projects we can do around the house. It’s bad enough that I let them socialize with children from homes with truly involved and interested parents. Santa even brought them each a crafty gift kit and I promise one day we will sit down and finish them. Other than that, there are crayons and art supplies available to them, but they know I won’t be hanging around to help. First of all, I honestly don’t have time. Secondly, I don’t want to.

I make something every day. It’s called dinner. Roll up your sleeves and grab a spoon or go do something else. I’m happy either way.

So, you have to believe me when I say I have NO IDEA where this came from. Continue reading '#crepepaperhairstyles'»

Out, damned spot. Out.

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By , March 7, 2014 3:42 pm

snow angel

The sun was shining, the polar ice caps that had formed along every curb were melting and I could have sworn I heard a bird chirping. I felt the sun’s warm rays dissolve the hardened crust of stress and anxiety I’d been carrying on my shoulders for weeks. We dashed off down the lane, the two big kids and I, across the busy street, under the tracks, along a side street, through another laneway shortcut and scaled a mountain of snow and ice in an empty lot on the way to pick up Mary from nursery school.

Blinking in the bright noon light, I said,”I guess it’s time for lunch.”

“Where should we go?” asked Colum.

As if. Such spoiled kids. I’d meant we should go home and slap together some sandwiches.

“You guys feel like sushi?” What can I say? Nice weather turns me into a sucker.

We gobbled up a couple orders of maki and started to make our way back home along the main street. We took our time, admiring store front displays and greeting friends and neighbours along the way. I even let Irene push Mary in the stroller for a little bit, waiting patiently as she plowed the stroller into snow banks and nearly ran passersby off the sidewalk.

Spring was in the air and nothing could dampen my spirit.  Continue reading 'Out, damned spot. Out.'»

Putting up stories

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By , March 3, 2014 11:59 am

Snow painting

I’ve got it down now. I crack the egg into the small stainless steel frying pan that’s been warming up over low heat. It takes a bit longer to cook this way but it makes for a superior over-easy egg. There’s nobody else here so I have the time.

Funny how after shunning breakfast for nearly my entire adult life, here I am making a sacred ritual out of frying an egg in the morning. It’s also kind of funny to have the house to myself most mornings after seven years of having small children under foot almost all the time. But I do, every morning for about two hours, barring illness which has been nearly constant around here for the past couple of weeks. And then, once my two hours are up, I’m back to juggling emails, lunches, potty training accidents, homework, housework, and assorted other never-ending tasks.

I looked at that egg this morning, egg whites nearly firm, quite ready to flip. I nudged an edge loose with the spatula and watched it slide around effortlessly. It would be the easiest thing to ease it over with the spatula and slide it onto a piece of toast a minute later, the perfect just-barely-oozing egg. Instead, I put down the spatula and picked up the frying pan. One, two, three, I moved the pan in small circles getting the egg to turn so the yolk was closest to me.  Then I jerked it forward, the egg flipping up ever so slightly and landing in a mangled mess in the pan.

“Oh for fuck’s sake.” Continue reading 'Putting up stories'»

I never thought you’d ask: Babes on wheels

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By , January 31, 2014 12:44 pm

Sometimes I get emails from readers asking me stuff. If there’s one thing this blog makes clear, however, it’s that I’m basically winging this whole parenting thing. I’m not an expert. I have no degrees in anything remotely useful (for parenting or anything, really) and if you take the number of children yelling at me at any given time, multiply that by the pounds of toys strewn across my floor and divide by pi, you’ll see that I’m often wrong. 

The other thing this blog shows, though, is that I’m full of opinions. So yeah, let’s bring it. 

Hi Rebecca,

Here’s a posting a lady left in a Facebook group.

“To the Father i just caught leaving his baby in the car while he went into [a coffee shop] …I’ll shame you here on line too!!! Unbelievable, that you would think a coffee is more important than your child’s safety…You’re response was that you were in there for 13 seconds…well buddy, that was more than enough time for me to see the child alone in the back seat, notice that the doors were unlocked and walk into [the coffee shop] and call out 3 times “did anyone leave a baby in a car”, walk back out, turn the corner try [another] door …and your second comment “are you serious”, as if I\m over reacting to your poor choices…Listen here Buddy…I would have had enough time to snatch your kid, it’s doesn’t take long…like I said on the street, “you’re lucky I don’t have my cell on me…” Make better choices next time, you’re lucky this time…this villager was watching out!”

I’ve left my kiddo in the car like 100 times to run into a store for a coffee, to the bank machine, to the bakery. I did lock the car and I don’t consider myself a bad mom. I don’t dare respond to this posting because I’m sure i’ll be chastised as a bad. WTF.

East TO Mama

Black and white pic of baby in car

Dear East TO Mama, Continue reading 'I never thought you’d ask: Babes on wheels'»

Why are we obsessed with judging?

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By , January 14, 2014 5:09 pm

Image credit.

Good news! I don’t care what you think anymore.

I mean, of course I want you to like me. I’m still an insecure 14-year-old at heart hanging out at the edge of the cafeteria, hoping someone will invite me to sit down. That’s never going to change. But I don’t really care if you think I’m a good mom or not.

I’m interested in reading about the newest studies and discussing various parenting approaches, for sure. But it doesn’t bother me if you disagree with me. I won’t take it personally. I won’t think less of you. We can still be friends.

What a relief to finally be free from the tyranny of mom-on-mom judging. In case I was tempted to think it had disappeared altogether, though, a couple recent Facebook threads proved that holier-than-thou mothering is still going strong. Today’s Parent has a regular page called “The Debate” in which two parents argue opposing sides of a parenting issue. Keep in mind that Today’s Parent is brimming with well-researched, informative articles on all aspects of parenting. They have this one, opinion-based page which aims to be entertaining and to give some real-life perspective while exploring a divisive issue. I always enjoy reading it, so I was more than happy to argue for the con side of this month’s debate: Should your family use cloth diapers? BOOM. Continue reading 'Why are we obsessed with judging?'»

My life’s true calling

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By , January 7, 2014 9:02 am

Shh. I’m not supposed to be here because I’m up against an actual paying deadline, but I finally realized my true roll in life yesterday. After asking Irene to please change out of her school uniform before she spills her lunch on it, I found myself standing over her as she undressed.

“MO-OM! Grrr. I need some help here.”

She stood on  her bed with arms slightly raised, waiting for me to lift the shirt off her head and then put it away, help her on with another shirt, fix her  hair and go downstairs to serve her lunch.

I’m a freaking lady’s maid.

Lady's maid!

Yes, I also just finally watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, why do you ask? I pay ridiculous amounts of money for cable (but not the channel that airs Downton, of course) and for Netflix, and that’s all I’ll do. I like to watch one TV show right before bed and if it’s not something I can PVR or find on Netflix I won’t be bothered to dig it up. So enjoy season 4 everybody! I’ll be waiting to catch up with season 3 as soon as Netflix Canada gets around to airing it sometime in the next five years.  In the meantime, I’ll get more than my share of servitude right here.

Update: I totally get PBS and Vision. I just didn’t know. So now I still have to wait for vision to rerun season 3 and record all of season 4 on PBS except for the the season premiere that I already missed. So much figuring out!

14 resolutions I can actually keep for 2014

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By , December 31, 2013 12:15 pm

1. Eat more Egg-in-a-Holes. True story: I didn’t try my first Egg-in-a-Hole until I was 35 years old. I turned 35 last week. Those suckers are delicious.

egg-in-a-hole

 

Continue reading '14 resolutions I can actually keep for 2014'»

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