Friday, March 2, 2012

We're Not Rich

Tomorrow was one of those mornings where I revelled in having four children and a menagerie of pets.

I had a pounding headache thanks to the head cold that has overstayed it's welcome and I was yet to have my coffee.  I slept in.  Really, all in all it was just a great start to my day.

Then I came downstairs.  One child was on his hands and knees wiping something up with paper towel.  I chose not to ask what or why.  The oldest child needed help with something on the computer.  The four year old was doing gymnastics on the couch.  I so get why some mothers with a lot of kids get up at 5 a.m. just to get a moment to themselves.  But some of them use that time to read the Bible (saw it on TLC, if you can imagine) and pretty sure I'm not giving up two hours of sleep for Bible study.  I think Jebus prefers me well rested because I'm slightly less mean...

So I got people fed, provided some IT support and sat here at the computer desk taking it all in.  By this time my 15 year old daughter had joined the fun.  I was and still am in my pajamas.  I was sitting with my legs crossed causing one pajama pant leg to ride up.  Daughter noticed this instantly and asked if it didn't "drive (me) crazy"?!  Um, no.  They are pajamas.  I don't care.   She did not appreciate this response and so I adjusted said rebel pant leg and carried on.

By carrying on I mean I yelled at my two youngest boys to eat their breakfast and stop wrestling.  Suddenly all four kids stopped and were laughing and calling out our older dog's name.  It took me a minute to catch on.  I could see the rapidly growing mess on the kids' table where they eat their breakfast.  What I couldn't see was the 75 lb. Golden Retriever under the table attempting to help 'clean up' the mess being made by the hooligans.  Yes, every time the dog moved ahead in an attempt to score another Froot Loop or some milk, the entire table moved causing more spillage.

I was left with no other choice but to laugh.  There was a huge mess being made and I knew it would mean floor washing after everyone was gone to school but it was funny and all four of them were in the same room and were laughing and not hitting or yelling at each other.


Then the older children left for school and I resumed hurrying along the other ones to finish their breakfast.  My 8 year old came up to me with his hand held up and milk running down his arm in sheer panic.  Whatever should or could he hope to do about this situation?!

My reply: "We're not rich but we have the basics; running water, soap and towels.  Head to the bathroom (a mere 15 feet away) and wash up."

He did so.

Some of you probably think this is too sarcastic and there is no place for that in parenting.  Some of you should probably leave.  This is a child who reads above grade level, has a real aptitude for math, can beat his father at XBox and runs his favourite hockey line like a pro. Washing his hands when they are dirty? Should not be a stumbling block in his day to day life.

Further to that, and this is where the positivity and sunlight come pouring in, it dawned on me, we are absolutely not rich.  But we do have the basics.  And I know there are many that don't.  And I know that even though we do not go on vacations, we do not shop at will, there are things we want and can't afford, we have what we need.

And this morning, I needed to see those four maniacs sharing a laugh and one of those asinine animals was the cause of said laugh and it just made me feel good.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot & Bothered

I'm hot, flushed and short of breath.

Some of you are thinking, "Oh, you naughty girl! A little morning delight?"

Yep, that's exactly what it was that has gotten me in such a state.  If by morning delight you mean cleaning up the offal of the menagerie of animals I've chosen to accumulate.  Yes, chose.  So I am entirely to blame but that doesn't mean I don't question my choices.

I have two cats and two dogs.  Melody was the very first pet my two oldest children and I acquired almost 11 years ago.  She was the cutest kitten ever.  Justine, who was not quite five at the time, christened her 'Princess Melody'.  Right off the bat, the Princess was quite vocal.  I thought maybe this was because she was home alone all day while I was at work and the kids were at school.  So, late November of the very same year, I brought home Callie.  Callie is a bitchy Calico cat who is the only one who does no harm around here.

This is further proof that being a bitch is where it's at.

Then I married Ryan.  Ryan is more of a dog person.  So when his uncle offered to help us get a puppy to repay our son for a very good deed, I was swayed.  Besides, who can resist a Golden Retriever puppy?! Not I.  Welcome Toby.  Welcome Toby and the roughly 17 pounds of hair he sheds each and every day whether I brush him religiously or not.  Welcome Toby of the sensitive stomach who's vomit, when sick, is the only kind that has ever made me vomit while cleaning it up.

So, cut to July 2010.  Probably losing my job.  Seems like the best time ever to purchase yet another dog.  Really didn't have any intention but went into a pet store, on a whim one day, and fell in love with the asshole we now call Chuy (pronounced 'Chewy' but if you spell it like get a clue and watch a little Chelsea Lately).

Chuy is a Shitzu-Yorkie mix.  His dad was 5 lbs and his mom was 10 lbs (so clearly his dad was also a chubby chaser).  I assumed this would yield roughly a 7-8 pound dog that I would tote along with me wherever I went, just like the celebs do.

Chuy weighs 15+ pounds and is a sloth who likes to eat bathroom garbage, shit in the basement and piss in my 8 year old's room when he can't get into ours.  He is nearly two.

When I told my Dad about this problem he offered a suggestion I figured was worthwhile.  He suggested I put puppy pads in the rooms where he still chooses to relieve himself in and at the very least it'd be easier to clean up and might the final step towards training him on all three levels of the house.

Great idea! Sure, why not.  I have puppy pads already because Melody, the eldest, likes to stand in the litter box (which was upgraded to a Rubbermaid container a few years ago at the suggestion of a good friend who has a lot of cats and seems to know what she's doing) and piss up against the wall.  So one corner of our laundry room is cordoned off with plastic walls, floor, puppy pads and a giant fucking container for a litter box and there is still piss everywhere.

So I set out the puppy pads.  The ones I put in the basement seemed to create a nice soft place for Chuy to stand on while he shit on the carpet.  His feet remained pristine, I imagine, while the carpet did not.  The one I put in my son's room? Got kicked around the room and mangled untiI I threw it out. Besides, Chuy hadn't peed in there in ages.  Seems like the problem was solved!

Or he was simply waiting for me to remove the offending pad so he could get right back in there and find new places to pee.

If I'm so uptight, why don't I get rid of them?

Ugh, because they are part of the freaking family.  They all have middle names: Melody Ann, Callie Beatrice, Tobias Henry and Chuy Alejandro (our little Latino friend).  I do specific 'voices' for each one.  

I may be slightly crazy but mostly attached and can't imagine what would run through each of their individual minds if we were to find them new homes.

So instead, every day or every other day I am hunched in the corner of the laundry room, scooping litter, changing pads, wiping the entire area down with paper towel, Lysol wipes and then spraying it with a heavy-duty pet odour remover.  Then if the door to the family room in the basement has accidentally been left open, I go in to take care of turd removal.

So here I sit, hot, sweaty and slightly grateful for the head cold ruining my very existence right now because it meant today I was unable to smell anything.  I am grateful for this. See? See how I put a positive spin on everything?! Man, I'm getting so good at this positivity stuff.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Seventh Deadly Sin

I have had a few different posts rattle through my brains in the past couple of days but this is the first I've thought to sit down and try to get them out.  Problem is I was quite angry when these posts hit me (as is usually the case) and I am not angry now. I am sort of defeated and fighting the beginnings of a head cold but not really angry.

Why was I so enraged?  When aren't I enraged (with the exception of this morning)?

Hockey.  Small towns.  People's inability to respect other people's (specifically my own, time).  

Morning.  Eating chocolate. Drinking vodka. Sleeping.

If you aren't following, the first list contains the answers to self-imposed question one and the second list, answers to self-imposed question 2.

I am kind of a morning person.  I like mornings and am generally more productive in the morning.  Chocolate always makes me happy until I realize its consumption leads to tight pants.  Drinking vodka used to be tons of fun but is now something I rarely do and even more so, something I seem to enjoy less.  The hangover isn't worth it and/or I'm with people I am uncomfortable actually getting drunk with.  Boo.  Sleeping is pretty self-explanatory although I do sometimes, shockingly, have angry dreams.

Hockey in general does not make me angry. I quite like it.  I really like watching my 8 year old son play.  He is good at it.  This may sound like bragging and potentially it is, but honestly being someone who can still not stop on skates without the aid of the boards or another body? His 'prowess' delights and intrigues me!  My son, a skater!  And he loves hockey and he studies it and he knows it.  This leads to my having turned into one of the crazies who thinks maybe, just maybe, he'll go somewhere with it.

However, given where we live, I am going to potentially have to make some drastic changes to my way of life, or really, just my personality. I despise hypocrites.  I go out of my way to not be one and unfortunately in my slightly underdeveloped brain this equates with my thinking if I do not like someone, they should know this in no uncertain terms.  However, based on this small town I live in, hockey politics (sadly they do exist outside of the NHL, in full force; even in Novice B hockey), and the actions of a friend yesterday, I think I need to grow the fuck up and learn how to tolerate, politely, those whom I cannot stand.

I am capable of this.  I managed it quite well in my previous professional career, to an extent.  When it served my well being I suppose, and I guess it's time to go back there.  Smile and nod. If I haven't got anything nice to say, make some shit up.  Deal.  Grow the fuck up.

I am almost 35 and have a failed career, to an extent, to show for it.  I am capable of a stubbornness like no other and this has brought me to this very financially unstable place I am today.  

Being a Type A control freak who borders on perfectionism (I am scarily in danger of becoming a real loser as I shy away from doing things I don't think I am instantly and perfectly able to), this is hard to swallow.  I am smarter than this.  I am capable.  I was mature before my time in many ways but in the last two years I have regressed to an unacceptable place.  It's paralyzing. I crave control and right now it eludes me.  I have control over very little-or at least not the level of control I want or the right kind.  So it's time to change this up. I don't even know how or why.  I only know that whether or not my son is destined for the NHL or otherwise, I will not get in his way because of pride.

Pride has gotten me to where I am today and there are much less accolades and rewards than I imagined.  There is only loneliness, a sense of failure, loss and frustration.  Time to turn around.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Drama School's Out

Couple of days ago I went on ad nauseum about how much I like my kids.

We are now two days into a week long break from school.

I still like them but I think we need a break.  Nothing permanent, maybe just to see other people for awhile.  You know, to remind us of how good we have it at home.

I banished the two youngest ones outside for roughly an hour this afternoon.  It was a gorgeous day and they had a good time when they got out there. Of course they are my children so part of the play included "pretend hockey fighting".  They had each other by their jacket collars and were throwing "pretend" punches at each other's heads.  And they laughed while they did so.

I was so grateful for the quiet inside the house that when I witnessed this 'fun' game, the best I could muster up was a "be careful".  Not, hey, don't engage in physical violence with one another.  Or even a "hands off".  Just "be careful".

The four year old came in with a bit of a nosebleed.  He was unconcerned.  I dealt with it quickly, provided him with a Kleenex to take outside with him and sent him back for Round 2.

Desperation for quiet makes even the most conscientious parent (not that I ever claimed to be such a thing) loosen the reins a little.

Then I allowed them in to watch TV and have popcorn.  This guaranteed me another half hour of quiet.  Then, all hell broke loose and at one point then both ended up in their respective rooms trying to outcry one another.  And because we didn't leave the house today and because they are both ridiculous drama queens? I laughed.  The keened like Irish women of old who'd lost their husband at sea...and they took turns trying to outdo one another.  

This dramatic flair comes from their father.  As much as I am quick tempered, impatient, critical and sometimes a downright Ice Queen, I am not dramatic. If I'm mad, I'm mad.  The end.  There is no great flair or flourish aside from my idiot savant use of foul language.  Ryan, my husband, is fairly even tempered, patient, tolerant and friendly.  And dramatic.  We are definitely the epitome of opposites who attract and this in turn, has created quite the combination of traits in our offspring.  

And so here we are; impatient, hot tempered, dramatic and stuck together for five more days before they return to school.  And this doesn't even include the teenagers.  One is away and the other is here.   The other spent time designing a tattoo he hopes to get next month upon his 18th birthday. One is shopping and planning a ski trip later this week.

And me? I am eating too much chocolate (stupid discount Valentine chocolate).  I am attempting to get some work done in the midst of requests for 75 snacks a day.  I am attempting to talk to my grandma on the phone while tracking the sound of a pop bottle opening in the kitchen (Diet Root Beer is not allowed at 10:30 a.m.).  I am trying to enjoy my children and I am trying not to run away from home and/or get day drunk. 

All that being said, I do still like them.

Most of the time...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winning & Welfare

Today was not the day I had planned.  I am well known for being fairly rigid and not adapting well to not getting my way; whatever way that happens to be.  And today was no exception.

It is Family Day here in Saskatchewan.  People had their Family Day plans plastered all over Facebook and so Ryan and I decided we would jump on the bandwagon and take the boys skating this afternoon.  Family fun!  Skating, then maybe hot chocolate, maybe cookies, maybe a movie-hell for all I knew we were going to break out into a choreographed song and dance routine on the ice.  (Highly unlikely as I can barely skate. Or sing.  Or dance without the aid of alcohol).

Instead our day was very unlike this. There was singing.  In the car.  We let our 8 year old run the iPod.  So we listened to a lot of popular music and ended with a little Justin Bieber.  Then we settled on the radio for a bit.  My husband turned up the volume on a song that made me question if maybe he was about to get his period for the first time...but I digress.

Before we even left town we stopped for a heart and family friendly lunch at McDonald's.  This was due to the fact we needed groceries and nobody was much interested in another lunch of Kraft Dinner or peanut butter toast.  So McDonald's is the obvious alternative (at least in the minds of our 8 and 4 year old).

We sat eating our cholesterol raising, Type 2 Diabetes promoting, heart attack waiting to happen lunch when I began eavesdropping on the folks behind me.  And then the heart attack began stemming from my angry place more so than my lunch.

According to these, I'm sure highly educated folk, people on "welfare" would likely be better off living with one of them "shovelling their walks, cutting and watering their grass, and washing floors" then on actual assistance.  That was the highlight of, again, what was a very intellectual conversation involving immigration.  I angrily sucked back my child size chocolate shake (my attempt to pretend I am making healthy choices).  And when I could stand it no more, I turned  The Prophet himself was a nearly 400 lb. man.  So apparently he can make choices that will continue to cost me as a tax payer but we shan't have immigrants coming in or anybody else for that matter living off of assistance.  

This man could sit and spout bullshit all day long while his heart screamed in protest as he swallowed yet another Big Mac whole and then when his heart finally figures what's the point and stops screaming and attacks him instead?  He will end up in hospital.  We are lucky enough to not have to pay for a hospital stay here in Canada but that does not mean it's free.  It's called taxes.  Taxes I willingly and gladly pay for this privilege, just so we're clear.  He will be told to make lifestyle changes.  He will not listen.  But I think I have the answer-you see if he really doesn't want to make any big changes, he could come to my house a few times a week and wash floors, clean bathrooms, clean the litter box, pick up dog know, things that would get him moving.  An active lifestyle goes a long way toward health and longevity.  And furthermore he'd be practising what he preaches.  It's really win-win all the way around.

So my day didn't go as planned but I was lucky enough to end up with fodder for this post without revealing the real upset of my day and I made homemade Snickers bars.  Again, I'm winning in a fashion that would make Charlie Sheen blush.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Like My Children

Some of you will read that title and think: "Duh. Of course you do. Their your children."  I, however, am of the belief that children are not instantaneously likeable by the mere fact that they are shorter and have charming speech impediments.  Children are people, believe it or not.  They have very distinct personalities.  There are some people who proclaim "I LOVE KIDS!!".   They also probably love anything animated, pastel and musicals*.

In short, they are annoying.

I barely like people so I apply the same rules to children as I do to adults.  Don't get me wrong, I don't hate kids, I just don't believe in giving them a free pass because they have yet to see an R rated movie (depending on who their parents are, I suppose. I 'carefully' monitor what my children watch, to an extent, but have no problem whatsoever dropping the f word like it's hot and perhaps akin to oxygen in relation to my very existence).  

This is why when I recently decided to begin volunteering in my 8 year old's classroom I had my doubts.  I have a history of not really gelling with other people's children and figured this would really put things to the test.  Great news though-apparently my son does not have to spend much time with assholes (aside from Yours Truly).  The kids were all pretty decent and the ones that weren't, were just assholish enough that I appreciated it.  The child who sat down to read for me and refused to make eye contact with me or the book and commanded that I read it to him? I admired his style.  Especially when the bell rang and he looked at me over his glasses (which, for the record, is bad enough when adults do it but he's 7...and perhaps headed for his own episode on TLC's The Virgin Diaries) and announced "It's recess."  Yep.  Look at that, it is.  And you will enjoy recess as soon as you read this book because I know that you can.  To his credit, he read it.  With zero expression but he read it.  In a hurry. And then proceeded on to recess.  

There were other highlights as well.  Like when the entire class sang O Canada.  Some of these kids are clearly waiting, with baited breath, for Canadian Idol to make a comeback.  I snuck a glance or two at the teacher and noticed she was enjoying this as much as I.  Some of the children were attempting to harmonize...enough said.

So what makes my children so great? Well, obviously yes they do have an advantage because they are mine and have inherited the gift of sarcasm.  Sarcasm is really the way to my heart.  And vodka.  And chocolate.  So basically if you are sarcastic (and not stupid-the two don't always go hand in hand), have chocolate and/or vodka, I will probably get along with you.  They all love music.  And decent music.  Again, I will try pretty hard, until they are about 12 to make sure they don't catch a glimpse of an errant breast or 'worse' on TV but I will let them listen to Eminem's "Shake That Ass" or Sublime's "Wrong Way"...  My children do not have college funds, per se (read: they don't have college funds.  As of yet.  Parenting fail.) but they do know who Ray Charles is and when the right time is (Night Time, keep up).

They don't take shit from anyone.  Including me.  My two older children impress me with their levels of assertiveness and confidence.   The two little boys are only 8 and 4 but hold their own.  

I just like them.  Plain and simple.  And I honestly believe this is key.  I do happen to believe you love your child no matter what. There is no other love like it.  But you can love somebody and not like them and I happen to be lucky enough to like my children. All four of them.  That's not to say they are perfect and that at times I would prefer to be drunk on a beach far far away from each and everyone of them. But often, in those situations, they are acting an awful like their mother. I do possess a great deal of insight.  This doesn't make it any easier but I do recognize when my own 'charm' is coming back to bite me in my fantastic ass.

And folks, this is yet another step towards the ray of sunshine that is part of my new positive perspective on life.  Step One, in case it isn't clear, is liking your own offspring. Stay tuned for more inspiring tidbits of sunshiny optimism!

*For the record, I like just fit well there (this is purely so my daughter, who I like very much, keeps liking me (the little bit that she does) ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Control

I literally had no idea what I was going to write about when I opened this up but just said to my husband, "When I'm stressed, I have no control."  And there you have it; a spur of the moment topic sentence.

There is great truth behind this statement.  I was referring to food.  We have been watching what we eat as well as using a new product to lose weight.  It's going fairly well.  My husband is down 23 pounds and I was down 11. Again, with his penis, he can think really hard about losing weight and it melts away. My vagina prefers that my body hold on to every last roll until the last possible minute.  Although I can't blame it all on her.  My mouth is somewhat to blame as well.

I was doing so well.  The new product we are taking had almost shut down my sugar cravings. No snacking in the evenings because I simply didn't want to.  Then Christmas hit.  Christmas is stressful at the best of times but this past one I did not have enough money, I did not have enough available family, my husband had to work and there is food everywhere.  Why? Because I bought it.

Enough is a relative term.  Christmas was fine.  The kids were happy, I spent Christmas Day with my husband and kids and then with great friends, my husband did work but this allowed him to be home for Boxing Day which we spent with his family.  The food though?  The food was still here.

I often jokingly refer to myself as a 'food addict'. And in some ways I am.  I fell off the wagon and dammit if I can't get back on!  Sugar is my lover.  Junk food in general is my there a male equivalent to that word?  Anyway, I like it.  I am also lazy.  I do not really enjoy cooking all that much.  I enjoy vegetables less.  I don't like anything that requires more than me opening a package, can, my mouth.

Sigh. That last part sounded dirty.  It wasn't supposed to but because I'm juvenile and it makes me snicker a little, I'm leaving it.

So anyway, I am back on the program. Sort of.  With the exception of Saturday night where I force fed myself roughly 12 mini peanut butter cups chased with mini pretzels.  This was while I was watching Betty White's 90th Birthday Celebration.  Yes, my weekends are wild.

Then Sunday, I thought that's enough.  Time to get my shit together.  Except there are still peanut butter cups in the house.  And pretzels.  And popcorn twists.  And salt 'n vinegar chips at Stacey's house.

So I weighed myself Monday morning.  Just to see what the damage was.  And yup, sure as shit, back up a pound and a half.  No, not horrible but entirely preventable.

The point of this entire post is, I have zero coping skills.  Wait, that's a LIE.  My coping skills are food, bitching and alcohol and not necessarily in that order.  Although my friend Vodka has not been nearly has prominent of a figure as she once was. Fickle girl.

So instead I make trips to Wal-Mart for toilet paper and come home with $10 worth of back fat.  

No. Control.

A friend of mine's mother once said to her life is all about choices.  I couldn't agree more.  Why I continually make the same choices is beyond me.  I do believe that's the definition of insanity...Great.  I'm a crazy bitch with back fat.  Granted, less than before but if I don't get it together, it's going to come creeping back and pretty soon I'll be able to keep my keys, lip balm and such in the handy folds on my back instead of in my purse.

Today is a new day.  I'm starting it off right.  Did just receive some unsettling news about my cell phone bill but I will not cope with food!  I will bitch instead.  Bitchy girls are not fun but are generally thin, so there.  Problem solved!

Glad we got that worked out, now carry on.