Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Organized Blessings

Plastic bins: $2.00 each
Foam alphabet stickers: $1.00/sheet
Ikea Two-Section Hamper: $14.00
Polka dot contact paper: $9.99/roll

An organized closet: Priceless
This makes me happy : )

Polka dots make me happy too!

Zander:  Why did you label the laundry hamper?
Me: So you'll sort your laundry.
Zander: I didn't know we were supposed to sort it.
Me:  Exactly!

I'm a nerd.  A happy organized nerd.

I think I might make myself a nerd label out of foam bubble letters.

Thou Shalt Not Pump Thine Own Gas

I did it.  I caved for a savings of 3¢/litre.  I have failed against my own credence:  Thou Shalt Not Pump Thine Own Gas.  I have fallen short.  I am ashamed.  My BFF is disappointed.  It was my only thing.

It's not that I'm above it, it's just that for what amounts to a difference of something like 60¢ why should I get out of the car when someone will do it for me?  And clean my windshield.  And my headlights.  And make faces at my kids in the back seat.  And talk to me through my open window and say things like, "beautiful day," or "drive safe."  Why should I go through life with hands that smell like gasoline?

So, today I reclaim my Pump Virginity.  I name myself a Secondary Pump Virgin and there's nothing you can do about it.

No, I don't care what you think.

Go ahead and wish you were as awesome as I am!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Just yesterday I was staring at her chubby cheeks and thinking I could finally see him there.  Her daddy. That glint in her eye and that little turn of her lip.  There he was, making his claim to her by imprinting himself on her features.  And now he'll be there forever.  As she grows up.  When she looks in the mirror.  When her mother watches her sleeping.  He'll be there.  And she'll never know him.  And it breaks my heart.

How can the worth of a life be measured in words?  How can it be reduced to something so trivial?    How can a radio news announcer talk so coldly about the cherry picker hanging askew and the hard hat left lying on the ground?

It hasn't even been a day.  Twenty-four hours ago he was alive.  He was a husband.  He was a father.  He was my friend.

And what do we have left?  A widow.  A baby.  A God who doesn't answer why whether we scream it, cry it or whisper.

We used to laugh.  He'd pop into my office - just to say hi - just because he was working on a line down the street - wearing that horrible florescent orange jump suit, sit in the broken chair and try to rock it (because he always forgot it was broken) so it would slam back into the wall.  We told jokes.  We laughed.  We gossiped.  We laughed.  We sang some Big & Rich.  We laughed.

I can remember how he would hold Liam when he was a little baby.  How Liam would reach out for him.  How they danced around the Demerton Hall to bad music.

I remember how proud he was when he had his daughter.  Of the time I spent a whole Sunday morning skipping the sermon and cuddling her in the foyer of the church.  How he was beaming.  How he cooed and baby-faced her.  How he was happier than I've ever seen him.

I don't know how to help.  I don't know how to be anything but broken.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dial Me Beautiful

...a few months later
It was Halloween night, 1996.  I was sixteen and in the middle of my nightly I-wanna-be-a-Noxema-girl routine.  My dad knocked on the bathroom door.  "Alanna, phone...it's a boy."

So I go out to the dinning room and pick up the phone.  "Hello?"  Who would be calling?  It was after ten.

"Hi.  It's Scott."

"Hi."  We'd just seen each other twenty minutes earlier when he'd dropped me off in his parents blue Geo after the youth group party.  Why was he calling now?

"I just wanted to tell you that you looked really beautiful tonight."

And I'm standing there, face a white, tingly mask of minty cream, wearing a flannelette nightgown my grandma had made me, barefoot and shocked.  "Oh.  Thank you."

"Sleep good."

"You, too."



We were dating by Christmas.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Da 'Tupidist Ting, EVER!!!!

I cried on the way to work today.  No - that's not true...I almost cried on the way to work today.  You know that inner fight you have when your eyes are burning and you can't swallow and you blink hard and fast and shake your head because if you actually let go and sob you'll be a puffy, red-eyed, mess when you walk into staff meeting in seven minutes?  That's what I did.  And this is why:  LIAM.  That kid is going to be the death of me.

I thought we had it worked out.  On Monday he was excited for his next day of school.  This morning?  Not so much.  He was adamant. "I don't want to doe to tool!!!!"  The lip quiver started when I finally got him in the car.  "Tool is da tudipist ting, EVER!!!!"  He was sniffling as I walked him to the door.  By the time we were hanging up his coat and putting on his indoor shoes, tears were running.  I hugged him.  He got snot on my sweater.  He wouldn't let go of me.  I had to peal him off.  By the time I got him on the carpet he was in full melt-down mode: tears, snot, sobbing hysterics, face twisted painfully, shoulders shaking like he was attached to a 1950's Vibrating Belt.  Like I was abandoning him.  Like I was the worst mother in the world.  Like I couldn't possibly love him if I would force this punishment on him.  Like I must hate him.

And so I drove to work, fighting the cry fight, trying to convince myself that this is just a phase and that I didn't need to turn around and rescue him because when he just gave up and accepted the inevitability of school he might actually like it.

It was with dread that I waited outside the kindergarten doors at the end of the day.  What would his mood be?  Would he hate me?  Would he still be sobbing inconsolably - confirming that nagging fear I'd had in the back of my head as I sat at my desk all day?  Of course, my fears were unfounded.  He came bounding out the door, coat buttons askew, backpack hanging off his shoulders, eyes sparkly and bright.  "Today was da best day, EVER!!!!!"  He hugged me.  I was forgiven.  He skipped his schizophrenic Liam-skip.  "I didn't even cwhy dat long!"

Whew!  I can breath again.  If this is going to be the pattern for the rest of the year I may have a nervous break-down.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day

He was so excited!  His Bakugan backpack was too big for the requirement of junior kindergarten but it was "Awesome!" so the burden was worth it.  His metal Batman lunch box was packed full of first day goodies: A "Wow!  Tastes Just Like Peanut Butter!" School Safe Soy-Butter (yes, that's what it really says) sandwich cut in triangles - not squares, a chewy bar, vanilla yogurt, fruit roll-up, a rice krispy square, and his new green Rubbermaid water bottle filled with my homemade iced tea (2nd prize at the Fall Fair, thank you very much!) He wore the same blue windbreaker that Zander wore on his first day four years ago.

He was so excited!  He got up early.  He ate two bowls of Raisin Bran.  He put on his own shoes.
"Make sure you get to the bathroom on time, Liam."
"I know."
"Make sure you don't eat all your lunch at first break, Liam."
"I know."
"Are you going to show your teacher how you write your own name, Liam?"
"Ummm...why would I do dat?"
"You know you have to wipe your own bum at school, Liam."
"I don't have to if I don't want to."

He was so excited.
Until we entered The Kindergarten Cage.  First of all - who puts kids in a cage?  And secondly - who would call it a cage?  That's just inviting fear.

Liam is a vibrant, confident, precocious four-year-old.  The change was immediate and upsetting.  One foot into The Cage and he was a timid, quiet, bug-eyed boy.  He waited, sealed to my side until his name was called then joined the other kids with his head down and dragging steps.

We followed him into his classroom, helped him find the Liam-hook and a Liam name-tag.  He rolled his eyes during Oh Canada while another little boy whispered so loudly he spit, "Why do we have to be QUIET?"

We said our goodbyes.  No one was too old for hugs and kisses.  We left him in the capable hands of Mrs. McKrombie and her okay boys and girls teacher voice.

6 hours later.  We pick him up.  He's grumpy.  The teacher says quietly, "He was a bit F-U-S-S-Y this afternoon but he did okay."  Apparently he cried because he wanted to go home.

We got him in the car.  He crossed his arms over his chest defiantly and declared loudly, "I QUIT!"

Now what?

We spent all our energies talking about school - how cool it was, how fun, how everyone has to go to school, "Even John Lennon went to school, Liam."

Today he went back without any protest.  He said hello to his teacher.  He came home happy, talking about singing I'm A Little Tea Pot, about a boy named Riley and a girl named Emma, about the sandbox and the toy barn.  Zander made a point of stopping by The Cage to say hi at recess.  He's actually disappointed that he has to wait until Wednesday to go back.

I hate that he cried on his first day.  But now that those first day jitters are past I think he'll be fine - in fact, I'm sure it won't be long before the teacher's telling me he's insisting on some AC/DC instead of that teapot stuff and I'm looking forward to that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

City Trekking

It was creeping in.  Fire-tints on maple leaves.  Cool wind.  Rain.  The baseboard heater in the bathroom kicking on while we shiver through a midnight pee.  This is Fall.  How did I miss the summer?  When did it sneak away?  One night I'm sweating into my bed sheets.  The next I'm contemplating wearing socks to sleep and looking for the quilts in the top of the cabinet.  We decided our deadened spirits needed a pick-me-up that wouldn't cost a fortune.  We went to the city.

waiting for the subway
Toronto is another world for us.  It's big and loud and beautiful (in the right light and from the right angle).  Our hotel was attached to the airport and had lovely white linens that my kids jumped on the same as they would Liam's Ikea zoo-print duvet.  We rode the subway, sitting in the front cars so the kids could watch the tracks, listening to Noa's, "Woaw" and "Choo, Choo."  We back-to-school shopped in a WalMart the size of P.E.I.  We passed a sculpture of a naked man - Zander was mortified - "Why would anyone want a statue of some naked guy in the middle of the sidewalk."  Yeah, they don't do things like that in our innocent wee Durham town.  We wandered around the base of the CN Tower, so close that we had to look straight up to see the top and it created an illusion that it was falling on us real slowly which made me dizzy and the kids giggle.  We found the old train station and balanced along the tracks.  We traveled the boardwalk at the waterfront and watched what Liam thought was a pirate ship for sure.  We stayed up late.  We smiled at the 60 year old waitress who didn't put chocolate sauce on the kids sundaes and thought I was strange that I wanted whipped cream on my slice of to-go pie.  "Are you sure, Love?" she asked, exasperated, as if she cared more about my waist-line than I do myself.  We swam in the 24 hour pool.  Zander can swim under water.  Just all of a sudden he decided he could do it - so he did.  We slept in.  We drank 7 cups of complementary Star Bucks coffee.  I took a million pictures.  Scott drank a $20 Guinness.  We used up $47 worth of gas.  We laughed.
the boys @ the old train station

It was two days very well spent.
train's here!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When The Fair Falls

The kids in front of our Group Display with our 3rd place ribbon
I had the bug as a child - that desperate need to create and craft in hopes that my many toils may yield the few precious dollars of a first place sticker.  And now Zander's caught it.  He worked hard all through August.  Which means I worked hard all through August.  Cutting.  Pasting.  Taping.  Papermache-ing.  Painting.  Sketching.  Whew!  And to top it all off, I was asked to help with the set up and the judging and Zander wanted us to enter the group display as a family.  And we did it all.  And I entered my own stuff.  Again, WHEW!

But it was fun.  And I'm glad it's over.  Between the two of us we made over $130 in prize money!  Zander's beaming.  I'm exhausted.  But it was fun and it was worth it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How Much Do You Love Me?

When I ask Zander how much he loves me he usually says something like, "More than ice cream."  And I'll take it.  (Once he said it was more than his DSi.  Once.  I'll keep working on that.)

When I ask Liam how much he loves me he answers with, "Two Hundwed and Eighty-Fouwr!"  And I'll take it.

When I ask Noa how much she loves me she shrugs, says, "No-wa.  Mom-ma," pats my head and kisses my cheek.  And I'll take it.

If they ever ask me how much I love them I would say, "More than 284 scoops of ice cream!"  And it would blow their minds!