Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Like I Am New Here

Last Wednesday Boy 2 announced that they didn't have school on Thursday or Friday. Parent Teacher Interviews, you know.  I was taken by surprise but checked his organizer which confirmed his story:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Clinical Depression

Last weekend PHD's sister came to visit, all the way from Nova Scotia. She brought with her a whole host of fun stories that usually started like, "You remember Peter,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Family Vacation MacFuddle Style

While imagining a week of blissful family time camping in the beautiful wilderness,  I planned a week long family vacation to Jasper and Banff National Parks. Looking back at that level of fantasy (Blissful? Seriously?),

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Beautiful Family Moment

I just lost *, in our own house.  Turns out he was in the shower, not truly lost. It was more that I wasn't really paying attention.  When he came out he asked why I left the shower cleaner in the tub.  I said I was going to wash the tub but then I became very busy reading parenting blogs. He said, "You don't need those." I almost teared up, I was so moved. Then, completely unprovoked, he farted at me. 

*Name has been censured to prevent embarrassment of farting party...Maybe I am a good parent.

I would have preferred flowers

Friday, August 2, 2013


This morning Boy 2 asked PHD to carry him upstairs.

PHD:  I am not carrying a 7 year old around.
Boy 2: I am NINE.
PHD:  Oh.

Then they stood there and looked at each other, as though they were unsure who won that round.

The answer, boys, is NO ONE.  No one wins...

Someone is losing his marbles...

Friday, July 26, 2013

One of my friends mentioned that her son liked to read books with lots of facts then recite them to his parents. She said they find it exhausting. At first I was confused then it slowly dawned on me: Some parents listen when their kids go on and on and on. And on. What if my ignoring the incessant chatter negatively affects their self-esteem?

Since I don't want kids with low-self esteem, of course, I thought I better pull up my socks. One morning I tried really hard to actually listen. I also felt really guilty about not being a good listener up to this point (only the last 12 years or so) so I thought I would take them to the lake for the day to make it up to them. Fair trade, I thought. I also thought I should try harder to listen while I drive.  This is what it sounds like:

Mom, do you have any jobs for me to do for money?  I need more bills in my wallet.  I don't want to mow the lawn or wash the car.
What do you think spiders do for entertainment?
It's hot out, I am hot.
How long until we get to the lake?  Can I have pop there? Are there fish in the lake?  Remember the last time we went and I got a leech on me?  Gross.
People with big eyes freak me out.  Sharks used to freak me out but then I learned how to roll in the kayak.  I did it a bunch of times and now sharks don't scare me. Monkeys still freak me out, though. 
Oooh, I dropped it.  That will probably melt down there.
Did you see that ad for neosporin?
NO.  Mio Sport.
No, I haven't.

I felt like screaming but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop. And then we almost got hit by a semi.  Seriously.  Gigantic truck tried to change lanes into my lane.  My little car came up to his hub cab. It kept getting closer and closer, squeezing me towards the sidewalk. I finally got past him before he completely crushed us.  The almost accident seemed to last for about 10 minutes. It was probably only about 10 seconds but maybe longer because I actually had to take a breath mid-scream.  That's right - I don't honk at the semi, I scream, take a deep breath and scream some more. Brilliant. But I was able to stop screaming once I got my car past the semi.  So that's good news.

The lesson today is this: Listening to every word that comes out of your kids' mouths is dangerous. (Well, my kids' mouths, I don't know about your kids.  Maybe your kids spout beautiful poetry 24-7) From now on I will just take them to the lake or buy them expensive things to build their self-esteem. Or just buy them a can of pop. 

The lake is much better than getting hit by a semi.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My brain was protecting me from that memory

I had completely forgotten about this. Shortly after we returned from Florida, and I had the first inkling that we might not be the class act I imagine us to be(Redneck), our  front doorknob gave out.  I guess it was old and tired of turning all the time so it quit doing that. Sometimes we couldn't get into the house and sometimes we couldn't get out.  It was a fun little adventure for about a week. Especially the time I was stuck on the front step in -35C weather. PHD finally took out the doorknob and decided it couldn't be fixed. 

Here is yet another example of how differently we handle situations. I thought we should go to Home Depot and get a new doorknob, you know, one that turned, and maybe even locked.  Here was PHD's solution:

When I suggested that a tea towel jammed into the hole in place of an installed doorknob was less than ideal, he looked at me like I was insane, "Are you worried a tiny robber will stick his hand in and unlock the deadbolt?"  I said, "No, I am worried that I need to explain to you why it is ridiculous to use a dish towel as a doorknob."  What I was really worried about was that in that moment, I couldn't think of a single valid reason why we couldn't just use the towel to plug the hole. PHD has broken my common sense.  So I went to bed and had dreams about eyes peeking in the hole, or things slithering in. 

He did put in a doorknob about two days later.  Since then, I have figured out why you can't use a dishtowel as a doorknob.  The missing doorknob is just the beginning.  Next maybe you think the front lawn is a good place to keep a spare toilet, you get a gun rack in your truck, or maybe you get a goat as a pet. It all starts to seem reasonable.

It's a slippery slope people.

Friday, July 12, 2013

11 Ways To Torture Your Brother

  1. Threaten to post the password to his ipod on Facebook or YouTube.
  2. Go with him to the bank to reset his pin. When he seems to be trying to hide his new pin say things like "there's a camera right there watching you put that number in" or "Nooo, I didn't see what you entered...except the last four digits."
  3. Touch his stuff. Any of it. While he is looking right at you.
  4. Tell him you touched his stuff. Even when you didn't.
  5. Tell him you will only leave him alone while he is talking to that girl at the park if he will give you $20.
  6. Wait until Mom is really mad at him for something that is probably your fault, then give her a big hug. Smile at your brother at the same time.
  7. Go in his room. When he says get out, step out. Then step back in. Repeat until he tries to punch you. Tell Mom, "He just punched me! For NO reason!" When she isn't looking, step back into his room.
  8. Change the channel whenever he is watching anything. Consistency is key to eliciting an unreasonable reaction that might get him in trouble with the parents. 
  9. Crack your knuckles, shoulders, toes, whatever will activate that startle reflex.
  10. Speaking of startle reflex, hide around corners and jump out at least once a day.
  11. Don't forget to breathe. As loud as you can without hyperventilating. If you can figure out a way to breathe on him without him being able to reach you, even better.
Learning to scamper up a pole away from him is probably not a bad idea

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sink or Swim

I told the boys I was thinking about putting them in week long swimming lessons while I was on holidays so they would have to go twice a day but it would only be a week long.  This started a two-boy chorus of whining, groaning and complaining.  

Boy 2:  I am not taking swimming lessons.  I hate them.
Me: You have to take them.  It is an important lifelong skill and I am not allowing you to quit until you are done all the badges.
Boy 1: Well that isn't really quitting then, if we are all done.  That's like saying "You can quit school when you are done university." That isn't quitting, that's finishing.
Me:  Good point.  Let me rephrase: You are both finishing swimming and school. 

Throughout this exchange Boy 2 is making a noise that sounds like a Formula One race, "Reeeeeeeeeee, Reeeeeeeee. " I think it is meant to convey frustration but it could also be designed to drive me completely bats.  Under this extraordinary sensory pressure I come up with this:

"If we are ever in a flood like in Calgary, you will be glad you can swim.  It could save your life.  Or, (I am warming up, now) if you are ever stranded in the ocean, you don't want to be the slowest swimmer or you will be the one eaten by sharks. The best swimmers, are the safest, right?"

Boy 2: No, the people in the boats are the safest.
Me:  You are correct, and boats cost money so you have to finish school and get a good job so you can buy a boat!

Wait, what?

To recap, I think I won the argument that we weren't having about finishing school AND distracted them from refusing to take swimming lessons.  On a parenting scale of 1 - 10,  I rate myself a solid 7 this round.  If they start having shark nightmares I might have to scale that back a bit.

Checking for Sharks, or at least, slower swimmers

Friday, June 28, 2013

So Far, I Won This One

Boy 1 just stepped off PHD's new elliptical machine after a good 30 second test drive and started this:

Boy 1:  That hurts. How do you run marathons? Are you insane?
Me:  Not insane, just awesome.
Boy 1: Awesomely Crazy.
Me: Just plain awesome.
Boy 1: -ly Insane.
Boy 1: -ly insane.
Me (as he goes downstairs):  Just awesome.

Pretty sure I won this round. Unless he reads this.  Then it is probably not over.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Boy One or the Other

After showing one of the boys (can't say which one because he doesn't want me writing about him right now.  This is my workaround. My plan is foolproof.) bruises I got from playing soccer, he says, "See, that's why old people shouldn't play soccer."  I give him The Look which is clearly so disturbing to him that he shrugs and mutters, "Just sayin' ".

Kids are so good for the self-esteem.  

It occurred to me I should work on the manners thing a bit.  I explained  to the boys that you need to think about your words before they come out of your mouth.  Apply filters.  For example, it isn't nice to call people fat or bald or anything that pops into your head that might hurt their feelings, even if it is true. Curb the blurting, people.

However, this child is also creative. At dinner he said, "We should get Dad a treadmill."  PHD of course asks him why and the boy says, "Well you aren't skinny." About as tactful as a punch in the face. But, he didn't call him fat, so that's progress.

Then I had to drive PHD's truck on a gravel road and we fishtailed slightly when I pulled over to pass an oncoming vehicle. Boy ___ said, "Maybe driving the truck isn't for you." Fairly tactful, right?

I even overheard same boy telling PHD, after a blurt (PHD's doing the blurting, not the children), "Daaaddd,  Mom says you need to think about things before you say them." Learn one, do one, teach one, in action right there. Not quite a good as shutting up completely, but he is only __ (I better not identify him by his age.  Did I mention I am brilliant?) I have some time before a daughter-in-law arrives on the scene to appreciate the good work I have done for her. 

Huh. I just realized that my need to please has gotten so out-of-control that I am now structuring my parenting around a possible future person that I may or may not meet in 20 or so years. That poor, currently non-existent girl has a tough road ahead of her. But then, so do I.  We already have something in common.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

I have had worse nicknames...

I ran into the boys' basketball coach at gymnastics. She wondered if the boys were playing basketball this year and I enthusiastically chirped, "Yes I will see you at registration on Tuesday." She patiently explained that registration was actually yesterday, but if I could make it to the general meeting across town before it was over in 20 minutes, I would be okay. 

We raced over to the meeting and arrived with about 5 minutes to spare. Of course Boy 2 refuses to get out of the car. Against my better judgement I agree to let him stay in the car to play on my phone. I race in, fill out forms and wait impatiently while the coaches discuss the intricacies of which team my boys should be on. What felt like hours but was probably 10 minutes later, I burst out of the building to realize the sun had set. I feel a full-out panic attack rising, thinking, "oh God, he will be freaking out, he's all alone in the car, oh God, he's in the dark, what if he tries to get out of the car, oh God, he will get run over..." As this loop plays in my head I start to pick up speed, cross the road, and break into a full out sprint down the street in an effort to get to my poor abandoned baby. As I sprint I start clicking the unlock button on my keys. Click, doesn't seem to be working, I can't see the lights flashing, click again, oh God, he is probably losing it, click, he's probably terrified, click, why can't I see the lights? What is going on? It was like one of those nightmares where you run and run and can't get anywhere. Then I realized I was at the end of the block. I stop running, turn slowly around and think, "Frack, where is my car?" Click. Oh there, half a block back, about where I started clicking unlock frantically. I run back to the car to find my poor abandoned baby hysterically LAUGHING. He says, "You went by like a BULLET, Mom." 

A bullet. A panicked, slightly mentally challenged bullet. Awesome.

Friday, June 7, 2013

That's one way to go...

PHD lost his cell phone one morning.  His solution went like this:

1. Run up and down stairs looking for phone in places he's never been, yelling random curse words while throwing sofa cushions around.  
2. Borrow Boy 1's phone for the day.
3. Go to cell phone store to price out new phone and recycle Boy 1's phone.  (????)
4.  Come home and shout at wife when she wonders why he would have recycled Boy 1's phone, and if paying $650 for a new phone is a good solution.

Total time spent: 10.5 hours
Planned spending: $650 + gas to cell phone store  = about $6,000.  I may be exaggerating slightly but I am not including the cost to replace the recycled phone so it's probably close.

My solution:

1. Tell Boy 2 if he can find the phone I will pay him $20.  
2. Find phone on arm of sofa beside the spot PHD likes to stand to talk on phone.
3.  Pay $10 to Boy 2 because he looked really hard, too.

Total time spent:  5 minutes
Total spent:  $10

I won! Then I think about what I have actually won and I feel sad.  But not for long because I won! Plus I just saved us $6,000 with my awesomeness so I am off to the mall. Nope, sorry, exaggerating again, it is only $5,990, or something like that. I'm not very mathy.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I am about 27% sure I am hard of hearing

I don't want influence your opinion but after reading Sunday's post over again, I believe Episodes 2 and 3 support the theory that I am hard of hearing. Episode 1 is just a bad day...So, how do I solve my hearing issues? I do find that if I use my sunglasses to push my hair back behind my ears I hear much better, kind of a DIY hearing aid. Which, now that I think about it, sounds a lot like a manual eyelid lifter, which sounds a lot like mental issues. 

So I the point is, I am still trapped in my circle of uncertainty, I think.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Episode 3

"What is she doing?", you ask?  Check it out here:  Episode 1 and here:  Episode 2. If you know what is going on, you are probably thinking, "Yay!  The final episode is here!" Or you aren't reading this at all.  It's okay, you are probably really busy.

One day I went to Costco to buy muffins and spent about one thousand dollars.  The more interesting part is that the lady that was packing (by packing I meaning pretending my cart was a basketball hoop and every item was a possible 3 pointer) my stuff, grabbed the six pack of blueberry muffins and said, "Can I have a muffin?" I looked at her.  She looked at me.  I thought, "Doesn't Costco let staff eat as many as they want? They should. If not, it does explain why their staff looks about as engaged as  an American DMV worker."  I was about to say, "Sure, if you are hungry, help yourself" when I realized the packer person had asked if I had another package of muffins, not if she could have a muffin.  That made me laugh manically for an uncomfortably long time.  Both clerks and the people behind me were looking at me, frozen, probably thinking they were witnessing a mental breakdown.  Naturally, I had to explain what was so funny and everyone laughed uncomfortably until I pushed my giant cart away.  Awkward.

So, what is the point, you ask?  Well that's what I am asking you - what conclusion do you come to?    Keep up, would you? You may need to read the first line of Episode 1 again. To which conclusion do you come.  Which conclusion do you come to?  Damn it. 

Fine, here's another pretty picture of Las Vegas. Same deal as last time. Free Delivery anywhere in the world with purchase of this print for only $10,000.

Or, maybe you like this one better:  

Or maybe you like both and are thinking, "I can't decide!"  No worries, I am service oriented.  How about buy one, get one half off? Let me know, but don't delay, this deal is hot.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Episode 2

For an explanation of what the hell is going on here, please visit Episode 1.

As we watched a movie trailer about Meryl Streep at a marriage counselor, PHD told me he liked male strippers. My first thought wasn't, "Oh no, my husband is gay, our whole 17 years of marriage has been a lie", it was, "Is he trying to tell me he wants to go to counselling? That seems really time-consuming." I slowly realized he said he liked Meryl Streep, not male strippers. Not the same thing at all.

Episode 2 is very short so here is a pretty picture from the Bellagio Gardens in Vegas. I took the picture all by myself and it is completely unrelated to anything in this series. Sorry. Or, if you like it, you are welcome. If you really like it, a limited edition print is available for $10,000. Personal delivery is included in that price

To be continued... (dun, dun, duh)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Episode 1

A few things happened lately that made me wonder: Am I mentally ill, genetically predisposed to quirkiness or just hard of hearing?  I will lay it out for you and see what conclusion you come to.  Or to which conclusion you come.  That sounds weird, too. Do you ever get to the place where none of the words you write seem right?   Too Yup, Me.

Then, as I tried to work out the answer to this question, the post became so long that I decided it was time for something new:  A WEB SERIES!  I can't wait to see what happens.  The series is 3 episodes, unless I feel like making it longer.  

Anyway, first I would like to introduce my Grandma V. (I promise this will all come together at some point.  Actually, promise is a strong word.  I should say, there is an outside chance this post may make sense by the end.)  Grandma's always been a bit, uh, quirky. She has had numerous health challenges over her life and has grown to distrust doctors.  I used to think that was nutty but as I watch doctors get younger over the years, I have more empathy for her viewpoint.  A few years back, she needed cataract surgery in one eye but she didn't trust the doctor to perform the surgery.  I am only guessing but it was likely because he might pop in a hidden camera while he was in there, or steal her good cornea.  You never know. So, clearly, the most reasonable alternative to laser surgery is to lift your eyelid with your fingertips any time you want to see who is talking to you.  Obviously, I am no doctor but I don't understand how the manual eyelid lifting thing helps her cataract.  Would pulling your eyelid up with your index finger make a tiny shade?  I think the cataract would still be there, only it would be darker.  Unless she's trying to use the eyelid as a reflector to get more light in. Okay, that makes sense. 

Now that you have a glimpse of my genetic background, consider the following episodes/incidents:

I ran out to get groceries and when I returned to the house I pushed my sunglasses up on my head to hold my hair back.  Three hours later when I left to pick up the kids, I couldn't find my sunglasses so I pulled out another pair and raced off.  Half an hour later, and many encounters with normal human beings later, I realized I was actually wearing two pairs of sunglasses, one on my eyes and one as a hairband.  And, I am not even sure that was the worst part of my outfit.

End Episode 1 - To be continued...(Insert dramatic music here, sounds kinda like "dund, dun, daaaa" in my head.  I also make piano-playing motions with my hands at the same time but you don't have to do that.  Unless you want to.)