My Piece Of Heaven Is Actually Quite Hellish

Remember those days, when going for a leisurely bike ride was actually a fun thing?

Well, no more.

Now, it's a plethora (yes, a plethora, I say) of agony and all things hellish, replete with moaning, whiny children who can't seem to make it past the first five blocks before needing a drink, a rest, and a long nap. And my children are 14 and 11 years old.

God help me if I ever go on a bike ride with my children ever again. It was that bad. And stupid me, here I was waiting for this day, counting the years until my children could finally go on bike rides with us, and what fun we would have! A big NOT.

It started when I looked out the front window and saw our neighbours across the street going for a nice weekend bike ride. And I thought, 'How nice. What a nice family. Look how wonderful they look. Don't they look like the perfect little nuclear family. Hey! We can be that family. In fact, we are that family. Dammit, we're going to go biking, and we're going to smile doing it.'

I scream up the stairs at Mr. Handsome, who is armpit-deep in taxes, and suggest a quaint, effortless family bike ride. "Sure!" he says.

Fifteen minutes later, we're off. Mr. Handsome gives me the awesome bike with many doodads, 3,521 gears and a very nicely padded seat for my bony ass, he takes his other, not-so-nice bike, and the kids each have their own.

As an aside, in Ottawa, we are extremely fortunate in that our fair city is connected by a tangled, yet wonderfully organized path system, so you can get from Point A to Point Z almost solely on very safe bicycle paths, some that wind through green forests and beside the Ottawa River or the Rideau River, and continue on into Quebec and the Gatineau Hills. We are blessed.

I surely didn't feel blessed, however, when we were on our way, and Em soon began complaining that her legs hurt. Of course, she's been working hard at waterpolo, and was doing some strange new maneuvres in gym class at school, so she had some reason, but still ... Then she began coughing up her lungs (to be fair, she's still recovering from a bad cold from March), and that just wasn't making her very happy. Her bike was also not co-operating, so that she couldn't change gears properly, so she was stuck in fifth gear or something, and was having a helluva time going up any inclines. And, of course, there were many. Inclines.

Photo taken by Em. She's good, eh?

Meanwhile, I'm singing to the heavens, trying hard to ignore my daughter's bleats, and focusing on the amazing fresh spring air that's entering my wintry, dead lungs, reviving my lagging body. I say to Em, "This is my heaven," as I easily pedal along the path. The trees are budding, the creek water is burbling, and I needed this break so badly, I realized. I haven't felt such happiness in a very long time.

Em's the one with the funny yellow cap on. She's about to whack the boy over the head. Great game, waterpolo is.

It was short-lived.

We finally stop at the river, and sit on the bench overlooking the water, and watch two Canada Geese make their way onto the shore, as well as mounds of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes walk, ride, and rollerblade down the pathway.

And then the bickering starts.

Dee goes over to where Em is lying on her very own bench, softly moaning. And he thinks it would be kind of funny to almost sit on her head. Of course, Em doesn't think so, and starts screaming at him, and swatting him with her hands. Dee retaliates, hitting her back with all his force, teeth bared. Wolf and sheep. Where did my innocent little children go?

After that, Em was in a bitter, bitter mood. She makes some other not-so-nice comments, and we are waiting for her so that we can start heading back home, and she decides she's not ready, because she still has to whine some more. Mr. Handsome then thinks it would be kind of funny to tie her shoes together. This just makes Em cry and not want to go anywhere. So Mr. Handsome helps her decide it's now time by pouring some very cold water onto her exposed back, which results in high-pitched screaming from Em's depths.

Yes, we are amazing parents. That I know for sure.

I softly remind her that she's embarrassing herself, she's 14 years old for Chrissakes', and would she just get the hell up and get on the damn bike.

She finally does, and we're off.

Then it's Dee's turn to create havoc in my little piece of heaven. Because he happens to zoom right through a stop sign, and across a street, oblivious to the fact that he could easily have been flattened like a pancake had there been a car driving by at that moment. We call him back, and point out said stop sign, and explain to him the dangers of ignoring stop signs, and Dee decides he's going to pout, and not move. So we sit there for a few minutes before I win that fight and he begins riding again, but more slowly than is actually humanly possible. Somehow, it's as if he's actually riding backwards.

Once I scream at him to get his ass in gear, he starts speeding up, but not without consequences. After a few minutes, he stops again, this time in full-blown tears. His chest hurts, he says, and he can't go any farther.

By this point, I am ready to ditch the bike and hike over to the McDonald's behind the trees, and drown my sorrows in a chocolate fudge sundae and a supersized fries, but I don't, because what kind of mother does that? So, instead, I again warn him to get going, just slow down, and he'll live. He doesn't believe me, and again rides so slowly I can't ride behind him without swerving widely from one side of the path to the other in an attempt to keep balance, all the while avoiding bikers coming from the other direction.

My heaven has now officially turned to hell.

Fortunately, we were almost home, so I ended up going up ahead a bit just to keep my sanity and enjoy the birds singing sans the children's whines. By this time, my heaven is non-existent.

We finally get home, and Mr. Handsome calmly opens the garage so we can park our bikes. Em decided to go up another street to get home, so she comes toddling up seconds later, teary-eyed and blubbering.


Now she's worried that it's her turn to walk the damn dog, and she's so exhausted that she just doesn't know how she's going to do it, and the heavens are coming down around her as she speaks, and won't someone please save her from her misery.

So, I offer to walk the damn dog for her (Gryphon obviously has a new name now -- Damn Dog, not to be confused with Stupid Dog), and take him for a leisurely stroll after dinner, taking along my new camera, vowing it's going to be a walk full of birdsong, happiness, and amazing sunset shots.

Instead, the dog was in one of his moods and wouldn't stop pulling, he shit over a quarter of someone's lawn because he doesn't seem to know that dogs are supposed to stay still as they do the poop crouch, so I had to spend 10 minutes finding all his nuggets, and the only shot I got was this:

Awesome fence shot, by Me.

Amazing fence, eh? I know. I think I've got a future in this photography thing.

Might as well, because I've got to find my slice of heaven again.


At least your kids are athletic!
Deb said…
mo.stoneskin said…
I'm a bit worried about the poor man. Armpit-deep in taxes?!
dizzblnd said…
If it is a teenager or a dog... it's gonna give you shit! Sorry your heaven was not so heavenly.. it would have been a perfect day. You should make them feel incredibly guilty about ruining it.. I would!
dani c said…
Great pics, but I don't see the poop nuggets ?
pam said…
You have just given me flash backs to the paper route last Friday night. And.....just about every outing we have ever attempted. You know what we always say...our kids ruin every holiday and family outing.

Okay, 10 minutes have now passed since I wrote the above part. Good God in Heaven, they all want to go shopping with me this AM. I thought at least Matt would want to stay home. I heart PA days.
Skye said…
Well Mary, you tried, but getting teenagers to enjoy that which you want them to, is pretty damned hard! Me, I wouldn't go for a bike ride, it hurts too much, so I walk. As for taking kids along, not if I'm walking in order to get "My Piece Of Heaven"!
Shana said…
I wanted to see some shots of the poop nuggets.
Funny how kids don't. get. tired. when. they. do. what. THEY. want.
lol you poor thing...
I hate when I have heaven envisioned and two little voices change it to hell. GRRR.
Cathy Winsby said…
If I didn't know better I'd think you were talking about my daughter!! At least I'm not the only one handling an emotionally charged teenage girl. :) As for the dog...mine won't shit in anyones yard except ours, dammit! Oh well, gives my son something to do...hehe!!
Lauren said…
OMG your family is hysterical. I can't wait until I have my hubby to tie my daughters shoes together. Sounds like the best time in the entire world!
Gaston Studio said…
LOL, and I, too, have a dog that is a traveling pooper!
Quirkyloon said…
Oh Mary!

I feel for ya GF!

But, that is a terrific shot of a fence!

heh heh
♥Trina♥ said…

This is why John and I chose not to have children of our own.
Missy said…
The pleasure of Fresh Air and Exercise with the children! That is why I am fat and agoraphobic!
3 Bay B Chicks said…
Oh, Mary. I think your first mis-step was looking across the way at your neighbors and being inspired.

I hope we all learned a valuable lesson here today. Next time something like this happens to you, simply look at the biking family and think, "suckers!"

Michel said…
Family. Awesome.
Don said…
You've got two kids AND a bony ass? I'd like to see that. Er, I mean figuratively only. Sorry the bike ride fizzled out. Trying something like family bungee jumping next time!
Jenni Jiggety said…
Kids ruin EVERYTHING! Why do we love them so damn much? LOL!
Fragrant Liar said…
:)) You had me laughing most of the piece. What a great post. Thanks a bunch for sharing your hellish slice of heaven.

Oh, and your poor, poor children. Overworked and stressed and . . . yeah, yeah. I just sit back and enjoy these things, now that mine are grown and hearing it from their own. Heh, heh. I'm such a great nana.
Oh my gosh, that is hilarious. I feel like I go through all that before we even leave the house when I try and get my kids to do anything in the shiny outdoors. I just can't take all the whining and complaining while they are out!! Fortunately, only my middle one is has a real problem with it... I call him my future Dungeon & Dragon Wizard. ;-)

And I really liked that fence picture, btw. :)
Amazing photographs Holy...Em is awesome.!!!!!

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