Monday, August 31, 2009

Framed Photos Are Now School Supplies! Who Knew?

Who knew that hunting for school supplies could lead one to an old girlfriend, a disagreement, and lots of "umms" and "errrs" from an embarrassed husband?

That's right. And right before our 18th anniversary, which is today, by the way. Happy Anniversary, dear.

One of Mr. Handsome's many jobs around the house is to get the kids' school supplies ready for the school year. And he does it very well, I might add.

What he doesn't do so well is make sure framed photos of his ex-girlfriend are not also in the box of said school supplies. Oh yes he did.

Oh, he tried to hide the evidence. Obviously, after 18 years of marriage, he still doesn't know how detail-oriented I am, how I see everything, hear everything. Know. Everything.

I grabbed the gold-framed photo of his ex (who, I might add, at first glance looked a lot like a younger version of Mr. Handsome), and asked for an explanation.

Folks, there was none. Surprised? Me neither.

I asked how he'd feel if I framed a few pictures of my past beloveds and had them hanging around the house, just because.

His answer? "Sure. And while you're at it, it would be great if you had their phone numbers and addresses as well."


The funny thing is, I'm not jealous. I don't really care. I just think it's hilarious, and a little strange. Interesting, even. Because I'm always curious as to why people do what they do. Always have been, always will be. So, why keep an ugly fake gold lame framed photo of your girlfriend from 25 years ago? What reason could there be? Especially if said girlfriend could be mistaken for a boy...

I'm thinking I just may pull out some of my old boyfriend photos (and there are so many of them) and throw them into a few beauty frames I have lying around. And then, when Mr. Handsome comes home tonight to take me out on the town for our 18th, he can say hi to the guys as well! The more the merrier, I always say.

Happy 18th, sweetie! Can't wait to turn old and gray with you! Wait a minute! We already did that...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Confusion Abounds

To give you just a little idea of how confused and utterly "out of it" I am, I cannot even get the smallest thing right.

Case in point: is it blue box week, or black box week?

In our fair city, we alternate between recycling plastics one week, paper the other. It's the city's awesome and entirely economically-minded way to save a penny by forcing its residents to fill their bins to the brim, then buy another bin because one is almost never enough to last two weeks. Bins break because you try to stuff them as full as they can be filled, and then you fill them some more, and then they break, and then you swear loudly, and then your neighbours shun you even more.

The big question around our house most every week is: Is it black box or blue box? And god knows why no one can ever keep it straight from one week to the next. We never know. Every week, it's as if it's the first week ever of having to figure out which box it is, because we all look at each other come Wednesday evening, as if it's the first time we've ever had to even think about boxes in even a general sense, and start wondering which colour box we're supposed to put out to the curb. You'd never know our house contains a gifted student, and two adults with degrees.

And, while we're on the subject of coloured boxes, why couldn't they have come up with nicer colours for our recycling boxes? Like, maybe a bright fuchsia for paper, and maybe a dark spring green for plastics. You know, something a little jazzier, a little happier. Because god knows we all need a little more happiness and jazz in this life of ours.

Anyway, it was Wednesday evening, and it's Dee's responsibility to put out the garbage. And, as usual, he asks which box it is. And I, being the astute one of the family, always know which colour it is. Just like I know when it's time to change the guinea pig cage, or how I know when one of the kids isn't telling the truth, or how I know when Mr. Handsome has something up his sleeve. I just know.

So, Dee asks, and I answer, fully confident that I am once again totally in the know, totally omniscient, the goddess of all that is anything. "It's black box, sweetie," I tell him, in my goddess-like motherly voice that brings birds from afar to light on my shoulders, and the sun's rays to shine down on me from the heavens.

Thursday morning, we watch as truck after truck go by our house, not one stopping to pick up our garbage, nor our black box. Yes, this is how we spend our Thursday mornings. Exciting, I know. You too can do this when you unemployed! Believe me, it's as good as lying on a beach in Hawaii with a mai tai in either hand.

"Why are all the trucks just going by our house, Mommy?" Dee asks.

"Oh, they're probably picking up leaf bags," I say, fully confident in my judgment.

Dee peeks out the window and notices an overturned blue box at the neighbour's, which he mentions to me, nonchalantly.

"Blue box? BLUE BOX?! Why would they have a blue box out?" I ask, shocked that anyone would put their paper out in a blue box instead of the regulated BLACK box. How uncouth of them, our neighbours who love to come over to our property and clean it. I make a mental note to write them a little message and slip it into their mailbox at the first opportunity, reminding them that black boxes are for papers, NOT blue. God.

Then I command Dee to take a look down the street, just in case, and make sure everyone else has their black boxes out. Dee does as I request, while I check the online site just to ensure that I am indeed correct, as I always am, of course.

Dee comes back inside to tell me, just as I simultaneously discover, that it is indeed BLUE BOX week, and NOT black box week. What. The. Hell.

I am shocked beyond disbelief. How could this be? How could I be so wrong? So very, very wrong.

Once again, we are the laughing stock of the neighbourhood. We, who need the neighbours to come and clean our lawn, and scoff at our longer-than-a-millimetre grass, who never invite us to any of the neighbourhood parties...

We are once again (and still) the bane of everyone's existence. And, alas, I am possibly not the goddess of all knowledge, as I thought I was.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adolescence Redux

For the past year or so, I feel almost as if I've been going back in time, back to my pubescence, my time of adolescent unknown.

You know that time, when you thought you knew everything, and yet you really knew nothing, and deep down inside, you were more confused than you ever thought possible. The Great Unknown Future reared its ugly head for the first time, and trying to figure out what the hell you were going to do with the rest of your life began creeping into your thoughts without you even realizing it.

Well, I'm rather unexpectedly at that place once again in my life, strangely enough. I never thought such a thing could happen, at my age. I'm in my 40s, for god's sake.

But here I am, nonetheless, in more ways than one. At least as a silly, flighty and relatively carefree teenager, my main worry, besides boys, boys, finding pants long enough to reach my ankles, and acne, was what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Nowadays, my main worries are many and varied, and include my kids, my health, and what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. Some things never change.

Since becoming unemployed, I've been doing a lot of soul-searching, a lot of delving and digging, trying to finally figure out who I am and what I'm doing here on this earth. Of course, there are some questions that will always go unanswered, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to try.

For one thing, I've been trying to figure out my kids. Here we have a beautiful daughter, 14 going on 26, who has entered her teen years with such a vengeance that it takes my breath away. She is beautiful and very smart, and yet still so very young. She doesn't yet know what she doesn't know, and it's scary. This world is a scary place, and we find ourselves trying so hard to protect her, to hold onto her just a little longer, to keep all the hurts away. But she's growing up, and so fast, with a boyfriend now, and thoughts and urges and feelings she doesn't know what to do with. And, of course, Mr. Handsome and I know nothing. The arguments are many, the words of love few, and it hurts my heart.

Then, we have our son, 11 years old, in-between boy and teen, trying so hard to be grown-up, and yet still so much a little boy. It's hard to know how to treat him most of the time, because although he isn't a baby anymore, he loves being babied, so what's a mom to do when she tries to give her son a hug and he runs away, screaming? Or when he comes in crying because he fell down and scraped a knee, and yet, when you go to comfort him, he gets angry and upset because he's not a baby anymore. God help me.

And then there's the whole job issue. I've been searching, and applying, but nothing's happened yet, which is fine, and yet, not so fine. I've also been trying to finally figure out what I'd like to do with the rest of my working life, and my thoughts are leading me closer and closer to returning to a career in writing. When I was writing, I was happiest, it seems. Maybe I should finally listen to myself. Getting back into writing is difficult, to say the least, and that's what's making it so hard to decide. I'm not one to give up easily, never have been, but I'm no longer alone, and have a family to feed and a house to keep up, so money is not as unimportant in my life as it once was.

Today, I sent Em off to a morning of orientation at her high school, her first day of four years there. She's attending the same high school I went to so many years ago (can you say 30 years?), and just the thought of that brings back many memories and feelings I thought I had entirely forgotten.

So, while Em sits in the huge auditorium and listens to teachers and then tries to find her homeroom in that great big maze of hallways, doors and flights of stairs, all as part of her entrance into a new, big world that simply sits before her, waiting for her to discover it, beckoning, I sit at home and attempt to do exactly the same thing, only with perhaps a bit more knowledge, and a lot more fear.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Too Sick To Think

Feeling a little worse for wear ... my amazingly titillating, scintillating and erudite ramblings will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry, folks!

And no, I do not have a hangover, regardless of what any of my friends may say in the comments. In fact, I am suffering from a migraine, extreme nausea, and uterine pain. Now are you happy?

And by the way, no harm was done to the dog used in the production of this blog post. He wasn't feeling all that well either.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Allergies And A Dog's Dignity

The dog's depressed.

I bet you didn't know dogs could get depressed. I'd heard of elephants getting depressed, and sometimes dogs feeling kind of sad when their owners go away, but depressed? Nah.

But Gryphon? He's depressed. Most definitely.

How do I know? Because for the past three days, he won't get up when food's put in his bowl, he refuses to play, he will not get up and greet us at the door, and he has refused to go out and pee for the past 24 hours.

But, I mostly know because of this:

But more because of this:

Why is the dog wearing oven mitts, you ask? Don't all pets wear oven mitts?

Because he's a twit, that's why he's wearing dirty, ripped oven mitts, wrapped around his paws with clear packing tape. Yes, that's right. We abuse our dog, and we're damn proud of it.

Seriously, though, our dog is depressed because we put oven mitts on him to prevent him from chewing himself to death and destruction. Our hypoallergenic standard poodle, Gryphon, has allergies. Go figure.

Only in this family would there actually exist a being such as this. Oh, the irony of it all.

Every year, he gets itchy and has to go on antihistamine/steroid medication to stop the itch. And every year, we never quite know when he's going to start reacting to whatever it is he reacts to, and we don't want to give him the meds before he actually needs them because we are anal and hate spending a dime we know these meds can also harm if taken when not actually needed. So, remember children, don't ever forget to ask your parents if it really is okay before you take that extra dose of Gravol before they put you to bed. And don't drink the Koolaid (unless it's berry-flavoured).

So, a couple of years ago, Mr. Handsome designed an easy, yet economical, way to prevent the dog from chewing big huge bloody holes in himself. Hence, the oven mitts and the packing tape. Yes, folks, that PhD surely does come in handy now and again.

Of course, Gryphon thinks this is the utmost in punishment and disgrace, and he reacts at first by prancing around on tiptoe, a la Elmer Fudd when he's "hunting wabbit".

And then, when he realizes how utterly stupid he looks, and once he figures out how to actually sit and lie down with his paws all wrapped up, he lies down, and doesn't get up. Instead, he lies there and watches us, his eyeballs moving to and fro. It's a sad sight, really. And yet, not. Because he really brings this upon himself in the first place. And so, we sit and we point fingers at him, and we laugh devil laughs as we stare at the poor soul with oven mitts for feet.

He is disgusted with us, he is disgusted with himself, and meanwhile, his bladder gets fuller and fuller. He's a strange dog.

Now, if only I could get him to learn how to bake a lasagna, I'd be home free. Might as well put those mitts to good use, seeing as we can't use them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Working Is Highly Overrated

Thank god I don't have a job I have to get up every morning and go to. Because if I did, I couldn't:

(1) wipe the kids' noses since they're both deathly ill with H1N1 or some other godawful disease that makes our house sound like a TB sanitorium of the 1930s.

(2) listen to the kids whine, each consecutively, so that it ends up being one long, continuous whine, from morning to night.

(3) listen to the kids fight with each other, both verbally and physically, when they are not busy whining or coughing.

(4) surf the Internet and find all sorts of interesting jobs, such as greeter for a one-day porn event that's coming to town.

(5) plan amazingly fun things for the kids to do every day because god forbid they have to plan their own fun and games, or actually do something like read, or use their imagination.

(6) tell the kids that I am not their event co-ordinator, nor their amusement director, and that they're sh*t out of luck if they think I really care that they're bored. And if I hear them say the word "bored" again, I'll give them something to do, and it begins with the words "cleaning the house".

(7) stay in my pajamas all day long, hair unbrushed, teeth unbrushed, and watch all the Ellen DeGeneres shows I missed while I was working.

(8) keep Gryphon company, and ensure that he not lick his paws, which are very red and inflamed and all icky from his licking and The Allergies that this poor, sensitive dog seems to get every damn year, causing us to pay out our nose to get him meds so that he stops licking his paws and causing himself great injury, pain and irritation.

(9) take the kids to their eleventy-hundred medical appointments that they seem to both have all of a sudden and all at once. No, I don't mind, no, not at all. Who, me? Nah, I'm just looking for a job. I have LOTS of time on my hands. Honest.

(10) take Gryphon to the vet so that I can pay $392 for a tiny vial of antihistamine and steroids so that he stops licking his paws and scratching his body because of The Allergies (see no. 8 above).

Gotta keep positive in this time of strife, I always say.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Playing Mind Games, And Making Wishes Come True!

Funny how the mind plays games on you.

I am finding, since the day I got let go (that would be last Tuesday), that my mind casually wanders back to that day rather unnoticeably, and before I know it, the unending tape is rolling over and over in my head, playing the scene over and over again: me sitting in the office, facing two managers, the paper lying facedown on the desk, one manager telling me I'm being let go.

For the most part, I am keeping myself occupied, busy enough that I don't think about things too much. Looking at job sites, trying to figure things out, cleaning the house, talking on the phone; all to push the bad and ugly thoughts out of my head.

I don't feel sad about it. In fact, I'm actually rather glad it happened. Somewhat of a blessing in disguise, as they say. I just have to keep reminding myself that this whole deal wasn't my fault, and I have to move on.

But just the same, the bills still have to get paid.

I've been occupying myself by taking a look at everything as a whole, trying to remain positive, and keeping all options open. There are a few writing positions I'm applying for, including one for the daily newspaper right here in town.

But the best job I've found so far?

I'm going to apply to be a bus driver! That's right, people! A bus driver I will be. The city's looking, and who am I to say no to an offer like that? Not only that, but what fun I'd have, tooling around the city in a huge vehicle, making sure people put the exact change into the little thingy, wishing them "a good day, eh", and helping little old ladies and women with babies on and off. It's almost a wish come true, really. I mean, how many of us can truly say they haven't wanted to be a bus driver at some point in their lives? Be honest, now. Most of us, right?

The thought that I would get to use one of their radios makes my earlobes tingle with glee because using two-way radios always makes people look all official and important, and I'm nothing if I'm not looking important.

The best part of this job, of course, is that I would get to wear a uniform. Just that in itself makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Because, as we all know, most bus drivers wear their pants, umm, shall we say, a tad high up on the waist, so to speak, a la Steve Urkel.

Not only would I look awesome cool, but the highness of the pants waist would create a ruse so as to make my rolls and paunch seem quite invisible. And voila! Magic! And I get paid too! I can only hope.

Wish me luck, peeps! But don't expect any free rides, guys. I wouldn't be a very good role model for all my bus driver buddies, now, would I? I know you understand.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kicked In The Can

I got canned yesterday.

Not exactly Dooced, as in being fired for talking about your job on your website, but I'd like to claim that I was Dooced just the same just so that maybe I can garner the same fame and fortune as Dooce has.

It's a thought.

So, I got canned for taking a vacation. Of course, that's not what they told me when they handed me the paper, but that's the truth of it. There is no other explanation, despite their proclamation that I "wasn't a good fit", whatever that means. They couldn't give me specifics or examples. Just a lot of platitudes and generalized statements, which, of course, could mean just about anything under the sun, including perhaps that I don't wipe my bum properly, or maybe because my sweater had a bit too much lint on it for their liking. Oh, I know what it must have been. The cream cheese in-between my two front teeth after having lox and cream cheese on a bagel for lunch on Monday.

Either way, I'm unemployed again, and am trying hard not to feel too badly about it, because that would just be the wrong thing to do, for so many reasons. First off, I hated the job. No, not the job. I hated the place of employment. There, I've said it. They were by far the worst employer I have ever had the displeasure of working for. Totally disorganized, saying one thing and doing something completely different, giving their employees unfathomable amounts of work, and expecting the world, but giving nothing in return. No matter which way I looked at it, and no matter how often I tried to convince myself that this was a great place to work, it obviously was anything but that, and now I can just accept it and start moving on. I guess it helps that I doubled my dose of anti-depressants recently, and am now on a dosage large enough to quell even the fear of a largish depressed elephant.

All in all, I'm glad to be out of there, but it would have been nice had it been my choice. As well, it would have been nice if they had treated me with the respect I had given them from the start, and were upfront with me. I don't ask a lot.

Anyway, it's back to the drawing board for me. Back to trying to find a job, any job, to make some money while I look for something that actually appeals to me. Quite depressing, I suppose, except that I can't deny that I feel a certain freedom from not having to get up in the morning knowing I have to yet again go into that hell hole of despair they call an office. And, I will admit that I am smiling a little inside because there is still some summertime left, and maybe I'll actually get to spend some of it with my kids before they're off to school again next month.

Updates will certainly follow. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm Back, Smellier But Smilier

Well, yes, I guess you
can say I've been away for awhile. Seventeen days, 2 hours, and 45 min. to be exact. A lifetime in a blogger's world.

Oh, and I lost four followers. What's up with that?

Basically, I needed a wee break. I apologize, to all those of you who sent me sweet messages worrying about me, hoping I would again post and show my ugly little face to the world once again. Here I am!

Apart from needing a break, I also didn't have much of substance to say, to tell you the honest truth. No funny anecdotes, no interesting photos, no sad stories. Nothing. At. All.

I was at the point in my life, after my last post, where I needed to just breathe, let go of all my duties and responsibilities, and just do nothing. And that included letting go of my blog for just a little bit.

I thought about it everyday, for sure. In the back of my mind, I was perpetually aware of the need for blog topics, posts, photos, anything. And yet...nothing. Nada. Rien. Zilcho. Zip. Which made me feel all the more like NOT doing it, or anything else.

And so, I decided not to. Do it, that is. The blog.

But now I'm back, still without much to say, but at least I'm back.


During this time of my unravelling creativity and motivation, we (the family) went camping into the great wilderness known as Algonquin Park, for eight days of bugs, wind, sleepless nights, and no tan to show for any of it, because, alas, it was never warm enough for The Blogging Goddess to shed her five layers of fleece and winter outerwear.

Nevertheless, it was one of our more enjoyable camping trips, because the rain was sporadic, and, although it could have been a tad warmer, it was warm enough. And those are two of my main criteria. That, and the amount of absolute quiet at our campsite. This year, although we had some noisier-than-I-would-have-liked neighbours spewing loud voices at 7 a.m., our children were relatively quiet and self-sufficient, for the first time ever, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Dee found himself a little friend a couple of days into our trip, and so most of his days were spent playing tag, getting very dirty, catching frogs and turtles, and playing Ninja with his buddy, which meant he wasn't around a lot to cause any problems with Em, who had decided early on to sulk for most of the trip. Boy, 14 sure changes a girl! Now, apparently, the water is too cold for her to jump in swimming at every opportunity (aka 24 hours a day, every day, regardless of the weather), the tent is too uncomfortable, hiking sucks, and who ever thought of camping anyway?

Her mood lightened somewhat when her friend came down for a few days with her family. Hallelujah!

What we also realized when her friend came down to join us was that 14-year-old girls must be somehow genetically identical, because that is the only way we could explain these girls' moods, retorts, stances and perpetual texting, all identical in every way. If you closed your eyes and just listened, you would not know which girl was talking.

Yes, Em and her friend both brought their cell phones camping, and both were found texting their friends.

I have no words.

The trip was pretty uneventful, all in all, except for a black bear coming through our campsite two nights in a row (ah, but we didn't get a momma moose and her baby this year), seeing a moose on the side of the road eating (what else?), watching as a beautiful doe loped across the highway right in front of us, listening to the loons every day, and having Gryphon, our faithful standard poodle, puke for three days straight all over our campsite, as well as the occasional run of leaky poop that we would find happenstance as we walked to a chair. Oh, and he puked again in the four-hour car ride home, partially on Em's lap.

He's feeling better now.

I am, however, particularly proud to say that I won the prize for dirtiest and smelliest person at the campsite, and probably the entire campground. Nay, all of Algonquin Park, I dare say. I showered only once, and changed both my underwear and socks only twice. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

For I am the Camping Queen of the Universe.

And I have returned.

View my page on Moms Helping Moms