Thursday, October 28, 2010

what the mcWhat??

Here's a little social experiment I stumbled upon yesterday. Not even looking for it and it smacked me in the face and gave me lots to think about all day long. Thought I'd share.

Every Wednesday Cicely, who's home schooled (against my will) goes to a writers conference. While we wait for her, Amelia and I get some lunch. Because Amelia has me whipped she pretty much gets what she wants for lunch on these particular days.

* In an homage to my good parenting I will insert here that on occasion she does pick Subway.*

Yesterday, however, she picked McDonalds. Now keep in mind that it has been some time since I set foot in a McDonalds so maybe things have changed but .......I doubt it.

Here is something else to keep in mind as you ponder. This is where the experiment comes into play. I was in a sketchy part of town. Less than desirable, I dare say, for a great many reasons. Reasons I will let you assume on your own.

Amelia wanted to eat in the playplace and who would blame her, she's 4. So we went in.

"Where is the playplace?" she asked in her ever so cute voice.

"Ummm.... I don't know", I responded in my ever so confused and hugely disappointed voice.

What I saw, instead of the fun static infested playground, was many of these:

About 8, in fact. 8 video game stations. Instead of a playground there were video game stations.

It's not like I don't let my kids play video games because I do. But am I wrong in stating that the ONLY thing that ever balanced out the unhealthy aspect of McDonald's was the playplace? It was, right? It's why we take our kids there. So they can 'burn it off'.

Now the experiment part. I have had many foster kids in my home that have come from this 'end of town'. Many of them have had behavioral disorders. Many of them were hooked on video games. Many of them were raised by video games. Many of them were medicated due to certain disorders they had been diagnosed with.

I don't judge, I'm just stating what I know to be true. The facts as they have been shown to me through real life experience.

So my quandary is this. Unless all McDonald's have changed their playplaces to videogame stations (and if they have then I will never eat inside a McDonald's again), why would they condone that particular restaurant in that most fortuitous location to change theirs?

It's interesting....... isn't it?

Amelia gave the new concept exactly 45 seconds of her time and then said she was done. We left with no physical exertion being expended at all besides the moving of our jaws.

Good thing Holden wasn't there. He'd have thought he'd died and gone to heaven.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

bored and babbling

I'm bored. My blog is boring. My life is boring. I have lost interest. I'm ready to move on but not in a position to do it. This bores me.

The reno continues, as always. There are a couple of big things that need to be done but they take money and time, neither of which we have right now. I have some painting to do still and I am so sick to death of painting I can't even express it without the use of expletives. I have procrastinated on the exterior painting and now the weather is threatening me. This weekend it will be finished.

Last week I painted like a mad woman in preparation for our party we had Saturday night. I think the house looks good and if I could keep it clean for more than 5 minutes at a time I would take some pictures and post them for you to see. But alas, I have no interest so it isn't happening.

I feel like I am recovering from last week. Working so hard and not sleeping much has left me spent. We had a very dear friend come and stay with us for the weekend and he likes to keep us up late. He did rake the lawn Saturday though, and more than earned his keep.

The party was fun, but in all honesty, I was so exhausted by the time people showed up, the whole thing is a bit of a blur.

Before the party I had some realtors come in and take a look while it was immaculate. It was an interesting experience. Naturally, every home seller wants a truck load of money for their house but when it comes right down to it, the reality is that there are no trucks full of money waiting to be dumped at one's doorstep. The market is bad. I already knew that but decided to fantasize that all the realtors would come in and tell me my house was worth a million dollars regardless of the market and that it would sell on day one. It was fun while it lasted.

One hundred thousand dollars.

This is the difference between the highest and the lowest recommended listing price given. 5 realtors and one hundred thousand dollars difference. Now, I don't know about you, but my guess is that someone is out to lunch. I'm going to give that honor to the guy who recommended the lowest price. He was an idiot.

This has given us lots to think about and, trust me, we are thinking.

I tried to work out on Monday and I think I burned more calories putting on my workout clothes than I actually did working out. I just have nothing left. I am worn out. So I opted to do laundry and watch Grey's Anatomy on boxset.

Tuesday, I didn't even attempt a workout since I got 4 hours of sleep Monday night. I watched Grey's all day long. (Except for the two times I had to run to the store and the three times I had to drive to the school.) I cried like a baby. That much Grey's in one day messes with your head.

I also read. It's book club on Thursday and it's at my house and I picked the book so I should probably finish it. I should go do that.

Last Thursday I braved a kindergarten field trip. I don't know about other moms but when the notice comes home that volunteers are needed for a field trip I have guilt. I have guilt because I don't want to go and I wish I did want to go. Up till now I always used the younger kids as an excuse to not go on field trips. I try to do one a year per kid but......

Anyway, Amelia is the last kid and there is no excuse other than the fact that I don't want to go which is just......sad. Since it was just a morning thing I thought I'd risk it.

53 kinders on a bus and a two hour tour of Fish Creek Park. Ouch. It was loud. I was prepared though. I drank 2 Diet Pepsis and took three advil liquigels before l left. I'm not stupid. I survived, but just barely. The poor woman who sat next to me on the bus was cursing the fact that she hadn't had her morning coffee. She was in bad shape. I gave her my best advice. It's all about the preventative measures, I told her. She was appreciative.

Three things were confirmed for me that day:
One, I could never be a bus driver. Children would die.
Two, I could never teach kindergarten. I would die.
Three, I still hate field trips.

Amelia had fun at least.........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

no sassy at school

Before kindergarten started this year I sat with Amelia and gave her the low down on what was expected from her at school. Her birthday is in January so she is one of those kids that has the option to go to school early or wait another whole year. Being the fabulous mother I am I opted to get rid of her sooner than later.

She was ready and dying to go. I'm not really a bad mother.....most of the time.

I told her that she needed to put her hand up if she had a question. She wasn't to just talk out during the class. I also told her that her sassiness was to be left at home.

No sassy at school. That is the rule.

At night when she says her prayers, our hearts melt with the things she says. When I had Bell's Palsy she would pray that my face wouldn't be broken anymore and that I would be proud of my face. She always asks that Jesus will have a good night sleep. She's precious.

But, at the beginning of the school year she gave this prayer.

"Dear Heavenly Father,

Bless me to sleep well.
Bless me to have a good life.
Bless me to raise my hand at school when I have to pee.
Bless me not to be sassy to my teacher.


At parent teacher interviews her teacher said she's a dream. Tell me about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

stop and go

Last Friday I woke up and began the morning gong show to get the kids to school. I tried to check my Facebook on my cell and saw that it wasn't working. I then went to the computer and the internet wasn't working. I picked up the phone to call Telus and it wasn't working. For whatever reason (I know exactly the reason) this super irritated me. Like irritated me to a spectacular degree. I wanted to chuck something or someone through a window. I took the kids to school and came home and began to paint.

I was waiting for a very important phone call and had no way of contacting anyone, unless I left the house. It was snowing.....really snowing.

Off and on throughout the day the internet would work so I sent a message to my sister to call the person I was waiting to hear from and get her to email me when she could. She never did.

Cicely had a party in Cochrane that night. I didn't want to drive to Cochrane and pick her up at 10 pm. Who would? But who am I to begrudge my sweet daughter an opportunity to see her friends that I forced her to leave, friends that she loves so much? As miserable as I was I couldn't do it. I decided to let her go.

I painted all day. I painted almost all day everyday last week. This may sound like a normal reno thing to do and it totally is but here's the kicker. I have already painted the entire house. It was done. And now I have to do it again because the drywaller screwed up and ruined all my painted walls by sending in some new guy to patch. He patched and patched and patched and then patched things that weren't even patchable. His other patch guy and I had a conversation about what was to be done. I made it very clear that there were only certain spots that needed patching because I had already painted. Then that guy went on holidays and the drywaller sent in a new guy. Every wall in the house was touched by him, and then not sanded. The lacquer guys really screwed up as well and this just adds to my frustration.

So this week I had to sand some shoddy work and then repaint. At first I thought it would be okay, I would get some more paint and paint the spots that needed it because the paint was so new there was a chance it would match. The new paint didn't match perfectly or even remotely close so I have to paint again. EVERY SINGLE WALL. Like there is nothing else to do around here. Oh, and the fact that there are four kids who have been completely left to their own devices a good chunk of the time makes me sick to my stomach.

I told the boys on Friday that as soon as this reno is done they weren't going to be babysat by video games anymore. I said I was going to fire that babysitter and raise them myself since that is actually the job I signed up to do. Jack said he really liked this particular babysitter. Mmm hmm.

So anyway, back to Friday. I wanted to send the man to get Cicely at the party but then I decided I would go early and watch a movie in Cochrane. I love movies, I thought it might lift my drowning spirits. I left at 6. The movie started at 7:10. This would give me plenty of time to stop and get gas and treats and the movie.

In one hour and 35 minutes I made it half way.


I didn't know how long it took until I decided to pull over at another theatre to see if there was anything left to see. I didn't know because the clock in my truck is wrong, it always is. I didn't have my cell because it didn't work and the radio never says what time it is. Why can't they just say the time every now and then in between replaying the same ten songs over and over and over.......

I ran into the theatre and asked some teen on her cell what time it was. It was 7:35. One movie was left. I bought a ticket and went inside. It was full. There was one seat in the middle of the room. It was mine.

One hour and 35 minutes. It took one hour and 35 minutes to get to a place that is 25 minutes away tops without any traffic. This is infuriating to me. I hate traffic. I am baffled that all those people were sitting in stop and go traffic for just as long as me at 6 on a Friday night. What is the point? Where were they all going?

And you know what baffles me more? When I told some people this experience they all said something insanely ridiculous that implies that I took a route that led me an hour out of my way. Or that I asked for it. Or that I made it up. Or that maybe I should have tried another path, which with my x-ray vision and teleporting super powers, I could have totally done. Why didn't that occur to me? What was I thinking?

There is no rhyme or reason to the traffic. I know this because I have made this exact trip at least 100 times over the last 6 months. It's a crap shoot and it's aggravating.

I never got the gas I needed and made it home with 3 kilometers left in my tank. At least the gas reader works. A telus guy came Saturday and fixed the phone....again. My cell phone decided to work after I paid the bill that I never received. Interesting.

Douse all of that in a tremendous amount of PMS and it will make more sense as to why I was borderline homicidal all day. The trip out to Cochrane was just the icing, the inevitable, the 'is this really happening?', the moronic end to a moronic day, the final glitch in an already glitch filled day.

Seriously.......this IS my life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

thirty something

It's Thanksgiving weekend. It was also my birthday yesterday. I didn't get a turkey dinner this weekend and this is why, or so I think. A couple of years ago my parents moved away from us. They just up and left. It broke my heart. I'm just kidding. I wasn't happy about it but my heart was just fine (just thought I'd add some guilt for my dear mother who will be reading this at some point).

Anyway, when she left so did the place where my siblings and I gather for holidays such as Thanksgiving. It was the place where the turkey was consumed.

So, over the last two years, if a turkey was needed I was usually the one to make it. Which is fine. Except on my birthday. I'm not making turkey dinner on my birthday. And no one was making it here in my house because making turkey and all the fixings leaves one grand mess and I didn't want to deal with it.

I have a brother and a sister near by and my guess is that they were offered turkey somewhere else because surely if they weren't they would have made me turkey dinner on my birthday.....right? Remind me to ask them how their turkey dinners were.

Anyway.....this year my birthday was hugely uneventful. For my birthday I asked the man to get me one thing. Willacy ready to put on the market. He said okay. So he has been working diligently to get it there and the goal is to put it on the market at the end of the month. I don't think it will be done, there is a never ending list of things to get done and even though we both work at it the list doesn't seem to be shrinking at a recognizable rate. Regardless, it is going on the market at the end of the month.

So I insisted that there be no presents. What I want we can't afford right now and it has been promised to me once Willacy sells. I can wait for that. I did want to go out for dinner though and the man obliged.

We went here on Friday night for dinner with some friends. I had never been and I will definitely go again, but not until I lose the eight pounds I gained from going this time. Yum. Yum. So much food, one needs to prepare for it. They had this delicious buffet and then they bring meat, endless amounts of meat, to your table until you flip the wooden stick from green to red. The man really put on a show. It was gluttony at it's finest.

This is plate #2 from the buffet and it is a third eaten. This also doesn't account for all the meat he ate. He was determined to get his money's worth. He succeeded.

I should have gotten a picture of the meat but it seemed weird to everyone that I had my phone out taking pictures so I stopped. I did, however, try and get a picture of what fell out of the pocket of the guy at the next table when he stood up to leave but it didn't turn out. It was a box of GasX. He came prepared. I like it.

I did manage to get this picture before the weird looks started.

Mmmmmmm......grilled pineapple.

We had this thing for dessert called Tres Leches. It was fantastically delicious. So good, in fact, that I made it for my birthday dessert yesterday. It's my new favorite. It think my dad would love it.

Sunday, my birthday, the man made me my fave dinner and cleaned up. That was birthday present enough for a Sunday birthday. BBQ steak (doused in my fave BBQ salt) with roast potatoes and turnip and garlic mushrooms. It was amazing. I am still full.

Then I laid on the couch in my fat pants and caught up with my PVR, which is exactly how I wanted to spend my evening. I watched Sister Wives as well and well, I just can't wrap my head around that one.......

Breakfast this morning consisted of some more Tres Leches. Soon it will be gone and I can begin the journey of working off this weekends food fiesta....... which didn't even include a turkey.

Oy vey.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

muffins for nothin'

I am avoiding my daily chores, which consist of painting my bedroom, with the computer. I am listening to the children bicker and I know they are bickering because they are tired. They are tired because I made the mistake of saying that they could stay up late last night watching the second Matrix with the man. Late for this house means 9 pm. And, yes, this included the four year old. Is it any wonder the last kid is always wrecked?

I thought I'd be a nice mommy and get up this morning and make homemade blueberry muffins for them. So I did. After they were made I offered them to the children.

Cicely ate one and said "Thanks for the muffin mom, they are delicious" and then proceeded to make herself a bagel. She is not feeling well this morning so I left her alone.

Holden took one bite and said "I don't like it." This is the kid who every time we go to Tim Hortons orders a blueberry muffin.

Jack ate one and then started to dig around in the fridge for bagels. This is where I got super annoyed and said,

"Look you guys! I made you muffins for breakfast. Why are you searching for other food?"

Cicely: "Oh, I didn't know they were for breakfast."

Me: "It's 9:30 in the morning, what did you think they were for?"

Jack: "A snack?"

This is where I vowed, out loud, never to make them muffins for breakfast again.

See, I don't like baking. I like eating. If I bake, I eat. If anyone bakes, I eat. Out of the 36 muffins I made I will probably eat 28 of them myself. So why did I do it?

For nothing..........apparently........except maybe a bigger butt.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

a glitch in the system

Remember when I told you that the car broke down while my mom was here? Well, we fixed it and then a week later it broke again. It seemed to be the same thing but according to the dudes who fixed it it wasn't the same thing and therefore will not be covered under warranty. $3000 later and that dumb car is too precious to drive anywhere so it sits at the shop.

About a week after we moved into Willacy we noticed the tub leaking into the basement. The only tub in the house. Leaks.

I go to Rona for one thing and they don't have it.

Remember when I told you about the roof leaking all over the bedroom floor? Yeah, that was a bad day.

When we moved in I called Telus to set up our internet and phone and satellite. I didn't call before I moved because I was so busy and I just didn't care. But after we moved, I remembered that we had a high school student and a child homeschooling. The internet would've been handy.

The high school student, my nephew, has since decided that our house with it's millions of rules and expectations was not for him and he's moved out. This decision was made after I spent days setting him up in high school and three months home schooling him. I hate home schooling.

I sat around for three days waiting for Telus to come and do their thing. Day two, they told me I had to sit around from 8-5 because that's how they do it. Even when I yelled at the lady and told her I sat around from 8-5 the day before and couldn't do it again. She told me I had to because that's how they do it. They didn't even show up. The next day they gave me a two hour window because they felt bad. That's so strange, I thought they couldn't do that and I thought that because the lady told me they couldn't. So I guess you only get a two hour window AFTER they totally pooch you. Eight hours it took to set up a phone line on day three. Eight hours! How is that even possible??

My child, the one who's world was rocked when we told her we were moving to Willacy, asked to be home schooled when I asked her what I could to do to make her life easier, better, less hated. Sure, I'll homeschool you. Besides the fact that I hate home schooling and I know I hate it because I did it for my nephew for three miserable months, how hard could it be?

It is October 6th and she still has no books.

I registered her, like I was supposed to. I went in for orientation, like I was supposed to. I waited the 'wait' period for everything to get going, like I was asked to. Nothing. After a couple of weeks I called her teacher to see what was up. She said Cicely was not on any class list. She looked into it. Her registration was lost in cyberspace. This did not surprise me because being surprised at being the one nothing ever goes right for is a waste of my time.

Her books were now ordered. A week later still nothing. I check in with the teacher. Teacher sends angry email to people in charge and demands books are sent out immediately. They aren't.

A week later, which is 5 weeks since school started, I meet with the teacher who is appalled at the atrocious service the school has given me. She tells me the books were sent out to our home last night and should arrive today or tomorrow and that Cicely will get one major science field trip at no cost to me as a 'we're sorry for this massive screw up' token. She apologizes over and over again. She just doesn't know what to say, so she says this:

"It's like you are our case study. The worst case scenario. The what-not-to-do when trying to win over people's trust and desire to attend our school. There was a glitch in the system and it sent you on a path to nowhere."

I felt like laughing out loud. A big ol' LOL times ten. She doesn't know me. She doesn't know that this type of thing is exactly what I bargained for. That I expect nothing less. What I should have told her is that it's actually alright. This is how it's supposed to be. Everything is exactly as it should be.

Because I am the glitch in the system. If I am there, the system is glitched. I have allowed the man to be an honorary glitcher of the system because it's a big job glitching up everyone's system. I'm tired, I could use some help.

Even superheroes have their sidekicks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

the crime i didn't commit (but mostly did)

This is a story about the crime I didn't commit. Well, not really. Okay, yes, I sort of committed it but nearly as bad as the wicked witch thinks I did. Mean, mean wicked witch.

The house we lived in for a year before we moved to Willacy was a rented house. Now I should clarify. It wasn't a rental. It was a rented house and this is the difference. The lady who rented it to us was trying to sell it and couldn't. She's a super anal retentive woman who has no patience and wants what she wants when she wants it. She is also a perfectionist which doesn't bode well for me.

She is not smart in the fact that she keeps building bigger better houses before she can sell the one she lives in and this is stressful for her. She built this house and spent more than it's worth making it nice to her standards which, when she tried to sell it, meant she was going to take a huge financial hit.

She rented it to us because I told her that we were not 'renting' people. We were home owners who needed to rent for a year. She believed it, because it was true, but what I didn't tell her is my family tends to trash houses. Not in a bad, disrespectful sort of way. Just in a lots of small children and foster children and minor garage stuff hoarding husband sort of way.

So for a year I yelled at kids if they touched walls. I patched walls sooner than if it had been my house and when I moved out I patched and painted and stressed about the state of the house, which I wouldn't have done if it had been mine. And, I will also mention that during the last three months we lived there she had her stupid not selling house for sale which meant it was clean and pretty ALL THE TIME. Even though I was busy with the reno and couldn't have cared less if her house was show home clean and ready to sell. Stupid stupid Cochrane house......

Most of the damage done was actually done during the move in and the move out which is super annoying but what can you do when your furniture weighs a ton and you move it around every year?

So after we moved out I went to do the walk through which my gut told me not to bother doing. I knew she was going to use every penny of my damage deposit to make her house perfect again. I took sick pleasure in the fact that it didn't sell and she had to rent it again and as of the day we moved out it wasn't rented. I know, I am a deep down bad person.

Five minutes in and I wanted to run screaming from that place. She pointed out every tiny little thing she could find and demanded to know what it was from. I had vowed, previously, to myself that I wasn't going to fight her on anything. If she wanted perfection, she wasn't going to get it from our family and there would be no point arguing it with her. I so badly just wanted to be done with the whole renting thing. I told the man the night before I wasn't going to say a word. I was going to take it like a man and get in and get out.

I had told her that she may as well hire someone to clean it. I knew that if I spent all my time cleaning it, it still wouldn't be good enough. Glad I did. Although, I think I would have done a better job. I wasn't impressed. She kept pointing out things to me that the cleaners just simply couldn't get clean. No matter how much they scrubbed and scrubbed. This is when I piped up. Ridiculous, I told her. If you use the proper stainless cleaner on the fridge then it gets clean. I told her her cleaning people should know that. Interestingly enough, I didn't get charged for that.

Didn't matter though. She managed to get the final bill to be $238.08 more than the damage deposit. She bought a new front door, a new vacuum, new knobs for the cook top. She had a door re-sprayed and she also had the stub wall cap sanded and stained. She spent $24.11 on removing a stain from the storage room floor. (A stain I pretended to have no idea about but I actually put there myself.) She even charged me to have a landscaping company come in and re-edge her flower beds.

Ridiculous. And anyone who knows me knows I am willing to fight at any time. She made me so mad I wanted to deck her. But I wanted to be done with her more so I am eating the fact that my damage deposit, my HUGE damage deposit is gone forever.

I will never, ever rent again. I am a homeowner and I take pride in trashing my own homes and much prefer it to trashing other people's homes.

It's more fun when it's your own .....

Friday, October 1, 2010

the decorative snot hankie

I'm a mormon. Yes, I am. And the second week I went to my new ward in Willow Park I sat next to this sweet little old lady whom I couldn't take my eyes off.

She was wearing a pink long sleeved mock neck sweater under a low cut purple capped sleeve dress. She has long grey hair and it was pulled up in to the cutest little bun on top of her head (and I mean right on top of her head) with a pink bow wrapped around it. She had fuzzy pink gloves on that were the exact shade of her sweater.

Between her pink sweater and her purple dress was a pretty white doily type decoration. I assumed it was there to add flare to her already spunky outfit. It sat perfectly coifed. Half inside and half outside her dress. It added the balance her outfit lacked.

Half way through the meeting she pulled it out and blew her nose loud and hard into it. I stared. It was inexplicable. I almost gagged. I have a thing about nose blowing.

And then............

And then she put it back into her dress. Perfectly coifed. Half inside and half outside her dress.

After the meeting she asked me about me. I wanted to go but she wanted to talk and who am I to begrudge an old lady some Catherine time. I told her our plans. We are here shortly to finish the reno and then we are moving back to the northwest. She looked me dead in the eye and said this:

"I have a whole bunch of recipes with your name on them. And, you belong here."

What does one say to that? I wanted to run away and put my house on the market that very instant but instead I stayed and said this:

"You have recipes with my name on them? What does that mean?"

She replied: "You belong here because I have recipes with your name on them. That's how I know."

I went on to ask more questions. Like did she actually have recipes in her house with my name on them? Because that WOULD be a sign, right? Besides just being really creepy and weird. Or did she just have recipes that she wanted me to eat? I simply couldn't understand so I smiled and said, "We'll see. Only time will tell."

I gave her frail pink arm a squeeze and turned to walk away and she yelled after me. "You belong here, you'll see!"


Okay, on another note. My birthday is coming up and I am having a party. An unveiling of sorts. Willacy will be done soon and I want to sell it before I love it any more than I already do. My nephew moved out and so now there is no reason to stay until semester change. I need to move on.

The party will be on October 23 and EVERYONE is invited. It will be at 7 pm and it is for adults only. (Babies welcome, of course)

Everyone who comes to my party will leave with a little bag of Jake's Amazing BBQ salt. If you have already had some of this salt then you will know of it's greatness and if you haven't had it then you'll want to come just to put it's awesomeness in your hands.

Grown ups don't party enough. I think it's lame. Get a sitter and get your butt to the best, newly renovated, party house ever.

More details to come. Including a birthday giveaway. So stay tuned.