Saturday, August 28, 2010

early morning fretting and camping

This morning I was up at 5 am because I had to pee. Then I couldn't get back to sleep because I couldn't figure out the best way to patch and sand the wrecked walls from the stupid lacquer guy without making a big mess. Should I just sand them and then vacuum as best I can? Or should I have someone right there helping me by holding the vacuum as I sand in the hopes that most of the dust won't even hit the new carpet. Turns out I don't really care when the sun is up, only when I should be sleeping.

The other morning I was up at 5 because I was fretting about the kitchen sink. I bought it with the intention of making it under-mounted and so then I bought a cool faucet to go into the countertop. But then we decided that under-mounted was a bad idea with the type of counter we chose. So do I have to return the sink or the faucet? But the hole is already cut, and I really love the faucet. Turns out the faucet comes with a little thingie that makes it work any way I choose to use it and of course, when the sun came up I already knew that.

Last weekend I was up at 5 because I was afraid the carpet guy didn't lock the door and that he left all the lights on. I was contemplating a very early morning drive out to Willacy just to check on it. Turns out he did lock the doors and turn off the lights. Turns out when the sun is up I couldn't care less if the door was left open.

I've been getting up at 5 a lot lately and as it turns out the things that plague me in the night are ridiculous in the day and not worth a lot of thought. I am tired.

Last year, and the year before, and the year before that and the year before that.... okay I'll stop now, I was camping with my kids. I love camping with my kids. We pitch our tent. We set up the picnic table. We hang the rope for drying things. We find the garbage 'spot' and the bike 'spot' and the beach toy 'spot' and we settle in for as long as we can stand it. It's just me and them. Occasionally the man shows up and graces us with his presence but mostly he isn't there. I am gravely out numbered and sleep with a dagger under my pillow but once I get over the whole 'I am alone in the wilderness with 4 kids and if something happens to me they are really screwed' mindset we have a great time. People think I'm nuts but I think I'm brilliant.

We didn't go camping this summer. We didn't do anything fun. The man and I are too busy, too broke and too emotionally spent to make the kids' summer a happy summer. Never again. Next summer is planned and it is all fun and games and please feel free to shoot me if I agree to some absurd antic that makes next summer anything but totally awesome.

We reminisced a lot this week about summers past. Good times.

Next year.................

Thursday, August 26, 2010

aaron wallace

Today I met baby Aaron.

I love him. He is little and calm and so so sweet. He has a pudgy face.

He was 8lbs 13 ozs of pure perfection who got smooched by his favourite auntie today.

Welcome to the world baby Aaron.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

question and answer

Question: If a person has given up buying books for a whole year and takes books she already owns and has read to a used book store and gets in-store credit, does it count as buying books if she uses that credit to get books she hasn't read and takes them home?

Answer: now you have to answer the question for me by actually physically responding to this post in one way or another. I know you are reading this so answer me when I ask you a question. And if you don't then I will..... I will..... I will........ I don't know what I will do. Just answer the question already.

My life depends on it.........

Saturday, August 21, 2010

catie's randomness pt.2

I took the kids back to school shoe shopping a few days ago. Amelia insisted she needed these shoes.

She was absolutely right. So practical.

Holden bought the first things he loved, he's so easy to please and Jack refused to get any shoes because I refused to spend $90 on DC shoes.

Fine, wear barefeet to school. See if I care.

Fine, I will.

Yesterday I took the kids to Calaway Park. We didn't get passes this year because I was so distracted I forgot so I had to bum 6 coupons off Facebook. We haven't done many fun things this summer, mom sucks. The kids had a fantastic time. I let the three boys go off by themselves and that left me to cater to Amelia's every whim. Cicely stuck with me which meant that when Amelia needed an 'adult' for a ride Cicely took the bullet.

I did not go on a single ride all day. Heaven.

This day was remarkable because it is the first time in 12 years I have to been to Calaway WITHOUT a stroller. Which meant I had to wear a backpack. But it also meant that Amelia doesn't need a stroller anymore. Sniff. She walked four hours and never complained once.

It might be hard to tell but if you look real close you might be able to see a smile on Amelia's face. Seriously though, she loved it so much on this ride. You could hear her laughing everywhere in the park.

SMILE. Nice.

All 5 kids went on the log ride. They made a splash. Amelia didn't like it because she got wet. Hmmmm........

It was hard not to stare at Amelia. I love her so much. She had such a great day. It was a treat.

Speaking of treats. The candy store jacked up their prices. That was the last time I ever go in there. I gave the kids a two dollar max and Holden was mad that everything he wanted cost $4 or more. He decided to give me attitude and I decided he didn't need a treat. Every party has a pooper, right?

I ran into Heather, my acupuncturist, while I was there. I smiled at her. I smiled BECAUSE of her. Today is my two week anniversary with Bell's Palsy. Four treatments in two weeks and I am 90% healed. I attribute it all to her.

This started a faux texting fight with the man. On Thursday, after my treatment, I sent him a text.

me: I want to be an acupuncturist

him: no

me: Yes. Just watch me.

him: No.

me: YES!!!!!!!! JUST WATCH ME!!!!!!!!!!

him: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This went on for about 15 minutes. I thought he was mad, then I got mad because he kept saying no. Then he turned into a chauvinist pig and I stopped talking to him. Turns out he was just kidding. He does that.

I want to be an acupuncturist. And a librarian. And a social worker (I should already be a social worker but I got lazy and dropped out of university. I blame it on the man). And a doctor. But mostly right now I really want to be an acupuncturist.

The logistics of this should be no problem........

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have a condition. It's called PGBD. Post Good Book Depression. It's what happens to me after I read a book I really love. It happens a lot. For a few days I feel deflated and sad it's over. I miss the book. I contemplate reading it again (only once have I ever turned back to page one and started again) and then I come to my senses and pick up another one.

I have not read a single book all summer. In fact, I can't remember the last book I read. It would have been in May or early June that I read it.

No time. No energy.

I have a new condition. It's called PGBD. First appearances would lead you to believe it is the same as the other condition, but it's not. I have now entered into the PRE Good Book Depression. The only cure is to pick up a book and read it. I believe that today, since my eyesight is back to normal, I will do that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the code

I'm learning a new language. Maybe it's not so much a language as it is a code. It isn't very interesting and it certainly isn't useful. I'd rather be learning Spanish or Italian but I am stuck trying to decipher the code. If I don't, I will lose my mind.

It is a code spoken by tradesmen. These guys didn't go to school to learn this code so they must have just picked it up off the street. It's tricky and it's designed solely to throw you off their track. I've learned some of it pretty well over the last few months and I am going to pass on what I know because I'm helpful like that. Here we go:

"THEY will start 9:30 Wednesday morning and it will only take THEM one day to get it done" is code for "HE will come two hours late, HE won't bring enough carpet and HE will be rude to you and your children while HE works at a turtles pace."

"I will come Tuesday and sand the walls for you BEFORE the carpet guy comes and then I will come early early Wednesday morning and finish up so that there will be no sanding after the carpet goes in" is code for "I'm not coming at all and you will just have to deal with drywall dust all over your carpet. And you will probably have to do all the sanding yourself so that you can get it done before you move in and because since you have already paid me you are no longer a priority for me."

"I'm really really sorry I wrecked the drywall as I pulled all my tape off the walls. I told the tape to stop doing that but it didn't listen" is actually code for "I'm a moron and I suck at my job and I give the same excuses a three year old would give because I have the mentality of a three year old."

"I'll come this week and put your kitchen together for you" is code for "I'll come and put your kitchen together for you when I feel like it and it for sure won't be this week". He is instantly forgiven because he is a friend and we love him but he speaks the code fluently.

"We'll start Monday/Tuesday" is code for "We'll start late Friday afternoon and no, we don't work weekends."

"I have you scheduled for Wednesday" is code for "You won't be able to get a hold of me for a month and I'll only finally do 96% of the work when you threaten to give the job to my assistant for a fraction of the cost."

"The quote is for this amount of money" is code for "When I give you the final bill your eyes will pop out of your head and you'll want to kill me but you'll pay me all the money I didn't tell you I was going to charge you because you are good people who believe in paying your trades."

The more I think about this the more I could teach you but I am thinking I should charge for this kind of information.

"If I never have to deal with another tradesman for as long as I live then I will die a happy lady" is code for "If I never have to deal with another tradesman for as long as I live then I will die a happy lady". I clearly don't understand the code.......

I am married to a tradesman which makes this all the more interesting..... don't you think? I just double everything he says and plan for that. It makes marital bliss more attainable. One day is two. One week is two. You get the idea.

Imagine, if you will, a land where only tradesmen live. What a confusing place that would be......... or would it??

Sunday, August 15, 2010

handle with care

Yesterday the man made me go to the southside Costo.

I know.

We were on our way to Willacy to clean up after a week where we thought trades were in the house working. What they were really doing was getting paid to wreak havoc and create a ton more work for us. It was a deflating moment to walk in and see the destruction but that is a different story.

Back to Costco. We needed toilet paper.... and dried mangoes.

We didn't really need dried mangoes.

Part way through the trip the man needed to use the washroom. He left me with the cart. I followed the cart to the book aisle.

The forbidden book aisle.

As I picked up books and read their backs I had a thought. Victims of partial facial paralysis deserve, at the very least, a new book.....right?

I put one in the cart. Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care. I thought that if the man agreed with my new theory I should be prepared.

I went to the till. He was taking forever and since we were using his card which was in his wallet which was on his body I sent him a text.

me: I'm in line. Will you make it in time?

him: yep

me: can I have a "sorry about your palsy" book?

him: no

At this point he showed up and said this: "The deal was no books for a year. Not no books for a year unless you get the palsy."

So I sent him another text. It read "one sided sideways frowny face."

He put the book on the conveyor belt, which turned my one sided frown upside down.

However, next time I enter into any contract whatsoever I will most definitely throw in the "palsy" clause. A girl needs to protect herself....right?

Friday, August 13, 2010

why willacy?

Lots of people are asking why we are moving to Willacy. This is why.....

We are renting in Cochrane and the lease is up September 15th. The rent is expensive. The mortgage at Willacy is not.

The deadline to get Willacy ready to sell, buy another house in our desired location and be out of the rental before September 15th was August 1st, and that was pushing it. That only would have worked if Willacy sold within the first two weeks of August. It could take months to sell Willacy, there's no way to know.

Money was getting LOW. The man needed to go back to work. Paying rent AND a mortgage is not necessary anymore. Willacy can be moved into so why not save all that money?

Too much stress. The fighting began. He wanted to work. I wanted him to finish Willacy. He was right. (I can admit when I'm wrong. It hardly ever happens so I can suck it up once in a blue moon).

But, AHHHHH, what do we do? Where do we live?

Willacy. Duh. We totally own a house. And it's gorgeous. And it's big enough for our family. Which was the main criteria when we bought it. It was always a risk that we would have to live in it. It's the inconvenience we were trying to avoid. It's funny how some serious stress and pressure can put things into perspective. The inconvenience of having to move twice is nothing compared to the stress of trying to avoid it at the cost of financial ruin.

So we move to Willacy, right? As soon as this became the prime option all the stress went away. Okay, not all of it. But the main stress went away plus, the man and I get to taste the sweetness of all our hard work. The children are the ones who really take the brunt of it. Three of them are young, they really don't care either way. The two older ones had to have their deals sweetened a bit. But I know for sure they will all survive it. They are all great kids and who knows...... they may get that dog they have been not fighting for after all. (Hint hint man)

We have a new plan, and as you can see the man and I are not adamant about sticking to any 'original' plan. We like to fly by the seat of our pantses (I made that word up. Double plural for pants is now pantses). The new plan is to move into it, get it ready for October -it's SOOOO close, that's the kicker! - and then sell. We are hoping to be in the northwest by the beginning of the second semester of high school, end of January.... or before. Who knows. Good plan? Sure, why not.

I will definitely let you know if and WHEN that plan changes.

In all honesty, I am really excited about living at Willacy. It's my baby. Hopefully soon I will be able to blink and everything won't be a blur anymore and I will be able to see it. What a treat that would be!

Wish us luck.....although I don't think we need it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

frozen faces and announcements

I don't have much to say. I am sick, sick, sick. My face is half frozen which is a nuisance but I'll deal. It's what I do. I went to see a neurosurgeon on Monday and she wanted me to take anti-virals for a week. In her experience, so she said, she found that people with Bell's Palsy make a fuller, quicker recovery with the prednisone AND the anti-virals. Okay, then, just give them to me and I will take them. I'm all over having the best chance in life. For $5 a pill taken three times a day I think that's a screaming deal!

They may make you sick, she said.

I am sick, sick, sick. I can't eat. I can't go more than 5 feet from a toilet and I have the shakes. I am on Gravol to counteract the insomnia from the steroid and the nausea from the anti-viral. I feel lethargic and sleepy.

Because I am half hippy at heart I went to see my angel, Heather, on Tuesday. She's my acupuncturist. She put me on a herbal tonic that makes me gag over the sink as I try to get it down. I have to drink it through a straw because my mouth doesn't work and it takes longer to drink through a straw than it would to just gulp it down. Man, it's nasty stuff.

She has three Bell's Palsy patients right now and one of them is a 17 year old boy. She is such a hippie chick. She thinks the wind has caused this 'strike' to fall upon my face. I love her and I told her that if the wind caused it then I better get the heck outta Dodge because I live in the windiest place on earth. She just rubbed my dead face and said all will be well. I believe her.

That night I went to a movie with the man. It was a bad idea. Not only was it a bad movie but I had to keep my right eye clamped shut during the whole thing. There is something about movie theatre air and my eyeball that did not agree. I couldn't eat my free popcorn. Another first.

Yesterday I took the kids to the zoo. We waited until after my stomach settled and then headed out. It was sketchy and shortly after we arrived we left so I could be near my potty once again. I am not leaving the house again until I am done these pills. Four more days.

Four more days and then I can leave the toilet and begin the packing. You heard me, packing. By the end of the month we will be moving.

We are moving into Willacy.

And me, with a frozen face........

Sunday, August 8, 2010

catherine hears bell's

Today is Sunday and I stayed home from church, all by myself, sitting in the quiet, wondering what to do with these three hours. I have decided to write a story. This story is about a beautiful princess in a land not so far away and what a day in her life looks like......

Once upon a time there was a princess who had to clean the house. On Friday she cleaned the house in preparation for an open house that was scheduled for Saturday. So she cleaned. Just like she did Thursday and Wednesday and Tuesday and Monday. Why would a princess have to clean her own house? And with such a pounding headache?? She pondered these questions many times throughout the week. Maybe it's because she wants the people of her kingdom to know that she's just a real person who can relate to the people.

Friday night was party night. She had a clean house so why not have some princesses over to eat chocolaty peanut butter flavored delights? She took a shower and got ready. As she was putting her makeup on she noticed that her right eye was not closing as well as it normally does. Hmmm, that's weird. Moving on. Through out the evening she noticed that her teeth were feeling cleaner and cleaner as she ran her tongue over them and that her beverage of choice just wasn't tasting as glorious as it usually did. She thought nothing of it really until she went to bed and washed her face and noticed that her eye wasn't shutting properly again. She had to manually shut her eye so she could sleep. She was hopeful that it would sort itself out during the night.

The next morning the princess awoke and knew something was wrong, possibly dreadfully wrong. Her head was pounding in three distinct areas and only on the right side of her head. She couldn't raise her eyebrow, or close her right eye. When she smiled only one side smiled. It seemed half her face was broken, the right half. Her tongue was numb. For a bit she thought it was humorous, she would take a drink of water and the little peasant children in the kingdom would laugh and laugh as water shot out the right side of her mouth. Then she would remember the pounding in her head that was actually the cause of all her concern.

The king sent her to the royal doctor who turned out not to care much for the princess' wants and desires and made her wait three hours in the waiting room with all the other sick peasant people. He was old and that it left no guessing as to what could have possibly been taking so long on this sleepy Saturday morning.

He was convinced that she was too young for Bell's Palsy. And, since the smashing headache was not a symptom there must be something horrible about to happen in the head of this young beautiful Princess. He told her to go to the ER right away. He wrote her a note saying he didn't want her to have to wait for treatment since she was, after all, a princess.

The king drove her to the hospital and the children waved good bye to their fearless leader as she disappeared behind sliding doors. She went to triage and gave them the note. They sent her to admitting who sent her to the Minor Injuries ER around the corner where she stumbled upon many peasant people waiting in their own sickness and despair to be seen by a doctor. The princess handed her form to a nurse with the note on top and then proceeded to wait for three hours in the waiting room. Just like everyone else. This poor princess was mistaken for a peasant person but she didn't mind. The people of the land like it when royalty stoops to their level and pretends to be like everyone else. It was an opportunity and she took it. She was baffled, however, by the mostly naked man in a backwards hospital gown who wandered through 6 times during her wait to check if the pay phone had any change in it. She wanted to tell him each time she saw him that no one has used the pay phone in the last 5 years nevermind the last 5 minutes. She saw, from his attire, that it most likely would make no difference to him to have this information.

Finally, a bed, a gown and an IV that would make the dudes from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like facial reconstruction artists. An exam was had that made the doctor stand back and say, "Hmmmm, I just don't get it. Bell's Palsy is not accompanied by such a terrible headache. And you clearly have Bell's Palsy so what is this headache? I don't like it. I'm calling neuro, you're having a CT scan and an ECG and I'm treating you for a migraine to see if anything changes. Do you have any questions?" The princess answered "Yes, one. When does Dr. McDreamy get here?"

ECG done. Where's the relevance? She couldn't say.

CT scan done. First one ever and kind of cool.

With the migraine medicine flowing through her veins via her hack IV she waited. She tried to read but alas, with the headache and the blurred vision and the tearing eyes........ it wasn't to be.

For what seemed like an eternity she waited for the throbbing to dissipate, but it wouldn't. It's not a migraine she thought to herself, it's an aneurysm. She was convinced, again, that she would die like a martyr on that hospital bed, alone and in pain. Whatever, martyrs are cool.

She listened to one nurse tell another nurse about her upcoming boob reduction and lift and then that second nurse reflected, loudly, on her boob reduction and lift. Interesting, thought the princess. These peasant people have nothing to talk about except how they have to have doctors fix their less than perfect boobies with knives and long skinny tubes that suck out fat while I lie here with a FROZEN FACE!

The princess dozed off and woke 8 minutes later with a headache that was less than 7 on the pain scale. Ahhhh, a 2. A 2 is much better than a 7. The doctor came back and said the princess' CT scan was perfect, no bleeds and no other "extremely worrisome" problems were found. Since her headache felt better the doctor called neuro on the phone and a decision was made. Diagnosis: Bell's Palsy with the unfortunate coincidence of a migraine. Neuro said there could be some pain in the head associated with Bell's Palsy but blah blah blah blah......."

"Do you have any questions?" asked the doctor, a lovely woman with the sweetest, most soothing voice.

"Yes, one," replied the Princess. "When does Dr. McDreamy get here?"

A dose of Prednisone, with a quick tutorial of Bell's Palsy and an appointment made at the headache clinic for Monday morning and the princess was on her way.

Prognosis: Treatment is one week of prednisone and it could take up to 6 weeks BUT it should resolve itself. If it doesn't then it doesn't. Sorry about your bad luck Princess.

So far the worst part of this whole experience, besides all the waiting and having to tape her eye shut to sleep, has been trying to suck pop through a straw.

Boo hoo.....suck it up Princess.

The end.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the depot schmoe

We've lived in Cochrane for almost 11 months and I have been to the bottle depot once before today. It was gross. The man then started to take the cans in for me. Unasked and with regularity.

Or so I thought.......

Yesterday I opened the garage door to put something inside and I saw the mountain. I went to investigate. It was bag upon bag of pop cans. At least 6 months worth, probably more. I should have known.

Today I told the boys we were going to go to the bottle depot and they could see how fun it was there. Lies!

We pulled all the bags, all 16 of them, out of the garage.

Can you see the chickens behind the pile waving at me like they are about to board the pop can train?

Then we loaded the vehicle.

The passenger seat was filled up.

The bench behind the passenger seat was filled up.

There were three kids in there as well. This might be impressive since I drive an Excursion which is no small vehicle. I suppose if you were a vehicle, you might be impressed with my vehicles ability to hold up in such a situation. If you aren't a vehicle, or a person who drinks pop, this may seem gluttonous to you. I don't care..... I think my love of pop gives me character (or so I tell myself in my most shameful moments).

When I got there I grabbed about 5 bags and told the boys to unload the rest of the truck for me. They would come in with their shirts over their noses. As soon as they had brought the last bag in they disappeared into the hot truck while I stood there, in my white t-shirt, feeling betrayed and abandoned. I felt like I was on display. Big neon arrows blinking over my head. Look who loves her pop! Look who loves her pop! I stood there for 40 minutes. On display.

The tension and the pressure of just standing there, waiting, was intense. "Don't judge me!" I wanted to yell. "You don't know what I have to put up with. You don't know what drives me to drink this beautiful nectar of the gods!!" This would have been way over dramatic, I know, but the pressure. No one talking. Just counting and counting and counting.......

When my little counting man was done he handed me, with his filthy sticky rubber gloves (can you imagine what his hands must have been like under there) my little piece of paper and I walked the walk of shame to the cash register.

$107.65. This is either very very good or really super bad. I left the depot.

When I returned to the truck, and saw three pink cheeked, sweaty kids I knew justice had been served. Slurpees anyone??

(Jack asked if we made enough money to buy everyone a slurpee. Ummm.... yes.)

Were lessons learned? Always.

1. Going to the bottle depot is a job better suited to the man and his ability to handle being filthy most of the time. And,

2. Showers are best had AFTER one goes to the bottle depot for what seems like a good chunk of their afternoon.

I need to drink something.......from a can.