Thursday, August 27, 2009

Granny died. I am just a ghost who has returned to tell you.

"Raspberry Social".

It sounds so 1940's or something, but that is what the annual event is called. Every year a group of women from the church get together out at Kelletts U-pick berry farm near Hixon. Actually we get together at the church at 9:30 and car pool out there, have lunch together, hang out at the farm and pick berries.

I have a hard time even saying "Raspberry Social" and refer to the event as "Raspberry Day" so as not to conjure up images of bonnet-wearing women with picnic baskets and plaid blankets.

This year I invited Jade and Nissa and their kids to participate. (Nissa grew up with Jade and is referred to as her "other sister." She and her 2 young kids have been coming to church with me for the last couple of months.) Both girls were quite excited to come along. This meant I had 3 adults and 3 carseats for the children aged 6, 14 and 27 months old. Obviously my small import car was not capable of this, so the plan was for me to pick Nissa and the kids up first and drop her and one carseat off at the church to carpool with someone then I'd run back and get Jade and Xander.

As luck and bad timing would have it, I was bleeding to death and hopped-up on T3's this week. I wasn't regretting asking the young mothers to come with me, but I no more felt like going than flying to the moon. Okay, I admit it. I was actually regretting even asking them. But I forged ahead.

It seemed like an overwhelming big deal to gather lawn chairs, berry picking buckets, make a large pasta salad and get myself ready to be out of the house by 9am that day. I was running late.

Nothing stresses me more than running late.

As I'm throwing a comb through my hair and brushing my teeth, I hear a male voice yell from the other room, "You might want to give yourself some extra time. The fuel light came on in your car last night." I don't think the f-word was audible, but you can be sure it bounced around in my head.

I make a quick call to Jade telling her I was gonna be a bit late getting her by the time I got Nissa and stopped for fuel. And I was out the door.

A few blocks down the street, I thanked God for cellphones, apologized for dialing while I was speeding down the street, and called home to say that in all my flurry of getting ready I forgot to call Jed this morning and We Care would be arriving shortly.

I arrived at Nissa's to see her waiting on her front step with the kids sitting in their double stroller after just getting back from their walk to a bank machine. I knew I was running late already and could just envision everyone leaving from the church while I sat there waiting for her to get the carseats from inside.

Once again I thanked God for cellphones and called home to say, "I forget the number for the church but please call and tell them I need a ride for one adult and one carseat. Please don't leave until I get there." It had briefly crossed my mind to call someone yesterday to let them know I was bringing extra people who would need to carpool, but of course I didn't do it.

We got the carseats installed in my back seat and got the kids buckled in. Then we had to remove the lawn chairs and everything from my trunk. Then we had to actually disassemble the large double stroller in order to cram everything into my trunk. Once again, let me emphasize that I don't do well under stress and running late causes stress.

I had to keep reminding myself to just breath. I reminded myself that this was a fun day, there was absolutely no need for stress. I reminded myself how much I love raspberry jam. I reminded myself I had a large bottle of drugs in my purse. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Just as we managed to slam the trunk closed my phone rang. It was "home" calling.

"Uh..... um," I heard.

C'mon spit it out. I don't have time for phone games.

"Uh, the secretary at the church said the Raspberry Social was yesterday."

This time I am rather confident the f-word was audible. Very audible.

I can remember being a young mom and how exciting and uplifting a day out was. I couldn't bring myself to say, "Too bad. So sad," and run home and crawl into bed. But I assure you that is exactly what I wanted to do.

We decided to head to Jade's house and make a plan from there.

Since we didn't all fit in my vehicle, we decided we'd put the kids in the strollers and walk to McDonald's for lunch and let the kids play at McPlayland. Fries are better than raspberries anyway.

This was Xander's first trip to McDonalds. Of course he only got to sip water from a sippy cup while the rest of us gorged ourselves on sodium, fat and sugar, but I got some cute pictures of him.

Jade was sure she qualified for the "under 4 feet tall" rule and packed X up through the tunnels and slides for his first ever playground experience.

I've never clocked the distance but I'm guessing it was a 3 or 4km hike when all is said and done.

By the time I dragged my sorry butt home, my first words to my husband were, "Granny died. I am just a ghost who has returned to tell you the story." And I fell in an exhausted heap into my bed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cognitive Popcorn

Cognitive popcorn: (n) term referring to a syndrome caused by an anxious brain whose restless activity doesn't allow sleep.

Xander had a sleepover last night. The darling child was asleep by 9pm and didn't wake until after 7am. So of course it isn't his fault that I was exhausted before my day began today. It's just that every time he exhaled or moved his big toe I woke up. I was so looking forward to bedtime tonight.

I was actually in bed by 8:30 - with the TV on. Alb is at work so I got to watch things like "Intervention" "Obsessed" and "Dateline". About 10 o'clock I got up and made a bag of popcorn. I ate nearly the whole damn bag. Now I have insomnia.

I vaguely recall hearing years ago that popcorn gave you bad dreams, or maybe it was bad sleep or something. Either way I can't fall asleep. (Yes the TV is off) So I drag the laptop into bed and Google popcorn. Google tells me it's the perfect nighttime snack - a comfort food that apparently is supposed to aid sleep.

It's not working.

Perhaps if I hadn't eaten the entire bag I wouldn't be laying here in the middle of the night talking about it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kitty Porn.

A number of years back after the cat died and the dog went off to live with Grandma, I swore I'd never have another pet in the house.

Never say never.

Once again we have a cat in the house. An unneutered cat. (or is that 'unspayed'?) And she's in heat.

This is disgusting, offensive and annoying. Almost pornographic.

As if it isn't bizarre enough for her to stick her butt in the air and gyrate herself against every table leg or any other object she can, she jumped on the counter and knocked down the roll of paper towel and attacked it like it was a long lost lover.

I rescued the roll of paper but didn't notice the lone sheet that had been torn off and floated to the floor. A short time later there was the cat laying on the single sheet of paper towel stretched out and looking very much in love. I'm sure if she was able she'da lit up a cigarette.

And there she lay, cuddled to that sheet of paper, for 12 hours. No moaning. No groaning. No mewing and meowing. And no butt in the air. She would not leave the piece of paper towel. I'm not all that familiar with animals in heat, but this was the most bizarre thing I've witnessed in quite a while.

The whole episode has been a bit unsettling and you can be sure she'll be making a trip to the spay and neuter clinic to have her ovaries removed. Perhaps I'll join her. It seems the hospital is never gonna call.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Self control doesn't pay.

Both my boys had birthdays this weekend. Since Jed was working long days at the PGX on Sunday, his birthday, we decided to have their family supper on Monday which was Ken's birthday.

I wrapped up their presents on Saturday.

Looking at the pile of gifts, I realized that while Jed's pile out numbered Ken's in dollar value significantly, it was smaller in quantity. This would never do. (This is the art of being a mother - knowing what details matter.)

I decided I'd better run to the mall and grab a couple of things. Jed has been asking for a black tie to go with all his various uniforms. Lo-and-behold if it wasn't Super Sale days (or something like that) at Sears. If you used your Sears card you got an extra 30% off any clearance items PLUS they had scratch and save coupons at the till - save up to 50%. (This is generally a code word for 10%)

I managed to gather up a black tie, some underwear, pants and shorts. And somehow a couple of outfits for Xander managed to jump into the pile. I was quite proud of myself for the self control I exercised in completely avoiding Ladies Wear and the Shoe department.

I had briefly glanced at car seats. As soon as X is big enough for a forward facing car seat, (which will be pretty soon) I'm getting my own that stays in my car - no more of this struggling with these monstrous pieces of plastic and straps and shoulder belts in the back of my relatively cramped back seat. Again, great self control. I'm currently not working and my EI has not started to roll in yet. I walked away without one.

I piled my items on the sales counter and the cashier hands me a scratch ticket and a lucky penny to scratch with. I scratched 50%. FIFTY PERCENT!! The cashier was so excited I thought she was going to pee her pants. Perhaps she did.

But me, all I could do was think "Damn!"

I shoulda grabbed the car seat. And a pair of shoes. A new outfit. I should have gotten all my Christmas shopping done. Damn self control.

The birthday boys. It's nice they can sit beside each other now without killing one another.

Hates it when we make him actually READ the cards.

Granny. Have you got the camera??

Yes! It even includes a map of Salmon Arm.

Trying on Daddy's new clothes before Mommy gets a chance to.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Your Baby Can Read.

Xander loves to read. And I mean read - not just look at pretty pictures. From the time he was just a few weeks old and was able to hold his head up without looking like a bobblehead he has loved words.

Someone (who's identity I shall protect) was laying around watching infomercials at 4 am the other morning then sent me a link to Your Baby Can Read.

I got all excited and decided my grandchild needed this program. But 200 bucks? American bucks. I checked out Ebay. Turns out the full editions on Ebay end up being even more by the time you add the ridiculous shipping charges. There were a few partial programs (just the basic DVDs and flashcards) for about fifty bucks. That's a little closer to my budget.

But of course nothing is too good for my Xander and I want to be sure I'm not wasting fifty dollars by getting something that is only half-assed decent. So I set off to check out some unbiased reviews.

I found lots of pros and cons about the program. I found a good literacy website with lots of great insight about raising readers and warning about introducing formal learning too soon, and all kinds of other stuff. All-in-all, I saved myself 200 dollars and Xander will learn to read during quiet time with Granny and good ol' Dr Suess.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good on ya, young man.

August in PG. Time for the 97th annual PGX, where the smells of cotton candy, greasy fries and horse poop fill the air. And Jed becomes a carny once again.

This year he got in on the action the day before the Exhibition even started. He showed up with his work boots on as they were unloading all the rides from the trucks. They worked him hard all day setting up the rides (I'm certain they must carry good insurance) then handed him a wad of cash when he hauled his weary butt home at the end of the evening.

This morning he headed off at 8:30am for his second day to take tickets and press the start button to scare the crap out of young children seeking a thrill.

His feet are still a mess from his battles on the Slip 'n Slide at Vivian Lake. By then end of his second day at the PGX last night, he had to cut his socks to get them off his scabby feet. We bandaged him up a little better today.

He plans to continue these long cash-filled days until Sunday, which incidentally is his 23rd birthday, so he can drag himself down to Electron and buy himself a guitar.

Good on ya, young man.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Living in limbo.

Back in July sometime my ob/gyn's receptionist told me his upcoming surgery dates were July 27, August 6th and 10th.

"He's booked up for the 27th, but I'd imagine you'll get in on the 6th," she said. "Unless there are a lot of emergency C-sections, then you'll be bumped to the 10th. I'm surprised the hospital hasn't called you yet."

Silly me, I took this at face value and booked off work. I had already put in for the long weekend off so I told them July 31 would be my last day until October - please issue me an ROE so I can get my EI rolling.

After returning from the long weekend at Vivian Lake and still not hearing from the hospital, I called the doctor's office. I essentially begged her to do something for me and gave her the gory details of my weekend filled with painkillers, pads and pull-ups. (Of which I will spare you the details ... unless you were one of the ones within earshot of the baby monitor ... again, I apologize.)

"Let me call the hospital and see what I can do for you."

The next day, being the final day to get the call for surgery on the 6th, I called the hospital. Once again pleading my case and emphasizing that I was off work now and could come in an hour's notice should someone die and/or cancel their surgery spot.

"Oh yes, your doctor called yesterday to have you moved up the list."

My heart leapt with excitement as I anticipated her saying, "Come in for blood work today and we'll slot you in tomorrow's schedule."

Instead, I heard, "So I'd imagine you'll get in in the next couple of months."

"Say what???"

So meanwhile I am on EI, the weather has been unusually fantastic and I am taking advantage of the situation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I didn't mean to tell you that.

We had a fantastic weekend camping at Vivian Lake. The weather was perfect, the people were wonderful and my BBQ was successful.

Sunday afternoon I (with much help from my fabulous family) grilled up some burgers and hot dogs and threw out a donation box in the name of The Pink Panters relay team for the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life. This raked in about 400 bucks. I'm quite pleased with this and you can bet that I'll be doing it again. Perhaps next time I'll just write "donation bucket" and keep the money and run.

This was a weekend of firsts for Xander. His parents are pretty strict about going by the book as to when to introduce things into his life. Things like sunscreen and sunshine and solid food. The book says give Xander his first Pablum when he is six months old. He turned five months on Monday. He got Pablum on Saturday. Nana DeBalinhard fed all of my kids their first solid food and we took advantage of her being here this weekend and gave her the honour of feeding Xander his first bowl of the flavourless mush.

From the size of the crowd that gathered and the number of photos and videos taken from every angle, you'd swear he was the first kid in history to partake in a bowl of Pablum. But he is smart and talented and in true DeBalinhard fashion, ate every morsel at alarming speeds with great enthusiasm without wasting a drop. He's so clever.

Of course the wee child still naps numerous times a day. Bless his heart, Granny had to snuggle him to sleep quite a few times. I did my best, but wasn't always successful, to keep my eyes open until his were closed.

For the times when no one napped beside him on the bed the Fisher Price nursery monitor worked fantastic. It even picked up voices outside the cabin and projected them through the speaker which sat amongst the crowd to ensure someone heard him should he awaken.

One should keep this fact in mind while standing in the cabin watching the sleeping babe. Especially if one is having what one intended to be a private conversation with one's sister. Ah yes, my apologies to those men and women who got to be privy to that conversation.

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...