Friday, January 22, 2010

When babies make babies.

"You do not have to marry him," my mother emphasized as she slammed on the brakes in the middle of the highway on our way to work that morning.

I immediately realized that perhaps winter driving on the highway wasn't the safest moment to tell someone their 16-year-old daughter was pregnant. Safe practices obviously weren't my strong point.

Just weeks before, when I had come home sporting a diamond on my left hand my parents were supportive of my choice of a lifemate - balking at the idea of a January wedding and trying their darndest to encourage us to wait, but supportive none-the-less.

"No, Mom. I want to marry him. That's why I made a baby - not vice versa."

"Well... is January soon enough?" I knew she'd come around to my way of thinking.

Within a week the wedding cake was designed and I had a little white hand knit sweater set. My mom's the best.

That was January 1982.

Tomorrow, the 23rd, is our 28th wedding anniversary. And it's been good. Well, I can almost guarantee you that it's been gooder for me than for him, but it has been good.

And we made good babies. And last year we learned that our babies make good babies.

Life is good because God is good. I luv yoe baby! Here's to many many more!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trading a Jet and Debt for My Soul.

Yeah yeah, I know. It's been 10 days and I said "tomorrow." Didn't your mother ever tell you that tomorrow never comes.
Ten years. That was the long term driving plan when I bought my spanky new black diesel Jetta in February 2001.
For about a year now, Jed stops in at the Chevy dealer around the corner from our house two or three times a month and gets the latest details on a new car for his mom. I cannot imagine how much the company has invested in promotional material that gets dragged home and sits on my counter for a few days while I endure the obsessive rantings of how great a new Malibu would be. Or a Hummer. Get a Hummer, Mom.
It doesn't matter how often I explain there is nothing wrong with my Jetta. I still like it. I put fuel in it every second month and I make no monthly payments. Every time I have this conversation with Jed I get more and more convinced that the 10-year plan was crazy. I am nearing the 9-year mark and started to think that a 15-year plan would be quite reasonable.
Then sometime around Christmas, every time I started out from a stop the car would feel like it was spinning out. When it was happening on dry pavement I knew something was amiss. I made Albert drive it and he confirmed the transmission was slipping. And it seemed to get worse day by day.
So off to the VW doctor we went.
Saving you all the boring mechanical details, after a quick check-up we were informed it needed a $6100 transmission job.
We took it to an independant tranny shop and they confirmed it - but offered to do it for $4200. But still. Forty two hundred dollars!
Albert had given me the news as I sat setting up my new computer. "Damn," I thought. What ever possessed me to order a new computer and camera. And why did I order the extra RAM. And the designer camera bag.
Sometimes my financial smarts ain't so smart.
The only solution I could see was to go test driving new vehicles.
"Huh?" was the only response I got from my husband as I turned and suggested we leave right now, in the middle of installing Windows on my new computer, to try out a Kia Soul.
"Let's go now, while my car is still in the shop so I can't make any rash decisions."
Uh yeah. Like testing driving a vehicle isn't a rash decision when only days ago you ranted on to your son how you were keeping your car for at least three more years.
Well, I fell in love with the Soul. The monthly payment scared the poop outta me though.
In the end, I had no option but to fix the Jetta. And now that I have $4200 invested in it, I really should drive it for a couple more years. However, I still love the Soul. And the Jetta has become unofficially in "for sale" mode.
If someone comes along and offers me enough for it, I trust I'll become the key a$$hole driving a Kia Soul makin' monthly payments again.
I test drove the black one. (of course)
But I really liked the green one too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'll blog tomorrow

This is a handwritten blog.

Seriously, I am going to completely handwrite this entry without touching my keyboard.
My new Windows 7 computer arrived today. I have used a Wacom tablet instead of a mouse for a few years now, but this takes it to a whole new level

Above is a screen capture of me using the pen to handwrite the blog entry - I write/print in my terribly messy handwriting and the computer converts it to legible typing and then inserts it when I click on insert. To delete something you just draw a line through it.

I know most of you cannot understand how I prefer to use a tablet, and if it weren't for my husband occasionally sharing my computer, I would not even have a mouse attached. But this ... well this is simply amazing. Come for coffee and check it out - I cannot do it justice here on the blog.

All that being said - I am overwhelmed by this day and I think I will call it quits and perhaps blog tomorrow about the stress involved in getting a new computer, starting a photography class with an SLR when you've only ever point-and-shot before. And car shopping. Yes car shopping.

It's been a very big day. I'm exhausted but I know I won't sleep - that's where a glass of wine and a movie come in handy.

Talk to ya tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The junk drawer gets snippy with me.

Scissors and socks, they say, have a way of just vanishing on their own. I've heard the dryer get blamed for eating at least one of sock from every load of clothes. This used to be frustrating years ago for mothers everywhere as the "sock basket" filled with singles whose mate had disappeared. One could not throw out the singling because, sure as anything, the day you do the mate would wander back into your life.

The only way to avoid this frustration was to buy only one brand of one colour, so all socks matched.

But the current generation has put an end to this crazy frustration by deciding that socks do not have to match. Grabbing any two that don't have holes is considered a pair. Some will even go out of their way to ensure left and right are not identical. I'm a little to old to play this game, however I can see the logic.

Scissors are another story. Where do they go?? Apparently to the back of my junk drawer with all the missing pens.

The said junk drawer had the phonebook crammed into it one too many times and eventually just gave out the other day. The back of the drawer just let loose, creating the need for my husband to dump it out on the counter and nail it back together.

"You might wanna sort through that crap and decide what really needs to be in that drawer," he suggested to me. "I don't think you need 11 pair of scissors close at hand."

Eleven pair?? Where did those come from? I think there must have been a secret compartment where they all hid out until the bottom fell off. There is no way I could have stored up 11 pair of scissors. Is there?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The great 2010 kick-off campout.

I used to have a playpen but I lent it to the kids for Xander a few months ago because they had lent theirs to someone else. They never got theirs back, so I never got mine back.

When we were shopping in Edmonton last month we found this Peapod by Kidco at the e-Children store. It immediately became one of those gotta have items that was surely going to change our lives. We needed to get something for Xander to sleep in at our house (I recently watched him fall off my bed and land on his head - an image that will haunt me for a long time) This gizmo was unusual. It was cool - camouflage. And it folds small and tucks under the bed.

And New Year's eve we had a sleep over to try it out.

As usual, I rocked him to sleep while he held a bottle in one hand and his soother in the other, switching which one he sucked on back and forth every few seconds until finally he pushes the bottle away and falls asleep with the soother.

I carefully dropped to my knees to place the sleeping child in his peapod, briefly wondering how utterly fantastic this contraption really was.

Xander woke up crying about 1am. I had just nicely fallen asleep but PaPa was still up watching a hockey game. PaPa settled him and went to bed shortly thereafter. About 4am the wee child began moving in his bed. Now, someone used to having a baby sleep in their room may not even have stirred at this. However, each movement of an arm or leg against that nylon tent fabric sounded like major thrashing about to my ears. And though I'm sure he hadn't even opened his eyes, I was convinced he needed a bottle and got up to get him one.

Had I ignored him, it is quite likely he would have slept right on through the night. But any baby given a nice warm bottle at 4 am is going to attempt to drink it. And thus the child, though not really ever waking up, just sort of wriggled around and whined in his sleep for about an hour. He wasn't awake enough to keep either the bottle or a soother in his mouth and kept losing them in the dark - creating the need for Granny to throw back the blankets and get down on her haunches to thrash about in the dark tent for something for the kid to suck on.

"This is the most retarded contraption I have ever seen," I recall saying out loud to myself at one point.

Eventually about 5am, after working myself into a hot flash, I just threw my pillow on the floor and slept in front of the open tent flap where one arm could remain flopped over the kid's face to keep the soother intact. And we slept til 8:15.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rebel without a clue.

I'm pretty excited about my new Canon Rebel camera that arrived this week. I don't really know the first thing about it but I'm excited none-the-less. It's been my theory that if I take a bad photo I can always fix it in Photoshop, but I've decided it's time to do it right.

I managed to get one of the lenses attached and the memory card installed. And I snapped some shots of Xander and Jade. It took a few minutes to figure out how to play back my images. Apparently there was only one image on the card, and this was it:

(click to enlarge this and you can count his eyelashes)

Obviously I was doing something wrong. I had no pictures of Xander and one of Jed's nose.

I'm actually sort of intimidated by this piece of technology for some reason. So I have signed up for Photography for Digital SLRs at LVS -an inexpensive little online learning centre I have taken a few previous 6-week courses with. Classes are only 24 bucks and while you are not likely going to change careers with the knowledge they provide, they are great sessions to help you get the most out of those unused programs hanging around in your start menu. They also provide lessons for other things ranging from Scrapbooking to Blogging to Painting with Acrylics etc.

You should check 'em out. And if you do sign up for something drop my name on your registration so I get credit for referrals.

Then after learning what the buttons and settings mean on the camera I am hoping to take a weekend photography seminar with my neice Tineke of Northern Persona in Quesnel.

Then watch out, my facebook friends, who are already inundated with my current 93 photo albums....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Well now, that backfired didn't it.

We don't always exchange Christmas gifts with Jim and Barb, but some years we do. This year we did.

A few weeks ago we were sitting in a Chinese restaurant eating off of square white plates. Barb turned to Jim and said, "I want square white dishes."

Knowing that being male, he probably barely even heard her, much less intended on running out to buy them for her, I knew just what I was gonna do.

Two years ago when we got back from our trip across Canada it was my intention to cook a live lobster meal some day. So for my birthday, Barbee gave me a nice set of four seafood dishes: bowls, plates, serving platter etc - all square and white.

Jed moved back home about then and Ken and Jade moved in with us for a couple of months and really I just never had occasion to cook a seafood dinner for four so the beautiful dishes sat, still in the box, on a shelf in the basement. I dusted off the box, wrapped it up and put a pretty ribbon on it.

Maybe Barbee would be more on the ball than I, and manage to use them to make a nice meal for four. And if not, she can wrap 'em up again and send them back to me in a couple of years. Maybe I'll be a little more organized by then.

Jim and Barb came over on Boxing Day for Hockey Night in Canada and another day of eating enough food to feed a small village. They also brought us a nice Christmas gift that included a leather pouch thingy that holds two bottles of wine.

"I thought of you when I saw that leather case," she said. "But feel free to re-gift it to someone else."

"Yeah, I'm really good at that, eh?" I replied, laughing. We still had not discussed the re-gifted dishes I gave back to her.

Barbee stared blankly at me. I knew she'd forgotten completely about ever giving them to me in the first place so the joke kinda fell flat.

"The square white dishes," I explain. "They are the ones you gave me for my birthday two years ago...."

"What square white dishes?"

"Uh... your Christmas present..." Okay, I think, she is seriously losing it.

"Oh!" she burst out laughing. "We haven't opened our presents yet. We are waiting a couple of days until Jody and Eric get here."

Damn. I blew that one, didn't I.

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. ...