Saturday, December 30, 2006

Stupid Me

Lushgurl reminded me of an event that went down last week involving me making an ass out of myself (I do this quite often). Since I'm always making fun of others (read: mostly my sick mother, as it's much easier to pick on sick people because they can't fight back), I will share this little story.


Lushgurl and Devilteen graciously offered me the use of their home and hands to help me wrap the umpteen million gifts I swore I wouldn't buy my spoiled gremlins and husband but ended up buying anyway. A few days prior a mutual friend had decided to buy the duo a DVD player. He told me the week before and I figured I would buy them some DVDs to go with it. I imagined the surprise when they opened first the DVD player, then the movies from yours truly, The Maven: giver of life. Or entertainment. Or something moderately worthwhile, anyway.

I wrap up the gift and make my way over to their house. Lushy and DT start to tell me about how badly they felt that they didn't have a gift for me. How they were going to package up some baked goods but didn't have the time and Lushgurl even got a little teary in the process.

In typical Maven fashion, I rev up my mouthpiece and start spewing out niceties such as 'Christmas isn't about gifts, you know. It's about family, friends, love, joy, peace... Materialism is so overrated. It's the thought that counts. Your friendship is way more important to me than anything you could wrap up for me.' The sweetness just flows from my lips. I feel very good about myself, being the big person. I didn't even feel disappointed on the inside.

Ok, maybe a little. Lushy makes these German cream cookies that are out of this world and I was hoping to get my tastebuds on them. But I digress.

'Well, I can bring out a tray of goodies, at least,' says Lushgurl. Big Girl Maven says that would be lovely, and enjoys a few tasty morcels while the girls open their gift from my family, hold the Spawnling and help me wrap. Life is good. Perfect. I feel so centered and mature and smart.

I sit myself down by the tree and shuffle some bags around from behind me. I don't want to squish any of the girls' wrapped gifts while I'm working on my own. Thoughtful Maven. Thoughtful and Smart.

Very smart.

About three hours later, there is a large pile of wrapped, material love on the couch. I gather up the goodies and nearly take one of the girls' gifts home with me. It was the one directly behind where I was sitting that I had displaced from underthe tree. So, I replace it and stand up, gathering my things.

'Aren't you forgetting something, Maven?' asks Lushgurl.

'No, I think I have it all, thanks.' And I really do; Even at nearly 2am I have my act together. Way to go, me.

'You're definitely forgetting something. What about that bag there?'

'No that's one of yours. I just had it with my stuff so I wouldn't squish it. I put it back under the tree for you.'

'I'm pretty sure it's yours,' says Devilteen.

'No, that's not mine. That's yours. Trust me.'

'Why don't you check it and see?'

Stupid people. Don't they know their own gifts? Don't they know what they wrapped stuff in? What the hell is wrong with these two? I need to start screening my friends. Maybe give them IQ tests or something beforehand so I'm not blindsided by cluelessness.

So I spend the next little while trying to point out that it's their damn gift. I didn't bring this bag. I know my Christmas bags. That's not my wrapping style, anyway. There's a card in there and I didn't include cards in my gifts to the kids or husband. Heck, I didn't even bring cards.

Eventually they nearly yell at me to open the card and make sure, for goodness sake.

'But I don't... Oh! Oooh....'

Somewhere in my little brain, a tumbleweed bumps a lightswitch on as it blows on down Gullible Blvd.

Inside I find a lovely card and a whole whack of baked goods, including many highly coveted German cream cookies. The girls can't stop laughing at my expense and I can't stop saying 'I really hate you guys' in various ways over and over.

I wonder if they make dunce caps big enough for me?

That's a rhetorical question, just in case you were wondering.

Friday, December 29, 2006

There's a warp in the space time continuum

Update: I've never been happier to be out-geeked! Warf is actually spelled 'Worf' and he's 100% Klingon, according to Astarte and Wikipedia (two sources I trust). So I guess his 'internal struggles about race' had more to do with being raised as a human and still getting in touch with his alien side. Thanks Astarte! I'll take you through a dungeon in honour of your insight and knowledge, as well as in celebration that I'm not nearly as much of a nerd as I thought I was. Horray! Coffee and cute pictures coming up post-Astarte-home-illness.

Were you eagerly awaiting to find out whether or not I got the one thing I really wanted for Christmas? Of course you were. I can tell by the overwhelming response to my last post that mass amounts of SAHMayhem fans were quivering with anticipation. Well, I shall keep you in suspense no longer: The first present I opened on the morning of the 25th was Stadium Arcadium from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Angels were singing everywhere at the news of this most holy of gifts.

Getting three children (two on a chocolate high), a dog and her accessories, a suitcase filled with clothes, three gift baskets and a large bag of presents into a van on Christmas day is no small feat. Driving three hours to the in-laws' house afterwards was surprisingly easy. That's because of my wonderful friend, Mr. On Board DVD player. If you've recently purchased a vehicle for your young family and opted not to get one of these little gems, please email me with your address so I can send you a sympathy card and a recording of the noise in our family vehicle before and after leasing a van with an entertainment system.

Before: fighting/crying children, lots of 'are we there yet?' type questions, sounds of frustration coming out of the mouths of parental units as we try to come up with yet another road trip game or find yet another book to read or snack to throw into the back seat for the gremlins to squabble over.

After: Quiet conversation between parental units, Coldplay drifting out of the front speakers, and the occasional guffaw from children who are enjoying Lilo and Stitch with wireless headphones and a screen far too small to be enjoyable in any other environment.

The critics like to say that on-board DVD systems are ruining the family road trip by discouraging conversation and distracting children from the beautiful scenery.

I say that if "ruining conversation" means not having to hear 'HE STOLE MY APPLE JUICE!!' one more time and the "beautiful scenery" is me saying 'Look, guys! More....cows...again.', then paint me yellow and blue and call me Blockbuster. Movies during long trips are where it's at.

So anyway, the trip itself went very well. The gremlins' cousins came over (the gremlinettes) and I managed to get my girl child fix. We talked about clothes and dolls and pretended to drink tea. That should do me for another few weeks. Then I might have to steal Jobthingy's daughter for a couple of hours so we can go browse the sales at Sears. I love having three boys because I'm more of a knights and Lego and console game kinda gal anyway, but every now and then it's great to have some estrogen bonding time. There's nothing like brushing a My Little Pony's mane to melt away the stress.

Last night I took Spawnling to visit The Sister and The Madre. My poor mother has now had seven of the ten iron transfusions she needs to battle her anemia. She's looking a lot less like Corpse Bride these days and much more like her old self. Spawnling gave her an unlimited amount of smiles as she lectured me on how hungry my baby was, how he was tired, needed to burp and 'it's ok baby, grandma knows what you want'. It's a good thing I have my mother around or my children surely would starve, stay awake for days on end and possibly have their stomachs implode.

I was telling my female family members about how hilarious the guy at our local video store is. He's black (can I say 'black'? Do I have to say African-Canadian? A person of colour?) and said he would love to marry a white girl (Caucasian? A person of um, very little colour? Wonderbread?) because he loves the look of children who have a mix of both races.

My mom says 'Oh! Like Worf.'

'Um... Worf?' I ask.

'Yeah. Worf.'


'Worf! That guy, right there.'

'Mom, this is C.S.I...' I'm starting to wonder if the hospital can put a rush on the rest of those iron transfusions.

'I know. The guy right there. That's Worf.'

'Uh, mom. That's not Worf. Worf is the Klingon on Star Trek: The Next Generation.'

'No. That guy is called Worf, isn't he?'

(This goes on for several minutes until my sister jumps on the computer and looks up CSI character names.)

The Sister says 'No, mom. His name is Warrick.'

I think we laughed for about ten minutes straight. Then, about fifteen minutes later I nearly fell over laughing again.

The Madre is awesome. She's so funny in that special, iron-deficient way.

In her defence, Worf was born a Klingon and raised on plant earth.: Many of the episodes focusing on his character had a lot to do with the internal turmoil he felt by trying to honour both ancestries.

Now I must go polish my pocket protector before I head off to the roleplay convention. When I come back maybe we can swap comic books.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mondays with presents are good Mondays

Nursing, almost asleep baby in arms.

Presents placed under the tree for three little wee ones. .

Gift baskets (poorly) wrapped. Some already distributed.

Chaos of two family gatherings over. Two more to go.

Gremlins fed, watered and even smell kind of nice.

Mass amounts of baking completed by Geekster. Yes, he bakes, cooks, cleans and no, you can't have him. One day when he pisses me off I'll list off his faults. There aren't many but I'm quite good at making things up.

Mass amounts of dishes cleaned by The Maven. See? There's a fault! Talented but messy. The nerve.

Mass amounts of moody infant sprinkled in for good measure. Thus, mass amounts of tasks done with one hand miraculously completed.

Three hour drive coming up tomorrow. Snacks are packed because I am an excellent mother. Okay, maybe not 'excellent', but I packed them some cookies, which I feel make up for any parental shortcomings.

A certain Maven's gifts are taunting her under the tree. One looks suspiciously CD-like in size. Please-oh-please let it be the new RHCP CD, put together by the Jolly One's pointy-eared slave labour force. Will make for very happy me. I dropped many strong hints. "Geekster, I might like some new music. There's that little store under the bridge downtown. Their music is cheap; they practically give it away now. Hey-o, listen what I say-o: there will be no more Californication until I get some bloody Chili Peppers, ok?!. '

Peace on earth and hydrogen cars would be nice, too. But I'm trying not to ask for too much. Don't want to be greedy, you know.

Good friends, wonderful family and love everywhere. Merry Christmas to all of you. I should have bought and/or made more things for you to make up for having to put up with me the rest of the year. But if I were that nice I wouldn't need to give you any presents at all, because just being around me would be enough of a gift.

Note to self: being nicer could make for a cheaper Christmas in 2007.

On second thought, having to be that nice all the time sounds like too much work. I think I'll take Buying People's Love for $300, Alex.

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My gremlins clean up well

Here's a preview of what's going in our Christmas cards this year:

Oh! Oops... No. That's not the right one. That's what the Wailings gave Geekster and I for Christmas. Isn't that sweet?

If you've seen the commercial, you'll get the joke. A guy gives his new girlfriend a box with a bottle of perfume called 'Genital Herpes' while the announcer explains how a previous relationship can give unwanted gifts to your new love.

STDs in general: not funny at all.
That particular commercial: freaking hilarious.

I told Mrs. Wailing that I wanted a bottle like that for Christmas. What The Maven wants, apparently The Maven gets. I laughed so hard I almost dropped the Spawnling. Those Wailings are just too much!

So anyway, here's what's going in the Christmas cards this year:

At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging (which, of course, I never do): they're pretty darn sweet when they want to be, eh? I'd even say they're downright cute.

It only took about 10 shots to get one where they were all smiling. I love my little gremlins.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Get a load of this little beauty!

Can you believe this? I visited the lovely Astarte last night and not only does she give me delicious, homemade, chocolate chip cookies (my favourite snack in the world), but she also hands me a pile of Steve Irwin valentines! Who the hell has Steve Irwin valentines on their person?

Astarte, apparently.

Anyway, she figured since I wanted Chemgineer to get drunk enough to use the late Croc Hunter's expressions, I would get a kick out of them in boxed love note form. I heart me that Astarte. She's kooky, but thoughtful. And like I've said before: anyone who can tolerate me as a friend for several years deserves a medal. And a latte, which I provided (I buy people off with designer coffee. It's my way of making sure my social life maintains a pulse, however weak it may get at times).

There are a whole whack of these valentines. She kept half and gave me the other half. I'm thinking these will be great collector's items in a few years. How cool are they?

A long time ago, I decided that Gutsy was, in fact, Steve Irwin's love child. He had to be; they look so much alike! I don't know exactly how, when or, frankly, why I would sleep with the Croc Hunter, but I guess it was those fly shorts he used to wear - even in Antartica. That's my kind of man! I had a split screen picture of the two of them up on a website once and people couldn't get over the resemblance. I'll see if I can dig it up someday when I have nothing to do (in about 18 years, I guess).

Today was Gutsy's Christmas party. It was also Intrepid's, so we did the overscheduled North American family shuffle: I went to one party and Geekster to the other. I saw the video footage of Intrepid's class' skit and it made a mother proud. In contrast, my sweet Gutsy had no interest in singing in front of all these strangers with cameras, so he popped in and out of the recital to hang out with me in the audience. He did, however, have great fun decorating the tree. He also jumped back into the action when they were given instruments to play while they sang. He also picked his nose. Now at least a dozen people have my son on camera sticking a finger up his nostril while shaking a tambourine with the other hand. That's my boy!

Then Santa came and tried to eat Gutsy.

No, seriously. That picture is the reason phobias ever see the light of day. Is that not bloody terrifying?!

Spawnling was none too phased when it came to Satan Claws. That's because in this picture he's about two minutes away from defiling his Christmas outfit in an explosive episode down below. I ran to the bathroom at the first sign of impending leakage, but it was too late. The little green and grey stripped pants now had large yellow splotches on the back. Classy.

And, in true 'This could only happen to The Maven' fashion, it came to light that the only outfit I had in the diaper bag was his Hallowe'en sleeper. The one with all the bright orange pumpkins on it? Yeah, that one. The one that is so two months ago. Way to go, me. I couldn't even have a neutral outfit. I had to go all themes today. So my child wore a pumpkin outfit at a Christmas party. I'm an unintentional trend setter, that's all.

When we got to the party, I was reminded by the teachers that the items I ordered from the preschool's fundraiser had come in and not to forget them on my way out.

We left at 12:30.

I got home, changed into some track pants and a huge, white t-shirt, took off my socks, put my feet up, brewed some coffee...

At 2:12pm I suddenly realized that I had left all the gifts there. That thing I wasn't supposed to do? And now the school was shut down for Christmas and wouldn't open again until January 8th.

I subsequently let out the longest string of cursewords to ever come out of my mouth as I frantically flipped through the phone book and found the school's number. Luckily, the teachers were just getting their coats on and agreed to wait for me.

I didn't know I could get myself, a two-month-old and a four-year-old out of the house in full winter gear that fast. I wish I could have had Guiness time it.

Screw that. I wish someone from Guiness could have picked up my items for me instead. It would have saved me the hassle. But, they're hear, they're wrapped and ready to go. Horray!

Now I have to go fill my child's belly with faux-banana-scented antibiotics. Why, oh why, do they give it that neon yellow colour anyway? Do they not realize that it always reaches the clothing despite our best efforts?

Needless to say, the Spawn is still in his pumpkin outfit. I may be forgetful, but stupid I ain't.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crikey! Look at the size of that line!

'Twas a week before Christmas
And all through the mall
Old people were shopping
With walkers and all

With Spawn in his stroller
And I quite deranged
We travelled with Gutsy
To do an exchange

I could continue, but wouldn't that be boring? I only write good poetry in the wee hours of the morning with my eyes half shut. True talent works when the brain doesn't.

Come to think of it, if that statement were true I'd be very, very talented all of the time.

We did go to the Old People Maul to do an exchange, though. It's a Christmas story worthy of its own made-for-television movie: The Maven's Holly Jolly Suicide Run, perhaps.

Apparently my life isn't chaotic enough, so I have to come up with new ways to drive myself to an early grave. Not only have I eaten a great deal of holiday treats intended as gifts to people I either forgot or can't be bothered to buy a gift for (editor's note: please disregard statement if you receive holiday treats for Christmas. You're not like the others. They were made with love just for you.), but I also make random trips to the mall with two children in the middle of one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year.

I was so proud of The Sister's Boyfriend's gift. It was, in my opinion, the best gift of the litter (are there litters of gifts?) and I was looking forward to giving it to him. Chemgineer was to receive a Snakes and Ladders drinking game. I very much intended to live vicariously through him as he downed shooters every time he landed on a snake. I was also hoping he'd eventually get intoxicated enough that I could convince him to say 'Crikey!' when he did, too (In Maven's world, there's nothing funnier than making really smart, future chemical engineers do stupid things while drunk. This is the theory anyway. I haven't had the pleasure just yet.)

Unfortunately, The Sister informed me that he may already have that gift. No living vicariously through the non-alcoholics in my life. No cheap imitations of prematurely deceased, Australian animal enthusiasts, either.

Not only were my hopes dashed, but the huge I-can't-believe-I'm-finally-done-shopping grin was instantly wiped from my face. On Saturday night I had returned home with a blissfully sleeping Spawnling and $277 worth of last minute gifts and stocking stuffers (I wish I could say that's all we spent this year, but I'd be lying the way people lie when they say they only spent $10 at the casino all night.) I nearly collapsed on the bed out of sheer relief and exhaustion. No more malls. No more gifts to buy. No more people at the bank laughing at me. No more Geekster frowning at me. Thinking the Christmas shopping marathon had come to an end was great for the two days it lasted.

One more mall trip, I told myself. Just one more. After I picked up Gutsy from preschool we made our way into my treasured mall of senior citizens and fellow moms. I didn't expect any smiles or niceness, being Christmas. That would be like expecting Britney Spears to grow some talent or Justin Timberlake to come out of the closet: not very likely.

Well, JT may just dump Cameron for a wedding planner and Ms. Spears might actually write her own single yet, because I found friendly people a week before Christmas! I knew I had to go into a kitchen store with aisles too small for a stroller and breakable stuff stacked atop stacks of boxes containing other breakable stuff, so I opted to just carry Spawnling and very carefully guide Gutsy throught the maze of stoneware and martini glasses. The middle gremlin was incredibly well-behaved. By that I mean when I said 'Gutsy, please don't touch', he would put it back and go touch something else. 'Don't touch anything' was lost on him amid the pretty, shiny things calling to him at eye level. I don't blame him; I can't stop touching things in that store either and I'm 26 years older than he is.

After a few 'Please, honey... no... don't... AAH! Ok, that almost broke! For the love of all that is... Ack! Come stand over here, ok?' type statements, a gentleman in front of me in line said 'Ma'am, you can go ahead of me. Please. I don't mind.'

Then the woman ahead of him said 'You have your hands full. Please go ahead of me, too.' She smiled and waved me on with her free hand.

The woman ahead of her said 'You can go ahead of me, too. Here you go.' and moved aside. I was now at the front of the line.

Ah, Christmas spirit. I found it in the Old People Mall! How kind. How generous. How...

'Oh, um. Do you want to do an exchange? It's just that... Well, I don't know if I can right now. It's, like, two pages to fill out and there's a really long line right now...Are you sure you don't mind coming back? Sorry about that.'

Rats. Ruined by the overwhelmed kitchenwares sales associate and a chain store's user unfriendly exhange policy. Bah, humbug.

I left with the snakes and ladders game in hand and headed back to the van.

Oh well. That pales in comparison to the fact that people were actually nice in such a hectic, stressful environment. It's amazing that such a small gesture can have such an impact. It's the domino effect; just as one lone driver in rush hour traffic honking impatiently can inspire others to be as moronic, so it is proven that one lone man with his arms full of last minute gifts can inspire others to let a mom and two little gremlins jump ahead in a line.

I should have invited them all over for a game of snakes and ladders. Instead I wrapped up some homemade goodies for my pregnant neighbour and her spouse. This kindness thing is infectious. Like ringworm.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I found my keys four days after they fell out of Intrepid's pocket? They were next to the sidewalk across the street in the grass. And for some reason the parts the dealership ordered to replace the locks and lost fob (grand estimated total: $350+tax) didn't come in on Thursday as planned. The next morning, the snow had melted and I found my keys.

The next time someone says 'Jesus loves you' I'm going to reply with 'Damn straight! He let me cut the line in Stokes and found my keys.'

I wonder if I might get my ass kicked for that.

Someone loves me, that's for sure. Jesus, Santa, my mom, the creepy guy down the road who's always going for walks with his equally creepy wife and grins at me in that weird way... I'll take what I can get, ok?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I deserved a latte this week

What do you get when you cross a newborn with two older, school-age brothers?

Disease. Delicious, infectious disease oozing from the nostrils of older siblings and making the environment ripe for transmission. It's the reason I haven't updated the blog for a few days. I've been knee-deep in baby bodily fluids, so to speak. The funny thing is, I'm not nearly as stressed about his illness as everyone else is.

I remember when Intrepid had his first cold. He was five months old and was sniffly. I rushed him to the pharmacy post-haste and demanded to know what could make my sickly baby better. I woke up several times a night (in between nursing sessions, even) to watch his breathing and check his forehead. I took his temperature at the slightest indication of warmth.

Fast-forward to this week. Gutsy gets sick and starts to get that crackly cough known to us as pneumonia. As mentioned in a previous post, the middle gremlin's chest x-ray looked good, so he was sent home and his fever broke the next day.

A couple of days later, Spawnling develops the same cough. He's sleeping a lot, he's grumpy and I have to carry him around all day. I don't think too much of it, though. A cold is a cold, and this one goes straight into the lungs like a teenage boy's tongue on a date. Besides, I think, we have an appointment on Thursday for the Spawn's two month exorcism, er, doctor's appointment, so we'll just deal with it then.

On Wednesday night he starts to feel a bit warm. So I do what every sensible mother would do: I take him shopping.

That's right. Shopping. I figured he could either try and sleep while the other gremlins scream at each other and run around the house, or pass out quickly in the van and keep right on snoozing in his stroller as we make our way through the dull drone of Christmas music and overwhelmed shoppers. Like I said: sensible. We buy some gifts, pick up some Tempra and head home. I give him his first taste of anything not Made in Mom and we get some sleep.

At the doctor's office the following afternoon, baby Spawnling was about the same as he had been the last couple of days. The doc unceremoniously stuck a thermometer up his wazoo and got a reading of 38.2c (which is (100.7f, for the non-converts). Not terribly high, but enough that it warrants a chest x-ray. We skip my part of the visit (a pap and a weigh-in, shucks darn) and head off to the hospital.

Half an hour later I was inducted into a very elite group of moms. How many can say they've had two children pumped full of radioactive goodness in a single week? I suppose it isn't too surprising, given that one is an asthmatic and the other is nine weeks old. Still, it's one of those stories I'll be telling my two-headed grandchildren.

Anyway, while the x-ray didn't find any obvious signs of pneumonia, the doctors felt it best to prescribe some antibiotics just in case. I'm not a big fan of giving children unecessary medication, nor do I like the blatant overuse of antibiotics that has run rampant through the Western world. Still, pneumonia in a two-month-old is not something to be trifled with. On the other hand, thrush really, really sucks, and that's what happens when the big, bad drugs slay the innocent little florae hanging out in the gut. Thrush makes breastfeeding mommies cry. We're not too keen on it.

I decided it would be in his best interest to give him the drugs, despite my apprehension and my undoubted disgust for bacteria-filled yoghurt by next week. After three doses, my little guy was back to his happy, smiley self. Drugs are good.

No, no, wait. My children might read this one day. Kids, what I mean is, some drugs are good. Only drugs given to you by doctors. Um, hang on... Not people who call themselves doctors, though. If a guy called Dr. Dre offers you drugs, say no. He just calls himself that so he can get poor white guys high, give them a record deal and watch them make an ass out of themselves on awards shows.

All this to say that baby Spawnling is doing a lot better no thanks to me. What happened to me? I went from being an uberparanoid parent to someone who is frighteningly relaxed. Throughout the entire ordeal I never worried once. I think it's because we've had three bouts of pnemonia between the first two. It's getting old now, you know? We've also had rosacea, chicken pox, hand foot and mouth disease... The list goes on. It takes some of the sting out of medical visits. I might, however, break a bit of a sweat at the word 'ebola'.

People have been saying 'Oh my God! Pnemonia! He's so little! It's so terrible! I like making obvious statements! The sky is blue! It's fun to make The Maven use a lot of exclamation points in her posts!'

It's not that bad, really. He's doing well. I'll only start worrying if he takes a turn for the worse, not before. In fact, I've been far more focused on the fact that there are children out there who don't have access to the $13 medication that potentially saved my child's life. I'm both grateful and upset at the same. My New Year's resolution is to get more involved in world issues. If I'm this great at bitching about them, imagine the potential if I pooled all that bitchiness into action?

I might actually be useful. I might make an impact on the world through means other than making beautiful children, being a stylish trend-setter and writing intellectually stimulating blog entries.

Maybe I can come up with a line of organic, shade-grown, fair-traded bonbons.

Everyone says that the first child is a guinea pig. While true, I bet the mortality rate is higher for third children. My 'been there, done that' mentality is anything but baby-friendly. I've heard two stories now of people leaving their third or fourth infant at home because they forgot them. Forgot them! I'm not quite there yet, but I dare not have a fourth.

I might forget to name it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Celebrate good times, come on!

Yesterday may have sucked more than... Well that's just going to end in a very raunchy way, isn't it?

But despite all the chaos of lost keys, desperate searches in frigid temperatures, sick children and numerous tantrums, one good thing did happen: Spawnling celebrated his two month birthday! Look at him jumping for joy! That, or he's trying to jump out of my arms in an attempt to escape my un-showered, new mommy stench.

He may have been planning an escape from Momcatraz yesterday, but let me assure you that he's since decided being an inmate has its perks. The Drooling Wonder hasn't left my arms all day. His first cold has made him just a wee bit grumpy. By 'a wee bit', I mean the only time I've been able to have my hands free is when I'm changing his diaper. Which basically means that I never have my hands free except when I'm wiping someone's ass. Not much of a break by most people's standards, but I'll take what I can get.

So far I've loaded the dishwasher, done a load of laundry, made two meals for Gutsy and myself, ate both my meals, talked to an upset friend and have had two cups of coffee - all with a baby in my arms. I should charge admission to my freak show.

Meanwhile, Gutsy has had one enormous tantrum over... *drumroll* ... me wanting him to say 'Mom, can you make me some nachos, please?' Power struggles with four-year-olds are really, really fun. Especially when they're sick, their baby brother is sick and they scream so loudly they wake said brother after you finally get him settled down (by 'down', I mean 'in my arms'. Not really down or I wouldn't have spent all that time writing the last two paragraphs and coming up with original wording, like 'Momcatraz')

It may sound like I'm being very negative in my thinking, but I'm viewing this as something positive. See, if everyone is sick now, then they're more likely to be healthy over Christmas. If things are crappier now than a cow pasture in the springtime, then surely they'll only get better before the holidays. We're in for tranquil waters after the storm. The sun will rise again. God never gives you more than you can handle. I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

(I ran out of positive sayings. Although I suppose having a lovely bunch of coconuts isn't a bad thing. Especially on an island where such things are highly valued.)

On the Christmas shopping front, things aren't so bad. I only have a handful of gifts left to buy, including my very favourite thing in the world: stocking stuffers! Who doesn't love them? They're the very best part of Christmas because they generally contain the very best food group: chocolate. In fact, stockings without chocolate are a complete waste. At least 30% of the oversized sock should be filled with it, nothing less. In particular, Terry's Chococolate Oranges are an absolute must. Christmas balls that look like a holiday version of chocolate easter eggs are also important. Throw a mini Toblerone in and I can even forgive the Best of Michael Bolton CD Santa put under the tree. Christmas is all about the well-stocked stocking.

Speaking of gifts, The Sister sent around her Christmas wish list today in a group email. She listed off CDs, DVDs, books, kitchen accessories and even a new kitten named Spenny (to go with her and her boyfriend's existing cat, Leni. Most Canadians will get the joke).

So, being the nice sister that I am, I replied to the entire group with the following:

No wonder you're the favoured child. I can never pick from your humble wishlist. This time it's a toss up between 'scarves for the homeless' and 'two acres of rain forest'. You make us all look so damn selfish *sigh*

(Why do I have a feeling I'm going to get a dead rat for Christmas from you now? haha)

I'm DYING at Leni vs. Spenny. I think I might just get you a cat named Spenny. Or I can rename that scary cat in your basement and just bring her over to your boyfriend's. Problem solved!

Thankfully my sister gets my sense of humour and laughed at me. She may also leave me a dead rat under the tree, but her Scary Basement Cat would have to catch it first.

Scary Basement Cat is only scary because she's disabled, you understand. Disabled = scary when it comes to cats. My parents have a very bad habit of taking on handicapped, er, differently abled animals. Their old dog had only three working legs. What did they name her? Cassidy. Yeah, like hop-a-long Cassidy.

And you thought I was cruel because I choose to be this way. It's all about genetics.

And then, one day my dad gets to work and finds a kitten frozen to the front steps. He takes her to the vet, where she's diagnosed with severe frostbite. I can't remember if it happened on its own or with 'help' from the vet, but the tips of her ears and half her tail came off as a result. She then became a housecat (do you blame her?) and spent her days roaming the three floors of their house. Until my brother, Hefner, got a hold of her.

Hefner, you may recall, is also differently abled. He has Downs Syndrome and he loves animals. Most of all, he loves to play with animals. A few years ago, in Hefner's world, animals liked being carried in a headlock. They liked being put into the drier (when it was off, thankfully). My parents quickly stopped his 'playtime' and taught him how to properly play with house pets, but by that time it was too late. Cassidy remained social, while the cat decided that frostbite plus overfriendly owner was enough to make her hide in the basement until he went to bed.

The dog went to doggy heaven not too long ago and I kind of miss her. However, the cat terrifies me because she now makes her way upstairs and rubs up against my legs when I have my back turned. Then I jump because I forget there's a cat in the house, she jumps because I jumped and she gives me the evil eye before running out the room with her half ears and half tail. Hence: Scary Basement Cat. I think it suits her more than Tigger.

My presence has been requested by a now calm four-year-old for a snuggle on the couch. Must not pass up these wonderful moments. Plus, there's Fourbucks Christmas Blend brewing in the kitchen. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Always look on the bright side of life

Bad things I've done lately:

- I've gone through a lot of amber-nearly-red lights when I could have stopped

- I haven't called people back when I've had time because there was an interesting topic on Oprah

- I wasted gas and helped ruin the environment to get the good cookies across the bridge instead of the lousy cookies at our local Tim Hortons

- I didn't share the cookies with my kids because I wanted to eat them all

... Oh, hi there. Sorry about that. I'm just making a list of all my recent misdeeds so that I can somehow figure out how I earned enough bad karma to justify today's hell on earth.

I'm usually the last person to say that her day sucked. In fact, I'm that cheery person who tries to tell you why your day didn't suck, either. I'm the one you want to punch in the face. The Ned Flanders in your life. Look on the bright side, person that I know. You could be a starving mother in Africa trying to feed your kids, person that I know. A lot of people have it worse than you, person that I know.

But there was no one around to tell me those things today. I had to tell them to myself while I ran through every negative emotion in the Postpartum Hormonal Rut Handbook (The Maven Publishing House, $14.00CDN).

My morning looked like this:

frus·tra·tion Pronunciation (fr-strshn)
a. The act of frustrating or an instance of being frustrated.
b. The state of being frustrated.

2. Something that serves to frustrate.

A good example of frustration would be, say, it taking nearly fourty minutes to leave the house to get to an appointment because one of your children is an infant and thus can do nothing without your help, one is a ten-year-old who does nearly everything by himself but likes to boss around the four-year-old who can do most things for himself but chooses not to because he likes to piss you off. Said four-year-old also decides to throw several tantrums in for good measure both because he's upset that his brother is bossing him around and also because, well, he likes to piss you off.

So, between the time we started getting our outerwear on and the time the van backed out of the driveway, it took fourty minutes. I think the event also took five years off my life.

The afternoon was fairly relaxed, which allowed me just enough time to rest up for the next leg of the race. Intrepid came home on the bus and I asked him to check the mail. We're not gifted with old fashioned, at-your-door service. We have to use one of those boxes on the corner like the rest of the unfortunates. He agreed and wanted to go to Tim Hortons afterwards to get a donut. I had no objections ('Nothing for me, honey, because their cookies are terrible'), so I sent him off.

He took a long time to come back. A very long time. I was starting to get that mommy panicky feeling. I kept thinking of search parties and posters and such. Just as I was about to take the younger, sickly duo out the door to look for him, he came home in tears.

'Bad news. mom. I lost your keys.'

shock 1 Pronunciation (shk)n.
a. A violent collision or impact; a heavy blow.
b. The effect of such a collision or blow.
a. Something that jars the mind or emotions as if with a violent unexpected blow.
b. The disturbance of function, equilibrium, or mental faculties caused by such a blow; violent agitation.

Ok. Ten-year-old boy child has not been abducted or hit by a jonesing caffeine junkie. Good, good. Temporary relief.

Keys are missing. Bad, bad. House key, mailbox key and van key complete with fob (that thing on the keychain that unlocks the car and, in this case, has an remote car starter button) that will easily identify and make accessible the now $30,000 sitting duck and its contents, along with the home attached to it with all its contents. And it's Christmas, which usually means said home has extra contents and people who find keys on the side of the road may be more likely to want said contents for extra holiday cheer.

pan·ic Pronunciation (pnk)
1. A sudden, overpowering terror, often affecting many people at once. See Synonyms at fear.
2. A sudden widespread alarm concerning finances, often resulting in a rush to sell property: a stock-market panic.
3. Slang One that is uproariously funny.

(Think 1 and 2. I'm 30 and thus far too old to misuse the words 'panic', 'ill' or 'sick'.)

My rush was not to sell property, but to find the missing keys. I bundled up the asthmatic, both ill and ill-behaved (see? I used it properly) preschooler and his equally ill infant sibling and ushered everyone out the door to keep looking, but not before putting in a frantic call to my husband. I just wanted to give him something to think about other than the traffic on his lengthly commute home.

Two trips to Tim Hortons and several walks up and down the road between it, the home and the communal mailbox later, I was at a loss. No keys. Meanwhile, Intrepid is crying hard and telling me how sorry he is. I lectured him on taking responsibility for things and explained that this could wind up costing his dad and I a small fortune. And I didn't just say it nicely like they do on tv. No. I said it in a very worried, upset way that made him feel even worse. Way to go, me. Because him feeling worse is going to help us find the keys, obviously.

I called the police station. No one turned in keys. I called again later. Still no keys, but here's our lost & found number, hinthint nudgenudge takethefreakinghintalready.

Geekster came home and went out not once, but twice with a flashlight. He went back to the Tim Hortons - I'm now convinced they're going to start spitting in my decaf - and still no keys.

I called the dealership, who gave me the grand total to replace the locks, reprogram the fob and replace the lost one: $350 + tax. Intrepid wins the family prize for most expensive trip to the donut store. I start to cry. I try not to do it in front of the kids, but they find me like little magnets Gutsy hugs me. Intrepid hugs me.

I spend a good while with Intrepid, apologizing for my psychotic behaviour earlier. I tell him that I was very worried and scared, but that it was no reason to snap at him and lecture him like I did. And I still love him and I still trust him and that I appreciate how hard he looked for the keys.

'It's ok, mom. I understand' and he gives me a big hug. I have the very best children in the world, even though they sometimes make Disney World seem quiet.

Geekster takes the van in around 8pm and gets the existing fob reprogrammed. The locks won't come in until Thursday. That's ok, because trying to get into the van without the fob will set off the alarm. Besides which, you can only enter through the driver's side, and the man made sure to park his car right up against that side. No way to get in now.

We still have to worry about the front door, but not quite as much. ADT has us covered. Plus, we have 10 pounds of vicious guard dog at our service. She can bite a big toe like I've never seen. She yips really loudly, too. It would scare off any malicious Girl Guide.

sub·due Pronunciation (sb-d, -dy)
tr.v. sub·dued, sub·du·ing, sub·dues
1. To conquer and subjugate; vanquish. See Synonyms at defeat.
2.To quiet or bring under control by physical force or persuasion; make tractable.
3. To make less intense or prominent; tone down: subdued my excitement about the upcoming holiday.
4. To bring (land) under cultivation: Farmers subdued the arid lands of Australia.

(1 and 2 describe my day with Gutsy. 3 is how I'm starting to feel now after watching an excellent House episode and having baby cuddle time. 4 is what I might do if I completely lose my marbles. Australia sounds good right now despite the poisonous everythings they have)

Karma: 1.
The Maven: 0.
Geekster: Tired, but watching Scrubs right now.
Intrepid: Awesome.
Gutsy: Not disobeying because he's now asleep.
Spawnling: Slept through most of it.

I'm an iddly-biddly jealous of the wee one, neighboureeno.

Things will be better tomorrow, right? And if not, you're going to bring me a coffee and a hug, I'm sure. Because it's Christmas and even people who don't share cookies deserve coffee. It's in the rule book. Trust me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I suck at apologies

So The Madre called today. I haven't spoken to her since our little tiff last week on the phone. We used to argue all the time and go without speaking for weeks or even months. It's been a while, however, and we've both grown up a great deal. Well, she has anyway.

I should have been a big thirty-year-old and called to apolgoize but I didn't because I have this issue with being vulnerable. I'm always afraid that if I put myself out there - bare my soul to the person I upset - that they're going to take said soul, throw it down, smash a rock over it's soul-like head and shove it up one of my crevices, more wounded than ever. There's nothing worse than saying 'I'm sorry' and having someone reply with 'Well you should be, you terrible excuse for a human being.'

(I haven't ever had someone say I'm a terrible excuse for a human being, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's been said out of earshot along with other choice words.)

So instead I avoid the person for as long as possible like the chicken I am. I wait until they get sick of not having the amazing presence of The Maven in their lives and get in touch with me.

Much to my surprise, this doesn't always happen. There are some people who, shockingly enough, manage quite well without me around. In fact, some would say they even... thrive. Thrive! Without me! Suspicious, but possibly true.

I guess.

Sometimes I think about getting in touch with these people to extend the olive branch, so to speak. The holidays and that whole 'good will toward man' crap really gets to me. But I'm afraid that if they don't take the branch I might poke it in their eye. How dare you refuse my tasty olives? Can't you see I grow the best damn olives around? You won't find better from those other trees. You MISS my olives, even if you can't admit it.

Well, at least my mommy missed my olives (edited to say how wrong that sounds now that I've re-read it)That and she knew I'd feel terrible if something happened to her today and I hadn't spoken to her because I'm, well, me. She's having ten - that's right 10 - transfusions over the next couple of weeks, the first being this afternoon. On top of all her other health issues, she's severely anemic and requires some heavy iron doses, hence the transfusions.

I'm far less of a person than my mother, who picks up the phone when she's that sick to make amends while I, who's only sickness lies somewhere between my neck and my hairline, doesn't take that first step.

So today I learned a lesson: Don't hesitate. Pick up the phone. Email. Send out a Christmas card. Take the plunge and fix that broken relationship before it's too late.

And if the person doesn't take the olive branch, don't dispair. Just make sure you sharpened the tip beforehand so you can jab them in the palm. Then you can both feel crappy, but at least you apologized.

I've never said I don't need therapy. But my heart is in the right place.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Crunchy milestones

Actually, that's supposed to be 'crunchy' and 'milestones', not 'crunchy milestones'. This isn't a hippy marathon sponsored by Birkenstock.

The 'crunchy' comes from the fact that I'm eating homemade caramel popcorn right now. I love my Geekster. He's the supplier of all calorie-rich foods.

The 'milestones' are numerous. By 'numerous' I mean two. There were two. Two milestones reached today! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! *thunder* *lightening* *purple muppet with fangs and keen sense of fashion*

First, but not nearly as importantly, I was able to comfortably fit in to yet another pair of jeans. 3 down, 1 to go. So, despite my ravenous hunger and love for all things chock full of saturated fatty goodness, I'm still slimming down. The swelling from the cesarean is lessening every day and the preggo chunk is dissipating, too. I thank breastfeeding and its calorie-burning milk production for the latter. Well, that and carrying Spawnling around a great deal of the time. He's not a big fan of lengthly solo floor time. (To show his disatisfaction, he just puked down the back of my shoulder. Mmmmm, warmth.)

The second and most exciting milestone is that the Spawn has figured out how to roll from his back to his tummy! Well, it's exciting to me, anyway. In fact, all five of us were there when it occured and we clapped and cheered like the world will the next time a Democrat is elected as the US president.

He had the stomach-to-back thing figured out at two weeks old, but did it out of sheer pissedoffedness because he hates tummy time. So he rolled over while screaming. It was hilariously cute but he only repeated it one other time (while angry again). I didn't count them as 'real' rolls because it looked to be a fluke brought on by hatred towards me and the horrible things I make him do. Oh, and because I laugh when he's angry, which probably makes me an unfit parent.

I could see him kicking his legs today during diaper changes, throwing his body to the right, arms a-swingin'. I kept saying 'Oh goodness, sweetpea! You're almost there! You want to roll so bad, don't you, baby? That's my big, strong boy! You can do it! Mommy knows you can!' and other ridiculous things in my most annoying mommy voice.

He then threw me a couple of 'Listen. I know what the hell I'm supposed to do. Ok, mumsy-wumsy? I'd like to see how dadsy-wadsy would react if you babbled to him in babytalk while he's figuring out how to replace a doorknob. Idiot,' looks and kept right on trying.

Tonight, while on the bed, he decided he'd go for the gold and flip over. He was so darn proud of himself for about ten seconds.

Then he realized he'd forgotten how to flip back and that he was now stuck on his tumsy-wumsy. The frustrated yelling commenced and we all went 'Awww!' instead of actually helping him onto his back again. We're a very loving family.

More good news! One of my favourite people and bestest friends is moving back to Ottawa. The news completely threw me for a loop, as they had just relocated to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) earlier this year. I'm absolutely THRILLED! She has four beautiful kids, a great husband and, because of all that stability, is very able to put up with my crap. That's what a true friendship is made of. Welcome back, Alana! I'll have to come up with a much spiffier name for you when I'm feeling more creative.

Today I took a congested Spawnling and hit the old people maul with my sister. I know, I know. I had enormous guilt over bringing him out while sick. But I figured he'd probably sleep most of the time (which he did) and I really needed the help to carry a lot of bigger items around (which I received).

There are very few people who's company I enjoy more than The Sister's. She's incredibly funny, loves a lot of the same things I do and is intuitively helpful with the kids.

Ever notice that it tends to go one way or the other? I find that a lot of people who haven't spawned their own little demons have no idea how to handle mine. Yet, there are others who naturally posess the gift of knowing exactly what to do even when they haven't done it themselves. My sister is someone who breezes in and takes over when I need it most. When Geekster and I were at the hospital awaiting Spawnling's grand entrance, The Sister took care of the older boys, made a 'Welcome, baby Jackson' sign with them and then cooked and froze a bunch of single portion meals for us. Who the heck thinks of doing stuff like that at 22 years of age when they haven't had babies?

I tell you: The gift. You have no idea how much work I have in store for me when she has her own children. I have a feeling she'll be building me a granny suite or something.

In other news, Gutsy is still fighting this new illness he's acquired. He didn't get feverish again until this evening, though. That's definitely positive. He's going to sleep in our bed tonight and curl up with daddy while Spawnling and I grab the trusty recliner in the livingroom. We were just transitioning to a lying down position when he caught his cold. Two steps forward, two steps back.

(We come together, 'cuz opposites attract! -- I know you were thinking it.)

Well, it's 10pm and somewhere, in at least one timezone, Family Guy is on. That warrants a publishing of this blog entry and scouting out where Geekster stashed the rest of the caramel popcorn. I have a feeling I won't be fitting into demin pair #4 anytime before Christmas. It's beginning to look a lot like blubber.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ho Ho Ugh.

Gutsy update: He's home and his x-rays show no signs of pneumonia. I've never been happier to be wrong in my life. We don't know why he has a fever, but it seems to be responding well to medication. He's coughing in his sleep, but doing much better than he was earlier.

See? I can be wrong sometimes. It's rare, but it happens. Rejoice in my mistakes. Rejoice.


The Christmas tree is up.

The decorations are hung.

The stockings are unpacked.

The icicle lights are twinkling merrily on the roof.

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Oh, wait.

The baby is congested and miserable.

Gutsy, in all his asthmatic glory, has had a terrible cough.

I know that cough. I knew what was coming.

He took a nap this afternoon (which he never does) and woke up with a fever of 103.

Geekster has him at the hospital as I type this.

Who wants to bet this will be his second pneumonia diagnosis this year?

What? No takers? I should have spiked the eggnog before asking.

I'll update when I know what's going on, of course. I'll be surprised if they don't find scary things growing in his lungs, though. I normally enjoy being right, but I won't this time.

Oh, and to top it all off, Spawnling is in an outfit with pumpkins all over it because I need to do this little thing I call 'putting the baby down for five minutes without him screaming in protest' to do more laundry. We're a holiday behind. That's, like, so last season!

On the plus side, he seems happy that I'm blogging. It's the first time in at least an hour that he's stopped crying without a pacifier in his mouth. I guess all those hours of typing out my pregnancy woes paid off after all.

And Intrepid just came back from Tim Hortons with cookies for me. That's my boy! Now I can eat my holiday blahs away and convince myself all the calories will go to making milk.

They will, you know. I'm a professional. I know these things.

I also have a bridge I'm selling.


Edited to add these lovely pictures of Spawnling, taken yesterday by Gutsy. I think they reveal our littlest gremlin's true nature:

Look at him. Innocent as can be.

Oh my. The demon awakes. Vomit and red eyes? This is straight out of The Exorcist.

His true nature revealed, he quickly creates a distraction.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Seymour, I'm hungry!

Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
That's right, boy
You can do it
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
'Cause if you feed me, Seymour
I can grow up big and strong

Spawnling, AKA Eatmy McFeelings, AKA Jabba the Butt, is eight weeks old today. He's beautifully chubbalicious, if I do say so myself. Takes after his mommy, he does.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I think I'd look good with a beard...

'Mom, you'd make a really good female dwarf.'

The things you never thought would emerge from your children's lips.

This lovely, er, compliment came after I tried to pull off a pirate accent. Apparently 'Be gone with ye!' makes me sound like a short, medieval thing with a big nose and facial hair. I was sort of going for Johnny Depp, but instead I got this.

Beards are back in though, right?

Today I made my way into a much quieter, happier, Old People Mall. Thank goodness for that. There were places to sit and enjoy my breakfast sandwich, as well as plenty of people to smile at my baby. A good time was had by both Spawnling and myself while Gutsy and Intrepid were getting their learn on at school. Thank goodness for institutionalization. Otherwise I'd never get any shopping done.

You know the Christmas season is upon you when the tension starts to build. There are Christmas parties to attend, gifts to purchase, goodies to bake, houses to clean, family members to argue with, friends to cheer up, and over-sugared children to contend with. 'Tis the season to be stressed, fa la la la la, pass the prozac. The child part of me loves the holidays while the adult part (the much smaller portion of my psyche) dreads them like aunt Mildred's body odour-scented hugs. It's a love-hate relationship not seen since Sonny and Cher.

I think it's because our holiday season keeps getting longer in The Maven household. We have Thanksgiving in mid-October followed by Spawnling's birthday, (had to edit here and add The Madre's birthday. Oops. Three guesses which family member I argued with), Hallowe'en, Gutsy's birthday, Intrepid's birthday, Hefner's (the brother formally known as Michael, who is the world's biggest ladies' man) birthday, then Christmas. One very long spell of celebrations without much of a breather. And I don't drink, so no martinis for mommy when everyone's pinning the tale on the donkey or fighting over the candycanes.

In true gremlin fashion, Spawnling just laughed at me in his sleep. He knows his arrival has thrown us another curveball in an already hectic season. I would expect nothing less from any of my little monsters, even of the freshly emerged variety.

Tonight we played Monopoly and I was the first to get my ass kicked. By a ten year old, even. In all fairness, said ten-year old has a big brain, scored Park Place and Boardwalk right off the bat and put down three homes on each before I could say 'Marvin Gardens'. One landing on Boardwalk cost me 1400 big ones. Game over for me. I think I'll feed him food he hates for the next week. That'll learn him.

His ability to make creative decisions comes by him honestly. My grandmother, AKA The Madre's Madre, was going to head out the night before Intrepid's party to get him a card. Unfortunately, the weather was horrid and she was concerned for her safety, so she decided to find a suitable alternative around the house.

The only thing TMM could find was a 'thank you' card. So instead of admitting defeat, she decided to improvise. The front of the card says 'Thank You'. When you open it, there's a label over the original text that reads:

...for being such a wonderful great-grandson.

Happy birthday.

Naturally we were all crying of laughter when we saw it. TMM is one awesome little Brit. She's so full of sass that she makes me look dull. (That implies that I'm NOT dull, just in case there was any confusion. And this is my blog so I get to be anything I want to be. You can disagree on your own blog.)

On the good news front, it looks like Crunchy Mommas is making a bit of a comeback. That's good, because I need a tight little community like that again. A place for me to judge others and feel superior is always good for the ego.

Hey, this is the internet. You don't fit in if you don't think you're right all the time and have some obsessive need to prove it in places that don't really matter. Everyone has a persona on the internet. Take me, for example: In real life I'm full of faults and am always messing something up. On the internet I'm full of faults and am always messing something up, but I'm able to throw some sarcasm and big words in. In turn, people laugh and suddenly I make pathetic look almost... good. Just one of my many useless talents.

Now go post something on Crunchy Mommas. Preferably in disagreement with something I posted so we can get a flame war going and make ourselves feel better.

God bless the internet.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chef Maven

I've decided I should start a family recipe book. In it I could put simple dishes we've embraced as traditions in our household, like 'Tax Bill Surprise' and 'Three Child Chaosserole'. I think the book would do well because it speaks to the masses; what family can't relate to 'Spitup Souffle with a dash of Colic'?

The past few days have brought with them several culinary learning opportunities. On Saturday we learned how to whip up 'Eight Hour Birthday Brule', which is a recipe I'd only recommend to the very adventurous. It involves combining two traditional meals: 'Family Party' and 'School Friends Party'. They're layered one on top of the other, with only a small layer of sugary 'Downtime' separating the two.

It's truly exhausting to make, but is a huge hit with ten-year-olds, as seen below:

On Sunday I learned why 'Pre-Christmas Shopping Punch' is more bitter than sweet. It requires a great deal of patience to make, as it takes about three times longer to complete than other seasonal shopping recipes and yields fewer servings. This one is not recommended to make with kids. Trust me on this one.

Finally, on Monday, Mrs. Wailing and I discovered how to make 'Stagnant Senior Citizen Stuffing'. You have to add the following:

1 Monday afternoon
1 surprisingly crowded Old People Mall (more of a 'maul' in this recipe)
70,000 old people
2 socially starving stay-at-home-moms
2 rambunctious preschoolers
2 tired babies
2 bulky strollers
Several places to sit
2 lattes (optional but highly recommended)
In the old people maul, mix in 70,000 old people. Add in the socially starving stay-at-home-moms, rambunctious preschoolers (boys are best, especially if they're overstimulated from all the Christmas hoopla going on), tired babies (best if also hungry and in need of diaper changes) and bulky strollers. Stir well. This may be difficult with all the old people already in the maul.

Put all 70,000 old people in places to sit. Make sure you spread them out so that there is one person per spot, leaving one or two seats open at every table. Have them sit there a very, very long time for no particular reason.

Have stay-at-home-moms with optional-yet-highly-recommended-lattes look for some place to sit. Do not move old people. Do not have old people offer to move, or to share their table with three or four open spots. For added spice, have one elderly woman race ahead of the bulky strollers to grab the one open table.

Babies should now start crying. Preschoolers, in usual preschooler fashion, will have had time to set and will take on a more hyperactive appearance. Some dinosaur-like growling is normal.

Have now desparate SAHMs walk the entire maul looking for a place to sit. For best effect, have youngest baby be in mother's arms, spitting up and making a mess of both of them while mother pushes stroller with other hand. Older baby can be screaming in a tortured-how-dare-you-not-provide-me-breastmilk-immediately way. Preschoolers can run ahead, oblivious to other ingredients.

When benches are finally free, place a grumpy elderly gentleman there to scold preschoolers-turned-dinosaurs-now-turned spies because they put their boots on said bench. Because people have to sit here, you know. Have SAHMs resist throwing something at his head because of the respect your elders thing. But only because of that.

Recipe will yield a nice serving of exhaustion for all to enjoy.


I have no idea what happened to my precious Old People Maul. Oh wait. I do.

Christmas happened.

In three weeks all the excess, less-friendly elderly folk will leave, which will provide us stay-at-home-moms with a safe refuge of warmth, expensive coffee and wide open, carpetted spaces yet again. Until then, I'll be sure to tread lightly and not expect anyone to be courteous. What a silly thing to expect at Christmas time. Shame on me.

We did manage to last over two hours, though. Not bad, considering. The boys played trains, checked out very cheesy holiday displays, and Mrs. Wailing pointed out that Santa left a sizeable ass print in his velvet-lined chair. Also, Gutsy suggested that I change his real name to 'Cheesy' because he likes cheese-flavoured popcorn. I just ordered all the paperwork.

And just now, when I told him that his preschool teachers think he and Spawnling look a lot alike, he studied his younger sibling and said 'Yes, we do... But he's wearing different clothes.'

I love that boy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Slacker moms post videos on their blogs

I haven't had any time to post this weekend, but I have had time to let videos upload to Youtube. So, if you're not thoroughly sick of watching Spawnling movies, you can check out the one here until I can post about our weekend that 'busy' doesn't even begin to describe.

In fact, I think I deserve a damn medal after Saturday. If motherhood was like Girl Guides I would have earned the 'How to throw a party when you can't possibly be more busy than you already are' badge. It would look like a bottle of happy pills, I think.

Without further ado, here is the 1:40 minute video (you may breathe your sigh of relief now). Listen closely at The Madre works her baby talk magic on Spawnling. You can tell she's had a truckload of babies in her time. And no, she's not even on the heavy painkillers here. I find that rather scary. Also, the constant chuckling is my brother, Michael. I need to find a clever name for that boy. Jobthingy met him this weekend so maybe she could help me out there. I'm lacking in the creativity department as of late. It's like I'm a mom to three kids and can't have any caffeine or something.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Inuit (formally known as 'Eskimo) kisses

Eww. Just eww.

Yesterday it was a balmy 15c in the Ottawa area (that's 59f for the Yanks, Brits and others using that horrid system). We're currently sitting at 0c tonight (that would be the freezing point).

Surprisingly, we're all breathing a sigh of relief here in Canada. All the warm weather has been greatly messing with our schedule to create snow tunnels over the sidewalks..

Snow tunnels make a lot of sense up North. We generally get at least two meters (6.2 feet, ya'll) between Hallowe'en and Christmas, which is accumulated over two or three major snow storms. So what to do with all that snow? It costs a lot to clear it, so we figure it makes more sense to cover pedestrian walkways in the downtown area. All the snow plows have to do is push the white stuff up against the side of the road. It's then piled on top of a skeletal construct of dense, sturdy metal. Ice is lightly sprayed over top to hold everything in place, and voila: a windless tunnel about two people wide.

There have been a few minor issues, however. A couple of yahoos on skidoos have whipped through the tunnels at night only to meet up with a drunken college student walking home from a bar. One guy was killed last year in a skidoo-pedestrian accident. Dogs (mostly huskies up here, for obvious reasons) are far more territorial in the tunnels. It's probably the enclosed space. You can sometimes find old dog blood in the snow. It doesn't come out, either, so they bring some snow into the tunnel to cover it up. If you walk on it enough it comes right through, though. Still, I'd take the blood over dog urine any day. They really should ban canines in covered walkways.


I once told a similar story to someone in Kentucky who actually believed me. I made it far less believable, too. I told him we had snow tunnels over our highways, but only the ones with four lanes or more. I also said that at some border crossings you could trade in your car for a skidoo. Apparently this all sounded legit. Frightening, isn't it? Something even scarier is that I'm not the first one to tell someone a ridiculous story about Canada and have them believe it. In fact, Canadian comedian Rick Mercer made a one hour special about talking to Americans.

Now don't get all offended, kids. We all know he took only the most ignorant to show in his documentary. I'm sure at least half of all Americans know that Canada has access to the ocean. Maybe even 60%.

My favourite part is when he tells people that, thanks to the research into mapping the genome, it's been discovered that 80% of Canadians fall into the 'mentally retarded' category. He gets several people to tell us - on camera - that we should embrace what makes us special. He also gets the Governor of Iowa to congratulate us on moving from a 20 hour to a 24 hour day. Isn't that thoughtful?

Man, I never get tired of people making idiots of themselves. I think it's because I regularly make a complete ass of myself as well, and laughing at others makes me forget that for a time.


I haven't had much of a chance to look like a fool in public today. The weather has been terrible and it's caused me no end of grief. I managed to get Gutsy off to preschool, have some breakfast with The Madre and then make a quick Fourbucks run across the very windy bridge. However, I had big plans to hit up the grocery store for Intrepid's eight hour party tomorrow, as well as get to my 12 step meeting tonight. Apparently Lushgurl picked up her six month sobriety chip tonight and I missed it! I wish I could have made it there, but the thought of sliding off the road due to the lovely freezing rain we had for several hours earlier today was enough to derail me.

Bad pun very much intended.

So, I stayed home, made a nice dinner, cleaned up the house for said party tomorrow (four hours of family party + four hours of school friends party = one absolutely insane Maven for even considering doing something like that, even for her son's 10th birthday). , watched Superman Returns with Geekster and the Gremlins and am now posting in my blog so that I don't get people bugging me because I didn't post in my blog. There are several blog readers making their way here tomorrow and I want no lip.

Intrepid did something really cool today. He revealed that he shares my loathing for double negatives. I love him more every single day.

By contrast, I hate, hate, hate, HATE double negatives. I'd give an example, but I don't got none. I'm thrilled that he despises poor grammar as much as I do. I tend to make several grammatical errors in my sloppy blog entries, but at least I don't have room for no double negatives. I wince and clench my fists every single time I hear one. The mere thought makes me shudder.

Ironically, this comes from a girl who learned to read and write in english with no formal schooling in it for quite some time. I attended a french elementary school that had no formal instrunction in my maternal language until grade 5 (and didn't attend an english school until grade 8). As a result, I wing whatever I write and have a bitch of a time explaining grammar rules to my son, so I'm very glad he's a strong student.

The good news is that I'm quite adept at ordering Happy Meals in Quebec. Incidentally, they're called 'Joyeux Festins' in french. My knowledge is a gift to you.

I should head off to bed. We party at 1pm. The house is still a mess, the food hasn't been shopped for and I'm so not looking forward to scraping off my minivan in the morning. Maybe I can tip my sled dog trainer a little extra to do that for me.