Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

It's certainly fitting that it's Halloween today, seeing as I'm staggering around work like a zombie. I was up waaay too late last night preparing for tonight and I'm tired. I don't know why it is, but I always seem to seriously underestimate the length of time it's going to take to carve a pumpkin. And honestly, it's not one of my favourite pastimes. The kids always want to help, and there are just too many knives involved for my liking. So I bought a pumpkin carving kit at the dollar store which consists of several spooky stencils, a little serrated saw/knife, and a thing for poking holes in the pumpkin that you use to outline the lines on the stencil once it's taped to the pumpkin.

Well the first stroke of luck was that Rae fell asleep during dinner so I was spared the battle over helping use sharp implements and the bedtime battle. Yeah, I could have woken her, but she'd eaten most of her dinner and hey, she can have a bath tonight. So I carried her into bed and began to eviscerate the pumpkin. (Leah: Mommy, what does eviscerate mean? Me: to pull the guts out of. Leah: Oh. So when Elvis pees outside his litter box, you get so mad you'd like to eviscerate him? Me: Ummm. Something like that.) That was the thickest-walled pumpkin I've ever met. I swear, it was 4 inches thick all the way around. So Leah and I chose a stencil and taped it on and she began to punch the little holes through the stencil into the pumpkin.

Suddenly it was 8 p.m. and time for her to go to bed with the stencil only half picked out. As I was tucking her in, she said sleepily, "Don't forget the treats for school tomorrow." Treats? School? Tomorrow? CRAP. That's right, it was in the newsletter, I knew that. Rae is off the hook for contributions for the JK Halloween party, but Leah is supposed to bring something to share. "Don't worry," I tell her, "you'll have treats".

So, long story short, I was up til past 11 carving a flaming skull into a pumpkin and making a batch of ginger cookies while listening to the Tragically Hip way too loud and wondering if I should break into the bottle of home-made red wine I was given as a souvenir of last weekend's wedding that has the bride and groom's picture on it.

I didn't. But I'm feeling so tired today that I wish I had. I couldn't feel any worse.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My dress ate my pantyhose. Seriously.

Well, the wedding was fun. It was worth the nine-hour drive, with me just getting over Rachel's stomach flu, to be with family and friends at my ex's niece's wedding. The bride was radiant and so, so beautiful. The hall was elegant, the food delicious, the music, well, it was fun to dance to. Everything was perfect except for my carnivorous dress.

When I was invited to this wedding I realized it was time to buy a new dress. I thought back and realized that the last nice dress I bought myself was.....my wedding dress. Yipes! So I found this beautiful sheath dress. Two layers: a bright red shiny satin with a black net overlay with beaded designs on it. It was elegant and different and made me feel gorgeous. It has only one drawback. It ate my pantyhose. No, really, it did. You see, when I sat down, the shiny underlayer rode up on my thighs, leaving the net layer, with its glued-on beads (prickly dried glue) to rub against my knees. After the church, it was just a few annoying pulls. By halfway through the dinner the ladders were starting (heading upwards, thank goodness), but were hidden when I stood up. By the time the reception was over and a bunch of us were back at the bride's parents' house to continue the party, I no longer had knees in my pantyhose. Now *there's* a ladylike look to strive for -- white knees poking through torn black nylons.

This is me, and my knees, sitting with my ex-brother-in-law and father of the bride.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Alison to Universe: enough already!

It's official: you win. I'm totally waving the white flag.

Did you ever get the feeling that something bigger than yourself was toying with you for its own amusement?

It has not been a good week in our household. Some kind of Norwalk-type virus has taken up residence at our house and the girls and I are lurching around like reanimated corpses (and looking pretty bad too) to and from the bathroom. Rae started it first. She had the amazingly good judgment to have the first phase of the virus, the projectile vomiting phase, at her dad's house last Saturday night. (Love that kid.) Sunday she was pale and tired, but OK, and I let her go to school Monday to go on her very first field trip to a pumpkin farm.

Tuesday she wasn't feeling well again, and though I took her to her caregiver, she didn't go to school. Tuesday evening, I'm trying to get a bunch of things done at once. See, we're driving 10 hours tomorrow to go to a family wedding, and I've been so busy with work and the girls and trying to have a little fun on the weekend when the girls were at their dad's that I didn't do the grocery shopping. And the girls needed haircuts. So the big plan was to pick them up from daycare, drive to Stittsville to get haircuts, eat at McD's and then groceries and home. Sounds easy, right?

It was a dark and stormy night. Seriously. By the time I had picked them up, it was raining heavily and very windy. We get into town and to one of those walk-in hair places. Leah tells the lady she wants her hair cut to her shoulders (it was 3 inches past). I said, "Are you sure you want it that short?". Leah: "yes". Leah 10 minutes later (sobbing): "I don't like my hair, it's too short". So I'm trying to comfort her and she's complaining her tummy hurts. Rachel is being pretty good.

We go to McDonalds and I'm not hungry so I get a coffee and a happy meal for the kids and though Rae is doing pretty good, Leah is picking at her food. "My tummy hurts", she says. The hardest thing about being a single mom is that sometimes you just have to bring the kids with you, even when they're sick. I said, "do you think you can hang on for a quick grocery shop? Then I'll bring you right home, I promise". So off we went. And she did hang on. Right up until we were at the checkout, and she looked at me all stricken and leaned over and deposited her dinner on the floor in the checkout aisle. Poor thing. When we got home and I put everyone to bed, I started feeling kind of off too.

Then yesterday I went for my first-ever mammogram. They called me last week to set up an appointment. "Wednesday, 10:30, General Hospital, second floor, module X", the lady said, and I very carefully wrote down in my work agenda: Wednesday, 10:30, Riverside Hospital, second floor, module X". So I'm so proud of myself for arriving nice and early at the Riverside and when I ask at the information place for the directions to Module X, the lady looks at me all pityingly and says, "Dear, that's at the General." CRAP. I race back out to the car and drive like a maniac to the General, which is only a few kilometres away, but has possibly the world's worst parking garage. It has absolutely NO signs inside telling you how to get into the hospital. I was only about 10 minutes late, so they show me into a cubicle and tell me to take off everything above the waist and put on a robe. I pick up the robe. It has 3 armholes. Three! Great, they are apparently using so much radiation that I will be a mutant when this whole procedure is over. Then I see the little sign explaining how to put the 3-armed robe on. Whew.

The procedure was uncomfortable, but not the horror story I had heard about. It was now lunchtime, so I decided to do a bit of shopping before I went back to the office. I went into the mall through the Zellers and found myself gravitating to the underwear section. Hmmmm. I need some new undies. Pretty undies. (You know, the dating thing.) Sometime, someone might be seeing me in undies, and the stretched-out white cotton 'Hanes her way' just aren't going to cut it. So I grab some pretty, lacy, sexy bras and head into the change room. I found the perfect one. Just as I'm heading out of the change room with my slightly slutty new underwear (they had matching lacy boy-cut tap pant undies) what do I hear from the store's stereo system? Bruce Springsteen wailing, "...tramps like us, baby we were born to run...".

OK Universe. You win. But stay out of my private life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Missing summer

Now that Thanksgiving's over, and all the warm and fuzzy cravings for cooking turkey and pies and home-made soups and pulling big sweaters out of the closet have lost their newness; and now that rain has beaten most of the leaves from the trees so that they lie on the sodden grass like colourful litter; and now that the trees are assuming the faintly threatening, witchy outlines of winter bareness, I find I'm missing summer.

It was a good summer -- one of the best. The girls and I spent time at a beautiful cottage with family and friends, and I got to revel in some of the things and people that I had ignored or overlooked or missed out on in the waning years of my marriage. It truly was a season of renewal for me and for my girls. I'm sad to see it go. Autumn and winter seem so busy and full, and in good a way, but missing the lazy magic of the summer.

I'm so glad I took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures to keep me going til next summer.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dating is weird

I've been on my own now for 15 months. I'm starting to dip my toes back into the dating pool. It sure feels weird.

The last time I was dating, I was 17. Now I'm almost 43. Things have changed. And I don't even know if I can still buy Bonne Belle lipsmacker lip gloss (strawberry flavour, please). Or get tickets to see a Humble Pie/Blue Oyster Cult show. Or go parking down by the salt mine. Or any of the myriad things I used to do waaay back when when I was dating my ex those 25 years ago.

I don't know how to date as a grown-up. I sure hope it turns out to be as fun as it used to be.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Inappropriate songs

Living with kids means a certain amount of sacrifice when it comes to music. At first it's such fun, the kiddie CDs, the Disney songs, the Sharon, Lois and Bram songs (is anyone else flashing back to the Peanut Butter and Jelly song?) that start out sweet and fun, but repeated listenings morph them into a torture worthy of the Inquisition. Even Singing in the Bathtub by John Lithgow, possibly the best children's CD EVER, gets a bit scream-inducing after 18 consecutive plays. Generally, I've given in and played the girls what they want to hear around the house -- lately, though, I've just been playing my own CDs. And one in particular that the 16 yr old daughter of a friend made for me.

It's got some fun stuff on it: KT Tunstall, the Fray, Broken Social Scene, Ben Folds, Kathleen Edwards, and a couple from Great Big Sea. I like to play it in the car, and the girls 'woo hoo' and 'no, no, no, no" along with KT on 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree'. The first song on the CD is Great Big Sea's cover of the Spirit of the West classic, 'Home for a Rest'. It's rousing and vaguely Irish sounding and a lot of fun to sing along to. And I tend to, in the car. And the other day, as we drove home from daycare, I was in a good mood and singing the lyrics of the chorus:

You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best,
I've been gone for a week, I've been drunk since I left.
And these so-called vacations will soon be my death,
I'm so sick from the drink, I need home for a rest.

And then I noticed the sweet, piping voices of my girls in the back seat, singing along. Word-perfect at singing this lament of a misspent booze-filled jaunt to London. Crap. That's going to go down well with their dad if they sing it when they're at his place on the weekend. Yep, mother of the year here. I moved pretty damn quickly to turn the CD player off before the next song came on: 'I Kissed a Drunk Girl' by Something Corporate. Let's not make things worse, people.

But, I guess it *could* be worse. A friend of mine has an angelic 3 yr old and a taste for Johnny Cash. There's nothing like seeing this little girl, fine brown hair cut in a bowl shape, big blue eyes, belting out, "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blog weirdness

So I finally inch my toes up to the edge of the abyss and, well, if I don't exactly leap out yelling 'Geronimo' as I launch my blog, then at least I have a quiet sense of satisfaction. Now I have one as well. Like those Saturn jeans I wanted in Grade 7 (dating myself, I know, I know), and now maybe I can be one of the cool girls too. Maybe.

I've been reading another blog lately, Postcards from the Mothership, and enjoying it. (Pardon me for being too much of a newbie to make a link here in the text; Google it, it's a fun read.) I've even been commenting on the posts. The little comment box that pops up ask for a name, an e-mail address, and a URL. My comments have so far been posted with only my name. Looking at the other comments, I noticed a blue 'homepage' next to the names of the commenters. Interested, I clicked on a few and was connected to another bunch of interesting blogs.

"Cool", I thought and then, "Hey, I have a blog now", and I commented on yesterday's entry in Postcards from the Mothership, merrily entering the URL for my brand new blog in the little window. I posted my comments, and then being the sort of person I am, I clicked on the 'homepage' beside my name and.......was somehow redirected to an Ebay feedback page for someone called Longheart 130. WTF?

I have no idea what form of Internet juju caused that to happen. Clicked on it a few time, but the same redirect happened. On the bright side, Longheart 130 seems to have a stellar rep. Guess I shouldn't have tried to, in effect, say to those other bloggers who are all posting to each other's posts, "look at me, look at me, I've got a blog too!", cause I look pretty silly.

Krazy Glue is not my friend

A short list of things that I have krazy glued to myself:
  • the broken handle of a Brita water pitcher
  • a Nativity scene shepherd
  • the kitchen counter top
and, most recently
  • a black cat Halloween pendant with flashing red lightbulb eyes, and, at the same time,
  • my right middle finger to my right ring finger.
The shepherd was probably the most traumatic -- for the girls, that is. It was last Christmas and we were decorating the house for our first big holiday without their dad living with us.

Both girls wanted to put the Nativity scene up on the mantel. I got it out and arranged the figures. It's not an expensive set, the figures are a hard plastic that looks like ceramic. I turned my back to get some candles out of the cupboard (because nearly every freaking Christmas ornament for my mantelpiece needs a tea light in it), and turned back just in time to see Rachel on the stool from the bathroom teetering on the tile hearth, trying to rearrange the little people. Two shepherds hit the hearth and their feet broke off. Both girls were in tears. It's OK, I told them, Mommy has Krazy Glue. I'll fix those shepherds and you won't even know they were broken.

Carefully, I figured out which pair of feet went with which shepherd. I performed the first reattachment with all the skill of a surgeon. Perfect. The second operation needed a bit more fiddling to get the ankles to line up on the feet, but, finally he too was in one piece, ready to adore the infant Jesus. Or at least he would have been, if he hadn't been stuck to my finger.

Well, after a little hot water, some nail-polish remover and some brute force, shepherd number two was back on the mantel with his co-worker, not looking too worse for wear except for the little curly piece of skin stuck to his leg.

Fast forward to the latest run-in. This was considerably more traumatic for me. I read somewhere that a second marriage is a triumph of hope over experience, but in my books second marriages are not nearly so foolish as repeated usages of Krazy Glue. Leah brought her dollar-store Halloween necklace to me. The pendant part had parted from the little eye screw that held it to the neclace part. Out came the KG with nary a sinister chord sounding in the background to warn me that this was A Very Bad Idea.

I glued the little eye screw back into the pendant. I also glued the pendant and my ring finger to my right middle finger. And the ring finger was bent while the middle finger was straight, resulting in finger cramps. Hot water and nail-polish remover did not work this time. So, against my better judgment, and in total desperation, out came the exacto knife. Did I mention that I'm right-handed? You do realize that this means that I was attempting to sever the glue bond with a very sharp instrument being held in a hand that doesn't have the motor control to scrawl my name on paper with a crayon. It was a tense couple of minutes, but I'm glad to report that Leah is wearing her necklace, and I'm typing this with two hands and ten separate fingers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's quiet. Yeah, TOO quiet.

You know that part in the movies, where the hero and the sidekick are sitting around the campfire in the jungle/hostile Indian territory/alien planet, and the sidekick looks around apprehensively and says, "It's quiet"? And then the hero says, "Yeah, *too* quiet", right before the tiger/Indian raiding party/horrible alien monster bursts into the clearing?

Well there I was in the kitchen Sunday, trying to release my inner Martha (I had a triple batch of bean and ham soup simmering and I was peeling my way through a pile of apples for pie) when I noticed it was very, very quiet in the house. TOO quiet. Then I heard a noise, a sticky noise, the noise that one of the little rubber duck cutouts makes when it's being peeled off the bottom of the bathtub. And I thought, "what the hell?" and went off to investigate. I slid open the shower doors to find both girls and assorted stuffed animals and a set of keys (?!) sitting playing in the empty bathtub. Leah was fine, but Rae's hair was all sticky-greasy and plastered to the side of her head. She had all but emptied the pump bottle of conditioner that was sitting on the corner of the bathtub and smeared it into her hair, sweater and pant legs. They KNOW they're not supposed to play in the bathroom. I think they do these things to drive me crazy on purpose.

Well, on the bright side, Rae's very shiny and manageable now, lol.