Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What was that again?

Overheard in the back seat:

Leah: You'd have to wear your coat if you went to [slowly sounding out the words] Lactose Intolerance.

Rachel: And mittens. You'd need mittens too.

It was just such a non sequitur that I totally lost driving concentration. What the hell was that all about?

Turns out that while we were waiting for Rachel's amoxil prescription to be ready at the pharmacy counter, Leah was picking out information brochures from the 'disease assortment' rack, and the girls were looking at them in the car. For reasons unknown to me, the printing company has decided that pictures of inukshuks (Inuit stone figures used as landmarks or signposts in the barren tundra) are particularly soothing, or inspiring, or maybe they're riffing on the theme of "signpost to health" or something. I don't see the connection, but, at any rate, the cover of the brochure for lactose intolerance shows an inukshuk made of snow blocks on a windswept ice plain. Leah thought it was the name of a place, a cold, snowy place.

The pamphlet for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) has a massive, hulking inushuk at night, bathed in the red glow of the northern lights. Dyspepsia's is a smaller, squat, rounded inukshuk on a barren rock hillside.

Ya gotta wonder what shape of inukshuk is on the brochure for erectile dysfunction. Or maybe that's just me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Well, that explains it, volume 2

Lately, there's been a smell in the house.

Have you ever noticed that when someone says "Lately, there's been a smell in the house", they never mean the fragrance of roses or hot chocolate, fresh-mown grass or Chanel No. 5? Nope, you automatically assume nastiness, stinkiness and rot. And you'd be right on the money this time.

I noticed it in the basement first. A nasty, garbagy odour. I work from home on Fridays, and my computer is in the basement. My only-half-finished, dimly lit, somewhat dungeon-y basement. I kept checking around on the floor to see if Elvis had pooped under my desk, or if (God forbid) some small furry rodent had got into the house and died. Nope, couldn't find anything. Shrugged it off. But the smell lingered, and got worse.

Then I started noticing it upstairs on the main floor when I came into the house from outside. Just the faint undertone of rot in the air. I took the kitchen garbage out to the garage. I bleached the kitchen garbage can. I cleaned the cat litter twice a day. And still the phantom odour remained. And grew stronger.

This morning, I was downstairs on the computer and one of my co-workers phoned. We were discussing a publication she's working on, and my eyes wandered around the basement as we spoke (well, they didn't *actually* wander. They stayed in my head. I guess it really was my gaze that wandered, but it's a figure of speech, kind of like "She threw up her hands" which always cracks me up, picturing someone vomiting up fingers, rather than making a gesture of surprise. But, I digress...) and I noticed a white plastic grocery bag sitting on the kids' play kitchen (you know, one of those Little Tykes sets that's a sink/stove/fridge/oven), which is parked in a dark corner right next to the chest freezer. "That's odd", I thought, as Evelyn went into detail about the figures in the report she's working on, "I thought I put all the play food and dishes into a cardboard box. I wonder what's in that bag?"

Holding the cordless phone to my ear and ummm-hmmming to Ev, I crossed the basement to find out what was in the bag. I opened it and nearly threw up my hands. Or at least my breakfast. I had found the source of the mystery odour.

In the bag was a large ziploc bag containing 2 steaks. Two rotting steaks. I have a vague memory of taking them out of the freezer to rummage around in there for a chicken so I could make roast chicken. I must have taken them out, taken the chicken out, and then neglected to put the bag containing the steaks back in the freezer. The lighting in the basement is not the best, and the white plastic bag blends in quite well with the white plastic play set. Oh, and the last time we had roast chicken for dinner was just over two weeks ago.

The good news -- now that the festering meat is in a garbage can in the subzero garage, my house does not smell any more.

The bad news is twofold -- 1) They were really nice striploins that I had got at an incredibly low price and was looking forward to eating. 2) I've been reduced to blogging about the contents of my purse and why my house smells bad.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It really *is* a black hole

I was just looking for a chapstick in my purse. I *know* it was in there, I remember seeing it a couple of days ago while rummaging around looking for a receipt. It was a red one. Cherry probably. I didn't find it.

Here's what I did find, and a strange assortment it is:

a cork from a wine bottle (?!)

I don't remember how that got in there. Oh wait, I do. When I was in San Diego in November, my boss mentioned that she's making a cork board with real corks that she collects from the bottles of wine she drinks. Evelyn and I decided to help her out and we saved the corks from the 2 bottles we had in our hotel room. November. Jeez, I guess it's been a while since I cleaned out my purse.

two identical (and very nice) pens from Technology Sciences Group

Crap. That means I *did* pick up my sister's pen. They were promotional giveaways from the company my Dad works for, and I swore up and down that I didn't have hers, she must have lost it. Guess I was wrong.

a small cardboard box containing a shower cap

Must have grabbed that from the hotel we stayed at in Phoenix in December. Again, I need to clean out my purse more often.

a ticket stub from a Phoenix Coyotes/Nashville Predators hockey game at Glendale Arena in Phoenix

Sigh. That was a good time. The game was great, and I got to see Wayne Gretzky behind the bench. Check out the blurry guy in the yellow circle. Yes! WAYNE!

(Apparently I had reached the limit of my camera's zoom function.)

Oh, and double joy. Who dropped the puck at the start of the game? None other than Phil Esposito! He got a standing ovation. (When I was a little girl, we lived in Sault Ste. Marie, right down the street from Phil and Tony's parents. Cool, eh?)

And while I'm on a hockey tangent. Did you check out any of the All-Star Break coverage last night? The Eastern/Western Conference young players game, or any of the skills competion? It was pretty interesting. I caught the CBC coverage and even with that amazing display of hockey prowess and speed, the thing that really struck me the most is that Marc Messier is. The. Sexiest. Bald. Guy. EVER.

8 ottawapolice.ca temporary tattoos

Those have been kicking around in my purse since Police and Fire Services Day at the Carp Farmers' Market this past summer. The girls got to sit on a police motorcycle and the cycle's owner gave them each a handful of the tatoos.

4 kleenexes, 3 of which are pristine

No explanation necessary. I'm a mom.

a pair of Little Mermaid plastic clip-on earrings

Ditto above.

OK, so it was a pretty cheesy excuse for a blog post. But it works for me.

What's floating around in your purse?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sisterly affection

Leah asked me if she could make some signs to decorate her bedroom door. I said sure, little realizing the peek inside her head this little project would give me. I guess it captures both her personality and the nature of her relationship with her sister.

The images are a bit yellow, as I turned off the flash.

How sweet:

Even sweeter:

Apparently, Leah was taught to write by Yoda:

In case you can't read it, it says, "In my room allowed there is food, but there is no fighting."

And that's where it gets interesting. Why would fighting be mentioned? Whoever could she be referring to? (That last sentence was dripping with sarcasm, in case you missed it.) Oh. Maybe she might be referring to her younger (and more physical) sister with the brown curly hair. Yep, I think that's it.

Check out the next sign:

The sign went up at first without the lettering, but even she thought that might be excessively mean and agreed that Rachel might sometimes be allowed into the room.

But this reprieve apparently does not extend to Huggy Bear, Rachel's constant companion:

And just to reinforce the 'no fighting' theme, check out the 'no punching' and 'no kicking' signs:

The door, in its entirety, so you can gauge the full effect. I had remembered to put the flash on at this point:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For Sale: one four-year-old. Will pay shipping.

Boy was Rachel grumpy this morning. No, grumpy does not even begin to cover the tears and tantrums that issued from that little body. She whined, she cried, she stomped, she threw herself down tragically on the floor and dissolved into a hicupping pool of snot and tears. She didn't want to wear the outfit that she herself had picked out last night. I cut her toast wrong and the cereal tasted 'poopy'.

I'm considering selling her on Ebay.

It's my own fault. She was overtired because I dragged her and her sister with me to the Ottawa Carleton District Public School Board meeting last night in order to show support for another mom in the neighbourhood. She, along with the parent-school council, is spearheading an attempt to get more funds to build an addition on our elementary school. It was built in 1967 to house about 350 students. Currently it has more than 500. Due to fire regulations, the whole school can't be in the gym at the same time for assemblies. Rachel, who has just turned 4, has to leave the classroom with a buddy to use the big kids' bathrooms down the hall, because there's only 1 JK room with stalls, and there are 3 JK classes. They can't lock the school doors while school is in session, because students outside in the 9 portables need to come and go from the school to use the bathrooms -- this is a security issue. And the community is actively growing, with new houses popping up like mushrooms. So you know the overcrowding is just going to get worse.

I was thinking, if polite public delegation questions to the Board don't work, then maybe I could sic Rachel on them to throw tantrums until they ante up the funds. Might be worth a try.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lunch with a friend

I just got back from lunch with a girlfriend. It was fun. It was needed. It most likely contained more beer than was good for us on a weekday. We laughed a lot. We talked about our lives (and love lives) with probably more openness and honesty than was appreciated by the women sitting at the next table; or maybe not, judging by the way they were listening while pretending not to listen.

I'm happy today because we did this. You all should go out for lunch with a girlfriend soon. It's good for you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

After the crash and burn

Well after the less-than-spectacular ending of my last attempt at dating, it seems a little self-analysis is called for in the romance department. Therapy? Nope. Online quiz? You bet your ass. Can't remember whose blog I saw this on, but I felt what-the-hell enough to give it a spin.

Well, OK, I guess. That does sound a bit like me -- I can be very Pollyanna at times, really. So hey, when do I get my unicorn?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dear guy who stood me up

It's too bad that you stood me up. I liked you. A lot. But hey, nobody has to hit me over the head with a two-by-four for me to realize that you're just not interested. Oh, wait, apparently they do. But not more than once or twice. Seriously. I get it now.

That whole not calling me thing should have tipped me off sooner. Oh sure, I made excuses to myself for you: shyness, bad schedules with the kids, crazy holiday commitments, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it really takes very little time, and demonstrates a whole lot more chutzpah to call someone up and say, "Hey, it was nice meeting you, but this really isn't going to work, what with how far away we live from each other/our conflicting child-visitation schedules/me shipping out to the French Foreign Legion/enter other vaguely believable excuse here/, so good luck and maybe I'll see you around", instead of making a date with me just to get me off the phone and then not showing up. It's just plain nicer. Really.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Meditations on bad toys

Christmas has come and gone, and once again it's time to go over the list of what-the-hell-were-you-thinking? Christmas toys the girls received. I've been as guilty as the next person at buying toys that fit into this category in the past, but this year's contestants (only 2 this year) both came from Dad's house.
  • Silly Putty. Coloured Silly Putty at that. Bright pink Silly Putty that contrasts so nicely with the beige/grey carpeting in the living room when it's ground into the fibres. Silly Putty that molds so easily and quickly into round discs that resemble ear muffs, that in the time it took me to leave the kids alone long enough to go to the bathroom and pee, it was molded into said ear muffs and applied to Rachel's head. Where it promptly was squashed into Rachel's hair. Attempts to remove it in my absence seemed to be of the "squish it hard around the hair and attempt to pull it out" variety. I emerged from the bathroom to find Rae on the floor crying and trying to pull two lumps of Silly putty/hair from her head. I tried to free the hair with my fingers, but ended up (and you all saw this coming, didn't you) cutting the lumps free. Rachel now looks a tad punky and wild haired -- yep, throw a swan dress on her and call her Bjork.
  • The Dora Storytime Theater. This slide-projector-like toy takes 10 (count 'em, ten) AA batteries. TEN!! Geez, you'd think that with that kind of energy consumption, they'd throw in an AC converter. Or a gas-powered generator. Leah was all excited to use it, and when I told her I didn't have 10 AA batteries, had the resourceful, but eminently unworkable, plan to use the batteries from all of the 7 or so remote controls that we have for the TV, VCR, DVD and stereo receiver. Ummm, no. Not happening. Whoever bought this for the girls ought to be hung upside down by their ankles for a very long time -- it only takes a second to read the box and figure out that the cost in batteries will outstrip the cost of the toy itself in about 8 months.

Hopefully, people will learn. After all, Leah's birthday is next month.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I'm feeling much better this week, my dark mood has lifted, and without the help of my old friend Jose either. However, I am feeling somewhat scattered, and so here are a few of the bits of useless info that have attracted my attention.
  • My cat can throw up roughly twice his body weight. He does this infrequently, but always after eating dark-coloured canned cat food. He does this on my light-coloured carpeting. He did it again at 2:03 a.m. last night. Did I mention he pukes very loudly?
  • The name of Canadian supergroup Nickelback comes from the nickel in change Mike Kroeger frequently had to give customers back in his job at a coffee shop -- he would say "Here's your nickel back". Cool, eh?
  • Wolves have 42 teeth. Wow. My, what a lot of teeth you have, Granny.
  • It is a good idea to give a copy of your house key to your neighbour. That way, if you lose your house key off your key chain because you thought you were so smart putting it on its own 'sub-chain' so you could unclip it for quick walks to the playground without having to carry the whole big chain with the house, car, office and post-office box keys on it, and then you use your spare 'hidden in the garage key' to add to the large key chain when you lose the 'sub-chain' house key, and then one morning, you're in a hurry cause it took the kids forever to get into their snowpants and you pick up your bags for work and the kids' school backpacks, and your ID card on a string, and NOT your keys, and herd the children out into the cold, cold morning and as the door chunks shut behind you, you think, "CRAP! I'm locked out of the house AND the car", *then* you could just go next door and ask your neighbour for the key instead of having to use your cell phone to ask a friend who lives 10 minutes away by car to drive out of her way to bring you the key she has while you stand in the driveway and feel like an idiot.
  • Not that that happened to me or anything. I'm just sayin'.
  • Our oak tree still has leaves on it. That's just weird. Branches have fallen off the birch due to the high winds, but the oak still has leaves.
  • I still have to send out some Christmas New Year's cards with pictures of the girls. If you were expecting a card, it's going to be a bit delayed. (Hey, it's not Chinese New Year yet).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Life as a sine curve

I always thought that there was only one direction you go in at any given time. You know, if something really bad happened, then you got over it and there was only one way to go -- up. A wonderful 45° line leading away from the x and y axes, up and out of feeling bad. But life's not like that. Trite as it sounds, it's two steps forward and one step back. It's the round peaks and valleys of a sine curve. Up for a bit then down for a bit. And I'm a bit down.

Can't quite pin down why. A number of things all weighing on my mind at the same time. The kinds of things that if they happened individually, I'd be able to swat them away like mosquitoes, but all together they're too heavy to move. I wish I had something pithy or funny to say today, but I don't. I'm thinking this mood will pass soon on its own. If not, I guess there's always tequila.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Revolution

OK, so I'm not one of those deluded people who think that I'm actually married to Dave Letterman and shadowy conspiracies are forcing us to keep it a secret, nor do I think that George Clooney is in love with me and sending secret messages to that effect through his choices of movie roles (although I'd be totally alright with that if it was happening). But sometimes I find that a line of dialogue in a movie or the lyric of a song on the radio has a resonance in my life that seems beyond mere coincidence.

Like when I was driving to work a few months ago, and Bon Jovi came on the radio, singing "Have a Nice Day". I'd been thinking, as I drove, about the positive things about being on my own -- making my own choices, not having to run things past anyone before making decisions, not having to do things anymore because someone else expected me to do them -- and then I heard "I ain't gonna do what I don't want to, I'm going to live my life", and I thought "YEAH. THAT'S IT!". That was exactly it. I don't have to do anything anymore that I don't want to do, and I'm not going to. I get to live my life my way now.

I've tried over the last year and a half to get along with my ex. My parents are divorced and have a great relationship, and I was trying to recreate that for the sake of my girls. It has not gone well. He does things that make me believe he's still trying to control my life even though he's not in it anymore. And my dislike of confrontation and my long history of trying to placate him aren't helping things. So, yesterday I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy (I received Season 2 on DVD for Christmas) and it was the one after George and Meredith slept together. George was feeling all sorry for himself, and Cristina stopped him dead by saying: "If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more." And I swear, the heavens opened and a shaft of light burst through the window and illuminated the TV. Well, not really, but it was a strange little epiphany nonetheless. It's nothing that my friends haven't been telling me for ages, but it seemed somehow that she was speaking to me. And finally I'm ready to listen.

So that's my New Year's resolution. I deserve more. I deserve to be treated with respect. I am not going to accept crappy behaviour from anyone anymore. Not ex-husbands, not guys who say they'll call and don't, not friends who take advantage. It's going to be hard, because I'm not assertive by nature, but I'm going to do it. Long live the revolution.