Sunday, November 29, 2009

The needle and the damage done

We are just now home from getting our H1N1 vaccinations. I don't think I ever want to go through that again. Except, oh yeah, we'll need another flu shot next fall. Sigh.

The screaming. The crying. The hysterical assertions that she didn't need the shot. The eyes of every other parent, (not to mention every kid and nurse) on our little spectacle, no doubt congratulating themselves on having far better behaved offspring. Saying that Rachel is a bit scared of shots is kind of like saying that the Leafs are off to a bit of a slow start this season. Or that they soufflent les chèvres just a little bit. (That's for you, Josie ♥.) Rachel is petrified.

I know this, and I had it all planned out so she wouldn't be scared. I bought two Emla patches, which contain a topical anesthetic, and told the girls they were magic patches. I said if they wore them for an hour before the shot, the shot wouldn't hurt. The girls were good with that. On the way there they were arguing about who was going to go first. Both wanted to.

But when we got there, the cracks began to appear in Rae's facade. She molded herself to my legs and buried her head in my stomach. "I don't want to get the shot" she said. I explained about how we didn't want her to get sick and about how the magic patch would mean that it wouldn't hurt. Turns out it isn't the pain she's worried about, it's the thought of something sharp going through her skin. Like the time a teeny tiny splinter was stuck about a nanometre into her foot, with most of it out and able to be grasped, and she carried on as if she'd been gut shot and wouldn't let me touch it for nearly an hour and we missed skating.

So we waited until she composed herself. Leah and I had our shots (the patch worked really well for Leah). And we waited. And I cajoled, and I reasoned and I said we weren't leaving until she had her shot. Finally, about a half hour later, in response to a bribe of being allowed to spend some of her birthday money on a new DVD right after the shot, she allowed it to happen. And I still had to hold on to her in case she decided to bolt at the last minute. After it was over, she gave the nurse a hug, so I guess she doesn't hold grudges.

Then it was off to the store for the DVD. We purchased one and were almost home when another emotional eruption occurred in the back seat. Emily, Rae's most beloved Webkinz spaniel was not in the car. I remembered Rae carrying Emily out of the community centre where the flu shot clinic was held. Emily must have been left behind in Walmart. More floods of tears as I turned the car around and headed back to the store. Against all odds, we found Emily, still sitting in front of the display TV showing Snow Buddies that the girls had stopped to watch for a minute while we were shopping. Disaster averted.

Since we've been home, things have been back to normal, and no one is complaining about sore arms or anything. So all is well. Until next year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finally, the one about the flood. Or, can you tell I just re-read Bridget Jones's Diary?

Saturday 25 July, 2009

What an end to a v. v. busy week. Had my BFF Evelyn and her daughter Erin down (up?) for the week from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Wanted to be amazing hostess who would be talked about for months: you know -- specially shaped soaps in the bathroom, scented linens, and wonderful barbecued meals by the pool, where we would frolic in the warm water. It *so* didn't happen that way. The weather and destiny DID NOT GET THE MEMO. It was cold and cloudy and rainy, the pool heater succumbed to some kind of fatal pool-heater condition and would not work, and (I am not exaggerating) two minutes after venturing out onto my elderly deck, and two nanoseconds after being reminded to keep sandals on, Erin slipped on the wet deck boards and jammed the mother of all splinters into the sole of her foot. I've split smaller logs than that for kindling, poor thing. Yes, hostess of the year, that's me.

Yesterday, their last day, we went to the Museum of Nature and walked around (limped around, in Erin's case) checking out the dinosaurs and legions of stuffed birds before they headed off to the airport and the safer environs of home. (Ev and Erin, not the dinosaurs and birds.)

After dinner and playing around on Facebook, I headed upstairs to bed and was soon joined by two scared little girls as a pretty impressive thunderstorm seemed to be stalled right over the house. Coupled with all the rain we've gotten lately that has totally saturated the ground, the storm pushed the groundwater level over the edge. At 1:17 a.m. I was wakened by a horrible noise. A loud, screechy noise. Batted ineffectually at my alarm clock. That was not the problem, nor was it the smoke alarm. It was coming from the basement. Damn, someone had better go down and check out that noise. Sigh. Being a singleton, that person would be me.

I went down to see what it was. I think it was the sump pump seizing. Or starting. I know very little about sump pumps. There was a pool of water covering the entire basement floor, several inches deep, including over the power bars that all my computer equip is plugged into. Wasn't sure if this meant the water might be electrified as the red light on the mouse was still beaming at me cheerily.

The girls' play kitchens were down in the basement. As I was standing on the landing at the bottom of the stairs contemplating the body of water that was my basement (I think naming it Lac Sous-Sol gives it that proper continental flair), a small plastic corn-on-the-cob floated towards me and fetched up against the bottom step. A moment later, a plastic chicken leg followed and bobbed beside it. I stood there, idly wondering if dessert would show up in the shape of a floating cherry pie or portion of crème caramel, but was disappointed. Decided nothing was to be done at that time of night so I went back to bed where I had lovely dreams that all the water evaporated. Got up in the a.m. and checked. Dreams had not come true.

Went upstairs to start coffee, and opened living room curtains. Could hardly help but notice the GIANT HOLE in ground in middle of front lawn. Got my wellies and a coat on over my nightie and headed out to look. One metre across and two metres deep, exposing a large concrete pipe with rebar rungs. Decided it was either an old well, or an escape hatch from the Diefenbunker, which is only a few hundred metres away. Waited, drinking coffee, til 8:30 and called my neighbour Cliff. He's my friend Connie's husband. He is an estimator for a disaster recovery company that does cleanup after fires and floods. V. v. good person to know. And also a super guy. He came over and looked at the basement and arranged for a cleanup crew to come in the next day (Sunday).

Monday 27 July, 2009

Cleanup crew came over yesterday. Crew chief looked exactly like a young Ben Affleck. Had to take myself firmly in hand to avoid excessive drooling. Not sure when I'll start blogging again regularly, as not sure if home computer survived. Will try to keep up at work, but will be sporadic. Seem to have lost use of articles and some verbs. Later, gators...

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Well, my basement has been reduced to concrete and studs. (But not the fun kind of studs, just the wooden ones.) A crew was in on Friday and took everything out of the basement and piled it on the front lawn. You'd be surprised the number of people who wanted to pick through flood-damaged and probably bacteria-infested belongings. One guy claimed he thought I was having a yard sale -- yeah, and the piles of ripped out paneling were a sales item. Insert eye roll here.

The furnace inspector says I need a new furnace, as the water level was over the blower motor wiring and it wouldn't be reliable. So I'm getting a new furnace. A crew will be in to do new drywall on the basement walls sometime in the next couple of weeks. I always wanted to clean out some of the stuff in the basement and fix it up a bit, so I guess you should be careful what you wish for.

The sinkhole turned out to be an old well, thus dashing my hopes that I might lie in wait with a baseball bat for Stephen Harper to pop up out of it. I covered it up with some plywood, which seemed to be a cheaper option than acquiring Lassie to come and fetch me every time one of the girls fell in. I will see about filling it in after I come back from vacation. In the meantime, there's enough room for a body or two, if you have any to dispose of.

Tuesday 25 August, 2009

Have returned from vacation to find that sinkhole has been filled in. I have wonderful neighbours. Not sure if sinkhole is filled entirely with earth or with an earth-body mix. Find that I don't much care.

Thursday 12 November

Finally. Am extremely grateful that drywall is up and painted, and carpeting has been laid. The girls are treating the room like a combination equestrian facility (the galloping)/gymnastics studio (the cartwheeling)/battleground (the flinging of stuffed animals with wild abandon).

I am v. v. happy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Things to do now that it's almost winter

1. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.

2. Make soup from scratch.

3. Take a bath, put your jammies on, and read a book.

4. Nap.

5. Bake something yummy.

6. Challenge the neighbour kids to a snowball fight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Attack of the Evil Ninja Assassin Cat

Hello, Large One.

You cannot see me, yet I can sense where you are, helpless prey to my evil ninja skills. I am the fog and the shadows and the darkness. I have concealed myself in plain sight, and you will not know from whence Death comes.

I have clouded your consciousness with my ninja mind powers. I have set my trap skillfully, lying in wait with infinite patience for you and the sweet, sweet flavour of human flesh.

My fangs will taste blood this night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sleepover Productions, in association with Evil Ninja Assassin Cat Films, presents Star Wars Episode VII: In the Lair of Maxie the Hutt


the Evil Ninja Assassin Cat as Maxie the Hutt

Star Wars action figures as themselves

Filmed by Leah

Directed by Alice and Leah

Story by Leah and Alice

Voices by Alice and Leah

Editing and Post-production by Mum (aka alison)

(Note: in some browsers, the right-hand edge of the movie screen is cut off. To see the film without it being cut off, click on the words 'Youtube" in the lower right-hand corner of the movie screen.)

Friday, November 06, 2009


I've always loved November. It's a quiet month -- melancholy and restful, a month to turn inwards, to light fires and read and think. The Celts celebrated their new year now, on the cusp of winter -- the end of the light half of the year and the start of the dark half.

Maybe it's because I was born in November that I feel an affinity for its sombreness and severity, the clear chill of the wind and the spare beauty of the season. The gaudy leaves and skies of October are gone and the colour palette has narrowed to blacks and browns and white. Beauty is still there, but changed, and you have to look for it.

November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear.
-Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, canto 1, introduction

When shrieked
The bleak November winds, and smote the woods,
And the brown fields were herbless, and the shades
That met above the merry rivulet
Were spoiled, I sought, I loved them still; they seemed
Like old companions in adversity.
- William Cullen Bryant, A Winter Piece

The dusky waters shudder as they shine,
The russet leaves obstruct the straggling way
Of oozy brooks, which no deep banks define,
And the gaunt woods, in ragged scant array,
Wrap their old limbs with sombre ivy twine.
- Hartley Coleridge, November

My sorrow when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
- Robert Lee Frost, My November Guest

The dead leaves their rich mosaics
Of olive and gold and brown
Had laid on the rain-wet pavements,
Through all the embowered town.
- Samuel Longfellow, November

The wild November come at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night winds blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.
The latest of her race, she takes
The Autumn's vacant throne:
She has but one short moon to live,
And she must live alone.
- Richard Henry Stoddard, November

Wrapped in his sad-colored cloak, the Day, like a Puritan, standeth
Stern in the joyless fields, rebuking the lingering color,--
Dying hectic of leaves and the chilly blue of the asters,--
Hearing, perchance, the croak of a crow on the desolate tree-top.
- Bayard Taylor, Home Pastorals--November