Sunday, 23 February 2014

Saturday Night!!!!

Original post title:  "A is for Anal" - I figured that it might bring too many unsavouries (or expectations) to the post.

Guess what I did last night????

Well, being a (still) young, red-blooded Canadian woman, I poured a glass of wine, did 125 burpees, pushups and situps,* and alphabetized our cd collection!

Ever since I bought my first two cds (George Michael's Faith and Madonna's Like a Prayer, which I still own, thank you very much), I have kept them in alphabetical order.**  They're easy to find, easy to store, and... um, what else do you need?  I also have my recipe box alphabetized, and my spice rack, which we were given after stalking it on a house hunting trip.  And for which we played an exciting game of Spice Rack Idol (see ya, turmeric!).  Anyhoo.  For this activity in compulsivity, the main challenge was deciding on the taxonomy, or how exactly to structure the organization.  Naturally, I settled on four sections:  Artists/Bands by Basic Alphabet, Various Artists, Soundtracks and Kids' Music), and alphabetized within each.  For example, is Elton John's last name REALLY "John"?  What about Harvey Danger?  Bif Naked?***

Go ahead and judge me for that, and for this:  the unalphabetized "chaos" that was our cd collection has been driving me insane for three and a half years.  I think I would make a fascinating study:  I mean, not only am I anal enough to want my cds organized into a structured taxonomy, but I'm also lazy enough that I hadn't done it again since we unpacked in October 2010...AND obsessive enough that I would think, almost every day, "I really need to take the time to alphabetize those."  My eyes would drift to the bookcase nightly, thinking, "Maybe tomorrow," followed by, "Where did I put Peter and the Wolf?  If they were alphabetized, I'd know."  Shirley, some university psych department somewhere would want to study me in depth:  Effects of Extreme Procrastination on Severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  Maybe all the OCD people out there (kaff - Tracey****) just need to procrastinate more.  I could teach them how.

Suffice it to say that I now have a quiet humming sound of self-satisfaction, which ends in a nice little sigh, every time I look at the bookcase.  I haven't done it yet, but I could just walk up to it and grab some Tom Petty.  Or Right Said Fred, for that matter.  Or Joni Mitchell.  Or Sisquo.  Anyway, it was quite disturbing nice to review the diversity of our combined collections, and to remember that Chris and I had only 5 cds in common when we got married:  Sam Roberts, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, Nathalie Imbruglia, and Live.  Some might call this a "sign".  I choose to call it "complementary interests with low chance of duplication".  In anything.

Geez.  What am I going to do with myself next weekend?

* With a (stupid) goal of 10,000 of each by May 12, for No Good Reason, and being on track to fail miserably, just kill me.  Kill me now.

** To be fair, I didn't really need to alphabetize them when I only had two.  But I did anyway.

*** In case you're also an alphabet nerd, my solution was J, D, and B, respectively.  See you at the support group.

**** Tracey is sooooo OCD that she calls it "CDO", because then it's alphabetical.  See?  I am comparatively normal.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The DG is overdoing it, but doesn't really have a choice right now

With the advent of my new life (single mom!*  part-time worker!), I now have the best situation possible in the worst situation ever this new challenging reality:  our nanny, who is wonderful, comes to my house at 7 am, and also manages to leave the house almost impeccable when she leaves at 4, despite caring for our two girls, an extra little one (nanny share!), and picking up Vaughn and the extra's big sister for a 15-minute spell at the end of the day.  I have no idea how she does this, but she does.

I have incorporated a new cleaning schedule for myself, as the old method of waiting till the entire house needed cleaning (and laundering) was causing too much procrastination and fleas stress.  So, if you've ever wondered how the Domestic Goddess spends her time "off" work (which I refer to as my vacation from home), with two little girls underfoot, and sometimes a schoolkid in the way too, I present you with:

The Domestic Goddess Gets Her Act in Gear
aka Scheduled Within an Inch of Her Life

Monday:  It's not just Monday Gum Day anymore, no!  It's Mopping Monday!  The entire house gets swept and mopped with the trusty bucket, and either Mr. Clean or my Vim Hardwood solution, on alternating weeks.  But yes, the kids are still allowed a stick of gum after their afterschool snack.

Tuesday:  Vacation.  Up at 6, out by 7, somehow washed and dressed and fed, also having made breakfast for the kidlets, at work by 7:30, home by 4.  Just in time to make dinner.  Yet still, it's a vacation.

Wednesday.  Why, it's Wacuuming Wednesday!  Or Vacuuming Vednesday!  Call it what you want!  Also includes dusting and sneezing.  Baseboards, tops of doors, corners, rugs, stairs, playmats in the basement, couches, behind the toilet, blinds, under beds... did I mention how many dustbunnies my tiny house can produce in a week?  A lot. Also, the kids have gymnastics at 4:30, and we eat at 6.  I am still amazed that this is (sometimes) possible, thanks to the magic of crockpottery and programmable ovens.  Or shawarma, whatever.

Thursday:  Vacation.  But at least it's Pizza Day at V's school, so my lunch-packing is less intensive,** and it's also tv night, so I get 30 minutes to myself in which to order (or "bake") pizza, as it's also Pizza Night.  And then I welcome the babysitter, as I have ball hockey in the evening.  Thursday is a Good Day.

Friday:  TGIBF!  Baffroom Friday, that is.  Bathrooms, mirrors, windows and surfaces, oh my.  But it also has the luck of being Overlap Day!  Our nanny arrives at 7:30, so I can take Vaughn to the bus stop.  I have an extra set of hands to watch the two littlest ones, which lets me take Ailsa to her dancing lady class (or out for some special one-on-one time), clean in peace, and I have even managed to take a few naps.  Heaven.

Saturday:  Fitness first:  I teach Attack at 9 am, which means getting the crew up and in the car, which is already running by 8:27 at the latest.  I drop them off at the gym daycare, be a superhero/rockstar for an hour, then shower, bundle them up (is it spring yet???), get back in the car and home for an early, quick lunch, then off to the rink for 11:45, enough time to tie skates on three of us (Tamsin stays home with a sitter, Grandma, or Daddy, when he's in town), do skating lessons for an hour, then home to naaaaap.  Saturday night, as always, is reserved for a movie, served with wine, cheeses, and grapes.

Sunday:  Nobody in the house may make a peep before 7:30 am.  One day, my kids are going to read this and either feel betrayed and furious or have their suspicions confirmed:  7:30 is whenever the hell I decide it is.  Chris and I sneak into their bedrooms on Saturday nights and set their clocks back accordingly.   But anyhoo, I digress.  Sundays are for raisin toast, smoothies, and groceries.  That is all I ever schedule for Sunday.  And, of course, it's the second tv night of the week.  Oh, blessed, blessed 30 minutes.  So quiet, so peaceful... oh god, I have to pack V's lunch tonight...

And there you have it.  It's not unmanageable, as long as I stay on top of things... it's been 5 weeks of this schedule, and so far, the house is clean and presentable(ish), I haven't died from exhaustion, and the children haven't come down with rickets or ... well, rickets, anyway.  Unfortunately, they want an extra (vacation) day out of me at work.  Which impacts Baffroom Friday.  And Ailsa Time.  And, ultimately, ME time.

I think the real reason I wrote this down was to just confirm to myself that I am doing the impossible, but making it long as I don't think about it too much.  It becomes overwhelming at least 3 days a week (guess which ones?), but if I just follow The Plan, one day at a time, it's doable....but maybe it won't be if I add an extra day at the office, so seeing this in black and white will give me the backbone to stand up and say, "I can't," something that I don't like to say, ever.  Or maybe, most likely, I wrote it down so that when Fis asks me if I've renewed the plates/hung our degrees up/called the garage, I can just send him this link and say, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

*  No, he's just in Toronto.  We're still in the pool.
** Despite Fis' assertions that I'm paranoid, they totally judge you by the lunch your kid brings to school.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Mommy's nut butter.... you wouldn't like it

My wise friend Ali sent me this recently:

Wow, I replied.  I look amazingly lifelike as a Barbie.

I had a good thing going for about 2 years.  The kids had their peanut butter, and I would sometimes get Nutella, about which I'd say, "It's Mommy's nut butter... you wouldn't like it."  And they actually bought it!  Until they actually tasted it, one cursed day.  Oh well.  The truth had to come out sometime!

Here I am in Costco heaven. 

Nice pipes!
(I owe it to the Nutella...skim milk, hazelnuts...and only a hint of cocoa!)

 Fis said, "No."  


Note:  there is no point or real anecdote to this post.  I just really like Nutella.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Vive le Quebec

Big day today:  I brought the three munchkins to the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier park, in Hull.  We didn't bring our passports, but bravely drove the 6 minutes from our house, over the bridge, and found a nice, free parking spot just a short walk from the festivities.  

I didn't see the foreshadowing when I pulled up in a snowy (about 6 inches) section, behind a snowed-in car, backed up a bit to make sure I'd be able to get out, and a Jeep pulled up beside me.  A man jumped out, and said, "Are you stuck?"  And I smiled and said, "No.  I'm in a Volvo!"  He waved, said, "That's why I love my Jeep!"  We high-fived (ok, we didn't really, but it would have been totally appropriate), and off he went.  

I got the kids out, loaded up Miss Tamsin into her chariot (a wee little blue sled that had once belonged to the Vaughnster), and off we went.  

We go to the Snowflake Kingdom every year.  There's a small jungle gym, some ice slides, some Ice Hog mascots (really, they're Groundhogs wearing sweaters), some neat cultural stuff (native and Quebecois history), and, of course, la pièce de résistance, Beavertails.

This year was a bit more challenging, and not just because of the addition of a third small-but-big-and-heavy child, although she did leave me with one less hand to hold.  Chris doesn't usually come with, so it's a nice, laid-back, walk-around-and-see-stuff kind of outing.  We met up with a friend and her son, who was on a mission:  he wanted to find the skiing station.  I'd never heard of it, but was game... but wanted to See Stuff on the way to find it.  Like the Native woodworker and his snowshoes and sleds, which Vaughn and I questioned with interest (and his wolf pelts, too).  Like the snow artist intricately carving a massive, 2-story block of snow with what looked like a leaf-blower.  Like tubing down an ice slide, and then hauling the tubes back up the hill with kids inside them (hello, glutes!).  We did, finally, find the skiing display, which was only for 5 to 8 year-olds.  Resilient Ailsa took it very well - you can't fight age -- and we left Vaughn to wait with Amanda and Alex, and took Beavertail orders (it was getting on lunchtime, after all, and I hate lineups). We picked up some cinnamon sugar and Killaloe Sunrises, and went back to eat the treats together.  Their group was just about to go in, and as the boys started forward, the guide finally answered my repeated question:  How long will this take?

One hour.

Yikes.  Tamsin and Ailsa can be lovely and patient, but another hour?  With no real food?  Amanda amazingly offered to stay with the boys and bring Vaughn home later.  I'm pretty sure that I left a cloud of snow behind me as I dashed away.

Ailsa didn't want to go on any more ice slides (rats - I love those), but was keen on trying out the giant snow maze.  We bought tickets, and away we went... I expected a nice little walk together, still pulling Tamsin in the sled.  She handed the tickets to the lady, smiled at me, and ... ran as fast as she could!  "You can't follow me, Mommy!" she directed, and told me to turn down a different path.  The maze was well set up, so that you could always see the rest of the maze, so I wasn't worried about losing her, but it was very twisty and turny - each time I got close to an opening that would lead me to her, she'd laugh and run another way.  We spent about 10 minutes in there, before heading back out the way we came, but the woman pretended that we weren't allowed out.  "You have to find the exit!"  

Tamsin decided she'd had enough, and climbed out of the sled.  Ailsa climbed in.  I handed her my purse, picked up Tamsin, and ...ended up back where we started again.  I put Tamsin down, picked Ailsa up, and ... got turned around again!  Finally, we found our way out.  Ailsa gave the volunteer a great big high five, then turned to me.  "My legs hurt, Mommy."  

You and me both, kid.  

The walk back to the car wasn't too long, but we were cold and tired.  And then I saw our car.

The snow is a nice touch, n'est-ce pas?

The plow jerkface had come by in the 2 hours I was gone, pushed a million pounds of snow up over my bumper, and kept going.  I had left about a foot between me and the car in front of us, and ... well, that was my only hope.  I loaded the girls up, put the sled in the trunk (had to slide it in through the backseat, of course), and took a photo, mostly to show Chris, but now I'm thinking of filing a formal complaint with the city.  This can't be legal.  A family walked by, shaking their heads.  "Do you have a shovel?" they asked.  "No, but I'm borrowing that one" -- I indicated one leaning against a house close by -- "if I need to."  They gave me some encouragement and kept walking.  

I took a deep breath, got in the car, and shifted into reverse.  Nothing, as I expected.  I put it in drive, cranked the wheel, eased forward, and ... I moved!  I cranked the wheel the other way, backed up a little more, and then... I drove away.  Just like that.

About half a block away, the same family was still trudging to their car.  The father turned around and gave me a big thumbs up as I drove past.  I honked the horn, and shouted, "Woo-hoo!"

Vive le Volvo!