Tuesday, November 30, 2010

See Ya Next Year, or Possibly Sooner

Well, the end of November is here. You know what that means??? I can finally shave off my moustache! What a bedroom buzz kill that was!

In unrelated news:

That's all for now folks. Cheerio! Now run along!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Good Day for Pumpkin-isms

So here's a fun idea for some of you: If you happen to have both a wedding video and a five year old, put the two of them together and make notes of the conversation that ensues.

Pumpkin has been asking me if she could see the video of me walking down the aisle, which I agreed to, but then forgot about. The video turned up today in a search for something less important, so I went ahead and showed it to her.

During the video I was hit with an onslaught of questions as Pumpkin navigated the customs and traditions of our ceremony. I tried to keep the explanations simple enough for her to digest, but there were always more questions that only Pumpkin could think of.

"Why did that person walk first? Why did they stop walking there? Where are the children? That man gave you rings??? Are there enough rings for everybody? Why is he the only one talking? Did he say that you couldn't talk? Why are there flowers? Why wasn't I there? Did you know that you wanted children when you got married? What's he saying now? What does that mean?"...and on and on and on....

Then Pumpkin started worrying about her own wedding. Not so much the wedding as the actual marriage. "Mommy, I want to have a wedding, but I don't want to not live here!" I've heard her voice this concern before, so I told her again what I told her the last time that she worried about this.

"Don't worry Sweetie, you and your husband and children can live with us!" I totally don't mean that and I know that she won't take me up on it, but it's funny at this stage. Let's hope it remains funny.

"Will we sleep in the same bed?", Pumpkin further inquired.

"Y-y-you and your husband will. Yes, you will." I stammered, feeling uncomfortable all of the sudden.

"But I have toys in my bed!!!", she protested anxiously, as I burst out laughing. Then she felt the need to add, "Auntie Mel sleeps with toys! They're her best friends!"

Hey Auntie Mel? Good for you!


At dinner time, Pumpkin was still talking about marriage, but had moved on to the issue of making babies. I believe in honesty with regards to this subject, but I also believe in offering only as much information as necessary, with the end goal being a drastic change of topic.

"Did you have your wedding, and then wake up to find a baby in your tummy?", she began, assuming that the wedding ceremony was the catalyst for baby making.

"No Pumpkin. We decided to have a baby after a few years of being married", I answered.

"Well how did it get in there?", she asked, as part of me died inside.

"Daddy put it there.", I replied matter-of-factly, realizing that my rules for honesty were being bent somewhat.

"So you just woke up and found a surprise baby in there???", she deduced.

"Uhmm, no. I knew that he was putting it there...", I trailed off, imagining the creepiness of what Pumpkin was getting at. The conversation thankfully ended at this point.

So please allow me to say it for you, 'Birds and bees talk FAIL!!!!'

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If Never Thought I'd Miss the Days of Dora and Diego

Pumpkin has made the move from baby-ish television shows to 'big kid' cartoons. This change has somewhat been an annoyance for me since the old channel didn't have many commercials on it, and the new one is chalk full of ads designed to sell every toy that they make in China.

In the wake of Pumpkin's appreciation of more 'sophisticated' cartoons, the other night I decided to record Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special, something that I was sure that she'd enjoy as an after school treat the next day. How could she not love the same show that I grew up on?!!

The next day I sat down with her to watch the show, which she seemed excited about at first. I also had dinner cooking at the same time, which I got up to check on a few times. One time when I came back from the kitchen, Pumpkin was gone. I found her playing with her sister in the other room.

"Why aren't you watching Charlie Brown?", I asked in disbelief.

"Because they weren't showing any 'girl' toys! Only stuff that boys like!"

"Are you talking about the commercials????", I asked

"I'm talking about the toys that they show!!!!", she shouted as if the English language was something new to me.

She actually was talking about the commercials. She wouldn't sit through a classic episode of Charlie Brown because of an ad for a Glow Dome and some superhero action figures.

In the words of Charlie Brown, "Good Grief!"

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Try to be Nice, But Not THAT Nice!

I worked in sales for a good chunk of my pre-mommy life. I wouldn't call myself a go-getter, but I think I was fairly successful because I am approachable, friendly, and pretty good at chit chat. If it weren't for the fact that I grew to hate all the customers, I'm sure I'd still be at it in some capacity.

Despite the disdain that grew out of spending too long in the same roll, there were still a few customers that I enjoyed talking to. They were the ones who were also friendly and approachable. We chatted like friends when we did speak, and the customer service aspect of the call always seemed incidental to the conversation. Jim in Saskatoon, who happily gave me his local's point of view on Theresa Sokyrka's career, was always a pleasure to serve.

Anyhow, now that I have become a professional consumer, a title that I just invented this minute, I try to be the kind of customer that I always enjoyed helping out. I attempt to engage salespeople in humourous conversations, hoping that I brighten up their day in some capacity. My belief is that this is not the norm, and not everyone knows how to take me.

The woman in the vacuum repair store made me feel like I was from another planet when I shared with her the danger of seeing my dog, Taz, on the second floor of my house. If he's up there, you can bet that he's looking for a place to drop a load as punishment to the family that has neglected to put him outside for the past six hours. I was there to get my carpet shampooer fixed! The story was relevant! It's not like she was even busy!

My tactic goes the other way too. I swear on my life that I do goofy, not flirty, but I still send the wrong signals sometimes.

Today, I was at a hardware store buying resilient vinyl flooring to repair the damage that I did back when I turned on the irrigation system this year, and figured that I'd share my story with the sales guy. He took this to be an invitation to tell me everything about himself.

He is a grandfather in his 40s due to regrettably getting married at age 18. His marriage lasted 8 years and he has been single for over 20 years. Somewhere in there he asked me if I was a single mom. He continued to explain that when he meets someone new, he lives with them for a year because he now knows that if it is too much of a struggle in that first year, then it isn't gonna happen. Next he complimented me on my make-up, and went into details of his previous job, where he worked along side MAC make-up artists, and how too many women wear their makeup incorrectly...

And then I got a call on my cell from Chichi's preschool, asking me to pick her up as she was really unhappy and lethargic. I explained this to the sales guy, assuming that he would know to hurry the fuck up.

Instead he got into how he is a health and fitness buff, and that he has written a book on the subject. He continued to explain the miracle effects of Vitamin C, and how I should give more to my kids so they don't get sick and all I wanted was my receipt so I could go pick up my miserable, sick child from her goddamn school!!!

I sure as hell hope that someone else is delivering the floor!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Money Talk 101

Pumpkin spends a fair bit of time at my mom's house. Recently, she was over there, fretting about the fact that my mom has the most basic cable package, and doesn't get the cartoon channel.

My mom explained that it was a way of saving money, and that not everyone has enough money to buy everything that they want. She subsequently found something for Pumpkin to watch on PBS, which made Pumpkin happy enough.

You'd think that this would have been the end of it, but later that night, I found Pumpkin in her room, ransacking her piggy bank. "What are you doing?", I asked.

"Getting some money so we can buy Grandma some cartoons!"


The other day, I was grocery shopping with Pumpkin. I remarked on apple sauce being on sale, to which Pumpkin asked, "What does 'on sale' mean?"

"It means that it's cheaper than usual.", I explained.

"Oh," Pumpkin replied. "Grandma likes cheap!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Culinary Laugh of the Day

"Mommy, why do you have so many cookbooks?"

No clue, honey! Now shut up and eat your Alphaghetti

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Thing That I Hate About You

I know that I get some traffic on this itty bitty blog o' mine. I average about 30 hits a day, and a good two thirds of those hits are deliberate. The rest are people hitting the 'Next Blog' button, or people just googling, "Mac and Cheese". I'm not sure why anyone does such a vague search, not adding the word 'recipe', or something more specific, but whateves. I'm not here to talk about them.

It's you that I'm pissed at. That's right! YOU! I've got one more full week to go on this Nablopomo thingy, and I've gotta tell ya, the first three weeks have been very unrewarding. I know that people don't really comment on blogs like they used to, but I need external validation! I just do! My dad telling me that SOME of my punch lines are kind of funny is not enough!

I think I make it pretty easy too! I posted my anniversary, and got one comment! One! How hard is it to offer me a generic, congratulatory wish when I spoon feed you the opportunity? Then I posted a picture of my adorable Pumpkin. That should garner a few people commenting on how stunning she is. I got one comment there too, and it was the same person who wished me a happy anniversary! BTW, thanks Petite Gourmand! I'd love to say that my linking to your site will boost your traffic, but who knows with this ungrateful crowd!

So that's my rant. I've got seven more posts to go this month, and I want comments! And if you don't...well...I'm going to only post pictures of my neighbours cats and stories about potty training from here on in! I'll do it too! And maybe a few pictures of clowns as well!

(Also, a shout out to Barrie, Ms Diva, Lacochran, Leighchee, Chantal, 1001 Petals, D, and J for making a half-assed effort. Y'all don't suck as bad as the rest of 'em!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Cheaper Way to Party

Whenever shopping for over the counter meds at the drug store, I always grab the extra strength version. I've never actually understood how someone could grab regular strength when the 'mighty extra strength' is sitting right there on the same shelf.

Would you like us to do a half-assed job at curing whatever ails you, or would you like to go with something that'll kill it totally, and offer you a good night's sleep in the process. Always seemed like an obvious answer to me.

I think I get it as of today though. As it turns out, I have been thinking like someone who almost never suffers side effects. Something has changed in my old age though.

It started about a year ago when breast feeding became a thing of the past and I went back to indulging myself in cold medication whenever required. About the same time, I noticed that whenever I had a cold, my heart rate had the occasional increase when I was just lying in bed doing nothing worthy of an increased heart rate. When I mentioned it to my doctor, he told me that it was probably the stimulants that are typical in cold medication. Hmmmm, I doubted. It's never been an issue before.

Anyhow, yesterday I visited someone with cats, so I popped a couple of antihistamines, extra strength, of course. As a result, I felt pretty stoned during our visit, and was completely zonked when I slept-walked my way to bed last night. I only just shook my hangover at around 4pm today. So yeah, yet another indicator that I'm getting older. Low drug tolerance.

So I wonder if I can replicate my grade 9 experience of getting drunk on two Wildberry coolers again? Worth a try!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nothing Like a Recital After a Long Flight

Last month when we took Pumpkin on a trip to Winnipeg, we left our car at the Park n' Fly. It's pretty convenient, and often cheaper than an airport limo.

On our way home, we got into town later than Pumpkin's bed time. Her eyes were red, and we could tell that she was desperate to sleep. Then she had to experience the wait at baggage claim. Then she had to wait for the shuttle to return us to our car.

By the time the shuttle arrived, Pumpkin was spent. All she wanted to do was get home. The driver asked, "Is everyone here going to valet?", to which we all nodded our heads. Then Pumpkin started acting up a bit more, if that was even possible.

When we finally found our way into our car, Pumpkin calmed down a bit. I kept assuring her that we would have her in bed very soon, to which she replied, "Good! I'm so tired and I thought that I was going to be up even later because the man said that he was taking everyone to 'ballet'!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Feeling Schmoopy

Chichi had her first solo day at preschool today. It went extremely well!

Pumpkin and I had the opportunity to catch a mid-day movie together today. As it turns out, mid-day is my sleepy time, but I enjoyed taking her nonetheless.

Chichi said quite a few words today!

Tonight, being Friday, I routinely opened a bottle of wine, a bag of ketchup flavoured chips, and watched my favourite show. The wine was one that had been kicking around the cellar for quite a few years, and was presumed dead. I decided to open it anyways, just to confirm my belief. It turned out to be delicious!

Today was a good day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wedding Anniversary, 9th Edition

It feels like just yesterday when I couldn't think of anything romantic to post to The Huz on our anniversary, yet here we are again! This is hard for emotional recluses!

So how are we celebrating? Well, we started out by singing the Flintstones' version of 'Happy Anniversary', you know, just for Pumpkin's benefit. She then ran off to school and told everyone about it, as evidenced by her bus driver congratulating me when I picked Pumpkin up today. She even made us a gift! Awwwwwwwww...

We had little daytime excitement as everyone went about their usual schedule of school/work/grocery shopping, but this evening, well that was the highlight! I left Chichi with The Huz, and took Pumpkin to a five year old's birthday party! Totally worth it! The Tinkerbell cake rocked!

So now, I'm doing the bloggy thing while he works out. Inevitably, he will later fall asleep on the couch, and I will pass out upstairs while trying to stay awake to watch Jimmy Kimmel.

Obviously a good marriage doesn't require a lot of bells or whistles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

She's More Likely To Recognize a Dry Cleaning Bag

Today was Chichi's first day of pre-school.

This is no biggie for me as I am not one of those moms who cry whenever they feel that their kids are growing up too fast, but I did decide to stay for the full three hours given that it was her first day and I wasn't sure how she'd handle it. Really, I don't have attachment issues. Really.

Overall, she did quite well! The only time there was any sort of issue was when she picked up a toy iron and started banging it on a table. The teacher tried to show her how to rub it on the toy ironing board, but Chichi went back to banging it. The teacher looked at me for consent to take it away from her, which I granted.

In Chichi's defense though, she really has no possible way of knowing what an iron or an ironing board actually are. I take full credit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm Gonna Change My Name to 'Buzz Off!' or 'Shut Up!'

Remember yesterday when I mentioned that Chichi was upset with our dog, Taz, for stealing her croissant? Well something good came out of that!

As also mentioned previously, Chichi's speech is delayed. With therapy, words are starting to come, although a little slow for my liking.

However, today, while Chichi was walking around with the last frickin' croissant that I will never buy again, new words came out!

She wandered out into the foyer, where Taz predictably followed. Chichi didn't run, and Chichi didn't cry. What Chichi did do is demonstrate to her speech therapist that she actually can learn with enough repetition.

The few words and phrases in Chichi's vocabulary now include, "GET DOWN!!!!!!"

Taz actually obeyed!

With repetition being key, you should know that shouting actual obscenities at our dogs will undoubtedly precede the word, 'Mama'.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I've Never Liked French Food!

Do you want to know why Chichi freaked out this morning? Because I offered her oatmeal instead of one of those crappy, pre-packaged, grocery store mini croissants.

Do you want to know why she freaked out a short while later? Because even though I gave her a crappy croissant as a reward for eating her oatmeal, she wanted another one.

Do you want to know why she freaked out ten minutes after that? Because after three of those shitty croissants, I decided that enough was enough.

Do you want to know why she now cries in the presence of our dog, Taz? Because he snatched a crappy croissant out of her hand.

Do you want to know what I'm never going to buy again?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just When I Thought She had No Sense of Smell...

Pumpkin has a blanket that is the most important thing in her world. The unfortunate thing about a security blanket is that it tends to get really grimy as it gets dragged around everywhere and anywhere. The other issue is that it is difficult to wash without causing a major tantrum.

The problem isn't with my taking possession of it for an hour while it goes through the laundry cycle. The problem is that after washing, it doesn't 'smell' right to Pumpkin. Sniffing her blanket brings her comfort, even if it smells like, well, I'd rather not even say.

Yesterday during a laundry frenzy, I tried to convince Pumpkin to let me wash her beloved blanket. I may have fibbed and claimed that it smelled like pee, but she wasn't buying it. It didn't smell like pee, but it was still pretty gross from the usual abuse it goes through. Unfortunately, it wasn't a school day, so there was no getting it away from her.

Later that day, Chichi was eating a snack, and my dog, Taz, tried to get it from her. In anger, I gave him a shove. When I shoved him, he fell. To be precise, he fell on Pumpkin's blanket. When he landed on the blanket, he farted.

So I've figured out how to get Pumpkin to beg me to wash her blanket.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

As Long as it has Pink Packaging, Take a Picture!

I had a really bright idea this morning as I headed out to the toy store to buy a gift for my friend's baby shower. "Pumpkin, why don't you come with me and show me the things that you want for Chanukah! I'll take a picture of each thing, then you can look at the pics and narrow the list down to eight things!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I told Pumpkin that we would pick out the shower gift, and then tend to her wish list. There was some protesting, and I eventually gave in and told her that we'd look for her stuff first, figuring that the order of events didn't really matter. Pumpkin very wisely replied to me, "Good! If we look around for me first, I won't get so frustrated!"

So does my frustration count for anything? I have at least 70 pictures on my phone that I now have to somehow print out for Pumpkin for her to apply some sort of ranking to. Not only that, but after an hour of snapping pictures of EVERY SINGLE BARBIE PRODUCT IN THE STORE, she was unwilling to cooperate when I finally took a moment to pick out the baby shower gift!

So yeah, bad idea. Pumpkin likes everything, so its best not to show everything to her. I was better off hearing about the twelve items that are continually advertised on the cartoon channel.

And I always figured I'd have the child whose only wish would be for world peace. Maybe if it came with a Ken doll...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Can I Just Go With the Prize Behind Door #1?

I heard an ad on a local radio station today that really had me wondering, WTF??? It was for a contest at some night club, where you can win, (cue my best monster truck announcer voice), either a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or a set of breast implants!

Really? Those are my options?

First of all, if those two prizes are equal in value, HOLY SHIT are breast implants ever expensive!!! I've never priced them out, having as lovely a set as I already have. Heh.

But on to the bigger issue, (I just caught the double entendre upon re-reading this!), how small is the market that this contest is geared towards? (Woohoo! Found another one!) I've never felt older or uncool-er listening to that station as I did upon hearing this ad, yet I'm pretty sure that a younger, cooler version of me wouldn't have been interested either. I really don't think I'm alone.

I'm guessing, and it's just a guess, but it is probably a small minority of women who want to have a bigger rack, AND who would actually risk elective surgery to go through with it. I'm also guessing that it is probably only a small minority of the population who would want to get on a motorcycle, despite its perceived cool-ness.

And then there's the inequality issue. Although these prizes are possibly equal in dollar value, are they really reasonable alternatives?

Undoubtedly the breast implants are geared towards women.

I am not a part of 'motorcycle culture', a term that would probably be laughed at by people who are part of it, but my hunch is that the Harley prize is geared more towards men. Women ride them too, but the statistic I read here says that women make up only 18% of motorcycle riders.

So men, your prize, if you choose to accept it, is a vehicle that is both a method of transportation, and offers a feeling of freedom as you travel along a country road, with the wind in your hair, as you leave your troubles behind.

Women, your prize, if you choose to accept it, implies that your body is not good enough as it is, and offers the opportunity to have even fewer people look you in the eye while conversing with you. AND if the surgery is successful, you then get to worry about capsular contracture, and rupture or leakage, and other possible complications.

I don't want to say that there aren't women who benefit from implants in terms of increased self esteem, etc., and I don't want to condemn women who have had implants. If you did it for yourself, great! But you can't deny that there are health risks. A decision to have elective, cosmetic surgery should be made intelligently, and in a well thought out manner. It shouldn't be on a whim because you happened to have won a contest.

Or you could just opt for the Harley, sell it on ebay, buy cheaper implants and still have enough cash left over for a nice vacation!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Remember

Taking a break from the jokes to thank all of those who fought, and continue to fight for our freedom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Compassion Wanes with the Patient's Age

In light of Chichi's illness that started yesterday, my mom took Pumpkin out for the day such that they both had a chance at staying healthy, and that I could be at Chichi's beck and call. This made for a pretty boring day considering that Chichi neither 'becked', nor called!

As it turns out, Chichi is exactly like her father when she isn't feeling well. Whenever J gets a cold or flu, he comes home and heads straight to bed. Then he stays there for 18 hours or so, turning the bed into his own personal sweat lodge, ignoring his family, and snapping at me for trying to care for him . Nice, eh? Do you think that I get to do that when I'm sick?

Chichi went to bed at 6pm yesterday. At 6am today, she needed medicine, and then she flopped back down in her bed. At 9am, I brought her water. She drank it, then flopped back down in her bed. At noon I brought her crackers. She ate them, then flopped back down in her bed. At 2pm I check in on her. She refused to get out of bed. She was in that bed for almost 24 hours straight! She got up for two whole hours of play this evening, but then she wanted to go back to bed.

So, like father like daughter. Both feel the need to drop out of family life when they aren't feeling well. The only difference is that when Chichi decides to do this, I find myself impressed with her instinct. Whenever J does this, I feel compelled to throw lit matches at his head.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Inaugural Moment in Parenting

Chichi threw up in my car. A first for me. I even managed to catch her in the act as I glanced in the rear view mirror at just the right time. And then the smell...

I have now learned not to continually try different foods on a child who doesn't seem keen on eating in the first place. If the Cheerios are a no-go, don't push milk and raisins.

So I was forced into doing laundry during peak energy hours today, but I'm trying to look at the bright side nonetheless. For one, everything that got messed up was something that I could remove from the car and hose off on the driveway. I'm also happy that it isn't too cold to actually hose things off in the driveway. The big plus is that she didn't throw up in the house that we were visiting just 15 minutes prior. That would have been a tad embarrassing.

I've been extra fortunate in this particular realm of parenting. Pumpkin didn't throw up for the first time until she was four, and even then it was just once. Today was Chichi's first time. She seems ok but no doubt I'll be checking on her 20 times tonight.

So is it a virus? Are we all going to lose another 'Norwalk Five'? Or did Chichi just ingest the wrong type of dog food. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Natural Born Carnivore

When children come into this world, we tend to bombard them with cute, fuzzy stuffed animals that make sounds; battery powered, toy barns; and various musical renditions of Old McDonald's Farm. Consequently, my children are excellent at making animal sounds. Yup, there I go, bragging again!

Chichi is following in her big sister's footsteps at being able to make the real sound, and not just a humanized quack or cluck. Chichi's speech is somewhat delayed, so she generally makes the sound instead of naming the actual animal itself. I have to take some credit for this skill as I can be observed holding a plastic chicken or monkey while making a sound like, 'BAWK BAWK BAWK' or 'OOOH OOH EEEEE AAAAH OOOH' at various points during my day.

As you might imagine, I am none too keen at educating my kids about the origin of the meats that they eat, lest they be mortified at the notion of chewing up relatives of Nemo or Big Bird. I nonchalantly refer to dinner as fish or chicken, but these are not the times where I bust out my barnyard impersonations. Pumpkin has never made the connection in her five years, and I've assumed that Chichi hasn't been thinking of such things.

You can then imagine my shock yesterday when I presented Chichi with her chicken nuggets, and she didn't just eat them as per usual. She looked at me with this, uh, look. It was a look I had never seen her give me. One of curiosity, perplexity, and concern. Then she pointed at the food on her tray and said, "BAWK BAWK BAWK BAWK!"

How the hell did she know??? Even more disturbing was that she ate it all up anyways.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Worth the Drive, Age Notwithstanding

Yesterday, my mom and I headed out to Kitchener for a 75% off warehouse sale for what has been one of my favourite clothing lines, Spanner. The actual Spanner store has been good to me, but DAMN is it expensive!

They do carry a lot of petite sizes there, which works out well for my mutant, truncated torso. Don't ya just love that word? Petite. Even if I'm ever a size 18, I still get to use that descriptor. Anyhow, with fairly unique items, and proper fit, they still get my business during their 30% off sales.

So I had a swell time at the warehouse, finding things that I already owned, but paid a lot more for the year prior. I found myself looking through the racks, just to verify that they wouldn't have had my size if I had waited. 'Aha! Everything here is extra large! My premium purchase last year was well worth it!' Right.

I didn't have a huge amount of success at the warehouse, partially because I already owned the things that I liked, but I think mostly because it's a clothing line for old ladies. One of my purchases was actually something that an old lady tried on but rejected!

First of all, don't get me wrong. I like old ladies. I even plan to be one some day. I also know that it is a relative term, seeing as I used to view people my current age as old. Nonetheless, my perception of 'old lady' exists, and I'm quite certain that I'm not supposed to be dressing like one just yet.

In defense of the store though, the old ladies that do buy stuff there are quite hip for their age. It does strike me as a little odd though that my mom and I have a few of the same items in our respective closets. My mom must be ultra-hip. Yeah, that's it.

Will someone just nominate me for that frickin' show already?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Shabbat Shalom! No, Really!

It's down to the wire, and although I still have one more recorded episode of What Not To Wear that I intend to watch tonight, I figure I'd better bang out a post before I miss the deadline.

The reason I'm so behind on my TV watching is because I attended a Friday night service at a synagogue tonight. That's right! Me! At a Friday service! Voluntarily! With nary an in-law present for me to be trying to impress.

Ok, so the truth is that Pumpkin's Hebrew school requires that the students attend three family services over the course of the school year. The family service only comes along once a month, so it makes sense to seize them when there are no other conflicting Friday night plans.

Generally I dread synagogue services. I find them sombre, stuffy, irrelevant, and are never something that I attend without some sort of family obligation. Tonight's service was different. I didn't hate it.

As a service that is geared towards families with young children, the mood was upbeat. There was a lot of music, a lot of English speaking, many children making noise which drowned out Pumpkin's noise, AND it only lasted an hour.

I now realize that I can willfully attend any religious service that is informal, semi-chaotic, not overly religious, and most importantly, abbreviated! This is not exactly the equivalent of finding God, but still...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Making Friends Wherever I Go

Last winter when I spent my Saturdays bribing Pumpkin into enduring her ski lessons, I was not one of the more popular parents. The post-lesson vending machine jelly beans were only the tip of the iceberg after promises of McNuggets and shiny crap from Claire's. I received many a raised eyebrow in the ski lodge change room as other kids started clamoring for their share of the goods. My popularity continued this week at the doctor's office with Chichi.

Chichi is not a big fan of the place where she has received several needles, and it seems that she is never going to forget this. She bursts into tears at the mere smell of the waiting room. That's where my iPhone comes in handy.

Chichi is quite proficient at operating the apps that I have downloaded for her, and can conceivably play for hours without taking any notice of her surroundings. It only makes sense to let her play with it to calm her nerves when we visit the doctor. At least it makes sense to me.

The person who could not see the logic in the Chichi-iPhone arrangement was a thirteen year old patient who was also waiting to see the doctor.

"MOM! Even that BABY has an iPhone! I'm the last person on earth who doesn't have one!"

I was talking to the doctor at this point, so my mom calmly explained to the girl and her mother that it was in fact the baby's mother's phone.

"WELL I DON'T CARE! That BABY can still operate the thing better than I can because I never get to use one!!!"

To the mother of that teenage girl; "YOU'RE WELCOME!"

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Innovative Ideas in Parenting?

A couple of weeks ago, we took Pumpkin to Winnipeg with us for a family event. It is not news to us that anticipation of big plans like this make her hyper beyond belief, but we were banking on the various parties we were attending to diffuse her excitement. WRONG!

It's not like she was totally unfit to be out in public, but there was a lot of desperate bargaining, and threatening going on behind the scenes. We just found it too hard to discipline someone for being hyper, talking non-stop, and working herself into a frantic tizzy all because she was so excited to be there. We're also not big on causing public scenes. Beating one's kids in the airport seems to be out of style these days.

Anyhow, we made it through the week-end, barely, and have gotten back in the swing of time-outs and toy-removal. Nonetheless, she has continued to be the worst version of herself.

Then I got a voicemail today. It was from her teacher, advising me that Pumpkin was going to be receiving another award at this month's character trait assembly. If you've been following Pumpkin's achievements thus far, you will remember that she received an award last year for 'exemplary optimism'. This time she is getting an award for being 'responsible'.

Seizing the opportunity to get some compliance out of Pumpkin, I told her about the award, and how proud that we all are of her. She merely continued to cry about the injustice of not being allowed to eat Halloween candy for dinner, and subsequently made demands about which toys I had to buy her from the Mastermind toy catalogue.

As the evening went on, however, she calmed down a bit. I continued to explain her award to her, and how being responsible was such an important trait. She started to buy it. She started doing good things, and subsequently boasting about how 'responsible' she was being. She took care of her sister, and declared herself 'responsible!' She dressed herself and brushed her own teeth, declaring herself 'responsible'! By the time she went to bed, she was my dream child. Ok, not really, but she was being pretty good.

Assuming that the awards are going to be distributed fairly evenly amongst the other kids in the class, we're probably not going to be receiving another one any time soon. Would it be unethical to invent some fake awards and just tell her that the school mailed them to her?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Post that Never Was

I had a great, rant of a post brewing. It was going to be full of f-bombs, all typed in CAPS, and would have ended with my head exploding. Then the moment passed and I didn't feel like writing it anymore. You'll have to settle for the calmer version now that my rage has dissipated.

Back in September, my family was gearing up for a late, Rosh Hashanah lunch. 18 people were expected at my father in law's house at two o'clock that day. I arranged to meet the caterer at my FIL's at 12:30 since no one else was home to receive the order.

The food arrived, and I assisted the caterer in unloading the truck, and somehow managed to cut myself on one of the aluminum food trays. No biggie. I just turned on the kitchen faucet with the intention of rinsing off the minute amount of blood. No water. Hmmmm.

After about five minutes of pacing, I called my FIL's care worker, who was driving my FIL home from the synagogue. "Hi, S? It's me. I'm at your house, and there isn't any water supply. Do you know anything about that?"

"Hi. Yes, they sent a note saying that they had to turn off the water in order to do some water main repair work."

"Did they say how long it would be off for???"

"Yes, until six tonight."

Now this is about the time where you would have heard me freak out with all of those F-bombs that I mentioned earlier. As you can tell from the short time-frame, there really wasn't enough time to throw a post together as I had approximately one hour to call everyone to re-route them to my house, and actually get my house set up for the event. I did manage a facebook status update though!

Looking back for a moment at the beautifully set up dining room at my FIL's house, I proceeded to run all the food and beverage out the door and into my car, mentally figuring out which of my platters and serving bowls I was going to have to dig out of storage.

I was SO ANGRY on that drive home. Although there was a fair bit of chaos in the hour that ensued, I wasn't able to hold onto my rage because this turned out to be one of the better family events that I've ever quasi hosted.

Although my FIL's house is much more readily equipped to handle events like this, I'm not sure that I like the idea of catering a meal to the house where my late MIL used to slave away in the kitchen for everyone, especially when the rest of us have houses to host in.

In terms of my house being set up for the event, it just so happened to have been cleaning lady day! Huzzah! Also, my mom was already at my house taking care of the kids, so she was able to spring into action, getting a head start on the table settings. Believe me, she really does spring.

With my FIL's care worker helping, probably motivated a bit by her guilt, we put together a fine event! It was far from perfect, but no one expected perfection on such short notice. I think I actually had hero status for saving the day! Not only that, but I got the credit for contributing, without what would have been a week-long build up of anxiety and griping about having everyone over in the first place.

Now if only I could pull this off every year...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Might I Suggest a Smell Test Next Time?

Over the week-end, we ordered in some food and ended up with leftover salad. My mom was poking around the fridge today and asked if she could have it. I told her to go ahead, adding that there was some really good leftover dressing as well.

She held up a small container and asked, "Is this the dressing?"

"Yes", I replied, not studying the container too hard, as it's size and shape were pretty obvious to me.

"It's really thick!", added my mom, while I buried my face in the computer, not really having any concern. "What kind of dressing is this?", she further inquired.

"Restaurant dressing", I replied robotically, becoming somewhat annoyed at the conversation that seemed pointless.

The next thing I knew, my mom had flown over the kitchen island to the sink, and was running cold water over her tongue, while she danced in what appeared to be pain.

"Oh yeah", I remembered. "There is also some leftover hot sauce for the chicken".