Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tradition

Christmas can now arrive. I have had my annual sit at the kitchen counter and cry while reading the Christmas letter from a special family.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, so long ago I only had two children....I met a little boy with dark curly hair, and he changed my life. It's been 8 years since we moved and I still cry when I open their Christmas card and read about the entire family's year. Every year I tell myself I will not cry, and every year the tears start flowing at the sight of his name on the paper.

I save the pictures for last. And see this little boy grown up to be 5' 10" and receiving awards in middle school and gosh darn it, just looking so darn handsome and happy. Loving life. Then the tears really start to flow and all the kids start making fun of me. They don't even need to ask who the card's from. They know.

My tears are happy tears. Happy for his hard work, the amazing people in his life and for the incredible family who have helped him to be successful. And I always feel honoured that I got to be a small part in his life.

So, I've had my cry, dried my eyes, and blotted the pictures and letter with a wad of tissue so everyone else in the family can have a look.

And wait for the next time they can make fun of their mother for being a Pisces.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas Dear Husband of Mine

I've been getting a fair amount of flack from the Husband ever since the UP posting.

Apparently, I am far too one sided about what I choose to post on MY blog. I have no idea what he's talking about. It could be he's feeling rather sensitive about the fact that a lot of people keep asking him if he's taught the dog any new tricks, then say "UP!!" and start to giggle. Whatever.

Today, when mentioning a slight mishap that happened to me on a shopping trip, instead of getting a drop of sympathy, the Husband's only comment was, "OH....but you won't blog about that!"

So, without further adieu, Merry Christmas, dear.

I headed to Mark's Work Wearhouse today in a vain attempt to find an eluded Christmas gift.

'Insane' would be the only descriptive word that would describe the store....at 10:30 am on a Tuesday morning. I should have known it was a recipe for disaster when I had to wait for a parking spot. But, no, I figured heading into the store with a 2 and a half year old strapped in a stroller would be a good idea.

As soon as we entered the store, the Baby started insisting that she be able to get out and walk. I kept telling her no, we'd be quick, and she'd have to stay in the stroller.

Picture me walking through the store, trying to get the stroller past endless displays and boxes and shoes and boots and all other assorted stuff laying in every aisle, not to mention the PEOPLE, oh my gosh, the PEOPLE. The Baby started screaming once we're at the farthest point from the door, and I finally came to my senses and decided to leave.

This was NOT what the Baby wanted. She wanted to, "WALK!!! DOWN!! I WALK!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" As I tried to put her in her car seat, she adopted the human spine board pose and refused to bend so I could put on her straps. Feeling like everyone in a two mile radius was watching me and my pathetic parenting skills, I heard a window rolling down in the car parked next to me.

I turned around to see a lovely grandma type lady leaning out her window.

"Excuse me," she said. "I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but there's a sticker on your backside."

And I reached back and pulled off a clothing sticker with the size 50 regular written on it 3x in big bold lettering.

I started to think about exactly how early on in the store that the size 50 sticker adhered to my butt. I think I might have said thanks to the lady but to be honest, she was kinda smirking at me and it's all a bit of a blur.

With that, I forced the Baby into a 90 degree angle, buckled her in, hucked the stroller into the van and drove away, dreaming of Baileys and sleeping children.

So there you go, dear Husband of mine.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas - Griswold Style

I read an interesting article in the Province newspaper on Friday. Online of course because I'm too cheap to buy the paper.

The title caught my eye. Seven Ways to Save Like Scrooge. Now that's my kind of Christmas cheer.

But I was quickly disappointed. The author started talking about how amazing it was that someone set a Christmas table for $90. I don't spend $90 on our entire Christmas meal, let alone on the table setting.

I began to think this article may not be scroogy enough for my life.

And then I read suggestion #4 "Last year's lights and faux wreaths, garlands and trees can all be reused."

This blew me away. I always throw out the brand new lights I purchase every year. I can reuse them?! Those Conservatives better get their butts back to work and pass some new legislation that says Christmas light must have the words "REUSABLE" posted in red letters on all the boxes. How's a person suppose to know these things?

Seriously though, I laughed and snorted as I read the article. Then I got irritated that someone had been paid to write an article about "Saving like Scrooge" when they really meant "Saving Like I'm Going to be Earning Less than $100, 000 Next Year and I Don't Have Children or Any Common Sense". There's a subtle difference.

So I thought the time is at hand for the REAL "7 Ways to Save Like Scrooge".

Merry Christmas and Ba Humbug to all.


7 Ways to Save Like a Griswold
by Mrs. Mahoney

The holidays....the joyous time of year when your counter tops are piled with unaddressed Christmas cards, broken Christmas ornaments and plates of gingerbread cookies with all the candy picked off. You've just hung up the phone after yet another conversation with your mother-in-law about table settings and green candles vs red. You must convince yourself that you can make it through the day without breaking out the Christmas Baileys you have hiding behind the light bulbs in the cupboard over the the stove.

As you sit down at the one corner of clear counter top, you start another list. The dreaded "how am I going to make the chequing account stretch enough to cover everything else I need to get" list. Alvin and the Chipmunks start singing about the joys of the season over the radio waves and something cracks. You've hit the proverbial gingerbread wall of Christmas preparation despair. A reprieve from all things jolly and bright is not in your near future. You know you need to get up, brush off the cookie crumbs and get on with it, but without the Baileys, how's a person suppose to cope?

Fear not. Mrs. Griswold is here to help.

In seven remarkably common sense steps, you too can have a Griswold Christmas.

As long as you serve liquor.


Step 1: Reality check

Before you can start saving your sanity and your money, you've got to get a grip. There is no such thing as Martha Stewart. Not even Martha Stewart is real. She pays gobs of people to do most of that stuff for her. So unless you're rich (and if you are, I'm pretty sure you're not reading this little article), stop thinking this is going to be the perfect Christmas. I've got news for you. The perfect Christmas took place in a little barn over 2000 years ago. There is no way you can compete with that.

Think back to the Christmases in your past. What are your favourite memories? Unless it was unwrapping a diamond of any shape or size, I'm betting that your special memories had little to do with getting 'things'. Favourite Christmas movies, driving through different neighbourhoods to look at the Christmas lights, baking the yearly Christmas fruit cake....oh, wait. That's my dad's favourite memory. Well, not baking it himself. 'Supervising' the baking would be more accurate. My recollection of that yearly event in my childhood is one of kinda feeling bad for the relatives that were getting that particular gift. Don't be baking fruit cake for people. Well, except for my dad.

Step 2: Prioritize

How much do you have to spend? Be it $20 or $200, what's your reality? Crack open the Baileys, sit down and face the reality of just how middle class you really are. Join the club and pass the liquor. If you sit there long enough, you'll start seeing that dismal number in double and that can only be a good thing.

Ok. I'll be serious. What gifts do you still need to purchase? What food do you need? What Christmas lights do you need to buy that your husband won't end up putting up anyways and you'll just end up boxing up with great irritation and cook him a crappy dinner that night and he'll have no idea what he did? It's all a matter of prioritizing wants versus needs.

Step 3: Gifts

Who do you need to give gifts to? Family and relatives of course, but then there's the list of teachers, coaches, babysitters, dance instructors....the list goes on and even a small $5 gift really starts to add up.

Instead, put a few Christmas cookies in a festive bag tied with ribbon and a personalized card from you child telling why that person has made a difference in your child's life. Christmas is an important time of year to recognize all the people in our lives and a gift from the heart speaks volumes. I worked in daycare for a number of years. I can't remember the things people gave me, but I still have the cards from the people who took the time to tell me that I was valued part of their child's life and why that was so.

When it comes to family and relatives, set yourself a dollar amount before you head out to the malls....actually, don't head to the malls. I'd rather you shop at your local 7-11 than go to a mall during the month of December. And in fact, if you're buying gift cards for anyone, why on earth would you enter a mall? You can buy practically whatever card you need at your local grocery store or gas station. Get gas, gift cards and a breakfast burrito all at the same time. It's a wonderful world.

Step 4: Decorating the House

Apparently, you're suppose to have a Christmas decorating theme. I choose the same theme every year. It's called Holiday Explosion. If it's red, green, silver, gold or given to me free, it is covering something or hanging from somewhere in the house. Sadly, this year's 'in' Christmas colour is purple. It's going to be very embarrassing having people over this year. What will they think? I mean, besides for my sad cooking skills and the desperate need to call a carpet cleaner.

I choose to decorate our house in memories, child made ornaments and candy. It works for us. It could work for you too. But if you're needing to acquire some holiday decorations, I implore you to get thyself to your local Salvation Army. Everything Christmas is 50% off right now. I scored a huge garland with adjustable twinkly lights for $2.50 this week. (Sadly, not one twinkly light is purple.) They look fabulous on my banister up the stairs. No, they're not LEDs, but I figure that it all evens out. I'm supporting the work that the Salvation Army does. And I'm reusing something instead of buying a new set of environmentally friendly lights that have made their way on a cargo ship all the way from China. I think we're even.

When it comes to trimming the tree, ingenuity can be key. We had two Christmas decoration disasters - one involving mice and one involving a large quantity of tepid water. Both resulted in the majority of our decorations being destroyed. And me crying. And cursing the day we ever decided to live in that particular house. Anywhoo...both those Christmases were times that did not have extra money to even head down to the local Salvation Army. So we decorated our tree with strung popcorn and decorated gingerbread men. We all had fun making the decorations. And the tree looked great.

Step 5: The Christmas Table

Let's be realistic here. A few pine cones and evergreen boughs (we live on the west coast....go for a walk), some candles, a bit of glitter, a Christmas cracker on each plate, and you're set. People come to eat your food. I have yet to have someone over that refuses to sit at my table because it's not decked out in purple. And the one time I DID have a lovely centrepiece, it was completely in the way of talking to people on the other side of the table and took up space where I wanted to put food. No, my table will never end up on the cover of a Christmas magazine, but I ask you this. Do you remember what the table you sat at last year looked like? Or do you remember the people who sat around it?

I thought so.

If you're one of those people who love the whole table decoration stuff, all the power to you. But truly, this is a place where you can use what you already have in the house and still have a beautiful table. Put some decorations in a bowl for a centrepiece, use some of nature's beauty. Imagination and not money is what's needed.

And wine glasses. Don't forget the wine glasses.

Step 6: The Christmas Meal

If you're really smart like me, you'll have your in-laws host their side of the family over at your house because it's bigger, and they'll bring all the food. Then on the opposite year have your side of the family's big dinner at your parents' house. It works out great.

If you're totally not lucky like me, and have the great task of putting on the Christmas feast, I suggest cooking with lots of wine. In your glass. And some in the gravy.

And of course, having everyone chip in. That's actually what we do with my side of the family. Everyone brings part of the meal. Works great. Everyone shares in the buying and making of the food. It really takes the pressure off of one person. And as long as my sister brings Tomorrow's Salad, it's all good.

Step 7: Remembering What Christmas is All About

The magic of Christmas isn't found in gift cards, fancy decorations or any shade of violet. It won't appear just because your home is picture perfect and ready for the Queen to stop by unannounced.

The magic appears at the sight of your husband hauling a Christmas tree over his shoulder, being followed by your four children, the two year old skipping along and shouting, "Tismas tee!! Tismas tee!!" It can be found in the joy of knowing you've been given one more year to share it with loved ones. It can appear when unwrapping a decoration that used to adorn the tree of a relative long since passed. The magic of the season is in remembering the 'reason for the season'. It's about a baby who was born in a stable and changed to world.

Presents need to be bought and wrapped, dinners prepared for, houses cleaned.

But don't forget to let the magic in.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A 6 Year Old Moment

While walking home from school yesterday, the Princess shared a fascinating piece of news she had learned about her new friend at school. Let's call her Kayla.

"MOM!! I just found out....Kayla was a CHINESE BABY!"

To which I replied, "um...yes. I knew that. She's Chinese."

The Princess stopped walking and just stood and stared at me. "She is?"

Me: "Yes, so is her mom."

The Princess: "Oh." Long pause. "OH. I guess she is." And then went on to lavish her praises on how wonderful her new friend is and what they play and how they're getting to be good friends.

I love 6 year olds and their ability to just see a new friend.

We could all learn a thing or two from them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

FINALLY!! A Blogging Moment

It's been pretty dry around these parts.

Video card on back order, courtesy calls from banks gone dry, and a really boring family.

Where's the love, people!!??

The Husband finally threw me a line. You know it's good when the incident ends with him squeaking, "You're gonna blog about that, aren't you."

Hehe.

Yes. I am.

So the Husband is teaching the now 85 pound mutt a new trick. It's called, "Up", and involves the Husband patting his chest and saying, "up" to the 85 pound dog.

The dog then leaps up and puts her front paws on the Husband's manly chest and gives him a wet sloppy doggy kiss.

The first two times were great. "UP!" Paws on manly chest. Wet slobbery dog kiss.

Third time's the charm though.

The Husband most unfortunately (for him) called my attention to his great dog training abilities. As I turned to watch, the Husband said "Up" and tapped his chest.

And the 85 pound dog jumped up and hit him squarely in his manly parts with her 85 pounds of forward lunging dog.

The Husband went down.

I went down.

I was laughing so hard I was crying as my poor Husband crawled to the couch and squeaked out the bit about blogging.

Thanks, Hubby. I needed that.

The Husband and dog have yet to perform that trick again.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How I Wish This Title Said, "The Last Installment of the Gateway Saga"

Raul is a big fat liar.

BIG fat liar.

After spending an hour and a half on the phone with Gateway, I got to talk with James, aka Mr. Grumpy. I guess he was wishing he was out finding some great Black Friday deals out there in the heart of Texas, instead of pretending to 'help' people who's only Christmas wish is to have a working computer.

Mr. Grumpy informed me that no, our shiny new video card had not been shipped last Thursday. How could someone have told me it would be shipped when it was on back order and won't be in......

......for at least a month, or longer.

Mr. Grumpy wasn't interested in feeling sorry for me or anything of that nature. He thought it would be a better idea to basically call me a liar and tell me it was impossible for someone to have told me three weeks ago that the part would be in by the time my old video card arrived.

Ok.

I give up.

You win Gateway. I've no strength left to fight. I will sit here and get on with life and pretend I don't own one of your computers.

If and when a new video card arrives, I will be pleasantly surprised and make note of the date, sometime in the year of 2009. It will be the day of miracles and our family will gather round the silver piece of metal and wait with baited breath as the Husband fires up the ol' girl from her 3 month slumber. We will sing a song and say a prayer of thanks for having the gift of modern technology and for being given the opportunity of telling an estimated 894 people to never never never never NEVER buy a GATEWAY computer.

Don't think I won't be keeping track of how many people I have told.

In the distant future, when that UPS man arrives at my door, I will tell him too, and then I will tell all of you exactly how many people I have informed.

It's all I can do.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where Art Thou New Video Card?

UPS was supposed to knock on my door yesterday.

Well, that's what Raul told me on Thursday. Raul, how could you? I trusted you. I thought we had a connection (yes, pun intended). I thought I could believe you. Have you turned out to be just like all those other GATEWAY employees? I PRAY it isn't so.

In other news, there's basically nothing.

Hmmm. Oh!

Typed up the annual Christmas letter to send out with the annual....well, that might be pushing it.....let's say 'occasional' Christmas cards we send out. There was lots to report on this little family. Then I got to what I've done all year and after I wrote the usual starting sentence about driving assorted children around, it seemed that there was nothing else to report.

That was kind of deflating. I'm beginning to see myself as unemployable.

Do you think Gateway is hiring? I think I could do that job.

"Send it to Texas. No. New York. HA! I was joking. Heehee. Send it to Canada. NO, wait. Texas, but to to real building this time. SLEEEEEEPPPPPP. Answer phone. No one could have told you anything so moronic. You're lying. Why are you telling me facts I don't want to hear??!! No, send it to Canada. You can pay for it or I'm shredding your file. Well, regardless, I'm erasing everything in your file as soon as you hang up. I'm not going to send you a new video card. Na na na na naaaaa na. No, I don't have a supervisor. We all supervise ourselves. Well, except Raul. The jury is still out on that renegade. We don't talk to Raul. He's bad news."

I've got to get a hobby. The walls are closing in on me today.

That, and I'm avoiding my lengthy to do list.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And So, Like Sand Through the Hour Glass...So Are the Days of Our Lives....

It's been a rough 24 hours. To sum it all up, do me a favour. Go listen to Darius Rucker performing "It Won't Be Like This For Long" ,then come on back.

Yep. That pretty much did me in tonight.

The Eldest has started filling out University application forms.

I spent an hour this evening sitting on the floor of The Baby's room, continually putting her back into her new big girl bed whilst her baby crib lay in pieces in the hallway.

The Boy grew another 1/2 inch this week.

The Princess is receiving jewelry from male suitors. So is The Eldest, who, by the way, turned 17 this week.

It's a few too many milestones for this old gal to experience without shedding a few tears over the swift passage of time.

Maybe one of you could tell me a funny joke or something to cheer me up. The Husband just keeps reminding me how old I'll be when The Baby finally graduates from high school, and let me tell you, that's not much help when you're crying over the fact that the last piece of baby equipment in the house is spewed in bits across the floor.

Maybe an episode of 'The Office' will cheer me up......Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Not So Subliminal Message

I just looked at the UPS notification that was sent to my email.

The video card made it to New York yesterday. Yay for UPS and being a competent company.

UPS even told me who signed for it.

This is what it said:

PRAY

My tummy hurts.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Have I Mentioned That Gateway Has Crappy Service? Update

I was out this morning, with my handy dandy cell phone by my side.

When I got home, there was a message on my home phone from......

GATEWAY!

Hurray. The gentleman (who said he would fix this problem yesterday), left a message informing me he HAS fixed the problem and they will be shipping a new video card off to me. But I just needed to call him back and give him some information. And he left a number for me to call back. In Texas.

Let me get this straight. I need to call him long distance, during business hours....to TEXAS?? What part of, "I'm choked at your company and I am not spending one more dime on that dead video card" didn't get across on the phone yesterday? I had given him my cell number as well as my home phone number and told him specifically to please call the cell if I was not at home.

Sigh. The Husband made me call. I wasn't going to on principle. But he made me. Something about eventually being able to use the dang computer again.

So I called. And the Gateway guy wasn't in.

Perhaps he was out mailing me my new video card. By snail mail I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GATEWAY = #*^%@*!

Last post, I wrote about a little problem I was having with GATEWAY aka ACER computer company. Yes....GATEWAY.

No, I didn't swear at any of the GATEWAY employees I spoke with today.

No, our old video card has not yet arrived in New York. UPS phoned this morning to let me know this, and the fact that they couldn't ship it to Ontario from New York. I interrupted the very nice man on the phone to tell him it didn't need to go to Ontario after all. It needed to go back to Texas and that GATEWAY was supposed to have dealt with this issue yesterday.

No, GATEWAY didn't.

I told the lovely UPS man that I would call him back.

Yes, I was on the phone for 2 hours with GATEWAY this morning.

Yes, my migraine is back.

No, there was no record of anything I went through with GATEWAY this past Friday. I went through the whole thing with yet another GATEWAY customer service representative because they couldn't possibly connect me with the person who told me so very rudely to stop questioning her and that my old video card needed to get sent to Texas, not Ontario, even though I had her badge number.

Yes, I did get transferred to someone that the GATEWAY employee assured me could rectify my problem.

No, she couldn't.

She put me on hold after I explained my issue with her. She came back on the line and told me......ok, you probably won't believe any of this story from this point on, but I assure you, I couldn't possibly make this up.

She told me that the video card needed to get sent to Ontario.

Yes, I said, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME."

No, she wasn't. To which I replied, "Fine. When it gets to New York tomorrow, ship it to Ontario."

To which the GATEWAY employee replied, "It's the customer's responsibility to ship the part."

I have to edit the next part quite a bit because it involves me losing it a wee bit and then apologizing to the GATEWAY employee for getting mad at her, but it basically ends up with me respectfully requesting to speak with her supervisor.

No, GATEWAY didn't have a supervisor I could speak with. No, there was NO GATEWAY employee she could transfer me to. I told her I was not going to pay for the card to be shipped back to Canada, and then pay for it to get shipped from BC to Ontario. She told me then I wouldn't be getting the new video card. I said this was unacceptable. This was not my fault. I've spent how many hours on the phone over this, and I wanted to speak with someone higher up about this.

The GATEWAY employee told me I could write a letter to their office in Texas to request they reimburse me. I took down the address and hung up.

Back on the phone with UPS. The wonderful guy suggested I just go and buy a new video card because by the time I pay for shipping from New York to BC and then from BC to Ontario, I would be spending that much anyways. But here's the clincher. If I put in a part that doesn't come from GATEWAY, the computer warranty is null and void if we have future problems. And let's face it, I'm not letting GATEWAY win this one.

Yes, I got back on the phone with GATEWAY. I immediately asked to speak with a supervisor. And this particular GATEWAY employee seemed fairly horrified with my story (which of course, was not documented anywhere on our service account) and he transferred me to 'level 2'.

I was put on hold and an automated message came on telling me I would have approximately a 5 minute wait. I was on hold for 40 minutes.

Yes, I told the whole story over again. And ended it with, "When the package arrives in New York tomorrow, I want your company to ship it to Ontario."

Yes, the GATEWAY employee put me back on hold. He kept coming back on line every 10 minutes or so saying he was still working on the problem.

25 minutes later, he finally came back on the line and asked if he could call me back once he's figured out a solution to the problem.

So, here I sit. I'm taking bets. When do you think I'll hear back from GATEWAY? Do you think I WILL hear back from GATEWAY? Do you think they'll ship my new video card? Do you think GATEWAY aka ACER sucks? Do you think we will EVER buy another GATEWAY/ACER product? Do you think my migraine will ever leave????

I'm going to go join the 'GATEWAY SUCKS' group on Facebook.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Computer Woes

I realize I'm taking a chance posting this, considering our computer is still not fixed. But sometimes a girl needs to vent, I have this little blog and I think it's highly probable the staff at uhhh......let's call the company Fateway.....don't know how to read, so.....

Today I found out why the computer company Fateway chose their name.

Because they are the, um, fateway to frustration, poor customer service, people with attitude, crappy telephone lines and perhaps even the fateway to hell. I'm not sure about the last one, but considering the crackling phone lines I was on today, I wouldn't be surprised.

The video card in our 11 month old computer failed. It's still under warranty, so no biggy, right?

Uh, huh.

After a long rigmarole that involved me being on hold for over an hour, it was decided I would send the old video card to the company (at MY cost....did I mention the computer is under warranty?) and then they would send us the new video card to install. When they got a new one in stock, that is.

Away the bubble wrapped video card went, off to Texas. As in, Texas of the United States of America. Don't get me started on how much it cost me to send that broken video card via UPS. Did I mention the computer is still under warranty?

UPS called today. They informed me that the address I had sent the package to was incorrect. So I called Fateway, and I found that they had told me the address ended in 66 but it was supposed to be 06. Not a huge deal, it's possible I made the error, although I did repeat the address back to the original person I had spoken with due to a bad connection.

I phoned UPS and gave them the correct address.

An hour later I got a call from UPS. He informed me that the new address wouldn't accept the shipment and said it was supposed to have been shipped to their location in NEW YORK. So UPS was going to be forwarding it to them.

I was concerned that New York was going to receive the dead video card and not know what the heck it was about and not send me a new video card. So I decided to call Fateway.

Ya.

There was no record of any of my previous calls even though I had a service requisition number. And they had no idea why on earth it should be sent to New York. The lady on the other end of the crackling line told me it shouldn't be going to New York. Was I calling from Canada? I should have sent it to ONTARIO.

A migraine started.

She gave me the address to the place in Mississauga. No, she had no idea why anyone in the company would tell me to send it to Texas. And no, she really couldn't find out why someone would tell me the part wasn't in stock. That was impossible for anyone to know. The lady I spoke to before could NOT have told me that.

Another call to UPS. The guy on the other end was incredibly helpful. I really mean that. He said he knew the package had already gone on the truck headed to New York, but he would try and contact them and see about the possibility of rerouting it to Ontario. He was concerned about it going through customs again at the border and he figured they were going to have to charge me to get it sent there. He would check in to it and call me back.

Back on the phone with Fateway. No record of previous calls. She put me on hold while she went and got the supervisor from hell. And I think she walked because I was on hold for a very long time.

She asked me why on earth I would have sent it to New York OR Canada. It needed to go to Texas.

Blood started dripping out my left ear.

When I told her that's where I had originally sent it, she informed me that the address I sent it to was their old warehouse. They have a new one out there in the big state of Texas. What an idiot I am. What was I thinking?

When I asked her if she was sure, that I was told it was to go to Canada, she kinda flipped on me. Why did I keep repeating to her what other people had said to me? She didn't care what someone else had told me, SHE was telling me it needed to go to Texas. The whole call was through a crackling line and I had to keep asking her to repeat what she said. This did not improve her mood.

I told her I wanted to clarify what we discussed to make sure we were both clear about what was to happen. Then I told her I would phone UPS to ensure the package didn't get sent to the Great White North.

It is at this point in the tale, that I will pause to let you all know that you should never do that.

Apparently, the Fateway keeper is phoning UPS on Monday. I guess I missed that part what with all the crackling and attitude dripping on the phone line.

So here I sit, with assorted people in this house circling me, repeatedly asking me if I've finished yet so they can use the laptop. I'm looking forward to the call from the Fatekeeper telling me where UPS is sending the busted video card next.

There's something horribly wrong with a dead computer part being better travelled than me.

Love Letters

Remember the Princess's broken heart?

I found a note in her backpack this morning.

"To: Noah Form: The Princess
Vislis are bloo roseis are red you and me are frens becus we mid frens. We are willy frens Noah I wot to tell you that I like you as my frend Noah. Dier Noah we are frens now Noah please."

Translation:

"To Noah, From The Princess

Violets are blue. Roses are red.

You and me are friends

Because we made friends.

We are really friends Noah. I want to tell you that I like you as my friend, Noah. Dear Noah, we are friends now. Noah, please."

At the bottom of the paper, there's a drawing of the Princess and Noah. They are holding hands and are surrounded by flowers and butterflies.

If this wasn't enough, yesterday when we were leaving school, another boy was waiting for her. "OH! There she is!" he told his buddy. And then shyly said "Hi, Princess," and started walking with us. Then he slugged his buddy in the arm and ran away.

Aren't grade one boys suppose to hate girls in any form? I am so not prepared for this.

It is funny to watch the Husband's face when I tell him these little tidbits. And see his shoulders droop. And see him grab the counter so he doesn't go down.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deal of the Week

This is for all you loyal Canadian readers out there. Which is all of you except for someone in Nebraska.........(and feel free to say hi if I'm wrong).

I just discovered a new deal that Chapters.Indigo has on right now. It's such a sweet deal, I thought I'd share. And I'm not even going to get a dime from the company for the free advertising. I'm just that great of a person.

And I love a good deal.

Right now, if you purchase $50 or more of toys online, they'll give you $10 off (put in coupon code Toy08 - the second '0' is the number 0 ). Plus, any purchase of $39 or more has free shipping. PLUS, they have some of their Webkinz on for 25% off! If you have Webkinz loving children and hate malls at Christmas time, it doesn't get much better than that.

I was quite surprised at the selection of toys they have. I've always thought they just sold books.

And while you're there, I encourage you to check out their book outlet section. Some amazing deals there too. They ship incredibly quickly. I purchased some books last month (taking advantage of their free shipping) and I got all of the books within one week.

So, off with you. Go check it out. I'm off to tackle laundry, Christmas candy wreaths, and a two year old that needs to do some puddle jumping in the rain.

Monday, November 10, 2008

100

This is my 100th post.

I know. It's very impressive.

When I started this little blog (on a Friday night....a night the Husband has been regretting he ever went out to play poker and left me home alone with the laptop to myself), I had no idea where it would take me. Or that it would cause my family to turn into lawyers and yell, "You are NOT allowed to blog about that!" every time something mildly humorous happens in this joint.

Like just this week, I was told I couldn't blog about the Eldest taking her driver's test, the confusion about the light sockets in our bedroom -- and that's such a good story, even I look like an idiot in that little gem, but, no, it's been nixed -- and I'm not to mention something about the....well, I really can't talk about that one.

This little blog has also changed Sunday dinners over at my parents' place. With two parents, seven siblings and a brother in law, you'd think we would have something to talk about. But most conversations that I start end with someone stopping me and saying, "Ya, I read about it on your blog." Then some blank stares, and I'm forced to ask, "So, how's work?" To which my siblings all answer, "Good," and then I realize it's time for a glass of wine.

Tentative Equinox did a big fancy 100th blog entry, where she listed 100, yes, ONE HUNDRED, things about herself. I thought about doing that...well, I actually started writing a post like that, but when I got to #7 and it was about the fact that my hair started going grey at the age of 15, I got a bit depressed at the thought of what I might need to pull out of my arse to get to 100 and I hit the delete button.

So, I will just leave it with wishing myself a happy 100th blog entry. I had no idea I would be able to write so much about so little.

The Low Down on the List

The Reminder List ?

No one read it the first day.

The Boy refused to read it when it was pointed out to him.

The Eldest took it off the fridge and left it lying on the kitchen counter.

This morning, the Boy pointed out that he doesn't say, "But why??", only, "Why?"

The Princess agreed with him.

At least he had read it.

Step at a time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rules Rules Rules

Posted on our fridge today.

ATTENTION ALL MAHONEYS

It has come to the attention of management that household rules established in this humble abode have been flung by the wayside, not unlike one of our jack o'lanterns that was splattered on the road this past Halloween.

Due to an increased volume of neglect, looking the other way and plain old disregard for our house policies, management has decided a gentle reminder of all rules is in order.

Let us please remember:

1. Outdoor shoes are for the outdoors, not my, I mean, our, carpets. Take them off inside. If you feel the need to complain about cold feet, management reminds all of you that Christmas is a mere 6 weeks away and Santa delivers. Put some slippers on your list.

2. Outdoor shoes have a home. It's called the closet. They feel scared when they are left sitting directly in front of the door, just waiting to be tripped over by management. They don't like to hear management swearing and they certainly feel abandoned when they are thrown outside in the rain. Give your shoes, who carry your attitude dripping bodies around all day, the respect they deserve.

3. There are animals living in this house. Please feel free to remember this at all times. Management grows weary of being the only human to hear meowing, barking, whining, and pacing that is indicative of a pet needing SOMETHING. We assure you, your ears are working fine.

4. While listening for the above mentioned pets, be assured that your ears are capable of hearing adult voices. Honest. Management would be happy to direct minors who have a contrary belief on this subject to some very strong medical studies that prove otherwise.

5. "But Why???" is considered an inappropriate response to any request made by management. Studies have shown that people over the age of majority do not respond well to minors who emit this phrase. From this point on, when this phrase comes out of any minor's trap, management will immediately add another request onto the first one. Feel free to test us on this one.

6. This establishment owns a dishwasher. The sink is not the dishwasher. The counter is not the dishwasher. The living room coffee table/window seat/floor/couch/mantle is not the dishwasher. Your mother is not the dishwasher. To find the dishwasher (read this carefully, it is quite technical), stand in front of the sink. Look to your right. Look down. There is a white door there with lots of buttons (not to be confused with the pantry door, which is white, but has no buttons). When you push that little lever thingy, the door opens downward towards the floor. There are things called 'racks' in the dishwasher that you pull out towards yourself. Rest assured, you will not injure yourself. They really are quite light. Your dirty dishes are to be gently deposited into the dishwasher. Management respectfully asks all minors to close the door after depositing dirty dishes into the washer. Minors are not allowed to leave the door open to let the dog lick the dishes inside and claim that they have fed the animals.

7. Garbage. Dear god, people. Use the garbage cans. I beg you.

8. Turn around time. Management respectfully asks all minors to think farther ahead than their next breath. If a minor living in this establishment needs baking done, cardboard for a project, a piece of clothing washed, or a ride to a volleyball game, 3 minutes is not enough time for management to fulfill your request. And texting "come now" to your mother is in poor taste.

9. Bedrooms. Management reserves the right to be able to see 80% of the carpet at all times.

10. Bathrooms. Toilet paper roll fairies do not exist. If you use the last of the roll, put a new one on. Even if you have just had your nails done, have a manual dexterity problem or you know management doesn't keep track of who was in the bathroom last. Just do it. Oh, and Boy, please work on your aiming skills.


I'll let you know how this goes down. And how long it takes them to see it. I have more to add but didn't want the list to end up looking like the Princess's Christmas list.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ICBC and Rainy Days

I'm trying to keep things in perspective, but ICBC is acting like Ernie on Sesame Street.....pokepokepokepokepokepoke.....

We have paid thousands of dollars over the years for insurance coverage. Our 3 year old car was in an accident that wasn't our fault. And ICBC claims that they can use used car parts to fix our vehicle. I'm so impressed.

This downpour today has worn me down and I could only fight to make sure they used parts that were no older than our car.

It was a semi-sweet victory with some nuts thrown in.

* Day 22 - No phone call from the bank yesterday. I shouldn't have laughed at Michael. *

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 21 Re-Visited and an Accident

Michael phoned yesterday at 5:46 pm.

They're getting close.

He asked me if there was "a more appropriate time" to reach the Husband.

I shouldn't have giggled. It made for a long pause on his end of the line.

Will today be the day? Oh, the excitement.

On a different note, as I was chatting with Michael about evening schedules, the Husband was getting hit by a car while driving through a green light. The sad part of the story is that it wasn't with the 12 year old purple minivan. Our poor, sweet 3 year old car. I AM grateful the Husband wasn't hurt, and it wasn't his fault. In the big scheme of life, it's just a bump in the road.

Life has a way of putting things into perspective for you. The Husband phoned and asked how my day was. I started ranting about dog pee on the carpet and how I was done with all the animals in this house, rant rant rant, blah blah blah.....then I asked him how his day was.

"Well, I was just in a car accident."

Oye.

So I'm off to deal with repair centres and rental car agencies. I should be careful about wishing for more variety in my day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 21

I'm feeling kind of left out.

The bank hasn't called since Friday.

No call yesterday.

No call this morning.

Maybe Bonnie activated the 'do not call ever again' button. Have I won? It hardly seems a victory. A tad anticlimactic. I was looking forward to congratulating the person who finally called in the evening and letting them know I was going to talk about them on my blog. It was going to be quite titillating.

Ah, well. I suppose I must go back to the daily grind of ironing pants, folding laundry and driving children to the optometrist. My life is suddenly not as exciting as when I had a daily dose of cheesing off someone over the phone.

I may have to start prank calling the Husband at work.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

300 Christmas Cookies

I need some help.

Every year at Christmas, the girls in this family whip up a few batches of cookies for the Husband to give to all the wonderful employees at his place of work.

This many cookies:



















These lovely gingerbread stars were made two Christmases ago. Last year we made whipped shortbread. I have pictures of those, too, but since they're trapped in the recesses of our other computer that is in for repairs, you'll have to imagine those photos. I assure you, they made quite a sight all lined up on the counter. It was the only time I can ever say that I spent $30 on butter in a one week time span.

This year's cookie baking will be a little different. I'm going to bake cookies for the staff at two facilities, not just one. Which means about 300 cookies.

Which is where you guys come in. I'm looking for some suggestions for Christmas cookies.

Do you have a family favourite? Something that's not too fussy and doesn't use fancy, expensive ingredients? I'd love your suggestions. I want to try some new recipes during this month, so I'm all prepared for the Christmas rush.

Thanks!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Little Family Update

The Youngest, who is now almost 2 and a half years old, is a busy child. She figured out how to open the doors with the childproof locks on the handles yesterday.

The Princess, who is 6 and three quarters, was told by yet another boy in her class that he loves her.

The Boy, who is 14, sent me on a wild goose chase on October 31st to find a Halloween mask. I found one. He decided to stay in and play video games last night.

The Eldest, who turns 17 this month, went to a Halloween party last night with her boyfriend. She goes for her driver's test in 10 days. She's starting a new job tonight. She is growing up way too fast.

The Husband, who is way older than me, found his lost wedding ring. In his workout bag. That we had torn apart looking for. It had been missing for 4 months. We had already purchased a new one.

And me, I am wearing the Husband's old wedding ring on a chain and diving into Christmas preparations. But first, I will be cleaning off 6 year old height level lipstick kisses that cover the front hall mirror. And researching girls only boarding schools.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Days 17, 18 and 19

Sorry to have kept you on the edge of your seat about the banking calls . I've been busy doing stuff.

Day 17 arrived and I was out for most of the day. But I was beginning to think that they were finally on to me, because they called at 4:46pm. They were kind enough to tell me they would make a note on the Husband's account that he should be called in the evenings.

Day 18. 3:45 pm on the nose. They not very kindly told me they would make note of it on the Husband's account. I don't understand it. I was nothing but peaches and cream to that woman.

Day 19. Today. 10:03 am. Excellent. We're right back on track. I hope I get to wish these guys a Merry Christmas. Bonnie wasn't very cheerful this morning. In fact, I would wager that that she had a fight with her significant other last night. Or there's a teenager living in her house. She didn't even tell me she would make note of it on his account.

So, with the daily banking courtesy call out of the way, I'm off to find a Halloween costume for the Boy. All week I have asked him what he's going to dress up as on the big day. What do I need to get. You know, motherly stuff. Yesterday, before heading to the Salvation Army yet again for a costume accessory the Princess needed, I asked him......"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE??? I'M GOING TO THE SALVATION ARMY NOW."

The Boy said, and I quote, "I don't know."

This morning, October 31st, the Boy told me he needed a Halloween mask.

After pouring water on my head to douse the fire shooting out of my ears, I asked him why he didn't inform me of this when I asked him YESTERDAY. His answer gives a pretty indepth look into the mind of a 14 year old boy.

"I told you at dinner a couple nights ago I was thinking of wearing a mask."

Yes. I gave birth to that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 16

Every weekday morning for the past 3 weeks, Monday thru Friday, I have received a phone call between the times of 10 and 10:30 am, Pacific Standard Time. A 'friendly service call' from the Husband's credit card company.

The first time they called, I just told them the Husband wasn't in.

Silly me.

The second day, I told them he wasn't in and asked what it was about. "Just a courtesy call from We Lost All Your RRSP Earnings Bank, Credit Card Division. It's nothing to be concerned about. We'll call back."

Yes. They certainly would.

The third day, I told them he wasn't in and then told them they would need to call in the evenings if they wanted to speak with the Husband.

They told me they would note this on his account.

No. They wouldn't.

Day 4. I told them he wasn't in, that they had been calling for several days now, all at the same time of day, and the last person who called had said they would make note that if they wanted to speak with Mr. Husband, they would have to CALL IN THE EVENING.

They said they would make note of this on his account.

Uh huh.

This has been repeated for 16 days. Every day between 10 and 10:30 am, someone calls. Everyday, I tell them that they have been calling for X number of days. I've repeatedly told them to call in the evening. I've been repeatedly told it would be noted on his account. The apologies from the other end are getting pretty good. I could hear the guy fidgeting in his chair yesterday.

I'm starting to have a bit of fun.

Now, before they even ask for the Husband, I ask them if this is the WLAYREP Bank calling (you can tell it's them. There's a pause and a click after you say "Hello" and before a human comes on the line). And then I ask them if they know what day we're on.

And then they tell me they will make note of it on his account.

Yesterday, when I told the Husband, he asked if he should just call the bank himself. I told him absolutely not. I want to see how many days it takes for someone to actually do their job and figure out a way to make their computer system schedule an evening calling time.

I have no idea how long it will take. What day we'll get to. But they may be onto me. Today they called at 9:05 am. I was totally taken by surprise and didn't ask them if they knew what day we were on.

Lest they think they are breaking me, tomorrow I will ask them why they're not calling to console me about our latest RRSP statement.

Should be fun. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top 10 Positives This Week

I'm IRRITATED. I'm FRUSTRATED. I have a MIGRAINE. And the dog just ripped up an entire cardboard cylinder all over the living room floor. I don't want to get up, pick up all the pieces and then drag out the vacuum. That will only lead to more cleaning and irritation and frustration and migraine inducing pain.

I don't need that.

So I shall sit here on my duff and try to write myself out of my *ahem* cantankerous (gotta love the online thesaurus) mood and think about:

The Top Ten Positive Things I Experienced This Week

10. Watching a biker dude run across an intersection to help a couple of teenagers who's car had stalled.

9. Seeing people run in the pouring rain to chase pumpkins that had burst from their huge cardboard container and were rolling pell mell across the parking lot.

8. A lady coming up to me in a store and telling me my children were cute enough to be put on a postcard.

7. A Husband who made sure I had enough cash with me when I went out to meet a girlfriend for a beer and needed chat.

6. Long conversations with my siblings on the phone.

5. All of my siblings (and there's a lot of them) answering my neurotic and demanding emails.

4. Sitting and talking for two and a half hours with a friend I've known since grade 1.

3. Walking in the autumn sunshine with a two year old and looking at all the Halloween decorations in the neighbourhood.

2. Having a Tim Horton's coffee to drink while waiting at the Albion ferry.

.....and the #1 Positive Thing I Experienced This Week....

1. Being able to say "I love you" to my Mom.


I feel better already.

You can too. Add to my list. We could make it a top 20.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Might I Suggest?

....not opening up your RRSP statement?

If you do, you will be forced to think back 7 years, to a time when that RRSP was worth what it is worth today (give or take 3 dollars). Then you'll go sit in a corner and cry. Which will lead to thinking about your retirement years and how you will be eating peanut butter out of a jar for dinner and cutting pretty buttons off of an old blouse to give to your grandchildren for Christmas presents. Which will lead to you wanting a beer.

But you can't afford a beer because you need to start stuffing your mattress with Loonies and Twonies so you can afford to buy said peanut butter and blouses from the Salvation Army during your retirement years. This will make you mad. Which will lead to you shoving that RRSP statement violently back into the envelope. Which will cause another piece of paper to fall out of that envelope.

You will read it and discover that the bank wants you to know, "investment discipline is key to success," and "the most important thing for any investor is to avoid acting on emotions."

Which will cause you to take a match to your RRSP statement and spout off words that no 2 year old should ever hear about Financial Advisors. You will momentarily feel better.

But, it will be an awkward conversation with your bank, explaining why you need a copy of your latest RRSP statement. And they will charge you $15 for it.

Might I suggest drinking the beer?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Starbucks, You Done Me Wrong

Starbucks, you've really done it now.

You waste water by the Olympic sized pool full, you serve stale bakery products, and yet still get my money because no one makes a nice hot chai tea latte like you do.

But this is the final straw.

I sent the Husband out to buy more coffee beans after the last fiasco with my brain farts.

And he didn't come back with Yukon coffee either because APPARENTLY Starbucks isn't selling it anymore....on a regular basis, anyways. What's that suppose to mean? "It's now a seasonal release." What flipping season do you sell it? APPARENTLY not in the autumn season.

I have enough to cry about. I don't need to be shedding tears over the loss of my morning mug of steaming bold yet still mellow and balanced manna from heaven.

It was a stupid name for a coffee anyways.

But don't worry about me. I'll survive. It's the third week of October. Starbucks will have their Christmas blend out next week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Princess Diaries, Mahoney Style

The Princess is obsessed.

Remember this? Die Toothfairy Die!

The Princess is obsessed with writing, not killing the tooth fairy. Writing is exciting, it's fun, it's what she does when she's awake. If she wants something to eat, she writes it down and hands me the paper. If she doesn't feel well, she writes it down.

"Mommy I fill like I am going to forup and bi the wa I love you do you love me yes ___ no ___"

(Mommy, I feel like I am going to throw up. And by the way, I love you. Do you love me? Yes or no? Please check one.)

So, of course, I like reading all these little pieces of paper that she leaves lying around the house. They're full of tidbits of information about how she's feeling, things that have happened at school, and ideas that are running through her head.

Last night, I went to check the girls before I went to sleep. The Princess was blissfully asleep, with a notebook and black felt laying beside her on the bed.

I was curious. I looked at the book. This is what I found.


The Princess' first marriage proposal was from Noah.

I think the wedding is off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Scones

I read a lovely big blog called Rocks in My Dryer .

Shannon is the blogger I want to grow up to be. On a completely strange little sidebar, I have an identical twin out there in the world who is in no way related to me but she must exist because every once in a while I have someone come up to me and say, "SHANNON!!" and then do a double take and say, "Oh, I thought you were someone else.....wow......huh...." and then they just stand there looking at me funny. It's gotten less awkward as time goes by.

Anyways, Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer has a weekly thingamabob called, "Works for Me Wednesday" where other bloggers can add a little or big tidbit of helpful info to help all of us out in this overwhelming world of ours.

So here's my tidbit for the day. Pumpkin Scones. I make these all the time. And I've been promising someone the recipe for about a year now, so, here ya go J. See? Even when I blog I'm multi-tasking. What a woman.

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Cut butter into dry mix using two knives, a pastry blender or if you're really lucky and your husband bought you a beautiful red KitchenAid Mixer for Christmas, you can use that. Blend until the consistency of course crumbs.

Mix buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla together in a separate bowl.

Pour wet ingredients into flour and butter mixture.

Mix until everything just comes together....do NOT over mix. I'll come over and tsk tsk tsk if you do.

Pour mixture out onto a clean dry surface.

Knead dough 5 or 6 times, just enough to get the ingredients into a ball.

Gently press dough into a circle.

Cut circle in half, then cut each half into three. If you've done it right, you'll end up with six scones. Yay for math.

Get out two baking sheets. Put them together.

Place scones on top sheet (yes, you need to do this step. I don't know why, but putting the two sheets together helps in the baking process).

Bake at 400 degrees for 22 minutes.

While your lovely scones are cooling, make yourself some icing. Easy peesy.

1Tbsp butter
A bunch of icing sugar
A dab of vanilla
A smidge of hot water

Mix butter, some icing sugar and a bit of hot water together until creamy. Add vanilla. Continue adding icing sugar until the icing is the consistency you want.

Spread icing onto cooled scones.

For an added flair, reserve about a third of the icing you've made. Add about a teaspoon of cinnamon, then pipe the cinnamon icing onto the iced scones.

Enjoy!

I always double the recipe. And I never have buttermilk in the house. Just put 1 tsp of vinegar into 1/3 cup milk and voila! And I never use butter. I use margarine and they're delicious, but they'd be even better if you use butter.

Now....if someone has a great recipe for Cranberry and Orange scones, I'd be most grateful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ponderings and the End of the World

I follow quite a few blogs.

I read quite a few books.

This weekend sent me into a bit of a tailspin with bad news and bad reads.

One of the blogs I follow Confessions of a CF Husband - his wife's cancer is not being helped by her chemo and it may have spread.

A little girl named Ashley is back in the hospital with organ rejection.

I read a book called The Road, by Cormac McCarthy . The eldest daughter is reading it in her English 12 class. It's won awards, including The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It's been an Oprah Book Club book. It's awful. It's depressing. It's about the end of the world as we know it.

I do not like reading about decapitated and gutted newborn babies being roasted on a spit. I kept reading this book and thinking, "Don't high school students have enough to be depressed about without having to be forced to read about the end of the world and being carried into further depression with each page they turn?" But what can one expect from the author of No Country for Old Men, I suppose. The book has been turned into a movie, to be released in November. I'm sure it will win a bunch of awards just as Old Country did, but I won't be watching it. Even if Viggo Mortensen is starring in it.

Pause.

NO, not even if Viggo is in it.

So, I'm off to go and enjoy the bit of sun that's out there hiding behind the clouds. The Youngest and I will find some cheer in our beautiful world where we can vote and buy food at the grocery store. I hope if you're reading this, you will take a moment to say a prayer for someone who needs it and then take a moment to find something to be thankful for.

And vote if you're Canadian.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why?


Why has no one invented an self emptying/loading dishwasher?

Why is there a direct correlation between the mess in the house and the length of time I get to sleep in?

Why haven't toy makers invented a quiet remote controlled toy car?

Why is it immoral to cut the vocal chords of yappy dogs?

Why has the toddler in my house decided the potty is not her friend?

Why do the dogs and toddler in my house have to have a 'who can pee on the most carpet today?' contest?

Why is it raining when there are so many children and animals in this house?

Why do people write really sad books that draw me in so I have to keep reading them but make me more and more depressed with each turn of a page?

Why did my toddler just come up to me, smile, scream, then run away?

Why do I shop at Stupidstore?
Why does Blogger keep messing up the spacing on my little blog?
Why do I keep repeating "Why me?" today?

Did I miss any?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"This is THEEE Best Recipe EVER, except..."

I'm researching cranberry orange scone recipes online. I figure it's time to expand the whole 'scone' repertoire.

I love reading the recipe reviews. They're hilarious. Especially the 5 star rating ones. They go something like this.

"No wonder you have a little weight problem. Do you know how many calories are in those scones?"

"This is THEEE Best recipe EVER!!! Except I put in Bing cherries for the cranberries, doubled the sugar, used half the salt, doubled the glaze, added some orange flavouring, used three times the zest called for and cook it for less time than called for."

Come again?

Another good one was, "I substituted chocolate chips for the cranberries."

Haven't found 'the one' yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

I will post my own review. With pictures.

If I can find some batteries for the camera.

Top 10 Things I Never Thought I Would Say

10. "Get your pancake off the window."

9. "Don’t stick your finger there." (dog’s, um, posterior…)

8. "Get your fingers (note the plural) out of your nose." To be closely followed by, "Don’t feed your snot to the dog!" To be closely followed by, "AHHH!! DON'T LICK YOUR FINGERS!!"

7. "You’re going to electrocute yourself!" (I’m pretty sure this one is contrary to my Early Childhood Educational training. In ECE lingo, I think I should have phrased it, “Electrical sockets are for plugging in lights and vacuums, not forks.”)

6. "I am NOT going to let you grow up to be a juvenile delinquent!"

5. "If you ask me one more time, you're going to have to send me to the funny farm."

4. "Never mind what a funny farm is."

3. "If you don't get back in your bed, you are NOT going to school tomorrow!"

2. "Don't tell your father."

....and the #1 thing I never thought I would say is......

1. "Oh my Gosh! High School Musical 3 comes out soon! We totally have to go see that!"

The #1 thing I never thought I'd hear the Husband say?

After the 2 year old head butted him in the mouth...

"OWWW!! That hurt! GO LIE DOWN!" (He's told the dog to go lie down once or twice in his life, but it was a first for the two year old.)

Be brave. Add to my list. I know you've got some.....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Note to Self

When washing the bathroom from top to bottom, close the door when you're finished.

Allow the sparkling clean room to DRY COMPLETELY before allowing the 70 black fur ball of a dog to enter, thereby alleviating the need to reclean the bathroom that has taken on the appearance of a 70's black shag carpet.

The Boy


My baby boy turned 14 yesterday.

He's grown from being an easy going baby to an easy going teenager.

He loves jokes, things with buttons and an assortment of sports.

He is loved, although on most days, he'd only admit this under torture.

He is a man of few words, 'grmmmmmm' being his favourite.

He is a great big brother who is always looking out for his little sisters.

He puts up with his big sister.

He has to deal with a whole lot of estrogen on a daily basis. He has a great relationship with his father.

I can't wait to see what he grows up to be........engineer? Architect? Video game developer?

Whatever it is, he'll be great at it. When he likes doing something, he puts his all into it.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Winner

Well, the comments were awesome. I loved all of them except the one from my Mom asking if I was pregnant.

It was a tough choice. I needed a day to think about it. But now that commenter TentativeEquinox is pestering me, I have to concur. K. Arneson wins it with her hilarious comment about her flea free husband.

So, Miss K, drop me a line and let me know if you want the scones or candles.

And a big surprise 2nd place goes to TentativeEquinox. Despite the latest comment where T.E. is acting all big sisterish, she wrote the most comments, so she gets the leftovers. Whatever K.A. doesn't want....you get, T.E.

I'm just that generous.

Coming up, later on....a tribute to my son, who turns 14 today.

I'm just that old.

Happy Birthday, Buddy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

On Being an Adult

Sometimes, things aren’t funny. Life is messy, and some days it feels like I’m the only one cleaning any of it up. I’m the only one watching the kids in the playground. I’m the only one not paying someone else to raise my kids. I’m the only one without a career and 8 pairs of Italian leather boots. I’m the only who serves my family meals that they haven’t ordered from a sticky menu. I’m the only one who’s driving around a 12 year old wet dog smelling purple mini van with a dent in the left front panel. God I wish I were making up the part about the purple.

Yes, life is not as they described it. It’s like I neglected to notice the fine print at the bottom of the glossy brochure.

ADULT LIFE!!
THROW AWAY THOSE PESKY TEENAGE YEARS!
MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS!
CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY!!
TRAVEL! HAVE SEX!! BUY YOUR OWN LIQUOR!!!


Yes, you too can join the ranks of ‘adult’ even though you’re way too young, stupid and have absolutely no experience in making any significant and important life decisions such as:


Deciding on your career for the next 40 years
Choosing a life mate
Reproducing
Child Rearing
Knowing how much liquor is too much liquor
Is undercoating on your new vehicle a scam?
Thinking you can afford a new vehicle with undercoating

And so much more.....



ACT NOW!!
This is a limited time offer.



Disclaimer – Any and all forms of birth control will eventually fail. Travel and children do not mix. Any and all decisions made will have a lifetime of consequences. Liquor is an expensive way to deal with regretful decisions. If you are female, you cannot have it all. If you are a male, a woman will make your life a living hell 3 days per month. This life can be revoked at any time without warning or reason. You may not trade in the body given to you for a newer model. It is strongly advised to take care of the one you've been issued.


That's my problem. I never read the fine print. Not when signing my life away with our mortgage, our life insurance, or creating an account on Facebook.

When you’re 19, you believe the ‘act now!!’ bit. You jump in with both feet, knowing you’re going to be the one to change the world and have fun doing it all at the same time.

And in the blink of an eye, you’re looking down the barrel of a 40th birthday invitation and you wonder what the heck happened to all your dreams and wishful thinking.

Life happened.

Some days I think perhaps I just bought the wrong model.

On all the other ones, I know that I have the life I wanted. Most of it anyways. And if I go back and read the fine print, I realize that I cannot have it all, at least not all at once anyways.


I hope this melancholy is gone by tomorrow.


* Reminder!! The contest is closing tonight at 11pm! Get your comments in for a chance to win a glorious prize. *

Saturday, October 4, 2008

DIE Tooth fairy DIE!

Ya, that was my reaction too.



My heart was racing pretty fast as well, when our 6 year old little princess handed me a letter she had written, threatening death (repeatedly) to the tooth fairy.



The Princess lost a tooth yesterday, and against her mother's sage advice, left it sitting on the table in the living room. I think I vacuumed it up. Being the loving mother I am, I assuring my worried child that the tooth fairy was very small and she'd be able to fly right up there into the vacuum. No need for a tooth under your pillow. Just write the little fairy a note to explain where she could find it.



* sidebar - this is the third note the Princess has written to the tooth fairy about 'lost a tooth, but maybe you can find it....' story. She's only had five teeth fall out. Not even batting 500 at getting them under her pillow. And I still feel funny about the note the tooth fairy left the Princess about 'finding' her tooth under the buffet in the dining room when I know full well the kid swallowed it while eating a cob of corn.*



The Princess went off to write a note. And came back with a paper full of death threats.



Phonics is a tricky skill for the Princess. She has a bit of a lisp. She's working hard at school and is very excited that she can produce long pages of 'words'. But it's kind of like reading hieroglyphics. You have to piece it together bits here and there before you can make sense of what she's written.



On closer look I could see the words 'happy', 'love' and a lot of 'Die Tooth Fie".



Yes. Translation - Dear Tooth Fairy. I could breathe again. My child was not a sociopath.



And I quote:



"Die Tooth Fie can you fied my tooth it is diwd seis net the cwotr I cht their but I dided fid it I wondr if you ken fud my tooth if you fid my tooth I wil be vee happy and if im vee hppy and you fidmy tooth and I wil kebmy tooth and I wil defy keb the mune Die tooth Fie cn you fiud my tooth it is dunsdes I love the tooth fie Die tooth fie I lik you Die tooth Fie it is 6:53."



Translation:



"Dear Tooth Fairy. Can you find my tooth? It is down stairs next to the computer. I checked there but I didn't find it. I wonder if you can find my tooth? If you find my tooth I will be very happy and if I'm very happy and find my tooth and I will keep my tooth and I will definitely keep the money. Dear Tooth Fairy, can you find my tooth? It is downstairs. I love the Tooth Fairy. Dear Tooth Fairy. I like you. Dear Tooth Fairy it is 6:53."



She writes like me. A lot of run on sentences and could use an editor.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Husband

Let me start off this post by stating that I love my husband.

After 19 years of marriage, he still brings me flowers, he is my best confidante, he helps load the dishwasher at the end of a long day. And he brings home rum without being asked.

He works hard to feed and clothe all our children, answers work emails at 11 pm (I do NOT love his Blackberry), and basically is just an all around great guy.

But he doesn't know the first thing about hair products.

Now, in his defence (I love you dear), I had quite a few shampoo and conditioner bottles in the shower. In MY defence, it was totally not my fault (first rule of marriage. It's never her fault). The eldest daughter had 'borrowed' my shampoo and conditioner..... left them in her bathroom....I was forced to use the new bottles from under the sink because I didn't discover them missing until I was in the shower....then I found the bottles that we took camping under a seat in the minivan and somehow they got put it the shower. Ok...there were 7 green bottles of shampoo and conditioner in there. The shower isn't that big. I kept meaning to deal with it but I've been busy doing stuff. Lots of stuff.

Anyway, my loving husband decided to take care of things. He told me that he had poured all the shampoos and conditioners into two bottles. He wasn't kidding.

When I went to wash my hair this morning I poured conditioner into my hand. From the shampoo bottle. There's conditioner in the conditioner bottle, too, so I can only assume that there's shampoo in one of the bottles, somewhere.

My hair is in a ponytail today.

Just wait till he brushes his teeth tonight.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Brain Farts

I've been having a lot of these lately.

I went to buy coffee beans two days ago. I remember being in the store and looking at the shelf for the type we buy. The word "Yukon" was going through my mind. I was picturing the cute little sticker on the front of the packaging. I was looking for Yukon coffee. I couldn't find it. The clerk helped me, I thanked her. I paid for it. I left.

So yesterday morning I got the coffee beans out of the cupboard and I looked at the package and said...well, never mind what I said. The point is I was standing there holding a package of Kenya coffee beans.

Second case in point.

I was on the phone with our extended health company. The polite lady on the other end of the line asked me for my date of birth. I told her the 14th. I was born on the 17th. None of my children were born on the 14th, nor was the Husband. None of my siblings or parents were either. As soon as I said it, I thought...well, never mind what I thought. The point is I knew it was wrong as soon as I said it, but I had absolutely no idea where the number had come from or why I had said it.

As I head into my 40s, things are falling. Places are wrinkling. Areas are creaking. And now my brain seems to be wanting to get in on some of the action. It's just so amusing.

Please tell me your brain is farting too.....I'm needing some serious support here.

And don't you find that the Kenyan coffee leaves a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth?


*** update on this fabulous blog's contest!!!***

The owner of this glorious blog has kindly agreed to bake up some lovely autumn pumpkin scones, in honour of Thanksgiving Day just around the corner. SOOOOO, there will be a CHOICE for the winner!!! Pumpkin scones or some BEAUTIFUL honey smelling tea candles.

So get those comments in by Sunday, October 5th. You might be the lucky winner of a dozen pumpkin scones. Or some candles. Your choice. But you have to comment. That's the deal.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Online Shopping

A couple of days ago, I was perusing the Chapters.Indigo online store. Christmas shopping. I'm a keener.

Having a 6 year old daughter, the title "My Princess Treasury" sounded promising. I clicked on the link to investigate the latest crappy Disney book. As a scrolled down the page, I glanced at a heading,

"May We Also Recommend".

Now, call me naive, but if one was looking at Princess books, one might make the quantum leap of thought that one would be interested in exploring OTHER titles catering to the 6 year old girls market. One might. But not if you run the "May We Also Recommend" section of the Chapters.Indigo online store.

Most fortunately for my 6 year old daughter, I did not purchase the book that Chapters.Indigo thinks a person who is looking at MY PRINCESS TREASURY might also want to buy.

Hence, my lucky child will not find the following under the Christmas tree this year.


Guidelines for Postrelease Mitigation Technology in the Chemical Process Industry.

I don't even know what that title means.

The second recommendation was equally as impressive.

Glow in the Dark Aliens.

Sadly, the website didn't have a picture of that book. I totally might have bought it if I knew what it looked like. In my experience, children who love pink princess treasury books also LOVE creepy glowing aliens.

To be completely fair, I gave Chapters.Indigo the benefit of the doubt. Anyone could have a bad day, and I thought, perhaps the person pushing buttons behind the screen had inadvertently spilled his coffee across his keyboard, so I refreshed the screen.

And then it recommended I buy a book on Jesus.

I felt rather insulted.

But they finally got it right this morning. When I went online to find the picture of that chemical book, I put in the title of My Princess Treasury.

Evidently, the guy that spilled coffee on his keyboard was fired and they got someone who truly understands the concept of "May We Also Recommend".

That new hire (who I'm sure is a mother of a 6 year old girl) recommended I purchase this.

Christmas Drinks.

Which totally makes sense. Because if you're going to be forced to read yet another poorly written Disney book about Princesses, you're going to need a drink to go with it.

Give that girl a raise.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Going on a Treasure Hunt Mahoney Style

A clean home is the cornerstone to creating a serene and loving atmosphere in one's abode.

Cobwebs have no place, wood should shine and dust bunnies should be placed on a shoot to kill basis.

So, last week, or maybe it was last month, the Husband mentioned to me that he discovered a new ecosystem living under our living room couches. Actually he said, "It needs to be cleaned under there."

Translation: "YOU need to clean under there."

Irate as a person MIGHT get with that, I didn't because I'm loving and all that stuff, so I just chose to pretend I didn't hear him.

And then I thought about how long it had been since I had cleaned under there.

Ewww.

In my defense, I lived my entire married life with couches that were flat on the floor. No legs, nothing could get underneath, no reason to clean. But these new couches in our living room have legs. So it's totally not my fault that I don't remember to clean under them. I was conditioned for 15 years not to care.

AND! For the first while of having these couches, there was no baby or toddler shoving stuff under them.

AND FURTHERMORE! For the longest while, we didn't have a long haired 70 pound black fur ball with legs in the house either.

These true and factual statements really do vindicate me of any blame. It's not my fault I neglected this one tiny piece of housekeeping. Besides, this American economy thingy has really got me worried and how's a person suppose to remember to clean under a couch when you're concerned about the second great depression?

But in order to keep this real, I will confess that I figured out the last time time I cleaned under the couches.

Last December. Yes, go ahead. Mock me. Point your fingers my way and go tell your neighbours that I'm a lousy excuse for a domestic goddess.

So, exactly what can accumulate under one's couches in the short time period of, uh, 9 months? Yes, in the same amount of time that it takes to grow a baby, this is what you, too, could discover under your chesterfields.

Ironically, an I Spy Book, an Easter egg, assorted dog bones, assorted plastic toys, two dog kongs, a colouring pages set, an unused (thank gosh) diaper, an orthotic shoe insert (???), an empty gift wrap roll, a comb, assorted hair accessories, a pencil, a princess Pez dispenser, a DVD cover, books, the handle of a phone, a Smarties box, a plastic bag, unused band aids, a newspaper delivery notice, Save-On-Foods coupons, a doll's pacifier, and the lid from a toy bin. I had been looking for that. Oh, and 18 pounds of dog hair.


I wish I had remembered to take 'after' pictures because it would have be nice to prove that I actually did clean up that mess and didn't just shove the couches back in their place in a moment of overwhelming sadness. I suppose I could go and take some pictures now but really, that's too much work. And to be honest, there's probably crap under there already and I'd have to clean it again before I took pictures. I'm not really into that.

The small part of my brain that's intellectual and thought provoking wants me to make an analogy between the state of the floors hidden under my couches and the state of my life. But I just drink beer and keep that part of my brain intoxicated. It all works out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blues Skies, Butterflies and Monkeys Eating Bananas

Ha.

Made you look.

This entry has nothing to do with butterflies but I'm interested in how many Google hits I'll get just having the word butterflies in the title. Call it an experiment.

What I'm really pondering right now is all the stuff I've been reading on ProBlogger http://www.problogger.net/ . Because I want to make a million dollars off of this little blog, as you can see from all the advertising I do.

Ok, that's totally not why I blog, but I'm interested in the vastness of the blogging world. My sister's blog http://tentativeequinox.wordpress.com/ has gotten tons (or hundreds of kilos for you metric people) of Google hits to her blog all because of a little picture she posted of a cute Muppet. Who new.

While I try to make sense of all that's written about making my blog the best, my stomach starts flipping around because I feel like I'm in high school again. All the cool people from high school have morphed into the cool people with awesome blogs that get gobs of comments, and I'm the blog that's standing over in the corner at the party knowing no one will ask me to dance and even if they did it would be because their buddies had a bet on who could dance with the shortest girl there and let me tell you, no one wants a pity dance. Not even me.

So I start to think about all the 'things' I'm suppose to do, like link to other people's blogs and tell them I've put up a link, and then they'll check out my blog and then they'll tell two people, and then THEY'LL tell two people, and so on, and so on and so on.

But then they might read my blog.

So basically I'm a small statured walking oxymoron.

I want people to read my blog. But I don't want people to read my blog. I've never preached that I make much sense. Ask my children. Or my husband. He'll give you a word or two on that subject.

That little ProBlogger site also yells about the need to be a prolific blogger. I can do that. I haven't done that. I will do that.

I am challenging myself this week. This week, I will blog every day. *crickets chirping*

O...k....how about this? This week, I will not only blog every day, but I will award a PRIZE to the person who leaves the bestest, most insightful comment on one of my posts. Yes....another ProBlogger tip. Everyone likes getting something for nothing. That's not the tip. The tip is something about generating 'buzz' or something like that. I just know everyone likes getting something for nothing, or at the very least, very little effort. I'll let you know what the prize is once I know what it is. It will totally be worth playing for. Honest.

Rules:

1. Said contest ends Sunday night, 11pm, Pacific Standard Time.
2. No swears.
3. No short stature comments. These will be deleted.
4. You must write your comments and POST them in the comments section. "But I talked to you on the phone this week" doesn't count.
5. Post no bills.

So, tune in tomorrow, when I will be discussing the finer points of needing to clean under one's living room couches more than once a year.

There will be pictures.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How a Trip to the Salvation Army Turned Into a Shovel Upside the Head Moment

Our eldest child, hereafter known as EC, has FINALLY decided that she is to be Alice in Wonderland for Halloween. I mean, really. It's officially autumn. I'm already on to Christmas planning and she's just decided on Halloween? Please.

Sarcasm is a wonderful thing.

Off we went to the Salvation Army to see what we could piece together. EC is quite the seamstress/fashion designer so I figured it was a good first step.


We had some great luck. We found the material she needed to make both the dress and the apron. But anyone familiar with Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland will know that she needs a poofy skirt. Oh, heck, I'll save you some memory cells. Here ya go.



I had the brilliant idea to head over to the old bridesmaid and wedding dresses to see if we could find a crinoline we could use.

As I searched through the wedding dresses, I was thinking, "Someone wore this? Someone actually picked out this dress as 'the one' and wore it in public? Some bride loved THIS? EC! Look at this one! Oh my gosh, these are old."

And then God laughed.

I looked down and saw some familiar lace. Time stood still. I reached up and shoved assorted wedding dresses aside. There it was in all its glory.

My wedding dress.

Not MY wedding dress, but the exact same wedding dress that I wore in 1989. The wedding dress that I knew was 'the one' the moment I put it on. The dress that made me feel like a bride. The dress that I chose to wear when I made vows to my Hubby before God and our family and friends.

To add injury to insult, EC looked at the price tag and it's original price of $35 was crossed off and it had been marked down to $27.99.

I paid $800 for that dress.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And within your generation. EC thinks my wedding dress is ridiculous. Well, let's be honest. The 80's was a time when more was good and big was better. Ridiculous is a pretty good description for the entire fashion era.

But there's something about adding memories and meaning to an outdated piece of clothing that makes it beautiful. And I started thinking about all the hopes and dreams that were attached to the wedding dresses that I thought were ugly. I could start to look past the massive bows and puffy sleeves and see them in all their glory.

I thought about how someone could be coming along and laughing at my wedding dress. Buying it only to hack up and use pieces of it as a Halloween costume.

We left the wedding dresses. Whole and intact. Left them to reminisce amongst themselves of a time when they were loved and had the great privilege of holding a woman's hopes and dreams in their folds of lace and embroidery.

And we bought a Snow White costume and hacked that up instead.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sleep and Airplanes

I was in the middle of a lovely dream last night, where the airport was conveniently located next to my house. I was just about to board a plane when I awoke with a start.

Startled awake by the sounds of snoring.

It wasn't the Hubby.

It was the DOG.

And not the 70 pound dog.

It was the 7 pound dog. Sawing logs. In a large forest. With a chain saw.

I've been woken up many a time in my history of sleep.....snoring Husband, crying baby, barfing child, water breaking...you know...they usual stuff. But now I am being woken up by the 14 year old dog snoring away?

By the eighth tree, he took a smoke break and I got back to boarding that plane.

Turns out it's great to have an airport right next door because the pilot will wait for you to run home and grab the child's blanket you forgot to pack.

If I got more sleep I wouldn't forget these things in the first place.