Thursday, February 26, 2009

Panic Mode

It's Thursday.


The Princess' Party is tomorrow.


Yet here I sit, with 28 things left to do on my list of things to do. And no, blogging isn't one of them. But let's be honest here. Procrastination is the very reason I'm in panic mode. Why wreck a good thing, right?

Ok. So what's left to do?

Uh.....everything. Including figuring out a way to have a Tinkerbell cake that doesn't cost me $30 and sew 8 more goodie bags.

And get stuff for the goodie bags.
And find those stinking tea pots.
And sort the stuff for making hats.
And buy the food.
And finish writing the clues for the treasure hunt.
And wrap the surprises for the unwrap the present game.
And clean the girls room.
And feed the dog and milk the cows and take the sheep out to the back pasture.

Why did I give up beer for Lent?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Preparations

The Princess turns 7 this Friday.

Faced with a myriad of possibilities, the Princess decided that a birthday party at home was the most wonderful place on earth to celebrate this momentous occasion. I happen to agree with her....because it's only Tuesday right now and there are not 11 girls dancing to High School Musical in my living room at this moment in time.

The Princess thinks she made the decision, but if I were being honest with you, I would share with you the fact that I played every mom card in my repertoire and also was quite conniving and fairly diabolical in my quest to get her to choose a home party.

Why? Because I'm cheap.

"Bowling? What a great idea......oh....but Jane is having her party there. I suppose your friends wouldn't mind doing the exact same thing AGAIN for your party."

"Gymnastics? Why yes, that WOULD be fun. You won't be able to wear your beautiful princess dress, but you won't mind right?"

"Ice skating? Wow! No one has had a party there! Hey, remember the first time you went skating and fell and had that bruise on your knee for two weeks? And, oh! Those helmets they make you wear! You sure thought those were ugly! Haha."

So a party at home it is. She had her 6th birthday party at home as well. It was awesome if I don't mind saying so. But a group of 7 ish year olds is different that a group of 6ish year olds, so my brain has been in overdrive coming up with crafts and games to play without repeating last year's fun.

The suppressed Early Childhood Educator in me loves home birthday parties. The Anxiety Manipulator in me worries about impressing 7 year olds and what they may share with their mothers about the table decorations and the state of my pantry. I don't pretend that I'm completely sane.

The Cheapo in me has decided to keep track of exactly how much this fiasco is going to cost. I'm into it for $28 dollars so far.

Stay tuned.

And does anyone know where I can find really inexpensive tea cups or teapots that can be painted?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Fraud Squad

Remember the good old days when the word 'skimmed' referred to gross blue tinged milk that no one would ever drink except if they were on a diet?

Good times.

Better than what 'skimmed' means in the 21st century.

The Bank called this morning. At 9:04 am. It was the daily usual customer courtesy call for the Husband. You'll be happy to note that they heard my cries to stop calling at 10:03 every morning because the Husband isn't home at that time, so they've most graciously changed the time of call to 9:04 every morning. For the past five workdays....I kid you not. And between you and me, the Husband was actually home on one of those mornings when they called, but I lied and said he wasn't. This is an experiment I am going to see to the finish line.

After I hung up from the courtesy call, the phone rang again. It was the bank again. But not a courtesy call. This one was from their security department.

I got to spend a fair chunk of my morning down at the Bank because my bank card had been 'skimmed' at some time, somewhere, somehow in the previous several months. Someone tried to withdraw some hard earned, HONESTLY OBTAINED money from our account in the middle of last night.

The crazy thing is they did the same thing to a relative of mine as well. We don't use the same banks, don't live close to each other, and it was for the same amount of money.

The creeps. The low lifes. The cretins. The scum.

The Bank was fantastic in dealing with this. I give them props. In fact, it truly sheds new light on the pathetic customer service call scheduling issues. They obviously have all their competent people working in the Fraud Squad and have relegated the staff who originally trained on Commodore 64s to the customer service department. Which really, is a-okay by me. I shall happily answer my phone at 9:04 am for the next month.

The good thing is we're not out any money. But now I have to remember a new password. Oh, the inhumanity of it all.

Karma, you bad money stealing thieves. Karma.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Almighty TV

We're into about 3 weeks of cable TV in our living room and I'm beginning to remember why I fought it tooth and nail for 4 years.

It's not like we haven't had a TV with viewing channels. We had an old TV down in the bowels of our house (also known as the future family room in the basement). We had satellite hooked up to that. The beauty of that system was that I never watched it. The Boy only watched it on Friday nights, the Eldest only turned it on to watch Gossip Girls which of course I didn't know about because what kind of mother would let her teenager watch such junk, and the Baby wasn't allowed downstairs at all. The big bonus to the TV being downstairs is that the Princess is as terrified of spiders as her mother. Ever since seeing a massive arachnid wearing army boots and in desperate need of a leg waxing down in the basement, she won't go down there. Ever. Not even to watch Hannah Montana.

The two youngest girls have basically lived their young lives watching DVDs on the computer in the living room. Well, not all of their lives. I still made them eat and go to school and stuff. But their vegging time has been commercial free. Except for the first 20 minutes of advertising on all Disney movies, but you get the idea.

I have discovered that Cable TV has its perks. Add in a PVR and the discovery of Survivorman and the potential for never leaving the couch for 3 months is a distinct possibility.

"What did Survivorman just say, dear?"

"Why, I don't know, darling. I missed that too, due to all the bugs making horrific noises as they surrounded Survivorman while he trouped through the tropical jungle all by himself. Why don't I just grab the remote and press rewind and we'll hear exactly how much energy he's going to get from eating that fire roasted gecko."

Technology is amazing. Did you get that??? We can REWIND a TV show. It's like we're the Jetson's or something.

But about all these commercials.

The first week of watching TV were fairly irritating for the Baby. She'd start yelling at me when her show would stop and a commercial would come on. Like I was messing with her mind and kept switching off her show. She's adjusted and much to my horror, has discovered Dora the Explorer. Who the heck thought it was a good idea to make Dora's voice sound like someone was poking her in the stomach every 4 seconds? And is anyone else out there really creeped out by the Wiggles? What the heck....? I thought Barney was creepy. On the episode we started watching, one of the Wiggles had five o'clock shadow. And they were doing this close up of him and there was grey in his beard and the thought that entered my mind was that even George Clooney would look creepy singing to 3 year olds like that. I turned it off. Quickly.

Today was the first day in four years that I got to experience Saturday morning cartoons. The Princess turns 7 next week and surprisingly, every commercial viewed contained a toy that was her FAVOURITE and she DEFINITELY wanted for her birthday.

Fur Real Friends, My Little Pet Shop sets, Polly Pocket, Barbie's Thumbelina (I swear that advert was on every 4 minutes), and most surprising to me is that K-Tel is still churning out records. CD's to all you young'uns. And the Princess wants them all.

So this is my thought. Next Saturday I should PVR a couple hours of Saturday morning TV. And we'll be busy doing anything but watching TV. Then the NEXT Saturday, the kids can watch the recorded stuff and fast forward through the commercials.

I'm brilliant.

How do you deal with TV in YOUR house?

Friday, February 20, 2009


The Princess has been increasingly 'forgetful' of late. Forgotten blue folder at school, forgotten notes, forgotten sharing books, forgotten home get the idea. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that she's being forgetful when getting ready to go home at the end of her school day.

Which is really good because I'm not a rocket scientist.

So a little talk was in order. Several little talks, actually, culminating into a big talk in which I looked like a raving lunatic and she just stood there looking at me like I was a raving lunatic.

But it's all good because we figured out the problem.

Raving Lunatic: "There must be a reason you keep forgetting things when you're getting ready to go home!"

Princess: "Well, I have so much to do! I have to change my shoes! And get my coat! And I have to talk to all my friends!"

At least she's honest.

And it explains the raving lunatic part.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Poem

Another poem from the Princess. She wrote this one at school during computer time.

I love the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair.
Such a delight to feel such thing.
It feels so grand.
I love this feeling.
The stars are so delightful in my heart.

The Baby drew on her face with a ball point pen today.

They are very different children.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dreaming and Cleaning

As my 40th birthday is gearing up to sucker punch me in the stomach, I'm finding myself pondering the dark and cobwebby corners of my life.

Yet another place I haven't cleaned in quite some time. If I was being honest with you, I'd tell you that I really haven't done a good cleaning since the big 3-0. But admitting that in a public forum would be stupid.

So what have I found as I've been dusting out the cobwebs of my mind? A whole lot of stuff. I am apparently a bit of a pack rat in my mental life as well.

I suppose that's why God invented 40th birthdays. Well, in today's world. Statistically, 200 years ago God invented 40th birthdays for my children to remember to put a spring of flowers on my grave to mark the anniversary of my death. And that, my friends, can really put everything into perspective for a person who's whining about turning 40 when she actually should be thanking God for modern medicine and well, heck, the discovery of a thing called germs.

But about this cleaning of my cranium.

There's a lot of stuff up there in the 'future dreams and aspirations' corner. I couldn't believe what I've found. Just when I think I found the last of it, more unattained dreams appear out of nowhere.

Lest you think I'm about to publish these unmet aspirations, fear not. I may be old, but I'm not as stupid as I look. Telling you that my dream of traveling to Prince Edward Island so I could kneel at the window in Anne's room in the house of Green Gables, pretending that a storm is raging and realizing that I really do love Gilbert...yet he's dying....SOB! a dream from about 25 years ago, so I don't even know why that's still up here anyways. Should have gotten rid of it when I took that last load of stuff out.

The point is that I've had a lot of dreams that I thought would be realized by my 40th birthday. And they haven't. I'm discovering things I haven't thought about in years. 40th birthdays seem to have a way of doing that. All of a sudden, life seems to be gaining speed at an atrocious speed and I'm starting to get a bit carsick.

The other thing I'm discovering is that I dreamed about a lot of 'things', like a big fancy house or a 10 year old minivan. And I'm finding that letting go of these dreams is pretty easy. They aren't really that important to me anymore and it's easy to toss them out my left ear and keep on sorting.

It's the personal things and accomplishments that I lament over. I find myself mulling over them at length, thinking about when those dreams started and why I haven't fulfilled them. Where life has taken me and the reasons they remain a dream not realized.

I've had to throw out a dream or two. Let's face it. I'm never going to be doctor. Some dreams I've polished up, taken a hammer to, and banged out their dents. Some I've picked up, smiled at and lovingly put back on the shelf, knowing that it's yet not their time but they will one day have their day in the sun.

I've pulled a few out and placed them on my 'to do' list. Given myself a stern talking to and told myself there will be no beer at the end of the day if I don't start working on them. I'm a mom. I know how to motivate a person.

And I'm learning to be grateful for some dreams left unfulfilled. Now that I'm old and wise, I can look back and see that some unfulfilled dreams have led me down new paths that have allowed other dreams to flourish.

So I'm off to make waffles for my brood. Which is pretty fantastic. I just remembered that for years I had a dream of standing in a kitchen in our own home, listening to music as I made brunch for the family. Peace. Sun streaming through the window. Coffee brewing. A simple moment in time that for years I never though would happen.

I think that's what I'll do next. Make a list of dreams fulfilled.

I know it will be a long list.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Picky Eater

I took the 40 pound bag of dog food over to my parents. They have a lovely golden retriever, who apparently is not as fussy as our 90 pound mutt. Their dog likes the food.

My mom walked into her kitchen this morning only to discover the massive bag of food sitting on her counter. When she questioned the reason for this, she was told that my youngest sister had put it up on the counter because their two cats wouldn't stop eating it right from the bag.

Apparently there is nothing wrong with the dog food.

My mom gave me a small bag of the dog food they feed their dog. Last night we fed it to our Dog, all mixed up with macaroni and cheese and ground beef.

That stupid (?) Dog licked all the macaroni and ground beef off of the dog food. There's not a drop of it in her food bowl. But all the dog food is still in there.

Does anyone know of a dog food that tastes like ground beef and cheese?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Customer Service

The Bank has started calling again.

The calls started last Thursday. Between 10:03 and 10:16 am each morning, the phone rings and they ask for the Husband. I tell them he's not home, they ask when would be a more convenient time to call, I tell them to call in the evening and they say they will make note of it on his account. Then they call the next day between 10:03 and 10:16 am.

But a strange thing has happened. Between you and me, I'm a bit worried.

I can find no joy in keeping track of when they call. I cannot mock the poor soul that has been scheduled to call our house between 10 and 10:15 every morning. I cannot find the energy needed to even try and explain my frustrations to the person on the other end of the phone.

I'm scared.

Do you think I have CRAPPeD*?

*Customer service Representatives Afflict Psychosis over the Phone Disorder?

I googled the symptoms:

  • Breaking into a cold sweat at the sound of ringing phones.
  • Elevator muzac induced hives.
  • Waking up at 3 am in a cold sweat with the inexplicable desire to bury all your phones in the backyard under the pale moonlight and with a clove of garlic.
  • Making the sign of the cross when you hear the words, "All our representatives are currently busy helping other customers."
  • Inability to say, "I want to speak with your supervisor," or "Your company sucks and I am never buying anything you sell ever never ever!"
  • A feeling of confusion and disorientation when a customer service representative solves your problem on the first phone call.
  • An obvious lack of joy when slamming a phone down in disgust....if you even feel disgust anymore.
  • Unexplainable twitching when hearing the words, "Gateway", "back order" and "Level 2"
  • Inability to make fun of poor customer service in a public forum.
  • Urge to drink at 10 am.
I've got them all.

And I don't know how to find the joy.

Help me, fellow readers. I cannot afford psychotherapy. I can barely afford the beer.

We can't let them win.

Help me get the joy back.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anybody Want a 40 Pound Bag of Dog Food?

Heavy sigh.

It's been awhile since I've discussed my brain farts .

Yet again, in my defense, I was shopping with the Baby at 4:00 in the afternoon and she's growing out of her naps (which, by the way, is SO not cool) and she was a tad grumpy. And refusing to sit in the shopping cart. And running down the aisle in pursuit of chocolate and Old Dutch baked dill pickle chips.

That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dog food was on the list. I bought the wrong dog food. I bought 40 pounds of the wrong dog food. A massive bag that isn't even the same colour as the brand I usually buy.

Further to my defense, it was the day that Bear Dog stopped eating and I know I was preoccupied with that. But once I realized my mistake, the thought of hauling a 40 pound bag of kibble back to the store was about as tantalizing as giving the Dog an enema, so there the bag sat in the middle of the kitchen floor. Mocking me.

I rationalized that the Dog would eat it. Sure she'd eat it. She's been the pickiest eater since the age of 9 weeks, and I have to soak her kibble first because she doesn't like hard dog food of any kind and I also have to hide some meat in it and maybe a bit of egg or grated cheese or some lovely peanut butter toast bits, but I was sure she'd eat this new food.

I was very wrong.

I am also very stubborn. And incredibly cheap. I tried to feed that blinking dog the new food. I have soaked it in beef broth, chicken broth, coated in with beef stew, chicken, egg and cheese. I have hidden hot dogs in the stuff.

And she won't touch it.

Lest you think I've been starving our dog, I gave up with the stupid food quite a while ago. She's still an impressive 90 pounds. But, that huge bag of food has just been sitting there in the mud room, sticking its tongue out at me every time I walk past it to take the Dog outside.

Stupid bag.

So the behaviourist in me started thinking. "I wonder if I could get her to eat that food?"

No. I couldn't. I put 5 pieces of that kibble hidden in a massive bowl of ground beef, rice, mashed carrots and she took one sniff of it and walked away.

Not a stupid dog. Or perhaps she is and she's just as stubborn as me.

I wonder if she hates the food or associated the food with the Bear Dog's passing and thinks I'm trying to poison her? Oh, to understand the mind of a dog.

Friday, February 6, 2009

An Uneventful Day Can Be a Beautiful Thing

I took the Baby to the Loonie Gym again.

We had a great time. Running, climbing, jumping, crawling and almost perfecting the balance beam that's 2 inches off the floor. The Baby, not me.

You would have been proud of me. I even ignored the bossy mother who felt it was her duty to reprimand the Baby when she cut in front of her child waiting to use the slide. Even though I was right there and was already taking the Baby's hand and pulling her out of line while simultaneously telling her she wasn't allowed to bud in line. And I won't even bother to mention that the mom then just let her child stand at the bottom of the slide so the Baby couldn't go down even though I was lovingly saying, "Wait, Baby, you can't go down until the girl moves away. You don't want to hurt her."

I can be a really great parent some days.

Then off to the local mall to purchase THREE birthday presents. The Princess has 2 birthday parties to attend this weekend, then one more next week. I usually take her along to choose the gift, but even with placing my usual $15 limit on a gift, I wasn't too thrilled with the thought of spending $50 on toys. I wanted to see if I could find some appropriate gifts that were cheaper. I knew the Princess wouldn't be a condusive addition in this endevor.

I hit the jackpot. I found some really neat craft kits on sale for $4.99! What 7 year old girl doesn't like a craft kit? I was thrilled that I was able to get three gifts for the price I usually spend on one.

Then the Baby fell asleep in her stroller. That NEVER happens. I was able to leisurely finish my shopping and stand in a long line to pay. But I didn't care. The Baby was asleep as opposed to her usual sampling of assorted chocolate bars so conveniently placed at a two year old's level.

And to top off the morning, the minivan didn't start overheating until I turned onto our street.

All in all, a lovely morning.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hovel Living

When you're cleaning the house after spending large quantities of time NOT cleaning the house, the task can take some time.

This leads to a lot of time for thinking while cleaning.

Thoughts such as this: I've done a crappy job instilling any sort of 'cleanliness' thoughts or actions in any or all of my 4 children.

The Top Ten Things I Wish I Had Taught My Children About Not Living In a Hovel

That title needs some work but due to all the cleaning I've put a crick in my neck and am now nursing a migraine and so it shall stay just the way it is. Grammatically awkward. I'm guessing what's coming next isn't going to read too pretty either.

1. Aiming skills. Accurate aiming skills.

2. Better pet choosing skills. Choose an ugly hairless dog at the pound, not a cute fluffball that will grow into a 90 pound fluffball that sheds when she's hungry, needs to go out to pee or is just bored.

3. Dirty ANYTHING does not go on the floor. It goes in the laundry hamper, dishwasher or garbage. Out the flipping window for all I care, just not on the flipping floor.

4. When your mother spends 100 bucks at Ikea and spends 4 hours assembling a bunch of particle boards into toy storage using one small bent piece of metal, you can stop using your bedroom floor, the living room floor, the stairs and the hallway for toy storage.

5. The van is not a toy storage unit. Yes, your father dented it at Ikea, but that doesn't make it a toy storage unit.

6. Chairs are for sitting on, not hanging coats, sweaters, shirts, work uniforms and used socks.

7. The parental bedroom and bathroom are OFF LIMITS!!! (Why can't a two year old eat a thiefed bag of crackers in her own bed? What's that about?)

8. Every 'thing' has a place. And its place is not on the kitchen counter.

9. Writing utensils are for paper, not skin, walls, toilet seat lids or computer screens.

10. Your mother is not your maid. If she was a maid, you would be paying her 40 dollars an hour to clean the hovel of a house you live in. And I'm pretty sure maids won't stoop to finding out where the heck that vile smell is coming from only to discover it's an uneaten sandwich that someone's loving and devoted mother made for some ungrateful child that has been left in the bottom of a backpack for, oh, I'm just guessing here, 2 weeks.

Or something like that.

Do you have something you wish you had instilled in your child? I'd love to hear I'm not the only one floundering out here in this vast sea of disorganized, messy hovel living.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Barney Bentall Is Still Totally Awesome

The Husband and I used to be in our 20's.

We listened to the brilliance of Colin James, Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts and Bryan Adams.

Ok. I listened to Bryan Adams.

Last night, the Husband and I went to pretend we were still 20 something and headed out to a Casino where Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts were playing.

I also lost 20 bucks but we won't dwell on that. Particularly since I was up 20 dollars at one point and should have listened to my psychic Pisces inner voice screaming, "CASH IN!! CASH IN!! WALK AWAY FROM THE SLOT MACHINE!!"

Casinos are stupid.

But back to Barney.

Awesome concert, dude. Totally rocked. Great seats, good sound, some friendly banter with the Husband about whether Barney was nursing a little comb over. Good night spent with some great friends we hadn't seen in a very long time.

We had front row balcony seats which made for some great viewing. But as I looked around the room I thought, "Why the hell are all these old people here?"

It was totally weird. I must have been sending telepathic thoughts out because the Husband had apparently been thinking the exact same thoughts.

Which led to me doing a bit of math and the Husband telling me to shut up about the whole matter. And shut up is considered an off limits word in our household so I knew he really meant it and I dropped the whole conversation.

But between you and me, there were a lot of old people there.

Not in the balcony area though. The cool people were sitting up there.