Monday, April 20, 2009

The Weekend Away

The Eldest and I had a great weekend away.

Judging from the state of the house when we got home, the rest of the family had a great weekend eating takeout and not cleaning anything.

But they're all alive and that is what's important, right?


The Griswold Girls Weekend Road Trip to Kelowna started off with us deciding to get lost while on a quest to find A & W root beer. I've always wanted to see Boston Bar. Scratch that off the Bucket List.

I never wanted to discover Spence's Bridge. To be honest, I never knew it existed. But discover it we did, which was good because otherwise it meant we would have been visiting Cache Creek which was totally not Kelowna.

If you're confused, that's good. Now you know how I felt when we hit flipping Boston Bar.

And I totally don't blame the Husband for giving me the wrong directions on the phone. I take all the blame. I knew I should have bought him a GPS system for Christmas.

Plus, I learned something. There is no cell phone coverage in Boston Bar. Oh, and always ask the Eldest if she still has her cell phone after using the restroom in Merritt. I think I performed an illegal maneuver making that u-turn on the highway up to Kelowna.

Once we arrived in beautiful Kelowna, we had a great time. Lots of chocolate, salty snacks, great company, cell phone coverage and all cell phones accounted for the entire holiday. We found the perfect jewelry for the Eldest's graduation. As we wound our way down the correct road home, the sun was shining on the snow covered mountains, the tunes were playing and I ignored the reality that was waiting for me at home.

A wonderful trip with the Eldest who used to be my Baby.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Road Trip

I'm blowing this popsicle stand.

Getting the heck out of Dodge.

Hitting the road.

The Eldest and I will soon be driving down the road, in a car without booster seats, car seats, men, young children and fishy crackers.

We are heading out for a four hour drive to spend the weekend with one of my oldest friends. We are going to shop til we drop, find the perfect accessories for the Eldest's grad dress and eat 8 pounds of chocolate apiece.

There will be copious amounts of chatting, conversing, reminiscing, and clucking. Lots of tea. Perhaps a dip or two in a hot tub. A chick flick. Something salty. Definitely some Fuzzy Peaches.

Sunday will come in a blink of an eye, but for now, I'm heading to pack my bag, make a list or two for the Husband and get this party started.

And hopefully come back with a blog post or two.

Griswolds on a road trip?

Most definitely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Numbers and Rates and Graphs, Oh My!

I had another epiphany.

I know. After sharing my last epiphany my readership fell about 10%. I realize I'm taking my chances here.

As much as I love being at home full time, I miss work. I miss earning money. I miss time away from my children to go hang out with other people's children. Which is kind of ironic. Alannis Morrisette ironic, at any rate. Stay with me, I'm heading somewhere with this.

Besides for missing working with some really cool kids, I miss the numbers and graphs and concrete evidence all rolled up in a lovely package of a binder or clipboard or a pocket PC. I loved being able to see that what I was doing was making a difference, and it all being confirmed with numbers and climbing graphs. Or on the flip side, seeing what wasn't working and figuring out how to change our teaching strategy. And it occurred to me in the wee hours of the night that perhaps that is why I have become obsessed with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics has graphs. Lots of graphs.

There are numbers. Percentages, rates, averages, and oh my gosh, overviews, and my goodness gracious, there are lots of graphs.

I love being a mom, but let's face it, there's not a lot of immediate feedback on whether I'm screwing things up....I mean, other than the fact that they're all still alive and I haven't had to visit the principal's office this week. Some days feel like I'm coasting through this role, hoping I'm not messing up too badly.

And I love writing, but it's a lonely place. But I've discovered that blogging gives me immediate feedback on what I'm doing. Kinda like work. The epiphany that Google Analytics is filling in for my work high is really not that surprising.

A thought has occurred to me. Maybe I should start keeping data and graphing my mothering successes and failures.

No. Just the successes.

I'll have to start small. I most certainly want to build success into my new system.

I'll start with some basics.
  • The number of consecutive hours I go without swearing under my breath.
  • How many loads of laundry I do each day and an analysis of the correlation between the day of the week and the number of missing socks.
  • Tally the number of minutes preparing meals per week. Make sure to post this one on the fridge. Include highlighting and a really fancy graph. In red.
  • Keep track of kilometers driven in the new van and gasoline purchases and figure out gas mileage (kilometerage?). Use this as direct evidence when explaining to teenagers in the house the reason why you won't drive to Tim Horton's to get them a double double.

Well. That's a good start.

Tune in next week when I analyse the direct correlation between my mood and the number of chocolate eggs I haven't eaten.

And please tell me you obsess over Google Analytics, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I Learned During Lent

I gave up beer and junk food for Lent.

Maybe you heard.

Once or twice.

It's not like I'm a lush or anything. When I say I gave up beer for Lent, I'm talking about the equivalent of giving up 3 or 4 beer a week. The junk food.....well, uh....yes. I gave that up, too.

I don't always give up something for Lent. Sometimes I DO something. Like get up at 6:30 am and go for a run. In my defense, I was much younger then and had two working hips and two fewer children so it seemed less insane at the time.

Sometimes my Lenten challenge is just between myself and Jesus. But whatever it is, I try not to whine about what I'm doing or not doing because that's not what it's about. Every year I learn something about myself and work on my relationship with Jesus.

But this Lent, there was an added bonus.

For 40+ days, I didn't drink beer. I did not eat junk food. (Except for around my birthday....hey, I was turning 40. What better way to celebrate that but with a Bellini and a thick piece of cheese cake?) And guess what? In those 40+ days, I had only 1 migraine and it lasted for only a day and a half instead of the usual 3 days. And I lost 5 pounds. And I feel better.

It's like finding out diamonds aren't a girl's best friend, my favourite coffee is not ethically grown and my beautiful children write bad things about me in their diaries. Then someone punches me in the stomach and asks if I'd like a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea with the milk poured in the cup first, just as it ought to be.

So that kinda sucks.

Migraines or beer. Fat or chocolate. Feel good all day or feel good for a moment with salty dill pickle chips on my lips.

So the choice has been made. I've been shown the way. If my life is full of junk food and beer then it will also be full of migraines and arms. Oh, the tangled web that is my life.

This is my compromise. Weekdays will see me walking the straight and narrow. Weekends will be filled with puppy dogs and fluffy kittens and the occasional beer. Or some baked dill pickle chips. Or the odd chocolate fondue. Or cookies or Easter eggs or pop or chips and dip or cake or.....

But today is Tuesday.

We'll see how it goes. Moderation. My new best friend or my new worst enemy?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Haircut

I got my haircut today.

I've been feeling of late that my mass of frizzy curls was weighing me down. Aging me. Hiding my face.

And it was clogging up the drain something fierce.

It's my own fault. I put off getting my hair cut because I hate strange people touching me. I hate people looking at me and I particularly hate people commenting on my hair.

When I go to the hairdresser, they always say three thing.

1. Wow. You have a lot of hair.

Yes. Yes I do. I have had a lot of hair since the day I was born. I look like I'm wearing a wig in my hospital picture. I am aware of how much hair I have.

2. You want to CUT IT? It's so beautiful long.

Are you kidding me? You just hate cutting a LOT of really wavy hair. Get on with it. And while you're at it, cut it as short as I've asked you to. You never do.

3. Wow. You have a lot of grey hair for your're HOW OLD? I don't believe you.

Um. I have no idea how to respond to this. Yes. I'm a copiously frizzy haired 40 year old. Please cut my hair. Only touch me as necessary and yes, I want it that short.

Today's hairdresser was in a bit of a bad mood. APPARENTLY, someone came in to sharpen her thinning shears and busted them. In case you were wondering, she spent $300 on those thinning shears 5 years ago. And in case you were also wondering, she paid that thief $20 to do it.

She was cheesed.

Cheesed enough to swear 8 times about it. Give or take a swear. It's not like I was counting or anything. I was too busy praying that she didn't cut off my ear.

But, surprisingly, she gave me a great haircut. And, for the first time in history, a hairdresser cut my hair as short as I asked.

Which leads me to believe the next time I call for an appointment, I should request the most pissed off stylist.

And since I know you're dying to see, here's the before picture:

And here's the after:

But not really.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stupidstore is Still Stupid

It's been a while since I vented about Stupidstore.

I know. You're rolling your eyes at me. Right this very moment my mother is saying out loud, "WHY DO YOU SHOP THERE??"

Because I'm cheap. You all know that. Once every two weeks I go to buy stuff that's way cheaper there and once in a while they throw me a blog story. It's all good.

Today I was conned into buying a large box of waffles. They were on sale for $6.48. Exactly. I cannot remember to pay the hydro bill on time or what kind of coffee to buy, but I can remember how much groceries cost. It's a sickness, really. Some people cure diseases. I can tell you how much a can of Heinz beans cost in Qualicum Beach circa 1996. (68 cents. Would go on sale 2 for 99 cents every six weeks.)

I know.

I cry at my life too.

Today's escapade with the stinking waffles started with the Eldest looking at me all Bambi like and requesting waffles to celebrate Easter. I would like to point out that I usually make our waffles from scratch and they are quite lovely. But not quite as speedy as 20 seconds in the toaster and let's face it, when you have a waffle craving, there's nothing like opening up the freezer and finding love nestled amongst the ice cubes.

When the cashier scanned the box of waffles, they scanned in at $8.38.

I don't think so.

"Excuse me....what did those waffles just scan through at?"

The cashier scanned them again, and sure enough, they scanned in at $8.38.

"I'm pretty sure those are on sale for $6.48."

The cashier looked at me funny. (I get that a lot. It's ok.) Then she asked me if I'd like her to do a price check.

No, that's perfectly alright. I'm fine with being overcharged a buck ninety.

"Yes. Please," I said.

So the cashier did a price check. We all waited around. I could feel the eyes of the next person waiting in line boring into me. The clerk's phone finally rang and BOOYA! I was vindicated. $6.48 it was.

The cashier then manually changed the price of the waffles and before I could say anything, she got back on her phone and requested a supervisor for an override.

The supervisor, who, by the way was around my age....about 29.....eventually arrived, reached over the cashier, punched in some numbers so $6.48 appeared on the screen, wrote down the bar code (I'm assuming so she could go key in the correct code price) then started to walk away.

"Excuse me......EXCUSE ME.....but don't you have a policy about getting an item for free if it scans in at the wrong price?"

The supervisor didn't even make eye contact with me. Said nothing. She just turned around, punched in some more numbers then walked away. Not a word was ever spoken to me.

I got my waffles for free. But what kind of customer service is that? Here in Canada, there is something called the 'Code of Practice: Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code'. And guess what? Stupidstore is a member.

Incorrect bar code pricing is inevitable. I know that. But at other stores, such as Save-On-Foods, the cashier automatically gives you the item for free, apologizes for the mistake and for causing you inconvenience. Which is how it should be handled. Those are the rules.

Stupidstore should be honouring the rules they agreed to when they signed that Code of Practice. They shouldn't be leaving it to their customers to remind them of their responsibilities.

And their supervisors should know how to make eye contact and speak. At the very least, not be rude.

I am the price check police. Hear me roar.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2 year old dialect

One of the best things about having a two and three quarters year old child is getting to laugh at them.

Hey. We all have our vices and things that help up get through the day.

The Baby has been giving us lots of giggles of late. One of my favourites was one you may have seen me twitter about over there on my little Twitter sidebar.(Yes. I'm a Twit. I am heading in to this new decade kicking and screaming.)

Anyways, the Baby was not impressed with the Eldest playing her music quite so loudly.

Baby: "Loud! Loud! Stop louding!!"

Our other favourite right now is her pronunciation of certain words.

Hamburger and french fries is 'HANG gu ber and fensh fies.'

Puppies is 'Tuppies'. I started to correct her pronunciation on this one a few days ago. And I stopped myself because I thought about how sad it will be when there is no more little girl in the house telling me all about her tuppy. She's growing up far too quickly as it is. There's plenty of time for word correction and proper verb tense.

But for now she can be my Baby and still ask for tuddles on the towch. She can tell me to 'Go over nare!' and point to the kitchen when I'm slow to get her a cup of milk. She can make me giggle when she says, 'Tay here!' in her sweetest voice, and then with the quiet stealth of an elephant wearing ballet shoes, try and sneak a treat.

Pig tails. Blond braids. Chubby cheeks.

My Baby.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stupidity is Stupid


What kind of 'forward thinking' college creates a policy that makes the purchase of a transit pass mandatory for every student with the purpose of fighting climate change.....but if you're only taking one on line course through the college and therefore exempt, makes you print out an application for exemption and mail it in an envelope instead of being able to do the whole thing PAPERLESSLY online?

Just wondering.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring and Swings

Spring is in the air.

My daffodils are so very close to blooming. Windows are open. Barbecues are being fired up in the neighbourhood. The dog has diarrhea and the Husband is nursing a cold.

Such is my life. Kind of like eating chocolate covered rocks. You eventually get wise enough to just lick off the chocolate and ignore the filling.

Or at least leave the dog tied up outside, the Husband lying on the couch and then leave the house.

I took the two younger girls to a local park today. It was recently refitted with a whole new massive playground and today's sun was a perfect day to go check it out.

And so thought 200 other parents.

It was incredible. It was like being in the middle of the annual Army and Navy shoe sale, but without the heels and a bit more screaming and bark mulch. I would have taken pictures but I was pretty busy making sure the Baby didn't get run over by the frenzied 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 year boys. And the assorted shell shocked parents.

Well done, Parks and Recreation Department of my little town. Well done.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ebbing and Flowing

There's an ebb and flow to blogging.

There's been a lot of ebbing and not a lot of flowing going on around this little blog.

I have a lot of excuses. I had a cold. There was a child with a cold. Then there was a husband with cold.

'Nuff said about that.

Oh, and we were out shopping for alternative transportation of the non eggplant kind. And, BOOOYA! We found one.

I never thought I could be so excited about spending money. And about spending money on a minivan. On a 6 year old minivan. That is not purple.

I know many people get rid of their vehicles when they get to the great age of 6. There's a lot of people who probably think that my euphoria is uncalled for. I mean, where's the zing in a 6 year old minivan? Even if it's not purple.

Well, those people were not driving a 13 year old purple minivan.

Everything in life is relative. A full fridge and pantry that's the norm to one person is only a dream to many others. A house full of kids can be frustrating and cause a harried mom to pray to God for just one quiet moment to herself. But a childless woman prays to God to take away all the quietness in her life, and replace it with a child.

Rough patches in life make us appreciate the good.

The bad helps us to clarify what 'good' really is.

It's tough when you're in the middle of all the crap, but truly helps us to be grateful for the 6 year old minivan. That's full of children and groceries.

Ah, the ebb and flow of life. It's a wonderful thing.