Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ding Ding Ding!

Last October, I wrote about some daily phone calls I was receiving from our banking institution.

The daily courtesy calls requesting to speak with The Husband went on for many months. The calls petered out in February and happened sporadically after that. A few times a week. None for a week, then they'd start up again. The vast majority of calls came in the morning around 10 am, despite my repeated repeated repeated requests that they should phone in the evening if they wanted to reach The Husband.

Yes, they came close once or twice. But still no evening calls.

Several weeks ago, the phone calls started up again....every single morning. I didn't even tell them when would be a better time to call. 10 months of calls can take the fun out of anything, I guess.

This past Friday night, at 8:50 pm, the phone rang. It was the friendly courtesy call from the bank, looking for The Husband. And he was home.

After 10 months, they finally got their man. And then they tried to trick him into agreeing to some reverse billing life insurance.

I was not impressed.

The conversation on The Husband's end of the line went something like this:

"No, I'm not interested."

"No, I'm really not interested."

"No."

"Thanks, but...."

"No, I'm not giving you that information over the phone."

"Exactly what branch of our friendly banking institution are you calling from?"

"I think I'll just look at that info online before I make a decision like that."

"I can't look at it online?"

"Sure. Fine. You can put the information in the mail."

"Woah woah woah woah woah....no...I did not just agree to that.

"Are you telling me you're wanting me to agree to negative billing???"

"No.....no.....goodbye. Goodbye. Thanks but no. No."

"DO NOT SEND ME ANYTHING IN THE MAIL. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN NEGATIVE BILLING."

"Bye....."

Click.

Ah. Friday nights at the Mahoney household.

One of the many reasons that's why there's always beer in our fridge.

Another Griswold Vacation


Let me start off by reminding you that I already apologized to the people of Osoyoos for the weather.

But I'll say it again. Sorry about that. I've never experienced a 5 hour thunder and lightening storm with torrential rains and winds either.

Hey. They needed the rain, what with all the forest fires to the north. Yes, that strange weather caused us to leave a day early as it was going to continue on for another whole day, but let's consider that it was a blessing in disguise. It was pretty parched out there.

The annual Griswold vacation wasn't all Clark and Ellen. We had a great four days before the weather changed. We spent our time playing at the beach, floating in the resort pool and lounging in the air conditioned 38 foot trailer. We worked on our tans, de-stressed, ate a lot of hamburgers and drank a lot of these:
My close friend and her husband (howdy KA and K!) drove down from Kelowna and we had a great visit.

There were a few Uncle Eddie moments. I am now the proud owner of a minivan with a mucked up rear bumper,courtesy of some idiot who drove their boat trailer into it and felt the need to not tell us. It's like the cosmos want me driving around a Griswoldmobile. I'm not a vindictive person but I have to say that I hope karma bites you in the butt, Mr. Boat Trailer Man.

I really mean that.

Plus there was the overheating minivan in Manning Park. That pretty much took care of all that relaxing I did for four days. There's something rather odd about it. Manning Park was also the scene of a little trip several years ago that we Mahoneys refer to as, "The Trip To Hell and Back" when the heater core, radiator and fuel pump all went on our car as we drove through the 65 kilometres that is the Park of Manning.

(There were no dents in the bumper of that car, but let's just say it earned its name, "The Beast" for a reason.)

Oh. Then we got back home (thanks to the 17 decades of the rosary I prayed the rest of the way home, thank you Mary and St. Christopher), only to try and move the car with the engine light problems and it wouldn't start.

But Troy the Fish didn't die and The Dog crapped on the kitchen floor and not the carpet, so, really, in the big scheme of life, I think the trip had more ups than downs. Yes....I have some mechanic appointments to make. Yes, the new minivan is on its way to transforming into a white eggplant. Yes, I have 8 loads of laundry to do.

But I'm choosing to focus on the fact that The Princess learned how to swim the length of the resort pool.
The Monkey made 26 buckets of soup on the beach - all of which were personally taste tested by yours truly. The Boy and his friend spent hours in the lake trying to catch trout and the attention of some cute teenage girls.

Many s'mores were made on the bbq. The Eldest baked herself to a bronze hue that would make any dermatologist shudder in grief.


The Husband played with fire and tried to catch the ragamuffins that kept turning off the water to the trailer.

I actually appeared in public in a bathing suit and although I blinded several people with my mayonnaise hued legs, I didn't care.

The kids watched Mother Nature put on a showstopping display of light and sound, water and wind like they've never experienced in their life.
We went on holidays. And we made memories.


95% of them great.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

.....and they're off.....

The annual Griswold road trip begins tomorrow.

The van is packed. The food is ready. The house is a mess. And I am sitting in front of the laptop ignoring the piles of stuff everywhere.

Everything is right on schedule.

As The Husband has been so lovingly saying all flipping day, "Death con 3" is an accurate description of my state of being today.

Whatever.

So I best be off to do one more load of laundry and write out the "83 idiosyncrasies of The Dog" list for my absolutely wonderful brothers who are taking care of her.

I love my family. They're the best.

You can bet there's some pumpkin scones coming their way.

So, check back in next week where I'm sure to post some awesome pictures of the family enjoying way too much time together. And hopefully no pictures of us stranded by the side of the road or of any mechanic's butt crack.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lucky Ducks


The Monkey is still working on learning her colours. I'm always on the lookout for fun games that work on this skill (among many others). We have a 8 foot x 4 foot cupboard full of games, crafts and toys but I work with the philosophy that Candy Land causes hives, so I like to stock up on lots of choices in the hopes I won't be expected to be spending time in Snoozing Sucker Ville.

But bringing anything remotely related to children into the house requires some finesse. I don't want to paint The Husband in a bad light but let's just say, considering his propensity towards collecting lifeguard competition t-shirts, I think he could be a bit more understanding of my need to stimulate our children's brain cells. You'd think I perhaps go overboard or something.

Although that scenario is remotely possible.

It's not like I hide ALL the toys purchases. But any great relationship out there needs some mystery in it, so I'm just working on my marriage, y'all.

I did not have to sneak yesterday's purchase into the house. If you own Lucky Ducks, you know what I'm talking about. When The Husband arrived home from his hectic day at work, the first words out of my mouth were, "It was only $4. Sorry."

Sorry for the quacking, not for spending 4 bucks. I never buy stuff new. You know that.

Well, underwear. I buy that new. Food products, toilet paper, the odd candle.....

Toys? I usually do not buy those new.

Every child with autism I've ever worked with has owned the Lucky Ducks game. Oh, the memories of sitting in a consult meeting and having the consultant proclaim those dreaded words, "Get the game Lucky Ducks". The involuntary gasps throughout the room. Then the stunned silence. The tears of grief.

No. Not that. Anything but Lucky Ducks.

And that's the game I spent 4 bucks on and brought into our home.

If you haven't had the pleasure of playing this game, I give you crappy cellphone video of why I'm an idiot.

video

That's 17 seconds. It's been playing for 3 hours in my house.

I may have to step on it accidentally.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ahhh.....A Griswold Summer.

Sorry.

It's my fault. I'll take the blame for this one.

I should have known better. In fact, I DID know better and I did it anyways.

Yes. I signed The Princess up for swimming lessons at the local outdoor pool.

I'm really sorry I caused it to rain.

Yes! I know! I know! It was 30+ degrees out the day before her lessons started. I'm aware that summer had arrived and you were all enjoying your tanning and flowers and dinners on the patio.

But I just wanted her to learn to swim. Her dad runs an aquatics facility, for crying out loud. We have old time lifeguards come over for dinner.....word was going to get out that his 7 year old was not on the junior Olympic swim team yet.

It was the peer pressure that made me do it.

Ya. That's it.

And in my defense, I DID try to save your summer and sign her up for lessons indoors. But they were full.

Stop looking at me like that! I know I'm a Mahoney aka Griwold . I knew that I was taking a risk. And now I'm paying the price.

And so are you. Two weeks worth of crappy weather minus the weekend. 'Cause, there are no swimming lessons on the weekend.

Sorry.

And while I'm at it, I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the lovely people of Osoyoos. I'm sorry that the weather will be awful up there next week. But again, I couldn't help myself. I got all caught up in the thought of a nice family vacation on the lake and failed to think about you.

It was wrong.

But chances are we'll be paying for several of your mechanics' getaways to somewhere warmer, so that even out the ol' karma.

You take Visa, right?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gol' Darn Tarnation...Young 'uns These Days!

As I lay in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, I had the urge to scream profanities out my bedroom window.

Our little neighbourhood has always been pretty quiet. That is, until last fall when some hooligans moved in. Young 'uns. Young adults exuding testosterone. Youth with a propensity towards alcohol. And fun. And being loud. And swearing in inebriated jest. Then swearing at the people yelling at them to keep it down because there are children trying to sleep. And then cursing at the dogs that are barking non stop at their loud swearing.

It's a vicious cycle.

A vicious cycle that nearly culminated in me losing it and calling the cops.

Yes. You read that right. I'm officially old.

I almost picked up the phone and dialed the non emergency line for our local police. I might have gone through with it, too, if it hadn't meant I'd have to get out of bed and look up the non emergency number.

But I'm old. And I was tired. So I lay in bed listening to the call of the wild mixed with cheap beer and reminisced about how I never behaved like that in my youth.

At a wedding once, but never in my youth.

And so now I'm plotting my revenge. Lawn mowing at 6am? Organizing a little girls screaming contest to be held every Sunday morning? Rent a spot light and bullhorn and give a play by play of what girl dissed which guy's moves? Or perhaps I could rig up some speakers and play Celine Dion out their way once the partying gets past my comfort zone. Or Raffi. Nothing says "The party's over!" like a middle aged man singing Baby Beluga.

*Please note the selection of Canadian artists. I'm all about Canadian content on my blog.

Sadly, I know I won't do anything. Come on, if I'm too lazy to get out of bed and dial a phone number, I can't imagine expending the energy needed to find my Celine Dion CD.

I mean...if I had one. Which I don't.

Honest.

But it's fun to seek revenge, if only in my head.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finding Childhood Memories

It's strange to think that my dad moving some walls and installing hardwood flooring in his house could lead to me wondering about my mental status.

I was also reminded of my genetic disposition towards being a pack rat.

Renovations always mean sorting through stuff. In my parents' case, it meant some trunks needed to be moved out of a closet in the room being renovated. 8 children x 13 years of school = 2 steamer trunks full of paper. My mom has been going through all that paper and sorting it into piles.

8 kids. 8 piles. 8 tons of childhood memories.

High school drama brochures. Kindergarten valentines. Grade school essays. Memory after memory. Thoughts flooding back from the past.....feelings, field trips and friends.

As I sorted through my pile of papers at my mom's yesterday, I read composition after composition filled with death, knives, haunted houses, eery ghosts, and child kidnappers. After one such composition depicting an attempted murder that was in the news and my ensuing freaky dream about it, my very nice parochial teacher had written, "Very interesting."

I commented out loud that I found it surprising my parents were never called in to the school to have a little talk. My mom replied that I was always a worrier.

Some things never change.

It's an interesting thing, sifting through your childhood. Pieces of artwork that I remember pouring my soul into....so proud of the results. Other items that I had no recollection ever doing. Teacher's comments about messy writing, do overs and "you are capable of doing better".

Some things really never change.

I thought about how much I loved Sister Emily, my first grade teacher. She always made me feel like I was capable of doing anything. That I was smart and clever and was destined to be a teacher. It's hard to argue with a nun.

But back to my neurosis....is. Perhaps my early writing is trying to tell me something from its steam trunking grave.

I should be working on a horror novel, not a children's book.

And I'm sleeping with the light on tonight. My writing scares me.