Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Continued Quest For The Dress and A Day of General Revulsion

Yesterday sucked.

Where to begin...okay, my sister invited me over earlier in the day for dinner at her house. She was making some nice chicken soup, and filled up the decent sized kiddie pool for the kids. C'mon over and have some fun. Hm, I still wanted to find that un-findable dress though, so I made a deal with THE MAN: I would go to a local outlet store I hadn't been to yet, and when I returned, would whisk the kids away for fun at their aunty's, and he would enjoy utopic solitude.

So, off I went in the thousand degree heat. Incidentally, does anybody really like this heat??? Does anyone like it when their car feels like a freaking oven, and just leaving the house turns you into a shiny-faced mess? But I digress. The local outlet mall is comprised of several BRAND NAME DESIGNER outlet shops, including Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, and Jones New York to name a few. Supposedly these little sattelite shops offer better deals than their bloated-price regular stores. Supposedly. Surely, I thought, one of these frou-frou, hoity-toity shops will have a dress, right?

WRONG. Not for my cheesecake hips.

Oh, I just spoiled the suspense. Enh, whatevs.

So, the first store I went into was Jones New York. Dig this; the sales lady actually gave me the UP AND DOWN look before greeting me. I thought that look was a bad omen, personally. In one sweep of my frame it said; "well, there's nothing in here for YOU, but I'll let YOU figure that out for yourself." There were a few skirts, but they were ankle length, and I wonder if those actually look better on someone who has legs longer than their arms. C'est pas moi. Prices sucked, on to the next store.

The next store was a Tan Jay/Alia hybrid, and I can only say that while the sales lady seemed nicer, I detected a note of futility in her voice. Like, her "hi there," actually meant; "you can have a look, but these clothes are for older frumpy ladies who are shaped like squares." Okay, if anybody has shopped at Alia or TanJay and loves their clothes, my apologies. Personally, when I popped in there, the clothes were hideous. No wait, I don't apologise. If you're in your 20's, 30's or 40's, there is no need to dress like you're in your 70's, and I don't know who decided it was a great fashion idea to sew a faux necklace directly onto a shirt.

Moving along...said forget it to the Levis outlet, and also forget it to Garage as I am not a stick, also passed by the SOCK OUTLET, because--Really??? Skipped over the Oshkosh outlet since the kids are better dressed than I am already. Then I apparently lost my mind and decided to have a look-see in ESCADA. Hm...thought my brain...wait a minute...Escada..Escada...sounds familiar...oh yes, didn't they have a designer ESCADA Barbie at one point? (Reader should note that karen had a raging Barbie doll addiction for a few years, but luckily reigned herself in a long time back). So, it was one of THOSE stores, wherein the sales ladies don't even bother greeting you, and there are only about four long racks of clothes anyway. Decided I didn't need a fuscia wool dress, and also figured that if there is a "90% off" rack greeting you as you enter the store, chances are the prices aren't even worth considering. And so I didn't. And so I got the rock out of there.

At this point, I was completely annoyed. I wanted to return to all of these stores (except the TanJay one--that lady was nice), and remind the beyotches working in all of these places, that while they think they are the cream of society, they are still JUST CASHIERS SERVING THE IDIOT PUBLIC SO THEY SHOULD REALLY JUST TAKE IT DOWN A NOTCH AND GET A REALITY CHECK.


Wandered listlessly into the Body Shop outlet, and since I love bath stuff, cheered myself up with a bottle of lemon bath wash (smelled lurvely). The annoying part was that only the sub-par scents were actually offered at a discount. Anything popular or good was full price. Sucked in karen, take your bath wash and get out.

Shuffled into Guess. Shuffled right back out.

In desperation, I crossed back to the other side of the square, again, to give Hilfiger a try. Hey, wait a minute--am I wrong or do the clothes their just look like THE GAP, and if the Gap is overpriced, aren't these boring preppy clothes kind of ludicrously priced? Pfft.

While crossing the street, noticed some 9 year old kid wearing a HOLLISTER shirt. Sheesh.

And finally, a very grouchy, homicidal karen stumbled into Laura/Laura Petites. Hey! There are a ton of dresses here! In the PETITES SECTION. SON OF A %@&*!!! While I was scowling about the store, some older (mid 50's or so) yuppie couple came in, and the guy was wearing a HILFIGER shirt. And then inwardly I snapped. Herewith, I shall rant:

karen's Soapbox Rant

Is this REALLY what's important to people?? Overpriced clothing that is neither exciting nor unique, but is important simply because it has THE RIGHT LABEL on it?? Are we never to move on from this HIGHSCHOOL MENTALITY whereby we are COOL because we have THE RIGHT CLOTHES? Must we all define ourselves by the labels we carry on our shirts, and then doesn't that simply make us WALKING BILBOARDS rather than original-minded, INDIVIDUALS?? Also, do we really, really need a $50 t-shirt, or $200 jeans? Can we not by a pair of jeans for $100 and then walk over to our local charity with a bag filled with $100 worth of groceries for somebody in town who works 60 hours a week, but gets paid minimum wage and receives no benefits??? SERIOUSLY

here endeth this rant

Needless to say I was not happy. Today the quest for the dress continues at the mall. Eek.

So, then I drove home in the inferno-like heat, and got the kids ready to go to my sister's. I think they should make a special calendar for parents that counts down the last week till school starts again with mounting happiness, and possibly even little treats--kind of like one of those Christmas calendars, whereby each day you open the flap and get a little piece of chocolate. Then, on the square that says FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, you open the giant flap and out pops a bottle of champagne and two glasses.

Oh, but wait, before heading off to my sister's, I surveyed the many bags lying around the floor filled with children's clothes, yet again. Are you like me? Do you have to bring a change of clothes for your children whenever you go to someone's home, because they may spill something on themselves, become mysteriously soaked or just pee their pants because they were too lazy to go to the can, and by the time they try to hustle in there it's too late? Oh, and do you have bags of new clothes for school lying around waiting to be dealt with that you didn't even buy? Oh, and do you have stacks and stacks of clothes that the children have perhaps already worn, or rejected as a choice for that day, or wore to bed the night before, and they never find their way up to their rightful places because you are tired, and you have decided you shoud drop everything and force the little people out for some sort of exercise, or you only had four hours of sleep, and you can't find it in you to get motivated into cleaning that pile again because you just cleaned it two days ago, and your house was spotless then, and now it once again looks like you never, ever clean? AND, is there a bundle of sheets and a comforter waiting for you to wash it because the bed was peed, but you have no idea when you're going to get to it because you just washed a MONSTROUS amount of dishes that waited for you since yesterday when you made a pasta salad and a cake to bring to your brother's for a Sunday family gathering?

Well, that was when I had a small, immature fit and just started freaking out about the CLOTHES, CLOTHES, CLOTHES, EVERYWHERE CLOTHES, and dumped all the bags into a pile on the floor, while your husband dances around exhasperated admonishing you with; "well, don't lose the receipts!" Not a pretty sight, I have to admit.

Off to my sister's...

Anyhoo, THE FIGHT TWINS fought and fought and fought and fought, until my throat was actually hoarse from trying to get them to stop. I tried "time outs," threatening them with coming home, and finally begging and pleading. After being verbally abused for about an hour, my sister served up a lovely meal of homemade soup and a really nice salad. Just as I was about to eat my salad, Ella proclaimed she was "done," and left the table, knocking her full cup of juice off along the way. I got into some sort of argument with Jack, which resulted in him headbutting me in the shoulder twice. Rather than strangle him, I said THAT'S IT, and told him we were leaving as soon as I'd finished my salad. He got so upset over this that he did a semi-bite thing to my arm. Seriously, what is it that keeps a parent from tossing their child across a room? Is it the memory of how sweet they can otherwise be? Is it that little voice that reminds us that we are, in fact, bigger and supposedly more mature? Well, whatever it was, I finished my salad with my blood boiling. Then my sis took the lovely fruit crisp out of the oven, and somehow flipped it upside down onto the counter. And we have a BINGO.
On the drive home, with Jack sobbing and sobbing, and telling me how "bad" I was and how "mean" I was, I essentially snapped and dropped the F BOMB in a retaliatory rant. Yes, I am officially now a dirt ball. Dirt ball mom will be calling the behavioural people today and asking them why they have ignored 2 emails and an online intake form.

So, when I got home, I pretended I had no children, and retreated to the relative safety of the computer nook here and had a nice little pity party. What did I think of? Well, invariably, when my children and especially my poor, issue-riddled son, have a rang, I think back to the parking lot at my daughter's nursery school. A girl I went to highschool with has a son who attended the nursery school as well. One morning, as I was dropping Ella off, this woman and her son were sitting in the car together, having a breakfast picnic. This woman is very pretty, has a real-life grownup CAREER. She also has funky hair, great clothes, is still slim and even worse--is a GENUINELY NICE, LOVELY person. So, she was sitting there having this picnic with her little boy who is sweet, quiet, and shy. "Here honey, " she said; "have another blueberry." No fighting. No flipping out. I'm not going to make the obvious life comparisons, I'll just let you mull over that image. All I will say is that life, for some people, is clearly VASTLY different.

And so after that, I went upstairs, washed my face, brushed my teeth, put my pyjamas on, and went to bed. At 8:30. The end, to a very revolting day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random Thoughts After The Weekend


Holy frock am I tired. I've got this lousy chest cold, which otherwise is no big deal; I wake up, cough up a hairball, proceed with my day feeling like run-down crap. There are no other aches and pains, I just feel like I could climb into bed for a whole day.

Had a terrible night's sleep. The MAN had his head cranked over to the side, off his pillow and was snoring away with happy vigour. Then, at oh, about 5 AM, Ella was awake because she had peed her bed. I imagine there are kind, sympathetic Mummies who change bed sheets in the middle of the night with a sweet smile, and a "never-you-mind," but that, my friends, is NOT ME. No, I'm the scowling, scary mom. In the end, I suddenly became aware of what walking misery must look like, and decided to give that little girl a hug anyway. So, then I came back downstairs and sat on the couch in the dark, and could not sleep. I don't know about you, but at 5:30 in the morning, a simple cold suddenly means MAYBE I'M DYING. Yeah, when the sun is shining, I simply have a cold, but at 5:30 in the morning MAYBE I DON'T HAVE A CHEST INFECTION, MAYBE IT'S THE EARLY STAGES OF LUNG CANCER.

Good times.

So, I went shopping with my sister yesterday. OH, BUT WAIT--I FORGOT THE BEST PART! The kids were out at their grandparents yesterday! The house was peaceful and tidy. I had just made a lovely cup of coffee, and came to enjoy some television that had nothing to do with anything that even resembled a cartoon. So, I flipped on the TV and DIRTY DANCING WAS ON.


I freaking LOVE that movie. People, I was so happy to be sitting there in peace, and enjoying Dirty Dancing without a) the children freaking out that they want their "show" on, or b) the MAN rolling his eyes at my delight over a cheesy dance movie. I was so happy, I actually felt like crying a little bit.

Seriously though, how hot was Patrick Swayze in that movie?


Lurv it.

So, then I went to this super quaint neighbouring town with my sister and bought some appealing junk, like my little decorative, inspirational dish towel (pictured above--I scanned it in just for y'all). I did pop in to one over-priced clothing shop hoping (in vain) to find a skirt or dress for THAT WEDDING that's approaching. There was nobody else shopping in the store, and I have to admit the clothes were quite nice. Even more encouraging was that THIS PORKCHOP OF A WOMAN FIT INTO THEIR SIZE 16 SKIRTS. SIXTEEN, PEOPLE, BOO-YAH!
As I was trying on clothes, the two sales ladies were flinging themselves around the store, DESPERATELY trying to find something that would fit me. You could almost smell the hunger for the sale. I have no problem with this, I was dressed fairly funky that day, and was having a really fun time playing the role of "upscale, choosy/snooty shopper." Yeah! Little did they know that normally my greatest thrill is a $4 t-shirt courtesy of the Great Wal of Evil. To continue, the ladies kept bringing me different potentials, most of them hideous. I tried on a couple of skirts though and just loved them. One was black, and had some little red details on it, that not only transformed my pudge into something sorta sexy, but would have looked HAWT with my as-yet-unworn red retro-ish heels. Skirt looked great, but I would neither be able to sit down at the wedding, nor eat. I lamented a few times to the ladies; if only the skirts were just a tiny bit bigger, or I was just a tiny bit smaller. And then the one sales lady made my day:

lady: "when is the wedding?"
me: "next weekend."
lady (suddenly inspired): "do you think maybe you could lose some weight for it?"

Now, this question disgusted my dad in the retelling, but I don't care. I think it's hilarious. Yeah, maybe I could lose A POUND in a week, and it will make a difference. Good one!


What you don't realise, gentle readers, is that I had to finish typing up this useless little blog TODAY because yesterday while I was happily blogging away, it was melt-down city in this house. Yes, there was a nice little scene of Jack losing his marbles because he didn't want to have a TIME OUT, and he didn't want Daddy to PUT HIS MARKERS AWAY as a consequence for calling his father an A$$. It's nothing but good times in this house, peeps. Okay, okay, now everyone's gasping in horror, and I have been working on, and continue to work on ways to impress upon a 6 year old who has no fear, the gravity and importance of never calling your parents names. In fact, as I type this I'm hopefully waiting for a local gateway to childrens' behavioural services to call me up for a little chitty-chat. So there, all is not lost people, have no fear.

I did EXTRA enjoy the wine at my brother's last night though...just saying. Oh, and the peach upside-down cake I crafted up with my own little brain was MASTERFUL.

And so now I am off to a local outlet mall to see if there is something that

b) doesn't cost a fortune, and,
c) F*I*T*S

Sigh. I'll be wearing that stale dress in my closet come Sunday. Let's put money on it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When We Were Girls

I just saw a girlfriend of mine yesterday. She came by with her husband and two little boys, who are both very close in age to my two. I hadn't seen her in eighteen years. Wow. She was my best friend when we were in elementary school, but then with the tumultuous changes that highschool brings; physical, social, etc, we drifted apart. Her parents moved to the U.S. for her dad's job, and she and her brother joined them.

Eventually though, we reconnected. Good old internet. We used to hang out all the time. We'd ride our bikes together, as I did with all my friends. We'd play tennis together, and make sure to go home when it was "dusk." We used to climb the pine trees in the park and hold secret conferences, spying on the unwitting people below. Those trees, incidentally, are huge now--too big, I believe, to reach the lowest branch. I'd go to her house, or she'd come to mine. Usually she'd come hang out with me at my house when my parents would be out on a Friday or Saturday night, and we'd do what most 13 year olds would do: pierce our ears. It's kind of ridiculous, but she had peroxide at her house, and we did not. So, it was the old ice cube and safety pin trick. Then a few days later, I would invariably brush my hair out of the way and my dad would zero in and say; "is that another hole in your ear?!?" We only created two new piercings in our ears. Still, it seemed to be a good bonding experience.

We would watch Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club over and over again, and let me tell you--that guy "Jake" in Sixteen Candles is STILL UBER HOT. I was one of the tallest kids in elementary school, at one point, and she was short. I HAD to start wearing makeup in grade 6, and styling my hair not long after, and C. was never that interested in makeup, or styling her long, shiny, un-hairsprayed hair, which she'd pull into a messy ponytail on top of her head for bed.

We went away on a summer vacation together at her family's friends' cottage a few summers in a row. C. had become a proficient sailor at summer camp, and parents (apparently) were a lot more permissive in those days, so we'd put on our life jackets and head off on the lake in the little sail boat. Geez, but I can't remember the warning C. would yell out to let me know to duck before the sail came around and whacked me in the head. I missed her when she would go to camp each summer, but she'd send me amusing letters, and made me a craft one time, which I still have: a little pillow stuffed with balsam chips. It smelled so pretty, for so long. She even sewed a "k" on top.

When she arrived yesterday I was grinning, because she really looks just the same. C. told me I looked just the same too, but I'm pretty sure that's just something nice you say, like when someone's made you a really crappy cake.

To my delight though, she brought a little bag FILLED with highschool letters I had written her (the vast majority of them written sneakily while I was supposed to be paying attention in class)--a huge stack. I'm floored. I have no memory of writing so many letters, and I'm also angry at myself--why don't I have any of hers?!?

Last night I sat reading those letters for a long time, because I couldn't sleep anyway. They were very repetitive, and spoke nearly obsessively about "cute boys" that were at school, getting those cute boys to notice me, working up the nerve to get them to notice me, when the next dance was coming up, how boring my classes were, etc. It was strange; on one hand, highly amusing in their teeangerish dramas and yearnings, but on the other hand it also reminds me how nothing really ever happened. That cute boy who asked me to dance ONCE, never became my boyfriend. Un-requited everything.

And then by about grade 11 it was all fading away. We started to get boyfriends, and forgot that we were such good friends, because now opposing views and personalities were emerging. One of the last times I saw C. was at a gathering of friends. I was 20 and my boyfriend and first love had just died. He had a rare form of cancer. We also worked together at the same hotel one summer as chambermaids. And then she was gone, for years until one of those websites that reunited old school pals came along.

Those letters though--they kill me. And my short, cute childhood friend--now a mom as well. Most amazingly though were the feelings that came to me. My mind was whirling with memories and long-forgotten thoughts. I have become so wrapped up in my adult life, as we all do I suppose. I don't go on the swing any longer, I push the swing for my children. I don't have a lot of time to stop and play because I have dishes to do, and dinner to make, and a load of wash to hang out.

So, as I started to write this blog, yesterday, I suddenly began to cry. Jack, who has a sixth sense it seems for when I'm crying, was suddenly at my side. He asked me if I was crying about Grandma. No, I told him, I was crying because suddenly I remembered. I remembered that I was a young girl once, and I was 13 once, and I had good friends. Crazy. I had forgotten so much about when we were girls.
Nov 18/86

Dear C.
I am doing boring, pathetic geography work--as if I really care about wheat & grain & grain elevators! I had my health test today--pretty easy. Only 11 minutes left and then Yay! French! Dave P. is gorgeous and piss me off--CK isn't here today! I could cry! But maybe (just maybe) he is here and I'll see him on my way to french. Blah! Yuk! Gag! I have to stop now because Mr. L's putting a note on the board about "Ranching in the West" doesn't that turn you on (Oh C--control yourself--calm down) I HATE this class - BLAH! Ha Ha Ha! It's over and I'm in French now (which by the way also sucks mass). OOOOOO! GUESS WHAT - CK IS HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (By the way - there are 50 exclamation points) I hope the punctuation explains how happy I am that he's here. He is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (36 o's) handsome today - he's wearing a yellow t-shirt (polo shirt) but I didn't get a really good look cause he was getting his books & (sniffle) I didn't see him at all today because I don't think he was here! Waaah! I was gonna smile (sexy smile) at him because he was busy at his locker (I could cry) I'm also quite sad cause I NEVER see him after school, so that means I have to wait till tomorrow to see my baby. By the way - I'll forgive you for the short note- this time! (just kidding) and about you going into enriched english --
I think that if I were to see CK with another girl - heart would brake [sic]!
Oh well gotta go babe
Hugs & kisses
Image reference:

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Death" And The Little People

Warning: This Little Installment is RIFE with black humour, and some wishy washy semi stances on religion-related stuff, but hey, we all die, so instead of having another cold/hot/racing pulse/OMG I'M GOING TO DIE ONE DAY type moment, let's find a little humour instead.

Death, it would seem, is a mighty huge topic for a little kid to wrap their noodle around. I think they KINDA get it, but then sometimes I think my kids really don't get it at all, and are still just humouring me.

When did the fateful word first enter into my son's vocabulary? Hm, maybe it was a couple of years ago, when he was REALLY into the Rolling Stones. We were having a chat about who the various members were, when he saw an old picture from the earlier days of the band.

"Who's that?" Jack asked me.
"Oh," I said, "that's Brian Jones. He's not in the band anymore though. He died."
Jack: "what does 'died' mean?"
Me: "it means his body stopped working."
Jack: "did he get sick?"
Me: "well, not quite--he just, er, died."
Jack: "is he going to get better?"
Me: "no, he's dead. He's not going to get anything."
Jack: "is he old now?"
Me: "no...*sigh*, you know how your toys stop working when the batteries die? Well, that's what Brian Jones is like."
Scramble, scramble, there, Mummy.

Then, for the next few nights Jack was having bad dreams and proclaiming that he didn't want to "get all dead."

So, last summer my grandmother died. Once again, Jack didn't really get it. Early this spring I thought I'd take an educational little trip to the cemetary. Yes, yes, but Jack couldn't "get" the concept, and he kept asking me questions, and as I tried my best to gently explain things, I thought the cemetary would be a nice, definitive example of death. So, one night, the boy and I took a little spin on over. Turns out (big surprise) it was a bad idea.
First of all, it was dusk, so there was no more happy sunshine. Second, it was windy and COLD. So, we hopped out of the car, and I said, indicating her stone;

"see there, honey? That's where Great Gramma is."
Jack: "is she there?"
me: "yes, that's right. She's there."
Jack (rising voice): "is she IN there?"
me: "er, yes, but she's in an, ah, nice, uh, fancy bed called a 'casket.'"
Jack: "is she sleeping?!?"
me: "no, honey. She's dead."
me: "well, her body is in there, but her, you know what a spirit is? I guess it's kind of like a ghost? Erm, her 'spirit' is up in heaven."
Jack (with mounting horror): "IS HER HEAD IN THERE?!?"

* At this point, I really start to realise the error of my ways, and realise as well, that perhaps things aren't going so well. Plus, night (and bed time) is rapidly approaching. So, I did the smart thing: I back-pedalled like crazy.

Me: "no, she's not in there honey."
Jack: "she's not?!?"
Me: "no, she's not."
Jack: "were ya joking, Mom?"
Me: "yes, I was just joking."
Jack: "were ya making a funny joke? You were joking, eh mom."
Me: "yes, I was, ah, joking. This is just a place where they put a 'REMEMBERING STONE' with Great Gramma's name on it, so we can remember her."
Jack: "is she in there?"
Me: "no, no--she's up in heaven, with Woody the Dog, and my first cat, Kitty."

Okay, being the hard-fast fence sitter, and monstrous cynic that I am, I'm only going to say that the concept of 'heaven' is a hard one for me to swallow, but since I have no proof either way, it makes it much easier to soothe a horrified six year old. Oh, fallible me.
So since my own Mom passed away 4 months ago, Jack and Ella are kinda getting it, but still kinda not. 'Heaven' is particularly puzzling to Jack, and doesn't come with the nice, concrete answers he needs, ie; where precisely it is. He has decided that heaven is in "outer space," and therefore, Grandma is floating around out there like some sort of peaceful astronaut. I have tried to explain a zillion times that heaven is not outer space, but I've pretty much given up, and now just say; "yes, yes, it's up there with the stars.

I have to say, I'm pretty sad about my Mom, but the kids love to ZING me with questions every day. I usually have to sigh, and participate in these frank, bare conversations.

Jack: "Mumma, your Mom is DEAD."
Me: "yes, that's right."
Jack: "did she got ALL DEAD, Mumma?"
Me: "yes, she did."
Jack: "are you gonna WEEP, Mumma?"
Me: "no. I'm okay just now."

* Note, Jack discovered the word "weep" not too long ago and finds it fascinating.

This was my favourite though: yesterday, while on a little family after dinner excursion for ice cream, Ella suddenly piped up in the backseat, and tried to express a thought, which Jack, helpfully, finished for her:

Ella: "Mumma, GRAMMA"
Jack (in all earnestness): "full of Christs!"
Ella: "Yeah!"

I had to laugh, and fairly hard at that.

It's interesting though--we all have such an aversion to death. It's such a taboo topic, but in past generations death was much more a part of life. At the turn of the century (not this one, sillies), deqth was very common in families, wherein there was a high mortality rate for infants, and tuberculosis (among other diseases) was still quite prevalent. People died in their homes with their families. It was customary to set aside a lovely room in the house for displaying the dead loved one. This was called, conveniently enough, the death room. And then people began to move away from this tradition of displaying their dearly departed in their homes, and instead paid their respects in a doctor's office. Eventually the first "funeral parlour" came along, mimicking the lovely, gracious sitting room of the family home. As funeral parlours took over this death business, the death room became the living room.

In Victorian times, it was very common for families to have photographs taken of their dead loved ones called Memento Mori. I could provide a link, but no thanks--I've googled these pictures online, and with my modern day sensibilities and suffocating fear of death, they give me the heebie-jeebies something fierce. These pictures would be displayed in the home, proudly, with other family photos.
We have distanced ourselves from death though. We let hospitals and doctors handle it, and it has become a great, fearful thing. And then we have little people come into our lives, who are curious, and it behooves us to provide knowledge and understanding. And so I'm trying.

Also, I'm pleased with myself, because I've come up with a nice, tidy definition for a cemetary, that I'll be sticking to until such time as the kids won't completely freak out:

"well kids, it's a place where people put a remembering stone up to remember all the people they loved who died, and on each stone is that person's name. So, the cemetary is a 'remembering' place."

It's not entirely whacky, right? I'm sure my Mom would have found all of this highly amusing. If only we could grab a coffee and chat about it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Hell That is Shopping

Shopping, since having my children has become pure torture. I'm speaking specifically of CLOTHES SHOPPING. Nothing can lower my self-esteem faster than hitting the stores for something fun to wear. And girls, are we all in agreement here about the worst items to shop for? They are:

1) BRA: I have no idea why I can grab 10 bras that all say they are my size, and have such a great disparity of fit. One bra has a band so tight I can't even do it up. One bra has more hootage squeezing out by my armpits than in front. One bra has wrinkly, un-filled cups. One bra hikes the girls up nearly under my chin. And there's always at least one that gives the dreaded ice-cream-cone shaped boobs. Hate bra shopping. Oh, and I have another gripe: why, why, why is it impossible to find beige, nude or "sand" coloured bras???? I mean, do girls really like walking around with a white t-shirt and a clearly visible white bra underneath?!? Makes me nutty

2) JEANS: once again, why can I grab a half dozen pairs of jeans and find such a wide array of fit/non fit with them? Geez--THE MAN goes to a store, checks out any type of pants that he wants to buy, finds his size and brings them home without EVER TRYING THEM ON. And guess what--they fit. So, there I'll be in the changeroom. The first pair won't even pull up past my hips. The next pair fits everywhere in the body, but squeezes so much fatness over the waist band I want to cry. And the other pair says it's a 'relaxed boot cut,' which really means it hugs the fat thighs from top to mid calf where it flairs out a bit, thus giving the most unflattering shape possible. Oh, and finally, I end up buying the pair that's a little too big everywhere, but doesn't cut off circulation in the waist, which is wonderful at the time in the change room, but after wearing them twice in a row, they loosen up enough to become DUMPY.

3) The bathing suit. Enough said.

Shopping is terrible now. I think most of y'all know of my complaining about what a train wreck my mid-section is. Also, if you're me, you will invariably find yourself shopping at the Great Wal of Evil, and the lighting in there is HIDEOUS. You are nearly guaranteed to leave that change room utterly crushed and convinced that you are fatter than you've ever been, and your hair colour is horrendous. Evil, evil fluorescent lighting. Yes, and the best part is that nothing fit properly, and you blame yourself rather than the ULTRA CHEAP MASS PRODUCED CLOTHING you just tried on.

But here is my favourite thing since having my daughter: I am almost too big for the "regular" stores, and I am too small for the fat stores. And if you take offense to me calling them "fat stores," I'm sorry, but those clothes are huge, and I am no petite flower. So, nyah.

I have a wedding coming up at the end August. I have ONE dress that I wore for the first, and only time to a wedding last summer. Yes, because we're ridiculous, we girls really, really like to have a new thing to wear to new occasions, or at least a new thing to wear to an occasion that has all the same people as were at the last occasion. I wouldn't mind finding a cute skirt. I do have a funky top I could wear, so with a skirt, I'd be all set. Good luck, karen. A skirt in this city is apparently as difficult to find as the holy grail itself. So, I got out of my car, took a deep breath, and headed to the fat store. There was ONE dress style in the whole store. In that style, there were 3 left. Cute dress too, but WAY TOO BIG. While this kinda makes me feel a teeny bit better, it also p*sses me off: why was there nothing smaller than 2X???

So, off I went to the neighbouring box store, which thinks it's so clever by having a regular section, petites section, and plus section all within the same store. The petites clothes are extremely cute. The regular clothes are pretty hip and funky. The PLUS CLOTHES ARE FRUMPY DISGUSTING SQUARES. I do not want a giant polyester flag of a shirt that has a faux camisole top sewn behind the neckline. Sorry, nobody's fooled. And, there was one skirt. So, now I'm becoming homicidal, and had to vent to the apathetic sales girl: "why are the clothes in the plus section always SO UGLY??? Why can't they take THIS shirt (funky black shirt with braided rope belt for the waist), and just make it one size larger?!?" Why can't they do that??? Why can't they have a store filled with styles that come in all sizes from 2 to 22??? It's the same shirt, only it's BIGGER. DUH!!

Or, perhaps they're thinking that only older women are fat, and they no longer care about looking cool--that's for the younger crowd. It makes me want to scream.

I returned home in the worst mood, yet again. But hey, I did find two cute tops.

Tick tock, tick tock, time's running out till that wedding. Lousy shopping.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Is Where the GIGANTIC MESS Is

What if you had two adorable yet UTTERLY DESTRUCTIVE, CHAOS LOVING children, and you had wicked bad PMS, and while you were DOWN FOR THE COUNT, the little dickens did THIS to your home:

Hey--wasn't this my dining room table...

argh! My lovely buffet cabinet!
ah-ha! The CULPRITS at work!
Even my own bedroom gets trashed...
WAIT!!! What's this?!? Could it be--the ONLY TIDY SPOT IN THE WHOLE HOUSE?!?!?
And that, my friends, is why I go outside, where I can see things like this:

Just keep swimming...just keep swimming...just keep swimming....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Tired Gourmet: "Casserole De Crap"

People, I'm tired. You're tired. Let's face it--we have kids, and we are all tired. So, once in a while when we are especially beat, we need to make something for dinner that meets a few key requirements:

1) must be tasty
2) has to be liked by the kids
3) is embarrassingly easy to prepare

Well, that was how I felt on Monday, so I'm presenting the first installment in a new recipe segment I'm toying around with called "The Tired Gourmet." By the way, "casserole de crap" is based on a recipe my beloved Mom (RIP) concocted, and it's HER name for the dish, so if you think that "crap" is not a word that should ever be associated with anything you eat, you can just as easily tell your family you've made something called "pizza pasta." Heh. I use whole wheat pasta in this dish, and before you panic, you can't even tell.

Casserole De Crap
(my little niece: "thank you, thank you for making this, aunt karen!! hee hee)

1) 5 Cups uncooked rotini pasta (3 cups whole wheat rotini and 2 cups regular rotini)
2) small package lean ground beef (approx 0.4 kg, or 0.8 lb)
3) 700 ml jar of store brand pasta sauce (I try to choose the one with extra veg in it)
4) two cloves finely chopped garlic
5) one carrot finely grated on a cheese grater
6) tbsp dried oregano
7) tbsp dried basil
8) 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
9) 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan (or pan large enough to hold meat and sauce), at medium high heat, fry beef until browned. Drain fat into a heavy duty mug or old can (I use a turkey baster to suck the fat out while I'm browning meat--just be careful as you suck it up and 'spit' it out into the cup--very hot!!!). When meat is browned, toss in chopped garlic and simmer for a few more minutes at medium heat, while continuing to stir.

Dump in jarred sauce, and 1/2 jar of water. Add finely grated carrot, basil and oregano, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cover with one of those things people put over their simmering spaghetti sauce so it doesn't splop all over the stove. Or, put a lid half over the pan. Or, go with the mess. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours--whatever, stirring every now and again.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta for 8 minutes. In the meantime, spritz some non-stick cooking oil on a large casserole dish, and grate cheddar cheese.

Drain pasta when 8 minutes are up, and dump into casserole dish. Pour in sauce, and add cheddar and parmesan cheeses. Mix well, until all pasta is totally covered. Cover with a piece of foil--dull side out. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Serve with one of those yummy store-prepared salads. Marvel at the tastiness.

serves: 3 adults, two kids, one toddler (Jack only eats pb& j sandwiches at meals), and leaves enough for tired mom or dad to have for lunch the next day. Or, if you're not greedy, freeze the rest!

Monday, August 16, 2010

PMS Week

Hey everyone, it's time once again to do the PMS SHUFFLE. Shuffle to the left, shuffle to the right, kick something until it breaks, then have an angry nap.

My daughter was just eating lunch. As a rare treat, I made cheese and crackers, with a nicely rolled up piece of baloney. I almost never eat crackers, myself, but I thought, hey, why not--and tossed a bunch down my yap. Then Ella sat down to lunch, and was happily eating, when suddenly she said;

"There's a [sic] ANT ON MY CRACKER!!"


"WHAT?!?!?" I fairly shrieked. As I inspected the cracker, there was a teeny tiny brown ant on her cracker, and a few running around on her plate. The new box of crackers was SWARMING with them. And then everything went blurry as I turned into the HULK. The top shelf of the pantry? Loaded with the little bastards. I freaked, and had a fairly satisfying moment whereby I slammed the chocolate syrup container with good force on the counter proclaiming how I

Seriously--I'm really beginning to think that all this sh*t is NOT random. I believe I am the butt of some cosmic joke. Seriously. First off we have small black ants. Then we have flying ants IN MY FREAKING BEDROOM, and then we get ants that are so small one can't notice them until they look closely.

Just think of all the crackers I tossed down my cracker hole! Oh mon dieu! If you read one of my other tales of ant war, you may recall that I ate an ant-covered cookie, and a couple of the little f**kers got in my mouth, bit me and my mouth stung for a long time afterward. So now I imagine that my tongue has little irritated spots on it, like I was eating little hot chili flakes.

Sigh, and double sigh.

So, this rage lead to other more or less productive thoughts, such as, how ugly my kitchen is, and how it will probably NEVER EVER be refurbished into a nice kitchen, so I might as well paint it and make it semi decent (right now it has ugly yellowed walls, where I ripped off the wallpaper, and the bottom half has hideous 1950's plastic tile. Oh wait, let's see if I have a picture...oh wait, I don't have a pic on the computer right now, because the computer got A VIRUS, and everything on it was WIPED OUT. Silly moi! I'll upload one from my camera in the near future. The pantry has some lovely brown panelling (sp?) in it, and since that too won't be turned into anything nice in the next decade, I might just slap a white coat of paint over IT.

In the meantime, the kitchen is filled with dirty dishes I haven't gotten to yet because I'm TOO ANGRY, and when I log onto my computer, my internet home has this idiot article up titled; "RPATZ AND KSTEW GET COZY," and I'm supposed to give a f*ck about the "stars" right now when all I'd like to do is tell them; "YEAH, GET COZY NOW, BECAUSE IN A FEW YEARS HE'S ONLY GOING TO DO THE FREAKING DISHES ONCE A WEEK!"

shuffle to the left, shuffle to the right...

Oh my god. It has just occurred to me that I haven't even had my coffee yet today! My most treasured time of the day!

I think I'll sign off now and go cry.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today's Final Thought

Okay, this is going to be a useless, super short little entry, but I need some sub-par sleep. I added this stupid little "widget" to the bottom of my posts, which enables people to effortlessly search through my little chapters of torture here in angst land. First of all, widget is a word that barely means anything to begin with, and means even less after you say it more than twice. Anyhow, the stupid widget appears to desperately want everyone to check out my little bloggo about menstruation (It's Wonderful Being a Girl?!?). This means that there's a little icon with the smiling maxi pad I drew up. Over and over again.

Because I have my head stuck in my blog so often, the kids have become familiar with the look of it, and will sometimes make requests. Jack, for instance, LOVES to have the little story of his own private neurosis read to him over and over again, about how he gets flipped out when he hears the classical music piece "Primavera" ( Vive Le Weekend ). Ella, on the other hand, likes some of the idiotic pictures I've drawn--especially that stupid maxi pad, and whenever she drops by, she says (in all her 3 year old beauty):

"I want to see the HAPPY BANANA."

The happy banana.

And there you have it. Buenas noches!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Need A Freaking Break

OMG people, it occurs to me that I still need a vacation. What are you talking about, woman, you ask, you just had a vacation. Oh, you're a funny one, aren't you.

Okay, so let's think about it here: I've been home from my vacation for 6 days, and I STILL have one last load of laundry to do. I haven't put the kids' clean clothes away yet, and I'm wondering if I give a SH*T about what we're having for dinner. I'm a little cranky right now. I was just stuck in the back yard for what felt like HOURS, while the kids cycled back and forth from the pool to the trampoline, back to the pool, back to the trampoline, until I became so hungry for the lunch I never had that I wanted to cry. The zillion slap and hug-of-death fests the FIGHT TWINS had didn't make being outside any more fun than it actually was.

Jack: "Ella, your name is ELLIOTT."
Ella: "your name is JACKY."
Jack: "my name is NOT 'JACKY,' Elliott!"
Ella: "Jacky boy! Jacky Boy! Jacky Boy!"
Jack: "Okay, Elliott."

So, I finally convinced them back inside at which point I INHALED a yogurt. I gots a headache.

Last night, as I was putting on some makeup before going out, Jack was on the can having a conversation with me. I should interject here, and mention once again that having ONE bathroom really bites sometimes. Picture it people: you've just drawn a relaxing bubble bath for yourself. You even lit a candle for wonderful ambiance. You sink in and feel the tension draining out of you. Then the door opens and your six year old says; 'GOTTA POOP.' Or, upload this little image: 3 out of 4 family members all have the stomach flu at the same time, but only have one bathroom. Suck on that one for a while.

So, as I was saying, I was getting ready to go out, when Jack decided to have a typically random 6 year old conversation;

Jack: "Mumma, being fat makes you ill."
Me: "it does?"
Jack: "yes, it makes you ill."
Me: "am I fat?"
Jack: "no, you're not."
Me (pleasantly surprised): "oh! Thanks, honey."
Jack (after pondering for a minute): "well, you're a little bit fat."

Then I went downstairs and told this to The Man as I was on my way to get my shoes. He said; "come back for a sec?" So I did and he said; "you look a bit smaller." Great. He called me back to check out if I was indeed a 'little bit fat.'

I need some suggestions from y'all. My son draws NON-STOP. And when I say non-stop, I mean that when he's not swimming, he's drawing. I have an inch-high stack of drawings from our one week of non-relaxation. I love the drawing--I really do. Two years ago he was literally afraid to try to draw, and now his pictures are amazing. I may even have to blog about them (nothing is safe). The problem is, my dining room table is a disaster zone. It is full of crumpled up rejects, markers, and the stacks of new drawings. HOW THE HELL CAN I KEEP THIS IN SOME SEMBLANCE OF ORGANIZATION??? Sigh. It makes me weary just thinking about it.

In other news, I have started doing situps every day. Oh, who am I kidding--I can't even do a situp any longer. I do "curlups." So, I've been doing curlups every morning this week, hoping to re-introduce some tone to my disaster zone. Every time I curl up, my stomach forms a nice peak in the centre. Every time I see that stupid peak, it once again makes me want to smack the plastic surgeon who informed me that my stomach sticks out now, after having my daughter, because I have fat UNDER the muscle. That may be, dough head, but is one's stomach supposed to puff out like a pyramid with exertion??? I THINK NOT. One of these days, I'll find a plastic surgeon who'll be sympathetic and say; "you're the sexiest chubby woman I've ever seen, and I want to stitch those gorgeous muscles back together. And the cost? For you? $2000. Yes, that's right--I would never dream of charging $8000 to restore you to your former bitchin self."

Someday, karen, someday.

Back in the good old days, when one was having a day like this, they could LITERALLY knock their kids' heads together. Okay, okay, don't get all bunged up--I'm mostly kidding. But for now I must say; "STOP. IT," or "KNOCK IT OFF," or, "if you two don't stop, I'm PHONING SANTA!" or, "don't worry kids--in just a few weeks, you'll be BACK AT SCHOOL, AND UNABLE TO BUG EACH OTHER!" I seem to be full of these little gems.

I need a freaking break.

image reference:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Tan is Peeling, and My Roots Are Showing

As a teenager in the 80's, achieving a super dark tan, and sun-kissed hair was the pinnacle of hotness. I have always hated tanning for the sake of tanning though (except if the modern form of tanning means semi-napping in the sun after a couple of cocktails...YUMMY FUN). Imagine how ridiculous (and who knows--maybe lots of girls are STILL doing this): on a scorching hot day, I'd sigh and figure I'd better take advantage of the rays.

So, I'd get my bathing suit on, grab a towel and a book, and head out to the back yard. I'd set up my towel on the grass, lie down and go to work. After about five minutes I was super bored, and hated the heat. It was impossible to read, flat on my back, unless I held my book at arm's length, directly over my face, creating an eclipse of sorts between me, the book and the sun. Then my arm would get tired, and I'd have to give up reading and just lie there. All sweaty. Squinting with my eyes closed because I couldn't risk getting a sunglass tan on my face. Then after sizzling like that for a while, I'd flip over so I could tan my back as well, getting a kink in my neck, and pretending I just loved that hot, hot sun. So, after half an hour I'd run back in the house to peek under the straps and see if there was any evidence of a TAN. No tan. Sigh. Back out to the heat. I'd probably only last about an hour tops, then would have to come in and lie down from the exhaustion of being baked, like a muffin, in the sun. I might get the slightest hint of a bathing suit outline, but mostly I'd be more pink than brown, and still have a back full of teenage zits.

There would be tales, from the tan elite, of how they'd use baby oil,or tanning oil, and then head out into the sun, and just lay out there all day. Does anyone else, who's in the 40-something vicinity, have any memory of their parents slapping sunscreen on them at any point in their young lives??? I guess it's possible, but I certainly don't recall. How about back yard pool parties--did we EVER bring scunscreen then??? Oh sure, maybe we did, but only if it smelled like COCONUTS, and had an SPF of 15 or less (ideally, 7). The only reason we wore it was for that coconutty smell--good heavens--sunscreen PREVENTED good tans! What a horrible product!

Now who remembers this ad from "Bain De Soleil?" It's pure hilarity now!

So, while working on your tan all summer, it was also important to attain beach babe hair, radiant with blonde highlights. So, off you went with your spray bottle filled with lemon juice, and every now and again, while baking yourself, you'd saturate your hair, and hope the sun and the juice would magically combine to give you the radiance you desired. Then, you'd run in the house to see how blonde you'd become, only to find that there was no discernable difference. How could it not work?!? Every girl you talked to swore her hair got wicked good highlights thanks to juicing it up in the sun! And then a wondrous product appeared on the drugstore shelves: "Sun IN!" Oh joy! So, we all bought a bottle, raced home and waited for the next scorching, cloudless day, and we SATURATED our hair with that sh*t! And behold! It worked! Erm, it kinda sorta worked, but actually our hair was now ORANGE.

Yeah, after several sessions of Sun In, my Mom advised me to stop using the stuff because my hair was ORANGE. However, she had to admit that the orange looked kinda good.

So, now that I am older, wiser, and about to give up on being vain, as that anger line in my forehead only gets deeper, I don't lie out and tan any longer. I wear sunscreen on my face all the time, and I wear it on all visible parts of my body if I'm going to be in the sun for longer than 15 minutes. Tanning = bad. UV = bad!!! However, while on vacation, I was forced to spend a great deal of time in the sun swimming with the kids. I lathered on a lot of sunscreen, but just the same I started to get a fairly decent tan. Hmmmm...."you're looking kinda sexy," said a voice inside my head, that sounded A LOT like "80's karen." Then one day that voice said; "NO! Don't put on that less revealing bathing suit today, it will wreck your existing TAN LINES!" And then, toward the last day, I looked in the mirror and saw that my highlights had turned noticeably blonder!


By the time I got home, I was thinking I was a teeny bit hot, and my hair was supa sexAY. I straightened my hair and made it look 'wind tousled,' and then one day I thought, to hell with fat armpits--I'm wearing a TANK TOP! So, I put on my TANK TOP and damn it, my tan is already starting to peel. I had super peeling shoulders. Not only that, but my hair doesn't look as blonde in the mirror at home, and it really, really looks like I need to colour it again, as I have a good half inch of roots. Hmph.

Lousy vanity.

Guess I'll go back to sitting in the shade.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's Talk LAUNDRY

Question: What is the difference between your clean laundry, and my clean laundry?

*Your clean laundry smells good.
My clean laundry smells good.

*Your clean clothes feel soft and snuggly.
My clean clothes feel soft and snuggly.


What if we all stopped using fabric softener when we did our laundry? I imagine right now you're thinking; "what?!? She's crazy! Stop using fabric softener? That's ridiculous! I can't stop using fabric softener--my clothes won't be soft and won't have that "April Fresh" scent!" That, my friends, simply is not true. I'm sniffing the shirt I'm wearing right now, and it smells like "clean clothes." Also, I never put anything on and think; "ow, my clothes feel all rough and scratchy," because they feel soft. The only time my laundry feels a bit stiff is when I hang it out on the line to dry, and it's hot but there isn't a good breeze. And even still, if I put on that stiff shirt, I still don't cringe from the feel of the fabric.

Just imagine if everyone stopped using fabric softener, particularly the liquid kind, how much less crap we'd be pouring into our water system. You know, WATER? That stuff that we need to live???

Don't you think we all have enough chemicals in our lives? Before you write me off as a crazy woman, please read this article about all the crap your favourite fabric softener contains and think about it: "Dangers of Fabric Softener - Airing the Dirty Laundry." Granted, there is a lot of sensationalistic stuff on the internet, but there are some thought-provoking things in this article nonetheless.

Take a moment and read this article as well, it makes some nice, not-in-your-face points, and has big print so you know it's not going to bore you to death with too many convoluted details: "Get Rid of Chemical Fabric Softeners - Protect Yourself And the Environment." What you may like about what they have to say here, is that you can still get soft clothes, but there are some viable, environmentally friendly alternatives. Come on, don't skip over the link--really, I'm a lazy reader myself, and didn't find it long-winded.

"But I can't bear static cling!" you say. Well, have a read here at "Grinning Planet's" website: "Stop Static Cling Without The Toxic Fabric Softener."

Finally, why not get in on the discussion of why fabric softener is bad for the environment HERE.

Why do we need fabric softener? Well, our mothers use(d) it. Our grandmothers used it. We are inundated with commercials about how fresh and wonderful it makes our laundry. However, our planet needs a hug (aw!), and if we could all do just one little thing, what could that one little thing be?
*I hang my clothes, sheets, and towels out on my clothesline every time I wash, as long as it's not raining (but not my underpants, people. The neighbours don't need to see how humongous they are)
*I use energy efficient lightbulbs.
*I use eco-friendly toilet paper and paper towels (yeah, they are GARBAGE, and when I've had the pleasure of using the cottony soft double rolls of toilet paper, they are pure heaven, but geez, who cares? Look what we use toilet paper FOR!)
* I love, love, love my backyard compost heap. I have cut my organic waste in half by turning my rotton vegies into lovely black soil that I'll use on my plants next summer (this stuff takes time)
* I always take my reusable bags when I go for groceries
* I use rechargeable batteries for my digital camera (and I never remember to buy replacement batteries for my kids's toys! Yay Me!)
* I set my air conditioner to come on at 25 degrees C when it's really hot outside
* I try to walk as much as possible to places rather than taking the car
* I use environmentally friendly dish soap

I can do better though! So just do me a favour and give it a try. Your clothes will still smell great, and besides--fabric softener is freaking expensive, and it breaks down the fibres of your clothes faster than if you didn't use it.

Leave me a comment and tell me the huggy snuggy things you do for the planet--it always brightens my day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vacation Journal

People, I have just returned from an exhausting 7 days of sun, sand and family angst, and have the gall to believe that everybody's just dying to hear how my trip went. Well good news, kind readers: I have kept a journal of sorts whilst away! It'll be a bit of a long read, but we all need a break once in a while, so make a steamy beverage and get comfortable...

Monday August 1, 2010
9:46 PM ~ Day 3 of Vacation

I have just put the lids back on all the markers, and cleared a space, and am sitting here with a lovely vodka and lemonade at my side. What's particularly pleasing to me about the drink is that it's in a plastic glass with pictures of lemon slices on it. Me likee this kind of thing--lemonade in a lemon glass! Hooray! It's on a par with socks being the same colour as my shirt.

I have just tucked the children into their heinous pull-out sofa bed, and I think they are already asleep. There is no way I could sleep on that thing, but the kids have assured me several times, after I've asked them, that they are comfortable.

We are here all week, and give the keys back on Saturday. We've stayed at this park 3 times before, but had to find a new trailer this year since the lady we rented from last time was an EVIL person, and hopefully will suffer massively from KARMIC RETRIBUTION--but I digress...

On Saturday when we checked in, I was nearly nutty from the exhaustion of packing, and of course the kids wanted to swim IMMEDIATELY. THe owner of this trailer is a lovely, lovely American lady, who apparently does not notice how grungy her trailer is, and no longer sees the layer of greasy filthy that's on most everything. Why, even the crucifix, nicely affixed on the side of the kitchen cupboard with a thumb tack, is filth-ay. Jesus with an inch of dust on his head--ponder this.

Also, the place is LOADED with spiders. THE MAN just snuffed out 2 big ones in the kids' room (and did so last night). On Saturday night he killed 4 spiders over our bed before I'd even CONSIDER hitting the sack. I had to have a cocktail just to muster up the courage to go to bed. When I laid down, I said my vacation prayer: "please don't let anything land on my face," and proceeded to have a sh-tay night's sleep.

Sunday - went to the beach in the morning, then came back to our trailer for lunch with my sister, bro in law, her kids, my brother, his girlfriend, my dad (staying at another trailer in the same park), and leapt into the vodka with both feet. My brother brought over his 50 pound casserole dish with leftover excellent homemade chili (chilli?), and we had chili dogs. I should mention that bro also bought the fattest hot dogs ever, and the evil voice in my brain told me it was OK to eat one jumbo chili dog, and a what-the-hell-why-not regular-dog chili dog. So, by 4:00 I was a burnt out bloat sack, and had a gorgeous nap with my little buddy Jack. Nap was cut short though by my daughter shouting; "Daddeeee...Daddeeeeee...! DADDEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" I NEED YOU TO WIPE MY BUM!" So, in homicidal mode, I hissed; "CAN'T YOU HEAR HER CALLING YOU???!!!"
The Man; "No--sorry."

Went to bed and cried a second night because my mom is not here.

Let's crack a bag of chips...

I have decided that thanks to constant proximity to the lake I have THE ugliest hair in all of vacationland, which doesn't turn curly, but instead actually turns SQUIGGLY; picture many tight, fuzzy zigzags or just picture MEDUSA--whichever. It doesn't help that there are 20-something (18, more like it) hotties zipping around everywhere on their golf carts (official vacationland mode of transportation), and none of them have horrid wig hair, or wear bathing suit "coverups." This from the girl who is chowing chips (Baked! Not Fried!) whilst pounding a highball. Enh--whatevs.

Went to the lake beach today AND the quarry beach, so the kids were sufficiently "done in."

Tonight, as I was puttering around putting a few things away in the kitchen while the kids were tucked in all cozy, it suddenly occurred to me how one of the most comforting things as a kid was hearing my parents milling around while I was in bed. Everything was right, and I didn't need to worry about a thing, because my parents were there and I was safe. And now I'm the adult, and I have to hear all the noises in the house, and wonder who'll get cancer next, and my mother is gone. And voila, I've lost my appetite.

Tuesday? Day 4

Right across the road from our buggy little trailer is the beach. So, as I sit on the deck I hear and see the waves--it's very windy today. Does anyone NOT like the sound of water rushing to shore??? As I looked way down the beach, I could see the familiar tiny shapes of my husband and son, and I was filled suddenly with this wave of love (no pun intended on 'wave').

Well, time to get my girlie into her bathing suit and join them. Lunch today was a boiled weiner and a handful of trail mix! Vive Les Vacances!

Wednesday ~ Day 5 ~ 7:09 AM

Question: are family vacations actually good, or are they exhausting? Must ponder this. My daughter, once again, has been up since 6:00, which means I have been up since 6:00, but have been in my bed with her, pleading for more sleep until 6:45 when I gave up:

Ella: "I'm hungry."
Me: "You always say you're hungry."
Ella: "I want a popsicle!"
Me: "ssh, go back to sleep."
Ella: "My tummy is grumbling."
Me: "keep sleeping."
Ella: "I NEED a posicle!"

* Note: I do NOT condone popsicle breakfasts.

Anyhow, at 6:50, as I was making Ella some breakfast, I was thinking that my idea of a vacation differs from the FAMILY vacation. In the family vacay, I must bob around for hours and hours in water, constantly doing a child safety head count, and hearing "Mom, watch me! Mom WATCH MEEEEE!" Then I return to the trailer where I am verbally abused by my ravenous children until I'm able to concoct some form of lunch, then I have some sort of sweaty, fitful siesta because I've been awake since 6:00 and had a sh*tty sleep anyway in that hard, crinkly bed. Then I'm dragged off for more swimming, then back late to scramble a dinner together, can't sit on the deck anywhere from DUSK ONWARD as it becomes over-run with large spiders frantically assembling webs for the nighttime bug feast (speaking of spiders, they are actually starting to make me ANGRY. The deck is full of them, and every night when the kids to sleep in the "sun room," there are at least 2 huge ones The Man has to kill. So, last night as I was driven inside, I tried to take in the view of the waves through the kitchen window when a dime-sized monster bobbled past my line of vision, speedily building its web).

Oh, here's another thing I should mention: haven't turned the AC on once here. Since the trailer is essentially filthy, The Man and I are both leery of what kind of shmutz will puff out of the grody looking vents if we fire the thing up. Seeing as how Jon has a vicious dust allergy, we decided to just swelter instead. Which brings me to my next point: what comprises a "vacation" in my mind.

Well, we'd be staying in some place that is CLEAN. I'm not a total princess--I don't give a sh*t if the furniture matches. There would preferably be NO (ZERO) bugs inside, but I might be forgiving for one small spider, because, hey, it's nature! The kids would NOT be with us, but would be happily staying with their grandparents, so I'd be guilt-free, knowing they'd have a good time. I would rise in the morning at 8:00, have a nice breakfast and then go out to see the fabulous city I'd be in. Then I'd return and lounge on a beach blanket, pleasantly zoned out to the sound of the waves. I'd swim for a bit, spend some time naked in all my broken-wreck glory in my room. Then I'd get washed, coat myself in makeup, put on the fun new clothes I'd bought for vacation, and head off for a nice dinner on some outdoor patio, with adult cocktails. I would hold hands with The Man, and I wouldn't feel compelled to say; "how come you NEVER put the cutlery away?!?" which is the kind of stuff that is inspired by BEING AWAKE SINCE SIX.

Yes, yes, waaa, waaa, I'm a complainer. I s'pose my attitude will change once coffee hits my system. Good old coffee.

Thursday ~ Vacation (mercifully) almost over

Ella had a full on, freak out tantrum the entire walk from our trailer to the beach. It went a little something like this: "I DON'T WANNA WAAAAALK! I DON'T WANNA WAAAAAALK! I DON'T WANNA WAAAALK!" Highly enjoyable.

I am officially sick of spiders. It is impossible to sit on the deck, which has a tantalizing bird's-eye view of the lake, because within moments of water-blasting every surface, it is once again rendered unusable thanks to spiders. Ella and I counted 7 big ones along side the deck as we were coming in for the night. Last night I wanted to see the sunset from the deck when a large one ran across my white beach coverup. In a fit of rage I thwacked it with a pair of shorts. F**K!!! Oh wait, this was Tuesday night I think. Aw, eff it--the whole week is one greasy blur of sunscreen, sand, green sand coating the inside of my bathing suit and t*ts, and children shouting "MOM, WATCH ME!" during my endless lifeguard stints.

Spiders. Geez. I thought I'd open the window here in the living room, and a large one RAN ACROSS MY WRIST and darted across the floor. I actually made The Man press his ear (his unplugged ear--good old swimming) against my chest to confirm if my poor tired heart was thrumming as frantically as I thought it was. Turns out it was "fine."

Lunch today was Doritos and a rye & coke. Yeah, I'm a rockstar now. Not only that, but as I got ready for bed, I had to run some soap over my lady bits, because after swimming in the quarry AND the lake today and not having a shower afterward, I am officially NASTY.

Last night we caved and fired the AC up, even though we feared what potential dust and FILTH might fly out of the thing. Oh the pleasure of being DRY and cool! Lakeside life brings new meaning to the word DANK. Discovered today, however, that running the AC and the toaster oven at the same time results in the power kicking out.

I imagine all of us are pretty well exhausted by now, as is evident in all the lovely "poo heads," and "I hate you's" we received. Good times all around. Roll on, first day back to school.

In other news I have decided I'm thoroughly revolted by the sight of my au naturel self, and upon my arrival home intend to:

1) flat-iron my unbelievably clean hair
2) do up my face in FULL makeup
3) administer a full self-pedicure

Aside from the un-hideable bags under my eyes, I refuse to look hideous any longer.

Hey! After 6 days I finally worked up the nerve to drive the golf cart. You go, karen. Sigh. Why am I such a wimp??? What finally did it was seeing the multitude of carts whizzing by either driven by 14 year olds or 80 year olds. Yeah.

Saturday - At Home!

Ye gods, I am tired. No, tired isn't a good enough word, and "exhausted" has been grossly overused I think, so let me just present you with two pictures: one is an actual shot I took of my face when I awoke this last morning at the trailer,
and the other is a mental image for you, good reader: piles and piles of dirty clothes and linens, and a box full of food that needs to be put away somewhere.

And now, a little something for my Mom:

Dear Mom,
I thought of you every day at the trailer. This is the first family vacation you have not been on, and your absence was very poignant. I missed you by the night time camp fire with us; you sitting there laughing with a cigarette in your hand. I missed you at the beach, with your clear delight for all the little people in all their silliness and delight as they swam. I missed you when my brother crafted up barbecued chicken so wonderful, I almost couldn't stop eating it, and in the mornings when I had coffee with my sister.

Anyhow, like I said, I'm tired. Tomorrow I'll plant the two new lilies I managed to buy on vacation (imagine the luck--someone was selling plants one day!) and weed the heck out of the garden, and go back to doing what I do every other day, only their won't be any swimming. Hm...ponder that.


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