Reality Bites…

Ok.  I suck.  I am a bad bad bad blogger.  Everyone says “Best practices.  Blog at least twice week.”  Yeah, that is NOT my best practice these days.  Writing for me is feast or famine.  Sometimes I can see the humor and inspiration in everything.  Other times, it just doesn’t happen.  The truth is that right now, I just feel like everything I want to write about sounds whiny and douchey.

Like wahhh, I just cleaned up vomit and urine off the bathroom floor in the span of 10 minutes.  Or why does everyone in my family refuse to put dishes in the dishwasher, like they expect little elves will miraculously arrive and take care of this for them?  See what I mean.  The mundane realities of life with kids can be hilarious and most days it is.  But right now, I just feel vapid and sucky to complain.

The world can cast a dark pall on every day life.  My minuscule issues pale in comparison to those major life altering problems facing my friends and humanity.  Yes, very dark thoughts indeed.  I suppose finding the humor in the mundane is the only hope for forging through daily life with some sense of hope and perchance a sparkle of joy.  Laughing at reality is the only hope for surviving this drama called life.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not sitting in a dark room feeling sorry for myself.  I just struggle sometimes with whether the words I put on paper are completely insensitive to the world spinning around me.  Like Kim Kardashian’s shiny, voluptuous backend on the cover of Paper Magazine in the midst of one of the largest campaigns for awareness of women’s rights and anti-objectification movements since Gloria Steinem banned the bra. See, I just struggle with that level of insensitivity…

So there you have it.  I am shiny big ass trying to make you laugh…

Thank you Jimmy Fallon & Brian Williams and all the very talented people that made this video. It did the trick for me today.

The Public Pee Pee

I do not dig germs.  I am almost a germophobe – ALMOST.  Public bathrooms make me squeamish even under the best possible circumstances (ie: freshly cleaned, no other participants in the communal etc) but the minute you add a toddler into the equation, shit just got real.

I am quite sure that any other visitor to any ladies room where Shorty #2 and I have made a visit would think I am COMPLETELY off my rocker.  From the minute we enter until at last we walk out, I throw a non-stop barrage of don’t-touch-thats, don’t-look-in-theres and don’t-sit-anywheres.  All of this could simply be avoided by the use of haz-mat suits but since those are not commonplace in the shopping mall/ restaurant/ airport we are visiting we’ll just have to do our best with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Why is it that bathrooms, especially public bathrooms are such a fascination for a toddler?  I know, I know.  I get the humour behind poop, bum and fart jokes but honestly, the depository for feminine products is not a cool mailbox. “IT’S GROSS” I scream the minute a finger goes near the lid.

And don’t even get me started on the automatic flush toilets.  Why do they insist on flushing when you sit down rather than stand up?  For a Shorty, the moment when they, at last are able to sit on the toilet after all the running and rushing across the aforesaid public place to find the bathrooms (which are always conveniently located at the other end of the mall).  Imagine:

Shorty #2: “I have to go.”

Me: “Are you sure?”  *This is always necessary as many public bathroom visits are merely sightseeing tours into the unknown.

Shorty #2: “I gotta go BADLY.” (She crosses her legs.)

Me: “OK, lets go”

Shorty #2: “I can’t hold it.”

Me: “HOLD IT.”

And then I scoop her up and hightail it to the loo.  We get in breathless and dancing, waiting for a stall that is not either occupied, pre-fouled and/ or unflushed.  Finally, we make it in.  Every centimetre of exposed toilet seat covered with paper (for protection) and the Shorty is raised up to take her place on the throne – just in time for the automatic flusher to let ‘er rip.  Shorty shrieks thinking her little bum is about to be sucked down the drain.  Tears, turmoil and fear stop the bathroom experience in its tracks!  Then you get to dry your hands in the supersonic tornadic hand dryers from hell.  The whole mess is terrifying really.

Not to mention the problem of scale.  At home we are outfitted with step stools and special toilet seats to help with the necessary *ahem* ergonomics of a two year old using a toilet.  In a public potty, all bets are off that the angles are right and you’re lucky to not end up with pee shooting out of the toilet at YOU.  No kidding.  This happened.  In a restaurant.  On my designer shoes.  It was awesome (in a not very awesome way).

So the morale of the story?  Do anything and everything you can to HOLD IT ’til you get home!

 

Lube, Oil and Filter

Since crossing the threshold into 40, regularly scheduled maintenance is something I’ve had to focus on a little more.  There is a lot of mileage on this body (not that kind of mileage you perv… well, maybe a little of that kind) and once you complete the 4th decade, it definitely needs more attention than it used to.

In the chair for regularly scheduled maintenance.

In the chair for regularly scheduled maintenance.

Post baby body has been a real eye opener.  After the arrival of Shorty #1 there was a drastic and clear difference in the bounce back.  But once Shorty #2 arrived on the scene – and I was entering my 40th year – it was a wake up call that we were now well past the point of no return.  In addition to the major lifestyle changes to help take off the accumulated baby weight, the hair was just a little greyer, the skin a little looser and the fine lines and wrinkles just a little more prominent.  Ok – maybe it was a lot more of an issue than I care to admit, but there was no more avoiding it.  Its was time to start a maintenance plan.

The real issue here is when.  With 2 kids, a busy career and a silly travel schedule – how am I supposed to find 2+ hours to sit in a salon for a lube, oil and dye job?  I mean, its a necessity so I find a way.  But its not easy.

I know this is only the start as I begin the investment into middle age.  The creams and lotions and elixirs and serums (Why is it called a serum?  It sounds like some potion created by an evil villain to transform all the villagers into mindless slaves.) all ringing in at literally hundreds of dollars an ounce.  All claiming to deliver the fountain of youth and literally erase the signs of aging.  FYI – NONE of them really work.  Sure they work for a while, but it never lasts.  So its really just cash down the drain.  Hydration is the only thing that really helps.  Right cosmetic companies?  That’s the real truth isn’t it?  Genetics and hydration.

Even Botox only lasts for a while.  The only permanent solution is going under the knife but that scares the living shit out of me.

So I’ll stick with the dye job, send gratitude to the side of the family that gave me youthful looking chubby cheeks and curse the side that gave me these new jowls.

D-BAD: Noisy Cell Talking Lady

D-BAD aka DON’T BE A DOUCHE.  Each week I get to call out someone/ someplace or something for being a total DOUCHEBAG.  Its when I get to vent and take out my frustration on whatever makes me nuts each week, are you in?  Feel free to share your D-BAD’S anytime!

vectorstock_158548

Dear Noisy Cell Talking Lady:

Just when I thought my week might be lacking in D-BAD inspiration, I ran into you in the store today.  The conversation you were having on your cellphone appeared to be riveting.  Not that I was eavesdropping, we merely entered the shoe department to your verbal assault.  I’m sure whoever you were talking about would love to know your thoughts and opinions on their new relationship and be thrilled that you let me, my 7 year old and half the store know that they “hadn’t had sex yet.”  Awesome.  I was actually dying to know… and so was my 7 year old frankly.

It was great to bump into you a second time in the lingerie department while I was searching the discount bin for bargain dainties.   I was riveted to hear your thoughts on the state of yet another poor couple’s relationship as you bellowed across the racks “Why don’t they get a divorce? I mean, gaaawd, why doesn’t he just break it off?”  Because my dear heart, whether he does or does not initiate a divorce with someone is one thousand percent (and that’s not even real math) none of your business or mine or (again) my 7 year old’s or for that matter the old lady shopping for a girdle.  None of us want to know.  But we didn’t have the choice.  You didn’t even give us a choice.

I’m all for talking on the phone while shopping.  Its a lonely business and a ripe opportunity for multi-tasking.  But please, for the love of all things good and holy, don’t be a douche and shut the f%$k up.  Especially if that’s when you feel the need to play the role of Relationship Judgy Judgerson.  The rest of us are not living some Real Housewives of Somewhere life and simply don’t want to know!

Love,

The R&R Mom

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

vectorstock_1755380

Last year, I wrote this post about how much I hate Labor Day and how it mockingly heralds the end of summer.  But this year, there’s a bit of change a foot.  For the first time in my – ahem – forty-something years, I’m actually starting to count the days.

Its been an extra long summer due to the old teacher’s strike (which is highly likely to carry on into September) and Shorty #1 is bored!  We’ve tried to keep her well programmed with summer camps and what-nots but she is done.  She misses her routine and she clearly missed the vibrant social life that the classroom offers.  I’m ready for her to go back to school.  I’m ready for her to get back down to the business of learning.  And I’m ready for her to get settled into a routine.

I’m also ready for everyone to finish their freaking holidays and get back to work.  The summer slowdown this year has seriously cramped my style.  Everything upon everything I’ve been working on has been on hold while the masses are on summer vacation.  HONESTLY, if I get one more out-of-office email, I’m going to puke.  Yes, yes, you’re away for the next 15 days.  Quit bragging that you will only have “limited access to email.”  We all know that’s total bullshit.  Unless you’re spending your holiday at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean or in my kitchen (which is a cell black out zone for some bizarre reason) – you only have limited access to email because you don’t WANT to have access to email.  Just be honest:

“Please be advised that I am now on vacation with people that I love.  I don’t love you because we are merely business associates so I have no plans to respond to your annoying message until I am back in the office and have had at least one full day to complain to everyone about all the email I need to catch up on.”

Yes!  Bring on September and lets all get back into the swing of things.  Besides, Christmas break is just around the corner.

 

Head of Purchasing

The back part of my brain is responsible for the grocery list, the front part is for composing witty correspondence and the top part is for remembering where I left my phone.

The back part of my brain is responsible for the food inventory and grocery list, the front part is for composing witty correspondence and the top part is for remembering where I left my phone.

Yep, that’s me.  Chief in charge of acquisitions.  Its almost a full time job.  Seriously, this chore in my daily life takes almost as much brain power as my real job.  Keeping a ready inventory of all the dry goods, perishables, produce, socks and undies in this household is a never ending task.  The question “what’s for dinner” is followed by a beep beep boop and the whirring sounds of my brain as I open the file “what’s in the fridge” followed quickly by “what’s in the freezer”.  Once inventory is complete we can assess what sort of a meal we can put together without a trip to the grocery store.  Boxed mac & cheese with a side of steamed zucchini followed by a stale crackers and peanut butter.  Excellent – I’ll be back in 30 minutes.

Its ensuring enough food in the house to get all 4 of us through at least the next 24-48 hours.  Plenty of healthy and organic options too if you don’t mind.  Oh and have I told you yet – remember how last week I LOVED orange juice?  How orange juice was my jam?  How I was plowing through a liter of orange juice like it was crack and you couldn’t keep enough of it in the house to try and sate my UNDYING THIRST FOR ORANGE JUICE?  Yeah, well now I think its gross.

I mean, really.  How are we supposed to keep up with all the whimsy and ever changing appetites?

Groceries are a neverending task.  You see, you can’t just go to one store, stock up and be set for the next 7 days.  Oh no.  The super massive supermarket that should clearly be a one-stop shop, well it doesn’t carry the brand of gluten free crackers we like.  Or diapers, yeah they have them, but they are precisely $2.00 a pack MORE EXPENSIVE than the other stores.  But the one-stop super massive supermarket offers roughly 80% of what we need – until, you know, they completely run out of ketchup or some other vitally crucial pantry item we cannot live with out.  Not to mention that their produce is complete shit anyways.  So we spend an hour there getting the aforementioned 80% of stock.  Then off to the good produce place, which offers everything that is green that we could ever need.  But then, CRAP!  I forgot to buy cream cheese (which in our house is akin only to LIFEBLOOD) so over to the neighborhood grocery store where I remember we’re down to our last 1/2 cup of rice so I better get some of that too and oh look, canned soup is on sale.  Awesome done.  What?  Dental floss?  Are you f$%king kidding me?  We’re out of dental floss.  Off to the drugstore.  Wait, toothpaste.  Better get some now while I’m here.  And laundry detergent, that was getting low too.  The thing is that two days later, we’ll need hamburger buns and asparagus so I know I’ll be making the rounds again in just a matter of hours.

But its not just the groceries and consumables that fall under my portfolio of purchasing responsibilities.  Its things like undies.  Kids BLAZE through these things.  Not only do they grow out of them at a record pace “Mom, these gaunch are too tight!”  But they tend to disappear (Remember that accident in the restaurant?  We sacrificed two pairs of Minnie Mouse panties to the poop gods that night).  All of a sudden, Shorty #2’s down to two pairs.  And then, #1 seems to have shot up 3 inches overnight and all her pants are floods and every skirt is DefCon Kardashian levels of short.  Back to the aforementioned super massive supermarket that also remarkably sells clothes to stock up.

This is a constant battle of the inevitable in a family striving to consume less and be more environmentally conscious.  Yeah, we’re doing a shitty job.  But what do we do?  Maybe I should just buy more coffee – that would curb appetites and stunt their growth.

 

 

Summer Camp Save

Shorty #1 is at day camp this week.  This is her third of four different weekly day camps this summer.  In previous years she’s bopped around the various community centres and day camp programs in the city, happily adapting to her new comrades and surroundings with ease.  Until today.

This week she is at soccer camp.  She’s agile and coordinated so the thought of soccer camp seems great.  Plus she LOVED that she got new (used) cleats for the event.  However, like me, #1 isn’t a fan of the learning curve and this is completely new for her.  She needs to learn a skill and apply herself to the steps needed to adopt said skill.  And that for her is a major drag.

Day 2.  11:00am.  My phone rings.  “Hi.  Is this Shorty #1’s mom?”

“Yes.”

“This is Summer Camp Counsellor X.  Shorty has hurt her knee and is asking to go home.”

Soccer Camp Splat

Soccer Camp Splat

Ok.  I might have been able to predict this had I not been blinded by optimism!  Turns out #1 had taken a soccer ball to the knee which was a shocking turn of events seeing as she was playing soccer.  When I finally got her on the phone I asked if she was really hurt?  “YES.”  Did she need ice.  “Um, no.”  Do you need to come home?  EMPHATIC “YES!”

Its been a rough summer for #1, so rather than follow my book-learned parenting brain and say things like “Tough it out” or “You need to honor your commitment” or “Do you know how much those big socks cost?” I listened to my heart and said “Don’t worry, I’m on my way.”

This camp is out on the extreme other end of the city, so in the car I get for the 40 minute drive over there.  I arrived just in time to meet up with her and the soccer gang skipping from the field to lunch.  Hand in hand with a brand new friend, she skipped straight past me.  Uh, hello?  Remember the call we had no less than 40 minutes ago when you were crying in pain?  Oh yeah, right she nodded.  “Just wait here while I eat my lunch with my friends.” she says.

Right.

So the Shorty and I had a little heart to heart.  She hoped I would take her home and deliver an afternoon of non-stop shenanigans and good times.  Sorry Shorty, Mom’s going back to work.  That was the straw, she decided to hang in there for the long haul and is ready to get back at it tomorrow.  So we cuddled for a second and off she skipped to lunch with her new pals.

Then I ran out all the way back to the car like Rocky Balboa, fist pumping to anyone who was watching.  Its T-minus one week to back to school.  But who’s counting?

 

Bad Choices?

Psst, hey.  Heeeeyyy, can I tell you a secret?  When I go on holidays I like to cheat.  Do you?  I bet you do.  And I bet you LOVE it too.  Sure, you feel shame afterwards and manage to return home with a great deal of self-loathing, squashing the desire to do it again.  Do you save it only for when you are away?

I tried to stop it once.  I planned and planned for it.  I was successful for one whole trip.  But then the next time I left town it happened again, and I realized I was an addict.

To chocolate.  To chips.  To ice cream.  To cheese.  To (duh duh duh) GLUTEN.

Oh, is that not what you were thinking?  I know you do it too though.

This is how it starts…

Day #1 – After Dinner.  Ok, I’m on vacation and I deserve a treat.  I can have an ice cream cone with the kids.  I mean, its only right.  This way I’ll be part of the fun, the memories we’re building with the kids.  Sure, its just a little Salted Caramel ice cream in a waffle cone.  Its fine.  We walked to the ice cream shop, so its like it practically never happened.

Day #2 – Lunch.  I can totally have a coke with my lunch.  Its ok I’m on holiday and it will just be this once.

And then…

Day #2 – Snack.  These chips look so good.  I’ll just have one.  Oooooh but they are so good, just a few more.  Well, the kids shouldn’t eat the WHOLE bag themselves.  I should help them.

Day #2 – After Dinner.  I know I had 3 glasses of wine with dinner, so I shouldn’t have dessert.  The wine is my dessert.  But its creme brulee.  And that’s gluten free so I am practically staying on plan with that (even though it is entirely comprised of dairy AND sugar).

By now, what can you do?  You are in!

Day #3 – After Dinner.  Oh, are we walking to the ice cream shop again?

Day #4 – Lunch.  If I say no bun and order a turkey burger, that’s ok right?  Then I can totally ALLOW myself 1 (or 5) of those amazing onion rings.

Day #5 – Breakfast.  TODAY I am getting back on my plan.  The egg scramble with roasted veggies is super on plan.  The spinach and coconut water smoothie was exactly what I needed.

Day #5 – After Dinner.  What?  Did we just pass the ice cream place?  Oh did you guys want to stop there again?  Alright.  Ok.  I had that spinach smoothie today, so I deserve it.

And so on and so on.

Now we’re home and I’m in detox.  Except for the leftover bag of chips from the car ride.  I mean it would be a waste to NOT finish them, right?  Owwww, my tummy hurts…

I totally can't eat just one.

I totally can’t eat just one.

Traffic Jammed

Traffic jam - in my living room/ office/ study.

Traffic jam – in my living room/ office/ study.

Picture if you will, a sunny summer afternoon in the Pacific Northwest.  A rare day where warm breezes tickle our cheeks, the smell of salty sea and cedar forests kiss our noses.  We must be outside enjoying the lovely day.  NOPE! NO WE ARE NOT.  We are inside, working.  Why you ask?  Because its a Thursday!  So unless you’re enjoying your summer holidays – GO BACK TO WORK YOU LAZY GIT!

I wish I could go to work today.  But I can’t.  Our offices are being renovated you see and there’s no where for me to set up shop without the constant dulcet tones of a table saw and the fog from piles of dust.   We’re just back from our annual summer vacay and typically I would be quite keen to head back to the office today.  A chance for adult conversation, to put on more make-up than simply sunscreen etc.  So I tried to brave the construction site but only lasted a mere 30 minutes and headed home.  This is where things get interesting.

 J is also mid office renovation so he too is working from home.  And Shorty #1 is home on one of her rare weeks off from Summer Camp.  #2 is running around along with our nanny.  The tutor is here, the phone is ringing, emails are piling in and I’ve been relegated to my bedroom.  I’m trying to be productive (as you can see, its going well) but as I’m all thumbs on this touchpad mouse I just marked all my unread emails read.  That’s REALLY bad as its my to do list.  So now I’m busy scouring over 55,000 emails to make sure I am not missing anything.  By the way, WHY do they call it a lap top if its impossible to use on your lap?

Tomorrow should be more of the same, with pleas from the attic and J’s office to keep it down as multiple conference calls are being conducted and kids are tearing around searching for their stuff.  I think I may become one of those people that sets up shop in the local Starbucks for the day.  If you’re looking for me, that’s where I’ll be.

D-BAD: Mr. Contractor

D-BAD aka DON’T BE A DOUCHE.  Each week I get to call out someone/ someplace or something for being a total DOUCHEBAG.  Its when I get to vent and take out my frustration on whatever makes me nuts each week, are you in?  Feel free to share your D-BAD’S anytime!

 

Dear Mr. Contractor:

Thanks so much for all your hardwork to fix our house.  The half-assed way in which you completed the job has left me breathless with disappointment.  I realize that you are being paid by an insurance company so I’m technically not your customer, but the way you completed the job makes my house look worse than it was before you started.  I mean, if it were your house – would you be happy?  Oh and the mess you left is great.  I’m really enjoying the stains and paint drips all over the place.  The open can of turpentine you left out where my kids could easily get at it was an amazing touch.

So, Lovely Mr. Contractor could you do a job right?  Could you finish it so it looks nice and not leave a million loose ends that I have to call and remind you about?  Could you show up when you say you will and not be pissed off when you show up un-announced and there is no one home to let you in?  Oh and do me a favor – DON’T BE A DOUCHE.

Love,

The R&R Mom