Red Red Wine

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What is it with Moms and wine?  I’ve always enjoyed wine.  But since I’ve become a Mom, me and wine are kind of tight.  We used to buy a bottle here and there for when we had dinner parties or a special occasion.  Maybe we’d treat ourselves in a restaurant.  But now, I have a rack in the basement.  Well, actually we have (ahem) two racks.  I keep bottles of sauvignon blanc in the fridge; one open and one ready to open.  We have nice bottles we save for that aforementioned special occasion but now we keep “everyday wine” in the house.  Do we have a problem?  And what is the correlation with the arrival of our kids on the scene?

Lets think about this.  We all know that Moms + Wine is a thing.  Its a running gag.  A joke.  Moms like wine.  Moms need wine to cope.  I don’t think that I need wine more now that I’ve had kids (well, maybe a little more….) but I can say that I like it more.  Did this love affair kick in when my kids were born and I was nursing so I couldn’t very well jump right back into scotch on the rocks territory?  Was that it?  Its like booze light.  You’re practically encouraged to indulge in a glass of wine or two while you’re breastfeeding.

There is always the intimation that Moms need wine to cope with all the sh*t (figuratively AND literally) that their kids throw at them.  I wouldn’t say that I need wine to dull the senses from kid-related trauma as much as it is a nice treat at the end of a long day of wearing so many hats and juggling so many people that need your undivided attention.  Its like going for a pedicure, except for the fact that you enjoy it sitting at your kitchen table and no one will rub your feet.

I’ve grown so accustomed to that lovely glass of wine at the end of a long day that on a recent business trip in NYC very late one night, I was ready for a glass of wine.  The hotel we were at was under receivership or up for sale or some other such nonsense and the hotel bar was closed.  I found myself in a greasy pizza take out joint in the Village and lo and behold in the cooler next to the diet coke were tiny little bottles of the sh*ttiest pinot grigio one could find.  I squealed when I saw it!  I took a little mini-bottle to the cashier along with my contraband full gluten/ all dairy/ full grease NYC cheese pizza 1am dinner only to be completely denied!

“Sorry Ma’am” (ugh, now I’m really in Mom territory), “But I can’t let you take this wine out of here.  You have to drink it now.”

So that was then I had to face the facts.  How much has this wine indulgence of mine actually become a problem?  Did I need my “pedicure” so bad after a long day that I was willing to chug-a-lug a crap mini-bottle of PG in front of 3 dudes in the middle of a greasy Greenwich Village pizza joint?

“Um. No thanks.”  I said as I tromped out with my slice.

I got back to the hotel hoping and praying the bar was miraculously open.  No luck.  Now I’m sure you’re all thinking, “But you’re in NYC.  The City that Never Sleeps?  C’mon R&R Mom hit a bar!”  But I’m a girl.  Alone.  On the road.  Who’s over 40.  And Married.  And a total scaredy cat.  So I went back to my room and double bolted the door.  I opened the minibar.  No dice.  The whole receivership/ sale drama caused the grand full hotel mini-bar clean out earlier that day.  I needed my fix.  It was late.  I had jetlag.  It was a long rough day.  I wanted ONE glass of wine.  Is that so wrong????

Just then I turned to see there on the desk, a pile of room service plates with their nifty silver covers.  Huh.  I wasn’t in all day.  Who ordered these?  Stinky cheese, warm fruit and stale crackers.  But there, right beside it stood the most beautiful bottle of mediocre chianti that I have ever seen.  Well, being the Canadian that I am I immediately picked up the phone and called the reception:

“I’m sorry. (we Canadians ALWAYS say that) But it seems someone has mistakenly delivered some room service to my room.  Some stinky cheese and warm fruit.  But there’s also a full UNOPENED bottle of wine.” I said.

“Was there a note?” said the somewhat irritated front desk worker.

“Uhhh, no.”

“Then I guess its complimentary.”

Huh, well I guess it was the WINE FAIRY!!!!!!  Thank YOU beloved WINE FAIRY!!!!  You heard my plea and took pity on this old bag and her addiction.  I cracked that bottle, poured a solid 4 fingers, drank half and fell fast asleep.

And that my friends is just one more story of Moms and their relationship with wine.

Enjoy the Journey?

I’m on the road a lot lately. Its a busy time so I’m traveling far and wide these days. The trouble is, the more I travel, the less patience I have for the newbie. I try to be sympathetic and always manage to muster some courtesy, but lately its all wearing a little thin when I seem to find myself trapped on an airplane more often than not. So I thought I might try and help you newbie travelers with some sage advice. Remember, I am also quite bossy so this is probably not unexpected.

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1. Don’t be Late
I have never missed a flight. Its probably due to my genetic pre-disposition to arrive at an airport 2 hours early (thanks Dad!). Airline check in times are a hard and fast rule. They’re not making any exceptions for you. We all know that you slept in/ cab didn’t arrive/ forgot to pack – sure that happens – but honestly don’t count on all the other people that set their alarm/ called the cab earlier/ packed the night before to let you budge the line. The same goes for getting to the gate on time. The time of your flight is the time they take off. You need to be there 30 minutes before for boarding. NO ONE appreciates the wait to have your luggage taken off the plane when you’re not there before the doors close.

2. Don’t Forget to Empty Your Pockets
Its security and yes we all know that its a massive drag. But unless you are TSA Pre and if you want it to go smoothly and quickly for YOU (and everyone behind you in line) there’s a few things to ALWAYS remember.
(a) Take off your shoes, belt, watch, bracelet. Its easier to take them off and put them back on again than to have a full pat down.
(b) Always take your laptop out of your bag and put it in a bin on its own. Trust. This is a necessity.
(c) Take off your coat, sweater, scarf – wear the least amount of clothes when passing through the metal detector.
(d) Always empty your pockets. NO ONE likes the dude who left $4 in change in his pocket and has to return for another pass once he’s fished out every last useless penny.

3. Don’t Try to Carry-On Full Size Liquids and Gels
This is not new. Full sized liquids and gels are not allowed in your carry on. And no, the security guard doesn’t care that the full bottle of shampoo you’re trying to smuggle cost $35. Get the travel size, put it in a ziploc and stop holding up the security line. Oh and PS – they won’t let you take your water either, so stop acting surprised!  Check out this link so you know the deal for next time.

4. Don’t Carry-On More than is Allowed
I’m very emphatic on this point. People that climb on board expecting to stuff their full sized rollerboard along with a suit bag, a duffle bag, a back pack and various shopping bags in the overhead compartment are just plain old selfish. I get it, we don’t like to pay checked bag fees, but the people that follow the rules and only bring 2 pieces max are the ones that end up having to gate check their laptop.

5. Don’t Try to Stash Your Stuff Just Anywhere
Under the seat in front of you, in the overhead or in the seat pocket are the only places where you can put your stuff. Your things do not, I repeat DO NOT go under your seat. That space is for the person behind you. And so on and so on. Think about it.

6. Don’t Spread Your Germs Around the Plane
Don’t fly if you’re sick. But if you absolutely have to, then do your best to keep it to yourself. Tissues, hand sanitizer, a mask. Whatever, just think about it before you start hacking and sneezing all over the healthy guy sitting millimetres beside you.

7. Don’t Steal the Armrests
I had the distinct pleasure (read: HORROR) of being stuck in a middle seat on a 9 hour Transatlantic flight the other day. I was between 2 men, both complete strangers and BOTH were armrest hogs. The amount that that sucked was a lot.

8. Don’t Be Mean to the Flight Attendants
Imagine if your workplace was a confined space, 34,000 feet in the air and full of cranky, tired, stressed out people that you had to cater too (and potentially save their lives if necessary). Cut them some slack. Its a tough job and a sense of humour can only get you so far!

9. Don’t Recline Your Seat Right After Take Off/ During the Meal or At All on a Flight Under Two Hours
Seriously, this is just common sense. If you’re reclining your seat you are being selfish. As airlines continue to reduce personal space on airplanes, the guy behind you does not enjoy the back of your seat in his face. Believe me. Your douchey need for a marginal increase in comfort (seriously, is it really any more comfortable to recline the seat the 5 extra degrees?) effects everyone behind you.

10. Don’t Be Rude When DePlaning
This is very simple. Unless you are about to miss a connecting flight, you wait politely until the row ahead of you has entered the aisle to deplane. Pushing ahead, forcing your way only slows everything down. We know you’re excited to be at your destination and we totally get that you want the hell off that bucket of bolts that just safely delivered you to the place you want to be, but come on. A little common courtesy here will make the whole thing easier to take.

Yes, this was a bitchy post. But a little common sense and awareness goes a long way in making your trip easier for you and your fellow travelers.

Midnight Writer

At 4am I wrote the most awesome blog post ever.  Seriously.  It was brilliant.  The topic was timely, the funny was hilarious and the writing was spectacular.  I wrote it all in my head.  Can I remember a word of it?  Ummm, no.  Can I remember the subject matter?  Nope, not a chance.

Why didn’t I get up and put pen to paper?   Why?????

It was 4am and I was all nestled in my bed so the chances of me getting up to record the most amazing creative streak was slim to none anyways.  I guess that’s why I’m a blogger and not a world famous writer.  I appear to be lacking in the commitment, right?  Right.

So here I am.  Wracking my brains trying to remember what it was about and I’m turning up blanks.  Just like that brilliant concept for a TV show that I had and the great melody that rang through my sleepy brain, gone.  All of it complete genius, lost forever to the land of nod.

It is possible I suppose that just like things seem worse in the middle of the night, perhaps my genius seems more clever than it actually is.  Perhaps the sleep goggles are magnifying my creative streak of brilliance.  Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, creative thoughts in the night are less smart than you believed.  This could be true.  But until I can remember we’ll never really know, will we?  For now, lets just say that I am a wealth of creative energy between 3- 4am each night and for now I’m just keeping it all to myself.  So there.

Cry Me a River

Do what you love... if you can find the time...

Do what you love… if you can find the time…

Yeah, I know.  Its been over a month since my last post.  LAME.  I get it.  The only excuse I can muster is life.  Its busy.  Break neck pace, I wanna punch someone in the kidney busy.  Its true that I do prefer busy to bored, but its so busy right now I’m struggling to keep it all together.

Its when all the worlds collide.  Super busy stuff at the office (like MEGA busy) and too much stuff to manage at home.  Just today I’ve been navigating a dead tree, a warranty claim on our new floors, window washing, preschool enrollment and scrambling to book the birthday party I should have booked weeks ago.  None of these things seem to be easy to do.

All this on the heels of yet another lice infestation at our house so we’re up to our follicles in tea tree treatments, essential oils and nit combs.  Its so fun.  The two hour ritual every night of combing through the locks of two very impatient and irritated wee lassies.  I check myself every day but the phantom creepy crawly itch never goes away even though I haven’t found a bugger yet.  *shudder*

There’s something about the springtime for out and out scheduling challenges, right?  Shorty #1 is in a choir so we’re ramping up for the end of the year performance.  Its rehearsals and choreography and now I get to try and make her a bird costume.  Got that?  A freaking bird costume!!

We’re spring flinging at the school so that means volunteering to do something that isn’t atrocious (like trying to bake sh*tty cupcakes).  Its also time for fundraising and donations.  Fun runs and silent auctions and such.  Its all a little manic when Mommy has to go on the road next week.

If only cloning was ok…

Its Mother’s Day Suckas!

Have you remembered the Mom(s) in your life yet?

Have you remembered the Mom(s) in your life yet?

I really hope you’re paying attention.  Its that time of the year again when you need to make sure that you bestow ALL the praise, glory and most of all gifts on the woman who carried you around for 9 months and has the stretch marks to prove it.  And by the way, in addition to your own sweet mother, you better be sure to remember the mother of your children too.  If you don’t, well no one can help you from the deep freeze you’re about to experience.  Oh yes, the 9 months per child of bloating, weight gain, exhaustion, insatiable hunger and uncontrollable nausea earned the women in your life a whole day in their honour.  Every year.  And God help you if you forget it.

As for me, I have every intention of languishing through the whole day.  Would I like coffee in bed?  Why yes, that would be lovely?  Oh should we go out for brunch (and lunch and dinner too)?  Certainly, that sounds divine.  What was that?  You want to fold those loads of laundry and clean up the kitchen?  Sure, that would be fabulous.  I’ll suck every last second of laziness out of the day and hold it tight in my heart to get me through to next year.  I will.

In other Mom news.  I was quite taken by old Princess Kate.  She kind of blew me away this week.  So much so that I was a little skeptical of the timeline of her labor and delivery of the sweet brand new Princess Charlotte.

You see, I just happened to be flying home from London Heathrow that day. I was about to board the flight and my phone buzzed with the the BBC alert that the Princess was in labor.  My first instinct was “Thank God neither of my birth stories began with a Breaking News Alert.”  Then I climbed on the plane, took a Gravol and proceeded to sleep for the next 8 hours (see how much I relish the lazy?).  I was awoken by the crackle of the PA through the airplane full of Brits and Commonwealthers like me with the announcement that the Princess was safely “delivered” of a daughter.  About an hour later as we landed in Vancouver and my iPhone popped back on 3G, there was the photo of Kate, Wills and little Charlotte (Char? Lottie? Cher?) all perfectly dressed, coiffed, make-upped and packing in the car to go home.

What. The. F*CK?

So I started to do the math.  8hrs + 1hr and carry the 2.  No.  8hrs + 3hrs for a media blackout + 1hr on the final approach and… I couldn’t make it add up.  When I had my kids the first 2 weeks (let alone the first 8 HOURS) were a complete disaster.  We’re talking lucky if I showered, tear-ravaged, hunched over, pain managing, boob swelling good times.  I couldn’t bear the thought of guests coming to drop us dinner and see the baby (oh, just for a second) let alone standing in front of the Lindo Wing for a full photo call with the world press.  Aside from the dream team that was required to help Kate get to that state (and for the love of God, do not read that as criticism because if I were her I would insist on 3 times as many glammers and groomers to get myself into shape for the scrutiny of a world press media hit), the grace and sheer patience that she must have to be able to pull that off with a genuine smile on her face is not only inspiring, its unbelievable.

Can you imagine their car ride home?  How many times did he have to thank her?  How many times did she utter the words “You owe me?”  Not to mention the serious amount of red and gold Cartier boxes that greeted her arrival back at Kensington Palace must’ve been nothing short of phenomenal.  At least, I hope it was.

Her beloved departed Mother-in-Law won the hearts and minds of the masses as “The People’s Princess”.  With that move, Kate just made herself the universal “Mother’s Princess”.  Godspeed Katy Cambridge.  Godspeed.

Do Not Go Softly Into That Good Night… Dishwasher.

Its been about 4 weeks since my dishwasher died.  It wasn’t even a year old and it just up and leaked.  It took over a week to get the service guy in.  He arrived with his tool kit and shoe covers.  He opened her up and had a look.  I stood beside him in my slippers, wringing my dishpan hands wondering if today was the day I could load her back up again and take her for a long awaited spin.  Alas, the answer was no.  The repairman sat me down at the kitchen table.

He gave a slight shake of his head, “I’m afraid there is nothing we can do.”

I let out a small, almost inaudible yelp.  “Really?  Nothing can be done?”  I whispered looking down at my tattered cuticles.  It was then that I was plunged, head long into the stages of grief.  “It can’t be.  This dishwasher is brand new.  Its only seen one Christmas dinner, one Thanksgiving.  It has never even experienced the Easter brunch?  Its impossible!”

“No.”  He said.  “I know it’s not fair.  Life can be cruel.  Cheap foreign made appliances can be cruel.”

My shock quickly turned to anger.  “No!  It can’t be!”  I repeated, “This dishwasher is brand new.”

It was then that I called the manufacturer.  Their pithy phone number 1-800-ShittyBrandName made it so much easier to remember in my blind rage.  I punched the 1 for english and the 9 for home appliances and the 7 for products still under warranty and the 3 for products that were still under warranty and had a file opened already and then 8 for the products that had met their untimely demise.  I waited patiently for the operator to pick up as I had so many (SO MANY) times before.  Finally, there they were, on the line to help in my time of need.

“How can I help you?” she sang (ok, growled)

And it was then that I found myself in the vortex of what happens when your dishwasher dies while still under warranty.  The sadness crept around me like a dark shroud.  What difference does it make any way.  The dishwasher never really loved me at all.  It was a fickle friend with all its error codes, half run cycles and leaks.  It never handled my plastics well, leaving them a sopping wet mess.  And wine glasses – just forget it.  I explained all the morbid details to the operator, who connected me to another operator and yet another.  I sent and resent paperwork over and over again to prove that the dishwasher was still under warranty.  I climbed into the darkness, digging with my bare, pruny hands into the depths of dishwasher-less despair.

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Every day, I would pull on the long yellow gloves with their flocked lining.  Still damp from the last load.  I would fill the sink with the hottest water I could stand and let the water run over the plates.  Layering the towels on the counter, I would carefully wipe the cutlery sure to get every last morsel of food from between the tines.  Exhaustively rinsing the glasses to remove all the bubbles and ensuring that every fingerprint was polished off, returning them to their homes in the cupboard.  The ritual of washing the dishes became my therapy.  My catharsis as I looked across the kitchen at the gleaming stainless steel door of my dearly departed dishwasher.  With every pump of the dishsoap into the sink, I said another goodbye to my fickle friend.

And like that, the telephone rang.  “Yes, we have your replacement dishwasher ready.  It will be delivered on Monday.” the voice said.

I almost cried!  “Monday?  Really?”

“Yes indeed.  Sometime between 9am and 5pm.”

“That’s such great… wait.  What?  Do you mean I have to take the whole day off work to sit at home and wait for you to deliver this thing?  Seriously?  You have got to be kidding me……” I went on.

It’s been a month since we closed the door on our dishwasher.  Its the end of an era really.  Her replacement will arrive tomorrow and a I am sure a new saga will begin.  You see, BrandName is replacing her with the exact same model so undoubtedly we’re in for another tumultuous relationship.  But for now, I will smile when I think of my dearly departed friend and welcome her replacement with open arms and perfectly manicured hands.

Another Year Older

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Tomorrow I will turn 43. Forty-f$&@ing-three. How the hell did that happen? I don’t feel 43. Well, maybe in the middle of the night when I have to get up to pee for the 473rd time and my knees creak and the soles of my feet burn and my back aches. But in my brain, I feel like I’m still in my 20s. Sure I’ve lived the years between then and now. Lots of life. Career, marriage, kids, houses things like that. Lots of things that grown-ups do. And sure, on a Friday night at 9pm I would much rather be tucked into bed with my kids, in flannel pjs, watching Frozen (again) than heading out for a night on the town. I suppose these are the fundamental differences that simply come with age.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to be younger, I like the boldness that comes with being in my 40s. The balls I never had in my youth to speak with confidence and determination. I mean I just bought my first red lipstick this year! Its just that some days I wake up and wonder how time can move so quickly. It seems like just yesterday I was a teenager lying in bed dreaming of my future and now I’m lying in bed wondering why the hell I have to pee… again.

Mrs. Robinson was 42 for pete’s sake. I’m going to be older than Mrs. F^&#ing Robinson! Got that? Holy shit. That sexy old broad with the seam in her stockings and the grey streak through her mane. I’m OLDER than that. Jesus.

The good news is that its 2015 and people like Gwyneth Paltrow (Oh Goop-y!) and Jennifer Aniston are the same age as me. Its cool. Forty is the new thirty, or so they say. Middle age, menopause – pshaw. Aaliyah said “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.” But my Grandmother taught me to always subtract 10 – so if anyone asks how old I’ll be tomorrow, I’m taking a page out of her book and saying 33. You won’t rat me out, will you?

Book Review: Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

I need to read more. The trouble is when. I know, I know. I’m on airplanes all the time, surely I could read then. But if I did, when would I catch up on all my TV and movie watching? Seriously, when would all that solitaire playing get done.

Truth is I love to read, but at the current break neck pace at which my life seems to be moving, I am either too exhausted or too distracted to concentrate. The good news is that my book club is back on track and someone (very gratefully) suggested that we read Amy Poehler’s new autobiography, Yes, Please. Come to think of it, it might have been my idea. See… Distracted.

I am a fan of Amy Poehler, I’m not going to lie. So chances are I was pre-destined to love this book even if it was a piece of shit. The good news is, it’s most certainly not a piece of shit and I did love it. Not only is she funny, self-effacing and candid (all qualities I admire), she is completely relatable. As a busy working mom, you will recognize her struggles with chasing a happening career all the while beating herself up about being a good enough mom to her two kids.

As a card carrying member of the business of show, I like to read her stories about building her career. The dues paid and the hardwork. I also appreciate her position as a woman in the business and how she navigates through gender issues and glass ceilings.

Her approach to her relationships and her strong and realistic account of what it’s like to be a 40-something woman in this world, caring for a family and navigating business is compelling. It’s a good read. A quick and easy read with great anecdotal stories.

All moms should read it!

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Easy for You to Say

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Are there words out there that you just can’t say?  I know a lot of people are not down with the swears, unlike me of course.  I’m not talking about the C words or the F words or other such glorious adjectives.  I’m talking about normal, every day words in the English language that you just cannot stand and will never fall from your lips.  As an example, my lovely friend A, she can’t say the word “moist”.  Not even in reference to the ’90’s Canadian rock band of the same name.  She can’t say it.

For me, its “Hubby”.  That is the only time you will ever see the “H” word in print on this blog.  I cannot stand it.  Not before I was married, not now that I am married.  It makes the hair on my neck stand on end.  It makes me crazy with irritation.  I never say it and I never will.  Even under duress.  Like Dick Cheney couldn’t even get it out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with my husband.  As a matter of fact, if I actually asked him I’m quite sure he’d say he hates the word too.  Maybe its because its overly cute.  In a “You’re my h-word wubby chubby bear” sort of way.  Of course, we have terms of endearment that we share between each other but I’m not sharing those here (no offense, but we’re not THAT close) so you know, I should cast no stones.  BUT, I still freaking hate it.

There are other words that I don’t favor.  Words like wonderful.  I avoid using wonderful only because it feels a little overdone to me, kind of like Wrecking Ball era Miley Cyrus.  But its not the same sort of vitriolic disdain that I have for “H”.  Or a word like testicles because, well, ew.  Old “H” simply takes the cake as being the word I hate the most.

I apologize to all you “H” word lovers.  Of course, I hope we don’t have to break up over this.  Clearly this is a its-not-you-its-me-moment so how about we just agree to disagree?  And you fellow “H” word haters, you can join my Facebook group…just kidding.  I hate those too.

 

The Holiday Buffet

vectorstock_1422154Dear Holiday Buffet:

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  Your oozy cheeses and tantalizing dips.  Your crispy crackers and comforting confections.  On olives, antipasto and bread.  On charcuterie, cookies and cake.  Yes chocolate in all shapes and sizes; truffles, barks and caramels.   The small little morsels so easy to enjoy and the forgetfulness that comes with alcohol so you lose track of just how many calories have been consumed.  Yes, I love you Holiday Buffet.  And passed hors d’oeurves.  You too sweets tables.

The open houses.  What a concept!  Stop by for a visit.  Eat and drink.  Carry on to the next and repeat.  I love this time of the year.  Why on Saturday alone we had 3 parties in succession all within 10 metres from our house.  On Sunday I should have done a fast or a cleanse or something, but instead I spent it in bed nursing a hangover.

So for the next two weeks it will be stretchy jeans, baggy sweaters and antacids for me.  Just so I can indulge in my true love.  Food.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good meal,

The R&R Mom