Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Radical Action Plan

Not one to complain too much, I stoically tackle whatever life throws at me. Though today, it was a lot. I had 4 major projects to complete at work (and the programs keep crashing), plus 3 assignments for 3 different distance education courses (due last week) and two sites to design for DreamMedia (my small business).

Oh, and the twins have the stomach flu.

I woke up this morning with a "radical action plan". Actually, several of them. Here they are, in chronological order:

#1. Ok, there's the alarm, but I'm not getting out of bed. Life is stupid. The world is stupid. Everyone wants a piece of me. I'm just going to lay here all day. So bite me.

#2. Ok, I'm up, but I am only pretending to go to work. I'm actually going to drive as far away as I can, in one direction, until I see either flamingos or polar bears. Then I'll stop and call home. So bite me.

#3. Ok, I'm at work, but only until I finish this one thing. Then I'm returning to plan #2. Flamigos, polar bears, kangaroos, whatever. So bite me.

#4. Ok, as soon as I talk to my prof, I'm SO gonna drive away, far far away. Not stopping till I see those flamingos/polar bears/kangaroos/unicorns, etc, whatever, amen and halleuja. So bite me.

I kept delaying my "radical action plan" in little bits. Suddenly I realized that I had plodded through most of my work, grumbling all the way. It sure isn't the motivational story of the year, but it's amazing what one little disgruntled, overworked woman can accomplish with the wrong attitude!

Now, once I clean up this chunky toddler puke, I am SO out of here...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Three Pictures

I'm sending this ambitious little meme out into the world, in the hopes that we all get a chance to stretch our creative muscles and learn more about each other - in a way that we didn't really expect.

Below are three topics. If you'd like to take part, what you need to do is post a picture for each theme on your blog. One picture per theme, as it pertains to YOU. Also, you can write a couple of sentences if you feel the need to explain how the picture fits with the theme.

You'll find that everyone will have a different interpretation of the themes, and that's what will make this really interesting!

The rules for this are that there are no rules. The photo can be recent or old, taken by you, taken by someone else, or taken from the web. When your photos are posted, please let me know in the comments area of this blog. (This is also how you can check what others have posted.) If all goes well, we'll make this a monthly thing. Best wishes!

Three Pictures for February

1. The Only Dragon I Know

2. A Reason to Return Home

3. The Eighth Wonder of the World

Monday, February 20, 2006

Choose the Chunk

My hubby and I went grocery shopping today, at the now infamous dollar sale at No Frills. My blog buddy, Peter, who moonlights as a stocker, knows all too well the violence that can occur over the last Minute Maid Orange Juice (only $1!) , or the Michelina's frozen fettucine alfredo (only $1). I am sure you can imagine the need for a 6-item "per family" limit, especially when the pint of French Vanilla Real Dairy Ice cream is only, you guessed, it, one dollar! But where there are rules, there are always rule-breakers. People have no problem asking their 4-yr-old to stand in the next line to buy more ice cream:

Timmy: "Mommy, the cashier-lady wants to know if we're the same family."
Mother: "I don't know this child. Who are you anyways?"
Timmy: (crying) "Mommy!!??"
Mother: "Go pay for your ice cream!"

So we loaded up our bright yellow grocery cart with sale items, and I wandered off to find something to make for dinner. When I relocated my hubby, he was standing in front of the wall 'o' tuna, looking confused. As I approached, I realized he had a recipe in his hand and he was muttering to himself:

It calls for tuna...

There was tuna in oil, in water, with salt, without salt, expensive tuna, cheap tuna, light tuna, dark tuna, albacore tuna, and tuna in a jar. Dressed tuna, with mayo, with mustard, with dill and even with thai chili sauce ('no frills' my ass!). When we sorted out what type of tuna to get, he asked me "chunk tuna or flaked tuna"?

And then it happened. You know those times when the deep meaning of something hits you, and really didn't expect it? This happened to us, when, like a wise man atop a mountain somewhere in Tibet, I heard myself say these words:

"Remember, you can always flake the chunk but you can't chunk the flake."

Okay, it sounds stupid, but suddenly, the universe made a little more sense to both of us. It was about choices. You have to make the choices that give you the most options. Like cutting your hair a little at a time. It's easy to cut more, impossible to cut less.

Like keeping in touch with that friend who always forgets to call you. You can't unburn a bridge.

Like forgiving yourself for buying 6 pints of icecream. Each.

Imagine, the whole universe, summed up in tuna. I think "choose the chunk" will be my zen meditation for the week:

Kids driving me nuts? Choose the chunk.

Boss on my ass? Choose the chunk.

Pants too tight? Choose the chunk.

My wish for you, gentle reader, is that when you are faced with stress and challenges throughout your week, I hope that you too choose the chunk.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Love You and You and You and You

File under "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em": last night we had our first annual Valentine's Day Family Picnic. Since this is Canada and there is 20cm (8'") of snow outside, we laid out a blanket out on the livingroom floor, put on a CD of Disney love songs, and threw open all the drapes. I carefully laid out paper plates with red heart doilies, a bottle of sparkling grape/peach juice, and a beautifully arranged tray of food (pizza & grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids, and calamari salad, fresh baguettes and brie for the adults). My husband played with the kids in the other room, and when I was done, they came thundering in and stopped in awe.

It's so innocent, how they are amazed by the littlest things - Joey kept raving "this is the best picnic EVER!" I watched as my usually sloppy, careless son carefully placed food all around his doily, to keep it from getting dirty. And the twins were huge fans of the sparkling juice, laughing their asses off as it tickled their tongues and their noses. I remember thinking "what cute little winos in training!"

My husband was the best, constantly moving plates to keep little feet from trampling the food, offering children tastes of new and strange items (we laughed at the disgusted faces they made), and pouring out 'champagne' on demand. And with each bite I took of my sinfully delicious calamari, Joey was over my shoulder commenting: Bite...EW! Bite...EW! Bite...EW! But then came the fruit and dip, and then dessert, and suddenly everyone was in agreement.

After their fill of cake & brownies, strawberries and pineapple and chocolates, the kids ran off to play, and my husband and I were alone. Amidst the mess of paper plates, mushed doilies, empty bottles, smeared pizza, a stained blanket, a ransacked cake and spilled juice, two people held hands.

And they were in love.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Day Dream Believer

Today we went to an indoor playcentre, just my 3 kids and myself. I mean 3 kids and my-hopelessly-optimistic-but-never-learns-her-lesson-glutton-for-punishment-self. Yes, it was a 30min drive from home and I was all alone, but I thought it would be worth it, for them and for myself. You see, in my daydreams, I thought I could go to this place, usher my children into a quiet but fun and sparsely populated play area, and curl up in a leather wing chair with a coffee and a skeezy historical romance novel while casually watching them frolic out of the corner of my eye.

Yeah, and buff, tanned, yet sensitive men in togas would play harps while floating on gossamer wings around me...

The reality: My backpack with the romance novel (and all my dreams) is dropped at the front door as my children tear off into the playcentre in 3 different directions with their coats and boots still on, as I give chase and find one and then turn to catch the next one and the first one I caught is gone again, and who the heck knows where the third one is, oh here's a kid, wait, its not mine, oh shit, Nicky's stuck up there in the 2 story climber, better go get him, but the daughter is missing again, and here comes Joey, but he doesn't want to go in the climber, now where is climber kid anyways, don't like the looks of that guy, and phew, there's Natalie playing 'run from mommy' up and around the tricycles, catch her and drag her towards safety and there's Nicky with his hands in the aquarium, race to save the fish and he throws a fit and where's Natalie now, oh god, that guy is a pedophile for SURE and where's Joey, Nicky stop drinking the aquarium water, Natalie get back here, ha ha look at that kid standing on the airhockey table, oh no, Joey, get off the air hockey table this instant, take off one boot before Natalie gets away, chasing her with one boot and where's Nicky and Joey and someone's screeching please don't be my kid, yup it's my kid, soothe child, try to locate others, glare at creepy guy to let him know I'm on to him...

This went on for well over an hour until I packed up the screaming and fit-throwing children and dragged them and my poor abandoned backpack to the minivan. As bad as it was, I think the kids loved it. But today I learned that I try too hard, and that when you can't locate your children, every person is a wierdo. I think I'm gonna be spazzed out with stress for a few days. Pardon my twitching.

I think I need a vacation. If there are any rich millionaire types who don't know what to do with their money and pity an overworked, overachiever mom, I want to go here with my husband for a week. Umm, without the kids, I think.

If no millionaires are currently available to fund this cause, that's ok too. A girl can dream, and sometimes, that's enough.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

No Resistance

"It is possible to commit no errors and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life."

Many of life's most profound realizations occurred to me while in solitude. Alone and tired, overwhelmed by the world, I would seek enlightenment by curling up with a cup of warm tea, my favourite blanket and then watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. The horror! Stop the presses! Franny's a TREKKIE!!! (we prefer 'Trekker' actually...mwaaaa ha ha!)

I am not the only one. A good few of you out there are loud and proud of your TNG habit, and Kim, you know who I'm talking about! Those of you that don't get it, that's ok too. See, Star Trek has taught us to be accepting of all cultures and backgrounds, and if we can have peaceful relations with snobby 7-foot-tall slimy exoskeleton grasshoppers, then we can surely get along with you too!

It seems that everywhere I've been, I've found Star Trek. I used to work in a bookstore, and when we had "Lead Meetings" I always thought it kinda felt like the "bridge officers" in the "ready room" (ok, it was a disgusting lunch room and salary-wise, we were all far off from being "officers"), but you get my point. I always fancied myself a Deanna Troi type character. I know everyone's woes, counsel them, read their thoughts, have the long dark locks and brown, soulful eyes...but I lack the boobage. I've befriended a "Dr. Crusher" in my life, and had the dubious pleasure of meeting quite a few Worfs.

In terms of species though, I think I'd make a wicked Romulan - passionate, intelligent, strategic. My husband says I would make a good Bejoran because I'm determined resourceful and scrappy. He fancies himself a Cardassian - big, masculine, fallen from grace, solid as a rock...hey...am I the only one getting ideas here????

But I digress. (*frantically calling costume shop*) My kids are Klingons, no doubt about it. They're capable of incredible loyalty and courage, yet willing to fight to the death over the last marshmallow. In fact, I think I've even heard Nicky growl, as he climbed the corner unit to reach the remote control, "perhaps today IS a good day to die!" My husband and I even call WalMart "the Borg". Its a play on the fact that the stores kinda all look the same, and once you go there, you are "assimilated" by the low low prices. Not to mention the over-worked, over-tired, trudging employees you sometimes see there, and the way they "mark" you at the front door with those little stickers...damn creepy smiley face...

Me: "Honey, we need socks and toilet paper!"
Hubby: "Great! Let's go to the Borg."
Me: "The crappy Borg or the Ancaster Borg?"
Hubby: "Well d'uh! Ancaster! Should we take the kids to the Borg?"
Me: "Of course! You know how much they love those stickers!"

When we talk like this in public, which we do, you can imagine the confused looks we get from non-trekkers. But what's more fun are the horrified looks from the people who DO understand. Yes we're nerds. But, ahh, I'm so happy I married Barclay...

I cried during Star Trek: First Contact. No, not when someone died, or lost a love, etc etc. But when the alien pulled down its hood, and you just knew humanity was saved because there were Vulcans on that flying saucer! (*Note to my patient non-trekker readers: Don't worry, my next post will be "normal" again!) And that quote at the top of the page? You got it, that's from Star Trek: TNG too. When Data the android loses a match after he played a perfect game, that's what the captain tells him. Sometimes, I need to hear it too. Because:

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you oughta go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." -Q

I have been assimilated. Resistance is futile...

Monday, February 06, 2006

View From the Top

I never thought it was possible, but I just skinned my ass. Badly. I'll never be able to sit on a hard chair again. And, there are these huge oblong bruises on my hips. And let's not even discuss the serious thigh trauma. OW OW OW! I suppose I am not as "nimble" as I used to be. I will never, ever, ever be so anal again. And my husband is gonna PAY.

I'll bet you think this is gonna be a dirty story...

We just got my oldest son a "loft" bed - it's a bunk bed with no bottom bunk, which is perfect for putting dressers and toychests underneath. This is necessary as his room is the size of a broom cupboard. Anyhow, my hubby spent 5 hours assembling it, while I spent the same 5 hours keeping the kids out of his hair. When he finally finished, I was in love with the bed! It was perfect! It was a space-saver! It was funky and tasteful and frugal and fun and clearly showed what a brilliant mother I was!

And then my hubby declared that he hated the bed.

Yes, I was pissed. Anyhow, I got these snazzy red sheets to match the "Clifford" comforter I made for the new bed. As hubby was putting the twins to sleep, (did I mention my hubby hates the new bed?) I tried to put on the sheets. Problem was, I couldn't reach the far corner. So I got a chair. Still couldn't reach to properly tuck in that damn fitted sheet. So, being the tragic optimist, I sent my son up there to tuck in the frigging sheet. He is not dexterous enough to tuck the damn fitted sheet into the corner of the mattress of the bed that my husband hates.

I tried to reach from underneath, over, around, and between, but no luck. This is one of those 'safety' models that has high railings all around and the tiniest 10" space where the ladder emerges. In other words, it was an anti-red-fitted-sheet fortress. Unless I climbed up myself... and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got stuck on the top bunk.

I could not get my butt through that 10" space to go back down the ladder. I tried just one leg first, and ended up doing a grotesque impression of the splits. I tried forcing my butt through while facing outward, and severly skinned my buttocks. Then laying inwards, my butt was stuck up in the air as I struggled and pushed and wiggled and scratched up my thighs. Sideways, and my hip got pinned between the mattress and the very hard railing, not to mention that my body just don't twist that way. While I was writhing in pain and humiliation, my son was on the floor encouraging me to "just jump mommy!" Which I probably would have done, if there had been enough head clearance... In desperation, arms unnaturally positioned, legs in the air, butt impossibly wedged, I called my husband to the room.

My beloved came running, thoughtfully paused in the doorway, and proceeded to piss himself laughing.

A few minutes later, I was safely down from the evil-bed-of-death and giving my hubby the evil-glare-of-death. Before he ran away, he winked and said, "now that's an awesome bed!"

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Special Ones, God Made Twice

Dear Natalie & Nicky,

Happy Birthday babies. Well, not babies anymore, I guess. I can't believe it's been two years already. I know you can't read yet, but I'm sure it won't be long before you'll be reading my blog to all your friends as evidence that your mother is truly insane. But until then, thanks for putting up with me as I fumble through the neverending "twin conundrum". I really think I need just one more arm...

But actually, it hasn't been that bad. Both of you are patient souls. For there has never been a "just me" with you two. It's always been "just us". Though I admit that most of the first 2 years are a blur. I barely remember (or have suppressed) the round-the-clock feedings, the bouncy-bouncy with a newborn in each arm, the tagteam crying and the tandem puking. My right arm has grown muscular from the whole "a spoonful for you and a spoonful for you" routine. Not to mention the millions of dollars we've spent on formula, diapers and laundry detergent. When the two of you grow up to be World Champion Pairs figureskaters, you'll share the wealth I'm sure.

It was a lifetime ago that we feared for our little girl's life before she was even born. How many days we spent panicked that we would lose you. It was a tough Christmas that year, full of uncertainty and danger. And then when you came out bright red and yelling your block off, we knew you would be ok. Funny how you still make sure your presence is heard everywhere you go, up until this day. You are a truly a force to be reckoned with.

And Nicky, ever the quiet, steady one. We jokingly called you "Nicky the Snitch" even before you were born, because we had a feeling you would be pure goodness and a bane to troublemakers everywhere! You've won the hearts of so many with your simple needs and your quiet nature. And that laugh! I can't say enough about your beautiful, hopscotch, effervescent laugh.

It's sad that I didn't get to spend much time with you two at your little party tonight. Everyone wanted to hold the guests of honour, and I was so busy entertaining. So, after you both fell asleep, I crept into your rooms and kissed your foreheads and whispered happy birthday to each of you. You don't know that I did it, but it made me feel so much better.

Anyhow, it's late and mommy's tired. There's something I really need to tell you before I signout though: I'm sorry if I screwed up a bit in the beginning, but I think I was more than a little overwhelmed, having two newborns and a toddler to deal with. If one day you come to realize that your mom is only human, perhaps you'll take comfort in the knowledge that no one on this earth will ever love you as much as I do.

Happy Birthday babies.

Love, Mommy