Thursday, August 31, 2006

Can and Can't

After two highly-medicated weeks flat on my back, I have had a lot of time to think and do a personal inventory. I proudly present to you (cue booming voice):


I can bring home the bacon (usually), fry it up in a pan, and then eat most of it before it hits the table.

I can't watch 2 guys kissing in a movie. I can't. I just CAN'T! I erupt in giggles and hide my face until it goes away. Sorry, I've tried.

I can twist my arms and legs in bizarre and unusual ways because I am "double jointed". I do a mean impression of a person who just fell to their death from a 20 story building.

I can't lose at 'whack-a-mole'. I know, I mentioned this before, but this is a talent that not enough people respect and admire. I am working to change that.

I can watch a movie without ever learning the character's names. It's always "the red haired guy", "the chick with the limp", "the bank-robber guy's kid", etc.

I can't pump my own gas. I used to, but I have since become a cougar and enjoy watching eager 18-yr-olds wait upon my vehicle. I also like my daughter's commentary about the pumper: "that man has pizza on his face", "that man has no hair", "that man's shirt is dirty"!

I can catch a fly with my bare hand. Chalk it up to those lightning-quick, whack-a-mole honed reflexes. (see above)

I can't get a needle without feeling faint. Something about sharp, pointy objects gives me an intense emotional reaction. Strangely, I am compelled to learn archery or fencing. When I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, I stood mesmerized by their sword collection for some time...the security guards were getting edgy.

Ok, so there you have it. Oh, and my apologies to pigs, homosexuals, suicide victims, plastic moles, movie producers, pimply-faced gas pumpers, flies and Met guards everywhere.

Come by and I'll fix you breakfast.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mother Wolf

My wise, gentle, peace-loving little 2 1/2 year old son is gonna change the world. Well, as soon as we get over his fast-moving problem. See, give him an inch of free rein and he runs. Away. Fast. No sense of danger, no fear of strangers, no idea what fast-moving traffic could do to him. Let go of his hand in the front yard, and he's GONE like a shot, always in a straight line, even if that line crosses a major freeway or a 100-ft deep lake, and no amount of screaming or shouting can stop him. One time, he was knee deep in a creek in Kingston by the time I caught up with him.

As many of you know, Nicky has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, a condition that falls under the umbrella of the autism spectrum. We are very lucky that he is quite verbal and social, though he often prefers to pull his blankie over his head to shut the world off when it gets to be too much. (I believe having a fiery twin sister and older brother has really helped Nicky to feel safe and confident in his world.) Like many children with PDD, he is obsessed with trains and things in straight lines... he adores numbers and counting and elevators. Socially, he doesn't stand up for himself, making him an easy target for bullies. He takes a bit of coaxing to join in with a group, and comes across as extrememly shy, but once he joins, he has more fun than anyone else. He has a toothy smile that runs from ear to ear, and his eyes light up this with wild joy that fills everyone around him with the same happiness. He is my peaceful child, untroubled, of gentle-spirit, undemanding, and when things get really tough for him, his solution is to put mommy under the blanket too. He often abruptly stops playing, comes to rest his head on my chest for a few minutes, and then goes back to his playing when he is "recharged".

Anyhow, my hubby was on the night shift and he dropped us all off at my mom's for the day so he could sleep and we could be taken care of (I'm in a lot of pain with a pinched nerve in my back--see prev. post.) After a couple hours sleep, hubby came to pick us up. In the confusion of getting ready to head home, Nicky got out the side door and took off down the BUSY street. I was the only one who saw this, and I screamed for help and took off after him, chasing him for about a block before my hubby saw what had happened and caught him. So today, my son is safe, and I write this post barely able to lift an arm and with at least 2 more weeks of recovery ahead of me due to the damage I did to myself yesterday.

We've all heard the story of the mom who singlehandedly lifted a car to save her child trapped underneath. I used to think it was an urban legend. But up until that moment when I saw my son running away, I could barely stand. And suddenly, I was running, chasing him, and the pain was just...well, exquisite, but it didn't matter. When faced with the option of waiting for help, or taking off after him in spite of the pain, there was no choice.

I have met the mother wolf, and she is me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

10 Mins to Write

Last week, it started with an ache, which became a prick, which became a pinch which became a horrible paralyzing pain from my lower back down to my left ankle. Yes, Franny is bedridden this week with a pinched nerve/sciatica, apparently for 7-10 days. This is bad for many reasons:

#1: Mommy is more fun to jump on when she is lying down.

#2: The severe, debilitating pain.

#3: My husband has taken on full care of a gimpy wife and 3 kids.

#4: Did I mention the pain?

#5: Missing the fresh air, walking, sitting, and life in general.

Ok, that's thoroughly depressing, isn't it? Okay, here are good things about having a torturously acute back ailment:

#1: The medication. Okay, it works for about 10 mins before the pain returns, but when I am doped, life is "irie, mon". This means I have about 4 mins left to write this blog...

Being dressed, dragged around and fed by my hubby. (Yeah, we lost that sexy mystique a long time ago, but it reminds me what a good man I gots.)

#3: Bedridden parenting. I can't get up, so my son and I spent quality time playing around with my bedside clock radio, and much time has been spent looking at pictures and discussing Halloween costume ideas with the 2-yr-olds.

#4: Catching up on my reading. Now is not the time to experiment. I am re-reading old, comforting favourites, such as the Harry Potter series.

#5: OWWWWWWWWWW....Okay, forget this 10 mins is up!

PS: Pity me not, my dear friends. Just send better drugs.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The smile when you tore me apart...

A talented writer friend of mine, Mark Leslie, is auctioning off a chance to be a character on his blog serial thriller, "I, Death". You can even be murdered, if that's your bag! I see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness one's own senseless demise, without the whole actual 'gripping panic as you fight desperately for your life against a hell-bent maniac'. (I, frankly, have never been one to enjoy a good sweat.)

Okay, so you can die, and support literacy at the same time, without worrying if your will is up-to-date or if your ungrateful kids will hock the jewelery off your corpse while you are still warm. What a wicked deal! Check out the auction here, and begin your journey into infamy...

By the way, the title of this blog is from a song by Within Temptation, called "Angels". Within Temptation are an angsty mix of goth, incredible vocals and power rock, reminiscent of Evanescence. See their awesome, vigilante justice video here: "Angels" And for something completely different, see this fanvideo, based on Aragorn & Arwen from LOTR. (*sigh* why can't you love ME, aragorn? is it the ears?) The song is "Memories", also by Within Temptation.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Perverts and Whacking

Multiple choice, test your knowledge:

If Franny wakes up late for work and breaks her toe on the corner unit and slips in the shower and has the kids all pooing themselves with the runs and spends the morning scrubbing shitty carpets and then dings the car in the parking lot and then gets flashed by a smelly pervert in a trenchcoat on the stairwell to her office, what do you think her reply is when the coworkers brightly say "lovely morning, isn't it"?

a) "The world is a pit of despair and we are food for worms. How are you?"
b) No reply. Just blood.
c) "I'm sorry, could you repeat that so I can laugh my ass off maniacally on cue?"
d) "Never a finer day!"

Answer at bottom of post.

Usually, I am the Queen of the Pokerface. Well, at work anyways. At home, the rewards for whining and complaining and mewling in despair are far too great. I mean, who wouldn't exaggerate when there is a warm, cuddly man willing to listen and assuage you with fast food? Eg:

Me: Everybody hates me. I'm a failure. At everything. And I'm fat too. And not just fat. Gross, disgusting, shut-in fat.

Hubby: Aww sweetie, *hug*, sounds like you need some Taco Bell.

At work, the reward for mewling wouldn't be quite the same:

Me: Everybody hates me. I'm a failure. At everything. And I'm fat too. And not just fat. Gross, disgusting, shut-in fat.

VP of Tech: Well, I suppose we could get you a bigger chair...

So, in conclusion, don't whine at work. But lately there have been questions. People have noticed that I am a bit cranky. I have been 'accidentally' biting heads off. Even when I try to be charming, it comes out the wrong way. Like when my boss tried to tell me not to worry about the deadlines, and I told her 'omg! deadlines rhymes with HEADLINES!' and then started laughing my ass off, and she backed away from me...verrry slooooowly...

I suppose I am a little tired, probably due to the ragweed season, and the conflict in the middle east and a lack of sleep due to excessive online whack-a-mole, (which I have gotten very good at. In fact, at real, carnival whack-a-mole, I have NEVER been beaten. Like really. I am the Whack-a-mole queen! I have an entire basement full of excessively large stuffed animals that I have won.). But, oh, I digress.

Tonight, sitter permitting, hubby and I are going out. Maybe that's all I need, a little WE time. We can have some Taco Bell, make fun of people that aren't us, and maybe, just maybe, find a carnival where I can Whack the shit out of some helpless little moles with that huge padded Whacker. AND, if I bring the scissors, and if we time it just right, that Whacker is coming home with me for the next person who pisses me off! I bet next week is gonna be smooth sailing!

See I don't need a shrink. No one does. All any of us really need is to get some sleep, and to carry a big Whacker.

Oh, and the answer is (d). Usually.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Mouse

Today it was pouring rain, and as I was leaving to pick up the twins from preschool, I saw a little mouse running across the street. After the horror of earlier in the summer, (oh, our A/C broke and the technician took it apart to find a family of fricasseed mice that had been living in the unit box and must have chewed on a wire -yeah, I did say HORROR) I had to DO something. So, I chased that little, soaked mouse to the neighbor's lawn and trapped it in a plastic flower pot. Anyhow, the tip of its tail was sticking out, so I took it by the tail and lifted the little thing up...and there he hung, limp, dripping wet and not even struggling (like you'd expect):

Oh my God, did I accidentally KILL you?
Mouse: No, I'm good dude.
Me: Umm...then why are you just hanging limp like that? Shouldn't you be struggling to escape the maws of impending doom? What if I wanted to eat you?
Mouse: Oh well, you gotta go sometime. Besides, circle of life and all that.
Me: Wow, that's deep.
Mouse: No, not really, no. Say, have you seen my mommy? She lived in the A/C unit...

No, the mouse really didn't talk to me, but I DO think he thought he was dead meat, as mice are pretty much a staple food for most creatures. So I took the pitiful, resigned creature into the van and drove 10 mins out into the country to let him go. At every stoplight I would open the two plastic containers he was trapped between to let some more air in. His little nose would peek out, but he never tried to escape. When I reached the large wooded park, I gently released him into some shrubbery.

By then I was soaked through, wet and pitiful myself, not to mention that I was running late. But it was a great story to tell the kids. My daughter kept saying "look, I see a little mouse!" everywhere we went.

"I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground." (Reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.) - Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President of the United States

Friday, August 11, 2006

Danger Mom and the Heart-Attack Five

I think I swallowed my heart about a dozen times this week. The following stories are taken from the real-life adventures of Danger Mom and the Heart-Attack Five (aka me and my family):

The Meatballs of Danger

My oldest son opens the front door to see if daddy is still mowing the lawn, and accidentally lets my youngest son, who is 2, out the door. (Oh, and he neglects to tell me that his little brother has just left the premises because he is afraid I'll get "mad" because I told him not to open the door in the first place, so instead he just quietly shuts the door and hopes this problem will go away on its own.) I am in the kitchen frying up meatballs during all of this. Ten mins later, I decide to truck it to the loo, and I walk by the living room and something is funny.

Can't put my finger on it...something is wierd here...something is, everything is fine, there's my oldest son and my daughter, playing in the livingroom...ummm, headcount...that's one, two...umm...I don't think two is enough. I think I have three kids...OMG...I DO have three kids! And, there are only TWO kids here...ARGH!

So I run frantically through the house, looking for the missing kid, searching closets and cupboards and under beds, and this is when my oldest son volunteers that he went OUTSIDE. I fly outside screaming my block off, (ready to start a neighborhood search) and to the backyard where my husband is mowing the lawn. And there is my son, playing on the playset. And his father didn't even know he was there b/c we have a huge yard, and what with the lawnmower noise, etc. Thank God the backyard gate had been open, or who knows where my little boy would have ended up, looking for a place to play.


The Bus of Doom

Leaving work at 9pm after the evening shift, I am driving home, same route I always take.

Dum de dum...nothing on the radio, stupid radio stations...oh look, there's that house that's for sale that I like...maybe I'll buy it when I win the big one...oh here's the light, turning red, better stop...yep, stopping would be good...ummm...stop car...BRAKE please...BRAKES....NO BRAKES! BRAKE DAMMIT!!!!! ARGH CAN'T STOP, GONNA DIE, SHOULDA-GOT-THAT-DAMN-LIFE-INSURANCE-BECAUSE-THERE'S-A-CITY-BUS-WITH-MY-NAME-ON-IT!

I manage to stop, both feet on the brake, in the MIDDLE of the intersection. The big bus, thankfully, beat me through. I get home, (very slowly), shaking in my sneakers, and tell my husband what happened. He thoughtfully nods and hugs me and says "come to think of it, the brakes were acting a bit funny the last coupla days". Needless to say, our car is currently in the shop.


The Parking Lot of Disaster

Loading kids again, long tiring shopping trip, can't wait to get home, OH PLEASE stop wriggling you little monsters so I can buckle you in...good, done, one, two, three in, off we go -SLAM- OH THAT FRIGGIN HURT! ARGH! Smashed my head on the roof of the van...look at all the pretty little birdies flying around my head...ha ha ha...hey what's that screaming...oh, my son's finger is stuck in the clothing hanging thingy...hold on honey...mommy is experiencing slurred speech and blurred vision...just a mild concussion, really...must free child...must stop giggling...hey why is someone rifling through the box of Little Debbie Snack Cakes? Didn't I just buckle you in, you little escape artist? Hey, where am I, what was I doing? Oh yeah, freeing screaming no no, dizzy euphoria is evolving into ringing pain...where's the friggin Advil?

(I did eventually get everyone settled and happy using my daughter's idea of cracking open the Snack Cakes. It was a blissfully quiet and tasty, ride home.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


This is going to be my oddest blog post ever. Brace yourself.

People change, just like seasons change, but they don't really, really change, do they? Even the seasons aren't permanent...winter becomes spring, which becomes summer, which becomes fall, and then we're back to the bitter cold of winter again. What changed? Sure, there were variations on the landscape, but nothing really changed. The earth is the earth, like the heart is the heart and the mind is the mind. I am thinking about a few people I know that are going through changes, some big, some routine, some tragic:

My friend 'Kate' has set the proverbial bird free, and sheds tears as it flies away. Will she learn to live without its song, and be better for it? Or will she someday feel that it should have taken it with her for the flight?

I think about 'Lacey', standing strong during the illness and suffering of a loved one with a serious illness. How does she keep it together, with a job and a husband and small children, while her mind is hundreds of kilometres away?

Or 'John', shyly closing the door on a very long chapter of his life, earning himself a place of rest and healing. Will he make the most of this time, and spend these precious years well, cherishing each and every day?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions. I don't know how life will turn out for any of these people that I hold so dear to my heart. But if I were psychic, I would tell these people that I have seen the cards, and they say that everything will be okay, that the changes will be gentle and smooth, that the universe is unfolding as it should. I would tell them that after their troubles, there will be good people to dress the wounds, to hold them tight and to lead them towards a place filled with light and joy and happiness again.

But the cards I read are not cards at all, but wishes and hopes and prayers for people at the crossroads.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The New York Exception

Myself and my girlfriends just got back from an exciting 3 night trip to NYC. While there we saw Harry, Carrie & Garp, a benefit reading by writing behemoths Stephen King, John Irving and JK Rowling.


Six thousand people packed into Radio City Music Hall, all rabid booklovers, and you could hear a pin drop during the readings! We were surprised by many celebrity hosts including Whoopie Goldberg, Cathy Bates & John Stewart (OMG I LOVE HIM SOOOO MUCH--I LIKE FREAKED OUT!)So, yes, the show was great and unforgettable. I just love seeing my idols act so human, with their smiles, and embarassed grins, and stumbling answers, and the true joy they feel at recieving a standing ovation. JKR had tears in her eyes, and I will never forget the way she cheekily showed off her sandals with the straps styled as snakes! Or when Stephen King, in the middle of a particularly gross part of his reading, stopped and announced bewilderedly "who WRITES this stuff??!!" Or when John Irving did voices for his reading, including Owen Meany's high-pitched, broken squealy voice, and started to laugh along with the audience. It was truly, a once in a lifetime experience, and the best show I have seen in my whole life. *Sigh*

I am simply overflowing with stories about our adventures in NYC... the first store we stepped into had 2 people handcuffed near the register with an officer radioing in the arrest (oh, no one even really noticed this! the shopping continued as if nothing were amiss!) We almost got picked up by this wierdo in an 'unlicensed' cab! Our tourguide even started using his microphone to scream at the drivers in a traffic jam! Yes, New Yorkers are insane. (Sorry New Yorkers!)

But it was better than what we encountered in New Jersey, where we stayed. The people there are, I didn't meet everyone in New Jersey, just a dozen or so, but each of them was abrupt and frightening in their own, unique way. Every gas station attendant was rude. Every toll booth operator was angry. The guy at the hotel desk was abrupt. Even the waitress, who was obviously TRYING to be nice, was doing so in a loud and intimidating way. (Am I making any sense?) Anyhow, it was severe culture shock! Yes, working is hard and demanding, but shouldn't a smile beget a smile? Doesn't a 'Thank-you' beget a 'You're welcome'? Shouldn't a humble 'please?' beget an understanding 'smile and nod'? It does where I come from. It's those little exchanges that reaffirm that feeling of "I am human and you are human too, and we are going to cooperate for the brief time that we are in each other's service". For we are forever in each other's service, giving and taking, offering and receiving, with total strangers, and courtesy makes those interactions more gentle, in a small way.

And that's the problem. Common courtesy was sadly, vacant. I guess scraping out a living with millions of other people trying to scam you and take what's yours makes them hard? I got the feeling that "protecting me and mine" was the only motivating factor.

But to every rule, there is the exception. There was one tollbooth operator, the last one before we left NJ, who paused and smiled at me. He asked us where we were off to, and we told him we were heading back to Canada. He laughed, and asked if the heat was driving us off (it was a heat wave there). I laughed and said, yes, and that we were looking forward to some good old Canadian snow. He chuckled at my lame-ass joke. Then, as he gave me my change, his demeanour changed. He looked thoughtfully out at the crowded, fast-moving highway. He turned, looked me in the eye, his brow furrowed, concern and care evident in his voice. "Ya'll have a safe trip home ladies, ya' hear?"

And I heard.