Tag Archives: Life

Metal head and the missed opportunity

Last week The Musician had an orthodontist appointment.  He has many, many orthodontist appointments, and he is always a rockstar before, during and after them.  I don’t know if there is a kid alive who is more into his braces and what they’re going to do for him than he is.  He has some serious jaw and alignment problems, so this whole process is going to take the better part of about 6 years….we’re just into year 2, I think.  So yeah, it’s a long haul.

Anyway this latest appointment was a doozy – they made some adjustments, put spacers between his molars, so now he can’t actually close his mouth all the way, and did a bunch of other stuff to him.  And, as I said before, rockstar.  He’s awesome.  Later though, his mouth and head started to hurt, and he couldn’t really eat anything that wasn’t the consistency of porridge.  Still he soldiered on.  The next morning, he just looked so sad.  He was tired, and his mouth hurt.  Tried to eat a soft egg and bread – no toast, too crunchy – and he sort of was able to get that down.  We gave him some Tylenol and he went to school with something just as soft in his lunch.  Poor kid.

Later that day I was talking to a friend who has a little guy who is almost 2.  She said he was getting his molars, so that was throwing off his routine with sleep and eating and all that.  And I started thinking about my boy – almost 13, but with similar symptoms, just a very different cause. 

And it makes sense that when I saw him come downstairs looking so sad and tired I just wanted to scoop him up and get his blanky and cuddle him on the couch.  Which is what I would have done when he was 2 and teething and feeling so yucky.  And I can still do that, of course.  He does like a good cuddle even now.  But there’s just less time for that, especially in the mornings when there are lunches to make, homework to finish, showers to be had, and all those school and work day morning things.

By the end of the day he was feeling much better – the Tylenol worked, he had started to get used to the spacers and the feeling of all the adjustments.  Dinner was no problem, he went to karate and hung out with this friends.

And I had missed my chance to cuddle a rockstar.  It’s a good lesson to have learned, though.  Time.  There never seems to be enough, but it’s important to use the time you’ve got wisely.  Because you just never know.

Pressure

Oh yes, it’s building.  All I need to do is 9 more posts – well, 8 after this one I guess – and I am getting to the end of my ideas.  When I started posting every day, I was going along really well, with (mostly) interesting posts, many of them sitting in draft, awaiting the light of day, and it was great.  Now, thanks to the fact that I cannot seem to get a goddamned good night of sleep, no matter what I do, the well, she is running dry. 

Sleep.  I used to take it for granted, you know?  As you do when you’re young and healthy and childless and all that.  As the adult years creep in, bringing more responsibilities and stresses to life, sleep patterns change.  Now you do – or at least I did – spend some nights lying awake worrying about this and that – job, house, partner, money, ageing parents, all that.  And then, if you have children, there are more changes, more disruptions to the world of sleep.  For a few years, really.  And I look back on those years of sleepless nights with a sense of wonder.  Not as in the wonder that is my children, no.  More like it’s a fucking wonder I didn’t seriously harm someone or myself when I was spending months at a time going on less than 4 hours sleep each night. 

This year particularly has been a bad one for sleep.  So much shit going down, really since the beginning of the year, causing endless sleepless nights or fits of sleep interrupted by insanely disturbing dreams or aches and pains that lift me out of fitful sleep.  So even when I do manage to get a solid 6-7 hours?  I still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck in the mornings.

I think I need a vacation.

Customer Service-R-Us

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed to buy a couple of new bras.  Stop reading now if you’re easily put off by mentions of lingerie, etc.  I mean it.

Okay, if you’re still with me… I had good luck with bras from Change last time I needed them, so off I went.  I have recently been fitted, so I chose two that I liked in my size, tried them on, found that they both fit and flattered, and so I bought them.  All in all about a 20 minute shopping experience.  Done and done.

Flash forward two days later, I am getting dressed to go to work, I decide to wear one of the new bras, and it’s comfy and it’s all good.  When I go to take it off later in the evening though?  Bang – strap breaks.  WTF, seriously?  Brand new bra?  Aaargh.  Okay, so I check it out – it’s clearly a part that was folded over and stitched in place – these bras are all “convertible” – which always cracks me up because you know convertibles are topless -hahaha!  *ahem* Anyway, the bra works as a criss-cross back, so there is gadgetry that allows that, and it looked as if one of the straps wasn’t sewn as tightly as it should have been.

So, okay I’ve got the receipt, all I need to do is go back and exchange it, right?  Which isn’t as easy as it sounds, there seemed to have been forces at work all week to keep me away from the store, and to keep me from having any time whatsoever to exchange it.  Until last night.  So armed with my malfunctioning bra, I hit the mall.  And on the way there I am going through the possible scenarios: they won’t accept returns; they’ll think I wore it for the entire two weeks and wore it out; they’ll blame me for breaking the strap.  Seriously, who does this?  Anyway, I arrived at the store, waited for the clerk to finish with a customer and then approached the desk.  And here’s how it went down:

me:  “hi, I have something to return”

her: “oh?”

me: thinking *oh this is it, there’s no way this exchange is happening* “um, yes, I bought this bra about 10 days ago and wore it once – it was great – then when I took it off, the strap broke”  *now showing her the bra in question*

her: “OMG what?  I…I…have never seen that happen before!”

me: again, thinking *uh huh, and so it’s my fault???*

her:  “Wow, I am SO sorry this happened to you!”

me: “uh…what?”

her:  “I mean that’s awful, there’s no way this should happen, let me go grab another one in your size, unless you want to try something else, if you’re worried that this might be a flaw in the product??”

me: “um, no I’m sure it was a fluke, the same one is fine”

her: “ok, here you go, give it a try, it’s a slightly different style but same pattern and fit, so see what you think”

me: “uh – okay…”

So in I go to the change room and she’s back there too doing some sorting or whatever, and chatting with me through the door:

her: “I just feel so badly that you had to come back and boy I’d be angry if I were you, but you’re so…pleasant about it!”

me: “well, I guess…you know, things like this can happen, so um…yeah, it’s ok, just glad it didn’t happen when I was wearing it you know?”

her:  “OMG I hadn’t even thought about that, how horrible that would have been!  Again, I’m really sorry, and thanks for being so kind about the whole thing!”

me: “uh, again, it’s no problem”

This would be what I call probably the best – if at times a little gushy – customer service I have ever experienced.  Ever.  I even scanned it for sarcasm and it came back clean.  No questions asked, no “wow this makes my evening soooo much harder, bitch” nothing at all except “I am sorry that the product we sold you was not top quality, and I will make it right”.

So Change?  You’ve got me – and my boobs – for life.

Attempting to breathe

So you know how when your life is just kind of going along and you’re getting things done – you’re working, enjoying family life, exercising, shopping, paying the bills and making lunches and it’s all kind of just regular, day-to-day stuff and nothing too out of the ordinary, but that’s ok because it’s all good, you’re just kind of living your life?  Yeah, me neither.  At least not this year.

This year, for the most part, has been pretty shittastic.  And I understand that yes, it could be so much worse, and yes, there are people who struggle much more than we do.  I get that.  But in a year when you’ve already lost a parent, and then your husband – who is normally beyond healthy – has to spend 3 days in hospital with an infection of the lining of his heart, causing severe chest pain and shortness of breath…  You see what I’m getting at? 

So he’s going to be ok, but his recovery is going to be slow.  And in the meantime, life continues at its own breakneck speed, and every so often I need to remind myself that yes, it could be worse.  And ask myself not only “did I eat today?” but more importantly “did I breathe today?”.  Because I know I can stand to miss a meal or two, but air is very necessary.  And we have people who are concerned for us, and people who want to help, which gives me warm feelings to know that our friends are there and helping to make things right in the world for us.

And then I take the recycling and green cart out this morning and see that the passenger window of our car is smashed and an iPod and connector gone.  Aaaaaand once again it seems like life couldn’t get any worse, and the warm fuzzies I had for humanity just yesterday have had the life choked out of them. 

Shit happens, as they say.  And I get that.  But I am so tired of shit happening to us.  That’s all.

Weekends = Cool. Yes.

Yesterday was the big Tiger-Cats game where The Genealogist and The Musician appeared at half-time in the martial arts demonstration team.  Mighty cool.  Both the performance and the temperature.  Brrr it’s getting chilly ’round these parts, that’s for sure.  Then today was a gardening kinda day, with some serious tidying up of the front gardens and the planting of some mums and asters – very, very pretty and also quite cool. 

Then I spent some time roasting tomatoes, onions and garlic à la Michael Smith from Chef at Home, which I then turned into tomato sauce.  Mmmmmm….tasty and oh, so cool.

Now, in honour of the coolness that was my weekend I offer this:

And tomorrow is Monday.  So not cool.

It was just like a vacation…

So I was off for five days over Easter.  Five.  Friday and Monday were holidays for my workplace which is already sweet enough, and then I just up and decided to take Thursday off too, so as to have even more time to enjoy.  And enjoy I did.  The weather was spectacular, which, can I just say?  NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.  Whether it’s a day or a week or a month, you can guarantee that the weather will be craptastic, so it was particularly exciting to have all this time off and to actually be able to get outside and not freeze my ass off or get rained on, or attacked by locusts, or whatever.  Awesome.

In other daily news type stuff, my bus driver got lost this morning.  Not lost-lost, just forgot to take a turn where she was supposed to, causing much panic on her part, calling in to bus control, asking what to do now.  Turns out, just um go around the block and back to the place where you missed the turn duh.  So for those of us who need to catch a connecting bus, well too bad, that ship has sailed.  Or bus has left, whatever.  So I was 20 minutes late for work, so no big really, but you know what?  That’s about the 5th time that has happened to me this year.  Always different bus drivers, sometimes different routes, and often me going up to the front saying politely: “um, excuse me, but I’m not sure if there’s a route change that we don’t know about, but the bus normally turns down that street back there so what the hell, do I have to do everything?”  Or, you know, words to that effect.  I don’t know, man.  I rode the bus all through high school, university, to work during my college years and not once do I remember a bus driver zoning out and missing a turn, going off route (without some sort of reason – accident, watermain break, etc.)  So why now?  What is going on with the bus drivers in my city?  Especially now when there is a disembodied voice telling you what the next stop is, they sometimes still go the wrong way?  Are they even listening to that pleasant disembodied voice?  Or is it like when you’re driving home from work, say, and you decide before you get in the car that you’re going to stop at the market on the way home and pick up a few things, and then you just wind up driving straight home because you’re on auto-pilot?  Maybe it’s like that.  Which doesn’t completely instill confidence, that’s for sure.  I guess I’m old-fashioned, but I kind of like my bus drivers to be, you know, paying attention.  That sort of thing. 

But whatever, it’s still the best way to travel, in my opinion.  Because a monthly bus pass – $87.  Being able to blame your driver on your being late for work – priceless.

Guerilla my dreams

So that actually wasn’t spring after all.  Well technically, according to the calendar it is now spring, but around here we are back to 4C and rain, which causes me to whine and shiver and gives me a pissy headache.  But, you know, onward and everything.

I am one of those people who does a lot of stuff, but if I am ever asked point blank “what are your hobbies?” I have no list at the ready.  Karate?  Sure, I do that, but is it a hobby?  I don’t know.  Maybe, I guess, if you consider sweating a lot and throwing people around a hobby.  Gardening?  Yeah, I do that too, but not in an organized fashion with a real plan or even anything resembling continuity.  I used to do yoga, but again…hobby or exercise or lifestyle?  I’m not sure.  Reading?  Um, doesn’t everyone read?  I have always kind of thought of reading as a skill as opposed to a pasttime or hobby.  You know, a large percentage of the population can read, so it’s not rare or anything.  And again, what constitutes a bona fide hobby anyway?  Wikipedia (I know) defines the word hobby thusly: “A hobby is an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, often in one’s spare time.”  Huh.  Ok, well if you put it that way. 

If you ever visit Michael’s or any other crafty-type store, you might think that the true definition of hobby is “Pursuit of an activity or interest that will cost you shitloads of money, leaving you unfulfilled and with a whole lotta crap in your house that you will probably need a whole other room for eventually”.  Because wow.  In the past couple of years I have watched the scrapbooking section of the Michael’s I occasionally frequent go from an aisle or two to nearly half the store.  Want to find coloured paper?  Well you can’t.  You can find acid-free scrapbooking pages in a variety of rainbow colours for about a thousand dollars a package.  But just want some green or yellow paper for everyday use?  Did I just hear you scoff at me, Michael’s employee?  Yes, I think I did.

I have to be careful, because I know a lot of scrapbookers (actually just saying that makes my teeth hurt) and they are hardcore, people.  They speak a different language, they use special expensive scissors (that look to the uninitiated anyway, just like regular scissors!) they spend a fortune on embellishments and stickers for their pages, they speak in special coded languages about weights and types of paper and they attend weekends away where they engage in special scrapbook activities and events (I assume, anyway).  And for all my mocking and scoffing at their way of life?  I am actually, deep down, a little envious.

Not of the forking out thousands of dollars for stuff, of course.  But more for the ability of the scrapbooker to organize their activities, family events and outings into photo essays, complete with appropriate slogans and nicely crafted cut-outs of relevant items of interest.  I find the whole thing fascinating and repulsive at the same time.  And while I occasionally will wander the aisles of the scrapbooking paraphenalia in awe, and browse through my friends’ well-organized scrapbooks replete with smiling babies surrounde by hearts and flowers, I am never, ever tempted to start down that path.  Why?  Because I know it is something that would set me up for complete and utter failure.

I started this post by saying I am a person who does a lot of stuff, and it’s true.  But I am entirely guerilla in my approach to these things.  Take knitting for example.  I have a friend who is an excellent knitter.  I decided I wanted to knit.  I bought needles and yarn and busted out a whole bunch of scarves last fall, some of which were nice enough to actually give away as Christmas presents.  But would it occur to me to, you know, take a course or learn to read a pattern?  Hell, no.  It’s all about being in the moment.  I want to knit!  NOW!  And I do.  And I will again, and eventually I might even branch out to an actual pattern, but it’s the initial burst of excitement that does it for me.  Gardening is the same.  Last spring I created a bed and planted a bunch of stuff.  Was it stuff that grows well together?  Maybe, maybe not.  It was just seeds I bought at a garden show on a whim.  Let’s have lettuces!  Cilantro!  And OMG tomatillos!  Why the hell not?!?  Yay gardening!

And you know, my guerilla approach has worked for me, for the most part.  Even my foray into yoga was guerilla-based, as was my introduction to running.  (Ask me about the time I went to return some books to the library and came home with a new pair of running shoes and all signed up for a 10 week learn-to-run course with a 5km race at the end of the 10 weeks.)  So stuff works out in the end for me, but there is something about the scrapbook world that just dooms me to failure, I can feel it.  Maybe it’s because my thousands upon thousands of photos and souvenirs are in boxes in my attic.  Maybe because my parents’ thousand upon thousands of photos and souvenirs are in similar boxes and suitcases in their attic.  I don’t seem to have the scrapbooking gene, perhaps. 

And besides, what’s the fun of beginning a hobby only to continue it?  And be good, and successful at it?  And complete entire projects from beginning to end?  Why would I want to do that when there are so many other things to dive into guerilla-style?  Like photography!  Or baking!  Or sewing!  Or wine appreciation!

Actually I might start on that last one tonight.  Suck it, scrapbookers.

ETA:  After I posted this, I realized that the premise of the post reminded me of something I had read previously.  So I did some digging and lo and behold, the Pop Culture Librarian did this “lack of a list of hobbies you can just bust out for people when they ask”-type post first, way back in 2007.  Clearly I have no original thoughts.  So props, kudos and apologies.  And everyone needs to go read the PCL on a regular basis, because she is outstanding.  That is all.