Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Awful Truth

Watching my children navigate the hallways of school has brought me back to my own days of algebra and bra snapping. (Or in my case, lack of bra snapping.) I love watching them suffer through the math tests and science quizzes. Er, I mean, nothing pleases me more as a mother than watching my children adeptly handle all that their teachers require of them. Yes, that's better. He he. There is one major difference between my children and me as a school-aged child. They are decidedly cool, where I was the definition of geek. I was a runt; small and slow to hit puberty, and when I did, I was stuck in the ugly duckling phase while everyone else had already morphed into beautiful swans. I was always out of sync with my peers. I marched to the rhythm of my own invisible drum. Sadly, my drum banged at a different beat than all the others.

My kids, however, rock. And I proudly proclaim this. I have no shame. I beam with pride. Somehow, I managed to give birth to two of the cool kids. They're smart, beautiful and hip. They've escaped (for now) the geek gene that runs unfettered in their blood line.

And when the day comes, (as I fear it may) when they falter and transform into the nerds their parents were, I will be there to prop them up and cheer them on. But until that day (or rather if that day) comes along, I will just marvel at how swan-like they are. And wonder why I never could manage it while stuck in the pit of hell known as public school.

How I longed to be able to stand up to my classmates and tell them they had it wrong, I wasn't a geek, that I was really a rocking gal stuck in some lame pimpled, flat chested body. Just because I didn't have hooters or the skill to rim my eyes with the coolest shades of teal green did not mean that I didn't have a cool streak.

Alas, my voice went unheard. For fear of being shoved into the nearest open locker. But now, as a grown up, the only zits I have are on my back which nobody sees. And I can fake boobs with the best of them, thanks in part to chicken cutletty things and Victoria Secret. Now I will be heard. Even if it's only by my dog. I no longer fear being shoved into a locker.

When Mama Tulip and Mrs. Chicky asked for volunteers to be interviewed, I waved my hand, bounced up and down and cried "Pick me! Pick me!" Cuz dammit, you all need to know the coolness that is me.

Feel free to click away at any time.

Would you ever leave Alberta for another province, or are you gonna live there forever n' ever?

Mama Tulip, two years ago I would have answered that I was free to roll where ever the wind blows me. But now with my Bug planted in the ground I feel connected to my Alberta soil more than ever. I just couldn't bear to leave my boy behind permanently. So I would leave the land of prosperity for a short time, but my chains would always yank me back.

If you could live anywhere else in the world - excluding that God
forsaken place you're living in now - where would that be and why?

Well, Mrs. Chicky, presuming I could exhume my poor Bug (and that thought creeps me out to no end) to take him with us, I'd pick Costa Rica. I have a thing for toucans. And warm temperatures.

Name a song that takes you back to your childhood.

That, Tulip, is easy. My folks were country folks and always had the radio on the farm station. I hear Dolly sing this and I think of my childhood kitchen and the sound of my mom's sewing machine rumbling with the radio on in the background.

I'm sorry, from now on you can only eat one food item for the rest of your life. But you get to pick what type of food that will be. What will you pick?

Mrs. Chicky, that's a tough one. But I'd have to say pizza. I love my cheesy goodness. Oh, how I love my cheesy goodness. (And being stuck out in the middle of no where means I never get to eat my cheesy goodness until it's a congealed and rubbery mess....Shudder.)

Name a staple in your wardrobe.

Well, Mama T, I would love to say underwear, but alas, I'm not wearing any. (Was that an over share?) I'm going to go with my love of sweaters. I love a soft, pretty sweater that fits just right and keeps me warm. Because I really hate being cold. Especially black sweaters. V-neck, turtle neck, angora and cashmere. I love them all.

As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Easy. In fifth grade I loudly proclaimed my wish to be a long haul truck driver like my Grandfather. When the fits of laughter subsided and my teacher finished chastising me about the importance of setting loftier goals and not wasting the gift of my brain, I awkwardly changed my mind and told them I was just joking, I really wanted to be a brain surgeon. My teacher nodded and patted me on the head and told me what a smarter choice that was.

I still think being a truck driver would be cool. And I still think that teacher is an ass.

Which piercing was more painful -- your nipples or your nose?

Tulip, I gotta tell you...hands down the nose. But the nipples bruised a beautiful shade of blue. That look rocked. Blue nips with silver hoops. I should have taken pics.

***Please note above graphic is not in any way, shape or form the opinion of author of this blog. Nor is it a personal preference in the boudoir or at least one that I am choosing to comment on. If my husband sees this post and decides to get some funny ideas, may I direct you to the nearest Hot Asian Chick.***

Finish this sentence - "Girls with tattoos ____________."

...have rocks for brains. That's what my father kept telling me, anyways, Mrs. Chicky. Personally, I think girls with tats get more action. We're a tad wilder in the bedroom. Everybody knows that....

What's your middle name? Is there a story behind that name?

Now, Tulip, that is foul play. I don't tell anyone my middle name. (Except Sillychick whom I have threatened with death to keep it on the downlow.) I will share that it is a family name,and it starts with E and ends with E.

(And Boo, if you ever want to get me naked again, you will keep your mouth shut and your fingers away from that keyboard.)

Having read that, aren't you all just a little surprised I was ever stuffed in a locker? I mean, seriously, am I cool or what?

If anyone is brave (or dumb) enough to want to be interviewed by me, just ask nicely in the comments. Make sure I have your email. This way my husband can't say I never used that degree in journalism. You'd be doing me a favour.

Wink, wink.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


***Updated Below***

Generally, when my darling hubs is out of town, our only communication tends to be the brief phone calls that occur when I wake up in the morning and when he wakes up in the late afternoon. Our conversations tend to consist of "How did you sleep?", "The kids are driving me batshit crazy!!!", "Did you see that hot Asian chick again today?", "How much did you spend on supper? You think we're made of money????" and my personal favorite, "Do you miss me?"

(Of course I miss you, darling. What between cleaning up dog shit, chasing after your kids and the tracks they like to make when ever they come through the door, trying to decide what to feed those children so they don't wilt away and ruin our chances at adopting a new one, keeping your family informed about your whereabouts, and generally just living the life of a single mother, I have nothing but time on my hands to jones for you, your smelly feet and the untold amounts of laundry that seem to follow you whenever you land on my door step.)

Yes, our phone calls are nothing, if not romantic. But the current job the hubs is busting his arse on, has a perk. (Besides the hot Asian chick he gets to ogle every day.)

He has Internet access.

While I like to tease him to stay off the porn sites, I know that he is much too tired to engage in that type of debauchery. Instead, before he crawls into bed to dream of the hot Asian chick his beautiful wife, he checks his email and reads my blog.

Understand, this is a big deal. My husband is not a reader. When he is home he likes to sit on the sofa next to the computer and have me narrate my posts when I've finished them. I read them aloud and wait for the typical eye-rolling that accompanies once I've finished.

(See what you taught your daughter Boo? She got that lovely trick from YOU.)

He has even taking to posting responses to some of my posts. So if you see a Boo in the comments, (you'll know it's him by his grammatical and spelling errors), say hello. He's watching you.

The other morning, just after I stumbled out of bed and pried my children out of their warm soft beds with a jarring "GOOD MORNING!!!" (uttered in a loud, annoying sing song voice) while flicking on their overhead lights, but before my morning cup of java, my husband called.

"I just read your post, love."

Yawn and stretch. "Good morning to you too, Boo. Which post would that be?"

"The one where you speak so eloquently about your vagina."

"You mean the one where I mention how it was torn and tattered by your lovely children -" Hurry up you two! You're gonna miss the bus, and if you think I'm driving you, you've got noodles for brains! "- That one? The one where I mention my monstrous hemorrhoid?"

"Ya, that one."

"You liked that, did you? I was particularly pleased with it myself."

"Um, no," he said dryly. "It was a little descriptive."

"Which part? The part about my vagina or the part about my hemorrhoid?" Now I'm confused and somewhat irritated and desperately needing my caffeine fix. Meanwhile, the children are arguing over how many scoops of sugar to dump over their cornflakes and my right eye has developed a sudden twitch.

"Both. It was a little graphic, don't you think?"

"Are you kidding me? Don't you remember what my vagina and ass-end looked like after I squeezed those suckers out? I thought I understated the truth!"

"You do realize my aunt and uncle read this blog!?"

"No, I didn't. Are you asking me to censor myself so you'll feel more comfortable when you read my work?" Un-freaking-believable! Of all the mornings for my damn coffee maker to take it's sweet ass time percolating my fix.

"Well, I don't want you to censor yourself, just maybe, not write so graphically. Or descriptively. Or mention your vagina, your boobs, or any part of your body that needs to be covered while out in public."

"Wait a second, are we talking about the uncle who asks if you need a pussy poultice whenever you get a boo boo?"

The kids are now arguing over who gets the last raspberry yogurt tube, Nixon the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. keeps jumping up on my leg, begging for attention and my fu*%king coffee still isn't ready.

"Yeah. Him."

"I'm going to pretend we didn't just have this conversation and you aren't going to mention censorship around me, ever again, before 8 am. Deal?" My tone is more than a little annoyed, and my children were almost blinded by the DANGER!!! sign flashing above my head.

My husband must have seen the light, so he quickly changed the subject.

"So do ya miss me?"

***My darling husband is mortified and flattered all at once that you all have taken the time to drop him a line in the comments. Try not to be too nice to him though. His head will swell up like some helium balloon and his ego is already monstrous.

Oh, and hello to his aunt and uncle if they're reading this. I love you!***

Monday, March 26, 2007

End of an Era

Boo, the kids and myself tend to be somewhat of a low-tech family. Sure, we have digital gadgets. I couldn't live without my iMac and all of the toys that go with it, and I was finally brow-beaten into trading my old camera for a spanky new digital model. But on the whole, we are decidedly low tech. And we revel in our archaic ways. In fact, we thrive marching to the beat of our batteries-aren't-required drum.

We like board games. Nothing beats sitting around a table with a chess game between you and the cold, steely eyes of your competitor. Memories of hours spent with friends and siblings playing games like Connect Four and Life, echo in our minds, reminding of us of the warm and fuzzies of our lost youth. The marathon sessions of Monopoly, while snacking on orange juice and pistachios (and volunteering to be the banker so as to pilfer an extra $500 bill when no one was watching), provided us with endless hours of quality bonding time with one another.

Those were good times. It's not to say we didn't spend time in front of the television, hooked up to the newly purchased Atari system and trying to outwit the clever Donkey Kong. But board games always wooed us back with promises of laughter, camaraderie and merriment.

Boo and I never out grew our love of old fashioned entertainment. Board games have held their sway over us and carried into adult hood. Just add liquor and presto! Instant adult entertainment. Ever try playing Twister while tossing back vodka shooters? It's the one game where you can "accidentally" latch on to a lady's boob or a man's posterior and get away with it. In fact, the more schnockered you are, the funner it gets. Try getting away with a boob graze or a butt clutch while playing video games and see what awaits you. You will have the authorities called in a heart beat.

As parents clinging to their past, we have tried to pass along our love of good wholesome family cheating values and invested a sizeable chunk of change in a variety of games. We started out with Candyland and Perfection, then Snakes and Ladders and then eventually moved up to more serious pursuits of Risk.

It's not to say we keep our kids in a cave and deprive them of all high-tech wonders. When my brother, Stretch, discovered we as parents had shied away from a video entertainment system, he stepped in to become the benefactor of my children's game system. He didn't want his niece and nephew to grow up with out knowing the pleasures of staring endlessly at a television screen while rapidly and repeatedly pressing buttons with their thumbs.

But the seeds had already been planted in my childrens minds, our indoctrination was successful. (That's not to say they haven't lost hours of their lives while toiling away to conquer the latest Zelda game.) Our kids love board games too.

So last night, after dinner, we broke out the ole Scrabble board. And as the eldest, and thus the most responsible, I kept the letter bag close at hand, to ensure no cheating occurred. Fric and Frac are extremely competitive and will go to great lengths to try and beat the pants off the other.

I sat there and marvelled at how these bright and beautiful children of mine can sit and intelligently play a game with me. It was only yesterday it seemed, that they were teething and learning how to totter about. I realized how swiftly time passes and how blessed I was to have these sweet souls call me mom. It won't be long before they totter off into the real world, leaving me with memories of their youth and a dusty game board.

I also realized my time for cheating unnoticed is swiftly coming to an end. Like sands through an hour glass, my absolute reign as board game Queen is coming to an end. Unless I better my slight of hand tricks, I may actually have to start playing by the rules.

Those kids are smart and have eyes like a hawk.

They take after their father. Dammit. I can't cheat with him either.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pass the Puns, Please

Part of parenting involves giving of one's time, energy and knowledge. I don't generally have a problem with this except for when it comes to math homework. Then I scurry off into a dark corner (usually my pantry, where I keep my booze) and wait until they figure it out for themselves. I don't want my children to discover how incredibly useless I am when it comes to basic math skills. They'll figure it out for themselves soon enough. Why rush it?

Today's lesson in parenting will not involve any math. It will, however, involve chocolate chips, sugar and cracking some eggs. My kids want to learn to bake cookies and who am I to stand in the way of their dreams? I plan on sitting at the counter, supervising in a very serious manner and licking out the bowl. Because cookie dough is very serious business.

Somebody could get hurt if they tried to get between me and that raw sugary goodness.

Of course, while my children toil away to serve me with warm, fresh, gooey cookies, I will be letting my inner freak out, to groove to the beats that soothe my soul. Go ahead, laugh at me. I'll be stuffing my face with heavenly confection and jerking about like a chicken having epileptic fits. But I will be enjoying myself while doing it.

I'll leave you this cheesy goodness as my gift to you. Since I can't won't share my cookie batter with you, I will at least offer you this stinky fromage. I'm thoughtful like that. Enjoy!

In my neck of the woods there are many businesses that are home to cats. One particular bar in our neighbourhood has a very well groomed resident cat who is quite friendly. In fact, the owner has a rule that no customer may order a drink without having the kitty sit in his lap and groom herself for a while.

He wants to be sure that all his customers can hold their licker.

Hee hee.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Releasing My Inner Freak

I love Saturdays. Today is the day I can kick back, crack the whip, and watch my little servants children clean my house. Of course, they don't do a very good job, but when your vision is blurred by the mommy juice, everything just sparkles so purdy-like.

While my little slaves, and please note, I didn't strike the word 'slave'. Why bother denying it? After all, I figure they owe me. I gestated those lil' buggers for ten months (cuz they refused to leave the womb like normal babies), got stretch marks and a permanent hemorrhoid for my effort. When they decided to vacate the premises to explore the world awaiting them, they burst forth with such gusto that they left my poor vagina torn and tattered. And let's not get into the horrible things they did to my nipples. I have since endured the indignities of having to clean up all manner of body fluids and solids, have been repeatedly infected with plague-like germs, have been called to the principal's office more times than a little boy with ADD and have had to eat more ketchup-covered foods than a human should be made to.

So yes, my slaves. While my slaves scrub (half-assed, admittedly) and polish, and generally try to make our home presentable, I like to kick back with my coffee and Bailey's, grab a book, and relax. Occasionally, I will look up, and point out where they missed a spot. Because I'm thoughtful like that.

If they are really nice to me (re: don't whine too loudly) I will let them play music whilst they toil. Because I am a big music lover. Nothing soothes the soul of this beast like melodic harmonies blaring from my antiqued stereo system. So, when the lovely Southern Mom of 2 tagged me for this musical meme, I was delighted. And fearful.

Because now you will all know my lack of taste doesn't just extend itself to cheap wine and smelly puns. It is awful across the board. The rules of this particular meme, if you are unaware, are that I am to list seven songs I am presently enjoying and then pass the pain along to seven more.

Well, dear internet, I am nothing if not a sentimental fool. My music tastes run the gamut but I have this annoying charming quirk of having to play the same songs over and over again, every damn day, even if I am listening to a new artist or c.d. If my stereo is on, these songs must pass the speakers and into my ears. I'm kinda obsessive about this. To the point that my husband and small children would like to hurt me when they hear these songs.

So, this musical meme is perfect to me. I can share their pain with you. And share I will. Buckle your seat belts and be prepared to be shocked and amazed at my inner musical geekiness.

I'm so embarrassed.

1. TO WHERE YOU ARE, Josh Groban. I figure this is pretty self-explanatory, but for some clarification, after my son passed away, I was struggling with facing our first Christmas only weeks after his passing. When I went through our mail, I found a parcel from his lovely Lyle. His pediatrician knew how I suffered and mailed me this c.d with a sticky on it to listen to this track. Fric, Frac and myself mourned that night; raw with our wounds, while listening to the voice of an angel. Now we listen to this song and smile and it brings us closer to our Bug.

2. RESPECT, Aretha Franklin. Words that I live by. Generally with a hairbrush in my hand while dancing around with Fric and Frac, trying to capture my inner Aretha.

3. ANIMALS, Nickelback. Gotta love any song that reminds you of the time you and your husband were 18 and parked out in the middle of nowhere, engrossed in a good match of tonsil hockey, when out of no where, a police officer appears, raps on the window and wants to know if everything is alright. And wants to hear it from the lady. The lady who is shirtless and trying to cover herself up while dying of embarrassment. Yeah, gotta love that song.

4. WHAT A GOOD BOY, Barenaked Ladies. My inner musical geek shines through here. But every time this song comes on, my hubs starts to sing and rock out and I get to giggle at him. True love at it's finest.

5. TINY DANCER, Elton John. I discovered Elton at the tender age of thirteen. I have loved him ever since. I can rock out to any of his music and whenever I feel particularly stressed, his is the first voice I long to hear to chill out to.

6. THE TRUCK GOT STUCK, Corb Lund. Let me explain, before you stone me and hiss. First off, you can't live in Alberta, go to live shows and avoid Corb. He is an institution. And he is so very, very nice. Really. I've met him. More than once. Secondly, you can't be an Albertan farmer and not understand this song. And thirdly, my kids know every word and we like to screech it from the top of our lungs. And I live close to a Hutterite colony and it is sooo true.

7. I'LL BE THERE, Shane Young. Another lesser known Canadian gem. He also happens to be my Piano man, and provider of free booze. How could I not love him? On Valentines day he crooned all my favorite songs to me and my hubs so as to ensure Boo would get lucky that night. That's friendship at it's finest. Plus, he's teaching me to cook. So my husband won't leave my sorry ass. What's not to love?

There you go, my inner freak revealed. I'm not going to tag anyone, cuz I'm a rule-breaking rebel that way. Now I'm going to slink off into the darkness of the interweb, plug in my earbuds and pray I don't die of embarrassment. But not before I get the kids to scrub the floors.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Burning Sensation

Last night, as I was scraping the burnt remains of my annual attempt at cooking into the garbage, I overheard my children whispering heatedly in the next room. I heard only pieces of their conversation and wasn't really paying any real attention to their squabble as I was still fighting the queasy feeling from trying to digest my overly charred supper. As I was eyeing the blackened remains of our supper and pondering if I should offer them to my dog or not, Frac raced through the kitchen, into his room and then zipped back through the kitchen holding a dictionary.

My heart warmed at the site of this. (Well that, and the heartburn that was currently attacking my insides.) Nothing pleases a writer mom more than watching her offspring navigate a dictionary.

More than a little curious now, I tiptoed to the edge of the living room and tried to become stealth-like. I wondered what word they were arguing over, and I pictured them debating the spelling and definition of a variety of large words. I had visions dance through my head of attending their graduation ceremonies, both of them the valedictorians, and then, maybe one day, watching them win Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for their great works of literature.

I like to dream big.

As my stomach tossed and turned the evenings offerings around in my belly, I cupped my ear and listened.

"No Frac, you are wrong. That is not what it means," said my daughter in her huffy, know-it-all-big-sister voice.

"Yes, Fric it does too. You're wrong," came my son's biting retort.

My daughter then grabbed the dictionary and tossed it aside. "This is a baby dictionary. We need to get the big one from Mom's room."

"No we don't. I'm right. And you're a booger-eater." So clever that boy of mine.

"No, a playboy bunny is just a rabbit a boy plays with at Easter, Frac. That is what it means. You're stupid," my witty girl retorted.

What the fu*%??? I thought.

"No," countered my son, " a playboy bunny is a rich boy's pet. That's what a playboy is. That's what my teacher says. It's a grown man with lots of money and time to waste. So a playboy bunny is his pet. YOU ARE STILL A BOOGER EATER. And I'm smarter than you," he said in a smirking sing song tone.

Suddenly, visions of my darling children's literary accomplishments vanished in a puff of smoke. I quickly backed away and turned on my stereo in the kitchen. There is no way in hell I am going to define what a playboy bunny is.

I wouldn't want to give either one of them ideas.

I had disturbing visions of my son wearing a smoking jacket while my daughter wore significantly less while lounging about in a grotto.

I have resolved to no longer eavesdrop. I don't want to know when they start trying to figure out words like blowjob and sex kitten.

I'm hiding the dictionaries.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Visions of Grace

I was never one of those mothers who wished for a moment of peace and quiet. Well, maybe I was, but that was long before the birth of Shalebug. When he arrived everything shifted. The absence of normal that came with his disabilities had me longing for the mundane. I longed to hear a baby cry. To see him scrunch his face up in anger and to see that same face smooth out with a big baby grin. I longed for spit up and messy diapers. As he grew I longed for squabbles over dinky cars and watching episodes of Thomas the Train over and over again until I thought I would lose my mind.

I longed for a regular kid. I felt jipped that I was missing out on all the experiences that culminate in parenthood. His brother and sister were such fabulous little pains in the ass, I was heartbroken that I wasn't going to experience that type of childhood all over again. I felt robbed. And more so, I felt that Bug was cheated in the cruelest fashion.

Those feelings lasted for a while, clinging like a sock to a towel after being pulled from the dryer. I don't know when exactly my perception shifted, but suddenly I was no longer grieving his (and my) losses, I was celebrating his gains. When Fric and Frac learned to sit, stand, speak, and most of all, potty in the big person's toilet, I celebrated. Boo celebrated. We felt the parental high that comes with watching your child grow and overcome the milestones before them.

With Bug, there were very few milestones. I was given a calendar to mark his first year. First smile, first grab of rattle, first step, first word, first shots. I didn't even get to use his first tooth sticker. His tongue was stitched to his bottom lip, pulled over his lower gum, so that he wouldn't swallow it or choke on it. It was surgically released when he was 13 months old. When I saw him for the first time after that surgery I was amazed to see two white little teeth staring back at me. Hidden this whole time, under his tongue. I never even knew.

Instead of the traditional milestones we ended up making our own. The first time he didn't have cardiac arrest during surgery. The first time he went through the night with out his oxygen saturation monitor going off and scaring the shit out of Boo and me. The first time he'd let me suction his drool without him biting down on the hose. Sounds scary and foreign, I know, but it really wasn't. It was just different.

Instead of looking forward to his first step, we looked forward to him holding his head up. (18 months.) Instead of toilet training we celebrated him being able to sit on the floor with pillows around him. (25 months.) Instead of words we celebrated a tentative high five. (37 months.) And when I say celebrate, I mean break out the balloons, phone the in laws, pour the wine and raise the rafters celebrate. No one thought we were silly or overdoing it. Because for this small, wee man named Bug, it was a milestone. Overcome with a grace and perseverance that I have rarely seen in a human being. It overshadowed his siblings accomplishments with quiet dignity. A little boy who struggled to breath, to eat, to move, but never gave up.

It was, and is an amazing testament to the human spirit. It became addictive. Not just for Boo and myself, but for Fric and Frac as well, who revelled in watching their brother take tiny steps towards independence. For Boo and me, we marvelled at how lucky we were, to be given an opportunity to witness these small little children morph into people. We were blessed. Not only did we get the experience of watching Fric and Frac conquer the world of toddler hood, but we got to enjoy the journey that Bug took, a journey most people never witness or understand.

It was very addictive. And our family is suffering the symptoms of withdrawal. For a boy who never spoke, he made so much noise. He filled up the spaces in our lives. His absence is deafening. Fric and Frac miss him, in a way I will never understand. Boo says he feels as if there is a hole in him that will gap open forever, a wound that will never heal. For me, it is all of this and more. When Bug died, he took my heart with him. I have had to relearn how to live, love and breathe again. And every morning, I have to start all over again.

When Boo was home this past weekend, we dumped the kids on the in laws got a babysitter, and went for some mommy-daddy quality time together. That's right, we went shopping. The true romance of being married almost a decade. Nothing says love like being able to walk hand in hand in a crowded mall and oogle the younger generation and their perky boobs.

As we sat and licked a frozen yogurt cone and discussed the merits of diamond wedding bands versus bigger diamond wedding bands, a young man and his aide wandered through our line of vision. His gait was halted, he stuttered and his hair was slightly greasy with a rooster tail sticking up in the back. His aide was a middle aged woman who refused eye contact with the shoppers around her. She looked tired and haggard. The young man was enthused by the life buzzing around him. He and I made brief eyecontact for just a second, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. He smiled widely before his aide hurried him past us.

My husband was watching me and him thoughtfully, and when the man passed Boo noticed a tear welling up in my eye. He grabbed my hand and squeezed. I licked my yogurt, trying to quell the rush of emotion that threatened to break past the dyke. After a moment, he commented that when he sees a handicapped person he wonders what Shalebug would have been like at that age. Would he have worked as a greeter at Walmart? Would he have been able to cobble steps together or be pushed around in chair. He just wonders.

I digested this for a moment. When I see a disabled person, I too, wonder about Bug and the life he was shorted. But mostly, when I see a disabled person, I find myself blessed to be able to see them. For before my boy, I wouldn't have made eye contact. I would have felt pity for them and more so for their aide; I would have felt slight disdain and a sense of relief that I didn't have to shoulder such a burden.

As I watched that man and woman slowly shuffle down the mall, I felt awe. Awe for the obstacles that man overcame, and awe for the obstacles he still faced. I envied that man, and his life and wondered briefly why he made it to adult hood and not Shalebug. But mostly, what I saw was a little boy with long wavy blonde locks wobble his way around his mom with obvious delight. I remembered letting him roam in the mall and him losing his balance and faltering against an attractive woman. Him steadying himself with his small chubby hand on her ass. Her look of surprise and my embarrassed laughter as I scooped him up and apologized for my little ladies man.

When I see a disabled person, I see all the joy my boy gave me and my family. All the hope he inspired and still inspires. All the love he blessed us with. I see the possibility for greatness, even if it's a quiet greatness, one not readily acknowledged by the masses.

I squeezed my husband's hand and shook myself out of my reverie, and told him, "I see grace."

And I do.

Thank you Bug.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Magic Moments

As most of you know, the hubs works out of town in the oil industry, sleeping in man camps (paid prison I like to call them) or hygienically-challenged motels. There are very few women where he works, and the few ladies that he does encounter tend to be more masculine and sport heavier facial hair than the average male. Suffice it to say, by the time the hubs rolls in, home is looking pretty good. There are no fat, foul men hanging about, belching and smelling up the joint. The bed is soft and the sheets are clean. If he's really lucky, I may even serve him macaroni and cheese a la wieners with freshly shaved legs.

I really know how to go all out and treat a man. We haven't stayed together this long just by sheer luck, you understand.

When Boo first arrives home, it is akin to chaos. Every one is happy to have him back. Even Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. doesn't seem to mind being punted to the end of the bed. After the excitement wears off and you can peel the kids off dad like little burrs, things start to settle into a pattern. A nice groove. The honey-do list gets brought out and we earnestly start negotiating which chores will get done in exchange for which reward. Garbage disposal for a back rub, chimney sweeping for a hummer, returning the month overdue videos for fresh baked cookies.

Turns out, we both have our limits. My chimney still needs sweeping and my hubs refused to do the walk of shame to return the movies and face the fines. But what is marriage if not a little give and take?

These were the first four consecutive days the hubs and I have spent together since Christmas time. Sure, we've seen each other in passing, but to actually BE together for 96 straight hours has been a luxury. Slightly marred by a small vomit-fest, sure, but still a luxury. He showed he loved me by feeding me soda crackers and ginger ale, all the while promising me I could make it up to him when I felt better.

Funny, I'm still queasy...

It wasn't all roses and raindrops while he was home. The man reminded me on more than one occasion that he was absolutely blessed that he was married and not sentenced to die single and alone. Take for instance, when I got out of the shower and the hubs walked into the bathroom. With an admiring glint in his eye, he looked at me and winked. I, of course, having just showered off particles of vomit, was in no mood for anything."What???" I snarled. The dumbass hubs looks at me and innocently comments on how 'that's what he likes to see. A naked woman with a little extra meat on her bones.'

WTF??? That's me, naked, shivering and apparently, fat as a hog. Just what I needed to hear at that particular moment.

I'd have taken more offense to that particular comment, however, I was in the throws of Puke-Fest 07 and had more urgent matters to consider. And it's not like my husband has maintained his boyish figure if you know what I mean. At least I've popped out three kids. Asshat.

I do believe the piece de resistance (translation:the DUMBASS Moment of the Year Award) was when Fric and Frac were doing their chores as Boo and I cuddled on the couch. Boo was growing increasingly more frustrated with their shoddy efforts at housekeeping and suddenly decides to take it upon himself to teach the kids the proper way to clean.

"You know, if I were home more, maybe they wouldn't be this way," Boo comments, as he commandeers the dust rag.

"And just WHICH way would that be?" I ask. Poor fool. He was like a deer in the headlights, too stupid to see the train coming before it flattens him.

"Well, lazy and inept. If I were home, they wouldn't be this ridiculously incompetent. They'd have me to set an example for them."

"As opposed to the example of me, sitting on my increasingly large backside, while doing nothing but watching telly and eating chips, right?" Did I mention my hubs may not be the brightest bulb in the bunch, but he is VERY pretty.

"That's not what I meant. I just meant I could do it better. I could show them the proper way to clean a house."

As opposed to the improper way I have been teaching them. Foolish me.

"Are you saying I haven't been teaching them properly?" You'd think he'd have noticed the bright DANGER!! signs flashing over my head at this moment. Not my hubs. Cute and oblivious.

"No, I know you DO your BEST. But -"

Interrupting him I say, "But my BEST is not as good as your BETTER, right?"

Let's just say it was right about then that he kissed any chance for a hummer good bye. It flew out my dirty, incompetently cleaned window right about then.

"Exactly! I knew you'd get it."

Oh, I get it. I get that while I was sitting on the couch eating ice cream, my husband and my kids were cleaning my house. As I sat and watched. And did nothing. Seems to me, my best is far better than even he realizes. After all, my house was cleaned, my children were re-educated, and my husband's ego stroked all while I sat on the couch and ate my mint-chocolate chip ice cream.

And I never even had to give a hummer to get my floors washed. Seems to me, my best is pretty damned good.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pass the Puns, Please

I learned a few things yesterday. First off, flu germs can survive a good scrubbing by Mr.Clean, Lysol and a variety of other cleaning chemicals. Secondly, woofing my cookies while my throat is still sore from the ravages of the strep bug is decidedly unfun. And thirdly, taking four gravol pills to help ease the nauseous feeling is the equivalent to hitting oneself up side the head with a baseball bat. I was completely knocked out.

The upside to that is I defintely caught up on my beauty rest. And it's hard to puke while unconscious.

It feels good to be upright and not green around the gills. But hey, at least I was resembling the right colour for yesterday. A little St.Paddy's green.


So, to celebrate my non-stooped-over-the-toilet-bowl position, I have dug up the best cheese I could find. The best, odourless cheese a girl could find.

Strong smells may induce me back to tossing the cookies, and that's a chance I'm not prepared to take. Enjoy!

One day, a man from the Czech Republic came to visit his friend in New York.

When asked what he wanted to see, the visitor replied, "I would like to see one of the zoos in America."

To his delight, the New Yorker took him to the Bronx Zoo. They were touring the zoo, and standing in front of the gorilla cage, when one of the gorillas busted out of the cage and swallowed the Czech whole.

Shocked, his friend from New York quickly called over the zoo keeper. He quickly explained the situation and the zoo keeper immediately took steps to save the man's friend. The zoo keeper got an axe and asked the man, "OK, which gorilla did it? Was it the male or the female?" The New Yorker pointed out the female as the culprit. Quickly, the zoo keeper split the female gorilla open and found nothing of the Czech.

He looked at the man from New York, who shrugged and said, "Guess the Czech is in the male."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Welcome To Hell...

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Something scary is happening to my daughter, Fric. At ten years old, she is rapidly becoming as cuddly as a porcupine. When her brother sees her, he now turns on one foot and high tails it in the opposite direction. Just the other day I found him hiding in my closet. I asked him what he was doing there as I secretly worried he was eyeing my shoes and fingering my dresses. Thankfully, he wasn't. No, instead he was hiding from his sister and her mood.

The puberty induced mood. It has to be it. I can't think of anything else that would take my sweet beautiful Fric and turn her into the green-pea spewing, head swivelling demon she has become. I'm slightly afraid of her. And I think she knows it.

I was young when I discovered I was pregnant with her. 20 years old, and living with my best friend. Her father and I, had discovered the joys of sex. With each other. (As opposed to the solo variety he liked to participate in frequently.) She wasn't planned but she wasn't unwanted. Well, that's not true. For about an hour after I found out I was pregnant, you could find me out in my apartment's very brightly lit white corridor, sitting on the floor, smoking a pack of ciggies (and I don't smoke people) freaking out wondering if I was grown up enough to be a mother.

Then her father came, held me in his arms, took away my freshly purchased cigarettes and told me I would rock this parenting gig. Fool that I was, I believed him. Boo and I didn't rush into anything, we just continued as normal as I swelled with gestational love. He stayed out on the farm and I stayed in my city apartment. We bought baby paraphernalia and went on dates. We argued over baby names on the telephone. I insisted she was a girl, he insisted she had a penis.

Side note: He has since learned not to argue with me. I am ALWAYS right.

And when she finally arrived, he ran over a porcupine in his haste to see his daughter safely enter this world. Ah, the sacrifice a father will make for his child. When we held her in our arms for the first time, we knew we'd be fine. We were a family, the three of us. She was a gift to her daddy and I, and we make sure to often tell her this.

Sure she wasn't easy. She refused my boobs. She had colic. And she could power shit like no other. She refused to grow hair, she wouldn't speak until almost three and she had a love of coloring on walls that I still haven't managed to cure her of. But she has a smile that lights up the room and a capacity for love that makes me feel extraordinary. Like most new moms, I was completely, utterly mesmerized by her and my powerful love for her.

Now, as she snarls at her brother, and rolls her eyeballs at me, it is all I can do from sneaking into the pantry and breaking open the mommy juice. Where the hell did my sweet ray of sunshine get off to? I am completely unprepared for the demon who is my daughter these days.

Is this the first step of puberty? What's next? The sproutage of boobage and body hair? A love of black eyeliner and a fondness for black clothing? Will she take down her doll collection and replace it with pictures of boys? Will she finally stop listening to Shania and Britney and start listening to the Clash or the Cure? I would pay her large sums of money to speed up that process. Will she suddenly insist on privacy in the bathroom as she wraps toilet paper around her hand 45 times to stop up the toilet?

How long does this stage last? When will it end? Will she ever stop rolling her damn eyeballs at me? I'm getting sick of seeing the whites of her eyes. I'm completely unprepared for this stage of parenting. I don't know how to be the cool mom to a pubescent tween. I'm stuck in the past, I suppose. I'm still rocking the soccer mom thing, and being the rock star at the Christmas concerts. I can't morph into the terribly uncool, unknowing mom who doesn't get tweeny-boppers.

I refuse to become that mom who tries so hard to fit in with her kids that she makes a complete ass of herself and has all the other moms pointing and laughing behind her back, while her daughter proclaims how much she hates her geeky mother to all of her pot-smoking, soon-to-be-knocked-up teeny bopper friends.

This was so much easier when you could just shove a plug in their mouth and bounce them into sleep.

I suppose I should come out of my pantry and start trying to morph into a puberty-understanding mother. Let go of the past and embrace the future. Perhaps if I buy her matching mother-daughter outfits and sync up our iPods, she'll stop spinning her head around and welcome me back into her world?

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I wish I was on a Deserted Island

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If you are looking for deep thoughts or comedy coming from this corner of the blogosphere, you may want to keep looking. I freely admit to blogging today for the purposes of garnering sympathy and perhaps a kind comment or two. I'm sick. Again. Apparently, keeping my tonsils may prove to be a bit of a challenge at my age. Unless I like waking up every two weeks or so with swollen glands and general feelings of crap. And I can't even tell you how sexy I sound when I talk. It sounds as if my mouth is full of marbles. Hot!

Last night, after a day of filled with self-pity and endless rounds of throat lozenges, I went to bed early in hopes of waking up with a bright and cheery disposition and a fever-less day.


Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up to "Mom, mom!" being quietly whispered beside me. In my sleep-like fog, I was confused and thought it was my dead son trying to reach out and touch me. I woke up screaming, scaring not only myself, Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. but my very much alive son, Frac.

After realizing that he wasn't his brother's ghost and when everyone's heart rates resumed to the normal range, I asked what brought him to my bedroom on his tippy toes.

Turns out the little duffer wasn't feeling well. My mommy instincts kicked into high gear and I pried my arse out of my warm cozy bed and went to get him some medicine. The stomach flu is going around in his school and he was the newest victim.

After I told him I loved him (from a distance of course, I don't want his nasty bugs playing tag with the critters torturing me) I handed over a bucket with instructions to hurl in it if he feels he can't make it to the bathroom in time. And then I crawled into my bed, thanking the heavens above that I just have strep throat and not the flu.

A half an hour later, I was again awakened by urgent whisperings of "MOM!!" Turns out, he vomited, (he made it to the bathroom) and he just wanted to share the news with me. He's thoughtful that way. I congratulated him, gave him a glass of water and sent him back to bed. Meanwhile, I'm feeling like a Mack truck just ran me down.

This cycle continued twice more last night, and each time he hurled, he shared the news like the proud nine year old boy he was. I tried to restrain my annoyance and pretended to be a good mother each time.

And then, I woke up to "MOM!" again whispered beside me.

"For Pete's sake, Frac, I'm sick too. Get your own damn glass of water this time," I snarled sleepily at my sickly son.

"No, mom, I puked but I didn't make it to the bathroom this time."

"Well, that's why I gave you a bucket. Did you use it?"

"No," he replied, sorrowfully.

"Why not? Did you lose it?" I asked, annoyed by the prospect of having to change his sheets.

"No, I just didn't want to DIRTY it."

Imagine the teeth marks on my tongue as I bit down so that I didn't hurl a stream of invective at him.

"Where exactly did you toss your cookies then, Frac?" I asked, picturing goo mixed in with a down comforter.

"Oh, I didn't want to make more work for you so I just leaned over from the top bunk and puked over the rail."

That's right, dear internet. He didn't want to make more work for his sick and fevered mother by dirtying the pail that sat beside him.

So instead, he leaned over the rail on his bed, five feet up in the air, and spewed forth like a geyser.

I've got splattered puke everywhere. Walls, underside of the bed, his book case across the freaking room, the bottom bunk's bedding, his dresser etc...If I wasn't so damn sick and disgusted, I may have been impressed with the spectacular size of splatter.

Turns out though, I'm FREAKING sick, and scrubbing vomit off every damn surface in my boy's room, as he is happily munching on toast and watching cartoons, just kind of kills any scientific fascination I may have harboured.

But it's all worth it, right? Because one day, when I'm old and feeble and he has to take care of me, I'm gonna shit my pants big time. And as he's plugging his nose and grimacing and wishing I'd just hurry up and kick it, I'm gonna look at him and smile and say "Remember the time...."

We mother's never forget.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Key To Success

Growing up, I used to wish that my body would hurry up and hit puberty. All I wanted, more than anything in the world, was a pair of boobs. I just wanted to grow a set. Every night, I talked to God and tried to barter for a pair of nice round melons. I was one of the last kids in my junior high to hit puberty. You know that girl. The one where the boys would snicker and yell out that about me her being a carpenter's dream when I she walked by. Flat as a board, never been nailed. The girls weren't much better as they would adjust their bra straps and stare at my flat expanse with a knowing sneer.

Bitches. Eventually, I grew boobs. Sure they were little, hardly more than bee stings, but they were proudly protruding. I kept thinking they would get bigger. I was a fairly tall girl, and I'm from a family with some fairly impressive bazongas. My grandma's boobs were so big and heavy, her bra cut into her shoulders and left permanent scars. My mom's hooters are a fair size and my sister had a bigger rack than I did by the time she was 13. And I am three years older than she is. I have several cousins who's one boob is bigger than my head. To my line of reasoning, I figured one day I would sprout a Dolly-like rack, like the rest of the women-folk in my family. So I waited, rather impatiently, for my body to catch up with my imagination. It never occurred to me that I would be the willowy, thin athletic girl. Nope, surrounded by mammoth mammaries, I wanted to be part of the crowd. I wanted to be able to tell a boy 'hey, my eyes are up here.' How marvellous it would be to have a boy stare at my chest and wonder what was under there.

One day, I went to my girlfriend's house and we were talking boobs. Well, we were talking about boobs, but I'm sure we were boobs as well. After all, we were 15 and we thought we knew it all. Her mom, a very nice woman with an impressive endowment herself, overheard our conversation. She informed us that we couldn't consider ourselves as having cleavage until we could stand in front of the mirror and make the girls jiggle and bounce.

My girlfriend had no issue with this, as she was already sporting a C-cup. But me and my nipples took umbrage with that statement. For years I stood in front of a mirror, with my shirt off, and tried to shake them bigger. Anything to get the girls to bounce.

I don't recall when it was exactly that I grew my set. Suddenly, they were there. My husband (then boyfriend) liked to say they were perky. And that anything more than a handful was a waste. Problem is, my husband has freakishly large mitts. But the good man he is (read: Smart man who wanted to get laid on a regular basis) never made me feel like I was a walking plank.

While I don't remember when I finally hit puberty, I vividly remember the day I woke up with milk-engorged boobs. Holy Mother of GAWD! My husband and I marvelled at my new found lushness. It was a miracle. Suddenly, I was tall, thin and I had BOOBS! For those few months, it didn't matter that I sprayed milk like a geyser just by thinking about my baby, I finally had my girls. Ignorantly, I believed my titties would remain inflated. Imagine my shock and horror when they suddenly started to deflate. Not only did they get smaller, but they got softer and doughier. Freaking lovely.

Now I was saddled with itty-bitty titties that sagged and stretched out, like my own little beaver tails. Where's the fun in that? I have since lived with my sad little guns, rolled shoved into a padded bra, and I try to tell myself no one notices. Boys are attracted to my sparkling personality and quick wit. Girls only see a woman's hair and shoes, so I should be safe if I keep those bases covered. RIGHT???

Who cares that when I lay down in bed the girls disappear into my pits, leaving me looking like a prepubescent twelve year old boy? (Minus the hairy beaver of course.) The hubs still loves me. The upside to my after-child rack is they now jiggle. Boy, do they jiggle. And bounce. And flap around. Good thing they are little, because if they were any bigger, I may lose an eye while performing certain, ahem, activities. If you know what I mean. Wink, wink.

Recently, I have noticed my bosom is a little larger. I'm not sure if I've gained some weight, or if I'm having an allergic reaction to my dust bunnies. Either way, the gap in my A-cups has gotten smaller. I've actually had to take some padding out! My hubs thinks it's because I sit on my ass and blog all day, while stuffing my face with bonbons.

I have another theory. I finally figured out how to grow the girls. After several months of exercising the chest region, my melons have finally responded.

I'm thinking of starting a marketing campaign. Taking out a patent on my idea. It's aimed at small chested women. A Safe And Easy Way to Grow Your Guns!* Just follow my instructions and soon your breasts will be one size larger.

The secret to my success, the trick to enhanced cleavage:

How much do you think I should charge for this fountain of knowledge?

*Disclaimer: Not for the faint of heart or the queasy. Call your doctor if bleeding occurs.

Edit: I apologize to my daughter Fric, in advance. Years down the road, when you are a young woman and you read this post (or when you are in high school and learn to hack into the ole computer) I want you to know that I pierced my nipples in moment of insanity and grief. There was no actual benefit to their size (except when I hiked them up with string and tied the string around my neck.) Nor was the piercing of any sexual value. In fact, the jewellery is a pain in the well, tit. Literally. I also apologize if you happen to inherit my hooter dna instead of one of your large breasted aunts or grandmothers. But remember: Kleenex is a poor bra filler. The silicon chicken cutletty things work much better. Learn from your mama. I speak the truth...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pass the Puns, Please

In a moment of insanity last night, (and extreme parental laziness) I decided to take my kidlets out for supper. (The reality is I couldn't decide what to make for dinner, and I didn't feel like slaving over a stove only to have my kids poke at their plates, shrivel their noses and ask "What IS this?" with that special look of disgust that only they can manage.) So, off to the city we went.

I decided to take them to the restaurant I used to take their brother to almost daily, while he was in preschool. We went there so often that the waitstaff came to his funeral when he passed. His fondness for spoons and drooling over an orange peel were sadly missed when he left. I thought it might be nice to give the kids a little piece of their brother.

Turns out, they were bowled over by how classy the joint was. I really have to stop feeding my kids in the back seat of my car. They couldn't believe there was a salad bar. I know, I know. Really, I couldn't have set the bar any higher if I tried! They behaved themselves, and asked a million questions about their brother, which I answered while trying to blow bubbles in my milkshake glass. (Cuz I'm classy like that.)

Eventually, the conversation shifted from their brother to more current topics. Like boyfriends and girlfriends. My daughter Fric, has apparently met her soul mate; some scruffy, short boy, who resembles an elf. And not a cute elf. But hey, who am I to judge? Let's give the boy a chance. He hasn't hit puberty yet. There still may be hope. And it's not like I was a prize when I was ten. I should be thrilled that she isn't so vain that she picks her boyfriends based on looks, right? Except I have visions of troll babies as my future grandchildren....

My son, however, is like his dad. A real connoisseur of the ladies. He wants to sample them all before he chooses just one. I can't tell you who choked louder when he explained that he liked to kiss them first to see if they were any good before he asked them out, me or the couple sitting at the table next to us, listening to our conversation.

They really do put those tables close together.

After the couple and I caught our breaths, and I determinedly did not make eye contact with them, my daughter informed me what a dog ladies man my boy is. Before any patrons decided to call social services on my parenting or lack of it, I hustled the little buggers out of the restaurant.

But not before I loudly proclaimed to my kids that it was always good to sample the goods before making the final sale. As I left I could hear that poor man hacking up his lung. Next time I decide I'm too lazy to cook, I must remember to choose a less crowded restaurant.

Digest your cheese while I hit the book stores to find a book to learn how to parent the next generation's Romeo, so that I may avoid future mobs of angry parents and broken-hearted girls.

Enjoy your cheese!!

As migration approached, two elderly vultures doubted they could make the trip south, so they decided to go by airplane.
When they checked their baggage, the attendant noticed that they were carrying two dead raccoons.

"Do you wish to check the raccoons through as luggage?" she asked.

"No, thanks," replied the vultures. "They're carrion."


I would like to thank Mama Tulip for awarding me a ROFL award for my post on the pitfalls of personal hygiene.

It's good to know that my suffering and the mutilation of my pink parts brought joy to someone's life. I couldn't sit for a week, but damn, it's good to be funny.

Thanks Tulip, I heart you. And if you haven't read this woman's blog yet, she can and does give me a run for my money on a daily basis. She's got a dirty mind and husband who believes flatulence is the truest sign of love. What's not to love about that?

You can also check out the other winners over here and here. There's some damn good giggles out there.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lost and Found

I never expected to be shackled to my child more tightly in death than in his arduous brief life. I spent hours, days, weeks, and months staring at his tiny face, wishing him well, praying for his survival, willing him on. I devoted my very essence to his needs, while still trying to find a balance of parenting him, parenting Fric and Frac and of course, performing my wifely duties. (Snicker. By wifely duties I'm referring to folding his socks. Just so you know.)

I got lost along the way. I know this now. I recognized this immediately upon his death. Before I was even out of the hospital, while his body still lay on a gurney in the emergency room, I understood that I was screwed. The very identity I had created around this little boy had vanished in a puff of smoke, like a bad magician's trick. There has been no silence in my head since his death. No peace. His name and his memory bounces around inside my head, inside my soul, so loud that sometimes I fear there is no room for anything else.

I was aimless and lost. It was hard to feel anything for anyone. And that included my children. I knew that I loved them, but it was locked away, put in a box on a shelf so high up, that even on my tippy toes I couldn't reach it. I feared I would never be able to feel love for them again. So I overcompensated,and showered them with hugs, kisses and I love you's, even though I was vacant inside.

I shifted gears. My priority became seeing my kids through this nightmare, getting them past this crisis intact. I have no problem with spending inordinate amounts of money so my children could whine to a therapist how I was too sarcastic with them, how I never cooked anything but processed foods or canned goods, or how I accidentally walked out of the bathroom naked and gave them an eye full of pierced breasts and a tattooed ass. But dammit, there was no way those kids where going to whine about how their mother shut down and stopped functioning when their brother died.

I didn't want to become one of those mothers whose lives revolve around their dead kids. Who set up shrines to a memory while ignoring the living.

So I set aside my lack of emotion and just faked it till I made it. I yanked Fric and Frac through their emotional hell so fast their heads snapped back. And they survived. Kids are resilient. It wasn't long before they were talking about Shalebug and laughing more than crying, and generally just getting on my very last nerve.

That's not to say they don't miss their brother. Or ache for him. Or that their lives haven't been completely turned upside down because of the absence of his presence. Like me, like their father, they morphed into new little people, changed so completely through no fault of their own.

They are both more sombre. They are both more fatalistic. When they hear someone, especially a child, is sick or in the hospital, they no longer assume they will leave that hospital. In fact, we have had to work very hard to get them to stop presuming just because someone is ill, someone will die.

Every night they say goodnight to their Bug, and I can sometimes hear soft murmurs coming from their rooms. Behind their doors, in the dark of night, they spill their souls and tell their brother their darkest secrets. I asked them once why they did this, and they just shrugged. Worried, I asked if he ever talked back. I had sudden mental images of visiting my crazies in the nut house. Thankfully, they don't hear any ghosts, or voice of God talking back to them. But they both report feeling a closeness to him that they haven't felt since the day of his death, and that comforts them.

Like me, they fear the unknown. They want to know where he is, is he healed, will he remember us. I offer platitudes and warm thoughts while wondering the same things myself. They struggled with their faith and looked at their father and I for guidance.

It saddens me to know that who they were is lost forever. They carry a sadness with them that will always mark them. They have been through more tragedy, more hardship than most young children. They spent five years trying to understand why their brother suffered so, and they will spend the rest of their lives trying to understand why he died. That changes a person, especially a young child.

We spent these past 504 days mourning and coping and morphing into the people we have all become. I often wonder where our 'old' selves made off to, if they found new bodies to inhabit. I like the vision of four happy, little, redneck zombies wandering the world, looking for kooks to inhabit.

I can't say I'm not sad still. Not just because my baby is gone. But because my older babies lost their innocence when Bug's life was snuffed out with the quietest whisper of death. But I look at who they have turned into, and how they have handled themselves through it all; how they managed to help their momma stay sane, and I am so very proud of my kids. I just want to share them with the world. Shout their names from the highest mountain, and make the world aware of how remarkable these little people really are.

Despite me and my inept parenting.

It truly is a marvel.

I decided to share with you my babes. After all, I have posted pics of Bug, my Boo, even my backside, I figured it was only fair that I share the products of my womb, the fruits of my labour. (Pun absolutely intended!)

Think of it as an offering of proof that I am, indeed, a natural blonde.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Love, Arctic Style

I love my husband. I love his laugh, his smile and his beautiful curly locks of hair that my son, Bug, inherited from him. I love my husband's height, and having to stretch up on my tippy toes to wrap my arms around his neck to kiss him. I love his sensitive ways with the children and how he plays with them, when my own dad never played with us. Nothing warms my heart more than to hear my children's shrieks of terror as their father chases them around pretending to be the boogey monster.

There is very little I don't love about my husband. After almost ten years of marriage and fourteen years of romance, he can still make my freakishly long monkey-toes curl like no other.

If I'm giving you the mistaken impression that this post is a loving tribute to my husband, I apologize. Because right now, I want to kick his very cute, muscular ass. Which, by the way, I haven't seen in three weeks but that is a post in it's own....

I had a rough sleep last night. Nope, I wasn't dreaming of dead children, or lusting after sexy movie stars. In fact, I don't recall dreaming at all. Dreaming would imply sleeping, which I did very little of. Because my darling dog (please note the fact I am not referring to him as the World's Greatest Dog, Ever, in this post) kept nosing me off my pillow in an effort to share my body heat.

Normally, I don't mind this. I miss my husband's fondness for dutch ovens, his smelly arm pits and that gaping dip in the mattress, so I use my dog as a poor substitute to curl up with in the dark hours of the night. I can't tell you how many times I have woken up to elbow my husband, and tell him to stop snoring, only to realize it is the damn dog.

(Oddly enough, there is comfort in a hairy, snoring body beside me in bed. Apparently, it doesn't matter who, or what species it is, along as it emanates body odour, I'm a happy girl.)

I digress. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, due to my dog trying to steal my heat. I should have realized something was up when I woke up thinking I was in some cheesy motel bed, the type you plunk in 25 cents and it vibrates for three minutes. Poor Nixon, couldn't stop shivering. But I didn't notice anything particularly off, as I was cuddled under the comforter.

But when I bellowed at my children (because I'm classy like that) to get their asses out of bed rise and shine, my daughter wandered into my bedroom wearing her freaking snow suit. Apparently, Nixon wasn't the only one who spent the night shivering.

Turns out, we ran out of fuel to heat our home over the course of the night. When I checked the temperature inside my house it was a balmy six degrees. That's 42 degrees to you Yanks. It was is a tad chilly to say the least. (A f*%king under statement as I sit here and shiver. Do you have any idea how hard it is to type when your fingers are slowly turning blue? And how am I going to get all the snot that is dripping from my very red nose out of my keyboard?)

I did what any good mother would do. I told them to suck it up, shut up and put on some mittens. And to get me the damn phone, I had to call their father.

This would be the part of the post where my love for my husband shines through. As his wife and doting children sit in our igloo, huddling together trying to keep warm, my husband was sitting in a cozy little hotel restaurant being served by an 18 year old lady who is apparently all that and then some if you know what I mean. He was eating his breakfast/supper after coming off his twelve hour night shift while making googly eyes at the pretty waitress. Trying to charm her with his good looks and witty remarks into getting free raisin toast. As I sit here freezing my arse off.

Apparently, I interrupted his mojo. Interfered with getting his free toast. Excuuuse me. Let me just turn blue, so you can get sweet talk your way into free bread.

After explaining the situation to my husband, his response?

"What do you want me to do about it?"

Hmmm, let me think.


Seems fairly self explanatory to me. The way I figure it, this is not my fault. Sure, my husband has only been home for a handful of days during the past few months. And yes, he's busting his ass so that I may live the life of an Arctic princess, doing nothing but eat bonbons and blog all day. I understand that he is doing the best he can within the limitations he faces.

But to my reckoning, if he can come home every few weeks for a booty call, why can't he check the fuel levels while he's home, to make sure his precious vagina wife stays warm? Not to mention, providing a simple necessity for his children, like, say, HEAT.

I can't be responsible for every damn thing around here. I have to draw the line in the snow somewhere.

I'm trying to see the bright side to this. He's still cute, attentive and tall. He IS on his way home to remedy the problem. (Although, his idea of keeping warm primarily involves rubbing his stick against me.) And in the seven years we have lived out here, this has never happened before. Because he was HOME. It's not like I'm married to Mr. Chicky, who makes it a habit of freezing his wife and baby chick out of their abode.

Things could be worse. It could be blizzarding out and well below freezing. Nope, the sun is shining and we are expecting above average temperatures today. In a few hours, it will be warmer outside my house than inside it.

My husband could be at that hotel restaurant with the 18 year old bimbo, who could decide she wants a sugar daddy, and instead of giving him free raisin toast, could offer up some free sugar if you know what I mean. Instead, he is probably speeding like a madman, on his way home, to once more save the day and enshrine himself in the glory that is being a good husband.

And the brightest side to all of this: My boobs are awfully perky right now.

Maybe I will let the husband use his stick to keep me warm. It's the only time I'm going to resemble a perky 18 year old. Might as well take advantage of it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Shit Happens

I suppose I should warn you, this post is not pretty. It's dirty, messy and has a distinct odour. I'm talking about shit. Actual shit. Poop, feces, crap, scat. What ever you call it, I'm talking about it. (Think of the Google pervs coming my way, today. Careful who you bump into around here. Make sure you wash your hands when you leave...) Why am I talking about poop? Think of me as your Northern, white, skinny, poorer version of Oprah. If she can talk shit, then so can I.

Except I'm not here to discuss with you the size, shape and colour of my crap. Let's just say I'm very pleased with my poop. Yep, I'm proud of my shit.

No, today's post is about my past with shit. (Not my past shit, just my history with it.) We have all had our own experiences with the brown smelly turds that fertilize this world. I think it's time we stop ignoring this fecal matter and shine some light on it.

Obviously, as a young child, I had more than one close encounter with the brown kind. I am sure I crapped up, down and all around my folks. After all, if my children are any example, the apples never fall far from the tree right? But I'm not talking about diaper horrors, or potty training poops.

I'm remembering going to the farm and visiting my very favorite uncle. And for some reason running around bare foot like the little redneck I was bound to become. The memory of stepping into my very first (and last) pile of steaming cow shit, is still a memory I can feel right now. I was horrified when I felt the oozing warm stuff squishing between my toes and I realized just exactly what I had stepped into.

My uncle, however, laughed so hard, I'm sure he almost peed himself. And considering he was almost 70, that was a possibility in itself. I remember pulling my foot out of that patty, and feeling the suction power of the poop gripping my foot, unwilling to let go. And I remember the cold, wet spray of the water from the well as my uncle pumped and laughed and told me to wear shoes next time as he washed my foot clean of cow dung.

And the city kid got her first glimpse into farm life.

Fast forward through the years, and I was a young mother with her first babe. I remember changing those first few diapers, and wondering what all the fuss was about. Baby poop was nothing! Oh, to be young and stupid again. Until, one day at a family function, in the middle of nowhere, my daughter mocked my mommy attitude and let loose. Down to her toes and up into her hair. I ran out of wet wipes. Suddenly, the power of an infant's bowels was to be respected. Because you never knew when they were gonna loose their shit.

But then she grew and so did her brother. And diaper duty was fast fading into a blurred memory, to be replaced with fresher memories of toddler hood. Memories of sweet, innocent children learning to navigate their way through the wondrous new world that lay before them.

I loved being a mom back then. I was young, and swept away by the passion inspired by two small children exploring the world with such curiosity and enthusiasm. Every day they learned something new and through them, so did I. We grew up together. I couldn't imagine a better gig than being a mom. Nothing they did baffled or stumped me. I got them, these children of mine.

At least until the moment I walked into their bedroom only to catch my three year old daughter squatting over her brother's pillow. Dumping a load, so to speak. Horrified, I asked her what she was doing. After all, she had a fondness with the toilet, they had a nice partnership going. What the hell? My daughter's response? "Frac is a poo-head." So she thought to make it literal. I was unequipped for such logic. I was not even 25 years old and suddenly I was exhausted. Parenting and poop had sucked the life out of me. I didn't even know what an appropriate parental reaction to this crap-tacular action should be. And thus began the long, winding road of my children flummoxing me at every given twist of the road.

Thankfully, Fric has since learned to refrain from emptying her bowels where her brother lay his head. I keep a spare pillow in the linen closet ever since, in case anyone should regress. After that accident, I was ready for what ever shit flew my way. After all, as a mom, I had to wipe asses, snotty noses, occasional vomit and whatever other bodily fluid they tossed at me on a regular basis.

Poop is part of life. Yet we often don't speak of it. We teach our daughters the proper way to wipe (downwards, away from the vagina) and show our children how to wash their hands after taking a dump. We peer into the pot before flushing, to see what came out, if it was an Oprah poop or if we need to increase our bran intake.

We shit, and we get shit upon. Literally and figuratively.

So why is it, when you wake up in the morning and you step into a cold brown turd the dog left for you as a treat beside your bed, is it such a surprise?

That's right, dear Internet. I. Stepped. In. Dog. Shit. First. Thing. This. Morning.

The only thing that should be somewhat surprising about this is the fact that Nixon still lives. And that I haven't revoked his title of the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. Although, I am seriously reconsidering it.

I suppose the lesson here is: Shit happens.

And maybe, look before you leap. Invest in slippers. Don't let the dog eat peanuts.

Either way, I'm still scraping crap off my foot and wondering what the hell became of my life. And why is it I seem to attract so much of this shit.

Whether I step in it, make it, or have it land on me.

I think I hear flies buzzing....


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pass the Puns, Please

I don't have toddlers anymore. I did my time, paid my dues. I have even signed up for that adventure again. I should be able to sleep till at least nine in the morning by now. Aren't older children suppose to want to sleep in? So why must my darling children wake me up at the crack of dawn to the lyrical goodness that is Shania Twain and the tinkling sounds of the two of them cackling like little hyenas? Shouldn't they be quiet and thoughtful, appreciating the fact their mother is trying to get her beauty sleep after a long night of watching corny romances on the tube?

Shania Freaking Twain at seven thirty in the morning. God must really be annoyed with me.

And then there is my dog. My lovely Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. Who has decided that come the first ray of light in the morning sky, I should get up and play with him. He refuses to leave my side. Even if I boot him off the bed, he just jumps back on. He is so loyal. Bugger. If I take too long to rouse my sorry ass, he just attacks my feet or my hands, or my face, in that playful, stinky dog breath way of his.

He'd make a nice rug.

Before I serve this week's cheese, and be warned, it is fairly malodorous, (which, as you know tends to be the best kind) I would like to shout out a special thanks to a couple of very punny people. I had to do it. It was too easy.

Thank you, dear brother in law, a.k.a The Great White Hunter, for the five minute long message you left me on my voice mail, reading me once stinker after another. I love cheese, even the kind left on my answering machine.

And a big cheesy hug for my bloggy buddy Gette who shared a sample of her family's personal recipes for stinky fromage. I thank you from the bottom of my cheese-loving heart.

My inbox is always open to a good pun. You won't hear me complaining about having a pun in the oven...O.k, that was awful. I'll admit it. If you can do better, or have some puns you would like to smear across the net, email me. I'm easy that way. (And in other ways too, my hubs will tell you...)

On to this week's serving. It's a hum-dinger. So plug your nose and enjoy!

A debt collector knocked on the door of a country family, that made their living weaving cloth.
"Is Jack home?" he asked the woman who answered the door.
"Im sorry," the woman replied. "Jack's gone for cotton."

A few weeks later the collector tried again. "Is Jack here today?"
Once again the answer was "No, sir, I'm afraid he has gone for cotton."

When he returned for the third time and Jack was still nowhere to be seen, he complained, "I suppose Jack is gone for cotton again?"
"No," the woman answered solemnly, "Jack died yesterday."

Suspicious that he was being avoided, the collector decided to wait a week and investigate the cemetery himself. But sure enough, there was poor Jack's tombstone, with this inscription: ...

"Gone, But Not for Cotton."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shiny Buttons And Linky Love

As a young child I never had to struggle hard to be an original. I was always the odd girl out. It seemed as though I was defined early on by my differences, separated and culled from the herd simply because of who I was, not who I wanted to be. It started as early as my first breath, just after being squeezed from my mother's loins, when it was noted that I was a fair haired babe. Odd, certainly, but not earth shattering. Growing up though, enduring the countless family functions where I was always described as the 'Milkman's daughter', or being easy to spot in a crowd as the only toe-head in a sea of brunettes, grew tiring.

Then there was the fact that I had the odd ability to cry at the drop of a hat. But never on command. (Significant difference of ability. One is fairly embarrassing, the other could lead to top billing on a marquee and a possible golden statue.) I was known as the Crybaby, renown for my tender feelings and irritable tear ducts.

I longed to fit in growing up. It never occurred to me that I was an original. I wasn't that bright. What I should have done, instead of trying to find cover and hide myself in the crowd, was embrace my oddball unique traits and endorsed them. Life would have started being fun a whole lot sooner. Sigh. But I was always a late bloomer. My boobs can attest to that.

But that's a whole other post.

Now, as a mature (shaddup Boo!) woman, I embrace my avant-garde personality. I am more than a mommy, less than a wife, and a whole slew of other unidentifiable qualities that make me who I am. Love me or leave me, here I am. Boob rings and back fat. I'm shaking it all. (Admittedly, some parts jiggle more than others, but I'm not telling which.)

As I have mentioned time and time again, I started blogging to get through a difficult time of my life.

Snort! Understatement of the Year alert!!

But what I haven't mentioned is how daunting entering the blogosphere really was. I was putting myself out there, for everybody to see. But how do I make you all see me? In the vast, endless sea of blogs out there, how do I get a person to visit me? How do I stand out from the crowd? How do I become the blonde once more in a sea of very cute brunettes?

(All right, that really sucked as a metaphor but stay with me...)

Having a kickass template helps, of course. And stealing borrowing clever cartoons doesn't hurt either. But as I anxiously watched my site meter stay stuck at the seven, I realized this wasn't enough. I was going to have to go out there and impress the big guns. The cool bloggers, and hope that if they would come, others would follow.

Because we humans are really nothing but overgrown lemmings, right? Lemmings with opposable thumbs.

In my search for readers, I discovered some wonderful blogs. Some were big time bloggers, who managed to have gasp!! more than a few hundred page hits a day, while others were small and lesser known; content with their knowledge that while they may not have advertisers knocking at their door, they were adding something to the lives of those who read them. I was intimidated and impressed by all of them you, who managed to make me sit up and take stock, and strive to be a better writer, woman and human.

(Bowing in gratitude, as her bathrobe gapes wide open. Damn, I'm classy.)

It seems as though I have finally impressed somebody myself. A truly witty, little (as in short in stature, get your minds out of the gutter people!) daddy blogger has bestowed upon me a Thinking Blogger award. Apparently, this post grabbed him. Probably by the shoulders and shook him really hard. Thank you, Bennie. I am humbled to know something I wrote inspired you, when your daily life continues to awe and inspire me and countless others. If you haven't discovered this artist daddy yet, hop on over and take a peek. You will walk away with a different perspective on life.

This shiny little blog button has made me take stock and think about all the other bloggers who make me stop and think on a daily basis. As a rule, I am to nominate five more bloggers for posts who have made me think. But really, my life is too short for nonsense, and my time is too precious to waste on poorly written blogs. All the blogs in my bloglines make me sit up and take note. It seems absurd to have to weed through the masses to find a few flowers.

You are all my flowers. Gush.

But rules are rules and who am I to balk at an arbitrarily imposed rule? So, I am just going to randomly bestow Thinking Blog Awards to five people off my bloglines. Kind of like winning a lottery. If you're name isn't chosen, buck up. It doesn't mean I don't love you, it just means my finger didn't land on your name when I closed my eyes, spun my chair around and pointed blindly at the screen. You all are good Thinkers to me.

I promise.

Mama Tulip, Average Joe, ECR, Emma, Mrs. Chicken; all of you, please revel in your newly bestowed bloggy button.

To the rest of you, well, I guess you are shit out of luck. But I still love you. Cross my heart.

Would I lie to you?

******* ******* ********

P.S. I know I was supposed to nominate specific posts, but I just couldn't do it. You all generate too much greatness. Just know that at one time, or another, or perhaps more than once, you have inspired me. Which is why I keep coming back. Well, that and I have no life and no real friends. But let's just stick with the inspiration thing, okay?